N-Space closes after 21 years

first_imgN-Space closes after 21 yearsStudio artist posts news on Twitter, thanks president for transparencyRachel WeberSenior EditorThursday 31st March 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articlen-SpaceSad news from social media this afternoon, n-Space employee Ben Leary has reported that the studio is closing after 21 years. We’ve reached out to n-Space exectuives for confirmation but Leary’s statement seems fairly straightforward. In it he praises the actions of president Dan O’Leary.n-Space has closed. My statement – https://t.co/HaV3mv9ihIpic.twitter.com/uwaNpOft1u— Ben Leary (@Polygoblin) March 29, 2016last_img

FIFA physical sales continue to fall sharply | UK Boxed Charts

first_imgFIFA physical sales continue to fall sharply | UK Boxed ChartsBut digital will likely tell a different storyChristopher DringHead of Games B2BMonday 12th October 2020Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleGfKTypically the biggest boxed game launch of the year, FIFA 21’s opening week sales are down more than 42% over last year’s game.This is purely in terms of physical sales. FIFA’s digital performance has rapidly grown alongside the success of the game’s live service Ultimate Team mode. We won’t know the game’s digital performance until later in the week.Another reason for the drop in performance will be the upcoming launch of PS5 and Xbox Series S and X, with consumers likely holding off for the next-generation version of the game.However, even with such a fierce drop, FIFA 21 was still the biggest game launch of 2021 (so far), beating previous record holders The Last of Us: Part 2 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. FIFA 21 sold best on PS4, which accounted for 62% of the sales, followed by Xbox One (36%) and then Nintendo Switch (2%). It’s an EA top two this week, with Star Wars: Squadrons holding its position at No.2 despite a 55% drop in sales week-on-week. Squadrons was a bigger digital hit than a physical one, and would really have been No.1 last week if download data was counted.That means last week’s physical No.1, Crash Bandicoot: It’s About Time, slips to No.3 with a 58% drop in sales. Related JobsLevel Designer AAA RPG Game Midlands UK UK & Europe Big PlanetSenior VFX Artist Remote Spain UK & Europe Big PlanetBuild Engineer – Games – Cheshire, England UK & Europe Big PlanetDiscover more jobs in games Elsewhere, big Switch games Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons make up No.4, 5, 6 and 7.October is a little quieter than we’re used to this year, with a handful of Switch titles and a new World of Warcraft expansion making up many of the big releases. However, come the end of the month things start picking up as we hurtle towards the launches of PS5 and Xbox Series S/X in November.Here is the GfK Top Ten for the week ending October 10th:Last WeekThis WeekTitleNew Entry1FIFA 2122Star Wars: Squadrons13Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time44Animal Crossing: New Horizons35Super Mario 3D All-Stars 66Mario Kart 8: Deluxe87Minecraft (Switch)78Minecraft (Dungeons)59Marvel’s Avengers1310Ring Fit AdventureCelebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesResident Evil: Village is the third biggest PS5 launch so far | UK Boxed ChartsBut physical sales down over previous Resident Evil gamesBy Christopher Dring YesterdayNier Replicant ver.1.22474487139 is No.1 in the UK | UK Boxed ChartsIt’s very quiet out thereBy Christopher Dring 15 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

My Nobel moment of glory

first_imgLet me be frank. The only Nobel which interests me is the one for literature. That had got eclipsed last year with the sex scandal rocking the institution. So, this year was going to be a double whammy with prizes for 2018 and 2019 to be announced.I did read up on the likely winners and followed Ladbrooke’s prophecies. I was also awed by the wisdom of few of my friends on Facebook who after 10 months of silence on literary matters suddenly wake up to its greatness around October, I am not too sure if an alarm reminder of sorts has been set on their mobiles?The rest of the time they are content with posting dystopian and apocalyptic stuff —like the 90 odd ghastly photographs of their recent foreign trip, each captioned with a little bit of Googled history;not to forget, the obituaries of accomplished humans, claiming a personal connection with them since childhood–witness for example, a status update on Maya Angelou “I grew up on her novels…She made me a warrior. RIP. You will live on in the values you instilled in me ( hello, where were your parents?). I may, of course, be wrong, but sometimes I feel we wait for famous people to die with ghoulish glee so that our normal ( read: boring) status updates can have some “value addition”.While dear Olga, the 2018 Nobel was kind of familiar because of her erstwhile Booker win, Peter Handke knocked the wind out of the sails of all.No one really had read him. Desperate hits on search engines threw up worrisome news about him about being pals with Slobodan Milošević. Thus, the ‘discerning’ junta decided to lie low with this one. Just went about posting links regarding the win but with cryptic one-liners- “ Aah so Peter Handke it is !”- that sort of established their credentials as “intellectuals” minus getting into anything sticky.In the absence of saadi Dilli and Khan market nearby, holed up in my sleepy little hometown in Odisha, I turned my attention to the ‘Great Indian Festival’ on Amazon and forgot all about the Nobel. Soon, I was piling up useless goodies at 50% to 80% off and kicked about it–the only thing of importance I bought was a steel vegetable masher as the new cook’s hygiene is a bit dicey. But, then, I forgive him as he is a relatively calm Bong ( as contrasted with the normally volatile & angsty ones) with his gentle soul fired up by compatriot Ranoo Mondal’s successful move from singing on the railway platform to Himesss mota bhai’s studio.Ooooonh huzoor, pardon me, I digress.The 14th of October dawned momentously. Professor Abhijit Banerjee was declared to be the winner of the Nobel prize for economics.All hell broke loose in the nation and social media. Each positive human emotion had its dark counter in the heart and speech of the junta. Amidst pride and joy, attempts to malign and run down reigned as well. Sexist statements that one needs a foreign wife to qualify to have a second wife with the first being necessarily Bengali had its adherents. Fierce patriotism -“He has left India, he is not a son of the soil”-stoked the hearts as well.The unfortunate media reportage of Esther Dufflo being Bannerjee’s wife angered the feminists and their male friends. She is an economist first, not a wife…wife is not an identity, they thundered. Well, I’d like to believe the media did not mean any slight. I guess they were caught up in the excitement of Bou di/ma having rocked it along with Dada, too, and thus conjured up the offending headlines.But the most visible was JNU and its alumni. The relatively recently marginalised and university non-grata suddenly had as its anthem the Pink Floyd number “Shine on you crazy diamond”. Each JNUite worth his/her intellectual salt rushed to find threads of connection, however nebulous, to the good professor. His contemporaries, now in various walks of life. were the most well informed and thus naturally the smuggest. All went to great lengths of imagination to establish ‘the’ tie with him—some found out that his middle name is ‘Vinayak’, others were confident that they played table tennis on the very table the professor was playing in Brahmaputra hostel, after a clip of him doing so surfaced on social media. The economics guys wore a superior grin, a prominent socialite debated whether to have a Nobel themed soiree with her rather duh duh hubby dressed as Abhijit etc etc—a delirious madness.And I felt bereft, abandoned, worthless and wanting. After all, I am an erstwhile JNUIte too. Spent bloody six years of my youth there! Learnt majorly about life which my sheltered and pampered existence till then had not permitted me to do so. Devoured books in the fantastic library with as much gusto as the dubious lamb at Khicha’s, acquired vast knowledge from my professors and teachers , had stimulating conversations with students over bun anda, went defiantly steady ( Papa don’t preach, types) with a guy, made lifelong friends and walked at midnight, happy and carefree.Could I not find any connection to the good professor?Of course! I thumb my nose at all the Nobel leeches.Behold! I realized that I have perhaps sat on the same boulder as Prof Abhijit Bannerjee at Parthasarthy rocks & have had milk tea from the hands of the same-to-same Ganga dhaba guy.So, there! My Nobel moment of glory.Congratulations Professor Abhijit Banerjee and Welcome to the Jungle.last_img read more

Para-Equestrian Seminar Deadlines Approaching

first_img Horse Sport Enews Equestrian Canada (EC) would like to remind the para-equestrian community that the registration deadline of March 9, 2018 is fast approaching for two upcoming educational opportunities at the EC offices in Ottawa, ON:Para-Equestrian Classification Information Session: March 16, 2018.Para-Equestrian Classifiers Seminar: March 17-18, 2018.Please note that the deadline for the Para-Equestrian Classifiers Seminar has been extended to March 9, 2018.Para-Equestrian Classification Information Session: March 16, 2018The Para-Equestrian Classification Information Session is open to the general public.What Will the Information Session Cover?Key components of the information session will include:An overview of the classification process and classification profiles.Information on neuromuscular disorders and classification of the visually impaired.Details on the rules and use of adaptive aids.How to RegisterRegistration Form: Para-Equestrian Classification Information Session Registration FormCost: FreeRegistration Deadline: March 9, 2018Submit To: [email protected] Classifiers Seminar: March 17-18, 2018The Para-Equestrian Classifiers Seminar is open to physiotherapists and medical physicians interested in becoming EC Classifiers.What Will the Seminar Cover?Key components of the seminar will include:An overview of the classification process and classification profiles.Information on neuromuscular disorders and classification of the visually impaired.Details on the rules and use of adaptive aids.Opportunities to practice classification and gain hands-on experience.How to RegisterRegistration Form: Para-Equestrian Classifiers Seminar Registration FormCost: Admission is free. $40 charge per participant, which covers lunch on both days.Registration Deadline: March 9, 2018Submit To: [email protected] EC National ClassifiersAn EC National Classifier is a person authorized by EC to conduct evaluations for athletes who are ready to compete at EC Silver and Gold competitions. A classifier assesses athletes in accordance with the methods and standards of the Fédération Équestre International (FEI), as outlined in the FEI Classification Manual.Becoming a classifier is an opportunity to give back to the community, enhance the life of a person with a physical or visual impairment, and grow both professionally and personally. EC National Classifiers play an integral role in an athlete’s journey from grassroots to representing Canada at the international level. By providing assessment, classifiers are essential in supporting athletes and their coaches by helping them to identify and use the compensating (adaptive) aids that are best suited to their needs. EC National Classifiers have the opportunity to become International Classifiers, who are invited to competitions all around the world, including the Paralympic Games and FEI World Equestrian Games.Who Should Attend the Para-Equestrian Classifiers Seminar?Physiotherapists and medical physicians who wish to become EC Classifiers with the ability to assign competitive grades to para-equestrian athletes should attend the Para-Equestrian Classifiers Seminar. In order to become an EC Classifier, candidates must have experience working with people with physical impairments, a clear understanding of the para-equestrian system of classification, and the ability to communicate clearly in English verbally and in writing. Knowledge of horse sports is also desirable. SIGN UP More from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business. Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Email*last_img read more

The ‘Wagner Affair’ in Belarus and Its Implications for Ukraine

first_imgAt the end of last year, former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko (June 2014–May 2019) announced in an interview that, back in 2018, he had initiated a special operation to detain mercenaries belonging to the notorious Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner Group (News.ru, December 31, 2020)—a shadowy paramilitary outfit allegedly culpable in war crimes committed in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Sub-Saharan Africa. Poroshenko additionally accused Ukraine’s current ruling elites of “sabotaging the operation” last summer and promised to pursue the matter until all “traitors” have been punished. This highly controversial episode established a dangerous new precedent with potentially far-reaching repercussions for Ukraine.The story Poroshenko was referring to first came to light on July 29, 2020, when Belarusian law enforcement detained 33 men near Minsk (Tut.by August 7, 2020). The local authorities claimed that the group—apparently all Wagner mercenaries—arrived in Belarus to take part in “igniting mass anti-governmental provocations” ahead of the approaching presidential elections (August 9, with early voting August 4–8). Despite the seriousness of the accusations and vigorous protestation of the Ukrainian government, which demanded the arrested individuals’ extradition, almost all members of the group were soon sent back to Russia. In time, however, the story developed further, revealing new details and stunning claims. Specifically, Ukrainian sources alleged that the detention of the Wagner militants in Belarus was, in effect, part of a failed special operation that sought to trick the mercenaries into arriving in Kyiv, where the group was to have been apprehended and brought to justice (News.ru, October 12, 2020). According to Ukraine, at least 9 out of the 33 men were Ukrainian citizens, and all of them allegedly took part in hostilities in southeastern Ukraine. Kyiv accused some of them of, among other crimes, shooting down (on July 17, 2014) Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which resulted in 298 fatalities. Interestingly, while official Russian information sources either remained silent or shrugged off these charges, one Russian conservative writer who had himself volunteered to fight in Ukraine, Zakhar Prilepin, openly admitted that “there are two or three fighters [among the detained Wagner members] from my battalion” (Ura.news, July 29, 2020).The incident triggered an acute political fracas inside Ukraine, particularly after Minsk handed 32 of the mercenaries (one had Belarusian citizenship) over to Moscow on August 14. Rival Ukrainian political factions began to accuse one another of treason and/or of spreading disinformation. Two main claims emerged from this infighting in Kyiv.According to the first—primarily expressed by representatives of the current Ukrainian ruling elite—the entire narrative regarding the detention of the Wagner members in Belarus was nothing more than Russian disinformation aimed at compromising Ukraine. Denying the basis of the story entirely, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy harshly criticized “those who spread disinformation […] about some sort of a special operation” (NV, January 5). Zelenskyy’s statement echoed earlier disavowals by Andriy Yermak, the head of the Presidential Administration, who, in mid-August, suggested that the failed Wagner kidnap theory had been concocted by “forces within Ukraine eager to derail the ceasefire in the Donbas region.” Likewise, Kirill Budanov, the chief of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense (HUR MOU), claimed that no “special operation” was taking place since “it would have been impossible to trick Wagner fighters to come to Belarus without Russia’s knowledge” (NV, August 19, 2020).This refutation, however, met with staunch opposition from a number of authoritative Ukrainian and foreign experts. For instance, Christo Grozev, of the open-source investigative team Bellingcat, contended that, according to unearthed evidence, the Ukrainian intelligence services came up with a “brilliant plan” to upstage Russian military intelligence, the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Wagner Group, but that this plan was derailed by the Ukrainian authorities. In his comment, Grozev characterized the alleged actions of the Ukrainian ruling circles as either “treason or [driven by] political fear” (Censor.net, December 22, 2020).An even harsher assessment came from a renowned military journalist and the editor-in-chief of the information outlet Censor.net, Yurii Butusov, who de facto openly accused members of the Presidential Administration (Andriy Yermak and others) of treasonous behavior and sabotaging a special operation as a means to avoid tensions with Moscow (NV, August 19, 2020). Butusov claimed that Yermak is not the only person keenly interested in normalizing Russian ties, whatever the cost might be. According to the Censor.net editor, the National Security and Defense Council’s First Deputy Secretary Ruslan Demchenko—a political figure tolerated by Poroshenko and promoted by Zelenskyy—has been playing a largely destructive role, remaining “a direct threat to Ukrainian national security.” With these remarks, Butusov implicitly accused Zelenskyy (not just his inner circle) of treachery against the state (Censor.net, August 18, 2020).That said, the publicly available information on the purported foiled special operation lacks key details needed to confirm it; although some more recent developments have raised additional suspicions. For example, following the outbreak of the scandal, Zelenskyy without explanation denied a motion of the then-head of the HUR MOU, Vasyl Burba—reportedly, in charge of the special operation—to administer polygraph tests to Yermak and others who claimed knowledge of the failed Wagner capture scheme. On top of that, Burba was fired soon afterwards by presidential decree. Similarly, according to some Ukrainian sources, the aforementioned special operation collapsed due to the fact that the date of the final stage was changed by Zelenskyy, which allowed the Belarusian special cervices to apprehend the mercenaries on their territory to later hand them over to Moscow (Plus.obozrevatel.com, October 11, 2020).Irrespective of whether the reported failed special operation is true or not, the scandal carries serious consequences. With respect to Belarus, this incident—as well as post-election domestic developments in general—clearly demonstrated the extent of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s current dependency on Russia. Yet it is Ukraine that has attracted most of the negative consequences of the Wagner fighters’ arrest just outside Minsk. Specifically, the affair spotlighted two important issues. First, the dueling charges and denials underscored the intolerably high level of internal division within Ukraine’s ruling elite, where conflicting factions are eager to use all means necessary—even reveal purported state secrets—to hurt their opponents, with little consideration of the repercussions for national security. Second, if the alleged special operation was, indeed, derailed because of treasonous actions of some policymakers (as certain experts have argued), then this shows that Moscow’s penetration of the state—which facilitated Russia’s “hybrid” annexation of Crimea and “separatist” war in southeastern Ukraine—has still not been effectively dealt with by Ukrainian counter-intelligence since 2014.last_img read more

Makhachkala Experiences First Special Operation in Five Years

first_imgOn March 11, government forces in Makhachkala, Dagestan, killed a suspected rebel. According to official sources, the suspect had been plotting a terrorist attack on government agencies. Reportedly, the authorities found a machine gun, ammunition and an improvised explosive device (IED) at the site of the man’s killing. Visual materials provided by the Russian National Antiterrorist Committee indicate that the man was surrounded in a communal living area in the Dagestani capital. The official statement also informed that the suspect was previously convicted of terrorism-related crimes. Allegedly, he was killed after firing shots at the government agents (Nac.gov.ru, March 11).To carry out the special operation, the authorities introduced a so-called counter-terrorism operation regime in a central area of the city (Chernovik, March 11). Some media outlets pointed out this was the first counter-terrorism operation regime in Makhachkala since 2016. The identity of the suspect was not officially released, but according to some reports, he was a 56-year-old man and, in the past, served 17 years in prison on terrorism-related charges. His sentence was commuted on the grounds of poor health (Kavkazsky Uzel, March 13). For a person convicted of terrorism to be released from a Russian prison on poor health grounds, he or she must truly be critically ill. It is unclear what threat to society this individual posed. Given the low regard for law among the Russian security services, the suspect may have been killed simply because government agents considered him to be a threat a priori (see EDM, February 4).Dagestan used to be an important hotspot of separatist insurgency in the North Caucasus. After the active phase of the second Russian-Chechen war was concluded with the defeat of proponents of Chechen independence, most of the violent deaths related to the insurgency took place in this easternmost regional republic, peaking in 2010–2011. A sharp almost three-fold drop in violence levels occurred in Dagestan as recently as 2017. Lately, the numbers of recorded victims of violence have been in the single digits (Kavkazsky Uzel). The initial plunge coincided with the appointment of Vladimir Vasiliev as the acting governor of Dagestan in 2017. Vasiliev, who had a background in the Russian interior ministry, became the first person of non-Dagestani origin in contemporary Russia to lead the republic. However, other factors may have also precipitated the rapid decrease in the levels of rebel violence in Dagestan. One of them was the outflow of Islamist radicals to the Middle East (Novaya Gazeta, July 28, 2015; Crisisgroup.org, March 16, 2016). The exact numbers of Dagestanis who left their country to join militants in Syria and Iraq are unknown, but estimates usually point to several thousand individuals (Kavkazsky Uzel, January 31, 2017). Despite the correlation between the outflow of radicals and the decrease in the number of attacks in the region, some low level of rebel violence continued in Dagestan.The eventual decline of the North Caucasus insurgency can hardly be explained by the exodus of radicals alone. Moscow may additionally have been successful in disrupting the regional elites’ circles that co-existed with the rebel groups and were either unable or unwilling to crush the militants using all of the government’s might. This was achieved through a rapid succession of newly appointed regional governors and a massive increase in funding. After 2010, none of the three governors of Dagestan served a full four-year term. Unable to repair the Dagestani bureaucracy at once, Moscow instead appears to have adopted the strategy of short governor terms and massive dismissals of officials at the local level. The disruption of ruling elites in Dagestan seems to have worked to an extent. Moscow’s success was supported by a large increase in the cash flows into the republic. In 2020, Dagestan remained among the most lavishly subsidized regions of the Russian Federation (second only to annexed Crimea). The region received the equivalent of about $2 billion from Moscow, including a nearly 50 percent increase in outlays compared to 2019 (Forbes.ru, March 11).Despite the vast increases in financial aid for Dagestan, there are some indications that it has been inefficient for the economy even if it helped to quell the insurgency (Riadergent.ru, January 27). Incidentally, the first counterterrorism operation in Makhachkala in five years took place under the tutelage of Colonel General Sergei Melikov, a career military officer with experience of fighting in Chechnya during the Russian-Chechen wars. Melikov was appointed acting governor of Dagestan in October 2020. His predecessor, Vladimir Vasiliev (also a colonel general), ended his service after two (since formal confirmation by the Dagestani parliament) or three years (since appointment by the president of Russia).In modern Russia, as a rule, only individuals from the titular ethnic groups were allowed to lead republics in the North Caucasus. In Dagestan, leaders came either from the Avar or Dargin ethnic groups. The ethnic identity of Sergei Melikov is somewhat complex. His father was a Lezgin (another Dagestani minority), but he was born and grew up outside Dagestan. He is said to be a self-proclaimed Christian Orthodox even though Lezgins traditionally are adherents of Islam (mostly Sunni but also some Shia) (Islamnews.ru, October 6, 2020). Melikov has another connection to Dagestan, albeit somewhat tragic—his stepson Dmitry Serkov was killed in the territory in 2007. Serkov was a commander in the (since disbanded) Vityaz special forces unit (TASS, July 28, 2016). Besides, Melikov may not be completely oblivious to his ethnic roots. One indication of this is Melikov’s proposal to endow Derbent with a special status, which would mean more funding for the city (Molodyozh Dagestana, December 23, 2020). To be sure, Derbent is an ancient settlement with many unique historical artifacts, but it is also notably a regional center of Lezgins, who have traditionally lived in what is now southern Dagestan and northern Azerbaijan.Does Melikov embody a more stable gubernatorial solution for Dagestan, or is he another transient figure in Moscow’s trial-and-error scheme in the troubled republic? Only time will tell. For now, pouring in resources has helped to resolve some of the pressing issues in the region. However, it is far from certain how stable this solution will be even in the short run, given the Russia’s economic woes, political rigidity and lack of reforms.last_img read more

Junior WCh 2015 FINAL: Denmark VS France

first_imgShareTweetShareShareEmail Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published.Comment Name Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Related Items: ShareTweetShareShareEmailCommentsBig final will be held tonight when Danish and French generation 1994 meet in the last match before senior stage (23 hrs CET). Denmark beat Germany 28:26 (15:13) in the semi final, while France had no easy job against fighters from Egypt 32:30 (15:12).11:00 Spain vs. Romania – Placement Match 7/8Referees: BOUALLOUCHA Ismail (TUN) / KHENISSI Ramzi (TUN)13:15 Belarus vs. Sweden – Placement Match 5/6ERDOGAN Kursad (TUR) / OZDENIZ Ibrahim (TUR)15:30 Germany vs. Egypt – Placement Match 3/4ALVES ROCHA Adriano (BRA) / MAGALHAES DA SILVA Daniel (BRA)FINAL18:00 Denmark vs. France – FinalReferees: LAH Bojan (SLO) / SOK David (SLO) Click to commentlast_img read more

QCS finance questioned

first_imgThe future of the high-profile Quaylink bus service in Newcastle has been secured, thanks to Go North East (GNE).The operator has stepped in to provide a commercial service after the councils pulled their funding, leading to questions about their ability to finance Nexus’ proposed Quality Contracts Scheme (QCS).The move comes after Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council and lead chief executive on transport for the North East Combined Authority, suddenly announced, days before Christmas, that the city council is withdrawing its funding for the service.It followed a similar announcement from Gateshead Council, which also part-funds the current service.Now GNE has stepped in to save the service, which links the Baltic, Sage, Gateshead College and St Peter’s Basin with Newcastle city centre and Gateshead Interchange.Quaylink was launched in 2005. The councils have regularly cited the service as being one of their flagships, and a demonstration of why council-funded services are best. It famously launched with Designline hybrids, operated under contract by Stagecoach. In 2011 they were replaced with diesel-powered Optare Versas after GNE won the contract. The Designline hybrids were sold for scrap.GNE MD Kevin Carr says: “With all our local authorities facing a funding crisis and some considering increasing council taxes, it’s inevitable that front-line services – including those buses funded by councils – will be hit.“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to come up with a plan that will continue to provide a seven-day-a-week bus service to such an important part of Newcastle and Gateshead.“But this must bring into question the Combined Authority’s view that bus services are best controlled by local authorities. If they can’t guarantee a service as important as this, how can they guarantee improvements to the bus network?”last_img read more

Nigel Hall To Takeover L4LNOLA/L4LM Instagram Accounts For Album Release Party

first_imgCome tomorrow night, the one and only Nigel Hall will descend on the world-famous Tipitina’s venue in New Orleans to celebrate the release of his new solo album, Ladies And Gentlemen… Nigel Hall. The performance marks the debut of this new material in the Big Easy, and will more than certainly feature support from some of the best musicians around.Since we just can’t get enough of Nigel’s new tunes, we asked him to take over our Instagram accounts in honor of the run. Hall will be posting throughout the day tomorrow, as he prepares for, and performs his new material for the exciting album release party.Follow L4LM on Instagram here and L4LNOLA on Instagram here to catch all of the action!To purchase tickets to the Tipitina’s performance, head to the venue’s official website.last_img read more

Chilled Crowds Keep 200-plus ambulances busy

first_img“We had a DCFEMS firefighter/EMT riding on the vast majority of mutual-aid and AMR vehicles to ensure radio communications and guide the units; we didn_t want people using map books,” he says. “Then every unit could go to an assigned frequency for the”žEMS liaison officer who would assign a transport destination.” Pro Bono is written by attorneysDoug WolfbergandSteve WirthofPage,Wolfberg & Wirth LLC, a national EMS-industry law firm. Visit the firm_s Web site atwww.pwwemslaw.com for more EMS law information.”ž According to Spear, performing an ultrasound “takes about 60 seconds, if [the provider has used the device regularly].” He_d like OFD paramedics to use the five devices more frequently than they do, including on all patients with significant trauma. “We wanted to ensure our 39 units remained untouched for citywide [day-to-day] responses, so we put out a request to the National Capitol Region for six EMS strike teams from Maryland and”žNorthern Virginia,” says DCFEMS Deputy Chief of Operations Larry Schultz. “We still felt we_d fall short, so we put in a request through”žFEMA for 120 ambulances for”žstandby.” Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) from several states also came in to help, and”žpark rangers from around the U.S. staffed 16 medical tents on the Mall. “We also had bike teams and 30 Gator teams out there,” Schultz says. Maryland EMS Director Bob Bass, MD, says his state deployed four strike teamsÆ’each with four ambulances plus a strike team leaderÆ’to D.C. from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. that day. “We had 30 ambulances from FEMA in Maryland for backfill and 50 more on standby, and D.C. had 60 from FEMA running,” he says. But Augustine_s worst fearÆ’a “crushing event” caused by a panicked crowdÆ’never materialized. Further, Schultz says, “I don_t”žthink we had a single run for violence.” Future planning for such events should focus more attention on the problems created by tight security, Augustine says. “People came very early [and weren_t allowed to carry] backpacks, blankets, food or water, the things people would usually bring for an outing when it_s in the teens. And then we sometimes had difficulty getting our people through.” The key: You must check your state_s laws carefully to determine if you_re covered and exactly what degree of liability protection you have. OFD Medical Director David Spear, MD, says, “Some people are intimidated; some people pick it up.” Spear sees prehospital ultrasound being as useful as an ECG. “You can scan to see if [an injury or pain] is a really, really bad thing,” he says, adding, “Sloshing belly blood in the back of an ambulance is easier to view.” Nuclear incident guidance at”žhps.org/hsc/documents/Planning_Guidance_for_Response_to_a_Nuclear_Detonation_FINAL.pdf To supplement the 39 ambulances and 14 standby units fielded by DCFEMS, the city declared an emergency, allowing activation of FEMA_s national disaster ambulance contract with AMR.”ž According to Schultz, EMS inaugural planning began June 1, 2008, when he assigned three people to a Secret Service planning team. In mid-November, DCFEMS assembled an internal incident management team that included EMS top brass. Besides working with federal and local officials, DCFEMS also integrated EMS leaders from Maryland and Northern Virginia into the planning and deployment. Both Maryland and Virginia stationed EMS representatives in the D.C. Office of Unified Communications on inauguration day to help track ambulances and hospital status in the entire region. Because of this, area hospitals never became overwhelmed. Schultz adds, “Our after-action plan must look at a more robust plan for warming.” Although some federal buildings were open for that purpose, “the number of people needing warming overwhelmed those buildings, so the medical tents were flooded with people coming in to get warm.” DCFEMS Medical Director Jim Augustine, MD, says, “With our own fleet handling the normal, day-to-day calls, this fleet was brought in, placarded and oriented, and put into the dispatch system as units reserved for inaugural activities.” According to Augustine, the majority of inauguration-related calls were for hypothermia, “exacerbation of asthma from walking long distances in crowds and the cold,” diabetic emergencies, chest pains, and respiratory and cardiovascular problems. EMS also responded to three cardiac arrests, at least one of which was a save. In Brief: CDC_s Personal Medical Information Form atwww.emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/pdf/kiwy.pdf “We trained 15 people on two of our busiest medic units,” says LFR EMS Chief Wayne Zygowicz. But he reports training was a challenge, because paramedics must look at a lot of images to become proficient in reading them. “We did a ton of images before [the crews] were comfortable.””ž “Most of the time, medics have too many other things to do,” says Dylan Luyten, MD, an emergency physician at Swedish Medical Center in Denver who was the LFR medical director”žduring the study. But Luyten still sees potential for ultrasound, especially for identifying ectopic pregnancies and abdominal aortic aneurysms in the field.”žÆ’Ann-Marie Lindstrom”ž “ž Chilled Crowds Keep 200+ Ambulances Busy”ž MS agencies in and around the nation_s capitol are used to huge events, but the inauguration of President Barack Obama, which brought some 2 million people to Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, posed special challenges. Besides the tremendous crush of people standing for hours in bone-chilling cold, EMS responders had to deal with the greatest security deployment D.C. has ever experienced. “It was very well coordinated,” Bass says. “We hope this lays the groundwork for us to track hospital and EMS-system status across the region on a day-to-day basis.”“ž Æ’Mannie Garza”ž Paramedics Use UltrasoundThe Littleton, Colo., and Odessa, Texas, fire departments have trained paramedics to use handheld ultrasound in the field. Littleton Fire Rescue (LFR) put two SonoSite handheld ultrasound”ždevices into the field in 2006 with stern warnings to paramedics not to drop the $10,000 transducers. The Odessa Fire Department (OFD) has been using the devices since 2000. They have trained 25 paramedics, and all ambulances carry the devices.”žcenter_img Pro BonoDon_t Count on”žImmunity LawsA study published Jan. 15 in the American Medical Association_s journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness notes that the U.S. lacks clear liability protections for emergency medical responders. “Good Samaritan” or “Qualified Immunity” laws are established on a state-by-state basis to provide limited liability protection”žto emergency responders acting in that capacity (e.g., as EMTs or”žparamedics) and liability protection for citizens and other health professionals who assist soon after an emergency occurs. However, these laws generally haven_t kept up with the changing times.”ž But months of careful planning, coordination and collaboration among agencies, and hard work for long hours by hundreds of EMTs and paramedics, allowed EMS to respond to more than 1,800 calls and transport nearly 250″žextra patients between 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. that day. (D.C. Fire & EMS [DCFEMS] normally receives some 450 EMS calls and transports approximately 270 patients each day.) Even if your state has immunity laws, never rely on them to determine how you conduct yourself as an EMS responder. Let us know at”žjems.com/extras Zygowicz cites two examples of how the ultrasound “made a big difference in people_s lives.” A girl who fell off a horse was waiting in the emergency department during a particularly busy time. The paramedic involved approached a doctor with the ultrasound he_d done in the ambulance, saying, “You might want to look at this.” The image of the girl_s bleeding spleen took her to the top of the triage list.”ž Out-of-town ambulances were staged at four sites convenient to the Mall and parade route. “When it got very, very busy, it was difficult to handle responses over the radio because they came in such clumps,” Augustine says. “So we went to dispatching units off the ramp. One captain would pass on information on five or six calls and hand-dispatch each medic unit who would respond to those calls.”ž After 18 months of testing the devices, Zygowicz concluded that ultrasound is more fitting for air ambulances and ground services with long transport times than for LFR. With five hospitals and a Level 1 trauma center within a 10-mile radius, LFR_s transport times are very short. “It_s not a priority skill with short transport times; [there_s] just not enough time to do it,” he says. LFR paramedics used another ultrasound performed in the field to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy in a woman complaining of abdominal pain. JEMS For more on EMS-related legal issues, visitjems.com/PWW. For reviews of handheld ultrasound devices, visitjems.com/products Quick TakesArmy Puts WoundStat on HoldIn October, the U.S. Army distributed some 18,000 packets of WoundStat to soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan after a U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research study concluded that the product_s granules poured into wounds were better than other hemostatic products at controlling bleeding and saving lives. But two months later, after another study concluded WoundStat could cause harmful blood clots, the Army Medical Command warned medics not to use the granules until more testing determines whether it_s safe. WoundStat manufacturer, Trauma Cure Inc., told the Associated Press it would cooperate with the U.S. military on more research. But the company stressed that the new study involved putting the granules on surgical incisions in pigs, adding, “There have been no reported incidents or adverse outcomes in humans.””ž Always function within your “scope of practice” or certification level;Function in accordance with the accepted protocols in your EMS community;Seek medical command or input from your medical director when you_re in doubtÆ’the system medical director is a good source because they_re ultimately responsible for how emergency medical care is provided in your community; andFully and accurately document your assessment and care of every patient.”ž”ž”ž”ž”ž In addition, no state immunity laws will prevent a lawsuit for negligence, although they may give you an added “defense” against liability if you_re sued. Most immunity statutesÆ’if applicable to your situationÆ’will raise the negligence standard from “ordinary negligence” (the failure to act as a reasonable EMS provider would act under similar circumstances) to that of “gross or willful negligence” (meaning you must act with willful disregard for the consequences of your actions). Gross or willful negligence is much harder for the plaintiff to prove in court.”žTo protect yourself:”ž “We had a lot of slip-trip-and-fall [patients] and some anxiety patients,” Schultz says. “For example, the Third Street tunnel that goes under the Mall got filled up quick, and some people began to”žfeel claustrophobic and panicked, so we had to get in and help.””ž ControversyShould EMS Draw Blood for DWI Testing?The Texas legislature is considering a bill that would allow EMT-intermediates and paramedics to honor a police officer_s request to draw blood to see if someone is driving while intoxicated (DWI). Current Texas law explicitly excludes EMS personnel from such blood draws. The legislation would also remove language requiring blood to be drawn “in a sanitary place,” although it provides liability protection only if the specimen is “taken according to recognized medical procedures.” Does your state allow EMTs and paramedics to do DWI tests? Do you think paramedics should draw blood at highway scenes? EMT-Is? EMT-Bs? Immunity from liability is established by state statute, and every state is different. Some states provide blanket “protection” from liability for patient-care activities for all providers (career and volunteer), but others only cover “volunteers.” Some states include immunities for disaster-response situations, while others do not. EMS providers from government agencies often enjoy greater immunity protection than those who work for private EMS agencies.”ž In 1996, The National Association of State EMS Officials drafted model immunity language for states to consider as part of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws_ “Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.” This model legislation was approved and recommended for enactment in all 50 states, but states have been slow to act.”ž FEMA”žon YoutubeFEMA joined YouTube in March 2006, and by Feb. 10, 2009, the channel had 159 subscribers and had generated 16,481 page views. The most popular of the 54 videos posted on www.youtube.com/fema was the seven-minute Jan. 14, 2009, farewell message from retiring FEMA Administrator David Paulison, “Where FEMA Was, Is Now, and Where It Is Going.” When he took the job after Hurricane Katrina, he found FEMA_s employees dedicated and highly motivated, but with low morale due to poor leadership and a lack of staff and funding. He tapped professionals he knew to provide new leadership for FEMA and won support from Congress to hire more people, more than doubling the size of FEMA from less than 1,500 employees to almost 4,000.”žlast_img read more