Is there life on Mars Ten years on the Opportunity rover is

first_imgWithin just months of landing on the surface Spirit had verified that the 100km wide crater it landed in was indeed a vast lake in its early history, Opportunity’s landing was nothing short of remarkable. It scored a ‘cosmic hole in one’ by inadvertently landing within a tiny 22m wide crater upon a vast flat plain called Meridiani Planum, suspected to have been a sea on Mars billions of years ago.When Opportunity sent back images from the Meridiani Planum, the structure and salt deposits shown verified for that it had indeed been a sea on Mars billions of years ago.John Callas, Mars Exploration Rovers project manager. (Pic: AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Since then, Opportunity has survived four Martian winters at temperatures below -100 degrees Celsius and trekked for three years across 20 km of sandy plains to its current location at the rim of Endeavour Crater.“It has been reprogrammed from Earth to be an autonomous artificial–intelligent ‘thinking machine’ capable of planning excursion and scientific investigations on its own and without instruction from Earth,” explains Nolan.The power levels on the solar-powered rover have unexpectedly improved and a recent selfie by Opportunity showed dust on its solar panels wiped away by blowing winds.(Youtube / NASA)In 2012, Opportunity was joined on Mars by Curiosity, which is currently rolling across bumpy terrain toward a mountain.With snazzy tools like a laser, Curiosity quickly became the world’s favorite rover.But Opportunity snatched some of the attention back earlier this month when it discovered a rock shaped like a jelly doughnut that suddenly appeared in its field of view, probably after its wheel kicked it up. Scientists said it’s unlike any rock they’ve seen on Mars before.It costs about $14 million a year to maintain Opportunity and NASA periodically reviews missions that have been extended to decide where to invest scarce dollars.In several months, Opportunity will decamp from its winter haven and head south to what scientists are calling the mother lode a clay-rich spot that should yield more discoveries.- Additional reporting was provided by Associated Press.More information on Opportunity and its ten years on Mars can be found on the official NASA mission website. Read: Meet the Irish man who’s been shortlisted to go to Mars and never come back >Read: NASA’s MAVEN Mars mission launches from Kennedy Space Center > ON 24 JANUARY 2004 NASA achieved the still rarefied feat of successfully landing a rover on Mars. Opportunity was only supposed to explors the Martian surface for 90 days but today, 10 years on, it has driven driven for 40 km and is still going.One of its six wheels and two instruments stopped working long ago. It has an arthritic joint. Its flash memory occasionally suffers a senior moment, but it is still going.Opportunity’s twin, Spirit, stopped working in 2010 after getting stuck in some Martian sand.Their original goal was simple, to investigate whether there were once large bodies of standing water on the Red Planet.Kevin Nolan of the the Institute of Technology Tallaght and the Irish coordinator the Planetary Society, says their success was almost immediate:last_img read more

Losses at Carphone Warehouses Irish arm soared to €12m last year

first_img 14 Comments Share17 Tweet Email3 “The costs associated with this initiative, being early lease termination premiums, onerous lease provisions, fixed asset impairment and redundancy costs, have been treated as exceptional items (of) €3.65 million.”The company also said that its accumulated losses of €50.6 million “reflects an ongoing competitive marketplace, impacting trade margin during the financial period and provisions in respect of the property realisation plan”.“The directors have reviewed budgets and cash flow projections and they believe with the financial support from Dixons Carphone plc, the company has adequate financial resources to meet current and foreseeable working capital requirements.”The company employed 729 people during the year, down from 749 the year before leading staff costs to fall from €19 million to €18.1 million.In the directors report, Carphone Warehouse also said: “The company is conscious of the effect of wage inflation on its business and the need to ensure that this is controlled.”Carphone Warehouse did not respond immediately to a request for comment.Sign up to our newsletter to receive a regular digest of Fora’s top articles delivered to your inbox.Written by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on Apr 8th 2017, 7:15 AM By Fora Staff Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Losses at Carphone Warehouse’s Irish arm soared to €12m last year The retailer has spent lots of money on its new ’3-in-1′ stores.center_img Saturday 8 Apr 2017, 7:15 AM LOSSES AT THE Irish arm of Carphone Warehouse jumped from about €2.5 million to almost €12 million last year, new figures show.Accounts for Carphone Warehouse Ltd, the Irish subsidiary of the UK-based retailer, show that the firm reported a full year loss of just under €12 million in the year to the end of April 2016.This compared to a loss of €2.5 million in the 57 weeks to the start of May 2015.The change in year-end reporting was so that the company could align with the Dixons Carphone group.While the company’s cost of sales dropped, from €90.2 million to €85.3 million, turnover also fell, from €123.7 million to €114.1 million.Operating expenses rose slightly, from €35.3 million to €37 million.The firm reported an operating loss of €11 million, which rose to a full year loss of about €12 million when some interest payments and charges on intercompany loans were included. Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ieThis pushed up Carphone Warehouse Ltd’s accumulated losses, which rose from €38.6 million to €50.6 million.3-in-1 storesThe company did incur exceptional costs during the year. Carphone Warehouse agreed a merger with Dixons in 2014, and during the 2016 financial year the newly formed business launched a major roll out of its ’3-in1′ store concept across Ireland and the UK.According to the directors report: “This involves merging the remaining PC World and Currys stores and inserting a Carphone Warehouse, reducing the overall UK and Ireland store portfolio by 76. Get Fora’s NEW daily digest of the morning’s key business news: Take me to Fora Short URL 11,727 Views last_img read more

Disability on the increase

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The prevalence of disability within the Greek Australian community dramatically increased between 2003 and 2009, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Just under one in five Australians born in Australia (18.5 per cent or four million people) reported having a disability in 2009. And while the scale of disability in that demographic fell 1.5 per cent between 2003 and 2009, the prevalence of disability in the Greek-born community jumped over 15 per cent, to nearly 50 per cent. The experience of disability in the Italian Australian community is similar, though the ABS data reflects that nearly 45 per cent of Australians born in Italy were reported as disabled in 2003. By 2009, the figure had risen only marginally. With the close correlation between age and disability, sub-populations in Australia with older median ages can be expected to show higher rates of disability. The ABS report notes that disability varies by birthplace and migrant group. Its findings, which show a noticeable decline in the proportion of people with disabilities who were born in Australia and New Zealand, confirm that disability rates for those born in South Eastern Europe has increased, reflecting the ageing profile of European-born migrants. Nina Xarhakos, Project Officer with Melbourne’s Australian Greek Welfare Society, told Neos Kosmos that in addition to the general problems faced by the ageing Greek community, “many of the migrants of the ’50s and ’60s worked in poor factory conditions, which often lacked proper health and safety standards”. “They frequently engaged in repetitive actions without breaks resulting in RSI (repetitive strain injury), back problems and many other health issues (physical and mental).” According to the ABS, the population of Greek elders in Melbourne will continue to grow until at least 2016, when it is expected to peak at around 30,000.last_img read more

Tempête en France Premier bilan et images de la tempête Xynthia

first_imgTempête en France : Premier bilan et images de la tempête Xynthia57 départements français en vigilance orange et quatre en rouge (Charente-Maritime, Vendée, Deux-Sèvres et Vienne). La tempête Xynthia est l’une des plus violentes depuis celle de 1999.On dénombre déjà 18 morts, de très nombreux dégâts (inondations, des murs effondrés, des arbres arrachés… ) et plus d’un million de foyers privés d’électricité.  Venue du Nord-Ouest de l’Espagne, la tempête remonte progressivement vers le Nord. A cet instant, la Vendée et la Charente Maritime semblent les plus touchées.Durant la tempête respectez ces mesures de sécurité : – Limitez vos déplacements.- Limitez votre vitesse sur route et autoroute, en particulier si vous conduisez un véhicule ou attelage sensible aux effets du vent.- Ne vous promenez pas en forêt, en bord de mer.- En ville, soyez vigilants face aux chutes possibles d’objets divers.- N’intervenez pas sur les toitures et ne touchez en aucun cas à des fils électriques tombés au sol.- Rangez ou fixez les objets sensibles aux effets du vent ou susceptibles d’être endommagés. Voir les premières images de la tempête : 28 février 2010 à 15:14 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Fukushima le Japon envisage délargir la zone dexclusion

first_imgFukushima : le Japon envisage d’élargir la zone d’exclusionUn mois jour pour jour après le violent séisme et le tsunami qui ont frappé le nord-est de l’archipel nippon, les autorités du pays envisagent d’élargir la zone d’exclusion autour de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima, accidentée. Les niveaux de radioactivité seraient trop élevés, écrivent ce matin les journaux japonais.Alors que les ingénieurs de la centrale nucléaire font tout leur possible depuis le séisme du 11 mars pour éviter la catastrophe, ils ont indiqué hier aux médias que la situation n’avait pas évolué. Malgré leurs tentatives de remise en marche des systèmes de refroidissement de Fukushima, afin d’arriver à maîtriser les six réacteurs, ils n’ont pas progressé.Aujourd’hui, d’après Reuters, ils espèrent bientôt cesser de reverser dans l’océan Pacifique l’eau de mer utilisée pour refroidir ces réacteurs. Eau qui est à présent contaminée.À lire aussiLe pied d’éléphant, cette effrayante masse radioactive cachée dans les entrailles de TchernobylFace aux niveaux de radioactivité élevés aux alentours de la centrale, les autorités japonaises, très critiquées par leurs voisins (Chine et Corée du Sud), envisagent d’élargir la zone d’exclusion autour de Fukushima, actuellement fixée à un rayon de 20 kilomètres. Elle pourrait être portée à 30 kilomètres, selon le journal Asahi. Cela faisait déjà plusieurs semaines que l’Agence internationale de l’Energie atomique (AIEA) allait dans ce sens, sans que le gouvernement japonais ne change d’avis.En attendant, Tepco, l’exploitant de la centrale, a du mal à reprendre le contrôle du site. La société a déjà injecté de l’azote dans les réacteurs endommagés pour éviter une trop forte concentration d’hydrogène susceptible de provoquer des explosions qui pourraient libérer des particules radioactives.Les solutions à mettre en oeuvre pour éviter la catastrophe sont à ce jour toujours inconnues. Dimanche, le directeur général adjoint de l’agence japonaise de sûreté nucléaire (Nisa) Hidehiko Nishiyama a admis : “Nous ne pouvons pas dire quelle sera la prochaine étape”…Un mois après le séisme le plus violent de son histoire et le tsunami qui a suivi, le Japon compte toujours les victimes. Le dernier bilan officiel fait état de 12.009 décès confirmés et 15.472 disparus.Le 11 avril 2011 à 09:32 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Dog dies in RV fire

first_imgFire investigators say they have not yet determined the cause of a Thursday afternoon fire that destroyed a motor home parked near the Wal-Mart in Hazel Dell, because they’ve been unable to speak with the vehicle’s occupants.No people were injured, but a dog was found dead inside, Clark County Deputy Fire Marshal Susan Anderson said Friday.Firefighters were called to a burning RV at 9000 N.E. Highway 99 at about 4:45 p.m. Clark County Fire District 6 spokesman David Schmitke said they arrived to find a 1987 Class C motor home engulfed in flames. No one was with the vehicle.Anderson said until she can speak with the occupants, the cause and origin of the fire are undetermined. She did determine, however, that the fire started inside the unit.The estimated damage to the RV and its contents is approximately $6,700, Anderson said.last_img read more

City Council committee considers several options to address homelessness

first_img SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The City Council’s Select Committee on Homelessness Monday directed city staff to flesh out measures that can be taken relatively quickly to ease the problem of people living on San Diego’s streets. The “menu of options” presented by committee Chairman Chris Ward includes establishing temporary housing at Golden Hall in the Civic Center complex and the Qualcomm Stadium practice field, expanding outreach efforts and creating more places where people who live in their cars can spend the night. “I think all things are on the table,” Councilman Chris Cate said.  In January’s annual tally of the area’s transient population, 5,619 homeless individuals were counted in the city of San Diego, a 10.3 percent increase from last year. Of those, 3,231 were living on the streets, and hundreds lived in vehicles. Ward’s proposals were conceptual in nature, so his office will work with various city departments to develop more details, including an idea of how much everything will cost. The results are scheduled to be returned to the committee in September. “Some of the material within this item is really designed to be able to provide things that are admittedly temporary in nature,” Ward said. “We hope that as we’re able to provide additional housing opportunities, some may be years down the road when those come online, that we’ll be able to scale back some of the need for immediate resources — that’s certainly the intent here.” Ward also suggested that the city provide more facilities for the homeless to store their belongings while they seek work or obtain social services. A current facility has reached capacity, he said.  Jessica Ranck July 24, 2017 Posted: July 24, 2017 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter City Council committee considers several options to address homelessness Jessica Ranck, last_img read more

Alaska Legislature To Meet On Confirmations Next Week

first_imgCraig Fleener, who works in the administration’s Washington, D.C., office, has held that role, but Walker spokesman Austin Baird says Walker opted for the commissioner of a major department to hold it instead. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Legislature plans to meet in joint session Tuesday to consider Gov. Bill Walker’s nominees for Cabinet positions and appointments to boards and commissions. Anti-abortion activists are opposing Walker’s nomination of Kenni Linden to the Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives over her past work with Planned Parenthood. Walker has nominated Sheldon Fisher as Revenue commissioner; Leslie Ridle as Administration commissioner, and Mike Navarre as Commerce commissioner. He also has chosen health commissioner Valerie Davidson to become lieutenant governor should that post become vacant. State law calls for a governor to make such an appointment.last_img read more

Mayors want tax share scheme for future gasline

first_imgAlthough the proposed Alaska LNG pipeline is still a long way from reality, a state committee is working on a fiscal scheme that would compensate local governments for property taxes they would forfeit under the current agreement with gasline producers.Download AudioThe Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board is devising a formula to distribute more than $15 billion in anticipated state gasline taxes over a 25-year period to local governments impacted by the project.The Matanuska-Susitna Borough would be affected greatly, and Borough mayor Vern Halter says he wants to make sure the Borough gets its fair share of the money.“We do have 179 miles of pipeline withn the Borough. And there is going to be a separate fund too, there’s going to be an $800 million impact fund that the Department of Commerce is going to administer. I’d prefer to have direct payments to our communities. The Mat-Su Borough and even our cities are going to be impacted. You know darn well the Mat-Su Borough is going to host the greatest part of the impact along with the Fairbanks area, really, when you are building this pipeline. Because this is really the future of the Mat-Su Borough in my mind.”Borough auditor James Wilson updated the Borough Assembly on progress on a proposed tax plan at a recent meeting. Wilson said it would be similar to a Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT, plan. The state would collect the future taxes on the LNG line, and each municipality would get a share of the money based on the percentage of the gasline project within its borders. The question is, how much say would the municipalities have in assessing the impact? Halter said the an early draft of the fiscal legislation did not accurately assess the Mat-Su Borough’s fair share:“What this legislation would do is the Mat-Su Borough would give up the right to tax a property for these payments. And it just seemed like this one was so far off base that I kind of said that I wouldn’t do this, no way.”The review board’s plan also provides payments to municipalities based on population, regardless of any connection to the LNG line, to ensure its benefits are shared by the state as a whole. According to the state Department of Revenue’s Stephanie Alexander,  no action was taken on the draft fiscal plan at the review board’s meeting on January 15. Mayor Halter said Thursday  that the Borough has expressed it’s concerns and that draft fiscal plan will be worked on over the next weeks to more accurately reflect equitable PILT shares for each municipality.last_img read more

49 Voices Onya Enkhbat of Unalaska

first_imgThis week we’re hearing from Purevdulam “Onya” Enkhbat. She recently graduated from Unalaska High School where she was valedictorian.Download AudioPurevdulam “Onya” Enkhbat (Photo courtesy of Purevdulam “Onya” Enkhbat)ENKHBAT: I came from Mongolia about three years ago as a sophomore here. I was thinking that it would probably be colder and when I think of Alaska, I just think of dog mushing and ice. But when I get here in Unalaska it was so different. There were no caribous or bears.Just for homeworks I had to sit for like 5 to 6 hours at least to translate all my textbooks and homeworks and try to understand my lectures from my teachers and everything.I actually learned English since I was in 4th grade, I believe. But it was not good at all. I was not fluent. I could not like understand what people were saying. I could not read a lot of book except 3rd or 4th grade [level] books.When I was in Mongolia I was not a reader at all. I did not read books for fun.My stepmother took me to the public library and handed me some books to try and when I opened the books I just could not understand any of that. And it was just not fun for me to try and read all of them, but one book caught my eye and it was the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. When I opened the first page of the book it warned me to stop reading if I thought I was a half-blood. And I didn’t know what half-blood meant so I was like, if you’re going to warn me to stop reading, I’m just going to keep reading.I’m going back to my home country Mongolia and I’m going to be there for the whole summer and I’m going to come back in August and go to college at UAA.I honestly feel like I’ll miss Alaska when I go to Mongolia which is kind of ironic because I probably would have never thought I would miss some other country other than my home country.last_img read more

Iditapod The season so far and a look ahead

first_imgPete Kaiser wins his fourth consecutive Kuskokwim 300 on January 21, 2018. (Katie Basile / KYUK)We talk about this year’s Kuskokwim 300, touch on the importance of mid-distance mushing races leading up to the Iditarod and talk to KUAC-FM reporter Zoe Rom about covering the Yukon Quest, Alaska’s other 1,000-mile sled dog race. Also: We talk about the Anchorage ceremonial start, who we expect to see running at the front of the pack and answer our first listener question!last_img

TS cop who won laurels for India felicitated

first_imgGachibowli: VC Sajjanar, Cyberabad Commissioner of police, on Tuesday appreciated the solo fete achieved by N Bose Kiran, Additional Inspector at Kukatpally traffic police station. Bose Kiran represented India in world police and fire games and bagged two bronze medals.Bose Kiran secured two bronze medals in singles and doubles event of 35-40 age category. The complete tournament saw the participation of 60 countries which sent a total of 10,000 participants. Also Read – Techie strangled to death in Hyderabad Advertise With Us Sajjanar appreciated Bose Kiran’s dedication to pursue his passion apart from his duties. He also urged the other members in the department to take out time from their schedule for sports which is the secret mantra to keep fit. Later, Bose Kiran thanked the Commissioner to pursue his sportsmanship and everyone in the department who helped him to achieve the fete. Also Read – JIH organises Eid Milap for sanitary workers Advertise With Us The achievement of Bose Kiran is first of its kind in the history of Telangana state police. Bose Kiran also has the feather in his cap for the successful achievement at World Police and Fire games in 2017 held at Los Angeles, where he had secured two bronze medals. The appreciation was given to N Bose Kiran in the presence of Cyberabad Crimes DCP Rohini Priyadarshini, Cyberabad Traffic DCP SM Vijay Kumar, Special Branch, Additional Deputy Commissioner Police, Ghouse Mohiuddin, and Manikraj, Additional Deputy Commissioner of police, CAR Headquarters.last_img read more

SpiceJet launches Independence Day sale offers discounted airfares at Rs 299

first_imgBudget carrier SpiceJet has announced a new promotional offer for Independence Day. The carrier launched a limited period Great Independence Day sale and offered one way base fare of Rs. 399 for domestic travel and base fare price of Rs. 2,999 on non-stop international flights. The three-day-sale is valid from Tuesday (Aug. 9) until Friday (Aug. 11) for travel period between Aug. 18 and Sept. 30, the carrier said in a statement. SpiceJet is offering the discounted airfares on Ahmedabad-Mumbai, Amritsar-Srinagar, Bengaluru-Chennai, Bengaluru-Kochi, Coimbatore-Hyderabad, Jammu-Srinagar, Mumbai-Goa, Mumbai-Hyderabad amongst others on the domestic routes. Similarly, on the international network, the discounted airfare starting at Rs. 2,999 is available for Dubai-Delhi and Dubai-Mumbai routes.In addition, the airline is also offering attractive fares on various direct flights across the network.The flight tickets can be booked on SpiceJet airline’s website, mobile app or through travel agents. The discounted airfares are being offered on first-come, first-served basis and are refundable. Domestic air carriers such as IndiGo, Air India, SpiceJet, Jet Airways and Go Air flew 79.75 lakh passengers in June this year, a growth of 20 percent over 66.01 lakh passengers who flew in June 2015. SpiceJet improved its market share to 12.7 percent during the month. The carrier topped the passenger load factor (PLF) statistics at 93 percent during the same month. Last month, SpiceJet launched promotional offer during the time of Eid. The ‘Eid Mubarak’ discounted airfare offer was open until midnight of July 6, 2016, UAE time (around 1.30 a.m. IST).The SpiceJet stock was trading at Rs. 61.40 at around 2.48 p.m. on Tuesday, down 1.44 percent from its previous close on the Bombay Stock Exchange.last_img read more

GST Bill gets presidents nod but HPCL BPCL IOC shares may not

first_imgThe presidential assent to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill on Thursday may trigger a rally in select stocks on Friday, but the oil and gas sector is likely to remain either subdued or see a fall in share prices of individual companies. This is so because petroleum products have been kept out of the purview of the GST for the time being, barring kerosene, naptha and LPG.Crude, natural gas, aviation fuel, diesel and petrol have been kept out of the legislation that is likely to be rolled out from April 1, 2017.”Five petroleum products are excluded from the coverage of GST for the initial years, while the rest are covered by GST. Because of this peculiarity, this industry will be pained to comply with both the current tax regime as well as the GST regime,” Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY India, was quoted as saying by the Telegraph last month.This is likely to exert inflationary pressure on the economy because of the way the industry works, he said.”For example, a refinery producing diesel and petrol will pay GST on the procurement of plant, machinery and services. GST will not be creditable against the excise duty and VAT, which will be levied on petrol and diesel. The said tax costs will have an inflationary impact on the economy,” he added. A similar view was expressed by another expert. “The exclusion of crude oil and gas from GST has an inflationary impact on the prices of other downstream products manufactured from these feedstocks such as naphtha, kerosene and petrochemicals,” Icra analyst K. Ravichandran said.On Thursday, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) shares closed at Rs. 1,252 apiece, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) at Rs. 587.20 and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) at Rs. 563.40 on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The BSE oil and gas index closed 0.18 percent higher. All the three companies have rewarded their shareholders with bonus shares this year. Read: After BPCL and HPCL, Indian Oil Corporation to consider bonus issueIOC subsequently recommended 1:1 bonus issue on Aug. 29, 2016, at its board meeting.Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd. in its updates on BPCL and IOC had said the stocks are poised for a rally. The brokerage had put the target price for BPCL at Rs. 692 and IOC at Rs. 740.”We believe IOC is now a structural investment play, led by (a) higher earnings predictability and (b) increase in profitability leading to higher RoEs. Commensurate re-rating is pending, in our view,” it said in its Sept. 1 update.”BPCL expects Kochi refinery capacity and complexity to be fully commissioned by 4QFY17, which should add $2/bbl to GRM (gross refining margin) for Kochi,” Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd. said for BPCL.Ambit Capital had put a target price of Rs. 1,360 for HPCL in its update released on Sept. 1.last_img read more

Analysis A Good Day To Be A Texas Incumbent

first_imgLaura Skelding for The Texas TribuneTexas Flag and signs across street from Waxahachie parks and recreation voting place on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 — primary voting day in Texas.Incumbents of almost every stripe did well in Tuesday’s elections for state office.Only seven of them lost, and only two more were forced into runoffs.A great line from Republican political consultant Wayne Hamilton nicely summed up this election: “So much money, so little change.”The fallen include:State Sen. Craig Estes of Wichita Falls has literally watched his district grow away from his home base and into the northern clutches of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and whose opponent, state Rep. Pat Fallon of Prosper, was endorsed by Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.State Rep. Wayne Faircloth of Galveston was one of three Republicans on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s hit list — and the only one to fall on Tuesday. He was in trouble anyway, running against wealthy Chambers County candidate Mayes Middleton. They ended close to a draw in Faircloth’s home county, but Middleton won big in his.State Rep. Jason Villalba of Dallas is one of two Hispanic Republicans in the Texas House and a regular target of arch-conservatives in his primary elections and of Democrats in his general elections. He lost the primary to Lisa Luby Ryan, who now has to best that significant second obstacle in November.State Rep. Diana Arévalo, D-San Antonio, fell victim to a time-worn electoral hazard: a predecessor who wants the seat back. She won office when Trey Martinez Fischer gave it up for an unsuccessful Senate bid. The key word there was “unsuccessful.” He saw his old perch as the best way back to Austin, and he won it by 115 votes out of 9,369 cast.Tomas Uresti’s first bid for re-election to the Texas House was undone, in part, by an unrelenting barrage of awful headlines featuring his last name. His brother, state Sen. Carlos Uresti, was convicted — right in the middle of early voting — on 11 federal felony charges including counts of money laundering and fraud. The trial was lurid, the headlines gruesome, and the House Uresti’s loss on Tuesday probably preordained.Roberto Alonzo of Dallas, a 10-term state representative, was convincingly defeated by Jessica Gonzalez, a young attorney in this strongly Democratic district.State Rep. Dawnna Dukes of Austin received a meager 10.16 percent of the vote in a Democratic primary that served as a referendum on the incumbent. That’s not a good thing, even for a legislator who had become a fixture on the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee and had been re-elected every two years since 1995. She suffered medical setbacks after a traffic accident, was charged with violating ethics laws that embarrassed prosecutors later said were based on bad evidence. And she said, at one point, that she wouldn’t run this time, a move that prompted several candidates to jump into her race. She came back, but they didn’t leave. Two of them —Chito Vela and Sheryl Cole — will be in a May runoff. Dukes will be at home.Two more state representatives, Democrats René Oliveira of Brownsville and Scott Cosper of Killeen, were pushed into runoffs in May. Oliveira will face Alex Dominguez. Cosper’s remaining opponent is Brad Buckley. Runoff elections are not the preferred forum of incumbents, but they’re still alive.Various factions declared victory after the votes were counted; that’s what factions do. But the results were evidence of good defense more than good offense. Most of the incumbents under fire in this year’s primaries survived to the next round. Scads of money were spent, including a fair amount against incumbents.People targeted by education candidates — Patrick, state Sen. Joan Huffman, state Rep. Mike Lang, to name three — came out fine. Some of the biggest targets of conservative activists — state Reps. Sarah Davis, Lyle Larson, Charlie Geren, Dan Flynn, Hugh Shine, J.D. Sheffield, Giovanni Capriglione and several more — lived to tell their electoral war stories.Sometimes money mattered. Sometimes it made no difference at all. Kathaleen Wall spent millions and missed the CD-2 runoff by 145 votes. Jim Hogan spent almost nothing but a filing fee and finished ahead of Trey Blocker, a lobbyist who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to beat Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. Miller finished first.The marquee race — the one that got most of the attention to this point, and probably the one that will be in the spotlight going forward — produced an unexpected result. Sema Hernandez and Edward Kimbrough combined to get 38.2 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.That’s the race dominated by the presence of U.S. Rep Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, who is trying to do for Texas Democrats what John Tower did for Texas Republicans all the way back in 1961 — and to avoid the fate of the party’s last would-be savior, Wendy Davis, who ran for governor in 2014. Tower, a Republican, rocked the political world by winning the special election to replace Lyndon Johnson in the U.S. Senate.O’Rourke’s first foray into statewide politics was strongish — 60+ percent is a solid win. But it wasn’t a powerful showing, especially against unknown opponents. Davis got just 38.9 percent of the vote in the 2014 general election against Abbott. Republicans were quick to try to make a parallel narrative of O’Rourke’s first step.That brings us to turnout. Democrats improved their turnout, from a terrible, awful number — only 560,033 people showed up for the party’s 2014 primary — to a lousy one this year: 1, 036,942. That’s an 85.2 percent increase, but it’s not enough to scare anybody.Republican turnout topped 1.5 million, up 13.5 percent from 1.35 million four years ago. They improved less, but they started bigger. And they’re still outrunning the other big party by a 3-to-2 margin in turnout. Sharelast_img read more

Van Goghs Ear a storytelling festival and other happenings around Costa Rica

first_imgMusic: La Oreja de Van GoghWith its pleasant pop sound and poetic lyrics, La Oreja de Van Gogh (Van Gogh’s Ear) has wooed the Spanish-speaking world since the mid-1990s. Based in Spain, these Latin Grammy winners arrive in San José to play at the Melico Salazar Theater on Monday.La Oreja de Van Gogh plays Nov. 10 at the Melico Salazar Theater, downtown San José. 8 p.m. ₡18,000-56,000 ($32-112). Info: Theater website.Music: The Costa Rican Festival of Women in MusicFestival celebrating female musicians in Costa Rica includes ColorNoise, The Great Wilderness, and The Beagirls, among others. Proceeds benefit children and adolescents with mental disabilities.Festival takes place Nov. 8 at Jazz Café, San Pedro. 9 p.m. ₡4,000 ($8). Info: Event Facebook page.Music: “If You Don’t Live It, You Don’t Understand It”This all-day concert includes such Costa Rican bands as El Guato, Republica Fortuna, and Passiflora.“Si No Lo Vives, No Lo Entiendes” takes place Nov. 8 at CENAC, downtown San José. 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. ₡2,000-3,000 ($4-6). Info: GAM Cultural.Film: International Cinema FestivalCatch more than 70 feature films and shorts at the International Cinema Festival. Read our preview here.Festival Internacional de Cine takes place Nov. 8-15 at Cine Magaly and Sala Garbo, downtown San José. Info: Official website.International Storytelling FestivalFor a full week, Alajuela will be overrun with tale-tellers and yarn-spinners, thanks to its acclaimed annual storytelling festival. Want to practice your Spanish listening skills and learn Costa Rican culture to boot? This is the best possible way.Fiesta Internacional de Cuenteros continues through Nov. 14 in various locations, Alajuela. All events free. Info: RedCultura. Courtesy RedCulturaMusic: Ritmo TECThe rhythm-infused contemporary dancers of Ritmo TEC perform for two nights in Cartago.Performance takes place Nov. 7 & 8 at Casa de la Ciudad, Cartago. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m. ₡2,000-2,500 ($4-8). Info: RedCultura.Art: “Almost Invisible”Thirty-eight artists present 50 different works in this wide-ranging multimedia group show.“Casi Invisibles” continues through Nov. 25, 2015, at the National Bank Museum, downtown San José. Open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ₡1,500 ($3). Info: Official website.Theater: “The Cross”Following a violent shooting in La Cruz de Alajuelita, the community reacts in Fernando Rodríguez’s award-winning new play.“La Cruz” is performed through Nov. 30 at the Vargas Calvo Theater, downtown San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: National Theater website.Art: “A Chronicle of Interventions”Learn about U.S. incursions in Central America, thanks to this provocative group show co-produced with London’s revered Tate Gallery.“Una Crónica de Intervenciones” displays at TEOR/éTica Gallery, Barrio Amón. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Free. Info: TEOR/éTica website.Art: 75 Years of PhotosBrowse decades of photojournalism at this striking exhibit, thanks to Spain’s Agencia EFE – the fourth-largest wire service in the world.“EFE: 75 Años de Fotos” continues through Dec. 7 at the National Museum, San José. Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ₡1,500 ($3). Info: Museum website.Dance: This Is Not an EightDrawing together students and choreographers from the National University, this festival, whose idiomatic name roughly translates to “It’s not that complicated,” takes place in three different locales: the Teatro de la Danza, the Central Bank Museums, and the Barva Recycling Center.“Esto No Es un Ocho” takes place Oct. 24 – Nov. 9 at various locations, San José. ₡2,000-4,000 ($4-8). Info: RedCultura. Facebook Comments Related posts:Flamenco superstars, Soda Stereo tribute, and other happenings around Costa Rica Design Festival, Marine Corps picnic, and other happenings around Costa Rica Shakespearean ballet, outdoor tango, and other happenings around Costa Rica Valentine’s Day, lyrical boleros, and other happenings around Costa Ricalast_img read more

Costa Rican residents sentenced in United States for phone scam

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Ohio man convicted in Costa Rica telemarketing scam US man among four arrested for cloning credit cards in Costa Rica Central Bank: That ₡5,000 counterfeit bank note message is fake Costa Rican police arrest U.S. men suspected in $9 million scam Two Costa Rican residents were sentenced to 20 and 25 years in prison, respectively, for participating in a telemarketing operation that defrauded victims in the United States, the Department of Justice announced in a press release. Andrew Smith, 46, and Christopher Lee Griffin, 45, had been convicted in 2018 for each having committed one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and seven counts of international money laundering.Sentenced this week, Smith will face 25 years in prison, has been ordered by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad to pay $10,222,838.76 in restitution jointly with his co-conspirators, and will forfeit $406,324.96. Conrad ordered Griffin to pay $9,612,590.39 in restitution jointly with his co-conspirators and forfeit $182,439.Their scheme had defrauded United States citizens out of millions of dollars, according to the Justice Department. “Andrew Smith and Christopher Lee Griffin participated in a deplorable scam to defraud hard-working elderly Americans out of millions of dollars,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski in a statement.  “The severe sentences imposed today represent a significant victory in our continuing efforts to fight elder fraud and protect some of the most vulnerable members of the U.S. public.“These sentences should serve as a strong deterrent to anyone seeking to enrich themselves by taking part in similar scams.”The Justice Department says Smith and Griffin worked at a San José-based call center and posed as representatives of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or the Federal Trade Commission. The duo told their targets that they had won a “significant financial reward” that would be delivered upon their completion of up-front payments for “insurance fees, taxes and import fees.” Smith and Griffin placed calls using Voice over Internet Protocols (VoIP) to fool victims into thinking they were based in the United States, the Justice Department said. “Years ago, our parents taught us not to talk to strangers.  Their advice has proven to be timeless,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Strong.  “Strangers are reaching out to us on social media, sending us emails, calling our homes and cell phones.  If you fall for a scam, you can bet your life, they will call you again.  They might have a different sales pitch or a sob story, but they are the same crooks.  These prison sentences should serve as a warning to the thieves, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to find you and put you out of business for good.”center_img Want stories like this delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to the Tico Times newsletterlast_img read more

Treasure Island Resort and Bounty Island Resort appoint PPTM

first_imgSource = Pacific Pulse Travel Marketing Treasure Island Resort and Bounty Island Resort appoint PPTMTreasure Island Resort has announced the appointment of Lavonne Fremlin at Pacific Pulse Travel Marketing (PPTM) to manage the sales and marketing for the two above mentioned resorts. PPTM will assume responsibilities on the 05th of May.  Charmaine Tale who is the current director of sales and marketing, has decided to return to Australia to her children  after eighteen wonderful months of working and living in Fiji.Lavonne has been part of the Fiji tourism industry for 28 years in various roles in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.  She brings with her, experience in wholesaling, retailing, cruising, sales development and marketing.Some of her various roles encompassed operations/office manager, Rosie Holidays; sales development manager, Pinpoint Travel; product manager, Escape Holidays; marketing manager, Hogan & Associates; manager, Spacific Marketing Solutions; sales manager, South Sea Cruises/ Awesome Adventures and Blue Lagoon Cruises; and currently manager of Pacific Pulse Travel Marketing.Treasure Island Resort and Bounty Island Resort are two of Fiji’s most popular and iconic island resorts.  Treasure Island being our four-star resort offers 68 traditionally-styled and recently renovated bures, along with a sophisticated restaurant and bar, impressive three-tiered swimming pool and a highly acclaimed kids’ club! Bounty Island Resort offers fantastic, affordable accommodation. Setting the standard for the Fiji Islands in budget accommodation, this resort is ideal for every traveler looking for paradise on a shoe string.Both resorts have that truly authentic Fijian experience and this genuine hospitality is contagious and the main reason we have so many return guests. We pride ourselves on our quality product and service and we look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful islands said Mr Robert Wade, Group General ManagerFor sales related enquires, please contact Lavonne at further information regarding the resorts please visit the following websites:Treasure Island  www.treasureisland-fiji.comBounty Island Resort  www.fiji-bounty.comlast_img read more

Credit Union Turning to Technology

first_img Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-09-21 Abby Gregory “”Digital Federal Credit Union””: (DCU) is enhancing its technology platforms with the help of “”LenderLive Network Inc.”” With the use of LenderLive’s loan fulfillment program, DCU will now have improved processing, underwriting, and closing procedures.[IMAGE]DCU, the largest credit union in New England, serves clients in all states nationwide, and the company cites rising demand as the chief catalyst behind selecting the new software initiative. The company boasts an estimated $3.8 billion in assets and is among the country’s largest entities of its kind based on the volume of mortgage loans it originates.Elaborating on DCU’s recent growth in its mortgage lending division, vice president of the mortgage division, Scott Auen, said, “”We wanted a business partner that had the experience,[COLUMN_BREAK]the staff and the technology so we could best meet the needs of our members. Our members expect the highest level of service, and we want to assure them that during the fulfillment process we are compliant with all of the latest regulatory changes. LenderLive helped us achieve those standards in addition to supporting our institution with the flexibility to cost effectively expand our mortgage footprint.””The key additions DCU expects from LenderLive’s platforms include faster processing of loans, lowered overhead operating costs related to mortgage lending, and greater ease of access and information flow. Rick Seehausen, CEO of LenderLive, said of DCU’s choice to utilize the company’s products, “”Community lending is vital to the future of the financial industry and credit unions, such as DCU, have emerged as a valuable player in the mortgage market. That is why it is important to support them with the resources to better respond to increased demand for services. Our comprehensive fulfillment services help institutions, including DCU, scale operations more quickly and provide immediate access to expertise for a quality experience, which is paramount in today’s market.””DCU is a full-service, not for profit financial institution based in Marlborough, Massachusets, and the credit union serves more than 340,000 members around the U.S. Colorado-based LenderLive offers technological advantages through its five divisions, which include origination, conduit, document, settlement, and loan services; the company focuses on loan purchase operations for lenders of all sizes.center_img Credit Union Turning to Technology September 21, 2011 420 Views last_img read more

Known for the onceinalifetime experiences it af

first_imgKnown for the once-in-a-lifetime experiences it affords the sophisticated traveler, Preferred Boutique™ has added 19 new members to its legendary collection since January 1st. These newest additions can be found across the U.S. , Europe, Africa and the South Pacific – ranging from cosmopolitan Barcelona to the far reaches of Borneo.“Preferred Boutique was launched in 2005 in response to travelers’ desires for a more intimate, individual guest experience. Its steady growth and stellar reputation are testaments both to the exceptional quality of each hotel and resort within the collection and to the value of the services and support we offer our members on a global level,” said Lynne Ireland, Managing Director, Preferred Boutique.In the U.S. alone, Preferred Boutique has increased its portfolio by nine, in sought-after destinations along both the East and West Coasts, the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Perched on the rugged ocean cliffs of Big Sur , California is the Post Ranch Inn. With just 40 accommodations, each individually designed in balance and harmony with the spectacular natural surroundings, it is ideal for a luxurious romantic escape enhanced in-room spa treatments and gourmet dining at the award-winning, ocean-view Sierra Mar. Activities range from chef’s classes to star-gazing and a weekly shamanic journey.“As a hotelier, there were a number of key elements that influenced our decision to join Preferred Boutique. They have a global sales force that focuses on both high-end Leisure and Group. Their team is smart, well connected and, most importantly, passionate about selling my hotel to the travel industry,” said Mike Freed of Passport Resorts LLC.Venturing north to the Oregon wine country, the Allison Inn & Spa is slated to open in the picturesque town of Newberg in September 2009. Set on 35 acres of vineyards and gardens it will feature 85 guest accommodations with gas fireplaces and soaking tubs, the signature restaurant Jory, and a sumptuous 15,000 square foot spa. Across the continent, the Woodlands Inn in historic Charleston, South Carolina offers 33 guestrooms and suites steeped in the charm and hospitality of the South, surrounded by 42 acres of magnolias and moss-draped oak trees that recall the grandeur of a historic Charleston plantation estate. Guests enjoy award-winning dining, a spa, tennis, swimming, lawn games and access to nearby championship golf courses.Australia ’s West Perth is the setting for The Richardson Hotel & Spa, designed by renowned London architect Sir Terry Farrell. Its 74 guest rooms and suites offer sleek, modern furnishings and sweeping views of the surrounding city. The hotel is also home to the glamorous Opus restaurant and an urban spa by ESPA. Also in the South Pacific is the exotic Bunga Raya Island Resort. This secluded hideaway offers just 48 villas on a coral reef island off the coast of Borneo, surrounded by white-sand beaches and virgin jungle. The unforgettable hilltop spa, with exotic private pavilions, features unique treatments that artfully blend Asian and Western techniques.In Europe, Preferred Boutique’s new members can be found in Barcelona, Spain, and Lugano, Switzerland, as well as two in Italy. Just outside the medieval walled town of Montforte d’Alba is the Relais Montforte, a contemporary boutique hotel set within an ancient farmhouse in the Langhe countryside, surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards. Cooking and wine-tasting classes enhance the guest experience at this 36-room Italian gem, which also offers a nine-hole golf course, an outdoor pool, and an exceptional restaurant. New to the Milan luxury hotel scene is Town House 8, an intimate, 11-room hotel within the historic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, built in 1876. Guests of Town House 8 are just steps from Milan’s leading attractions, from La Scala to top ateliers.Also new to the Preferred Boutique collection are the following hotels and resorts:·The Delafield Hotel (Delafield, Wisconsin , U.S.) ·Hotel Hana-Maui and Honua Spa (Hana,Hawaii, U.S.) ·Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa (Shell Beach, California,U.S.) ·Dream South Beach (Miami,Florida,U.S.) ·The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront (Savannah,Georgia ,U.S.) ·The Wort Hotel (Jackson Hole,Wyoming,U.S.) ·Casanova by Rafael Hoteles (Barcelona,Spain) ·Swiss Diamond Hotel Olivella (Lugano,Switzerland) ·Tikida Golf Palace (Agadir ,Morocco) ·The Lyall Hotel and Spa (Melbourne,Australia) ·Hotel Celeste (Makati,Philippines) ·Legends Resort Villas (Moorea,French Polynesia)www.PreferredBoutique.comlast_img read more