New Hope for Elephants Under Threat in Central Africa

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreA groundbreaking regional plan was signed yesterday by Central African countries to strengthen law enforcement and better combat poaching of elephants and other species. The plan was adopted by the ten member states of Central African Forest Commission, known as COMIFAC, as escalating rates of wildlife crime plague the region.The countries pledged to undertake unprecedented levels of cooperation with law enforcement agencies, such as the police, customs and the judiciary, to tackle the issue. Chad, Central African Republic and Cameroon also signed a tri-partite declaration to join forces and increase transboundary collaboration to fight poaching. “This is a welcome sign and will help ensure that there will never again be a slaughter of elephants on the scale witnessed in Cameroon earlier this year,” said Lamine Sebogo, WWF’s African elephant expert.The law enforcement action plan approved includes provisions to increase anti-poaching efforts in each of the countries and to enable joint-country patrols in some transborder areas. Ivory, often bound for Asia, is frequently smuggled across inland borders before reaching overseas exit points such as ports and airports. Under the plan, customs controls are also set to be bolstered at international transit hubs. To ensure that criminals engaging in illegal wildlife trade are arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, COMIFAC countries plan to ramp up investigations and conduct more thorough prosecutions. Cases will also be monitored for corruption.The meeting also resulted in the announcement of plans to hold a head of state conference next year to address wildlife loss and maintaining Africa’s biodiversity.WWF, together with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, has provided technical and financial assistance toward the development of the plan and is offering ongoing support for implementation.Photo courtesy of explore.org, a philanthropic media organization and multimedia arm of the Annenberg Foundation(News source: WWF)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Lego Honors Schoolboy for Charity Work With Life-size Likeness

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreA boy who lost his mother to cancer has had a life-size statue built in his image out of Lego, after the toymaker hailed him as a hero for his charity work.Jack Covill-Lowndes was honored for raising thousands of pounds for the hospice that cared for mother Steph.The ten-year-old from Wainfleet, Lincolnshire gets to take home the statue – made of 35,000 bricks. (READ the story with cool photos in Metro.co.uk)Thanks to Andrew N. for submitting the link from England!Photo credit: Family photo; with unrelated lego image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr-CCAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

ND scientists examine earth’s mantle

first_imgNotre Dame geologists have discovered an important piece of the puzzle that is the chemical composition of the earth’s mantle – the layer of semi-liquid rock directly below the earth’s crust. Antonio Simonetti, associate professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering and Earth Sciences and Ph.D. candidate Wei Chen recently published their findings on carbonatites and the composition of the mantle in the scientific journal “Nature Communications”, which is the third-ranked journal in the field. Carbonatites are igneous rocks the composition of which is at least 50 percent magmatic carbonate minerals, Simonetti said. These rocks are often expelled from volcanoes and are formed in melts, which are the collections of magma from the mantle that form magma chambers within the earth’s crust, such as those within volcanoes, he said. Simonetti said studying carbonatites leads to a better understanding of the composition of the mantle from which the melts and subsequently the carbonatites themselves are formed. “I’ve always tried to look at carbonatites as messengers of the chemical composition of the earth’s mantle,” Simonetti said. Simonetti said the discovery helps answer a question that has “plagued” researchers for decades, which is “What is the primary composition of carbonate rich melts?” Essentially, Simonetti and Chen have shown that carbonate rich melts contain large amounts of the alkalis potassium and sodium in addition to the large amounts of carbon dioxide and calcium already known to be in such melts. “Geologists thought carbonatites were coming from calcium or carbon dioxide rich regions, but in reality these areas are also sodium and potassium rich,” he said. This better understanding of the composition of melts also helps explain the discrepancy between old carbonatites, which contain little potassium or sodium, and the new carbonatites being produced by the world’s only active carbonatite volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai in Tanzania, which contain a significant amount of potassium and sodium, Simonetti said. “It was very surprising. We didn’t know what to expect, but it was the least likely outcome,” he said. “For me it’s a huge impact. This work is going to have a big impact on the igneous petrology community.” The discovery came as a result of studying melt inclusions in 120 million year old carbonatites from the Oka complex in Canada, specifically southwestern Quebec, Simonetti said. Melt inclusions are micron-sized – a micron is one millionth of a meter – pockets of melt material trapped within the crystals of carbonatites as they form in the cooling melt, Simonetti said. Melt inclusions contain everything present in the surrounding melt at the time they were formed, as opposed to carbonatites, which contain only select minerals that precipitate from the surrounding melt. Thus, melt inclusions reveal the initial composition of a carbonatite rich melt, he said. The chemical signatures of the melt inclusions from the Oka carbonatites were analyzed and significant amounts of sodium and potassium were present in the trapped melt, even though the surrounding carbonatite was only calcium and carbon rich, Simonetti said. This was the first evidence of alkali rich carbonatite melts found outside of East Africa, he said. “The fact that the mantle source regions that gave rise to these melts were also alkali rich means Ol Doinyo Lengai is no longer an oddball,” Simonetti said. Simonetti said the next step is to look for this same phenomenon in carbonatites elsewhere in the world, since the evidence of potassium and sodium is no longer unique to Africa. After that, he said geologists will seek to answer the question of how carbonatites lose alkalis after forming, which will explain why older carbonatites lack these minerals that the new carbonatites at Ol Doinyo Lengai still have. Simonetti said he has been studying carbonatites since he was a Ph.D. candidate in the early 1990s. He said one reason neither he nor any other geologist made this discovery before now is that his discovery depended on recent technological developments, such as the ability to study melt inclusions with Raman spectroscopy.   Contact Christian Myers at cmyers@nd.edu.last_img read more

Equipment Issue Center

first_imgFor that special family outing, Outdoor Recreation offers several items to boost the fun potential. Ski boats, pontoon boats, wake board boats, fishing boats, water tubes, canoes, kayaks and paddleboats are available for use on 677-acre Lake Tholocco. For those family reunions or school fundraisers, ODR offers picnic pavilions, volleyball sets, horseshoe sets, large BBQ cookers, canopies and dunking booths. For the “under the stars” enthusiasts, ODR has camping tents, sleeping bags, camping gear and travel trailers which sleep up to six people.last_img

Small business gets more than $2.5 billion in relief from People’s United under PPP

first_imgPeople’s United Bank,Vermont Business Magazine People’s United Bank(link is external) NA, a subsidiary of People’s United Financial, Inc (NASDAQ: PBCT(link is external)), with branches across Vermont, today announced that is has registered and obtained approval for more than 16,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the US Small Business Administration (SBA), delivering more than $2.5 billion to business customers. These loans supported the paychecks of more than 250,000 employees across the Northeast.“We knew the Paycheck Protection Program was going to be in high demand, and we brought together employees bank-wide, not just cross-functionally but across multiple lines of business, to establish the required infrastructure to allow us to begin accepting and processing PPP loans as quickly as possible,” said Jack Barnes, CEO, People’s United Bank. “As a result, we were among a small group of banks that were first to submit a significant number of customer applications to the SBA, giving our customers confidence in knowing that they would receive this critical funding. These loans serve as a lifeline for business owners, their employees and families, and we are proud to support them during this challenging time so we can all emerge from this pandemic stronger, and more united than ever.”Ensuring that PPP loans reached small businesses was an important objective. Eighty percent of loans processed by People’s United for both phases of funding were for small business loans under $150,000. In addition, among the top industries funded include social services & healthcare, retail, professional services and construction.“In addition to PPP loans, it is our goal to provide individualized assistance to customers, including consumer and business loan forbearance, access to state or municipal loan programs, and fee waivers, among other types of personalized relief,” added Barnes. “It has taken a tremendous amount of work from virtually all areas of the bank, working around the clock to document and fund these loans. We thank our business customers for their patience during this process, and we are committed to being here for them through the recovery and beyond, financially strong and ready to support all of our customers’ needs.”Consistent with the Bank’s legacy of supporting their communities, People’s United Bank and its two charitable Foundations have also collectively allocated an anticipated target of more than $3 million in funding to our communities and non-profit partners in the face of COVID-19.About People’s United BankPeople’s United Bank, N.A. is a subsidiary of People’s United Financial, Inc., a diversified, community-focused financial services company headquartered in the Northeast with more than $60 billion in assets. Founded in 1842, People’s United Bank offers commercial and retail banking through a network of over 400 retail locations in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, as well as wealth management and insurance solutions. The company also provides specialized commercial services to customers nationwide.Source: BRIDGEPORT, Conn. May 28, 2020 — People’s United Bank(link is external)last_img read more

Dillinger wins Wm. Reece Smith Award

first_img Dillinger wins Wm. Reece Smith Award March 1, 2015 Regular News Dillinger wins Wm. Reece Smith Awardcenter_img Stetson University College of Law presented this year’s Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Public Service Award to Bob Dillinger, who has served for 18 years as public defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. As an assistant public defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Dillinger served on the capital crimes defense team and was instrumental in publishing Florida’s first comprehensive death penalty training manual for defense attorneys. He first ran for the public defender’s office in 1996 and has been continuously re-elected to the position ever since.This year’s award was presented at the Annual Inns of Court Banquet and Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Distinguished Lecture in St. Petersburg on January 28.Stetson established the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Award in 1990 to honor outstanding contributions to public service, the justice system, and the community. The late legendary Florida lawyer Wm. Reece Smith Jr., past president of the International, American, and Florida Bar associations, was the award’s first recipient and its namesake. Smith served for decades as a distinguished professorial lecturer at Stetson and was a member of the Stetson University College of Law Hall of Fame, Board of Overseers, and Stetson University Board of Trustees.Jonathan Rapping, founder and president of Gideon’s Promise, presented the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Distinguished Lecture at the event. Gideon’s Promise is a nationally recognized organization that works to inspire and train legal professionals to provide high-quality defense representation to those unable to afford an attorney.last_img read more

Study: Incentive pay not motivating enough for some managers

first_imgPinterest LinkedIn Share on Twitter Incentive compensation is becoming an increasingly popular practice, with firms offering managers incentive pay in the hopes of improving company performance. But not all managers respond to performance-based pay, according to new research from The University of Texas at Dallas.Doctoral candidate Joyce Cong Ying Wang said the study, recently published online in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, examined differences in individual characteristics — specifically career ambition and task attention — and business context to see how they affected managers’ responses to incentive pay.“Managers, and people in general, have inertia where they tend to do what they feel comfortable doing. The thought is that if companies provide managers with incentive pay, which is closely related to firm performance, then managers will be willing to take more risks,” she said. “We asked ourselves, ‘Does this always work? Do all managers always take more risks when offered incentive compensation?’” Emailcenter_img Wang, who is studying international management studies in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, began the research more than two years ago while working at China Europe International Business School with co-author Dr. Daniel Han Ming Chng.The researchers created a model and tested it using a computer-based simulation with part-time MBA students who work as managers in companies. The students were presented with a business scenario and had to make strategic decisions.“We found that managers with higher career ambition will be more responsive to incentive pay by taking more risks,” Wang said. “We found that task attention more consistently affects managers’ response to incentive pay. When managers are offered incentive pay, if they are very attentive to tasks, they will take more risks. They tend to invest more strategically, and they also are more likely to change strategies.”The study also found that when a company’s performance grows, incentive pay does not work as well as when a firm’s performance declines.Wang said the paper has several implications for organizational leaders.“Company leaders need to design the compensation package according to the managers in their company, and not blindly just give them uniform incentive pay,” she said. “Leaders really need to know the manager and design the package accordingly. If the manager is ambitious and attentive to tasks, then it’s appropriate to give them performance-based pay to incentivize them to take more risks.”In companies with established compensation policies, leaders need to recruit someone who better fits the business’s practices, Wang said.Leaders also need to address the context of the organization. If the company is experiencing growth, it’s better for leaders to know their managers well and think about other ways to motivate them.“Incentive compensation is not one-size-fits-all,” Wang said. “Companies need to provide this kind of compensation package according to individual characteristics and also according to context.” Share on Facebook Sharelast_img read more

Study reveals just how quickly we form a first impression

first_imgShare on Twitter LinkedIn Share on Facebook “Participants rated faces on trustworthiness, status, and attractiveness following 33, 100, and 500 ms masked presentation. The face images used were naturalistic, highly variable images (similar to those people upload onto Facebook) and, also, youthful-looking averaged faces,” Palomares explained.Previous research had found that people link specific facial traits to an individual’s personality traits.“We found that people can evaluate faces on trustworthiness, status, and attractiveness following even just a brief glance at a face (e.g., 33 ms) and extra time (100 or 500 ms) only led to a small improvement in the correspondence of these time-constrained evaluations with an independent set of time-unconstrained judgments,” Palomares told PsyPost. “The increasing prevalence of online images and internet-based relationships make these findings timely and important.”The findings are particularly relevant nowadays, thanks to dating apps like Tinder that rely on first impressions.“We examined people’s first impressions of faces on three traits fundamental in the partner preference literature: trustworthiness, status, and attractiveness,” Palomares said. “An essential next step involves asking participants to evaluate faces based on their romantic partner preferences, so we can see which are the traits that are prioritised in participants’ facial romantic preferences.”The study, “Facial First Impressions of Partner Preference Traits: Trustworthiness, Status, and Attractiveness“, was co-authored by Andrew W. Young. We rapidly form judgements about a person’s character when looking at their face. A new study from researchers at the University of York reveals just how quickly we form these first impressions.“Facial impressions are relevant given that these occur very briefly (in as little as 33 ms) and they are consequential, for instance, predicting government election results and influencing romantic preferences,” explained study author Jennifer K. South Palomares.The researchers found evidence that a single glance of a person’s face for just 33 to 100 ms was sufficient to form a first impression. The study, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, was based on results from 126 university students.center_img Pinterest Email Sharelast_img read more

News Scan for Mar 25, 2014

first_imgWHO reports 2 MERS cases in UAE, raising global count to 200In separate announcements today, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported two more Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of them fatal, raising the global MERS count to 200 cases.One case involves a 49-year-old man from Abu Dhabi who has underlying medical conditions and had contact with another MERS patient, the WHO said in a statement. He was hospitalized Feb 27 and then discharged on Mar 9 after improving. But he was hospitalized again on Mar 16 and is now in critical condition. UAE authorities informed the WHO of the case on Mar 20.The patient had not traveled recently and has had no recent contact with animals, but he did have contact with a MERS patient whose case was reported to the WHO on Mar 11, the agency reported. That patient was a 68-year-old Abu Dhabi man who owns camels, the agency reported on Mar 12. Both patients were treated in the same hospital on Mar 1.The WHO announced the second new case via Twitter this afternoon. UAE officials reported the case to the WHO on Mar 23, saying it involves an Omani, the WHO post said. Without listing the patient’s age or gender, the agency said he or she had no recent history of travel and no contact with animals or other MERS patients.A separate WHO tweet said the second case raises the agency’s MERS count to 200 cases, including 85 deaths. Mar 25 WHO statement on case in 49-year-oldWHO Twitter feed  WHO confirms polio detection in Iraq, more cases in SyriaThe WHO has confirmed a wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV-1) case in Iraq, the country’s first case in 14 years, according to a Mar 21 statement. The infection occurred in a 6-month old boy from Baghdad who had not been immunized and who experienced paralysis on Feb 10.Gene sequencing suggests that the virus is closely related to viruses detected in Syriaproviding further evidence of regional spread, the agency said. The virus was also isolated from the boy’s 3-year-old sister, who did not have symptoms.The WHO said prospects for controlling the disease in Iraq are promising, because the country has participated in a Middle East outbreak response that was triggered by Syria’s polio outbreak in October. The agency estimated that two nationwide immunization campaigns and three subnational efforts reached about 95% of children in Iraq, though coverage varied by area. Global health groups put the 2012 routine immunization level for Iraq at 70%, with the level in Baghdad higher, at 81%.In its statement, the WHO also said 20 more WPV-1 cases have been detected in Syria since its last update on Nov 26, raising the total so far to 37. It said 25 of the cases have been reported by Syria’s health ministry and 12 have been reported from contested areas in Aleppo, Edleb, and Deir Al Zour. The most recent case-patient had paralysis onset on Dec 17.Mar 21 WHO statement Measles outbreak tied to cruise ship reaches 34 casesA total of 34 cases of measles on or associated with the Mediterranean cruise ship Costa Pacifica had been reported as of Mar 21, according to an epidemiologic update today from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).The outbreak began in February, and the majority of case-patients (22) have been crew members or other workers. No new cases among crew members have been reported since Mar 14. However, five contacts of an Italian passenger who developed measles and disembarked on Mar 14 also contracted measles; one had pneumonia and was admitted to an intensive care unit.The index case-patient, an Italian crew member who had fever and rash, received care off the ship Feb 22; his diagnosis was confirmed Feb 27. The majority of cases in crew members occurred from Feb 20 to 27.Vaccinations were given to more than 800 of the 1,000 crew members between Feb 28 and Mar 1. Passengers embarking and disembarking since the outbreak began have been given information and offered vaccinations since Feb 28.Mar 25 ECDC update Mar 6 CIDRAP News story on the outbreak Mar 14 CIDRAP News scan on the outbreaklast_img read more

Keep your head, and your past clients

first_imgIt’s difficult to write a positive article when solicitors’ firms are facing the reality of Professor Stephen Mayson’s prediction from a couple of years ago, when he told the profession that thousands of firms faced extinction.Mayson’s prediction is coming true even without the pressure of the Legal Services Act – profitable, well-established and valuable firms are now being forced out of business by rising insurance premiums. Marketing cannot offer any immediate relief, but a few thoughts occur to me for firms either closing or those continuing with the increased insurance burden. For those giving up the struggle, it’s worth remembering the value in your past clients. Your database is the valuable element in your firm that you or someone else can use – don’t let it slip away. For those continuing, aspects of marketing management will become more important. Business management suggests immediately reducing costs to increase profits, which means redundancy of staff and fee-earners. Another side to that profit question is: where does your firm make its best profits? In straightened times it’s difficult to say ‘no’ to all work offered, however it can be the right idea. If you know what types of work bring you the best profits then saying ‘no’ to lower-margin work allows the firm’s resources to be available for high-value work. If those resources (that is, people) don’t have a full caseload, then set them to work on the most valuable bit of any firm: past-satisfied clients and referral contacts. Write, call, email or meet all the people you can. Remind them of the services you offer and the benefits of good legal advice and preparedness. No one entered the legal profession to become a salesman, and many feel uncomfortable selling their work. You can call it ‘business development’ through ‘excellence of service to clients’ by ‘understanding their future legal needs’, but it is selling. To be harsh, those not capable or willing to do it, however brilliant a lawyer they may be, may well be the first to go. Be careful of those external suppliers offering ‘loads of new clients’ or ‘masses of new business’. There are few able to deliver the right number and suitable quality of enquiries. Dealing with and paying for new enquiry sources can distract you from the main issue – profitable legal advice – and mean you end up answering the phone at all hours for no fees. There are no easy or quick fixes to the market conditions, which are not going to change in the near future. Hard work generating business from your past clients is the best way to go. Keep the high-margin work and pass the rest to someone else. Follow a plan to increase profit margins in all areas by whatever suitable means necessary and you’ll be ready to compete.last_img read more