(Eds: Rpt after making changes in headline) By Amanpreet Singh New Delhi, Sep 15 (PTI) The Sports Ministry has left out veteran Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni from the initial list of tennis players, who have been chosen for monthly allowance for their preparations for the next years big-ticket events and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.According to reliable Sports Ministry sources, among the players who have been chosen for Rs 50,000 allowance per month are leading mens singles players Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan, countrys top doubles player Rohan Bopanna and youngster Sumit Nagal.Myneni, who has been dropped alongside Paes, is the recipient of this years Arjuna award. Three women players have been included in the list, which features Sania Mirza, Prarthana Thombare and Karman Kaur Thandi.Surprisingly countrys top singles player Ankita Raina has not been included in the list.While Ankita is ranked 260 in the world, Thombare, who played Olympics with Sania, is ranked 801 in singles. There are nine Indian players ranked above her. In the doubles though, Thombare is countrys second highest ranked player at number 129 behind Sania, who is now world number eight. “This is not the final list,” a Sports Ministry official told PTI. In all, the ministry has chosen 152 athletes across disciplines for their preparations for next years Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.The players will receive funds directly through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) with effect from September 1. “Anyone who performs well can be added in the list later on and who fails to perform can be removed from the list,” the official added. Another source said a review committee will sit in the next 15-20 days to evaluate performance of the chosen athletes. “Its a continuous process now. We will see who is doing what. We will see near the Commonwealth Games, who have been chosen in the team and what could be their chances for the Asian Games. And then how they have performed at the CWG to see if they should be kept in the list or reomved,” said the official. Asked what was the criteria to choose the players, the official said the list was prepared after getting input from the national federation and government observers apart from ministrys own research committee. In tennis case, Somdev Devvarman is the national observer. PTI AT KHS PDSadvertisement
Opening batsman Aaron Finch marked his return to the Australia side with a defiant century in the third one-day international against India but the thrill was tempered by another loss for Steve Smith’s struggling side.Finch, a member of Australia’s 2015 World Cup-winning team, can scarcely remember a tougher run playing for his country in the short format.Australia’s five-wicket defeat in Indore on Sunday saw them fall 3-0 behind in the five-match series. The defeat was their 11th in their last 13 ODIs away from home, while the other two matches were rain-affected no results. (Also read: Rain threat looms large in Bengaluru ahead of India vs Australia 4th ODI)Finch, who scored 124 in Indore after missing the defeats in Chennai and Kolkata with a calf problem, said Australia had failed to take their chances against India but conceded there was a clear difference between the sides.”You have to play well but I think you also have to go in with the right attitude and make sure that when you do get an opportunity to win a game, you don’t let that slip,” Finch said in comments published on Cricket Australia’s website (cricket.com.au)AP Photo “We’ve been in a couple of good positions in the first few games and as soon as you give India a sniff, they’ll beat you nine times out of 10.”You have to play 100 percent to beat (India) in these conditions,” Finch said. “If you play 90 percent, it’s not good enough here.”There’s obviously a gap between the sides at the moment and they’re proving that.advertisement”They’re 3-0 up, they’re the number one side in the world and there’s just a few things we need to tinker with as players to bridge that gap and get the results going our way.”Australia were whitewashed 5-0 away to South Africa last year and Finch said the mounting losses were not helping with confidence.”Whenever you’re losing, it’s never easy,” said the 30-year-old, who struck his eighth ODI ton in Indore.”Winning away from home is what every side strives to achieve and I think whenever you start losing, you can lose a little bit of confidence in yourself and in the way you’re playing.”Finch was understandably glad to score some runs, especially after going to lengths to convince the team’s physiotherapist of his fitness to play.”If (the calf) had have gone again last night, I might have been in a bit of strife,” he said.”So it was nice for that to hold up.”
Xiaomi on Sunday launched the Mi Pad 4 alongside the Redmi 6 Pro in China. The new Xiaomi Mi Pad 4 is the successor to the Mi Pad 3 which was launched last year in China. While the Mi Pad 3 never made it to India, Xiaomi has been lately expanding its portfolio in India which arises a possibility that the Mi Pad 4 might launch in India. However, there’s no word on India availability yet.Xiaomi has priced the Mi Pad 4 at a starting price of Yuan 1,099 (Rs 11,497 approximately). This is the cost of 4GB RAM and 64GB storage Wi-Fi-only variant. The 4GB RAM and 64GB storage Wi-Fi + LTE variant will cost Yuan 1,499 (Rs 15,628 approximately). The sale for the tablets starts from June 29 with registrations already open now. Buyers can choose between Black and Gold colour variants of the Mi Pad 4.Coming to its specifications, the Mi Pad 4 sports an 8-inch display with an aspect ratio of 16:10. The tablet is powered by a Snapdragon 660 chipset paired with 3GB or 4GB RAM inside. There is 32GB or 64GB internal storage that can be expanded via microSD card.In the camera department, the Mi Pad 4 features a 13MP camera on the back and a 5MP sensor on the front. Xiaomi has also added the AI Face unlock feature that acts as the key highlight of the device. It runs Android Oreo-based MIUI 9. Backed by a 6000mAh battery, the Mi Pad 4 is available in both WiFi and LTE variants.Xiaomi along with the Mi Pad 4 also launched the budget phone Redmi 6 Pro. The Redmi 6 Pro costs Yuan 999 (Rs 10,436 approximately) for the 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage model, Yuan 1,199 (Rs 12,525 approximately) for the 4GB RAM and 32GB storage variant, and Yuan 1,299 (Rs 13,570 approximately) for the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant. The sale begins on June 26. Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro sports a 5.84-inch FHD+ 19:9 display and is the first smartphone from Xiaomi to feature the iPhone X-like notched display. The phone is powered by Snapdragon 625 processor with either 3GB or 4GB RAM and 32GB or 64GB internal storage respectively. The storage can be expanded using a microSD card.advertisement
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Man Utd hero Evra slams ‘weak’ Arsenal: They’ve always been babiesby Freddie Taylor3 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United left back Patrice Evra did not hold back in his assessment of Arsenal and their players.The United legend was on Sky Sports as a guest pundit, analysing the Gunners’ clash against Sheffield United on Monday.Arsenal lost the game 1-0 and put in a limp display against the newly promoted side.Speaking about Arsenal and the game, Evra said: “First of all I’m really happy for Sheffield.”They deserved the win but I’m not surprised by Arsenal and I told you that before the game, make sure they don’t fall in the trap.”I used to call them my babies 10 years ago and they’re still, when I look at them, my babies and that’s the truth.”I’m not being disrespectful when I say that, it’s just the feeling I got with this team.”They look pretty, they look good but they don’t look like a winning team. They’re just here like playing good football.”When I looked at Arsenal, I was so happy to play against Arsenal because I knew I was going to win.”Even when Robin van Persie came and the first day I shake his hand and I said: ‘Welcome to a man club’.”At the beginning he was like upset but after one month he said ‘you’re completely right Patrice’ and that’s my feeling.”[Matteo] Guendouzi is the best in midfield but he is a player who was playing in the second league in France and he was even not like playing regularly, and he’s the best player on this team.”I know some are fuming when they see [Granit] Xhaka is the captain of Arsenal.’I respect them, like [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, [Alexandre] Lacazette, but you can see if those guys don’t score goals, they are in trouble and nothing’s changed.”I am like ‘where is Arsene? Where is Wenger?’ because it’s the same.”
A local coffee shop has walked away with small business award of the year. The 35th annual Small Business Calgary Awards ceremony took place Thursday night at the BMO Centre and Rosso Coffee Roasters took home the title. The cafe has been in Calgary for ten years and has grown to seven locations. The Chamber of Commerce said part of Rosso’s success can be attributed to its loyal clientele who continues to spread the word about its brand. Past winners of this award include Village Brewery, Vets To Go and Fiasco Gelato.
Kolkata: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel allegedly didn’t allow Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) staff members to removeBJP’s flex and banners from the Metro station on Saturday. As per the election procedure, political parties cannot put up any flex, banner or any kind of campaign materials on government office premises or on any government owned asset. As the metro station is the property of Indian Railways, no political campaign Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Pujamaterials is allowed within the premises. But, some BJP supporters reportedly put up flax and banners within the Chandni Chowk metro station premises, which the RPF or the metro authorities did not remove. After KMC came to know about such banners, concerned department was instructed to remove any political campaign flex or banner from there. While KMC staff had gone to remove the banners and flex, they were reportedly stopped by the RPF. It is alleged that some RPF personnel had physically harassed some of the KMC staff. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayLater, the KMC staff had to back off. Immediately, the situation was narrated to the senior officials of KMC which was later conveyed to Mayor Firhad Hakim. After the Mayor came to know about the harassment faced by KMC staff, he strongly expressed his displeasure. Later, he informed Kolkata Police and Election Commission about the incident. Though KMC staff are alleging about harassment, metro railway denied the allegations and claimed that no such incident had taken place.
Each Overwatch League franchise will host two to five homestand weekends in 2020 as the esports league launches an unprecedented home-and-away schedule spanning three continents.The esports league on Tuesday revealed plans for each of its 20 teams to host homestand series, similar to events staged by teams this year in Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles, as part of its 2020 regular season.Dallas and Atlanta sold out venues of 4,500 and 2,700, respectively, for two nights each this season as part of the league’s first experiment with home-and-away matches. Each day featured eight teams playing four games total. Los Angeles gets its turn Aug. 24-25.“When Dallas took the stage at that first event, and then (last) weekend when Atlanta took the stage, the whole arena just erupted to support their local team,” Overwatch League Commissioner Pete Vlastelica said. “That’s the first time that’s happened in esports.”The league has five franchises in Asia, two in Europe, two in Canada and 11 in the U.S., although all teams have been based in Southern California through the first two seasons and nearly every match has taken place at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California. The teams will split into four divisions under two conferences next season and play a 28-match schedule spanning roughly February through August.Each club is guaranteed two homestand weekends in 2020 but can submit proposals to host up to five. Vlastelica said those decisions were based primarily on venues and potential ticket sales. Only the Philadelphia Fusion have announced long-term arena plans — the club is building a $50 million esports arena in the same complex that houses the city’s NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams.Vlastelica said the 2020 plans aren’t necessarily indicative of the league’s long-term model for making the travel-heavy schedule work. The league is the first esport or traditional sport to attempt a global regular-season schedule.“This is kind of a first step, or maybe a second step, into home markets,” Vlastelica said. “We’ve seen it work really well in Dallas and Atlanta now. It’s an efficient model, which is important given that it’s the first year we’re doing this. Also, it’s never really been done before.”___More AP Esports: https://apnews.com/Esports and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsJake Seiner, The Associated Press
MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s state-run oil company said a fire Tuesday at one of its refineries has injured eight people.Petroleos Mexicanos said in a statement that its firefighters had controlled the blaze at the Antonio Dovali Jaime refinery in the southern state of Oaxaca. It said none of the injuries to two Pemex workers and six contractors was serious.The company said it was investigating the cause, but that the supply of petroleum products was guaranteed.It was a day of bad news for Pemex, as the company is known.Moody’s Investors Services downgraded Pemex’ foreign and local currency ratings from A3 to Baa1.It placed a negative outlook on the company’s ratings, in the face of continued low oil prices, falling production, high taxes and an expected deterioration of its credit situation.Pemex responded Tuesday, saying in a statement that it had taken steps to reduce costs, including raising the minimum age for full-wage retirement for its workers from 55 to 60 years. 8 injured in fire at oil refinery in Mexico; state-owned oil company downgraded by The Associated Press Posted Nov 24, 2015 8:08 pm MDT Last Updated Nov 24, 2015 at 8:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
We’re at least a couple of months away from Microsoft divulging the official price of the Xbox One, but that hasn’t stopped a few retailers letting you pre-order one with a “to be announced” price.Amazon Germany is being a bit more speculative, however, and has listed the next-gen console with a price point of 599 euros.That converts to about US$770, which is way too expensive for the majority of gamers to consider. But you have to remember this is a guess on Amazon’s part, and listing a price below what Microsoft has in mind could see customers complain if the e-tailer tries to increase it closer to launch. It’s much better to price too high and then happily inform those who pre-order that the price has dropped in a few months.Both the Xbox One and PS4 have switched to an x86 platform, and both Sony and Microsoft are buying major components of the machine from a single vendor: AMD. Sony has also stated that we definitely won’t see a major loss made for every console sold like with the PS3 when it launched. But what price will they most likely launch at?The sweet spot price that keeps getting mentioned is $399, which would put the Xbox One at just over double the Xbox 360 and $150 more than the current PS3 price. But there’s another factor to consider here: competition. It seems likely both consoles are going to launch within a few weeks of each other, and whichever machine has the lower price will obviously have a sales advantage.With that in mind, we could see a bit of a pre-release price war, with both companies deciding to keep the hardware profit margins to a minimum in order to come in lower than their main rival. We could therefore see either machine as low as $350. How about $324.99? Surely not.On the flip side, that speculative $399 price point could be too low and both machines may be aiming for the $499 mark. But would gamers stomach such a price in today’s economy?
Image: Twitter/@GardaTraffic Man hospitalised following single-vehicle crash after failing to stop car for gardaí The driver suffered minor injuries in the collision. A MAN IN Dublin has been taken to hospital after he was involved in a single-vehicle collision earlier today.The incident happened near the Millenium Business Park in Finglas, north Dublin, and came after the man failed to stop for gardaí.Posting on Twitter, gardaí said the driver – who was not wearing a seatbelt – suffered minor injuries in the crash, and that investigations into the incident are ongoing.A garda spokesman told TheJournal.ie that the man was taken to hospital, and that he will be questioned by investigators at a later date. 35,493 Views Share4 Tweet Email1 16 Comments Sunday 17 Mar 2019, 5:17 PM Image: Twitter/@GardaTraffic Mar 17th 2019, 5:18 PM Short URL https://jrnl.ie/4547921 By Stephen McDermott Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
The Acropolis is falling down and will need significant work to shore it up, archaeologists have warned. Engineers have found that a section of the huge flat-topped rock on which the ancient Parthenon sits in Athens is beginning to give way, the Greek news agency ANA has said.The ancient citadel located on a high rocky outcrop above the Greek capital contains the remnants of some of the world’s most historic ancient buildings, the most famous being the temple Parthenon. Teams from the Central Archaeological Council found “instability over quite a wide area” after investigating a rockfall in January in which a boulder of “considerable size” tumbled from the most visited tourist site in Greece.Work to secure the southern slope of the hill on which the 2,500-year-old temple complex sits will be necessary and archaeologists have blamed rainwater pipes from the old Acropolis museum.There is evidence that the Acropolis was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, but it was Pericles in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site’s most important buildings: the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike. Construction on the Parthenon began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. Despite sharp cuts elsewhere, the restoration work on the site that has been going on since the 1970s has remained sacrosanct. Greece has endured six years in a recession, with unemployment soaring to 27 per cent. For the first time since 2008 it is expected to see growth of around 0.4 per cent this year, The Times reported.The Acropolis is not the only ancient world monument under threat of collapse. Activists have claimed the Pyramid of Djoser, the oldest pyramid in Egypt in the ancient burial ground of Saqqara, is being destroyed by the firm hired to restore it. According to the Non-stop Robberies movement, the company hired by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities to restore the pyramid – called Shurbagy – has broken preservation laws requiring that any new construction be less than 5 per cent of the preserved structure. In March, further collapses in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii were reported amid calls for more restoration funding for the UNESCO world heritage site.Source: International Business Times Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, May 12, 2017 – Nassau – Alfred Sears, on election night, called for former Prime Minister Perry Christie to resign as leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). Mr. Sears said he saw the sweeping defeat coming after Fort Charlotte residents repeatedly told him they could not stand the leadership of the country any longer, despite their personal affection for him.He added that it is “obvious” the party would have stood a better chance winning the election had he been victorious in the PLP’s leadership race in January, saying that “the party made a mistake” in choosing Mr. Christie.“The outcome of the convention did not inspire trust or confidence in the Bahamian electorate but that’s behind us now and I think the party has a wonderful opportunity to rebuild and reengineer itself,” he said.When asked if he thought Mr Christie should resign as party leader, Mr Sears said: “Certainly. I think the party needs to be refreshed. I don’t see how the party can rebuild without new leadership.”#magneticmedianews#searssayschristieshouldresign Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #searssayschristieshouldresign
Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon insists the club will be stronger in the second half of the season following their 1-0 loss to Rangers on Saturday.The Scotland international single-handedly prevented the Hoops from suffering a heavier loss to Rangers after producing some superb saves to sent Daniel Candeias, Connor Goldson and Ryan Kent.However, the former Sunderland shot-stopper is refusing to get downhearted by Celtic’s disappointing showing.Gordon also denied that his team’s insistence on playing out from their defense gifted Rangers the win and emphasized they are still ahead on goal difference having played a game less.“We have done so well at Ibrox in the past, but we didn’t play well enough to win,” he said, according to Evening Times.Johnston is disappointed after being injured Manuel R. Medina – September 11, 2019 Celtic winger Mikey Johnston was disappointed to miss Scotland Under 21 national team’s victories over San Marino and Croatia, and he hopes he can return to play soon.“But we are still top of the league with a game in hand. We will go away for a break, regroup and finish the season strongly.”“We just need to play better. We didn’t pass the ball particularly well at all, for whatever reason. But that has been a very successful style of play. We have done well doing that, winning a lot of matches at Ibrox playing that same way.”“That (teams pressing Celtic) is part of the game plan. It’s what we want. You want to try and play through them. It’s a cat and mouse game. You look to take advantage of that and so do the opposition. That’s part of the plan – to draw teams on to you to try and create space. We are going to try and enforce our game on everyone else.”Gordon added: “We will look to improve, of course. We always learn from any defeats and analyse what happened. But we will come back stronger.”“It’s one win in 13 games. It’s still very heavily in our favour. It’s one game that we haven’t managed to win. We will stay calm, pick the bones out of it and come back stronger.”
WASHINGTON — Unemployment fell in 28 U.S. states last month, and employers added jobs in 34 states. The gains suggest recent improvements in the job market have occurred in most regions of the country.The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates rose in 11 states and were flat in 11. Employers cut jobs in 15 states.The biggest job gains occurred in Florida, California and North Carolina. Kentucky, Washington state, and New Jersey lost the most jobs. Job growth was unchanged in Pennsylvania.Hiring has picked up nationwide, according to the government’s October jobs report released earlier this month. That report showed employers added 204,000 positions last month, up from 163,000 in September.The unemployment rate nationally ticked up to 7.3 percent from 7.2 percent, in part because of the 16-day partial government shutdown. The shutdown caused temporary layoffs among government workers and some contractors.But outside that increase, most employers appeared to have shrugged off the shutdown.Florida gained 44,600 jobs. The biggest gains were in both better-paying and lower-paying fields. Most of the gains were in construction; hotels, restaurants and entertainment; and in the professional services category, which includes accountants, engineers, and temporary workers.
Japan offers the highest expatriate pay package for middle managers of $356,224 (£269,392.62), including a base salary of $82,996 (£62,765.31) and benefits amounting to $125,111 (£94,614.57), according to research by ECA International (ECA).Its MyExpatriate market pay report, which analysed middle managers’ pay packages in terms of cash salary, benefits and tax, surveyed more than 10,000 international assignees across 290 different organisations based in 160 countries.The UK’s middle manager expatriate pay package, which ranks second, has fallen by $39,898 (£30,172.66) in the last year to be recorded at $344,508 (£260,532.45) for 2018. This includes a salary of $72,104 (£54,528.29), benefits, which can cover the costs of accommodation, international schools, utilities or cars, totalling $124,288 (£93,992.18) and associated tax costs of $148,116 (£112,011.98).India has the third highest middle manager expatriate pay package of $293,097 (£221,653.14), followed by China with $276,387 (£209,016.29) and Hong Kong with $268,514 (£203,062.37). These packages include benefits allowances of $81,505 (£61,637.75), $102,562 (£77,562.00) and $149,276 (£112,889.23), respectively.USA also features in the top 10 with a total middle manager expatriate pay package of $254,473 (£192,443.93), which breaks down into a salary of $79,045 (£59,777.39) and benefits adding up to $113,425 (£85,777.09).Australia offers $253,737 (£191,887.34) for its total expatriate pay package for middle managers, compared to the $250,209 (£189,219.31) provided by Turkey and $249,292 (£188,525.83) offered by Argentina, which is an $11,256 (£8,512.29) increase since last year. France ranks in tenth place with a total middle manager expatriate pay package of $249,058 (£188,348.87). This is a $15,478 (£11,705.16) decrease since last year.Steven Kilfedder (pictured), production manager at ECA International, said: “Over the past few years we have seen a steady drop in pay package values for expat [employees] in the UK when compared in US dollars internationally. The fall in the value of the British pound after Brexit has made it cheaper to send staff to the UK from abroad, resulting in Japan replacing the UK as the most expensive location to send staff.“The tax element is the most expensive component of an expatriate package in the UK by a substantial margin. The cost of providing benefits is also considerable, at around double that of the salary element, due to high expat rental accommodation prices in London.“Although some of the top Asian countries, such as China and Pakistan, have seen a drop in the average expat pay package, they still continue to require among the most expensive overall packages in the world. India especially has become increasingly expensive for [organisations], with an average total package of $293,097; a rise of $15,230 this year alone mostly due to [organisations] having to pay a higher level of benefits and tax costs.“Middle eastern nations have offered high wages for expats for a long time now and combined with the 0% tax rates, the Middle East is often considered a lucrative place of work for overseas staff. However, due to the newly-introduced 5% VAT tax rate in the region, which will increase the cost of living, we expect to see rises in both the salary and benefits elements of expat pay packages.”
Acer Concept D line for creatives turns up the power Review • Acer’s Swift 7 is unbelievably skinny, if not always speedy Related stories Post a comment Everything Acer just announced: New Concept D brand, Helios 700 gaming laptop and more Laptop vs. Chromebook Now playing: Watch this: Preview • Acer’s new Swift 7 laptop is less than 10mm thick The Acer Chromebook 715 and 714 will be available in July starting at $499. Though it may not be a household name throughout the US, Acer sells a ton of desktops, laptops, monitors, accessories and other PC-related gear — including some of our long-time favorites, like the Acer Swift 7 and Predator 21 X. At last year’s event, Acer unveiled a range of new products including mainstream laptops, Chromebooks and gaming PCs. See it Acer Chromebook 715 and 714 mean business Other key features include Gorilla Glass touchpads, optional LED backlit keyboards — a rarity on Chromebooks — and fingerprint readers. They’ll both be available with full-HD IPS displays with an upgrade options for a 10-point touchscreen. Acer Swift 7 Mentioned Above Acer Swift 7 CNET may get a commission from retail offers. 19 Photos News • The incredibly portable Acer Swift 7 was my near-perfect travelling companion $1,488 Laptops 2:32 Share your voice Sarah Tew/CNET Acer’s pushing hard into the corporate world with its latest Chromebooks. At its Next@Acer press event in New York Thursday, the PC maker announced the new 15.6-inch Chromebook 715 and 14-inch Chromebook 714. Both feature premium all-aluminum chassis with military-grade durability to survive drops from up to 48 inches (122 cm) and downward force up to 132 pounds (60 kg). Each is certified Citrix Ready so they’ll work with Citrix’s business solutions. Tags 0 Acer Chrome OS
Construction on the Capitol building in Juneau on May 24, 2016. Photo: Rachel Waldholz/APRNIn his quest to remake Alaska’s finances, Governor Bill Walker has found a set of perhaps unexpected allies.They don’t live in Alaska – some of them have never been to Alaska – but they have the power to give Alaska lawmakers an ulcer every time they speak.They are the credit rating agencies.Download AudioLike an individual’s credit score, Alaska’s credit rating is our calling card in the world of finance. Want to refinance our pension obligations, or borrow to build a giant natural gas pipeline? Alaska’s credit rating determines whether the state can access that money, and how how much it will cost.This month, the last of the big three agencies revoked Alaska’s top-notch credit rating, citing the state’s massive budget gap.The downgrades mean it will be more expensive for the state — and many Alaska communities — to borrow.But Gov. Bill Walker says the downgrade is about more than just money.“It sends a message across the country that there’s something wrong with Alaska, there’s something going on in Alaska,” he told reporters after Fitch Ratings announced its downgrade on June 14. “I’m concerned it would have a chilling effect on investment in our state.”The three major rating agencies have names out of a Harry Potter novel: Moody’s, Fitch, Standard & Poor’s. But who are the men — and women – behind the curtain? We called up to find out.(Phone rings)…Hello, this is Gabe. That’s Gabe Petek. He’s the lead Alaska analyst at Standard & Poor’s.Petek is 44. He’s based in San Francisco. He’s been working on Alaska’s credit rating, on and off, for about a decade.You can think of Petek as Alaska’s defense attorney — or prosecutor — within S&P. He tracks developments in the state through news reports and financial filings, then makes the case to an S&P credit committee for how solid a risk we are — or aren’t. The committee then assigns a rating.“We don’t claim that we’re the Good Housekeeping seal of approval here,” he said. “We’re just providing an opinion on the creditworthinesss of the borrower.”And lately, that opinion has been bearish. S&P was the first agency to downgrade Alaska back in January, knocking the state down a notch, from AAA to AA+.Which, to be clear, is still pretty good. Alaska is better rated than, say, Colorado (AA), similar to New York or Minnesota (both AA+), but apparently not as rock-solid as Texas (AAA).But S&P has made clear in its public statements that unless lawmakers can find a long term budget solution, that rating is likely to drop.As for what that solution should look like – Petek claims it’s not for him to say.“I think sometimes people maybe read into it that way, but that’s really not what we’re about,” he said. “We’re not trying to put our thumb on the scale for any specific policy.”That said, S&P has been pretty explicit about what would change their minds.This spring, they issued no fewer than five reports tracking the state — and lawmakers’ progress.Their main conclusion: the state can’t cut or tax its way out of the current budget hole. The only way to close the gap – and retain Alaska’s current credit rating – is something like the governor’s plan to restructure the Permanent Fund and use the earnings to fund state government.“We can do the math as well as anyone,” Petek said. “If there’s a $4 billion gap, and a $5 billion budget, it’s pretty tough to make all of those adjustments just through spending cuts or through tax increases.”“I do think that Gabe’s had his finger on the pulse more than some of the other analysts,” said Deven Mitchell. Mitchell is the state debt manager, essentially the steward of Alaska’s financial reputation for the last 18 years.He is not enjoying the current moment. It took 50 years for the state to work its way up to a AAA rating. (According to Mitchell, The state’s first credit rating was Baa1, from Moody’s Investors Service in 1961. Moody’s uses a slightly different rating scale than S&P – Alaska’s current Moody’s rating is Aa1.)“It’s a very long and hard progression to obtain credit rating increases,” Mitchell said.“To have a diminishment of that credit rating at this point is disheartening, because I recognize that it’s going to be a difficult course to reverse.”With interest rates at historic lows, the issue isn’t so much what it will cost the state in the short term, Mitchell said. The difference between borrowing costs for a AAA rating or a AA+ rating is perhaps a quarter of a percentage point interest, and the state doesn’t have immediate plans to issue significant debt.The fear is what comes next. In early June, S&P warned it could lower the state’s rating again within 90 days if lawmakers don’t act. That warning came about a week before a version of the governor’s Permanent Fund plan died in the Alaska House.A second downgrade would be unusual, Petek said.“For a state government to go down more than one notch in a year signals that there’s pretty serious fiscal stress,” he said, adding that S&P is focused on the “sheer magnitude” of the gap between revenue and expenditures in Alaska.“It’s a bigger gap than we see, in relative terms, in other states,” he said. “It’s something that investors are concerned about as they look ahead…they are asking the question, what will the state’s ability be to repay its debt ten years from now, if no correction is made?”The governor has called another special legislative session — the second this year — to focus primarily on a Permanent Fund plan. Lawmakers are due back in Juneau on July 11.
Professor Abul BarkatPresident of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) professor Abul Barkat on Monday said Priya Saha distorted his research findings claiming that he did never say that some 37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians are missing, reports UNB.Barkat said some 11.3 million Hindus went missing in the last five decades – 1964-2013 and there is no similarity with his research findings and what Priya Saha conveyed to US president Donald Trump and a subsequent video message quoting him.”As a social researcher, I want to be sure that Priya Saha will quickly withdraw her statements quoting my name which are confusing and devoid of principles,” professor Barkat said in a media statement.In a video clip that went viral on social media on Friday, Priya Saha was heard telling Trump: “Sir, I’m from Bangladesh … 37 million Hindus, Buddhists and Christians are disappeared. Please help us – for the Bangladeshi people. We want to stay in our country.”She also said there are 18 million minority people. “My request is, please help us, we don’t want to leave our country, just help us stay. I’ve lost my home, they’ve burned my home, they (have) taken away my land, but no judgment (is) yet taken please, please …”Later, in a video message, Priya Saha explained her position and tried to defend her remarks tagging Abul Barkat’s research findings.Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader on Sunday said he has been instructed by prime minister Sheikh Hasina not to take any hasty step against Priya Saha for her remarks during a meeting with US president Donald Trump.On Saturday, the government said it appears that there was an ulterior motive behind Priya Saha’s absolutely false and concocted stories that were targeted to malign Bangladesh.”Bangladesh is a beacon of religious freedom and communal harmony, where people of all faiths have been living in peace for ages,” said the foreign ministry, strongly protesting all the blatant lies said by Priya Saha to US president Donald Trump.The government also condemned her remarks in the strongest possible terms.Priya Saha participated in the Second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom held at the US Department of State in Washington, DC on 16-18 July.Delegates from 106 countries, including about 40 foreign ministers, attended the meeting at the invitation of Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State.
© 2010 PhysOrg.com More information: V.G.Gurzadyan and R.Penrose. “Concentric circles in WMAP data may provide evidence of violent pre-Big-Bang activity.” arXiv:1011.3706v1via: Physics World Explore further Black hole encounters would have repeated themselves several times, with the center of each event remaining at almost exactly the same point in the CMB sky, even when occurring in different aeons. The huge amounts of energy released would appear as spherical, low-variance radiation bursts in the CMB. Image credit: Gurzadyan and Penrose. Planck Satellite ready to measure the Big Bang (PhysOrg.com) — In general, asking what happened before the Big Bang is not really considered a science question. According to Big Bang theory, time did not even exist before this point roughly 13.7 billion years ago. But now, Oxford University physicist Roger Penrose and Vahe Gurzadyan from the Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia have found an effect in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) that allows them to “see through” the Big Bang into what came before. The CMB is the radiation that exists everywhere in the universe, thought to be left over from when the universe was only 300,000 years old. In the early 1990s, scientists discovered that the CMB temperature has anisotropies, meaning that the temperature fluctuates at the level of about 1 part in 100,000. These fluctuations provide one of the strongest pieces of observational evidence for the Big Bang theory, since the tiny fluctuations are thought to have grown into the large-scale structures we see today. Importantly, these fluctuations are considered to be random due to the period of inflation that is thought to have occurred in the fraction of a second after the Big Bang, which made the radiation nearly uniform.However, Penrose and Gurzadyan have now discovered concentric circles within the CMB in which the temperature variation is much lower than expected, implying that CMB anisotropies are not completely random. The scientists think that these circles stem from the results of collisions between supermassive black holes that released huge, mostly isotropic bursts of energy. The bursts have much more energy than the normal local variations in temperature. The strange part is that the scientists calculated that some of the larger of these nearly isotropic circles must have occurred before the time of the Big Bang.The discovery doesn’t suggest that there wasn’t a Big Bang – rather, it supports the idea that there could have been many of them. The scientists explain that the CMB circles support the possibility that we live in a cyclic universe, in which the end of one “aeon” or universe triggers another Big Bang that starts another aeon, and the process repeats indefinitely. The black hole encounters that caused the circles likely occurred within the later stages of the aeon right before ours, according to the scientists.In the past, Penrose has investigated cyclic cosmology models because he has noticed another shortcoming of the much more widely accepted inflationary theory: it cannot explain why there was such low entropy at the beginning of the universe. The low entropy state (or high degree of order) was essential for making complex matter possible. The cyclic cosmology idea is that, when a universe expands to its full extent, black holes will evaporate and all the information they contain will somehow vanish, removing entropy from the universe. At this point, a new aeon with a low entropy state will begin. Because of the great significance of these little circles, the scientists will do further work to confirm their existence and see which models can best explain them. Already, Penrose and Gurzadyan used data from two experiments – WMAP and BOOMERanG98 – to detect the circles and eliminate the possibility of an instrumental cause for the effects. But even if the circles really do stem from sources in a pre-Big Bang era, cyclic cosmology may not offer the best explanation for them. Among its challenges, cyclic cosmology still needs to explain the vast shift of scale between aeons, as well as why it requires all particles to lose their mass at some point in the future. Citation: Scientists glimpse universe before the Big Bang (2010, November 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-11-scientists-glimpse-universe-big.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Infants as young as five months can differentiate laughter between friends and between strangers, finds a new study. It has been recently established that co-laughter – or simultaneous laughter between two or more individuals – allows adult listeners across different cultures and languages to quickly evaluate the nature of relationships between people: are they friends, acquaintances, or strangers? The study suggests that the ability to detect this nature of social relationships is instilled early in human infancy, possibly the result of a detection system that uses vocal cues. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Infants’ sensitivity to different kinds of laughter might be one of the early emerging tools they use to understand and navigate the complex social world,” said Athena Vouloumanos, Associate Professor from the New York University. “Very brief instances of shared laughter can reveal rich information about people’s relationships, detectable in infants as young as five months of age and universally by adults around the world,” added co-author Gregory Bryant, Professor at University of California-Los Angeles. For the study, published in the Scientific Reports journal, the team examined how five-month-olds processed exchanges of co-laughter of adults – specifically, those who were strangers and those who were friends – by gauging how long they listened to these sounds. The team found that infants could not only differentiate between the laughter of friends and strangers, but, when given the choice, they preferred to listen longer to co-laughter between friends. In another experiment, the team found that infants could tie co-laughter to judgments about human relationships.