Taliban reject direct negotiations with govt

first_imgKabul: An Afghan official said Sunday that the government would hold its first-ever direct talks with the Taliban within two weeks, but the insurgents quickly denied any such meeting was planned and reiterated their opposition to negotiating with government representatives in their official capacity. The Taliban have been holding peace talks with the United States for nearly a year but have refused to recognize the Kabul government, viewing it as an American puppet. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USAbdul Salam Rahimi, Afghanistan’s state minister for peace affairs, said that a 15-member government delegation will meet with the Taliban in Europe, without elaborating. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said “there has been no agreement on such a meeting and that has not been coordinated with Taliban.” He said that once the insurgents reach an agreement with the US, they would be open to intra-Afghan talks, but any government representatives would have to participate in a personal capacity. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsUS envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is currently visiting Kabul, appears to share that position. He tweeted that another round of “intra-Afghan” talks would occur “after we conclude our own agreements.” He said it would include the Taliban and “an inclusive and effective national negotiating team consisting of senior government officials, key political party representatives, civil society and women.” Sunday marked the first day of campaigning for presidential elections scheduled for September 28. President Ashraf Ghani is seeking a second term on promises of ending the 18-year war but has been largely sidelined over the past year as the US has negotiated directly with the Taliban. The two sides are aiming for an agreement in which American forces would withdraw in exchange for guarantees that Afghanistan will not be a launch-pad for international terror attacks. The Taliban, who effectively control around half the country, have continued to carry out daily attacks on Afghan security forces. A Taliban suicide bomber killed four police early Sunday in an attack on a police station in the eastern Ghazni province, according to Ahmad Khan Serat, a spokesman for the provincial police. He said 10 other police were wounded. Elsewhere in Ghazni, a roadside bomb killed three civilians and wounded three others, Serat said. No one claimed the attack, and civilians are often killed or maimed by bombs targeting security forces.last_img read more

Trudeau cites propaganda on foreign affairs minister as Russian interference

first_imgOTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cited a disinformation campaign against his foreign affairs minister as he responded Wednesday to lingering questions about the government’s assertion that Russia had undermined Canada’s democratic system.The idea that Moscow had interfered in Canada’s political system arose last week when Global Affairs said it was expelling four Russian diplomats who were intelligence officers or had used their special status “to undermine Canada’s security or interfere in our democracy.”While the move was part of a co-ordinated effort to punish the Kremlin for its alleged involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom, the reference to an apparent plot against Canada has sparked calls for details.Trudeau refused to delve into specifics during a news conference Wednesday on Parliament Hill, and instead accused “Russian propagandists” of trying to discredit Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.Pro-Russian websites have repeatedly targeted Freeland, one of the government’s strongest critics of Russia, as well as her family. Among the allegations is that her Ukrainian-born grandfather helped the Nazis during the Second World War.“We all can remember the efforts by Russian propagandists to discredit our minister of foreign affairs in various ways through social media and by sharing scurrilous stories about her,” Trudeau said when asked about the expelled diplomats.“There are multiple ways in which Russia uses cyber, social media, propaganda to sway public opinion, to try and push a pro-Russia narrative. … This is a pattern we have seen regularly.”Trudeau’s comments followed a meeting with the head of the NATO military alliance, who also delivered some tough words for Moscow, saying it had “underestimated NATO’s resolve and unity.”The alliance has deployed four battlegroups into the Baltics, including one led by Canada in Latvia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, and member states — including Canada — have started to increase their defence spending.“Let me commend Canada for investing more in defence,” he said while Trudeau looked on. “After years of decline, defence spending now is increasing and I welcome your government’s commitment to make further increases.”The Liberals promised last year to increase spending on the military by 70 per cent over the next 10 years — though even with the increase, Canada will fall short of NATO’s target of spending two per cent of GDP on defence.Yet Stoltenberg, whose organization was founded 69 years ago Wednesday to protect Western Europe from a Soviet invasion, added that NATO does not want a new Cold War, as he held out hope for a political resolution to the standoff with Russia.Such hopes appeared to take a hit, however, following reports Wednesday that Russia test fired several live missiles into the Baltic Sea.The tests appeared to be in response to a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis on Tuesday and forced Latvia, where Canada has 450 soldiers, to close part of its airspace.NATO troops in the area have been put on alert, Stoltenberg said, even as he described the tests as part of the broader pattern of Russian aggression that is exactly why the military alliance has had to step up its game.Earlier in the day, Freeland told an audience in Winnipeg that the upcoming G7 foreign ministers meeting in Toronto would be focused on sending a strong signal of disapproval to Russia for its recent actions in the world.The ministers will be targeting Russia’s ongoing annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and the recent nerve gas attack in Salisbury, England, which has been blamed on the Kremlin, Freeland said.The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.“One of the biggest challenges to that rules based international order is Russia and the Putin regime and the actions they are taking,” Freeland said during a question and answer session.Freeland has been meeting or speaking by phone with her G7 counterparts ahead of the April 22 meeting in Toronto.last_img read more

Two adults arrested after twoyearolds found alone in filthy Quebec City home

first_imgQUEBEC – The mother and grandmother of two toddlers have been arrested after the kids were discovered alone in a Quebec City residence police described as unsanitary.Neighbours called police on Monday after they saw two two-year-olds alone in the home and were worried they would fall out of an open third-floor window.Quebec City police spokesman David Poitras said when officers arrived they discovered the kids were locked inside a room with no adults in the home.“The window screen was on the floor,” Poitras told Cogeco Nouvelles. “The children were on the window frame and there was nothing holding them back (from falling).”Police also noted the home was unsanitary, he said.“There was waste and feces inside the house, and there was nothing to eat inside the fridge,” Poitras said.The women, 18 and 38 years old, were located by police and arrested for allegedly abandoning the children, who have since been taken into protective custody.(Cogeco Nouvelles)last_img read more

Littleknown among consumers Huawei has high profile in Canadian tech networks

first_imgTORONTO — Before the arrest of Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver last weekend, the Chinese company wasn’t a household name in Canada — certainly not in the league of an Apple, Samsung or BlackBerry.However, the Chinese tech giant considered by several of Canada’s allies as a security threat has quietly established itself as an important provider of technology essential to Canada’s telecom infrastructure, a situation that is not likely to change any time soon.  Huawei’s share of the Canadian smartphone market has been tiny — about 3.8 per cent, according to market research from IDC Canada — but outside of Canada the company is a juggernaut, overtaking Apple earlier this year in smartphone sales and employing more than 170,000 people around the world.Founded in 1987 by a former officer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the company has grown at an explosive rate over the past ten years and is projected to post sales of more than US$102 billion in 2018.For Canada’s telecom industry and the federal government in Ottawa, Huawei has long been known as an important equipment supplier — one that U.S. officials consider a significant threat to national security.That’s largely because Huawei is a major supplier of the equipment needed for wireless networks that could potentially be used to gather sensitive information for the Chinese government.“There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party — and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a ‘national champion’ is no exception,” U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio wrote in October in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.However, Canadian officials and representatives of major telecom companies have maintained that they have put safeguards in place — long ago, and before the American alarm — to ensure Huawei isn’t a security or privacy threat.Like Canada, the United Kingdom hasn’t moved to ban Huawei from doing business with their networks — despite U.S. warnings that they may be jeopardizing the “Five Eyes” intelligence gathering partnership. Lawrence Surtees, vice-president for communications research at IDC Canada, says Britain and Canada are the second and third most important Five Eyes partners after the United States and ahead of Australia and New Zealand.“My take is, both Ottawa and London are in a position to say … we do lots with you in the intelligence sharing and we’re not going to jeopardize our networks. We know what to do.”Surtees says Huawei equipment has already been used in at least five Canadian wireless networks that use fourth-generation LTE technology, and it would be expensive to replace.Huawei is also working with Bell and Telus to develop equipment for 5G wireless networks that are expected to become increasingly vital to carriers and their customers over the next decade.“The magnitude of the contracts that Huawei has here would be a factor, with the Canadian carriers saying to Ottawa that it’s kind of too late now,” Surtees says.There are very few alternative suppliers of 5G network equipment to chose from, he adds.Ericsson of Sweden, the main equipment supplier for the Rogers wireless networks, and Nokia of Finland are also global players in Canada but Surtees considers Huawei to be the market leader.It has been in operation in Canada since 2008, and currently employs about 960 people in this country — about 600 in research and development.Huawei’s Canadian head office is in the Toronto area in Markham, Ont. while its Canada Research Centre is based in Ottawa. The company also has research facilities in Markham, Waterloo, Ont., Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton.Huawei also makes smartphones for current wireless networks, sold in Canada by Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Videotron under their main brands as well as some secondary brands such as Virgin Mobile, Fido and Koodo.David Paddon, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Governing Conservatives dont know tar sands impact on water caribou forests watchdog

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–The federal Conservative government has a weak grasp of the tar sands’ environmental impact, according to the federal environmental watchdog.Scott Vaughan, the commissioner on the environment and sustainable development, says the government’s management of the Alberta tar sands ranges from poor to non-existent.“They don’t know the effects on water quality, they don’t know the impact on ground water, they don’t know the impacts of contaminants downwind or downstream,” said Vaughan, during a press conference Tuesday. “There (are) questions about the impact on wild species such as caribou, the impact of forest fragmentation, so the list of what they don’t know goes on and on.”Vaughan says the existing tar sands monitoring system is not credible, but his report issued no recommendations because the government already has a plan in place to fix these problems.Nova Scotia NDP MP Megan Leslie said further tar sands development should be put on hold until the government puts an adequate management regime in place.“We can look at how to develop tar sands sustainably,” said Leslie. “It is possible, but we need to take a step back, think about it, figure out where we’re going with it, because right now failure to manage the oil sands in a sustainable way has given us an international black eye.”Vaughan’s 80 page report is also critical of Canada’s climate change goals.The environmental audit found Canada is failing to meet greenhouse gas emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol.Canada’s emissions in 2008 were 31 per cent higher than the Kyoto target, according to the report.Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who is also a B.C. MP, says it’s hypocritical for the Conservative government to claim to be tough on crime to flaunt Kyoto’s targets.“This is where I would like someone to demand they get tough on crime,” said May. “It’s time for Canadians to say to their government, ‘if you want to see where we want to get tough on crime, it’s when you break your own laws to protect our children’s futures.”last_img read more

Over 70 killed in Bangladesh fire

The centuries-old Chawkbazar district has very narrow streets and residential buildings only inches apart. Firefighters struggled to put out the blaze, hindered by the narrow lanes and lack of water sources.The blaze was fuelled by pick-up vans in the area that carried gas cylinders, according to police chief Javeb Patowary.Victims included people outside the buildings, some guests at a restaurant and members of a bridal party, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ibrahim Khan told AFP. A fast-moving fire killed at least 70 when it swept through a historic district of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.The blaze broke out Wednesday night in a residential building that had flammable chemicals stored on one floor. It then quickly spread to nearby buildings. The fire broke out at 23:40 local time (17:40 GMT) on Wednesday, Bangladesh police said.It started at a chemical warehouse on the ground floor of the building and then raced through three other buildings, Director General of the Fire Service and Civil Defence Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan, told BBC Bengali. Bangladesh has a persistent problem with building safety regulations not being followed.In 2013, more than 1,100 people died and thousands more were injured when a building housing garment factories called Rana Plaza in Dhaka collapsed. (Courtesy BBC) Many people were trapped in the buildings, according to reports, unable to escape the flames. One man, whose shop was destroyed in the fire, explained that he had narrowly escaped the blaze when he left to go to a pharmacy.“When I was at the pharmacy I heard a big bang,” Haji Abdul Kader told AFP.“I turned back and saw the whole street in flames. Flames were everywhere… I got burned and rushed to hospital.” Members of a bridal party are thought to be among the victims. read more

2 injured in Hamilton mountain crash

Two people were sent to hospital with minor injuries after a crash on the Hamilton mountain this morning.A mini-van collided with an SUV at around 11:00 on Rymal Road East at Nebo Road. The van flipped onto its side but luckily the driver only suffered minor injuries.Police say they are still investigating what happened. No charges have been laid.

Ottawa to extend tax credit for mining companies

by The Canadian Press Posted Mar 1, 2015 5:15 pm MDT Ottawa to extend tax credit for mining companies AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – The federal government plans to extend a tax credit for junior mining companies into next year.The government wants to extend the 15 per cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit until March of 2016 — it’s currently due to expire at the end of the month.The government says since 2006, the tax credit has helped junior mining companies raise over $5.5 billion for exploration.According to the government, in 2013, more than 250 companies issued shares eligible for the credit to more than 19,000 individual investors.Finance Minister Joe Oliver and Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford made the announcement on Sunday at a mining conference in Toronto.Oliver says the tax credit is part of the government’s effort to support the mining industry and the 380,000 jobs it creates. read more

Abortion at home legalised after Government bows to pressure from campaigners

The abortion pill is two separate medicines, mifepristone and misoprostol, which are administered separately. The Government’s decision comes after Wales announced the same move in June, while Scotland made the Women to be given the right to take abortion pills at home change in 2017. Prof Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, said: “This decision will increase choice for women and help ensure they receive safe and dignified care.” Prof Lesley Regan, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said the announcement “is hugely welcomed and a major step forward”.“It will allow women to avoid distress and embarrassment of bleeding and pain during their journey home from an unnecessary second visit to a clinic or hospital.” Ministers will now work with the Royal College to develop guidance for clinicians to follow when offering the option to patients. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, is expected to officially approve peoples homes as locations where medical abortion can happen by the end of 2018.But John Deighan, the deputy chief executive of SPUC, announced plans to challenge the decision, accusing the Government of “authorising backstreet abortions”. Abortion at home will be legalised in England after the Government bowed to pressure from campaigners to allow unsupervised use of termination pills.Ministers today announced they will allow the home-use of early medical abortion pills by the end of the year.It means women seeking to end an early pregnancy before 10 weeks’ gestation will be able to take the second of the two required abortion pills at home.At the moment women are required to take both pills at a clinic or hospital, between 24 and 48 hours apart, but there are concerns that the process can be traumatic because some women begin to miscarry before they get home.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Leading doctors said the measures were “a major step forward”.But pro-life groups reacted with fury, saying the steps “trivialised” abortion and could see termination increasingly treated as a form of contraception. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) vowed toattempt legal action to block the move.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

CSM Bucharest appoint new coach Dragan Djukic

Dragan Djukic is new coach of CSM Bucharest. Three defeats at the start of the new season were good enough reason for CSM Bucharest management to sack Magnus Johansson and try to find solution for a “dream-team” to become better.That solution is 56-years old Serbian coach who has no big experience of working in female handball, but very rich in men’s. Djukic led Pick Szeged, RK Vardar, Maccabi Tel Aviv, national team of Great Britain, Jordan, Macedonia, Israel, Montenegro.He worked in Romania last season in Odorhei until bankruptcy of the club. CSM BucharestDragan Djukic ← Previous Story VIDEO: Meet the Dujshebaevs Next Story → 120.000 REASONS: RK Metalurg sell Halil Jaganjac to RK Nexe Nasice read more

World Press Photo exhibition coming to Dublin for first time in over

first_imgSOME OF THE best photojournalism created last year will be on display in Dublin from the end of this month.A travelling exhibition of the 2013 World Press Photo contest makes its way back to the capital for the first time in more than 20 years on 30 November.The images will be exhibited at the CHQ Building in the Docklands area of the city from 30 November to 22 December (Mon-Fri 10am-7pm; Sat 10am-6pm; Sun noon-6pm).This year’s overall winner was Paul Hansen from Sweden for his depiction of the burial of two small children in Gaza.Among the other winners were stills from Europe’s austerity demonstrations, Syria’s conflict, Central America’s gang problems and the Olympic Games in London. But it’s not just the big events – powerful glimpses of daily life are also favoured by some of the talented photographers.Split into the nine themed categories, including contemporary issues, observed portraits, staged portraits, daily life, sports action, general news, sports feature, nature and spot news, the pictures reflect global life as it was in 2012.Almost 105,000 images were submitted by 5,666 photographers from 124 countries in the 56th annual competition.last_img read more

Video Bot Band Rocks Out With Their Sprockets Out

first_imgStay on target Review: ‘Daemon X Machina’ Has Big Robots, Small Fun on Nintendo SwitchThis Robot Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow Blower Truck drivers, doctors, accountants, and salespeople aren’t the only jobs intelligent robots may one day co-opt.Nigel Stanford last week debuted “Automatica,” the title track from his upcoming “Robots vs. Music” album.Don’t let your ears deceive you, though: The first song on the futuristic record was recorded not by humans, but robots.Fresh off the success of “Cymatics”—a project exploring “the science of visualizing audio frequencies”—Stanford has been working since 2015 on “Automatica.”With a little help from his friends at bot maker KUKA Systems and audio firm Sennheiser, Stanford holed up in his garage for a month, programming and positioning mechanical arms to play instruments with accuracy down to 0.03mm, according to TechCrunch.“I’m trying to create an online version of Synesthesia—the brain disorder where people can see audio and hear light,” he told the tech blog.The musician and visual artist used Robot Animator software to teach the bionic limbs the intricacies of strumming a bass, tickling the piano, thumping the drums, and scratching a turntable.Watch the full “Automatica” video below to see Stanford’s work (and Stanford himself) in action:Like any rock band worth its salt, the machines end their set by smashing their gear and tearing down the venue.“I wanted to explore the concepts of robotics, the singularity, artificial intelligence, etc.,” Stanford said, as reported by TechCrunch. “I also just thought it would be cool to see a robot explode a piano.”The full “Automatica” record is available now to download for $9.95 via iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, or Stanford’s website; Spotify subscribers can also access the 2017 album online.“I’m sure that in the future it will be possible for AI to write great music but it shouldn’t concern musicians or anyone else for that matter,” Stanford predicted. “There’s already a huge sea of great music, I don’t think that the AI-composed music will find it any easier to get an audience than anyone else does.”Music from Stanford’s first album, 1999’s “Deep Space,” has been repurposed by NASA and the European Space Agency; his work has been heard in popular New Zealand film Second Hand Wedding and documentary TimeScapes.It was the 2014 album “Solar Echoes,” though, that catapulted Stanford to stardom: The viral video hit “Cymatics” boasts more than 13 million YouTube views, and counting.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

Geek Deals Save 20 on an AluCharge 4Port USB Charger

first_imgIf you have an ever-growing collection of gadgets, there’s a good chance that you’re spending a lot of time swapping out USB cables to keep everything charged. While that gets the job done, it’s a hassle that can easily be avoided with a USB charger. And since this minimalist charger from Just Mobile is on sale, now’s a good time to simplify your set-up. • Just Mobile AluCharge 4-Port USB Charger for $39.95 (List price: $49.95)Made with gorgeous matte-finish aluminum, and measuring just 0.72-inches thick, this stylish device fits in well among the likes of iPads and MacBooks. The total output is 31W/6.2A, and that is spread across the four USB ports with a maximum of 2.4A per port.Since this charger plugs directly into a standard power outlet, you can keep your gear charged even when you’re away from your computer. If you spend a lot of time in hotel rooms, keeping this charger in your suitcase will make powering your phone, tablet, and accessories a snap. And whether you’re using iOS or Android devices, it will adjust automatically for your needs.While this charger lists for about 50 clams, you’ll save $10 when you place your order on StackSocial. It ships within the contiguous United States, and the estimated delivery ranges from October 5th to October 8th. Note: All sales final. Terms and conditions apply. See the StackSocial site for more information.Our commerce group sources the best deals and products for the Geek Deals posts. We operate independently of Editorial and Advertising and may earn a percentage of the sale, if you buy something via a link on the post. If you are interested in promoting your deals, please contact us at commerce@ziffdavis.com.For more great deals head over to TechBargains.last_img read more

Soybean Corn Sunflower and Canola Growers Press House on Farm Bill

first_imgIn a letter to lawmakers Thursday, the American Soybean Association (ASA), National Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association and the U.S. Canola Association urged the House of Representatives to quickly consider and pass H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (“FARRM”) Act.“Our organizations support many of the programs included in H.R. 1947, as reported by the Committee on Agriculture. The bill would consolidate conservation programs, reauthorize and fund agricultural research, energy, and export promotion programs, and make improvements in federal crop insurance. We strongly support these provisions, and ask that you oppose any amendments which would eliminate or weaken them,” said the groups in the letter.“We are very encouraged by the momentum that the farm bill has going into the House, and we urge Representatives to act quickly to provide farmers with the certainty we need moving forward,” said ASA President Danny Murphy, a soybean grower from Canton, Miss. “We are convinced that lawmakers can work together to pass a bill that both supports agriculture and confronts our budgetary obligations responsibly.””We were pleased to see the 2013 farm bill pass with such strong support in the Senate and urge the House to swiftly follow suit,” NCGA President Pam Johnson, a corn farmer from Floyd, Iowa said. “Passing a comprehensive, market oriented farm bill is critically important to not only agriculture but to every American. We encourage the House to adopt policy that will be both responsive to taxpayers and effective in helping farms remain viable and productive.”“There has been a lot of time, effort, and investment put into establishing an infrastructure for alternative crops such as canola and sunflowers, and we are very concerned that tying reference prices to current year plantings could negate years of work,” stated US Canola Association Vice-President Jeff Scott, a farmer from Pond Creek, Okla.“When and if prices collapse, farmers will choose the crop with the least risk and highest support price. Bottom line, we would prefer to have the markets dictate what gets planted rather than a government support price,” added National Sunflower Association President Kevin Capistran, a farmer from Crookston, Minn.The groups noted, however, their concern with the bill’s Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program option, which they argued would set high, fixed reference prices for program crops which, in some cases, exceed their historical prices and cost of production; and tie payments to producers to crops they grow in the current year, which could distort planting decisions and production if market prices fall below their support levels.“Since the 1996 Farm Bill … farm policy has provided planting flexibility, encouraging producers to respond to market signals in making their planting decisions rather than to the prospect of receiving government payments,” wrote the groups. “We do not want to see policies return to the era of high supports tied to current-year plantings, which distorted crop production in the 1980’s. The PLC program in the Committee bill should be modified to make it responsive to the market rather than the government.”The groups spoke to a potential amendment from Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) that would address their concerns by setting reference prices at a percentage of recent average market prices, which do not exceed production costs. The Gibbs amendment would also provide for payments on historical crop acreage bases rather than on current-year plantings. “These changes would make the PLC program more market-oriented and significantly reduce the risk of distorting planting decisions and production,” argued the groups. “They would also reduce the likelihood of the program violating U.S. commitments under the WTO. Moreover, they would achieve an estimated $10 billion in savings in addition to the Committee bill.”last_img read more

ExxonMobil Point Thomson Expansion Plan Approved

first_imgThe Division of Oil and Gas had previously approved ExxonMobil’s plan for continued liquid condensate production from Point Thomson, but declined to approve the expansion-related plan. The Governor suggests that interest in North Slope to tidewater gasline project has grown immensely in the last 45 days due to the historic Joint Development Agreement between the State of Alaska and Chinese concerns. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The State of Alaska has approved ExxonMobil’s plan to engineer the expansion of the Point Thomson project on the North Slope, with state and company officials calling it a positive step to achieve major gas sales and increase oil production.  Governor Bill Walker says that the expansion strengthens the viability of the Alaska LNG Project. Story as aired:Audio PlayerDorene-on-exxonmobil-pointthomson-expansion-plan-approved.mp3VmDorene-on-exxonmobil-pointthomson-expansion-plan-approved.mp300:00RPdcenter_img The division asked for additional information on August 29. ExxonMobil responded to the Division’s concerns with new information in mid-October. In a written release, Walker notes that State approval of the Point Thomson to Prudhoe Bay pipeline demonstrates the commitment of the Point Thomson working interest owners to move gas from Point Thomson into Alaska Gasline Development Corporation’s 800-mile pipeline. Walker says the expansion project is expected to increase oil production out of Point Thomson by 50,000 barrels per day.last_img read more

Dry Conditions Fuel Unplanned Wildfire

first_imgIn a press release, ninety-nine percent of all wildland fires on that occur on the Chugach National Forest are caused by humans. Everyone plays a role in preventing human-caused fires. Campfires left unattended could potentially result in an unplanned wild fire ignition which could threaten public safety and fire fighters. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Chugach National Forest fire danger status is very high over most the forest. Over the weekend a fire (Trail Lake Fire) broke out at mile marker 27 of the Seward Highway on Kenai Peninsula Borough land. Firefighters from University of Alaska at Fairbanks Nanook Firefighting Crew were called to assist. Smoke jumpers were engaged and a 20 person fire crew is mopping up, utilizing water and hand tools to extinguish any remaining heat sources. The low smoke fire was approximately three acres in size and is now contained. Extinguish all campfires completely before leaving the area – fires should never be left unattended.Please use these guidelines to extinguish campfires:Allow the campfire to completely burn to ash, if possibleDrown all embers, using lots of water, until the fire no longer hissesStir the ash and water with a shovel, stick, or other toolScrape any remaining logs to remove possible embersMake sure everything is cold to the touchIf water is not available, mix sand or wet dirt into the fire pitDo not bury the fire – it will continue to smolder and may ignite roots and duff below the surfacelast_img read more

Womans suicide bid foiled at Metro

first_imgMalakpet: The Malakpet Police along with the Metro Rail Staff on Tuesday rescued a woman, who, in an inebriated condition, tried to commit suicide by jumping from the Moosarambagh Metro Rail station.According to Malakpet Police, a woman by name Erukala Bindhu (24), a rag picker, lives on the footpath. Around 4 pm, she climbed on the metro stair case and tried to commit suicide. Immediately on noticing her, sleuths of Malakpet and the metro rail guard caught her and shifted her to a police station. Police later counseled her.last_img read more

7 killed in attack on Afghan provincial governor

first_imgAfghanistanA Taliban suicide bomber killed at least seven security guards Sunday after targeting the convoy of an Afghan governor, officials said, in the latest violence to rock the war-torn country.The attacker rammed a vehicle full of explosives into the convoy of Anwar Ishaqzai, the governor of central Logar province, who was travelling with his provincial intelligence chief on the highway connecting the region to the capital Kabul.”Fortunately, both officials escaped unhurt. But the attack has left eight people dead, all bodyguards of the governor,” provincial police spokesman Shahpoor Ahmadzai told AFP, adding that seven people were wounded by the blast.Abdul Wali Wakil — a member of the Logar provincial council — confirmed the incident but said seven people were killed.The Taliban, who have been waging a 17-year war against the Western-backed Afghan government, claimed responsibility for the attack.The bombing comes days after the Taliban struck a fortified foreign compound in Kabul with a truck bomb, killing at least four people — including a US and an Indian national — and wounding more than 100 others.Fights between security forces and Taliban militants have continued to intensify across the country during the frigid Afghan winter, which traditionally experiences a lull in fighting.The defence ministry announced Sunday that over 40 Taliban insurgents were killed during airstrikes and ground operations in the last 24 hours.last_img read more

Researchers find new source for cold ocean water abyssal layer

first_img Journal information: Nature Geoscience Scientists test powerful ocean current off Antarctica Citation: Researchers find new source for cold ocean water abyssal layer (2013, February 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-02-source-cold-ocean-abyssal-layer.html Explore further Intense sea-ice production in the CDP, revealed from satellite data. Credit: Nature Geoscience (2013) doi:10.1038/ngeo1738 AABW is important because as it moves north from its source, it creates ocean currents that have a major impact on global climate. Until now however, scientists have only been able to identify three major sources—not nearly enough to explain the amount of AABW seen in the ocean. In this new research, the team suspected that a different type of source might be at play—one that came about in a polynya (area of open water that can’t freeze over due to rapid wind and water movement), rather than directly offshore of shelf ice. To find out they employed the use of traditional undersea sensors, and less traditionally, sensors attached to the heads of elephant seals.Ocean currents result from AABW due to the way it’s formed. When seawater freezes, much of the salt in the ice is pushed back into the water giving it a very high salinity—and because it’s also very cold, it tends to sink. As it hits the bottom it joins other cold water that slowly seeps toward the edge of the continental shelf, where if falls over into the abyss, rather like an under-the-ocean waterfall. That water falling is what generates the currents that flow north.Researchers had suspected for years that a source for AABW existed somewhere near what they call the Weddell Gyre, but had not been able to find it. In this new research, the team used satellite data to pick a likely polynya, and settled on Cape Darnley. There they sank sensors and studied data supplied by the elephant seal sensors. It was the data from the seals, the researchers report, that showed that areas in which they swam—at times as deep as 1,800 meters—revealed the layer of cold dense water the researchers were looking for—the fourth AABW source.After analyzing the Cape Darnley polynya source, the researchers have concluded that it is likely responsible for 6 to 13 percent of circumpolar AABW totals, which suggests they say, that other similar sources are out there still waiting to be found.center_img (Phys.org)—An international team of ocean researchers has found a fourth source of Antarctic bottom water (AABW)—the very cold, highly saline layer of water that lies at the bottom of the ocean. In their paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the team describes how they discovered the site in the Cape Darnley polynya. More information: Antarctic Bottom Water production by intense sea-ice formation in the Cape Darnley polynya, Nature Geoscience (2013) doi:10.1038/ngeo1738AbstractThe formation of Antarctic Bottom Water—the cold, dense water that occupies the abyssal layer of the global ocean—is a key process in global ocean circulation. This water mass is formed as dense shelf water sinks to depth. Three regions around Antarctica where this process takes place have been previously documented. The presence of another source has been identified in hydrographic and tracer data, although the site of formation is not well constrained. Here we document the formation of dense shelf water in the Cape Darnley polynya (65°–69° E) and its subsequent transformation into bottom water using data from moorings and instrumented elephant seals (Mirounga leonina). Unlike the previously identified sources of Antarctic Bottom Water, which require the presence of an ice shelf or a large storage volume, bottom water production at the Cape Darnley polynya is driven primarily by the flux of salt released by sea-ice formation. We estimate that about 0.3–0.7×106 m3 s−1 of dense shelf water produced by the Cape Darnley polynya is transformed into Antarctic Bottom Water. The transformation of this water mass, which we term Cape Darnley Bottom Water, accounts for 6–13% of the circumpolar total. © 2013 Phys.org 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.last_img read more

Nanoscopic protein motion on a live cell membrane

first_img LEFT: (a) A TEM (transmission electron microscope) image of a filopodium including an EGFR–GNP. (b), A filopodium surface reconstructed from 780,000 trajectory points with a localization error of σx,y = 2 nm recorded at 1,000 fps. Inset, cross-sectional slice that depicts a cylindrical surface of diameter 150 nm after accounting for the size of the GNP. (c), A raw 13 min trajectory (left) broken into four subsequent pieces that reveal the journey to and from the tip, with arrows marking direction of net motion. (d), An ATOM plot of c, corrected for filopodium drift. (e), A surface interpolation from the final 80 s. The ring-like confinement in the final phase (marked with a triangle) is a 3D pit. The scale bars are 200 nm (a), 1 μm (x, y) and 200 nm (z) (b), 1,000 nm (c) and 100 nm (x, y) and 50 nm (z) (e). RIGHT: (a), A lateral trajectory of a 48 nm GNP probe. Scale bar, 100 nm. A lower temporal sampling of this confinement would have underestimated the extent of bounding. (b), Ci of the trajectory (using a time lag of five frames), which shows partially hindered diffusion with a propensity for freer diffusion in the centre. (c), An ATOM plot of a. (d), A cut through the 3D-ATOM plot along the line of the black triangle in c shows that occupancy favours an innermost disk-like region. The axes denote 100 nm in both c and d. (e), Conversion of the temporal 2D occupation from c into an effective potential energy distribution. (f–j), Equivalent to a–e, but for a 20 nm GNP probe. Credit: Nature Photonics, doi: 10.1038/s41566-019-0414-6 More information: Richard W. Taylor et al. Interferometric scattering microscopy reveals microsecond nanoscopic protein motion on a live cell membrane, Nature Photonics (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41566-019-0414-6 Philipp Kukura et al. High-speed nanoscopic tracking of the position and orientation of a single virus, Nature Methods (2009). DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1395 Jordan A. Krall et al. High- and Low-Affinity Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-Ligand Interactions Activate Distinct Signaling Pathways, PLoS ONE (2011). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015945 In a recent study, Richard W. Taylor and colleagues at the interdisciplinary departments of Physics and Biology in Germany developed a new image processing approach to overcome this difficulty. They used the method to track the transmembrane epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) with nanometer scale precision in three dimensions (3-D). The technique allowed imaging across microseconds to minutes. The scientists provided examples of nanoscale motion and confinement using the method to image ubiquitous processes such as diffusion in plasma membranes, transport in filopodia and rotational motion during endocytosis. The results are now published in Nature Photonics. While steady progress in fluorescence microscopy has allowed scientists to monitor cellular events at the nanometer scale, a great deal still remains to be accomplished with advanced imaging systems. The challenges of fluorescence microscopy occurred due to the finite emission rate of a fluorescent source (dye molecule or semiconductor quantum dot), where too few photon emissions during a very small time-frame prevented effective or prolonged imaging. The central difficulty of scattering-based microscopy is relative to the nanoscopic probe, which competes against the background noise and a low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR); limiting the potential of imaging to only a few nanometers in high speed tracking experiments. iSCAT microscopy on live cells. a, Experimental arrangement of the iSCAT microscope for live-cell imaging. Cells are plated in a glass-bottomed dish under Leibowitz medium. (a) micropipette delivers the EGF–GNP probes directly onto the cell culture, where they specifically target the EGFR protein in the cell membrane. The bright-field illumination channel from above assists in inspecting the culture but is not required for iSCAT imaging. L1–L3, lenses; O1, ×100 objective; BS, 90:10 beam splitter; DM, 590 nm short-pass dichroic mirror. iSCAT imaging was performed with illumination intensities of 1–8 kW cm−2, which are known to be viable for HeLa at the wavelength of interest. Inset, wavefronts of the fields contributing to the iSCAT signal. (b), A section of the membrane of the HeLa cell before labelling, viewed via reflection iSCAT. (c), iSCAT image of the cell membrane including a bound EGF–GNP probe. (d), The PSF extracted from c. Scale bars in b–d are 1 μm. Credit: Nature Photonics, doi: 10.1038/s41566-019-0414-6 In the experiments, Taylor et al. introduced the epidermal growth factor-gold nanoparticle (EGF-GNP) probes to the sample chamber of the microscope using a micropipette to label the EGFRs (epidermal growth factor receptors) on HeLa cells and verified that the probes stimulated the EGFRs. Previous studies had already indicated that the probe size could influence rates of lipid diffusion in synthetic membranes, although they did not affect the mode of diffusion. Additionally, in live cells, molecular crowding was negligible for particles equal to or smaller than 50 nm. Diffusion on a filopodium. Credit: Nature Photonics, doi: 10.1038/s41566-019-0414-6 Journal information: Nature Photonics Taylor et al. verified these two concrete cases in the present work by comparing GNPs of varying diameters at 48 nm and 20 nm. The scientists then conducted fluorescent and biochemical studies to suggest that the EGF-coated GNPs activated EGFR signaling, much like the freely available EGFs, indicating that the label did not hinder biological functions. To overcome background noise related to molecular imaging the scientists implemented a new algorithm, which extracted the full iSCAT-point spread function (iSCAT-PSF) directly from each frame for clarity. Since existing techniques are unable to visualize features at high spatial and temporal resolution, many details on intracellular activity remain a matter of debate. In response, the new method by Taylor et al. offered a wealth of dynamic heterogeneities in 3-D to shed light on intracellular protein motion.The scientists first quantitatively studied subdiffusion in the plasma membrane by considering a 2-D example of the EGFR journey on the membrane of a living HeLa cell. For this, they computed the mean square displacement (MSD) for the whole trajectory of motion. Taylor et al. did not need to make assumptions on the nature of diffusion or its geographic landscape during the computation. They gauged the occurrence of biological diffractive barriers and confinements by observing the degree of directional correlation between two vectorial steps across a time span. Explore further Raw video of an epidermal growth factor-gold nanoparticle (EGFR–GNP) diffusing on a HeLa cell membrane. Credit: Nature Photonics, doi: 10.1038/s41566-019-0414-6 © 2019 Science X Network , Nature Methods The scientists thus gained insight on the nanoscopic details of diffusion along the filopodium and recorded the data across 13 minutes. They analyzed the 3-D trajectory to create the filopodium topography using gold nanoparticles as a ‘nano rover’ and mapped the surface topology of cellular structures for deeper examination. They plotted the trajectory ATOM (accumulated temporal occupancy map) and found that the 3-D representation was consistent with the biological step of pre-endocytic membrane invagination. High-speed microscopy techniques such as iSCAT are necessary to obtain high-resolution temporal information and prevent blurring effects during nanoparticle localization-based imaging. The scientists demonstrated this feature by recording confined diffusion at 30,000 fps (frames per second) with 48 nm and 20 nm GNPs. They followed the experiments with ultra-high-speed 3-D tracking of proteins at 66,000 fps using a short exposure time of 10 µs within a time duration of 3.5 seconds. Fast iSCAT microscopy imaging provided further evidence to reveal the intricate features of endocytic events relative to clathrin-mediated endocytosis in HeLa cells when simulated by low concentrations of EGF. In this way, Taylor et al. noted that the new technique could faithfully record nano-topographical information. The results matched the observations recorded with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) without significant differences on probe size reduction from 48 nm to 20 nm, while providing new insights. The new insights included details of subdiffusion, nanoscopic confinement, 3-D contours of filopodia and clathrin structures at the nanoscale. The scientists intend to combine iSCAT with in situ super-resolution fluorescence microscopy to understand the trajectories of proteins, viruses and other nanoscopic biological entities. Taylor et al. aim to advance the methods of image analysis to track GNPs smaller than 20 nm in the future and believe the new technology and additional optimization will allow them to specifically understand the life cycle of viruses without using an external label for tracking. In the present work, Taylor et al. used interferometric scattering (iSCAT) microscopy to track protein in live cell membranes. The method could visualize probe-cell interactions to understand the dynamics between diffusion and local topology. During the experiments, the scientists used gold nanoparticles (GNPs) to label epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) in HeLa cells. The EGFRs are type I transmembrane proteins that can sense and respond to extracellular signals, whose aberrant signaling is linked to a variety of disease. Taylor et al. showed the GNP-labelled protein as a ‘nano-rover’ that mapped the nano-topology of cellular features such as membrane terrains, filopodia and clathrin structures. They provided examples of subdiffusion and nanoscopic confinement motion of a protein in 3-D at high temporal resolution and long time-points. Cellular functions are dictated by the intricate motion of proteins in membranes that span across a scale of nanometers to micrometers, within a time-frame of microseconds to minutes. However, this rich parameter of space is inaccessible using fluorescence microscopy, although it is within reach of interferometric scattering (iSCAT) particle tracking. The new iSCAT technique is, however, highly sensitive to single and unlabelled proteins, thereby causing non-specific background staining as a substantial challenge during cellular imaging. , PLoS ONE Citation: Nanoscopic protein motion on a live cell membrane (2019, May 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-nanoscopic-protein-motion-cell-membrane.html Diffusion on the plasma membrane. (a), A lateral diffusional trajectory (17.5 μs exposure time, see color scale for chronology). (b), MSD (mean square displacement) versus τ. The blue curve shows the MSD of a. The black curve is simulated normal diffusion (α= 1), with the grey envelope indicating the uncertainty. (c), The diffusional exponent of rolling windows (color scale) over the trajectory. Regions of subdiffusion (α<1) are indicated by darker shades. (d), αi through time. The grey shading represents a mean uncertainty of 7 ± 4%, corresponding to a 95% confidence interval for a window of 100 ms (1,000 frames) and τ= 250 μs. The points marked with the asterisk correspond to the circle in c. (e), The step-direction Ci for rolling windows along the trajectory. (f), The step-direction Ci plotted through time, with the shading denoting uncertainty. (g), ATOM occupation plot with residency time (colour scale). The bin size corresponds to the localization error. Noteworthy regions of extended occupation, marked as loops and whirls (i)–(iii), are indicative of persistent nanoscopic structures. The enclosed region represents a dense patch of notable subdiffusion. Scale bars, 100 nm. Credit: Nature Photonics, doi: 10.1038/s41566-019-0414-6 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. Nanoscale magnetic imaging of ferritin in a single cell The scientists then assessed the popularity of each trajectory pixel in space by introducing an accumulated temporal occupancy map (ATOM). In this technique, they divided the lateral plane of the trajectory into nanometer-sized bins and counted the occurrence of the particle in each bin. The results indicated the arrangement of nanostructures in loops and whirls within a minimal lifetime of 250 nanoseconds (5000 frames) to potentially portray a pre-endocytic step. In total, the simulated observations showed how protein diffusion was affected by the substructure of the cell.The iSCAT microscopy technique allowed scientists to record effects for a very long period of time, which they used together with 3-D imaging capabilities to follow EGFRs on a filopodium. The filopodia are biologically rod-like cellular protrusions containing bundles of actin filaments of up to 100 to 300 nm in diameter and 100 µm in length. The nanostructures can sense mechanical stimuli for chemoattraction or repulsion in the cellular microenvironment while providing sites for cell attachment. Ligand binding and EFGR activation on filopodia occurred at low concentrations of EGF, followed by its association with actin filaments and retrograde transport of EFGR to the cell body. last_img read more