A company is facing three separate investigations

first_imgA company is facing three separate investigations after a wheelchair-user discovered that the reception desk of the hotel he was staying in was left unstaffed every night.Mahmood Qureshi only made the discovery after he had already spent a night in a wheelchair-accessible room at the Knighton Hotel (pictured) in Knighton, on the Welsh-English border.On his first night at the hotel – where he was staying during a visit to an international draughts competition – he booked an agency care worker to arrive at 9.30am, but she agreed to arrive earlier on the second morning.When he checked with the hotel staff that they would let her in at 6.30am the next morning, he was told that would not be possible because there were no staff at the front desk between midnight and 7am.Qureshi, who lives in Bradford, pointed out to hotel staff that he had high support needs and was staying with an older friend who was also disabled. If there was a fire, he said, he could be trapped in his room on the first floor.He said: “It was very dangerous. We were on the first floor, and there were… steps going down to reception.“Basically, we would be left to defend ourselves if there was a fire. I would have panicked, I wouldn’t have known what to do.”Following his two-day stay last October, he complained to Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, which has launched an investigation into the hotel’s fire safety procedures.The hotel is also being investigated by trading standards, and by Visit Wales, the Welsh government’s tourism team.A Welsh government spokeswoman said: “These allegations are very concerning.  “Visit Wales is in contact with the owners and hoping that these issues can be resolved quickly.”Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said there was an “ongoing investigation” into the concerns raised by Qureshi.And a spokesman for Powys council’s trading standards department confirmed that it was also carrying out an investigation into Qureshi’s concerns.Rowena Williams, director and owner of Rural Retreats and Leisure, which runs the Knighton Hotel and several other hotels in England and Wales, said Qureshi’s complaints were “completely unfounded” and “completely fictional with completely inaccurate information”.She said the hotel had a duty manager “on site”, but she confirmed that the hotel did not have a night porter and so the front desk was not staffed overnight.Her husband, Paul, said the hotel had a “sleepover manager” while “the building is manned 24 hours per day seven days per week”.He said: “In the event that a guest requires assistance out of hours, they just dial 0 from their room or the hotel number if they are not in the room, the call is then put straight through to the duty manager who is on for that evening. “This is common practice and is explained to all of our guests and is also outlined in the guest information booklet contained within each bedroom.”But he admitted: “It is true that we have been asked to modify our risk assessment and procedures but this is all that was requested following an inspection that was carried out on 13 November by the fire service.”Rowena Williams said that all the rooms had fire doors and that “the 20 stepped staircase [is] wheelchair compliant” [with wide enough steps to allow a wheelchair to sit on it] while a “risk assessment shows there is no serious risk”. She said: “The hotel is not being investigated by trading standards at all.  This is complete fabrication.”She added: “The fire brigade have raised no major issues but minor issues that have been dealt with as a matter of course.”last_img read more

The House of Commons will again take control of pa

first_imgThe House of Commons will again take control of parliamentary business and hold a second round of ‘indicative votes’ today to try to establish which Brexit plan has the most support.Ahead of the debate, MPs have tabled eight (or nine) Brexit options – double the number tabled last week.Labour is supporting the following motions:(C), customs union membership(D), Common Market 2.0(E), confirmatory public vote(F), public vote to prevent no dealLabour’s alternative Brexit deal (not on the order paper as it was tabled late)Speaker Bercow is very likely to choose motions (C) and (E), which received the most support on Wednesday. It is then a question of whether he will allow MPs to vote on (D) – Common Market 2.0, which now has Labour and SNP backing – and Labour’s alternative deal.The Tories are being given a free vote, apart from cabinet members who are being told to abstain.Update, 5pm: Bercow has selected motions (C), customs union; (D), Common Market 2.0; (E), confirmatory public vote; and (G), Article 50 extension/revocation.Here’s a quick guide to all the tabled motions…(A) Unilateral right of exit from backstopJohn Baron, Andrew PercyAgrees to leave with May’s deal on 22nd May – amended to allow the UK to unilateral exit from the backstop. This was motion (C) last week; it was not selected.(B) No deal in the absence of a Withdrawal AgreementJohn Baron, Sir David AmessWould see the UK leave without a deal on 12th April. This was motion (B) last week – it was defeated by 240 votes and isn’t likely to be selected today.(C) Customs UnionKenneth Clarke, Hilary BennWants to make customs union membership a negotiating objective and enshrine that in law. This was motion (J) last week and the slimmest defeat – only rejected by six votes. It is likely to get a majority today.(D) Common Market 2.0Nick Boles, Lucy PowellDirects government to renegotiate the political declaration: the UK would join EFTA, stay in EEA and single market, enter a customs arrangement until Irish border solution is found. It’s the Norway Plus/CM2.0 plan.This was motion (D) last week. It was defeated by 95 votes then, but today the SNP has pledged to support it. Tricky for Labour MPs who don’t want to back freedom of movement, but if selected could attract significantly more votes than last time.(E) Confirmatory public votePeter Kyle, Phil WilsonSays any deal should be put to the people in public vote. This was Margarett Beckett’s motion (M) last week, which surprised many when it got the most votes in favour. But it was defeated by 27 votes (more than Clarke’s customs union).Three shadow cabinet members were not disciplined after abstaining despite being whipped to vote for it, and there aren’t many more votes to get for another referendum. Suggests it will do well but not much better today compared to last week.(F) Public vote to prevent no dealGraham P Jones, Dominic GrieveBacks a public vote only if it were necessary to avoid no deal. Supported by Labour today.(G) Parliamentary SupremacyJoanna Cherry, Dominic GrieveInstructs government to seek Article 50 extension if ‘no deal’ is two days away. If extension is refused by the EU, Commons must vote on no deal versus revoke Article 50. Lots of signatories but not supported by Labour.(H) EFTA and EEAGeorge Eustice, Jack DromeyThe more Tory version of Common Market 2.0. EEA and EFTA but not the customs arrangement of motion (D). This was motion (H) last week, defeated by 312 votes. Unlikely to be selected.Bonus: LabourList understands that Labour is tabling a motion setting out its own alternative Brexit plan. It is likely to be the same as last week’s motion, which consisted of Corbyn’s five-point Brexit plan (customs union membership, close alignment with single market, etc).Tags:Labour /Brexit /customs union /Common Market 2.0 /Indicative votes /last_img read more

Jeremy Corbyn has called on Boris Johnson to ban f

first_imgJeremy Corbyn has called on Boris Johnson to ban fracking “immediately”, as fresh research by Labour reveals that the UK’s 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target would otherwise be impossible to meet.Ahead of a visit to energy firm Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Lancashire, where environmental activists are demonstrating, Corbyn accused the government of allowing fossil fuel companies to ignore ecological concerns in their pursuit of profit.“Instead of bending the knee to a few corporations who profit from extracting fossil fuels from the ground, we need to change course now,” the Labour leader said. “It’s the next generation and the world’s poorest who will pay the price if this Conservative government continues to put the interests of a few polluters ahead of people.”In his first speech to parliament as Prime Minister, Johnson promised to lead the world in delivering a carbon-neutral country by 2050, but has previously embraced the fracking boom as “glorious news for humanity”, while describing climate change as a “primitive fear” that is “without foundation”.New analysis conducted by Labour shows that the government’s target will be impossible to reach if the UK exploits its entire shale gas reserve. Hydraulic fracturing, which blasts porous gas-bearing rocks with tons of chemicals, sand and water, has also been linked to increased risks of cancer, asthma and birth defects. Cuadrilla’s fracking site near Blackpool was repeatedly forced to suspend work for causing earth tremors that surpassed the 0.5-magnitude limit.The Labour leader has renewed the party’s commitment to a transformative economic programme that tackles both inequality and the climate crisis.He commented: “Tackling the climate emergency cannot be left to the free market. Labour will ban fracking and our Green Industrial Revolution will face the climate emergency head-on and leave no community behind, transforming our country’s energy supply and creating 400,000 good, well-paid jobs across the country.”Beyond motions related to Brexit, the conference motion drafted by campaign group Labour for a Green New Deal is thought to be the most popular policy proposal among local parties.If passed, it would mean Labour’s highest policy-making body approves of bringing the net-zero emissions target forward to 2030.The plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’, led by John McDonnell and Rebecca Long-Bailey, could form the central plank of an early election campaign.Tags:Boris Johnson /Labour /Fracking /Jeremy Corbyn /last_img read more

From the Archives After the Apollo Program Ended NASA Settled on a

first_imgPhotograph by Dan Winters Sign up for free access Enter your email address Subscribe Why am I seeing this? You’ve read your last free article Sign UpI agree to the terms and conditions. When the Shuttle Was YoungBy Gregory CurtisFrom “Behind the Lines,” originally published in January 1984The glory of the space program is that in fifty years we have gone from setting off rockets with matches to sending up laboratories where six men can live for ten days and return to Earth as gently as a jetliner pulls into DFW. The shuttle’s takeoff is an exhilarating spectacle because it is incontrovertible proof that all the problems that stood in its way were solved by human energy and intelligence.Capitalizing on the Right StuffBy Helen ThorpeFrom “Can John Glenn Do It Again?,” originally published in October 1998It is easy to understand why John Glenn wants to go back into space. But why would NASA, a multibillion-dollar agency with important things to do, want to send him? Like John Glenn, NASA itself longs for a return to its former glory days. Employees dream like fading starlets of future leading roles, above all, a manned mission to the Red Planet. Getting anybody there would be a monumental undertaking and would cost billions. How better to generate public support for such a quest than to remind the nation of the first time it fell head over heels for an astronaut? One Giant Step for LogisticsBy Stephen HarriganFrom “Heaven & Earth,” originally published in April 2003Spaceflight has changed in ways that have inevitably leached some of the glamour away. The shuttle is a vehicle less for exploratory voyaging than for near-shore exploitation of space. Its primary job these days is the servicing and maintenance of the International Space Station. Compared with the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María, the shuttle is more like a crew boat ferrying personnel and supplies to an offshore drilling platform. When those supplies are unloaded in the weightlessness of space, astronauts, like grocery stockers, keep track of the inventory with bar code readers. In orbit, they receive a per diem of just $2.The United Colors of NASABy Al ReinertFrom “The Last Blast,” originally published in April 2011More than 350 people have now gone into space on the 133 space shuttle missions, and they represent our species probably better than we deserve. There have been female commanders and farmworker’s sons, schoolteachers, heart surgeons, senators, astronomers, biologists, geologists, psychologists, jet pilots, and enough engineers to construct a space station the size of a shopping mall. And that’s just the Americans. [They have been joined] over the years by the citizens of fifteen other countries, from Mexico and Switzerland to Israel, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, men and women who took salsa music and sashimi into outer space and gave other cultures a taste of the dream. Hope you enjoyed your free ride. To get back in the saddle, subscribe! Never Miss a StorySign up for Texas Monthly’s State of Texas newsletter to get stories like this delivered to your inbox daily.center_img The State of Texas(Daily)A daily digest of Texas news, plus the latest from Texas Monthly Last Name Already a subscriber? Login or link your subscription. This Week in Texas(Weekly)The best stories from Texas Monthly First Name If you fill out the first name, last name, or agree to terms fields, you will NOT be added to the newsletter list. Leave them blank to get signed up. Editor’s Desk(Monthly)A message from the editors at Texas Monthly Subscribe now, or to get 10 days of free access, sign up with your email. Cancel anytime.last_img read more

Halfback Fairclough has joined Swinton whilst Coo

first_imgHalf-back Fairclough has joined Swinton whilst Cooper will link up with Whitehaven.The duo have made the move to gain regular game time.last_img

National Forensic Science Week Inside look of WPD crime lab

first_img WPD says it hosts some of the most state of the art tests compared to neighboring law enforcement agencies.It’s national forensic science week and the department is showing off these tools to the public. The lab helps law enforcement agencies in multiple nearby counties with drug and blood alcohol processing.“It’s so important with the taxpayers they pay for what we do and so we’re accountable to them,” Bethany Pridgen, forensic lab director, said. “We’re busy and the public is busy so to have that opportunity to hit the pause button and say hey here’s what we’re doing and here’s how proud we are and how good we are is a great opportunity.”Related Article: Criminal summons issued for David Eason of “Teen Mom 2”Wilmington Police will also host a night for students on Wednesday and kids safety event Thursday.To RSVP  to events, which are first-come, first-served, contact Kim Breeden at 910-409-9484 or kim.breeden@wilmingtonnc.gov. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If you are a fan of forensic files or other crime dramas the Wilmington Police Department is letting neighbors see first hand how they process crime scene evidence.The department hosted a crime lab tour this afternoon. The lab has gone from one to 15 employees since 2009.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Turkey Drive collected enough food money to feed 71k

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Last week we told you about the Street Turkey Food Drive to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, now the numbers are in.The event racked up more than $13,000 pounds of food donations and more than $12,000 in monetary donations.- Advertisement – That will enable the food bank to provide a total of more than 71,000 meals to those in need.Thank you to everyone who helped feed the hungry this holiday season.last_img

Plungin for Purpose still set for New Years Day on Wrightsville Beach

first_imgPolar Plunge. (PHOTO: WWAY) WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) –  Wrightsville Beach is expecting another great turnout for its beach plunge on New Year’s Day.Like in years past, this year they are “plungin’ for a purpose”. The 3rd annual Wrightsville plunge benefits Communities in Schools of Cape Fear, which works to help keep kids in school, and on the path to graduation.- Advertisement – Prep gets underway around 10:30 with the plunge set for noon over near The Oceanic.Surf City plans to still have their Dolphin Dip Extravaganza but Holden Beach has canceled their event due to weather.The temperature for when they hit the water on Wrightsville Beach are forecast to be around freezing.Related Article: Blockade Runner closes until spring due to extensive storm damagelast_img read more

Roundabout proposed to improve crossroads outside Dublin

first_img The NCDOT says roundabouts would improve safety and decrease traffic delays because the design eliminates the stop-and-go nature of a four way stop.Interested residents may learn more at a public open house from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 13. It will be held at Bladen Community College. NCDOT representatives will be available to answer questions and collect comments about the proposed project. Comments may also be submitted until February 27.For additional information or to submit comments about the proposal, contact Sean Matuszewski, NCDOT Project Engineer, at (910) 364-0603 or at spmatuszewski@ncdot.gov.Related Article: Driver in critical condition after rollover crash (Photo: NCDOT) BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Department of Transportation is holding an open house in February to discuss a proposed roundabout outside of Dublin.The roundabout would be built where NC 410 and NC 41 cross with an all-way stop.- Advertisement – last_img read more

NCDEQ planning public hearings for two plants requesting methyl bromide permits

first_img The EPA says methyl bromide, which is used as a pesticide, can be toxic and can damage the ozone layer.According to documents, Malec Brothers Transport wants to emit up to 140 tons of methyl bromide a year. Malec Brothers would be a new international wood transporter facility in the area.The comment period for Malec Brothers’s permit ended on March 17, but because of an increased public interest in methyl bromide, there will be a whole new comment period, NCDEQ said.Related Article: County bans unvaccinated minors in public as measles spreadsTIMA Capital wants a permit that would allow the release of up to 90 tons of methy bromide annually. The NCDEQ says TIMA’s actual emissions would be somewhere between 30 and 60 tons a year, but they theoretically could emit up to 90 tons if they operated around the clock.Michael Pjetraj, Deputy Director for the Division of Air Quality, says they are not going to issue a permit unless the facility complies with the terms of the permit. In this case, the permit has a number of monitoring conditions included. Pjetraj says they have discussed these internally and with other states to ensure there is no impact with anyone in the surrounding area.Pjetraj says the facility has to do monitoring at the boundary of its property when releasing fumigant. The monitoring has to demonstrate 0 ppm of the fumigant is measured, meaning the methyl bromide is effectively dispersed enough that there should not be any adverse effects.The NCDEQ says there are a handful of other fumigation facilities in our area that are considered synthetic minor facilities, which means they emit less than 10 tons a year.No word yet on when or where these public hearings will take place. We will keep you updated. SOUTHEASTERN NC (WWAY) — People who live in Wilmington and Columbus County will get the chance to learn more about the emission of methyl bromide in upcoming public hearings.Two companies have requested Title V permits. They are Malec Brothers Transport, which wants to build a fumigation facility in the Acme Delco area of Columbus County, and TIMA Capital, the company that wants to take over Royal Pest Solutions on Sunnyvale Drive in Wilmington.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Lane Closures begin Sunday night near the Isabel Holmes Bridge

first_imgWILMINGTON – Drivers traveling on the U.S. 74 Bridge/ Martin Luther King Boulevard over the Northeast Cape Fear River in New Hanover County will likely encounter intermittent lane closures beginning on Sunday night.This work will be performed in the vicinity of the Isabel Holmes Bridge. The closures are needed so N.C. Department of Transportation crews can safely replace expansion joints. Expansion joints enable the bridge to expand in hot weather and contract in cold weather. In doing so, the expansion joints prevent the bridge from buckling and prolong the life of the structure.- Advertisement – Starting Sunday, the closures will be in place from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly until Aug. 31. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times.Motorists are urged to slow down and drive carefully through the work zone and expect possible delays.last_img read more

North Carolina Rice Festival has a new home

first_imgLELAND, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Rice Festival now has a new home in Leland. For the last three years, the annual event has been held in Belville at the Brunswick Riverwalk.The Leland Tourism Development Authority announced they recently purchased the name, logo, and intellectual property of the festival from the estate of WC Lanier.- Advertisement – Lanier was the former festival owner and promoter who in 2014 had a vision for a rice festival in this area of North Carolina. He died on May 15.“Our goal is to host a festival that is fun, with great food and entertainment, while also providing a historical and cultural experience,” said Jackie Harlow, Tourism & Marketing Coordinator for the Town of Leland/Leland TDA. “We would like to educate attendees about the history of rice cultivation in the region and the story of the people, including the Gullah Geechee, who grew the rice and developed a unique, vibrant culture which we hope to celebrate together.”The festival’s new direction will expand events from one day to three, change venues, and move to a new date.Related Article: WPD: Two men hit same victim’s car within minutes, drove awayThe NC Rice Festival will now take place the first weekend in March, beginning in 2019.  Festivities will begin with an opening reception on Friday, March 1, 2019 at the Leland Cultural Arts Center, continue with day-long festival activities in Leland Municipal Park and Town Hall on Saturday, March 2, 2019 and will conclude with area community events on Sunday, March 3, 2019.“The North Carolina Rice Festival is the type of destination event the Leland TDA has been looking for,” said Michael Callahan, Leland TDA Board Chair. “It’s an opportunity to draw tourists, build community relations, and explore the history of Leland and the surrounding area, with the potential to grow into a large-scale event in the future. We’re excited to promote the NC Rice Festival and share the heritage and culture unique to this part of Southeastern North Carolina.”last_img read more

Youth pleads not guilty to hitandrun in Ħal Luqa

first_img <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrint A youth has plead not guilty to a hit-and-run incident that took place in Ħal Luqa on Sunday.The 25 year-old youth from Msida is accused of allegedly running over and injuring a 27 year-old from Santa Venera, at 9PM in Ħal Luqa.The latter male in question, is the ex-boyfriend of the accused’s 19 year old girlfriend.According to testimony given in court, the accused was stopped by police in Msida close to junior college.The accused pled not guilty to injuring the victim in a serious way, to driving recklessly or to causing damage to third party property which included three vehicles; a Mercedes, Skoda and Peugeot.The prosecuting officer Paul Camilleri explained that the the alleged victim had been calling the girlfriend of the accused several times and had even when the latter had changed her number. The last known call is understood to have taken place on Sunday when the accused allegedly hit the victim.Magistrate Simone Grech upheld the request for bail against a fee of 500 euro, as well as a personal guarantee of 2,500 euro. The accused has also been issued a curfew of between 7.30PM and 6AM. The victim has also been issued a protection order.WhatsApplast_img read more

Office 2010S First Service Pack Now Up For Download

first_imgAdvertisement The service pack contains mostly bug fixes and small, incremental upgrades, as opposed to new features.Microsoft timed the release to coincide with the formal debut of Office 365. You can read about the launch of Office 365 here, and find a plain explanation of just what Office 365 is and how it compares to Office 2010 here.Office 2010 is the fastest selling version of Office ever, something that Microsoft wants to maintain. Whether this service pack will provide any sort of boost to sales remains an open question. TNW has long been bullish and positive on Office 2010. When it first came out, we had this to say on it: – Advertisement – If you’ve not yet used Office 2010, you should.  I’ve been beta testing the productivity suite for a number of months, and while I have my gripes (who doesn’t?) it’s truly the best Office yet.Now, users worldwide can get their hands on to Microsoft’s golden child, including Visio 2010 and Project 2010 as well.Oh, a small warning: the service pack is between 300 and 400 megabytes, depending on which version you need, so you might want to get started downloading it.Source: Thenextweblast_img read more

Orange Kenya Introduces Wireless Device for Desktops

first_imgAdvertisement Orange Kenya has launched a wireless device for desktop computers, costing KSh5,000 (US$57). The device which is called Huawei FP2255 makes use of a standard RUIM card similar to those found in conventional mobile phones and will eliminate the need for extensive wiring in the office.Mickael Ghossein, Orange Kenya chief executive officer (CEO), said the desktop will complement the existing office communication equipment.“This wireless desktop phone offers the mobility and advanced features of wireless technology and the functionality of a landline phone,” said Ghossein. “This means that the device is capable of operating independently of any other device or system, confirming its ease of use.”Orange insists the fixed line solution still has a future in Kenya despite the apparent over-reliance on mobile networks.Ghossein said: “Looking at developed economies as a gauge of the direction that telecommunications in developing countries will go, we see that fixed line telecommunication is the backbone of telecommunications, both for domestic and business purposes. “Mobile telecommunication is a very strong complementary solution.” – Advertisement – The new introductions are part of the company’s reduced reliance on copper wire for communications as the infrastructure continues to fall victim to vandalism, while reliance on fibre optic has seen challenges from fibre cuts.[related-posts]Among features in the new desktop phone include a phone book with 500 entries, a calendar, calculator and an alarm clock.The desktop phone can also connect to the internet and allows users to send SMSs.Credit: humanipolast_img read more

US China in talks over potential cyberspace armscontrol deal

first_imgAdvertisement Could cyber attacks one day be governed by treaties like those limiting the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons? The US and China are reportedly taking a first step in that direction.The countries are discussing a mutual promise not to launch a first-strike attack with cyber weapons on the other country’s critical infrastructure, such as power plants, hospitals and banks, The New York Times reported Saturday.The talks are geared toward producing a deal that would be announced next week during China President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the US, the Times said, citing unnamed officials involved in the negotiations. – Advertisement – Such an announcement might not mention an official rule barring attacks on critical systems, a Times source said. Rather, it could involve a general embrace of a United Nations code of conduct that spells out nonbinding “principles of responsible behavior” regarding the use of cyber weapons like malicious software.Nonetheless, the UN guidelines single out attacks on critical infrastructure as the “most harmful,” and the negotiations could evolve into the first-ever arms-control deal for cyberspace, the Times said.[related-posts]The news comes amid increased tension between the US and China over hacking and cyber spying. In June, the FBI said it suspected Chinese hackers of an attack on the US government’s personnel office that compromised the data of millions of current and former federal workers. And in August, officials with the Obama administration told The Washington Post that the US was developing a range of “unprecedented” economic sanctions against China over online espionage.The deal under discussion wouldn’t prohibit such spying, or the theft of intellectual property, but it would, the Times said, “be a first effort by the world’s two biggest economic powers to prevent the most catastrophic use of cyber weapons.” It’s not clear, though, how effective a cyber weapons treaty would be, the Times noted. Unlike a missile strike, a cyber attack can be tough to track, making deterrence and retaliation difficult.“It could create some self-restraint,” a Harvard professor who studies US power told the Times, but “how do you verify it, and what is its value if it can’t be verified?”The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the Times report.[CNET]last_img read more

German court rules against use of Facebook Like button

first_imgA German court has ruled against an online shopping site’s use of Facebook’s “like” button on Wednesday, March 09, 2016. Image Credit: Metro Advertisement A German court has ruled against an online shopping site‘s use of Facebook’s “like” button on Wednesday, dealing a further legal blow to the world’s biggest social network in Germany.The Duesseldorf district court said that retailer Peek & Cloppenburg failed to obtain proper consent before transmitting its users’ computer identities to Facebook, violating Germany’s data protection law and giving the retailer a commercial advantage.The court found in favor of the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Association, which had complained that Peek & Cloppenburg’s Fashion ID website had grabbed user data and sent it to Facebook before shoppers had decided whether to click on the “like” button or not. – Advertisement – “A mere link to a data protection statement at the foot of the website does not constitute an indication that data are being or are about to be processed,” the court said.Peek & Cloppenburg faces a penalty of up to $275,400 (92,5344,000 UGX) or six months’ detention for a manager.The case comes on the heels of a January ruling by Germany’s highest court against Facebook’s “friend finder” feature and an announcement last week by Germany’s competition regulator that it was investigating Facebook for suspected abuse of market power with regard to data protection laws.Facebook’s ability to target advertising, helped by features such as its “like” button, drove a 52 percent revenue jump in the final quarter of 2015.Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, is one of the world’s strictest enforcers of data protection laws and its citizens have a high sensibility to privacy issues.“The ruling has fundamental significance for the assessment of the legality of the ‘like’ function with respect to data protection,” said lawyer Sebastian Meyer, who represented the consumer group in the case.“Companies should put pressure on the social network to adapt the ‘like’ function to the prevailing law.”The association has also warned hotel portal HRS, Nivea maker Beiersdorf, shopping loyalty program Payback, ticketing company Eventim and fashion retailer KiK about similar use of the “like” button.[related-posts]It said that four of those had since changed their practices. A first hearing in a case it has brought against Payback is due in a Munich court in May.Peek & Cloppenburg said that it had changed its deployment of the “like” button last year and now required users to activate social media before sharing data with Facebook. It said it would wait for the court’s written reasons for its judgment before deciding whether to appeal.A Facebook spokesman said: “This case is specific to a particular website and the way they have sought consent from their users in the past.“The Like button, like many other features that are used to enhance websites, is an accepted, legal and important part of the Internet, and this ruling does not change that.”[Reuters]last_img read more


first_imgWelcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Saturday 7 December12.20 SandownVibrato Valtat 2/1 > 13/812.30 AintreeMystery Drama 2/1 > 13/81.50 SandownTaquin Du Seuil 3/1 > 11/42.05 AintreeVesper Belle 14/1 > 10/1 Rose Of The Moon 28/1 > 16/12.40 AintreeWayward Prince 8/1 > 6/13.00 SandownSire De Grugy 9/4 > 7/47.50 WolverhamptonOutlawed 9/4 > 5/4FOOTBALLGood money for WBA 5/6 > 8/11 v NorwichMan U and Liverpool also well backed.What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img read more

Djerejian available to comment on Middle East developments

first_imgShareEXPERT ALERTJeff Falk713-348-6775david@rice.eduDjerejian available to comment on Middle East developmentsHOUSTON – (Jan. 7, 2014) – Edward Djerejian, founding director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Israel, is available to comment on the latest developments in the Middle East, specifically the Syrian civil war, Lebanon, Iraq, the activities of Islamic extremists and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent efforts to broker a Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. In November, Djerejian traveled to Israel, where he met with Israeli and Palestinian policymakers and scholars to discuss recommendations for achieving a peace agreement.EDWARD DJEREJIANAccording to news reports, the recent security situations in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq have deteriorated greatly. Kerry visited the Middle East over the weekend, his 10th time since taking office. His visit included meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah.Djerejian is a leading expert on the complex political, security, economic, religious and ethnic issues of the Middle East and South Asia. He served in the U.S. Foreign Service under eight presidents, from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton. Prior to his nomination by Clinton as U.S. ambassador to Israel, he was assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in both the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations. He also led the Baker Institute’s U.S.-Syria academic and policy dialogue from 2002 to 2005.Djerejian is also the author of the book “Danger and Opportunity: An American Ambassador’s Journey Through the Middle East.”The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Djerejian. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.-30-Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Djerejian on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EdwardDjerejian @edwarddjerejianDjerejian biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/experts/edward-p-djerejian/Photo courtesy: Rice University’s Baker InstituteFounded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.  AddThislast_img read more

Rice takes deeper look at unconventional oil and gas

first_imghttp://news.rice.edu/files/2017/02/0213_NMR-5a-web-1c3nz4o.jpgSimulations created by Rice University engineers will help them understand the effect of confinement on dipolar relaxation, a critical factor in interpreting nuclear magnetic resonance data. The image here is of heptane molecules in a nanotube. The study is a preliminary step toward understanding dipolar relaxation of fluids confined in the chemically and structurally heterogeneous kerogen matrix in oil shale. (Credit: Dilip Asthagiri/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview. AddThis http://news.rice.edu/files/2017/02/0213_NMR-1-web-zhtdi2.jpgRice University research scientist Philip Singer holds kerogen, a component of oil shale, extracted and compressed for study into a pellet. Because natural gas escapes from kerogen at atmospheric pressure, the Rice lab reloads it with gas at pressures up to 5,000 psi and then probes it with a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. The results are used to validate molecular simulations that may someday help characterize wells before their hydrocarbons are extracted. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University) http://news.rice.edu/files/2017/02/0213_NMR-3-web-r9ikob.jpgRice University researchers, from left, George Hirasaki, Philip Singer, Walter Chapman and Dilip Asthagiri are integrating molecular dynamics simulations and nuclear magnetic resonance to help make extraction of hydrocarbons from deep oil shale formations more efficient. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University) Share6Editor’s note: Links to high-resolution images for download appear at the end of this release. David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduRice takes deeper look at unconventional oil and gas Rice University engineers enhance methods to characterize deposits, potential for extraction HOUSTON – (Feb. 9, 2017) – Understanding how oil and gas molecules, water and rocks interact at the nanoscale will help make extraction of hydrocarbons through hydraulic fracturing more efficient, according to Rice University researchers.Rice engineers George Hirasaki and Walter Chapman are leading an effort to better characterize the contents of organic shale by combining standard nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) – the same technology used by hospitals to see inside human bodies – with molecular dynamics simulations.Rice research scientist Philip Singer holds kerogen, a component of oil shale, extracted and compressed for study into a pellet. Because natural gas escapes from kerogen at atmospheric pressure, the Rice lab reloads it with gas at pressures up to 5,000 psi and then probes it with a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. The results are used to validate molecular simulations that may someday help characterize wells before their hydrocarbons are extracted. Photo by Jeff FitlowThe work presented this month in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance details their method to analyze shale samples and validate simulations that may help producers determine how much oil and/or gas exist in a formation and how difficult they may be to extract.Oil and gas drillers use NMR to characterize rock they believe contains hydrocarbons. NMR manipulates the hydrogen atoms’ nuclear magnetic moments, which can be forced to align by an applied external magnetic field. After the moments are perturbed by radio-frequency electromagnetic pulses, they “relax” back to their original orientation, and NMR can detect that. Because relaxation times differ depending on the molecule and its environment, the information gathered by NMR can help identify whether a molecule is gas, oil or water and the critical size of the pores that contain them.“This is their eyes and ears for knowing what’s down there,” said Hirasaki, who said NMR instruments are among several tools in the string sent downhole to “log,” or gather information, about a well.In conventional reservoirs, he said, the NMR log can distinguish gas, oil and water and quantify the amounts of each contained in the pores of the rock from their relaxation times — known as T1 and T2 — as well as the diffusivity of the fluids.A sample of oil shale, left, and a kerogen pellet, right, extracted from shale by Rice engineers. Photo by Jeff Fitlow“If the rock is water-wet, then oil will relax at rates close to that of bulk oil, while water will have a surface-relaxation time that is a function of the pore size,” Hirasaki said. “This is because water is relaxed by sites at the water/mineral interface and the ratio of the mineral surface area to water volume is larger in smaller pores. The diffusivity is inversely proportional to the viscosity of the fluid. Thus gas is easily distinguished from oil and water by measuring diffusivity simultaneously with the T2 relaxation time.“In unconventional reservoirs, both T1 and T2 relaxation times of water and oil are short and have considerable overlap,” he said. “Also the T1/T2 ratio can become very large in the smallest pores. The diffusivity is restricted by the nanometer-to-micron size of the pores. Thus it is a challenge to determine if the signal is from gas, oil or water.”Hirasaki said there is debate on whether the short relaxation times in shale are due to paramagnetic sites on mineral surfaces and asphaltene aggregates and/or due to the restricted motion of the molecules confined in small pores. “We don’t have an answer yet, but this study is the first step,” he said.“The development of technology to drill horizontal wells and apply multiple hydraulic fractures (up to about 50) is what made oil and gas production commercially viable from unconventional resources,” Hirasaki said. “These resources were previously known as the ‘source rock,’ from which oil and gas found in conventional reservoirs had originated and migrated. The source rock was too tight for commercial production using conventional technology.”Simulations created by Rice engineers will help them understand the effect of confinement on dipolar relaxation, a critical factor in interpreting nuclear magnetic resonance data. The image here is of heptane molecules in a nanotube. The study is a preliminary step toward understanding dipolar relaxation of fluids confined in the chemically and structurally heterogeneous kerogen matrix in oil shale. Illustration by Dilip AsthagiriFluids pumped downhole to fracture a horizontal well contain water, chemicals and sand that keeps the fracture “propped” open after the injection stops. The fluids are then pumped out to make room for the hydrocarbons to flow.But not all the water sent downhole comes back. Often the chemical composition of the organic component of shale known as kerogen has an affinity that allows water molecules to bind and block the nanoscale pores that would otherwise let oil and gas molecules through.“Kerogen is the organic material that resisted biodegradation during deep burial,” Hirasaki said. “When it gets to a certain temperature, the molecules start cracking and make hydrocarbon liquids. Higher temperature makes methane (natural gas). But the fluids are in pores that are so tight the technology developed for conventional reservoirs doesn’t apply anymore.”The Rice project managed by lead author Philip Singer, a research scientist in Hirasaki’s lab, and co-author Dilip Asthagiri, a research scientist in Chapman’s lab, a lecturer and director of Rice’s Professional Master’s in Chemical Engineering program, applies NMR to kerogen samples and compares it to computer models that simulate how the substances interact, particularly in terms of material’s wettability, its affinity for binding to water, gas or oil molecules.“NMR is very sensitive to fluid-surface interactions,” Singer said. “With shale, the complication we’re dealing with is the nanoscale pores. The NMR signal changes dramatically compared with measuring conventional rocks, in which pores are larger than a micron. So to understand what the NMR is telling us in shale, we need to simulate the interactions down to the nanoscale.”Rice researchers, from left, George Hirasaki, Philip Singer, Walter Chapman and Dilip Asthagiri. Photo by Jeff FitlowThe simulations mimic the molecules’ known relaxation properties and reveal how they move in such a restrictive environment. When matched with NMR signals, they help interpret conditions downhole. That knowledge could also lead to fracking fluids that are less likely to bind to the rock, improving the flow of hydrocarbons, Hirasaki said.“If we can verify with measurements in the laboratory how fluids in highly confined or viscous systems behave, then we’ll be able to use the same types of models to describe what’s happening in the reservoir itself,” he said.One goal is to incorporate the simulations into iSAFT — inhomogeneous Statistical Associating Fluid Theory — a pioneering method developed by Chapman and his group to simulate the free energy landscapes of complex materials and analyze their microstructures, surface forces, wettability and morphological transitions.“Our results challenge approximations in models that have been used for over 50 years to interpret NMR and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) data,” Chapman said. “Now that we have established the approach, we hope to explain results that have baffled scientists for years.”Chapman is the William W. Akers Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and associate dean for energy in the George R. Brown School of Engineering. Hirasaki is the A.J. Hartsook Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.The Rice University Consortium on Processes in Porous Media supported the research, with computing resources supplied by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin.-30-Read the paper at www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090780717300319Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated materials:Consortium for Processes in Porous Media: (Hirasaki group): http://porousmedia.rice.eduChapman Research Group: www.ruf.rice.edu/~saft/chapman.htmRice Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering: https://chbe.rice.eduImages for download: http://news.rice.edu/files/2017/02/0213_NMR-2-web-x5ck4g.jpgA sample of oil shale, left, and a kerogen pellet, right, extracted from shale by Rice University engineers. Rice researchers are building simulations based on samples from unconventional, organic shale formations that can help predict how much oil and gas a well might produce and how best to extract it. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University) http://news.rice.edu/files/2017/02/0213_NMR-4-web-1j1kx38.jpgRice University research scientist Philip Singer places kerogen pellets into a nuclear magnetic resonance instrument to analyze its hydrocarbon content and match the results to simulations. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)last_img read more