Scalable wind turbine might fit on your roof

first_img Explore further When you think of wind power, you probably picture gigantic wind turbines spinning gracefully in the middle of large open areas. 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. Citation: Scalable wind turbine might fit on your roof (2008, May 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-05-scalable-turbine-roof.html But an entrepreneur from Fullerton, California, has invented a new wind turbine design that is smaller, scalable, and could potentially fit on the roofs of homes like a long satellite antenna. Rather than a single giant rotor with 50-foot-long blades, Doug Selsam´s “Sky Serpent” design uses several small rotors attached to a single shaft. By placing the rotors in precise positions and angles, each rotor can harvest its own wind, and avoid simply stealing the wake from the adjacent rotor. The entire turbine is hooked up to a single generator, which produces about the same amount of power as a turbine that uses 10 times as much blade material, Selsam says.The shaft that holds the rotors can vary in length, and use any number and size of rotors, depending on its application. The rotors can even be mounted on poles that are light enough to be hand-held or attached to the roof of a house. Using ten 18-inch rotors, for example, one Sky Serpent model can generate between 100 and 400 watts, depending on wind speed.Selsam has been working on the Sky Serpent design since 1999, with support from a $75,000 grant from the California Energy Commission. Working out of his garage and doing tests in a makeshift wind tunnel, he´s built a seven-rotor turbine that can generate 3,000 watts, as well as a dual-rotor turbine that generates 2,000 watts. He´s already sold 20 of the 2,000-watt devices to homeowners. Another 3,000-watt prototype uses 25 rotors, where the shaft is attached to the ground at one end and held in the sky by a balloon at the other. In another concept, the turbine can float near the surface of water, its shaft and propellers extended in the air over the open ocean.In the early ´80s, Selsam attended classes at but never graduated from the University of California at Irvine. However, his multi-rotor designs have received positive feedback from former General Electric turbine tester Brent Scheibel, who now runs a wind-testing facility in Tehachapi, California. “Doug´s idea is one of the very, very few that I´ve seen that actually has a strong chance of making strides into the commercial world,” Scheibel said in an interview with Popular Science.As the wind turbine industry grows by more than 40 percent per year, Selsam hopes that the simple Sky Serpent design will simplify the manufacturing, transportation, and installation compared with conventional turbines – as well as provide more energy and be less of an eyesore.via: Popular Science, Tech.Blorge.com, and SpeakerFactory.net (Left) Doug Selsam with a prototype 25-rotor turbine that can generate 3,000 watts, while the other end is held up by a balloon. Credit: Popular Science. (Right) Selsam holds a model with 14-inch rotors that can power the 50-watt headlight at his feet. Credit: SpeakerFactory.net. Three things to know as Germany opens massive ocean wind parklast_img read more

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Researchers find some plants get their nitrogen from fungi that kill insects

first_img Citation: Researchers find some plants get their nitrogen from fungi that kill insects (2012, June 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-06-nitrogen-fungi-insects.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. After noting that a prior team of researchers had found that white pine trees got some of their nitrogen from fungus living in their roots that had obtained the nitrogen by killing springtails, the team wondered if perhaps many other plants did the same. To find out, they chose two random but common plants, haricot beans and switchgrass.First they fed waxmoth larve a diet rich in a non-common type of nitrogen; nitrogen-15, so as to be able to distinguish it from the nitrogen that would normally be found in the plants. Next they infected the soil near the roots of the plants with Metarhizium, a very common type of fungi that is known to kill insects by releasing an enzyme that eats its way through the outer shell allowing the bug inside to be easily devoured. Then, they buried the infected larvae in the soil among the plant roots, along with a mesh to prevent the roots of the plants from reaching past the infected soil to soil that had been enriched with nitrogen through normal bacterial decomposition.Two weeks later they tested the plants and found that the nitrogen in the beans was 28% nitrogen-15, and 32% in the switchgrass, proving that the plants had obtained at least some of their nitrogen from the fungi that had in turn got it from killing the enriched larvae. The chain was complete.Because they used both common plants and fungi, the team believes their results show that such nitrogen chains: insects-fungi-plants, are likely very common. They say more research is needed however, to determine if the chain they created in the lab is just as prevalent in the wild. © 2012 Phys.Org Explore further Journal information: Sciencecenter_img Fungi important in Arctic nitrogen cycle Cockroach killed by Metarhizium anisopliae. Image: Chengshu Wang and Yuxian Xia, via Wikipedia. (Phys.org) — We’ve all grown up with stories of plants that capture, kill and eat insects; the Venus fly trap the most notable example. Now it appears some plants get their nitrogen from insects via proxy. Instead of having to develop a complicated system of traps to catch insects on their own, they rely on fungi to do their dirty work for them. A team of Canadian researchers from Brock University, St. Catharine’s, has found that some plants, as they describe in their paper published in Science, grab nitrogen from fungi that live in its roots. The fungi get it from killing insects. In return for its generosity, the fungi get carbon. More information: Endophytic Insect-Parasitic Fungi Translocate Nitrogen Directly from Insects to Plants, Science 22 June 2012: Vol. 336 no. 6088 pp. 1576-1577 DOI: 10.1126/science.1222289ABSTRACTMost plants obtain nitrogen through nitrogen-fixing bacteria and microbial decomposition of plant and animal material. Many vascular plants are able to form close symbiotic associations with endophytic fungi. Metarhizium is a common plant endophyte found in a large number of ecosystems. This abundant soil fungus is also a pathogen to a large number of insects, which are a source of nitrogen. It is possible that the endophytic capability and insect pathogenicity of Metarhizium are coupled to provide an active method of nitrogen transfer to plant hosts via fungal mycelia. We used soil microcosms to test the ability of M. robertsii to translocate insect-derived nitrogen to plants. Insects were injected with 15N-labeled nitrogen, and we tracked the incorporation of 15N into amino acids in two plant species, haricot bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), in the presence of M. robertsii. These findings are evidence that active nitrogen acquisition by plants in this tripartite interaction may play a larger role in soil nitrogen cycling than previously thought.last_img read more

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Is that a smartwatch youre not wearing Googles may actually appear

first_img Citation: “Is that a smartwatch you’re not wearing?” Google’s may actually appear (2013, March 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-03-smartwatch-youre-google.html Google has designs on flip-up wristwatch Want to play smartwatch? That’s the game where you pretend to buy a big-vendor smartwatch that doesn’t exist but everyone talks about nonetheless. There is the Samsung smartwatch rumor mill, the Apple smartwatch rumor mill, and, as of this week, a burning-up Google rumor mill. The Google talk was sparked by Financial Times blogger, Tim Bradshaw, this week. In his blog titled “Google is working on a smartwatch, too” he said according to “a person briefed on the project” that Google’s smart watch is being developed by its Android unit, and the watch will “act as an extension to the smartphones using that operating system.” Explore further There is no word of a date when it might launch but there are clues that Bradshaw might be writing about more than extra ingredients for the Samsung-Apple-Google rumor mill. Since the project is attributed to the Android unit and not the X Lab, the project might be earmarked for launch rather than multi-phased explorations that may or may not surface any time soon. The Google X Lab hatches technologies for the future such as the much-publicized self-driving cars and glasses. Another clue lies in the date October 2011, when Google filed a patent for a “Smart-watch including flip up display.” The filing described a smart-watch that can include a wristband, a base, a flip up portion, and a camera. The patent described the camera as one that can be in communication with the processor and the flip up portion can form a viewfinder for the camera when in the open position and be configured to display information regarding an image within the viewfinder.A popular view about a likely Google smartwatch is that wearable computing in and of itself is considered as an inevitable sign of the future, which makes the watch undertaking all the more plausible. Moving information away from the confines of desks and PC screens, the mobile computing labs outside Google are busy tinkering with wearable devices that operate in the physical world. While talking sneakers and Google glass already grab attention as what-ifs, they might be less amenable to immediate and easy uptake than would wearable watches. Should Samsung and Apple rush out smartwatches, Google would be left in the dust. As the Financial Times blog noted, smart watches, whether by Apple, Samsung, or Google, would jumpstart the wearables market. © 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

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USB sticks may beat Internet hurdles globally

first_img More information: Spreading huge free software without internet connection, via self-replicating USB keys, arXiv:1311.6754 [cs.OH] arxiv.org/abs/1311.6754AbstractWe describe and discuss an affordable way to spread huge software without relying on internet connection, via the use of self-replicating live USB keys. Intel Unveils Extensible Host Controller Interface Draft Specification to Support USB 3.0 Architecture Unfortunately, he wrote, the cost of bandwidth is expensive relative to the local income in countries and, even beyond cost, the available bandwidth does not allow huge downloads. “The network consideration “seems to be an important bottleneck in spreading free software where bandwidth is a rare commodity,” he stated.What the author has in mind instead is a self-replicating USB thumbdrive. The script will let a bootable USB stick replicate itself onto another stick, and at rates that can top the users’ Internet connections.MIT Technology Review noted how the concept involves a self-replicating bootable USB stick that holds an operating system and any software that needs to run on it. The stick can copy its contents to another USB stick. That way, users in underserved parts of the globe can get their hands on information they need more easily. Monteil wrote a script that clones the contents of one USB stick to another. To test the idea, Monteil used the script to transfer Sage, with an installation of Debian. Sage (stands for Software for Algebra and Geometry Experimentation) is a free mathematics software system licensed under the GPL The use of USB sticks for transferring information, nonetheless, carries a risk where someone could inject malware as part of the cloning events. “While being very efficient for our purpose of spreading huge free software inside a community, it is definitely not advisable for spreading sensitive software, or for large-scale distribution,” he wrote. Monteil also observed how “This communication-via-replication protocol currently relies on trust, and should be only used “for short distance communication…or among “a small structured community.” Citation: USB sticks may beat Internet hurdles globally (2013, December 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-12-usb-internet-hurdles-globally.html (Phys.org) —One may think that free software would be of enormous benefit to people in the towns and villages of the globe where the price of proprietary software is restrictively high. Such is not the case, as noted by Thierry Monteil of the University of Montpellier 2 in France. While the software is free to download, the cost of bandwidth is not. What is more, important but large software packages that enable technology students and workers to carry out their projects may take very long times to download, and may regularly be at the mercy of unreliable Internet connections. Monteil has authored a paper available on arXiv, which presents what may be a cheaper and easier way to transmit large software packages. He has written the paper, “Spreading Huge Free Software without Internet Connection via Self-Replicating USB Keys.” The paper describes his concept and how he tested it out. In short, one can use self-replicating USB keys without having to rely on a hard-to-afford and time-draining Internet connection. 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. Explore further World map of IPv4 addresses. Credit: arXiv:1311.6754 [cs.OH] © 2013 Phys.orglast_img read more

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Hackers begone Measurementdeviceindependent QKD increases clock rate and transmission distance while reducing

first_img Recently, however, scientists at the University of Science and Technology of China devised a de novo MDIQKD protocol and have developed a 75 MHz clock rate, fully automatic and highly stable system and superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors with detection efficiencies of more than 40%. By so doing, they have extended MDIQKD secure transmission distance to 200 km, and achieving a secure key rate three orders of magnitude higher – and an failure probability six orders of magnitude lower – than those of previous MDIQKD attempts. The researchers state that their results pave the way towards a quantum network with measurement-device-independent security, and in fact have already demonstrate the feasibility of MDIQKD in an unstable environment by performing a field test in which their system was inserted into an installed fiber network.Prof. Qiang Zhang discussed the three key accomplishments detailed in the paper that he, co-group lead Prof. Jian-Wei Pan, Researcher Yan-Lin Tang, and their co-authors published in Physical Review Letters. “Each of our main accomplishments – increasing system clock rate to 75 MHz and improving system stability, extending secure transmission distance to 200 km, and lowering failure probability by six orders of magnitude to 2 × 10−9 – had its unique challenges,” Zhang tells Phys.org. “In terms of performance, this is the first time we’ve increased clock rate to 75 MHz, as well as improving system stability and using high efficiency – over 40% – superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors to develop a fully automatic system, in an MDIQKD approach.” Zhang points out that while a gigahertz clock rate in conventional QKD is easily achieved, this is not the case with MDIQKD. Specifically, unlike conventional QKD, MDIQKD relies on interference between two independent lasers – and increasing the clock rate to 75 MHz caused poor two-laser interference visibility. “The main challenge lies in high-speed laser modulation, including not only severe overshoot, ringing and chirp inside the laser pulse, but also a more subtle problem lying in the temperature fluctuation caused by random triggering signals to the internally-modulated laser source,” Zhang explains. “These effects are observed for the first time simply because interference of two independent high clock-rate lasers could not be discovered in a low-speed system.” Regarding detector efficiency (DE), Zhang notes that superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) have been demonstrated as a key tool for improving the QKD performance – but the challenge is to improve nanowire absorption. The scientists have addressed this issue by integrating an optical cavity structure in the detectors: SNSPDs are cooled down to 2.2 K by using a Gifford-McMahon cryocooler to guarantee high detector performance as well as 7´24 hour operation†. “Again,” he stresses, “this is the first time high detector efficiency superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors have been applied in an MDIQKD system.”Extending the MDIQKD secure transmission distance to 200 km and achieving a secure key rate three orders of magnitude higher than previous results in recent MDIQKD experiments challenged the researchers in several aspects. “First was the signal-to-noise ratio,” Zhang notes. “Because of the long distance, the signal arriving at the receiver’s side will be very weak. “Secondly, system stability in a 200 km case is difficult since the fiber fluctuation is much severe, and a large attenuation will make it even harder with weak feedback signals. Thirdly, we required a better and stricter post-processing method to handle the greater distance results in a slower raw data rate and a stronger fluctuation.”Finally, to guarantee the safe usage of the secure key in practice, the failure probability must be controlled beneath the order of 10-9 – and the 2 × 10−9 failure probability they achieved is six orders of magnitude lower than previous results. The main reason that previous demonstrations used a higher failure probability of 10−3, Zhang tells Phys.org, is that performing fluctuation analysis with a lower failure probability requires more data to be accumulated. However, this requirement could not be satisfied by the actual experimental systems operated at a slow system clock rate and without full automatic feedback system – especially in the 200 km case when signal attenuation is very large – so the arriving signal is weak.Addressing these challenges was, in itself, a challenge. “For the current experiment,” Zhang continues, “the first challenge was to increase the system clock rate to 75MHz with good laser modulation. To ensure a good waveform, we modulated the laser pulse with an amplitude modulator cutting off the tail, thereby eliminating the influence of the chirp, overshoot and ringing. To ensure robust two-laser interference, we modulated vacuum intensity – instead of not providing the triggering signal – to avoid the effect of temperature fluctuation.” For a long distance QKD experiment, a single-photon detector with high detection efficiency and low dark count rate (the average rate of registered counts without any incident light) is decisive. “A conventional semiconducting APD (avalanched photodiode) cannot fulfill this requirement because of its high dark count rate and low detection efficiency, which is why a superconducting nanowire single-photon detector – specifically, a cryocooler-based SNSPD technology providing over 40% detection efficiency at the dark count rate of 10 Hz – is the sole choice for 200 km MDIQKD.” (In QKD protocols, an ideal single photon source rarely exists, and so is replaced by a weak coherent state laser source or other alternative. This causes a serious security problem that is minimized by using a weak laser source – but the latter results in low QKD speed. Decoy state QKD uses several different photon intensities rather than a single intensity to resolve the multi-photon issue. Moreover, the scientists optimized the decoy state MDIQKD protocol, including the decoy state scheme, intensity and probability distribution.”Secondly,” Zhang continues, “we adopted the high efficiency, low dark count superconducting nanowire single-photon detector to achieve the 200 km distance. Last but not least, to make the entire system stable for a long period of time, we developed several feedback systems to precisely calibrate the parameters of the system, such as a wavelength calibration system employing an optical spectrum analyzer with 1 pm precision.” This is critical because extended system stability enables continuous running for as long as an entire week.The much lower failure probability of 10-9 requires not only an experimental setting capable of accumulating enough raw data, but also a more appropriate post-processing method to extract the secure key. “With this work, for the first time in the entire OKD community we adopt the Chernoff bound (which gives exponentially decreasing bounds on tail distributions of sums of independent random variables) with a failure probability of 10-9 to allow statistical fluctuation analyses six orders of magnitude lower than previously achieved,” Zhang explains. “Furthermore, with the high loss that occurs in long-distance QKD, the Chernoff bound – believed to be a future standard post-processing method – provides better, stricter parameter estimation in the statistical fluctuation analysis.”Interestingly, in their paper the scientists point MDIQKD security is inspired by the time-reversed EPR-based QKD protocol. “This can be explained by a virtual qubit idea,” Zhang says. “A sender first prepares an entangled state of the combined system of her virtual qubit and the qubit to be sent to the receiver. The sender then measures the virtual qubit, thereby preparing a BB84 state.” BB84 is a provably secure quantum key distribution scheme – in fact, the first quantum cryptography protocol – developed by Charles Bennett and Gilles Brassard in 1984 (hence its name) relying on the quantum property that information gain is only possible at the expense of disturbing the signal if the two states we are trying to distinguish are not orthogonal. “After making a Bell state measurement (BSM) and obtaining a successful outcome, the receiver announces the results to the sender and the third party in the quantum system, resulting in their virtual qubits becoming entangled. (Bell states are maximally entangled quantum states of two qubits; the Bell state measurement is a joint quantum-mechanical measurement of two qubits that determines which of the four Bell states the two qubits are in.) “In this sense, the protocol is directly equivalent to an entanglement based protocol, only with the time direction reversed.”In addition, the new MDIQKD protocol does not rely on any assumption on measurement. “In the virtual qubit idea, we can see that a sender prepares the BB84 state by measuring a virtual qubit. Since the sender could have delayed the measurement on this virtual qubit until after the receiver performs a Bell state measurement and announces its results, the receiver’s BSM cannot affect the BB84 state preparation process, and so the receiver cannot obtain any information about the BB84 state. In other words, security does not rely on any assumption on measurement.”Another result described in the paper is that the novel MDIQKD system’s techniques constitute a critical ingredient for a quantum repeater and long-distance quantum communication. “Performing a Bell-state measurement is an intrinsic element in these situations,” Zhang points out, because it requires good interference of two independent laser sources. Again, in our work we for the first time have shown the feasibility of this kind of interference, especially at a distance 200 km. Besides the laser modulation techniques, the feedback systems developed for this purpose – for example, time calibration and wavelength calibration – are also of great importance to realizing a long-distance quantum repeater.”The researchers point out that their results have a range of implications for future quantum communication systems, one clearly being it paving the way towards a quantum network with measurement-device-independent security. “Our MDIQKD system includes two clients and one server. With the help of a system-wide feedback system, all users are time-synchronized and all independent laser sources have the same wavelength. All these techniques are definitely a solid foundation of building an MDIQKD network. In addition, to add more clients into the network, all that is needed is placing an active optical switch in the server’s site – and with off-the-shelf optical switches, this MDIQKD network can be built in the near future.”The novel MDIQKD protocol has a star-type structure in which the detection system placed in the Bell-state measurement site as a server, allowing it to be shared by all transmitters – a structure very suitable to a QKD network with a star-type structure, since all the end-node clients can share the entire measurement system of the center-node server. This means that, importantly, only laser sources and modulators are required when more clients are added to the network. Zhang notes that these devices are much smaller and cheaper than the complex, expensive detectors – a factor preferred for creating an economical network.The scientists have also performed a field test in which their system has been inserted into an installed fiber network to demonstrate the feasibility of MDIQKD in an unstable environment. “Previously, an MDIQKD field test was performed over an 18.6 km deployed fiber by Wolfgang Tittel’s group at the University of Calgary1,” Zhang tells Phys.org. “However, a random modulated decoy state was not added in that experiment, so a secure key was not actually generated. Moreover, all other laboratory demonstrations are performed without perturbation of the field environment.” Based on the technology developed in their experiment, the researchers have achieved a 16.9 bps secure key rate over a 30 km fiber network of total length‡.Zhang and his co-authors envision a number of future real-world applications that would be made feasible by using a single fiber to transmit both signal laser pulses and synchronization laser pulses, as well as by minimizing noise generated from Raman spontaneous scattering. “To make MDIQKD more attractive for potential users, our goal is to have only one single fiber required for each link. This would decrease the resources required by real-world applications, such as voice calls and file transfers, and would be especially useful in some particular situations.” For example, a user having insufficient fiber link resources could multiplex a single fiber link to do classical synchronization and single-photon transmission – or in the occasional situation when a user performs QKD tasks, it would be preferable to have one fiber link rather than two in order to conserve normally unused resources.Zhang adds that a significant concern when adopting one single fiber is strong spontaneous Raman scattering of the synchronization light, which introduces additional noise to the signal and thus increases error rates. (Spontaneous Raman scattering is the inelastic scattering of photons – in which the kinetic energy of an incident particle is not conserved, but lost or increased – in random time intervals.) “Typically, the power of the synchronization light is at least five orders of magnitude higher than the signal light – so spontaneous Raman scattering could be disastrous. We therefore have to be careful when multiplexing these two kinds of light, because otherwise the resulting high noise and error rates would male all real world applications impossible.”Moving forward, Zhang says that the scientists plan to build a polarization-encoding MDIQKD system, which let them remove the phase stabilization that is currently required, as well as other possible innovations. “In our experiment, wavelength calibration is based on an optical spectrum analyzer. However, in addition to this simple and direct approach, we plan to develop an alternative way without an optical spectrum analyzer – but only with the evaluation of two independent laser sources. This can be realized by observing Hong-Ou-Mandel dip.” (The Hong–Ou–Mandel effect is a two-photon interference effect in quantum optics that occurs when two identical single-photon waves enter a 50:50 beam splitter, one in each input port. When both photons are identical they will extinguish each other – but if they become more distinguishable the probability of detection will increase, allowing the interferometer to accurately measure bandwidth, path lengths and timing.) Moreover, Zhang adds, the researchers plan to build a three-layer architecture to generate, manage and use the secure key, respectively, which will lead to a more complete and practical QKD network.”Since the Bell state measurement is so common in quantum information,” Zhang concludes, “our Bell state measurement techniques can be utilized in other quantum information tasks.” “These tasks include the quantum repeater mentioned above, quantum fingerprinting and quantum teleportation.” (Phys.org)—In the ongoing effort to make communications secure, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) theoretically provides a solution – but to the delight of increasingly sophisticated hackers, falls short in real-world systems due to implementation deviating from mathematical models. A number of QKD variants – including Device-Independent Quantum Key Distribution (DIQKD) and the more recently introduced Measurement-Device-Independent Quantum Key Distribution (MDIQKD) – attempt to close the gap between theory and practice with varying degrees of success. These two variants differ in several ways, the most important being that DIQKD requires but unlike MDIQKD cannot easily achieve very high detection efficiency and low channel loss to yield secure keys, while MDIQKD, unlike DIQKD, does not rely on any ideal devices and can close the most vulnerable QKD security hole by removing all side-channels from the measurement unit. Nevertheless, previous MDIQKD systems have had limitations as well, such as limited distance and a low key rate of less than 0.1 bit/s. Journal information: Physical Review Letters (a) Schematic layout of our MDIQKD setup. Alice’s (Bob’s) signal laser pulses (1550 nm) are modulated into three decoy-state intensities by AM1. An AMZI, an AM2–4, and one PM are used to encode qubits. Charlie’s setup consists of a polarization stabilization system and a BSM system. The polarization stabilization system in each link includes an EPC, a PBS, and a SPAPD. The BSM system includes an interference BS and two SNSPDs. (b) Time calibration system. Two SynLs (1570 nm) are adopted, with the 500 kHz shared time reference generated from a crystal oscillator circuit (COC) and with the time delayed by a programmable delay chip (PDC). Alice (Bob) receives the SynL pulses with a PD and then regenerates a system clock of 75 MHz. WDM: wavelength division multiplexer, ConSys: control system. (c) Phase stabilization system. Circ: circulator, PC: polarization controller, PS: phase shifter. Credit: Tang, Yan-Lin et al. (2014) Measurement-Device-Independent Quantum Key Distribution over 200 km. Phys. Rev. Lett. 113:190501. High-fidelity photon-to-atom quantum state transfer could form backbone of quantum networks More information: Measurement-Device-Independent Quantum Key Distribution over 200 km, Physical Review Letters (2014) 113:190501, doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.190501Related:1Real-World Two-Photon Interference and Proof-of-Principle Quantum Key Distribution Immune to Detector Attacks, Physical Review Letters (2013) 111:130501, doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.130501†Detectors and cryocooling systems developed by Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)‡Paper to be published in IEEE Journal of Selected Topics of Quantum Electronics Explore further Citation: Hackers begone: Measurement-device-independent QKD increases clock rate and transmission distance while reducing failure (2014, December 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-12-hackers-begone-measurement-device-independent-qkd-clock.html © 2014 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

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Gear up to haunt this Halloween

If you have plans to spook your near and dear ones this halloween, then Fast Turtle is a one stop-shop for all your party supplies and themes. Fast turtle, the store started by Zarine Batra a year ago is here to offer solutions for all your theme party essentials.‘To make these occasions unforgettable in the best possible way with the right party accessories is key objective for the origin of Fast Turtle,’ says Zarine. This year, the store is offering Halloween accessories like horrified nails, dragon costumes, pumpkin faces and more.So head your way towards Fast Turtle soon and gear up to haunt. read more

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Now AAP outstation members can campaign

first_imgThe Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) launched its ‘calling campaign’ on Monday here to convince voters in Delhi to vote for the party.“We are using our party data bank which contains mobile phones numbers of our registered members. Anyone who wishes to join this campaign must register himself/herself with the party. Once party verify the application the person, s/he can participate in the campaign. After the verification of the volunteer, the party provides around 20-25 mobile numbers to a volunteer who can make the call at this number at his convenient time to promote the party and convince the voters to vote for AAP,” said Atishi Marlena, a senior AAP leader. Also Read – Company director arrested for swindling Rs 345 croreThe campaigning will be conducted by the AAP supporters who live outside of Delhi and abroad and want to promote the party for coming election.The volunteers have to pay their own mobile phone bill as party can does not reimburses it. On the idea which led to the campaign, Marlena said, “People wanted to promote and work for the party and they wanted to take active part in this coming election. However it is not possible for them to come to Delhi, so we find this the best way to use them for the betterment of the party. It makes a good impression among the people,” said Marlena.last_img read more

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Steelmakers seek immediate implementation of customs duty hike

first_imgWith imports set to hit a record high in the current fiscal, steel-makers on Sunday urged the government to bring the provisioned customs duty hike in the Budget into effect immediately to bail them out of the deepening crisis.”Some secondary steel producers have already resorted to production cut and instead of making on their own, they have now ventured into trading importing from China and other countries,” Jayant Acharya, Director (Commercial), JSW Steel, said. Also Read – I-T issues 17-point checklist to trace unaccounted DeMO cashFacing a host of other problems such as higher production cost due to dearer raw materials and inflated interest rates, major producers are also left with no money to further invest, which is tantamount to government’s “Make in India” programme. “Government should implement the enabling budgetary provision for raising the customs duty as soon as possible to give steel-makers a little elbowroom,” Acharya said.He also added that some non-tariff barriers to be put in place to safeguard against the abnormal surge in imports. Paying heed to steel-makers’ plea, the Budget has created a possibility of raising peak import duty for steels to 15 per cent from 10 per cent now, aimed at protecting the home-grown firms from rising imports. But, it has been kept as an enabling provision for suitable imposition.Meanwhile, imports have jumped by over 67 per cent during April-February period of current fiscal to 8.39 million tonnes (MT).last_img read more

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Quench your thirst with cool drinks at Sharbat Mela

first_imgThe Delhi Tourism brings to you yet another annual Sharbat Mela to quench your thirst in this scorching heat. The annual extravaganza will be organised at Dilli Haat, Pitampura, from June 19 – 21, 2015.The mela promises to offer traditional and modern drinks. Drinks prepared from traditional herbs will also be on offer. Popular drinks such as thandai, lassi, jaljeera, mango shake, aam panna, sattu, kokam (a drink from Maharashtra) and many other varieties of milk shakes will be on offer.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Companies such as Hitkari, Hamdard, Simbhavli Suger Mill, Mother Dairy and Aroma will be participating in the festival.  Besides, stalls of henna, ittar and gulabjal will also be put up at the mela. Summer special swings and camel rides for children will also be available.Apart from enjoying a variety of drinks at the Sharbat Mela, visitors can also shop at craft and garment stalls.  Moreover, cultural programmes by the Punjabi Academy of Art and Culture and the Government of NCT Delhi promise enthrall the audience. So, get ready to beat the heat with a variety of drinks at the Sharbat Mela.last_img read more

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Mobile library for book lovers in North Dinajpur

first_imgKolkata: In an effort to arouse the interest of reading books particularly among the youth, the state Mass Education and Library Services department has introduced a mobile library in North Dinajpur district.The mobile library is equipped with 1,500 books that ranges from short stories, novels, poems, books on cuisine, sports books, children books and school texts.The mobile library has been recently launched by the Minister for Mass Education & Library Services Siddiqullah Chowdhury at a government programme in Karnajhora. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”The books will be lent out for a period of 15 days to a reader. On the 17th day, the mobile library will visit the reader’s address. When he returns the book, he can issue another new book,” Chowdhury said.The mobile library has been christened as Ghare Baire – inspired from the famous novel of the same name by Rabindranath Tagore.A senior official of the department said that out of 74 gram panchayats (GP) in South Dinajpur, there is not a single library in 53 GPs. “We have strategically chosen this place so that the readers have access to books,” the official said. Also Read – Naihati: 10 councillors return to TMC from BJPThe local administration is conducting a survey as there is a demand for school text books there. “Many students cannot afford to buy books due to financial problems. This will also be of immense help to them,” theminister said.The Library services department is taking a slew of measures to encourage the young generation to visit the libraries in the state.There are around 2,480 libraries and 300 of them have closed down. “We have recently done a survey on the state libraries, conducted by a Gurgaon-based agency. It has come to light that people of the age group of 55 to 60 visit the state libraries. A number of libraries do not have toilets and drinking water.A library in the city has also been found with no facilities of drinking water and toilet. This is not desirable and we are working for developing these basic facilities,” anofficial said.last_img read more

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Goutam Deb inaugurates North Bengal Book Fair

first_imgDarjeeling: The 36th North Bengal Book Fair was inaugurated by Tourism Minister Goutam Deb in Siliguri on Thursday. Organised by the Greater Siliguri Book Sellers Guild, the fair at the Mela Ground in Siliguri has 85 stalls. “Though it is the age of computers and the internet, books have no substitute. Parents should encourage their wards to read more books. Reading habit needs to be inculcated from a young age,” stated Deb in his speech. He also asked the organizers to ensure that the venue remains clean and green. The book fair remains open from 2 to 8 pm everyday. It will end on December 2.last_img read more

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School teacher shot dead by unidentified miscreants

first_imgKolkata: A school teacher from Raghunathpur area in Purulia was shot dead by unidentified miscreants on Friday evening.The incident took place when the victim, Chinmoy Mondal, was returning home after buying some sports equipment for his school. According to the police, the victim was riding his motorcycle when the miscreants stopped his way. He was just a few metres away from his house at Raghunathpur when he was shot at. Mondal tried to flee the spot when one of the miscreants took out a gun and shot at him. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe victim received bullet injuries on his face and fell on the ground. The miscreants fled the spot immediately after the incident. After hearing the sound of the gunshot, locals gathered at the spot and found him lying in a pool of blood. He was immediately rushed to the Raghunathpur Super-specialty hospital where the doctors pronounced him brought dead. The body was later sent for postmortem examination. The police are yet to confirm the motive behind his murder. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedA teacher of a local school at Raghunathpur, the victim had gone to a nearby market to buy sports equipment for the school. He was returning home at around 10.30 pm. His wife, Papia, told the police that the victim had no personal rivalry with anyone. She demanded a probe into the incident. Police are conducting raids to nab the culprits who were behind the attack. According to the preliminary investigation, police suspect that an old rivalry might have led to the incident. A detailed probe has been initiated in this regard.last_img read more

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North Bengal Development Dept completes tender process for projects worth Rs 700

first_imgDarjeeling: The North Bengal Development Department (NBDD) has completed the tender process for projects amounting to Rs 700 crore. Besides this, tenders for projects amounting to Rs 300 crore are also scheduled to be completed by March.”With each passing year, the allocation of funds to this department is being increased by the state government. This is a clear indication of the state’s focus on North Bengal,” stated Rabindranath Ghosh, minister in charge of North Bengal Development department. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalChief Minister Mamata Banerjee always stresses on North Bengal and reiterates her government’s commitment towards the development of this region. The above tenders will facilitate around 300 development projects. Earlier, meetings were held where the District Magistrates of the eight districts of North Bengal were directed to ensure that the projects are speedily completed without compromising on the quality of work. “Completion of tender processes ensures timely completion of development works as well. We are also ensuring that the ongoing projects are in no way halted in between. For this, we have increased skilled manpower specially engineers. We are also engaging retired engineers so that there is no shortage,” added the minister. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIn 2011, the North Bengal Development Department came into existence with an allotment of Rs. 180 crore. The present allocation of fund is to the tune of Rs. 660 crore. The funds are used to construct roads, bridges, school, colleges, community halls and haats (market places.). In Cooch Behar, the department has taken up a number of projects. In Malda, a bridge is under construction at a cost of Rs 132 crore. “We have created committees in each district to ensure even distribution of projects in all the districts of North Bengal,” stated Ghosh. Taking a step further, each block of North Bengal will be allotted Rs 2 crore for development projects from the NBDD. “With this amount the blocks can take up development projects within an upper-cost limit of Rs 30,000,” informed the minister. The number of projects being taken up by the department is steadily on the rise. “Owing to this we are recruiting 20 sub-assistant engineers,” Ghosh added.last_img read more

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FDCI celebrates 10th year of India Couture Week

first_imgExtravagant showcasing of opulence and craft, the India Couture Week 2017, is back again this year in a seven day affair from July 24-30 at the Taj Palace Hotel.The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) is pleased to announce the dates for the country’s most extravagant showcasing of opulence and craft at the India Couture Week 2017, as it ushers in 10 years of this venerable fashion event.For the first time ever, the most coveted names of the fashion industry will bring alive, unmitigated splendour at a few off-site locations in the capital. The ramp at the Fashion Design Council of India’s flagship event will be enlivened when top 14 designers in the industry will set the mood for trends that will remain relevant in a country that loves to celebrate life with sheer abundance, colour and unabashed shine. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAnnouncing the dates of this biggest couture event in the country, Sunil Sethi, President FDCI said, “This is a momentous year for us, 10 years of Couture Week has been an incredible journey, which has been the only event in the country to offer a prestigious platform to couturiers to showcase their talent in offering irrepressible indulgence. The journey would not have been possible without the support of board members and the FDCI team. We look forward to presenting many more editions of this magical event as we take it to a new high with seven days.”A non-profit organisation, the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), is the apex body of fashion design in India, represented by over 400 members. Founded on the premise of promoting, nurturing, and representing the best of fashion and design talent in the country; its prime objective is to propagate the business of fashion. FDCI stays true to its commitment to promote the ‘Make in India’ label as handlooms take center stage.last_img read more

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ITBP band gives a stellar maiden performance

first_imgWith 16 tunes of martial and Indian music playing, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) gave a stellar performance at the Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi. This was the first such concert by the ITBP band. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju was present as the Chief Guest among other distinguished guests, senior officers, and personnel of the CAPFs and their families on the eve of Holi 2018. The one hour concert was organised by Major Nazir Hussain, VSM Retd. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe concert was a classic mix of traditional military tunes and Bollywood evergreen numbers. Rijiju appreciated the concert and said that such patriotic programmes should be organised by other forces as well in the entire country. The Minister complimented the band for the rendition of the patriotic song “Hum Sarhad ke Sainani”, which he said showed the love and commitment of the ITBP jawans for their motherland. He concluded by greeting the ITBP Director General RK Pachanada for winning the trophy for ‘best marching contingent’ at this years’ Republic Day parade and lauded the contribution of ITBP Band contingent for inspiring tunes for the best show by the marching contingent on Rajpath.last_img read more

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Parental controls dont stop teens from watching porn

first_imgParents, take note. If you think that Internet filtering tools – such as parental controls – will stop your teenage child from accessing explicit sexual content online then you may be wrong, a new study suggests.The findings, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking, indicated that Internet filtering tools are ineffective.According to the researchers from the University of Oxford in Britain, the use of Internet filtering tools is widespread but there has been no conclusive evidence on their effectiveness until now. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”It’s important to consider the efficacy of Internet filtering. Internet filtering tools are expensive to develop and maintain, and can easily ‘underblock’ due to the constant development of new ways of sharing content,” said co-author Victoria Nash.The research team presented two studies – one exploratory analysis of secondary data collected in the European Union and one preregistered study focused on British adolescents and caregivers – with nearly 15,000 participants. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”We were also interested to find out how many households would need to use filtering technologies in order to stop one adolescent from seeing online pornography,” said co-author Andrew Przybylski.”The findings from our preliminary study indicated that somewhere between 17 and 77 households would need to use Internet filtering tools in order to prevent a single young person from accessing sexual content,” Przybylski added.The results from follow-up study showed no statistically or practically significant protective effects for filtering. The researchers noted that there should be more research done to solidify these findings.last_img read more

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Neckneck battle surfaces in Bengal

first_imgKolkata: The 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal witnessed a neck-and-neck fight between Trinamool Congress and BJP. While TMC won 21 seats, BJP bagged 16 with a single seat for Congress. TMC was leading in one seat, BJP in a couple and Congress in one as per the last poll result update.TMC’s showing was good, particularly in South 24-Parganas, Kolkata, Howrah and Birbhum, where it managed to retain all the seats it had won in 2014. In South 24-Parganas, Pratima Mondal won the Joynagar seat by over 3 lakh votes, while Chowdhury Mohan Jatua won the Mathurapur seat by around 2 lakh votes. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAbhisekh Banejee came out with flying colours in the Diamond Harbour seat by over 3 lakh votes, whereas Mimi Chakraborty won the Jadavpur seat by over 2.9 lakh votes. The prestigious Kolkata North and Kolkata South seats were won by Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Mala Roy respectively, while Howrah and Uluberia were won by Prasun Banerjee and Sajda Ahmed. The party also managed to win both the seats in Birbhum district, with Satabdi Roy bagging Birbhum and Asit Mal winning from Bolpur. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateTamluk, Kanthi and Ghatal went in favour of TMC as well, while BJP’s Dilip Ghosh and Kunar Hembram bagged Midnapore and Jhargram, where TMC had a lead of 34,78,883 votes in 2014. The Purulia seat also swung in favour of Jyotirmay Singh Mahato of BJP, where TMC had won by 1,53,877 votes in 2014. The Malda Uttar seat that was won by Mausam Noor of Congress, also swung in favour of the saffron party with Khagen Murmu winning. Noor ended up in the losing side this year, contesting on TMC’s ticket. Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury of Congress was leading in the Maldah Dakshin seat as of the last update. In Murshidabad, TMC’s Khalilur Rahman defeated Congress’s Abhijit Mukherjee from the Jangipur seat by a margin of over 3 lakh votes. Mukherjee, the son of former President Pranab Mukherjee, had won by a margin of 8,161 votes in 2014. Adhir Chowdhury of Congress, meanwhile, retained the Behrampur seat though his lead dropped to 78,000 from 3,56,567 last year. The Murshidabad seat that was bagged by Left Front in 2014, was grabbed by TMC’s Abu Taher Khan. The Krishnanagar seat was retained by Mahua Maitra of TMC, who won by over 65,000 votes. The Ranaghat seat, the second in Nadia district, went to Jagannath Sarkar of BJP where TMC had a lead of 2,01,767 votes in 2014. In North 24-Parganas, Sougata Roy of TMC managed to retain the Dum Dum seat and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar won the Barasat seat, while newcomer Nusrat Jahan won from Basirhat. The Bongaon seat, where TMC had won by 1,46,601 votes in 2014, swung in favour of Santanu Thakur of BJP. The Barrackpore seat witnessed defeat of TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi, where BJP’s Arjun Singh won by a narrow margin of around 13,000 votes. Hooghly, meanwhile, had a mixed result for TMC with Kalyan Banerjee retaining the Sreerampore seat and the Hooghly seat swinging in favour of BJP with Locket Chatterjee winning over Ratna Dey Nag of TMC. Aparupa Poddar of TMC has a narrow lead of over 2,000 votes in Arambagh, according to the latest update. Burdwan East was retained by Sunil Mondal of TMC, while the Burdwan-Durgapur seat was witnessing a lead by the saffron party, as per last reports. The Asansol seat was retained by BJP’s Babul Supriyo. TMC suffered a setback, particularly in North Bengal. John Barla of BJP defeated party candidate Dasrath Tirkey, while Nisith Pramanik shocked TMC’s Paresh Chandra Adhikary. Jayanta Kumar Roy of BJP also emerged victorious over Bijoy Chandra Barman of the ruling party from Jalpaiguri, whereas BJP’s Sukanta Majumdar snatched the Balurghat seat from TMC’s Arpita Ghosh. TMC had won all these seats in 2014. BJP’s Raju Bista managed to retain the Darjeeling seat, while the Raiganj seat that saw a narrow margin win for Left Front’s Mohammed Salim in 2014, also went in favour of the saffron party. TMC witnessed collapse in the two seats of Bankura district, with Saumitra Khan winning from the Bishnupur seat. Both the seats had been won by TMC in the last Lok Sabha elections.last_img read more

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Lord Tirupati Balaji Brahmotsav Festival Starts in Delhi

first_imgThe Delhi Temple of Shri Venkateswara Swamy Vari, popularly known as Tirupati Balaji will be observing the Annual Brahmotsav Festival from May 15-25, 2019.Spread across 1.2 acres, the Delhi Temple of Lord Tirupati Balaji is located in the heart of New Delhi near Birla Mandir. It is under the aegis of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and is a replica of the Temple situated at Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Brahmotsav, is the most important festival celebrated in Tirumala as it marks Lord Srinivasa’s self-manifestation day by Lord Brahma. The annual Brahmotsav is conducted with the same fervor at the Delhi temple as is done in Tirumala. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfDuring the festival, the Utsav-murti (processional deity) of the presiding deity Lord Venkateswara (Tirupati Balaji), along with his consorts Padmavati Ammavaru (Mahalakshmi Maa) and Andal Ammavaru (Dharti Maa) is taken out on a procession on different Vahans on the streets around the Temple complex. The major highlights of the festival are Rath Yatra on different Vahans namely Pedda Sesha (seven-headed snake), Chinna Sesha (five-headed snake), Hamsa (swan), Muthya Pupandiri (pearl bower), Simha (lion), Kalpvriksha (wish-fulfing tree), Hanumantha (Hanuman), Sarvabupala (protector of universe), Garuda (eagle), Gaja (elephant), Surya Prabha (sun) and Chandra Prabha (moon). This year 10 vahans have been gifted by ardent devotees to the Delhi Temple of Lord Venkateswara each costing approximately Rs. 2 lacs. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveSpecial Pujas such as Abhishek, Kalyan Utasv (Lord Balaji’s marriage), Havan, etc. Mahaprasad will be done daily. The world-famous Tirumala Laddoos will also be available for Rs.100 each. The festival will also feature cultural programmes and special stalls. Praveen Prakash (IAS), Resident Commissioner Government of Andhra Pradesh and President, LAC, TTD has requested all devotees residing in Delhi and NCR to come forward to join the festivities and support the Delhi Temple Brahmotsav with heart and soul. Devotees may contact the Delhi temple for extending any support and donation.last_img read more

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Expand Your Ad Empire

first_imgApril 7, 2008 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. The coolest ad technologies aren’t the ones that cost the most–they’re the ones that engage users. Thankfully, this year’s crop of cool tools doesn’t require the kind of attention your MySpace page does. From reaching people on their mobile to enhancing your online videos, these innovative ad trends can set you apart as a tech-savvy company while reaching users right when they’re ready to buy–and encouraging them to buy more.Bar Codes With Extra Info Register Now » If you’ve already started making online videos related to your products or services, adding overlay ads–or letting customers create them–is almost a no-brainer. With overlays, instead of just slotting in pre-, mid- or post-roll ad spots that nobody wants to watch, your ads become a part of the content, Pop-Up Video style.”The more relevant you can make an ad to the content, the more the ad becomes the content. And this, in turn, drives far higher click-through rates,” says Robert Lane, whose Ottawa-based business, Overlay.tv, is making overlay technology more accessible to businesses.The company allows anyone to take an online video and create overlay links in it for free. Then it gives you the code to embed your video on any website. Overlay.tv’s affiliate program also gives incentives to third-party content creators to link to your products.Soon, customers will be able to click on ads like these during their favorite TV shows, making product placement even more marketable. “Commercial TV, like you know it now, will be history in five years,” says Warbasse. “Stage display, seamless point-and-click advertising is going to be all the rage.”Bluetooth BeamingThough much has been made about Bluetooth’s ad capabilities since it started gaining popularity on people’s cell phones, it has only recently become a viable advertising technology. More than 60 percent of North American mobile phones sport Bluetooth and many new laptops and other portable gadgets come enabled with the beaming tech.Through Bluetooth, consumers can download coupons, short videos and audio files. They can then forward the content to other Bluetooth users with a P2P connection. It’s most effective at targeting consumers as they’re entering stores or theaters, walking around trade shows or attending sporting events, since shoppers are particularly receptive to getting coupons right before they buy a product.Prime Point Media, a Norcross, Georgia-based company with a network of more than 700,000 Bluetooth-enabled outdoor ad spots that has carried ads for Pepsi and the U.S. Navy, sees high response rates for its ads. Prime Point president, Karen Robinson, says rates of 13 to 20 percent are typical because of the ads’ relevance, street-level position and call to action.Bluetooth isn’t just for large companies, either. Robinson says a multi-month campaign can start as low as $5,000. She says the secret to using Bluetooth advertising effectively is having compelling, relevant content and not abusing your relationship with consumers.Other up-and-coming ad spaces are also providing new ways to reach potential clients on their mobiles. Jangl, for one, offers ad-sponsored, number-free text and voice messaging through social networking and dating sites–similar to how Yahoo! tacks on ads at the end of its users’ mail messages. And as digital billboards continue to become more sophisticated and interactive, they’re offering a lot of creative, albeit power-gobbling, options for advertisers, though their price points tend to be a bit high for independent businesses.As ad technology continues to change and new ad spaces open up, keep your ear to your mobile, your Bluetooth on and your camera at the ready. And don’t shy away from trying something new.center_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals While you may think of “airline check-in” or “mail tracking” when you see the black-and-white squiggles that make up QR, or “Quick Response” codes, these 2-D data matrices are beginning to find their place in advertising.Already popular in Japan and parts of Europe and the United States, these square-shaped codes can turn a plain old paper ad into an opt-in part of your campaign. Customers scan them with their camera phones to get a hidden plain-text message, a person’s contact info, a redirect to a mobile website, or a song or image download.One QR campaign developed for the clothing industry by Philip Warbasse, founder of Los Angeles-based Warbasse Design, puts the codes on in-store apparel that allows shoppers to purchase sizes not in stock–right on their phones. The codes also offer customers a same-day in-store coupon, and other codes in the campaign help upsell the customer with a discount on a second item in the store if they buy it the same day.Since QR codes cost essentially nothing to produce, go create your own and download a reader for your phone while you’re at it from i-nigma. You can create simple promotions like coupons inexpensively and quickly. One caveat is making sure your promotion will appear on customers’ phones as you intend it to, which means hiring someone with mobile design experience if you’re offering anything other than a plain-text promotion.A QR campaign will work best if your audience includes lots of tech-savvy mobile aficionados, but as an early adopter, you may also be able to garner interest from people unaware of the technology. Customers may be curious about the spotted squares, and you may even be able to parlay your new campaign into press about your business’s cutting-edge ad techniques.Video Overlay Ads 5 min readlast_img read more

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Would You Buy a Curved Smartphone Samsung Experiments With New Galaxy Round

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Would you want or need a phone with a curved display?Oh yes. It’s easier to hold and will contour to the curves of my face.I’d be willing to give it a try. But I’ll need to test it in-store before spending any money on one.Ha. No. This is just another gimmick.Android? Psshh. I’m Apple, buddy. Forget it.VoteView ResultsCrowdsignal.comWould you want or need a phone with a curved display? Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now If the form factor on your slab-style smartphone simply isn’t cutting it anymore, Samsung is betting that it has exactly what you need. The tech giant has announced the Galaxy Round — what the company says is the first smartphone with a curved display.Why would anyone want or need a phone with a curved display? Samsung says the 5.7-inch screen — which gently bends inward from left to right — “offers a comfortable hand grip feeling to [the] user.”So, it’s about ergonomics. A phone with a slight curve could presumably fit more easily in a person’s hand and therefore reduce the likelihood of it being dropped.Beyond that, we’re not sure what the benefits could be. When asked about it, a Samsung representative simply said this in an email: “We don’t have further details.”Related: How Your Smartphone Can Actually Save You From Working WeekendsThe Round is initially being sold only in Korea for about $1,000 without a contract. The phone might not land in the U.S. for some time.More about the phone: It runs on Samsung’s version of the Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) operating system. The software that runs on the Galaxy Round makes use of its unique shape with features like the “roll effect” that briefly pops up information such as time and date, messages or missed calls when a user tilts his or her phone to one side or the other. When music is playing, a user can switch between tracks in the same way: left for the last track or right for the next one.With the Multi Window feature, a user can have multiple apps open on the home screen, making it easier to multitask and share information between apps. The Galaxy Round can also be customized with Samsung’s “one-hand operation” feature that let users position the controls they use most frequently on their preferred side of the screen.Like other Galaxy Devices, the Round is Wi-Fi, LTE and NFC capable with BlueTooth and USB 3.0. It features the same 13-megapixel main camera and a front-facing 2-megapixel camera.Related: Turn a Smartphone Into a Virus-Detecting Microscope? Yep. It’s Happening. This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience.center_img 2 min read October 9, 2013 Enroll Now for Freelast_img read more

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5 Innovative Ways to Automate Your Sales Processes This Year

first_img B2B companies of all sizes have discovered how sales automation programs can make tasks more efficient and effective. However, there’s still room to get additional value out of your pwn investment in sales automation techniques.Related: Automated Webinars May Be the Tool You Need to Scale Your Marketing EffortsHere are several unique ways to expand your automation strategy in 2017, to improve your sales processes for both your customers and sales professionals.Maximize upsell/referral opportunities through post-sale correspondence.B2B-focused organizations can learn a lot from their B2C counterparts: For instance, innovative companies like Amazon are often able to increase their upselling and cross-selling opportunities by employing sophisticated algorithms to recommend additional products for returning customers.It’s a remarkably simple idea, even if it’s based on the analysis of complex data: Find new ways to add value to your customers’ lives while simultaneously encouraging them to buy more. During the first quarter that the system was in place, Amazon reported a 29 percent revenue increase over the same period the year before.What Amazon also discovered, and what B2B organizations can learn as well, is that you can use this data to drive interest even when the customer isn’t browsing your site. If you’ve purchased anything from Amazon recently, you’ve probably noticed that the retail giant also includes item recommendations in the confirmation email you receive following an order.This is a great strategy to drive additional revenue, but you don’t have to use your confirmation and thank-you emails solely for upselling. You can also auto-populate links to various pieces of content, or include product support information that is relevant to each customer’s purchase.Maintain a bird’s-eye view of social media chatter.It’s never been more important to monitor what your customers are saying about their experiences with your company on social media channels. Most B2B buyers belong to multiple social platforms, and they are especially likely to start conversations there if they have a decent number of followers, as it’s a way to encourage the companies they deal with to listen.To turn this phenomenon into a positive for your organization, utilize software that can monitor various social channels and alert sales representatives to opportunities to serve prospects and customers online.Personalize user profiles and customer-maintenance pages.B2B-focused brands are going all-in on personalized sales strategies, as data suggests that some organizations are increasing conversion rates by up to 36 percent simply by employing personalized content throughout the sales funnel. But while many sales leaders see the benefits of big-picture personalization in B2B sales, they often forget that delivering a personalized experience is just as much about the small touches.When a prospect or customer creates a profile on your website, make sure that it is immediately populated with information that is relevant specifically to that person’s experience. This should include basics like the person’s name and company info, but also should be extended to incorporate product recommendations, support materials, content and order history.Automate coaching activities to boost your mid-range performersSales automation isn’t beneficial just when it’s used to directly improve the experience your customers have. You can also use the same principles to help motivate and coach your sales reps, and encourage them to reach new heights.Related: 10 Marketing Automation Hacks All Businesses Should Be UsingContemporary software solutions make it easy for you to record and analyze the specific habits of your highest-performing sales reps, and then replicate those techniques with other team members in your organization. This robust data analysis can also help you devise new strategies for optimizing your reward structure for each individual rep across various stages of the sales process.Incorporate chatbots in value-added ways.Don’t worry, though; they’re coming to assist salespeople, rather than replace them. Obviously, there are many interactions with a customer where AI alone is insufficient, but that also means there are some instances where it’s perfectly adequate.Many times, customers come to a website looking for a quick answer to a simple question. Chatbots can help direct them to a particular section in the FAQ, or help pull up a piece of content that can illuminate an issue for them. When these kinds of interactions are handled by automation, it frees up sales reps to focus more on core activities related to sales and CRM.Related: Why Sales Cannot be Automated in the Next 5 Years in FMCG IndustryObviously, there are many interactions with a customer where AI alone is insufficient, but also some where it’s perfectly adequate. Listen Now Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 4 min read April 14, 2017 Hear from business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger. Problem Solvers with Jason Feiferlast_img read more

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A year later Google Project Zero still finds Safari vulnerable to DOM

first_imgIt’s been a year since the Project zero team published the results of their research about the resilience of modern browsers against DOM fuzzing. They also published Domato, their DOM fuzzing tool that was used to find those bugs. The results of the research were astonishing since Apple Safari, or more specifically, WebKit (its DOM engine) did not fare well in this test. The team decided to revisit the project again using exactly the same methodology and exactly the same tools to see whether the browsers have managed to implement better security mechanisms. The Test Setup In the previous research, the fuzzing was initially done against WebKitGTK+ and then all the crashes were tested against Apple Safari running on a Mac. In this research, WebKitGTK+ version 2.20.2 was used. To improve the fuzzing process, a couple of custom changes were made to WebKitGTK+ . For instance: Building WebKitGTK+ with ASan (Address Sanitizer) is now possible Changed window.alert() implementation to immediately call the garbage collector instead of displaying a message window. Generally, when a DOM bug causes a crash, due to the multi-process nature of WebKit, only the web process would crash, but the main process would continue running. Code was added to crash the main process when the web process crashes The team created a custom target binary. Results Obtained After running the fuzzer for 100.000.000 iterations, the team discovered 9 unique bugs that were reported to Apple. The bugs are summarized in the table below. All of these bugs have been fixed at the time of release of this blog post. Project Zero bug ID CVE Type Affected Safari 11.1.2 Older than 6 months Older than 1 year 1593 CVE-2018-4197 UAF YES YES NO 1594 CVE-2018-4318 UAF NO NO NO 1595 CVE-2018-4317 UAF NO YES NO 1596 CVE-2018-4314 UAF YES YES NO 1602 CVE-2018-4306 UAF YES YES NO 1603 CVE-2018-4312 UAF NO NO NO 1604 CVE-2018-4315 UAF YES YES NO 1609 CVE-2018-4323 UAF YES YES NO 1610 CVE-2018-4328 OOB read YES YES YES UAF = use-after-free. OOB = out-of-bounds Out of the 9 bugs found, 6 affected the release version of Apple Safari, directly affecting Safari users. While this is significantly less than the 17 bugs found a year ago, it is still a notable number, especially since the fuzzer has been public for a long time now. After the results were in, the team found that most of the bugs were sitting in the WebKit codebase for longer than 6 months, however, only 1 of them is older than 1 year. Also, the team notes that throughout the past year, their fuzzing process came up with 14 bugs but they cannot surely say if these bugs have been resolved or are still live. The Exploit performed on the bugs To prove that bugs like this can lead to a browser compromise, an exploit was written for one of them. Out of the 6 issues affecting the release version of Safari, the researchers selected the use-after-free issue to exploit. The details of this issue are well explained in Project Zero’s Blog post. The exploit was successfully tested on Mac OS 10.13.6 (build version 17G65). All the details of the exploit can be seen at bugs.chromium.org. An interesting aspect of this exploit is that, on Safari for Mac OS it could be written in a very “old-school’ way due to lack of control flow mitigations on the platform. That being said, on the latest mobile hardware and in iOS 12, which was published after the exploit was already written, Apple introduced control flow mitigations by using Pointer Authentication Codes (PAC). The issues were reported to Apple between June 15 and July 2nd, 2018. On September 17th 2018, Apple published security advisories for iOS 12, tvOS 12 and Safari 12 which fixed all of the issues. Although the bugs were fixed at that time, the corresponding advisories did not initially mention them. The issues described in the blog post were only added to the advisories one week later, on September 24, 2018, when the security advisories for macOS Mojave 10.14 were also published. The researchers affirm that there were clear improvements in WebKit DOM when tested with Domato. However, the public fuzzer was still able to find a large number of bugs. This is worrying because if a public tool was able to find that many bugs, private tools can be even more effective in exploiting these bugs. To know more about this experiment, head over to Google Project Zero’s official Blog. Read Next Google Project Zero discovers a cache invalidation bug in Linux memory management, Ubuntu and Debian remain vulnerable Google, Amazon, AT&T met the U.S Senate Committee to discuss consumer data privacy, yesterday Ex-googler who quit Google on moral grounds writes to Senate about company’s “Unethical” China censorship planlast_img read more

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Chrome 70 releases with support for Desktop Progressive Web Apps on Windows

first_imgYesterday, Google announced the release of Chrome 70. This version comes with support for Desktop Progressive Web apps on Windows and Linux and for public key credentials. Also, web Bluetooth is now supported for Windows 10 users. Support for Desktop Progressive Web Apps on Windows and Linux You can now install Desktop Progressive Web Apps on Windows and Linux. Once installed, they’re launched from the Start menu, and run like any other installed app, without an address bar or tabs. Credential Management API supports Public Key Credentials Signing in has become very simple with the introduction of the Credential Management API. It enables the communication between your site and the browser’s credential manager or federated account services like Google and Facebook to sign in. One more credential type named, Public Key Credential is introduced. It allows web applications to create and use, strong, cryptographically attested, and application-scoped credentials to authenticate users. Named workers With the help of workers, you can move JavaScript off the main thread and into the background. This will keep your site interactive as it will prevent the main thread from locking up when it is running an expensive or complex JavaScript computation. A new name attribute is added for workers in Chrome 70, which is specified by an optional argument on the constructor: const url = ‘/scripts/my-worker.js’;const wNYC = new Worker(url, {name: ‘NewYork’});const oSF = {name: ‘SanFrancisco’};const wSF = new Worker(url, oSF); You can now easily distinguish dedicated workers by name when you have multiple workers with the same URL. Miscellaneous updates Web Bluetooth is available for Windows 10 users. It allows your site to securely communicate with nearby user-selected Bluetooth devices. Chrome can now send intervention and deprecation messages to your servers using the Report-To HTTP Response header field or surface them in the ReportingObserver interface. Deprecations in Chrome 70 AppCache from insecure contexts removed AppCache potentially allows persistent online and offline cross-site scripting attacks, when used over insecure contexts. To avoid these attacks, AppCache is now only supported on origins that serve over HTTPS. Developers are advised to use service workers as an alternative. Gamepads.item() deprecated and removed The legacy item() accessor is no longer a part of the Gamepads array. This change improves compatibility with Firefox, the only browser to implement GamepadList. SpeechSynthesis.speak() without user activation deprecated Now an error is thrown by the speechSynthesis.speak() function if a document has not received a user activation. You can expect its removal in Chrome 71 by late November. They have listed all the deprecations in Chrome 70 on their official website. Read the full list of changes on the Google Developers website. Read Next Chrome 69 privacy issues: automatic sign-ins and retained cookies; Chrome 70 to correct these Google announces Chrome 67 packed with powerful APIs, password-free logins, PWA support, and more Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and others to disable TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 in favor of TLS 1.2 or later by 2020last_img read more

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Sunwing appoints new Groups Manager

center_img Posted by TORONTO — Sunwing has expanded its Group Sales Team by adding Samantha Gillingham as its new Groups Manager.Reporting to Group Sales Director Lexic Lipitkas, Gillingham brings over 10 years of travel experience to her new role, with previous positions at Transat Holidays, Flight Centre Travel Group, and Jet Airways. Over the years her roles have ranged from consultant and account manager to team leader and corporate sales manager.At Sunwing, Gillingham will oversee the Toronto Group Sales team and the Nexus/Sunwing Group Excursions team.“I am eager to be working with our Group Sales Director to develop seasonal plans for group customers, and to work with the rest of the team to continuously develop their talent, and our sales and procedures that make us #1 to the sun,” she said.Gillingham can be reached at [email protected] and 1-877-877-1755 ext. 6927. Sunwing Group Sales manager for Quebec, Marisa Poggioni, can also be reached at [email protected] and 1-877-877-1755 ext. 6956. Tags: Peoplelast_img read more

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Costa Rican President Chinchilla denies link to Liberty Reserve attorney

first_imgIn the wake of last Friday’sarrest of online currency company Liberty Reserve’s founder, Arthur Budovsky, and several accomplices who were charged by U.S. federal officials on Tuesday of operating a $6 billion money laundering operation, Costa Rica’s Chief Public Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría announced on Thursday that authorities here would begin to investigate possible political links to Liberty Reserve.Meanwhile, The Tico Times this week uncovered information that appeared to link one of Liberty Reserve’s former key Costa Rican employees with President Laura Chinchilla. However, on Friday, Chinchilla denied those links and said she never met or worked with the woman.On her LinkedIn page, attorney Angie Portela, 36, describes herself as an “advisor” to Liberty Reserve from December 2009 to December 2011. A source with knowledge of Liberty Reserve’s operations in Costa Rica, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed that Portela worked at Liberty Reserve, performing legal and political tasks.Portela’s LinkedIn page also says she worked as an “advisor” to Chinchilla in 2005, when the current Costa Rican president was a lawmaker.Portela claims to have worked in the “Office of Legislator Laura Chinchilla” from February to July 2005, where her tasks were to “review, edit and propose alternatives for a bill of law for electronic signatures.”“I don’t remember meeting anyone named Angie Portela, nor does that name sound familiar,” Chinchilla told The Tico Times in an email. “I remember perfectly the names of legislative advisers assigned to my office during the period when I served as a legislator, and among that group there was no one with that name. …“Considering that a situation like this could be attributed to the irresponsible use of my name, and above all, a falsity contained in the work history of a presumed attorney, we are sending this matter to the legal office of the Costa Rican Attorneys Association,” the president stated.The Tico Times attempted to check employment records at the Legislative Assembly, but the Assembly’s Financial Department Director Mario Delgado did not return an email with questions and several phone calls to his office on Thursday and Friday. Delgado’s assistant told a Tico Times reporter that he had asked another person in the office to deal with the newspaper’s request, and that person “took the day off.”No one in the office answered the phones the rest of Friday afternoon.Portela, reached by phone, said she would not comment due to “the ongoing investigation.”After receiving Chinchilla’s response at 4 p.m. on Friday, The Tico Times learned through a public records search at the Supreme Electoral Tribunal that Angie Portela’s full name is María de los Ángeles Portela Rojas. She is a member of the Costa Rican Attorneys Association under that name.The Tico Times was unable to reach Chinchilla or her press secretary after learning the new information. Angie Portela’s LinkedIn page says she worked for now-President Laura Chinchilla in 2005. Chinchilla denies the claim. Last Friday, agents raiding Budovsky-linked homes and business seized over $1 million in luxury automobiles alone, including two Jaguars, three Rolls Royces and a Mercedes Benz. According to sources, some – if not all – of the automobiles were paid for in cash.On its blog on Thursday, the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica referred to the case, asking, “Why did the accused come to Costa Rica, in the first place, to set up an illegal business? Why did they renounce their U.S. citizenship, and in the case of the mastermind, Arthur Budovsky, who seems to have married a Costa Rican empanada vendor, without ever having seen him, in exchange for ₡200,000 [$400]?“The answer is simple,” the embassy blog said. “They suspected that Costa Rica did not have the laws to detect and block their operations. … They committed a grave error.”More pictures: Related posts:Millions of dollars in limbo after shuttering of digital currency site Liberty Reserve U.S.: Liberty Reserve the largest money laundering probe in history Liberty Reserve: A cyberweb of intrigue A Russian patsy or high-tech criminal? Liberty Reserve founder Arthur Budovsky bought a bunch of cows during a 2008 cow parade in Costa Rica. Courtesy OIJ Chinchilla, who served as a lawmaker for the ruling National Liberation Party from May 2002 to April 2006, is a public security expert who has focused on fighting organized crime throughout her career. From 1996-1998, she served as Costa Rica’s public security minister, and as vice minister from 1994-1996. She became first vice president in 2006, and in 2010, the first woman elected to the presidency in Costa Rica.The president’s personal webpage notes that, “as a lawmaker, [Chinchilla] presided over various commissions from which she promoted several laws of great impact in the areas of participatory government, public sector efficiency, security, crimes against minors, domestic violence and fighting corruption.”During the 2009-2010 presidential race, Chinchilla campaigned on a slogan of “honest and firm,” vowing to improve public security and fight organized crime, which has expanded throughout Central America, mostly driven by illicit drug trafficking.Despite her broad career in public service focused on public security, her administration has been plagued by several scandals involving those close to her. On May 16, Chinchilla announced in a televised address the resignation of two key administration officials – Presidency Vice Minister Mauricio Boraschi, also the head of Costa Rica’s Office of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and the country’s anti-drug commissioner, and presidential adviser Irene Pacheco. Former Communications Minister Francisco Chacón had resigned the previous day over what has become known as “the plane of shame” scandal, in which the president twice traveled on a private jet owned or loaned by Gabriel Morales Fallón, a Colombian who allegedly had introduced himself to Chacón under a false name and was suspected by the Colombian government of having links to international drug traffickers. Morales denies the links.In 2012, an investigation revealed massive corruption in the construction of a road along the northern border with Nicaragua, secured with emergency government funds and carried out with little oversight, including a $5.6 million contract granted to a company that had no machinery and had never previously received a government contract.In the past three years, 15 government ministers have resigned from or been asked to leave Chinchilla’s administration. Meanwhile, the threat to Costa Rica by organized crime and drug traffickers continues to mount.Liberty Reserve, which U.S. authorities say was processing more than 12 million financial transactions annually, at a value of $1.4 billion per year by 2013 and had accounts in at least five Costa Rican banks, operated in Costa Rica for seven years before it was dismantled by the biggest joint money laundering operation ever conducted by U.S. officials. At least 17 countries participated in the investigation.And on Friday, the body of a 26-year-old turtle conservationist was discovered on a Caribbean beach in Costa Rica, the victim of suspected drug traffickers. Jairo Mora Sandoval was kidnapped and murdered, along with a group of foreign conservationists who survived the attack, in what colleagues believe was retaliation for statements he made to a local daily newspaper saying conservationists were being harassed by drug traffickers and turtle poachers in the area.A Liberty Reserve ‘advisor’On her LinkedIn profile, Portela says her duties at Liberty Reserve were to “write, review and edit reports, opinions, policies and other documents,” as well as to, “write and administer client and employee contracts, conduct and coordinate research into a variety of legal issues,” “provide analysis and counsel on legal issues,” and “litigation and arbitration management.”Portela also said on her profile that she studied at the University of San José in 1993 as an “International Technician in Risk Management Systems of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.” In a conversation with The Tico Times, a source who worked at Liberty Reserve referred to Portela as a company attorney. Portela corresponded with Liberty Reserve clients by using the email address [email protected] In response to an angry client who said he was having trouble obtaining his funds from Liberty Reserve, Portela advised, “As to a third party involved in this communications [sic] I respectfully ask you to not take advice from people not related to L.R.”In the correspondence, Portela also gives other legal advice.She also is listed as “agente residente,” or registered agent, for at least four Liberty companies: Worldwide E-Commerce Business S.A. (WEBSA), Silverhand Solutions & Technology S.A., Liberty Reserve Solutions CR S.A., and World Treasure Consulting & Management S.A. As a registered agent, she received all legal correspondence involving the companies, most alleged by the U.S. government to be Liberty shell companies used to obstruct the investigation (U.S. officials ordered WEBSA funds in a Banco Nacional account seized on Tuesday).WEBSA and Silverhand offices were raided on May 21. The previous day, a judge ordered banking secrecy laws suspended on accounts for all four businesses.A black eye, or a major victory?Faced with last Friday’s raids of Liberty Reserve businesses and properties, Tuesday’s indictment in New York of several key participants, and growing outrage that such a large criminal operation was taking place here, Costa Rican officials are portraying recent events as a sign of success in the country’s bilateral battle with the U.S. to fight organized crime.At a Friday press conference at Casa Presidencial, Bernardita Marín, associate director of the Costa Rican Drug Institute, said the operation to dismantle Liberty Reserve was initiated by Costa Rican authorities, not the U.S. Celso Gamboa, who replaced Boraschi as head of DIS and presidency vice minister, and Gilberto Serrano, president of the National Banking Association, also attended the press conference.“In the case of Liberty Reserve, two national financial institutions detected unusual transactions through the monitoring procedures in place,” Marín said in a press release. At the conference, she added, “Thanks to the efforts of both the U.S. and Costa Rican governments, the biggest money laundering case ever was uncovered,” adding, “It wasn’t by accident.”Marín said Costa Rican authorities were aware of the Liberty Reserve operation since 2009. According to the U.S. federal indictment, Costa Rica’s Financial Institution Superintendency notified Liberty that it needed to apply for a license to operate as a money transmitting business.Marín also stressed that not all of the $6 billion that moved through the company in the past seven years – which represents roughly 25 percent of Costa Rica’s entire economy – was managed through the Costa Rican financial system.She said Costa Rican officials seized Liberty funds on three separate occasions – in 2011, 2012 and 2013 – although the U.S. indictment mentions only one seizure of $19.5 million, after Budovsky, Allan Hidalgo and Azzeddine El Amine allegedly began emptying Liberty Reserve bank accounts in Costa Rica of “millions of dollars.” They transferred those funds to a bank account in Cyprus held in the name of a shell company controlled by Budovsky and El Amine, and then to another account in Russia, the indictment alleges.On Wednesday, according to the Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Office, a court ordered the seizure of the “financial products and services” of Budovsky, Maxim Chukharev – who is under arrest in Costa Rica awaiting extradition to the U.S. – Worldwide E-Commerce Business S.A. (WEBSA), and Grupo Lulu Ltda., as well as accounts in Banco Nacional, Banco de Costa Rica, BAC San José, Bancrédito and Davivienda.The Prosecutor’s Office also stated that they, along with the Judicial Investigation Police, began a criminal investigation on March 7, 2011, following a report of suspicious activity filed by Banco Nacional and Bancrédito.Costa Rican law enforcement officials first met with their U.S. counterparts on Dec. 5, 2011, the Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Office said. A request for banking secrecy laws to be lifted against Liberty Reserve was filed on Dec. 13, 2011.Portela said she left Liberty Reserve in December 2011, after working for the company for more than two years.Liberty accounts that have been seized in Costa Rica since January 2012 include $17 million in Grupo Mutual Alajuela, $1.8 million in Bancrédito and $1 million in Banco Lafise, the Prosecutor’s Office stated.The Prosecutor’s Office also released a detailed report of the actions U.S. and Costa Rican officials took to investigate and prosecute the case, beginning in March 2011.Fate of other players?Another question is what will happen to other players in the Liberty Reserve operation, particularly a group of Costa Ricans who remain at large. The Prosecutor’s Office will not comment on Allan Hidalgo, aka “Allan García,” Ahmed Yassine, aka “Alex,” or Kelsin Antonio Varela Figueroa, who is listed in public documents as the president of Liberty Reserve Solutions CR S.A.It is unclear if an arrest warrant has been issued for any of the men. Yassine and Hidalgo are named in the U.S. indictment, although sources told The Tico Times that they could not be extradited to the U.S. because they are Costa Rican nationals. The Costa Rican Constitution prevents nationals from being extradited, except in very specific drug- or terrorism-related cases.According to public records, Hidalgo, 28, who is listed as president of Liberty Reserve S.A., has not left the country since arriving from Colombia in September 2012.Yassine, 42, a Moroccan who became a naturalized Costa Rican following a November 2006 marriage (he and his Costa Rican wife were divorced in March 2010, according to public records), has not left Costa Rica since returning from Spain in October 2012.Confidentiality contracts that Liberty employees were forced to sign state that Yassine is Liberty’s “legal representative.” A search of the Attorneys Association registry does not show that he is an affiliate.The confidentiality contract requires employees to “maintain in strict confidentiality all information” about the company, including “administrative affairs, operations and financial details” for 15 years after employees leave the company. The contract also requires employees to inform company operators if they receive a judge’s warrant to reveal confidential information about the company.A search of public documents shows that Hidalgo, who is married and has no children, claimed an income of ₡920,833.33 in the past 12 months, the equivalent of about $1,841.67. He is also listed as treasurer of Inversiones Hidalgo Jiménez S.A., president of Silverhand Solutions & Technology S.A. (which prosecutors allege was one of the many Liberty shell companies), president of World Treasure Consulting & Management S.A.(another suspected shell company) and secretary of Liberty Reserve Solutions CR S.A. The remnants of a $6 billion illegal empire. Courtesy OIJ Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Costa Rica faces strong competition as destination for US retirees

first_imgCosta Rica and Mexico have traditionally been the region’s preferred destinations for U.S. and Canadian retirees, but according to a report from the The Wall Street Journal, Panama, Belize and Nicaragua are increasingly competing with both countries.The report says that the number of U.S. citizens who receive pension payments in Panama increased by 65 percent from 2006-2011. In Nicaragua, the number doubled during the same period, from 595 retirees to 1,322.“These three countries offer packages of residency and breaks on taxes and fees that imitate Costa Rica’s pensionado program, which was introduced in 1971 and helped set the groundwork for a boom in retiree emigration from North America. Nicaragua added such a law in 2009, offering foreigners with retirement incomes tax breaks on everything from cars to construction materials,” the WSJ noted.The story also describes how last year Panama created a path to citizenship for retirement residents and introduced a new residency program for people under retirement age that has lowered requirements for investment in property, business and other ventures.Officials from Costa Rica’s National Tourism Chamber acknowledged the efforts of these three nations to attract retirees, but insisted that Costa Rica isn’t necessarily losing ground.The WSJ report also noted that crime and security problems are still a major concern for people interested in relocating to the region.“Security isn’t always adequate in the region. Mexico’s well-publicized drug war and escalating violence are starting to push Americans to look at new places for retirement, […] and Costa Rica’s petty crime such as theft and smash and grab muggings have increased in the past couple of years, along with home invasions,” added the story, also citing similar problems in all the other countries. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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NASA offers internships for Tico high school students

first_imgTwo Costa Rican high school seniors will have the opportunity to spend two weeks learning alongside astronauts and other scientists at the Johnson Space Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Houston, Texas.The internship is part of a NASA program called Space School that promotes vocations within the aerospace industry, and Costa Rica is the only Central American country eligible. The application period begins this week and ends March 7.The project is organized by the Asociación Estrategia Siglo 21 and chaired by former Tico astronaut and scientist Franklin Chang, said the association’s spokeswoman Diana Alvarado.To qualify for a full scholarship, students must be high school seniors between the ages of 15 and 17. A full command of English and average grades of 90 or more in physics, math and chemistry is mandatory. Applicants also are required to demonstrate leadership and communication skills, along with the ability to work as part of a team.Those interested in applying for the internship must submit a 500-word essay in English expressing their interest, stating their purpose in applying and explaining how Costa Rica will benefit from their participation. The application must be attached to two letters of recommendation highlighting academic performance and personal skills.The scholarship includes airfare, departure taxes, hosting, tuition and all participation expenses.Classes will be held at the University of Houston–Clear Lake campus, located next to the Johnson Space Center.Only printed applications will be accepted at the Franklin Chang building, located 1.5 kilometers north of the U.S. Embassy in Pavas, west of San José. Facebook Comments Related posts:Two young Ticos prepare to go to NASA space camp Chevening Scholarship awarded to Tica physician Ad Astra’s deep space rocket moves into new testing phase with help from NASA NASA astronauts celebrate mission anniversary in Costa Ricalast_img read more

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Costa Ricas Postal Service unveils stamps to honor La Sele in World

first_imgCorreos de Costa Rica, the company that manages the country’s postal service, on Thursday launched a special limited edition of 30,000 stamps to commemorate Costa Rica’s participation in the upcoming World Cup Brazil 2014.The stamp series called FIFA World Cup 2014 portrays the tournament mascot, the World Cup trophy and Costa Rica’s National Team, known as “La Sele.”The series comes in two editions of ₡500 and ₡710 ($1 and $1.30), available at the agency’s main facilities in downtown San José, the Zapote branch (east of the capital) and online at www.correos.go.cr.At a presentation ceremony Thursday, Correos de Costa Rica General Manager Álvaro Coghi appointed coach Jorge Luis Pinto and president of the Costa Rican Football Federation Eduardo Li as “Honorary Mailmen.” Both received a certificate and a mail bag.Assistant coaches and former World Cup players Paulo Wanchope and Luis Marín also attended the event. The special edition comes in two designs of ₡500 and ₡710. Alberto Font/The Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Paulo Wanchope named new coach of Costa Rica national soccer team Costa Rica can go far, says coach Pinto Portugal’s last-second draw is US’ most-watched soccer game Music legend Rubén Blades writes Editus to praise Costa Rica’s World Cup achievementslast_img read more

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Learning English in Costa Rica then and now

first_imgRelated posts:Claiming my Afro-Latinidad A look back at 1930s Limón and the real legacy of Afro-Caribbean immigrants Finding La Negrita: A story of coming home Dr. Charles Gourzong: Costa Rica’s visionary medicine man My two children, born in New York, are English speakers with a fair background in the basics of Spanish. They attend a private international school in Costa Rica where instruction is in English – except for Spanish class, of course, and the preparatory program for the Costa Rican high school exit exams. My 15-year-old son has emerged as a true Tico, as he can now roll off his tongue all themaes, esos and other soccer-field lingo that signifies “arrival.”For my husband and daughter, the journey has been a bit more treacherous. As for me, I have never had formal Spanish instruction, but I can understand, speak (tongue-tied much of the time) and write it. Yet much of my daily life involves English. The neighborhood we live in is a mix of U.S. and European expats and professional Costa Ricans who love speaking English with me, though I attempt to reply in Spanish. Outside of this enclave, of course, the Costa Rican world remains mostly Spanish-speaking. At the feria on Saturday morning, I have my regular vendors who greet me with fresh kale as we discuss the weather and their crops.I realize as I move between spaces that my worlds are language-driven. When I am with my Costa Rican family, conversation is generally in Spanish, with whispers when I need translation. I began to think about the significance of this since there are rumors that within 20 years, 60 percent of Costa Ricans will speak English.  I think that today, the majority of Costa Ricans who speak English fluently come primarily from two spaces: from an Afro/Caribbean-descended family, or from a private school education which was either bilingual or English-based. The latter indicates a class status. The former is based in a specific political and cultural tradition from the Caribbean coast which still has ramifications today.I love the fact that I can simply make a phone call to my maternal aunts and get all the information I need on their experiences growing up in Puerto Limón in the 1940s and 1950s. My Aunt Marjorie is the family storyteller; in West Africa she would be called a griot. A griot is a respected holder of communal knowledge, usually shared through word-of-mouth as part of a community’s oral tradition. Well, Tía Marjorie has a suitcase of knowledge that I am grateful for! I have always heard my mother and her sisters laugh about Sister Jesse and English school, but only until I spoke with my tias did I get a good idea about how they acquired English in Costa Rica.At the turn of the 20th century, the influx of Anglophone Caribbean immigrants into Puerto Limón and the surrounding area to work on the Northern Railway and the banana plantations of the United Fruit Company, created a “country” on the Caribbean coast that was fully autonomous from the central highlands of Costa Rica. These Caribbean immigrants – educated, religious and professional – established their churches, local newspapers, businesses, worker unions and social clubs, which were mostly church-based. These organizations helped the community articulate itself as it struggled with the identity politics of being of Caribbean origins and non-Costa Ricans (until 1948, when those of Caribbean lineage but born in Costa Rica could apply for naturalization). One of the great markers of this Caribbean identity was the creation and maintenance of private English schools by the local Black community.My tía tells me that her father, Jamaican-born and married to a black woman from Limón, insisted that his four daughters learn to read and write English as part of their cultural heritage.  My grandfather never learned Spanish, and he did not need to in the Limón of his time. My grandmother learned Spanish well into her 50s, once she was living in San Jose. The world of Puerto Limón was an English-speaking center which was cosmopolitan in its outlook, as it engaged with sailors from around the world. Newspapers about global events were widely circulated. There were several private English schools that Black children could attend, including those run by the Baptist and Methodist Churches. Sister Jesse, Teacher Thomas and Mr. Davidson, all of Caribbean descent, were some of the English teachers who ran these schools which offered a program complementary to that of the Spanish schools that the Costa Rican government mandated all children to attend.Enter the world of Sister Jesse! She was a member of the Methodist Church and my grandmother was her seamstress. Tall and imposing, she wore long skirts with full petticoats, frilly white blouses closed at the neck and laced-up black boots in the hot Limón sun! As an exchange for her sewing services, my grandmother was allowed to send her four daughters to Sister Jesse’s English school for free. It was located in a one-room building next to the Methodist Church, around the corner from Los Banos in Limón. So, in the early 1940s, my mother and her sisters went to the schoolhouse, mostly in the afternoons, from 1-3 pm after Spanish school.Sister Jesse’s classroom was divided into Primary and Secondary; she had a younger woman teach the Kindergarten, First and Second Grades about 15 students. Sister Jesse took the older students in one large mix, up to 25 students at a time. She taught English, Geography/History (British of course!), Math and Religion.Sister Jesse’s world was ordered and serious, and maintained the respectability politics of the immigrant Caribbean community of her time. My tia recounts that most of the teaching and assessment was done orally: the students would form a daily semicircle around Sister Jesse’s desk, with the head of the class going first. Everyone vied for that spot, because the last thing a student wanted was to be the tail. Class started with the times tables, then spelling and geography. My aunts admitted that they were naughty and chatted a lot in class, therefore rarely avoiding the punishment meted out at the end of the day by Sister Jesse.It was this Limon community that established the foundations of English literacy for its children as an act of political and cultural consciousness which remain strong today among many Afro-Costa Ricans. One of the initiatives for the United Nations Decade of Afro-Descendants is the support of English-speaking Afro-Costa Rican communities through the sharing and celebration of language and cultural norms. Costa Rican scholars such as Dr. Marva Spence Sharpe study Limonese linguistic patterns in order to preserve all of their wonderful influences in Costa Rica’s history.Read more of Natasha Gordon-Chipembere’s columns here.Natasha Gordon-Chipembere, a writer, professor and founder of the Tengo Sed Writers Retreats, moved to Heredia, Costa Rica with her family from New York in June 2014.  She is now accepting applications for Tengo Sed IV Writers and Yoga Retreat in Jan 2017. She may be reached at [email protected] Her column “Musings from an Afro-Costa Rican” is published monthly. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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5 questions for a Costa Rican photographer

first_imgRelated posts:Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica 5 question for a Costa Rican photographer 5 questions for Costa Rican sculptor José Sancho 5 questions for Costa Rican director Federico Peixoto Francisco Cubillo is only 19, but his phography is already capturing a broad variety of life, from concerts to nature and the city’s vivacity. The native of Puriscal, in the mountains southwest of San José, travels frequently to the capital as part of his work as a freelance photographer and audiovisual producer. Cubillo is self-taught and began his photographic journey less than a year ago when he bought his first professional camera and computer. His photographs are characterized by the use of a cold color palette and a clean aesthetic.On a rainy afternoon at Starbucks in the Plaza de la Cultura, The Tico Times sat down with Cubillo to talk about his life and work. Excerpts follow.Why did you choose photography?I like to demonstrate to people my own perspective on a specific situation. I feel I can tell stories through the photos I take; I’ve always felt that people don’t understand my point of view and photography is the most efficient way in which I can achieve that. [With photography] beauty is found within simplicity, which is portrayed in small things that most people take for granted.People usually focus too much on their defects. With photography I like to show them that their defects can make them beautiful. I’m uncomfortable with the idea that people are never satisfied with their portraits. I don’t like it when they let their insecurities overcome them. The Milky Way photographed by Cubillo in Puriscal. (Courtesy of Francisco Cubillo)What things do you like to photograph the most?Urban and social situations. I enjoy street photography because it’s more of a challenge for me. I’m from Puriscal, where you can go out at 1 a.m. and see the Milky Way. Those are photos that impress people, but they’re not a challenge for me. I love the urban settings much more; the city never stops moving, and I can lose the photograph within half a second if I’m not attentive at that moment. I like that idea of knowing that I’m capturing that exact moment in the most ephemeral manner possible. (Courtesy of Francisco Cubillo) A statue at the National Theater. (Courtesy of Francisco Cubillo)What about San José draws your attention?I’ve got this love-hate relationship with the city. I feel it’s a profoundly awful place, yet profoundly beautiful. People don’t appreciate at all the beauty San José offers. People focus way too much on the bad things, and not all the good things we can all regain [from the city]. I like to be able to show people that beauty they overlook. People often don’t like San José because they don’t know it. It’s a place that works as a point of transit: Most of us come here to work. We spend the day in San José, but don’t experiment it. We don’t live San José, so it’s very easy to overlook all of those beautiful things happening in the city because we’re not paying attention. San José comes alive during the rainy season. (Courtesy of Francisco Cubillo) (Courtesy of Francisco Cubillo)What differences do you notice between Puriscal and San José?Well, San José is not a new place for me: If you live in a rural Costa Rican area, 60% of your life is in San José because this is where we work, where most people come to study. However, the lifestyle and the way in which people behave are more impersonal. For example, if by any chance I end up being a homeless person, in Puriscal I’ll never end up living on the streets. In San José you’ll end up on the streets. In Puriscal you’ll never go hungry; in San José you will. It’s as if people were colder and there’s not as much compassion. The Mercado Central in San José. (Courtesy of Francisco Cubillo)Which are your inspirations and influences?I’m very inspired by my cousin, César Cordero. I think he’s the best photographer in Costa Rica, although he never publishes his photos. He takes them, but never shows them; he doesn’t edit them, either, just saves them. He’s my biggest inspiration and influence. The fact that I’ve had that close relationship with him and have been taking photos with him has formed me a lot as a person and photographer. I’ve learned a lot from him.Also, my mom has supported me a lot. It’s something that I sometimes take for granted and I don’t appreciate much, but she has always believed in me. She has always done everything that’s in her power in order to help me.Read more “Weekend Arts Spotlight” interviews here.Our “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at [email protected] Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Israels tourism minister seeks boost from India

first_img 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Misezhnikov and Indian Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai signed an agreement to encourage travel between their countries.India is a popular destination for Israelis.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments   Share   Top holiday drink recipes JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel’s tourism minister says he is looking to India for a big boost in visits to his country.Stas Misezhnikov said Sunday that some 40,000 Indians visited Israel last year. While that’s a small percentage of the roughly 3 million tourists Israel gets each year, it’s double the amount of just two years ago.Misezhnikov said he can bring that figure to 100,000 in three years.At a news conference with his Indian counterpart, Misezhnikov said Israel will open new flights to destinations in India such as New Delhi, Goa and Calcutta. The Israeli Tourism Ministry also plans to open an office in Mumbai this year.last_img read more

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Sri Lankan Muslims protest antiIslam film

first_imgCOLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – Hundreds of Muslims in Sri Lanka’s capital protested Wednesday against an anti-Islam film produced in the United States, burning effigies of President Barack Obama.About 300 protesters marched in Colombo, carrying signs and banners that read, “Ban anti-Islamic film all over the world. U.S. should apologize to Muslims.” They chanted, “Hang the producer and director of the film.” Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   The protesters blocked traffic on Colombo’s main roads, but police did not allow them to go near the U.S. Embassy.Protesters burned two effigies of Obama and U.S. and Israeli flags during the demonstration, which was organized by the Islamic group Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamath.Abdul Razeek, a spokesman for the group, said the protests would continue until the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” is completely removed from YouTube.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)center_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

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Berezovsky to pay Abramovich 56M in legal costs

first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of But Judge Elizabeth Gloster threw out the case in August, ruling that Berezovsky was a dishonest and unreliable witness.Neither man was in court Friday as the costs were settled.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) LONDON (AP) – A British court has ordered self-exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky to pay 35 million pounds ($56 million) in legal costs to fellow Russian Roman Abramovich after losing a lawsuit against him.Berezovsky waged a multimillion-dollar legal battle against Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, claiming that he was cheated out of his stakes in the oil group Sibneft.Berezovsky, a former Kremlin power broker who sought political asylum in Britain in the early 2000s, argued that Abramovich blackmailed him into selling the stakes vastly beneath their true worth after he fell out with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Patients with chronic pain give advice Sponsored Stories Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   last_img read more

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Police release surveillance photo of Brussels bombing suspects

first_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Windows were blown out, ceilings collapsed and smoke poured through the building.(Twitter Photo)An hour after the airport blasts, a bomb went off in the subway. Another bomb was found at the airport and deactivated by authorities. “We are at war,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said after a crisis meeting in Paris. “We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war.”European security officials have been bracing for a major attack for weeks, and warned that the Islamic State group was actively preparing to strike. The arrest Friday of a key suspect in the November attacks in Paris heightened those fears, as investigators said many more people were involved than originally thought, and that some are still on the loose.The Associated Press contributed to this report. The vital role family plays in society Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Police in Belgium have released a surveillance photo of the suspected terrorists who detonated bombs that killed 31 and injured nearly 200 at a European airport Tuesday morning.The photo was taken at the Brussels airport before the attacks.At least one of the airport blasts was attributed to a suicide bomber. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the carnage. In the photo, three men are seen strolling through the Zaventem terminal, pushing luggage carts. ABC News reported that two of the men may be dead and authorities were searching for the man in the hat.last_img read more

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IHG named Australasias most environmentally sustainable hotelie

first_imgCrowne Plaza Alice Springs Solar Project, final install aerial photo Source = IHG IHG has been recognised as the most environmentally and socially responsible hotelier in Australasia, after being awarded the inaugural Responsible Travel ManagementAward (RTM) by the National Business Travel Association (NBTA).Announcing the award at the Excellence Award Dinner during its annual Regional Business Travel Conference in Melbourne, the NBTA recognised IHG’s corporate responsibility practices as the clear benchmark for sustainability inhotels in Australia and New Zealand.Citing the sheer depth and diversity of IHG’s comprehensive corporate responsibility program in awarding the accolade, NBTA offered praise for the years of effort and resources that have been committed to making IHG’s hotels and business practices as environmentally sustainable and socially responsible as possible.Of particular note were IHG’s extensive efforts in providing training, employment and community development opportunities for Indigenous Australians, as part of the company’s broad corporate responsibility commitments.“We’ve spent years changing the way we do business across every one of our InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels, to cut the volume of natural resources being consumed – such as water and energy – and reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill, and find new ways to foster the social and economic development of the local communities we do business in,” said IHG Australasia’s director of corporate responsibility, Frank Hubbard.“This process has required personal commitments at every level of the business, to get IHG to the point where it is starting to make a difference. It’s required nothing less than fundamental shifts in how we run our hotels and engage with our communities, but the positive results of these efforts are more than worth the effort.” “Time and again, we’ve been able to prove that responsible business is good business – and receiving recognition for our commitment from major industry organisations like the NBTA certainly spurs us on,” Frank said. IHG’s environmental policies cover every area of the global business – from sustainable design, development and operation of hotels through to engagement of customers, colleagues and business partners.  Underpinning all this are proprietary systems and partnerships to monitor, benchmark and audit the environmental performance of every one of IHG’s hotels.The NBTA’s inaugural Responsible Travel Management Award for Australasia was judged by a selection of NBTA Board members and independent experts in sustainability and climate change.  last_img read more

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Singapore Airlines joins Tourism WA to boost visitors

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Singapore Airlines and Tourism Western Australia (TWA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly promote tourism to Western Australia.The three-year partnership sees a joint funding of marketing campaigns and the active promotion of inbound tourism to Western Australia off the back of the carrier’s Singapore-Perth services, the airline announced in a release on Wednesday, 1 September.“We are privileged to work with TWA and the forming of this strategic partnership is testament to our strong commitment to the Australian market. With Singapore Airlines’ extensive network, I am confident that we will encourage more visitors to see the beautiful sights and attractions Western Australia has to offer,” Singapore Airlines’ Executive Vice President, Marketing and the Regions, Goh Choon Phong said.The focus in the first year would be on three key international markets for Western Australia – Germany, Singapore and China, TWA’s acting CEO Stephanie Buckland said.“Our Experience Extraordinary campaign ties perfectly in with these markets because visitors from these countries seek something a little different,” Ms Buckland said.“Nowhere else in Australia can you find a city with 3,000 hours of sunshine per year or visit one of Lonely Planet’s top ten regions of the world – Australia’s South West.”Currently, Singapore Airlines operates a total of 93 weekly flights to five major cities across Australia, including 18 weekly services to Perth.last_img read more

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Qantas announces profit update

first_imgQantas chief executive Alan Joyce has announced that the carrier expects to report an Underlying Profit Before Tax for the last financial year ending June 2011 in the range of AUD500 million to 550 million. Mr Joyce said a number of factors have impacted the FY11 result, including the disruptions due to the Chilean volcano which has already cost the airline AUD21 million. A series of significant weather events and natural disasters including the Queensland floods, Cyclones Yasi and Carlos, the Japanese tsunami and the Christchurch earthquake has cost the carrier in total AUD185 million. He also confirmed that they have reached an agreement with Rolls Royce regarding the Airbus A380 engine failure on flight QF32 last November and the full settlement will be recognised in the FY11. “Considering the challenges facing the aviation industry, this is a good result, the Qantas Group’s best since the global financial crisis,” Mr Joyce said. He said the combination of their domestic carrier’s Jetstar and Qantas, Jetstar International, Qantas frequent flyer and Qantas freight has enabled them to pull through these major events. Qantas International is forecast to generate a loss before interest and tax of around AUD200 million, on invested capital of over AUD5 billion, with a weaker result expected for 2012.“Clearly the situation is not sustainable, however we are developing a long term strategy aimed at restoring competitiveness and profitability.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P Qantas faces more turbulant times aheadlast_img read more

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Job cuts as QF consolidates operations

first_imgUp to 535 Qantas employees will face termination, following the consolidation of Qantas’ heavy maintenance facilities.Facilities in Avalon and Brisbane will remain open, while maintenance repairs at Tullamarine will be discontinued by August 2012. In a statement issued this morning, the airline’s chief executive Alan Joyce said the restructure was necessary as there is currently not enough heavy maintenance work required to operate three separate facilities. Line maintenance will continue to be conducted at Tullamarine, employing over 300 workers. Mr Joyce was positive about the impending situation, highlighting the airline’s commitment to preserving heavy maintenance repairs within Australia.“Qantas has an outstanding track record in aircraft maintenance, and our commitment to setting a global standard for safety and quality in airline maintenance will never change.”The airline chief was also resonant in moving forward and developing its approach to servicing aircraft.“Qantas has invested heavily over the past 10 years in new aircraft that are more advanced, more efficient, attractive to our customers and require less maintenance, less often,” Mr Joyce said.“But we cannot take advantage of this new generation of aircraft if we continue to do heavy maintenance in the same way we did 10 years ago.”According to the airline, Qantas will offer significant support packages for affected employees including redundancy packages well in excess of the legislative requirements, career transition, access to skills and training programs and counselling for employees and their families.Plans to consolidate all services to Queensland were reported earlier in March of this year. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

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Event Awards looks for a Home for 20132015

first_imgIta Buttrose – the 2012 Event AwardsMaster of Ceremonies Source = Australian Event Awards Pty Limited ANZ Stadium – The host venue for 2012,ANZ Stadium Sydney Olympic Park Harmony Daryl – Winners of the 2012 Entertainerof the year award, Harmony and Daryl Lovegrove Each year Australians are responsible for thousands of great events both at home and abroad. The Australian Event Awards aims to recognise their achievements.The Australian Event Awards is the pinnacle awards program for the Australian Events Industry and is now in search for a home. The Event Awards provides an opportunity for Australian events, Event Managers, products and service providers to be nationally recognised for their achievements. Its aims are to celebrate and reward innovation and excellence across the whole spectrum of Australian Events and event services.The program consists of Categories ranging from “Best Sporting Event” to “Best Achievement in Design” and culminates in the highly prized “Australian Event of the Year” award.Previous award winners include Santos Tour Down Under (SA), The Australian Open (VIC), Opera on Sydney Harbour (NSW), Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (VIC), Ten Days on the Island (TAS), Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QLD) and Newmont Boddington Gold Official opening (WA).Following the inaugural Event Awards in 2009 the organisers launched a search for a home venue for the subsequent three years (2010 – 2012). Sydney Olympic Park was successful in their bid and became the Home venue for the Industry Night of Nights.“During those three years Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA) were immensely supportive of the awards and have greatly assisted in bolstering the legitimacy and exposure of the program. Their participation has been invaluable.” said Ian Steigrad, Managing Director of the Awards.Now that the three year arrangement with SOPA has come to a close, a wide variety of interest has been shown from venues, organisations and governments across Australia in hosting the awards. “In response to this, and in order to provide a fair opportunity to all, we have decided to launch a new national Search for a Home for the 2013-2015 Awards” said Steigrad. The event is anticipated to be held in the second week of November each year.Search for a Home bids will open on the 13th May 2013 giving interested parties five weeks to submit their bid. Bids close on the 14th June 2013.The winning destination will have the opportunity to showcase itself directly to the movers and shakers of the Australian events industry. Along with those who export Australian Events expertise to the world and to the 20,000 strong Australian Event Awards database.The announcement of the winning destination will be on the 9th July 2013. Lyndon Terracini – Accepted the coveted AustralianEvent of the Year award for Handa Opera on SydneyHarbour Sandy Hollway – Co-chair of Judging panellast_img read more

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Increased speed and security to help manage continuing passenger growt

first_imgIncreased speed and security to help manage continuing passenger growthAbu Dhabi Airports announced it will deploy a new traveler document authentication system using boarding pass validation technology from air transport IT specialist, SITA. Airport iValidate will enhance security, accelerate passenger processing and reduce waiting times for passengers by automatically verifying all types of boarding passes, including mobile boarding passes and home-printed passes. The use of iValidate at Abu Dhabi International Airport will be the first deployment of the product in the Middle East.The airport’s Traveler Document Authentication System using SITA’s Airport iValidate ensures passengers are at the correct terminal and security checkpoint, and enables them to present their barcode boarding passes either on paper or on their mobile phones.  The data is automatically validated, checked for duplicates and cross-referenced against the Airport Operational Database and the airline’s Departure Control System. The information is then displayed to the security agent on an intuitive graphical user interface in a matter of seconds.Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operations Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “Deploying such an advanced technology is a further demonstration of Abu Dhabi Airports’ determination to use the very best the market has to offer. Effectively managing the balance between continuous passenger flow and stringent security measures is a fundamental part of our operations, and the task is even more important in view of our continued growth.“With this new technology verifying passenger documentation will be done quickly and efficiently, while at the same time improving the passenger experience. This is all part of our ongoing programme to deliver a smooth flowing airport that affords passengers sufficient comfort and time to enjoy all the facilities on offer.”Hani El-Assaad, President, Middle East, India and Africa, SITA, said: “It’s always a challenge to maintain the right balance between speed, efficiency and security. We also know that airports typically make around one-third of their revenue from retail, and there is a very clear correlation between moving passengers quickly through airport security and retail spend. SITA’s Airport iValidate is designed to work hand in hand with security at Abu Dhabi International to help them enhance the passenger experience.”The Airport iValidate system, which will be in place by June 2015, will include four security lanes with automatic gates, four mobile/paper boarding pass scanners and four hand-held wireless boarding pass scanners.The system will initially be deployed in Terminal 3 economy, followed by the Terminal 3 business area. It will also be implemented in both economy and business in Terminal 1. SITA on-site staff will support and maintain the Airport iValidate system, with the same stringent Service Level Agreements the company provides for other systems in the airport.SITA Source = SITAlast_img read more

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Sofitel to develop its largest hotel in Middle East

first_imgComing in late 2019, the Sofitel Dubai Wafi will have 501 rooms, 86 suites and 97 serviced residences, to be operated on an extended-stay basis. The hotel is being built with development partner MKM Commercial Holdings and will join Sofitel’s portfolio of 14 hotels currently in operation and under development in the region.The hotel will be adjacent to the Raffles Dubai, now a sister hotel under the Accorhotels umbrella, with the group saying “both properties will form a luxury cluster” within the Wafi area, with guests able to share amenities and services across the two hotels.Sheikh Manna Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Chairman of MKM Commercial Holdings, said, “We are confident the Sofitel, through its distinct brand positioning and expertise in the luxury segment, will be able to complement our existing Raffles Dubai while cementing the strength of hospitality offerings present within the expanded and revitalized Wafi.”Sofitel Dubai Wafi will include an Asian specialty restaurant, gastro pub, a destination restaurant, bar and lounge on 43rd and 44th Floors, a French lobby cafe, an all-day restaurant and a pool bar. There will also be a SoSpa, gym, outdoor pools, private cabanas and a kids club.Sami Nasser, Chief Operating Officer, luxury brands for AccorHotels Middle East, said, “This will undoubtedly become a future flagship for Sofitel in the region. The development of this property is aligned with our strategy to operate one of our leading luxury brands across strategic locations in the Middle East.”last_img read more

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Burj Al Arab Jumeirah pioneers turtle rehabilitation sets an example for the

first_imgBurj Al Arab Jumeirah not only cuts a stunning silhouette against the skyline of the Emirate of Dubai, but the international luxury hospitality chain is also a pioneer in driving unique environmental changes. A case in point is the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) that they have undertaken, in collaboration with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office.Conceptualised and conceived in 2004, shortly after the Wildlife Protection Office was bombarded with rescue requests from members of the public, DTRP now has a team of seven working dedicatedly for turtle rehabilitation. The team receives regular veterinary assistance from Dubai Falcon Hospital and the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory and has released 1,700 turtles including Hawksbill, Green, Loggerhead and Olive Ridleys to the ocean. Burj Al Arab Jumeirah has left no stone unturned in aiding the project and employs an animal husbandry team that is devoted to taking care of all the rescued turtles. These turtles are brought in by organisations focussed on turtle conservation and rehabilitation.  With only 8,000 nesting females across all seven species of marine turtles left worldwide, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah has undertaken a task which not many would dare to. No wonder then, the DTRP is the only committed rehabilitation project in all of the Middle East and the Red Sea region. To drive home a wholesome project, the team also encourages interested hotel guests to take part in turtle feeding, learning about turtles and indigenous fishes from the lagoon’s discovery trail and observation island. Children from primary and secondary schools are also given educational tours of the facility. Gerhard Beukes, Director of Aquarium Operations and Animal Husbandry, The Aquarium & Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah expressed, “As a global hospitality brand, our primary business goal is to multiply occupancy rates across our properties, however, we must also have the bandwidth to measure and control the impact that heavy tourist inflow might cause on the neighbouring environment.  Further, we should appoint dedicated teams to design plans for safeguarding the local communities wherein we operate and also collaborate for environmental projects to ensure a healthy ecosystem.Alongside undertaking initiatives, educating and training each staff, employees, stakeholders and even tourists about the pressing issues concerning our sustenance is mandatory. We must also set examples with our result driven activities and encourage others to be environmentally conscious individuals and entities.”In fact, DTRP is not the only project undertaken by Burj Al Arab towards its goal of attaining sustainable tourism. Jumeirah Saadiyet Island resort provides complimentary reusable plastic bottles to all guests, encourages them to refill locally-filtered water and serves water in glass bottles, thereby completely eliminating single-use plastic items. In the era of a global tourism boom, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah has turned over a green leaf and remains committed to being leaders in ecotourism with a focus on reducing its overall carbon footprint, optimising the use of natural resources and sustaining the quality of natural, built and cultural environment.last_img read more

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Agencies Announce Mortgage Relief Strategies for Disaster Victims

first_img The GSEs and “”HUD””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD are rolling out relief strategies for servicers and borrowers caught in the devastation brought on by Hurricane Sandy.[IMAGE]HUD secretary Shaun Donovan announced Wednesday that the department is working to speed up federal disaster assistance to areas in New York and New Jersey following the passage of the storm. The announcement follows a disaster declaration for those states from President Obama.According to a release, HUD is currently contacting state and local officials in New York and New Jersey to discuss opportunities to use its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs to re-allocate federal resources toward disaster recovery efforts. Federally guaranteed loans are being offered for housing rehabilitation and economic development in disaster areas.HUD is also granting a 90-day forbearance on foreclosures of home mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).In addition, HUD reminds homeowners that its Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims who have lost their homes and have to rebuild or buy another home. Borrowers from participating FHA-approved lenders are eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs. The announcement also notes HUD’s Section 203(k) loan program, which enables those who have lost their homes to finance the purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are reaching out to assist borrowers and servicers, as well. In a “”release””:http://freddiemac.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=12329&item=135028, Freddie “”strongly encouraged””:https://themreport.com/articles/freddie-mac-offers-mortgage-relief-to-hurricane-sandy-victims-2012-10-30 servicers to help affected borrowers with Freddie Mac-owned loans by suspending foreclosure and eviction proceedings by up to one year. Servicers are also urged to waive assessments of penalties or late fees against borrowers with damaged homes and to forgo reporting delinquencies caused by the disaster to the nation’s credit bureaus.””Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/about-us/media/corporate-news/2012/5878.html advised the same forbearance for its servicers, who may suspend or reduce a borrower’s payments for up to 90 days in the case of a natural disaster. Since a storm of Sandy’s scale can make it difficult to reach borrowers, servicers may grant this temporary relief even if they cannot reach the homeowner immediately.””We understand the disruption that a storm such as Sandy can have on people’s lives, and we’ve made it easy for our servicers to offer relief to those who need it,”” said Leslie Peeler, senior vice president of Fannie Mae’s National Servicing Organization. “”Servicers are on the front lines with homeowners and we are grateful for their efforts to help borrowers. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who have been affected by the storm.”” in Secondary Market, Servicing October 31, 2012 466 Views Agencies Announce Mortgage Relief Strategies for Disaster Victimscenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae Freddie Mac HUD Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-10-31 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more

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Forecast Expects Housing Market Growth to Slow Down for the Rest of

first_img July 3, 2015 622 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Forecast Expects Housing Market Growth to Slow Down for the Rest of 2015 Sharecenter_img Clear Capital Non-Growth Housing Market Real Estate Asset Valuation 2015-07-03 Staff Writer Consumers grow uneasy as the spring season comes to a close and recent gains in the housing market begin to decline. Clear Capital, Inc., a provider of data and solutions for real estate asset valuation and collateral risk assessment, recently released its Home Data Index (HDI) Market Report with data through June 2015 that shows that 2015 will be a non-growth year.In January, the company forecasted total national housing market growth for 2015 to reach 1.3 percent, more than five percent lower than growth for 2014 at 6.7 percent. The adjusted forecast presumes that year-end national growth will come in at 2.6 percent, falling within the projected range of 1 percent to 3 percent.“With a first full look of the spring buying season and six-month update to the forecast, our data through June confirms our initial projection that 2015 would be a non-growth year,” said Alex Villacorta, Ph.D., VP of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “Here we are six months later, and there is very little evidence to change our view that the year will end up with price growth coming in just around the rate of inflation.”The report found that while San Francisco’s and San Jose’s year-end growth rates are expected to remain positive, at 3.4 percent and 3.2 percent, growth for both regions are projected to decline into the negatives at -0.2 percent and -0.4 percent through the second half of 2015. Clear Capital added that this drop raises concern among consumers after the summer buying season and experiencing two years of consecutive, yet unsustainable, gains.“In our June report, we went on record with concern of bubble markets across the U.S. Now San Jose is starting to go the way of San Francisco, at peak levels and now leveling off,” Villacorta said. “Both San Francisco and San Jose have been red hot markets, supported in large part by strong job growth. The latest numbers reveal, however, that both markets have reached their apex in the most recent upward price swing and are projected to take a slight dip into negative territory through the second half of 2015, by -0.2 percent and -0.4 percent. While both markets are projected to have total 2015 yearly growth rates of around 3 percent, entering winter 2015-2016 on the down side is of great concern. What started as ‘red hot’ at the start of 2014 may end as ‘in the red’ come 2016.”Regionally, growth across all regions remains flat, Clear Capital noted. The Midwest saw an increase in quarterly growth, from 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent. The West continues to be the strongest in terms of quarterly price grow at 1 percent and is expected to end 2015 with a 3.3 percent growth rate, reducing disparity between the East and West. Meanwhile, growth in the East is forecasted to come to a halt for the rest of 2015 at 0.1 percent, but it is also projected to end the year at 1 percent.On a national level, the growth levels are about the same, the company says. Data through June looks similar to data through May 2015, with no change in quarterly growth at 0.6 percent and a slight drop in yearly growth from 5.3 percent to 5.2 percent. If spring and summer seasons actually reflect the peak of the housing demand cycle, 0.6 percent quarterly growth likely to come to pass as for how the rest of the year will turn out.Click here to view Clear Capital’s Home Data Index. last_img read more

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Construction Vacancies Drop Unemployment Levels Out

first_img New construction could be on the rise as recent data shows construction employment is growing.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, the number of unfilled jobs in the construction sector has declined over the last three months. This spur of construction hiring could be good news for the single-family mortgage market, which has shown a concern for a lack of housing inventory. According to the National Association of Realtors, housing inventory dropped 6.3 percent year-over-year in December.“The overall trend for open construction jobs has been increasing since the end of the Great Recession,” said Robert Dietz in an analysis on the National Association of Homebuilders website. “This is consistent with survey data indicating that access to labor remains a top business challenge for builders. However, a recent increase in hiring has reduced the current level of unfilled jobs in the sector.”In July 2016, 225,000 construction jobs were open, according to the Job Openings survey. As of December 2016, only 148,000 of those jobs remained.The hiring rate for construction jobs jumped to 5.8 percent in December—its best pace since Q1 2015. Additionally, the quitting rate fell for the month, dropping to just 1.8 percent.Overall, construction unemployment rates have leveled off at 7.3 percent. It reached its peak in February 2010, when it hit 22 percent. It has hovered in the 6- to 7-percent range since mid-2016.The remodeling and home building segments of the industry are seeing particular growth; in total, the two saw an increase of 20,300 jobs in January and, over the last year, nearly 130,000 jobs were added to these sectors alone.In the residential construction arena, employment is currently at about 2.6 million—762,000 with builders and 1.921 in specialty trade contractors, according to the BLS survey. The industry has gained just over 700,000 jobs since the Great Recession.To see the full results of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, visit BLS.gov. Housing Construction Residential Housing Market 2017-02-07 Staff Writer Construction Vacancies Drop, Unemployment Levels Out in Data, Headlines, Newscenter_img Share February 7, 2017 478 Views last_img read more

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