PM Modis 5 trillion GDP goal hits a hurdle Debt at road

first_imgNew Delhi: India’s path to economic recovery faces another obstacle, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking the state road builder to stop constructing highways after its debt ballooned almost seven-fold over the past five years. “National Highways Authority of India totally logjammed with unplanned and excessive expansion of roads,” the prime minister’s office wrote to NHAI in a letter dated August 17. “NHAI mandated to pay several times the land cost; its construction costs also shooting up. Road infrastructure has become financially unviable.” Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalModi’s office proposed that NHAI be transformed into a road-asset management company, according to the letter obtained by Bloomberg, and the prime minister’s office asked NHAI to reply within a week. The decision is a reversal from Modi’s first term, when his administration was praised for its breakneck speed of highway construction that helped make India one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. However this came with the burden of escalating costs, leaving NHAI increasingly dependent on the government for financial support at a time when Modi is looking to contain his budget deficit. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostRestricting road-building risks imperiling Modi’s target to make India a $5 trillion economy as roads are necessary for socio-economic development, said Vikash Kumar Sharda, a partner at Infranomics Consulting LLP, who previously consulted for PWC India. “Road is critical infrastructure, and putting breaks on it will not only result in a slowdown of highway construction but also of other sectors that are dependent on it.” Highway Jam There’s a strong co-relation between economic growth and investments in infrastructure, with roads accounting for about 3.1 per cent of gross value added, Modi’s economic advisers said in a report this year. Data due Friday will probably show India’s gross domestic product expanded 5.7 per cent in the quarter through June, the slowest pace in five years. Modi’s office now wants NHAI to revert to a model used by his predecessor, where NHAI would auction projects to developers. They’d construct the roads, collect toll from users and then would transfer ownership back to NHAI after an agreed period. Weak private sector participation pushed Modi to scrap this practice and he permitted NHAI to bear as much as 100 per cent of the costs in certain road projects that led to ballooning debt. NHAI’s outstanding debt of 1.8 trillion rupees would entail annual interest servicing of about 140 billion rupees, higher than the 100 billion rupees NHAI collects as toll, according to analysts at SBICap Securities Ltd. This is in addition to the annual interest costs, Rohit Natarajan, an analyst with Antique Stock Broking Ltd., wrote in a note on Monday. Land acquisition costs have also risen to more than 25 million rupees per hectare from 9 million rupees after fair-price laws were introduced in 2013, and this alone accounts for more than 30 per cent of NHAI’s expenses, according to ICRA Ratings Ltd. Ballooning Debt The prime minister’s office didn’t reply to an email seeking comment and NHAI declined to comment. The letter contains only suggestions and top-rated NHAI is fully capable of raising enough debt to keep building roads, Nitin Gadkari, Modi’s minister for roads, was cited by the Mint newspaper as saying on Tuesday. Ratings company ICRA on Wednesday said the build up of debt means NHAI must either go slow on new projects — a choice Modi can’t afford as he needs to spur economic growth — or shift to a build-operate-transfer model involving equity-purchases by private players. Many developers can’t support huge equity investments that are part of BOT projects, the rating company said. Among the beneficiaries of this shift could be IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd., which has traditionally focused on BOT projects where the operator collects a toll from road users. “The decision to switch back to BOT-toll is much needed given the fiscal constraints,” IRB Infrastructure Chairman Virendra Mhaiskar said. “In the present dispensation, given the land acquisition cost, restricting to BOT only for a year or two may be a wise idea.”last_img read more

Nothing sweet about sales of greymarket candy Appeal Court rules

first_imgTORONTO – An attempt at sugar coating the sale of grey market Mars bars and M&M’s in Canada has fallen flat with Ontario’s top court, which sided with the Canadian maker of the candy in a decision slamming an upstart confectioner’s conduct.The ruling in favour of Mars Canada this week also upheld a lower court judge’s hefty costs award against Aizic Ebert and his two Toronto companies for “brazenly” breaching earlier settlements of the dispute.“Their efforts to undermine the agreements were dishonourable and deserving of censure,” the Appeal Court said in its ruling, noting, however, that the state of Canadian law around grey marketing remains unsettled.The case arose more than a decade ago when Mars Canada, which also makes and sells Snickers and Milky Way candy bars among other treats, discovered Ebert was buying genuine Mars products in the United States through his company Bemco Cash and Carry, and selling them at a discount in this country.Mars Canada, based in Bolton, Ont., took its complaint to Federal Court, but the two sides settled when Bemco agreed it would not import or sell the U.S.-made products in Canada. As part of the deal, Bemco also identified its supplier as GPAE Trading Corporation, also owned and controlled by Ebert, which agreed to a Mars Canada demand to cease its activities.However, Mars Canada discovered in 2010 that foreign products bearing its trademarks were again being sold in Canada, this time through another company, but in concert with Bemco and GPAE, court documents show. Mars Canada sued.Ebert argued the earlier agreements were invalid because they amounted to restraint of trade but Superior Court Justice Frederick Myers granted summary judgment in favour of Mars Canada in November 2016. Myers found Bemco and GPAE had breached the earlier deals by continuing to import and sell grey market Mars products.The judge also rejected Ebert’s restraint-of-trade argument, finding the agreements were reasonable for both the parties and public, and that Mars Canada was entitled to enforce its registered trademarks. Myers also found the imported products breached Canadian labelling and packaging laws by, for example, not having any French.While the judge referred the question of damages to another hearing, he did grant Mars Canada $225,000 in legal costs for what he deemed the brazen breach of the earlier settlements and for Ebert’s attempts to “avoid accountability” for the misconduct.Ebert and his companies appealed. Among other things, they argued the earlier settlement agreements were unreasonable, and that Myers did not hear direct evidence that Mars Canada had suffered damages and should not have ordered a further hearing on those losses.The Court of Appeal rejected the arguments, saying Mars Canada had an obvious interest in defending its trademark rights, and it did sustain actual damages given that its sales were cannibalized by the grey market products.Myers did reject Mars Canada’s claim for punitive damages.“There is enough grey in grey marketing law and the lack of federal government enforcement of labelling and packaging laws to prevent the characterization of the defendants’ conduct as sufficiently egregious to attract further condemnation from the court,” Myers wrote.The higher court also awarded Mars Canada another $20,000 to cover its appeal costs.last_img read more

Air in a bottle How companies sell Canadian nature

first_imgWhen two Edmonton men started bottling and selling air from Banff and Lake Louise, Alta., some people thought it was a farce, but about four years later the duo’s expanded their line to also include products with the country’s glacier and spring waters as main ingredients.Troy Paquette and Moses Lam co-founded Vitality Air after reading articles online about air pollution and chatting about how anyone who visits Banff raves about the air quality.“We just kind of spun it from there and thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could find a way to share that with the rest of the world?’” said Paquette.“And that’s kind of where it all started from.”Vitality Air’s founders and other creative Canadian entrepreneurs are packaging Canada’s natural resources to fill a demand for wellness products with a fresh twist.Some resourceful Canadians have tapped into the trees, bringing maple and birch water to store shelves, while a raw water fad in the U.S. could soon ripple over to the border. All these entrepreneurs tout their product’s natural qualities and possible health-promoting components.These companies follow a broader wellness trend, said Amy Chung, Canadian beauty industry analyst for market-research firm NPD Group.Nowadays, people want more openness and details on products and to know, for example, what they’re putting on their face, she said.Much of the demand for Vitality Air comes from China where air pollution is a major problem.The company’s website plays up health angles, claiming “fresh air plays a vital role in the physical and emotional wellness of people of all ages,” and that breathing in its products “is like giving your mind and body a shot of nature.”More recently, the company added a line of facial mists to its website, which it calls “a natural progression” from the air canisters. The so-called glacier myst includes “the untouched waters of the Rocky Mountain glaciers,” according to the site, while the “sulphur myst” is enhanced with sulphur from springs in Banff. One bottle costs $20.The mist offers the body and mind tranquility, and keeps people looking healthy and energized, according to the site.Other entrepreneurs have taken a similar approach, selling a well-known Canadian ingredient as a wellness product to the masses.Lower Valley Beverage Company in Flesherton, Ont., produces Sapsucker, a maple tree water harvested from mature maple trees that it calls “a naturally pure alternative to bottled water.” The beverage has 46 naturally occurring minerals, antioxidants and vitamins, according to the website.Nine restaurants in Ontario serve the drink, and it can also be purchased at several independent grocers, as well as some larger chains like Whole Foods Market and Farm Boy.Burnaby, B.C.-based 52 North produces something similar: birch water.The beverage has been consumed for centuries in Northern Europe, according to the company’s website, “as a health drink with detoxifying and revitalizing properties.”The trend is a continuation of a food industry craze that started several years ago when lifestyle changes like the Paleo diet, said to mimic our ancestors’ ways of eating, came into vogue.It’s “going back to the basics where things were still just as effective and we didn’t have all of these extra ingredients and chemicals,” Chung said.While it may seem strange to pay a price for a seemingly simple product, wellness is considered a luxury now, she said.Some of it also has to do with convenience, Chung noted, as not everyone has time to become an extreme do-it-yourself type of person, who concocts things like natural laundry detergent at home. Busy people may be more willing to pay for these kinds of products, she said.While the canned air may be seeing more demand in areas where air pollution is a concern, Chung thinks Canadians may one day embrace these products too. She points to how sunscreen makers are now touting anti-pollution sunscreen, which protects from the sun and other environmental factors, in Canada too, she said.“A lot of trends kind of make it over here too.”last_img read more

George Clooney Uses Satellite Sentinel Project To Catch Poachers

first_imgAlthough actor and activist George Clooney co-founded the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) as a way to systematically monitor threats to human security over Sudan and South Sudan, it is now also being used, in cooperation with ENOUGH Project and DigitalGlobe, to keep watch over elephants in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.There is good reason for this, according to the groups’ report Poachers Without Borders, which claims that Sudanese and South Sudanese poachers are killing elephants in Garamba National Park and selling their ivory tusks to the Asian black market.The lucrative return ($1,000 to $1,300 per pound, which means up to $175,500 per tusk for an adult male) is used as funding for weapons, ammunition and supplies. Using high powered weaponry to kill several elephants at once, and then quickly removing the tusks by chainsaw, the animals are being butchered at an unprecedented rate.Using satellite imagery and predictive analytics, SSP and its partners aim to assist park rangers in tracking the migrating herds through the vast park, as well as help focus patrol efforts on probable areas according to “historical geospatial trend analysis, cost surface travel analysis, key terrain analysis, and predictive analysis”.“If the application of the predictive analysis helps to slow the slaughter of elephants,” says the report, “the analytical method and tools could be used elsewhere in Africa to stem the increasingly rapid slaughter that is taking a heavy toll on the continent’s elephant population.”Copyright ©2015Look to the Starslast_img read more

Morocco Leads Non-European Vegetable Imports to Spain

Rabat – According to Spanish Federation of Associations of Fruit, Vegetable, Flower, and Live Plant Producers-Exporters (FEPEX), Morocco is taking the lead as Spain’s main non-European supplier of fruit and vegetables. FEPEX data shows that the overall cost of vegetables and fruits exported to Spain accounts for $299 million in revenues in the first quarter of 2019.Based on estimates from the Spanish Directorate of Customs, imports have increased significantly over the previous years, with this year’s overall imports rising by 4 percent compared to last year’s first quarter. Morocco’s exports in the first quarter of 2019 represent 33 percent of Spain’s total vegetable and fruit imports, the same source notes.Read also: Italy Deports Moroccan National Suspected of Promoting TerrorismSpain is experiencing an upward trend in terms of overall imports from Morocco, which rose by 11 percent between January and March 2019, with an estimated 137,760 tons.The Federation highlighted that Morocco has registered a marked growth over the last five years, from 70,420 tons in 2015 to 137,670 tons in 2019, representing a 95.5 percent growth.In terms of revenue, imports rose from $141 million to $299 million between the first quarter of 2015 and 2019, representing a 110 percent increase.The report shows, however, France as the leading European supplier to Spain in terms of vegetables and fruits in the first quarter of 2019, with a total of 295,565 tons estimated at $131 million, compared to, 128.7 million euros in 2012.In 2016, the figure increased to 413.3 million euros spent on Moroccan produce. Morocco also stands out as the fourth largest tomato exporter worldwide, according to the UN Statistics Division (UNSD), representing 7% of the world’s total. read more

UN agency has no serious concerns over Montagnard returnees in Viet Nam

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said today it has “no serious concerns” over the conditions of around 200 Montagnards who have returned to Viet Nam from Cambodia, as a senior official from the agency visited Hanoi and agreed with the Government to continue joint cooperation to resolve the issue of the ethnic minority.Before today’s discussions with Government officials, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Erika Feller, had spent two days in the Central Highlands speaking privately with some of the 190 returnees and seeing for herself their conditions, an agency spokesman told reporters in Geneva.“UNHCR has conducted 10 other monitoring missions to the Highlands and has no serious concerns about the conditions of the returnees,” said spokesperson Ron Redmond. The Montagnards started arriving in Cambodia after April 2004 claiming religious persecution and land grievances as their reason for leaving their country, however UNHCR said that the returnees visited by Ms. Feller all told her they left because they had been promised by outsiders they would get money if they went to Cambodia and that they were looking for a better life.An agreement signed in Hanoi in January 2005 by UNHCR, Viet Nam and Cambodia set out the framework for some 750 Montagnards in Cambodia to either be resettled to a third country or return to Viet Nam.Most of that caseload, 605 persons, has now been resettled, mainly to the United States, while the 190 who have returned to Viet Nam include 94 who were deported and 96 who returned voluntarily.“The Vietnamese government said it would continue to give UNHCR access to the returnees in the Central Highlands saying the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding had worked well, and that the government would continue to work with UNHCR and other countries for those Montagnards who wished to live in other countries,” Mr. Redmond said. read more

Rockfall analysis project from 3D Laser Mapping helps predict failure

first_img3D Laser Mapping has been supplying solutions to the mining industry for a number of years. Responding to a request from Anglo Platinum, 3D Laser Mapping released their first laser-based geotechnical monitoring systemSiteMonitor4D in 2004. Designed to monitor and quantify changes to the rock face, SiteMonitor4D will automatically alert mine safety managers via email or SMS when issues arise. The company also began an innovative research project with Durham University in 2013 exploring the benefits of using rockfall analysis as a predictor of failure.“Based on the results of a project where laser scan data was collected for 100,000 m2 of coastal cliffs over an eight year period. The resolution of the scan data was 0.01 m and the volume of all the rockfalls, both small and large, were quantified by volume. The smallest detectable rockfall was 0.00001 cubic metre of rock.” This project showed that the mean monthly rockfall activity (total volume of rock falling out of the face) is directly correlated to the size of the final failure. In addition, it could be seen that in the month before a significant failure, the total rockfall volume for that month increases significantly.“The reason for this correlation can be explained in geological terms. Rockfalls are caused by differential strain and deformation of the rock mass. This can coincide with the evolution of a brittle fracture. If a fracture starts to develop that daylights on the rock face, then the increasing stress at this point will cause rockfalls. As the fracture develops, the strain deformation at the rockfall will increase causing rockfalls. Eventually this increases exponentially, leading to larger rockfalls and subsequent failure of the rock face. Currently, most monitoring and failure prediction in the mining industry is undertaken by radar systems which focus on the detecting small scale movements of the whole rock face. This is appropriate in some circumstances but the monitoring method should be decided by the geotechnical environment. Using rockfall as a predictor may be more appropriate in some environments and this will be a useful tool for the geotechnical engineer.”Rockfall analysis is available as part of the SiteMonitor 4D software suite and is already deployed in the mining industry. “Using SiteMonitor4D with the new Rockfall Analysis feature allows you to have a clear view of the stability and changes of mass within a slope, allowing you to plot the monthly rockfall activity against time. This advanced visibility allows you to take action before a critical situation, allowing for increased mine safety.”last_img read more

Facebook launching music service in September

first_imgWe’ve been hearing about a potential Facebook music service since at least May and, according to reports, it may be announced in just a few weeks at the f8 developer conference in San Francisco on September 22.Word of Facebook partnering with Spotify came back in May, but at that point all we knew was that the service was under testing, but definitely real and on its way. Now, Mashable is reporting that Spotify won’t be the only music service linked up with Facebook. It seems that MOG and Rdio will also be partners.The service will allow users to listen to music within Facebook. We saw evidence of the music service pop up in July when Facebook released its video calling feature and a coder looking through the Java file found something called Vibes. The JAR file used to install Video Calling also has code, com.facebook.peep, that can be used to install another app: com.facebook.vibes.Apparently Facebook won’t directly host or stream any music or media. That’s what Spotify, MOG, and Rdio are for. Facebook may still open this to other music services, and may possibly make the music platform open to other third-party developers.Is Facebook just trying to throw their scent off the trail for the time being, or is there actually nothing new? With 750 million users and 1 trillion page views in just one month’s time, a Facebook music service could see a lot of traffic and a lot more time spent on Facebook instead of other music services. It’s all rumors and speculation for now though, so we’ll have to sit back and see if yet another music service is on the way.via CNBC, Mashablelast_img read more

Weather Eye Prepare for chill lasting cold snap in January

first_imgPatrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at This month will exit with the honor of being the coldest December in several years and bucked the trend of the past two years of warming. Not to be outdone, January is setting up to be really cold.How cold? Cold enough to start freezing small ponds and waterways. Even the cold snap we had recently froze over parts of the lower Salmon Creek backwaters in Felida. This will be real arctic air as it slides southward to cover all of the Pacific Northwest. Even northern California will feel the chill.Weather charts show a Rex Block of high pressure in the jet stream which allows warm air to migrate northward into Alaska and cold air from the Yukon to engulf the northern half of the U.S. It will be chilly. Highs by Monday will be below freezing and lows could get into the lower teens in the outlying areas. There will be east winds too.The million dollar question will be if any snow precedes the cold air. Quite often we get a flurry of snow as the cold air arrives and slides under the warmer air mass squeezing out some moisture. No guarantees here, so stay tuned in the next couple of days to see how the pattern develops.After the cold air is entrenched over us, any incoming moisture will produce snow. That may occur by Wednesday or Thursday next week. So prepare for colder weather than we had in December and for a lasting cold snap.last_img read more

Simeone praises Fiorentina teammate Muriel

first_imgAccording to the striker, the Colombian forward has had an instant impact in the Italian Lega Serie A team, and he’s settling in well.Colombian forward Luis Fernando Muriel joined Fiorentina in the Italian Lega Serie A on January 2nd as a loan from Spanish La Liga club Sevilla.And he immediately made an impact.The 27-year-old scored two goals against Sampdoria on Sunday in his first match with his new team.And for teammate Giovanni Simeone, this means it’s the right time to praise him for his work.“From his experience I can learn a lot, it’s the one that makes him make the difference in front of the opponent’s goal demonstrated already on Sunday,” Simeone told Calcio Mercato.Cristiano Ronaldo, JuventusSerie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….“It gives further substance to the entire offensive department.”“From when he arrived, it immediately made us feel the great desire to do well, to leave the mark it has,” he added.“It is an incentive for everyone. We have to be smart to take advantage of this strong point and at the same time careful to close the spaces in case of restarting the adversaries.”“We have overcome Torino, an opponent who is not easy to beat, and we cannot stop, I believe that with the right push, let’s not forget that we will play at home,” Simeone added about the team’s next opponent.“Florence on our side, and the desire to go beyond any difficulty, we will be able to play it, we will fight to say our dream, win, and dream of a title with the club. And for all this, I’m working on it (smile)”.“What do they tell me when I go to Madrid?” Griezmann is very strong, like Godin and all the others. Many of them have seen me grow, there is a good estimate,” he concluded.last_img read more

Pembroke Pines car thieves remain at large

first_imgPEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) – Thieves in Pembroke Pines stole a vehicle, police said, from a BMW dealership.According to police, four subjects jumped the fence at the dealership, near Sheridan Street and Southwest 148th Avenue, Wednesday morning.The thieves got into a car and rammed it through the fence before fleeing the scene.One of the four subjects have been caught by police. However, the car has yet to be found.If you have any information on these thieves, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

ZTE To Launch Grand S Smartphone in India Soon Report

first_imgChinese mobile phone maker ZTE seems to be planning to strengthen its market in India, as it is reportedly introducing its new HD smartphone Grand S in the coming weeks, according to reports. The company launched six new smartphones in the country on Friday.ZTE Grand S, which was unveiled earlier this year at the CES, sports 5.0 inches Capacitive touchscreen with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution and is powered by a 1.7 GHz Quad-core processor. It packs 2 GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage which can be further expanded by up to 32 GB using microSD card slot. The device supports the connectivity features like Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot and Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP.In terms of camera, the device houses 13-megapixel autofocus, LED flash rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The device, which measures 6.9 mm thickness, is backed by a Li-Ion 1780 mAh battery and runs on Android OS, v4.1 (Jelly Bean).ZTE revealed its plan in India during the launch event of six smartphones, including the Grand X Quad Lite, reported BGR. However, there is not much information about the launch date and the pricing of the Grand S smartphone in the country.The company announced the launch of its Android smartphones in the country on Friday under the name Grand, Blade and Kis series which are priced between ₹5,000 and ₹15,000. ZTE has also launched its Swift series of 3G datacards.”Today ZTE enjoys a customer base of over 32 million Indian handset users. With the initial launch of six devices priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000, we will build further on our handset portfolio in the months to come. By the year end, we aim to have our pan India presence with the smartphones and data cards,” Xu Dejun, CEO, ZTE India, told at the launch event.last_img read more

Kevin Pietersen asks Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli to retain Vijay Shankar

first_imgPietersen has presented another controversial viewReutersKevin Pietersen has got really emotionally involved with the ongoing World Cup while being an analyst for Indian broadcasters Star Sports. Not only has he been expressing serious concerns about his former team, England’s performances but has now waded into a debate raging about the Indian batting order.With Vijay Shankar having not performed with the bat so far and also being not very useful with the ball, his place in the team is in serious danger. The man most likely to replace him in the XI is Rishabh Pant. But Pietersen is expressing a contrarian view which will surprise many people.The former England captain took to Twitter for asking the Indian coach and captain to not dump Shankar. He also opined that Rishabh Pant is not yet ready to come into the team. “Dear Virat & Ravi – please don’t drop Vijay Shankar. I think he’s coming into his own and would potentially win you tomorrow’s game. Don’t think about Pant. He needs another 3 weeks prep before I think he can get into your World Cup side. Thanks, boys!” the legendary former right-hand batsman wrote on his timeline. KP’s views of Pant and Shankar are highly contrarianTwitterKP’s views are totally understandable when one realizes that he is actually saying all this in a highly sarcastic vein. The implication of his tweet is that Shankar will continue to be ineffective while Pant is likely to be a dangerous player for England.  It’s worth remembering that Pietersen had declared England as the favourites to win the World Cup but on seeing them lose three matches, he has expressed concern about the side. There was a huge sense of disappointment and even anger among Indian fans when Pant wasn’t picked in India’s original 15-man squad for the World Cup. However, the unfortunate injury to Shikhar Dhawan opened the door for him as he came in as a replacement. At the moment, his chances of playing the game against England look quite bright, despite KP’s views.last_img read more

Is culture or cognition really responsible for language structure

first_img Historical context guides language development More information: Evolved structure of language shows lineage-specific trends in word-order universals, Nature (2011) doi:10.1038/nature09923 Explore further Citation: Is culture or cognition really responsible for language structure? (2011, April 14) retrieved 18 August 2019 from 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.center_img ( — Linguistic study has been, for many years, divided into two main theories – those following the belief of Noam Chomsky’s universal grammar and that of Joseph Greenberg’s linguistic universal. However, a new study published in Nature by Russell Gray from the University of Auckland shows that neither of these ideas is shown and that language is lineage-specific and not governed by any universals. While Chomsky followers believe that humans are born with an innate ability for language and that grammatical principles are hardwired into the brain and dictate a universal grammar. Joseph Greenberg utilizes a more empirical approach and looks are word order shared by languages.Gray and his colleagues utilized phylogenetic methods to examine the four major language families (Austronesian, Indo-European, Bantu, and Uto-Aztecan) and eight different word-order features. They began by building language family trees from basic vocabulary data to use for testing hypotheses and links between them. They took the different word-order features and mapped them on to the language trees to look for evidence of co-evolution.Their major finding was that features of word-order correlate in many different ways that vary between language families. Even when the researchers found common traits within two different families, they could show that each family arrived at these traits in a different way. Because the linkages are family-specific, it suggests that language structure is not ruled by an innate ability for language or a desire to create a specific word order. Results show that language structure evolves through exploration and is a product of cultural evolution. © 2010 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

Australopithecus Sediba could be direct ancestor of Homo

first_img Explore further The cranium of Malapa Hominid 1, Holotype of Australopithecus sediba from South Africa. Photo by Brett Eloff, courtesy Lee Berger and the University of the Witwatersrand. Image: Profberger, Brett Eloff, University of the Witwatersrand 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. At the annual meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society on April 12 and again on April 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Berger and his team presented new findings on their most recent bone analysis. Kristian J. Carlson discussed the size and shape of A. sediba’s brain, showing that by synchrotron scanning of the interior brain case, they were able to determine the estimated capacity to be around 420 cubic centimeters. This led to a very small brain size and is the reason researchers first determined these new skeletal findings to be in the Australopithecus genus. However, they also discovered that the frontal lobe of this small brain contained organization more similar to that of humans, showing that contrary to what was previously thought, organization and brain size with human characteristics may not have been a simultaneous change.The pelvis of the A. sediba is what researchers believe show the strongest link toward the beginning of an evolutionary change to the Homo. Researchers have always linked the larger brain size of the Homo to the evolutionary change in the pelvic structure between the two. However, even with the small brain size and cranial structure of A. sediba, the pelvic structure has changed from previous Australopithecus to much closer to that of Homo. © 2010 More information: ( — Last year Lee Berger from the University of the Witwatersrand and his team discovered the skeletal remains of two specimens they determined to be a new species of human called Australopithecus sediba. The skeletons had characteristics of previous species of Australopithecus, but also of Homo, leading the researchers to believe they may have found an evolutionary connection between the two. This became a very controversial idea, with many believing there was no connection to Homo and that what they had discovered was really an ancestor of later Homo species. Citation: Australopithecus Sediba could be direct ancestor of Homo (2011, April 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Family tree branches outlast_img read more

Attorney general out in May says Guatemala court

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala’s highest court ruled last Friday that Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz will be out of office in May, half a year before her original end of term. However, while this is a blow to many in the international human rights community, it is not necessarily a victory for Guatemala’s political right, as Paz y Paz has filed paperwork to be considered for a second term as the nation’s top prosecutor.The Constitutional Court ruled in favor of conservative attorney and businessman Ricardo Sagastume when it declared that Paz y Paz’s term as attorney general ends on May 19, not in December after four years, as stipulated by the constitution.A U.S. State Department spokesperson cited by The Sacramento Bee said the United States had “enjoyed unprecedented cooperation with Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz in Guatemala” and was “disappointed” in the court’s ruling. “As attorney general, Paz y Paz has made incredible progress in combating corruption and organized crime, and prosecuting human rights violations in Guatemala.”The statement added that the embassy would “follow the upcoming attorney general nomination and selection process extremely closely.”“After many years of near impunity for human rights crimes … we were finally starting to see the country make progress on several fronts” under Paz y Paz’s prosecutorial leadership, Daniel Wilkinson, managing director for New York-based Human Rights Watch’ Americas division, said shortly after the court’s provisional ruling against Paz y Paz in February. “The justice system was finally starting to get some traction.” Guatemalan ex-Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz. Benjamin Reeves/The Tico TimesThe court’s 69-page ruling stated that the office of the attorney general is “an institutional, not personal period.” According to the court’s interpretation, Paz y Paz has been serving out the remainder of a four-year term that began with the prior attorney general, who was dismissed shortly after his appointment. The court did, however, dismiss the claim that Paz y Paz had sought to illegally extend her time in office.Now, the process of selecting the next attorney general must proceed at a breakneck pace. Last Friday, Paz y Paz presented her paperwork to be considered for the position once more. On Monday, a selection committee began reviewing 30 applications for the job, and six were quickly eliminated. The committee must present a final list of six candidates to President Otto Pérez Molina by May 2.The crowded field includes Jorge Luis Donado Vivar, a former organized crime prosecutor, and Julio Cesar Rivera Claveria, former interior vice minister.By her own estimation, Paz y Paz’s greatest achievement in office has been the reduction of impunity from 95 percent to about 70 percent: “I believe that this is a very important achievement because it absolutely demonstrates that an efficient criminal investigation can be made with respect for the law and the rule of law.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Guatemala Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz battles to serve out her term For justice in Guatemala, ‘2 steps forward, 1 step back’ Guatemalans bury victims of 1982 civil war massacre Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina dismisses ‘spurious’ corruption caselast_img read more

Costa Ricas international arrivals by air increase in first half of 2015

first_imgThe official number of international arrivals by air to Costa Rica in the first six months of 2015 was 4.4 percent higher than the same period last year, the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) reported Tuesday.Analyzing data from the Immigration Administration, the ICT said 41,698 more travelers arrived by air this year, for a total during the six-month period of 987,801. In a projected profit analysis, the ICT said the country’s tourism sector pulled in about $1.6 billion during the period – about $161 million more than the first half of 2014.Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) outside San José remains the country’s main air terminal, but the Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, Guanacaste, registered the highest percentage of growth in the number of air travelers during the period, at 8.5 percent. SJO airport registered a 3.2 percent increase.Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura said the numbers reflect positive results obtained by airlines and new route strategies, as well as more promotional efforts abroad.“These results complement an increase in the number of flights by six airlines so far this year, as well as other efforts that are generating significant revenue for the sector,” Ventura said.The total number of international arrivals, taking into account air, sea and land, increased by 1.7 percent. That figure excludes the arrivals of Ticos and foreign citizens with valid work permits from the Labor Ministry, the ICT stated.The report indicates that the total figure could have been higher but was affected by a slowdown in arrivals by land and sea, which decreased by 4 and 13 percent, respectively.The U.S. is still the main source of tourists to the country, although Mexico registered the highest percentage of growth during the period of study. The entry of travelers from Mexico on a tourist visa increased by 9 percent, while those from the U.S. increased by 4.2 percent. Canada was third, at 1.7 percent growth.European markets with the best increases were the U.K. with 15.5 percent, Germany with 8.9 percent and France with 8.3 percent. ICT officials believe the U.K. numbers likely will continue to increase following the recent announcement of direct London-San José flights by British Airways.The ICT also reported an increase in the average spending by travelers. Those entering at SJO on average spent $1,635 while here, while those who arrived via the northwestern province of Guanacaste spent an average of $802.Travelers in the first half of this year stayed on average 12.4 nights – one of the highest figures in the world of travel, the ICT reported. Facebook Comments Related posts:Alaska Airlines to open two routes between Los Angeles and Costa Rica Costa Rica welcomes its 1 millionth US tourist this year Costa Rica rises in global ranking of travel, tourism competitiveness British Airways to fly direct London-Costa Rica in 2016last_img read more

French pres takes train not plane on vacation

first_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   PARIS (AP) – France’s President Francois Hollande has headed off on vacation this year by train _ not plane _ in a break with his flashy predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.Frugally-minded Hollande, who promised during spring’s presidential campaign to save money by catching trains, took high-speed rail on Thursday from Paris with his girlfriend, Valerie Trierweiler.They’re headed for the Fort de Bregancon, an official retreat in southeastern France. Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familycenter_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements They travelled first class. But it’s a stark contrast from the unpopular Sarkozy, who was criticized for vacationing using a Dassault Falcon 7X jet and an Airbus dubbed “Air Sarko One.”Hollande has carefully cultivated a “Mr. Normal” image. He says traveling by train is an important symbol at a time when “many French want to go on vacation…and can’t.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

Maverick Funding Expands Reverse Mortgage Network

first_img In Maryland, “”Maverick Funding Corp.”” is rolling out a new branch of its subsidiary, Reverse Mortgage Network. Recently announcing the addition of 40 reverse mortgage loan officers from within Baltimore-based “”Great Oak Lending””, Maverick will conduct its expansion during the first two quarters of 2012.[IMAGE]Great Oak’s former CEO, Joshua Shein, will team up with Maverick to lead, manage, and launch “”Reverse Mortgage Network’s””: new location. During the next six months, all 40 employees of Great Oak will transition to Maverick, and the company anticipates that its Maryland operations will be up and running by mid February. In a company statement, Maverick’s CEO, Ralph Vitello, noted that he expects Reverse Mortgage Network to become one of the [COLUMN_BREAK]top 10 reverse mortgage lenders in the U.S. In addition to Maverick’s current plans for expansion, the company is also introducing wholesale lending offices throughout southeastern and western states. Shein spoke out on the transaction between Great Oak and Maverick, stating, “”There is tremendous opportunity with Maverick Funding’s Reverse Mortgage Network. The company is experiencing rapid growth, the people are terrific to work with, and I’m really looking forward to being part of this group as we move forward providing diversified offerings to seniors in the United States who wish to age in place.””Echoing Shein’s positive commentary, Dino Guadagnino, vice president of Reverse Mortgage Network, added, “”The additional officers, and branch offices, will provide a significantly larger footprint for Reverse Mortgage Network, catapulting the company into a whole new level. We welcome our new colleagues, and are excited about what the future has to hold.””Maverick’s president, Mike Petruccelli, also extended his thoughts on the new initiative, saying, “”We are incredibly energized by the growth that both Maverick Funding and Reverse Mortgage Network are experiencing.├âÔÇÜ├é┬áWe’re confident that, by providing the right products and outstanding customer service, we will continue to expand the two organizations, their geographic availability, and the offerings we can make available to our clients.”” Maverick Funding Expands Reverse Mortgage Network in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Reverse Mortgage Service Providers 2012-02-06 Abby Gregorycenter_img February 6, 2012 391 Views Sharelast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Waldorf Astoria Hotels

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterWaldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s luxury brand of iconic landmark hotels, announced its newest property, Waldorf Astoria San Francisco, which will be the centerpiece of a mixed-used complex that will feature luxury entertainment, retail and office space.Waldorf Astoria San Francisco will reside within the first 21 stories of a signature tower designed by the architecture firm Foster + Partners. Located at Mission Street between Ecker and 1st Streets, Waldorf Astoria San Francisco will be ideally situated in the city’s exciting new Transbay Neighborhood, in the centre of a vast redevelopment project surrounding the Transbay Transit Center.“With the revitalisation taking place around the Transbay Transit Center, this neighbourhood is poised to become a major hub for locals and global luxury travellers, which underscores Waldorf Astoria’s commitment of being in the centre of coveted gateway destinations,” said John T.A. Vanderslice, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.“Waldorf Astoria San Francisco marks our third property in California – behind La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs and the future Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. We are thrilled to accept this extraordinary opportunity to extend our unforgettable experiences, the finest amenities, and True Waldorf Service up the West Coast.”Bordered by Market Street on the north, Embarcadero on the east, Folsom Street on the south, and Hawthorne Street to the west, the Transbay Neighborhood is an inspirational environment onto itself. Transportation friendly with wide sidewalks and bike paths, the neighborhood has a vibrant mix of shops and restaurants, as well as contemporary green spaces which have been carefully planned as key components of area.World-renowned hospitality design firm, Hirsch Bedner Associates, brings their award-winning design to Waldorf Astoria San Francisco’s interiors to seamlessly blend the brand’s signature worldly sophistication with modern accouterments reflective of this iconic destination.The hotel will offer an elegant and spacious spa and will also feature an iconic Peacock Alley serving a San Francisco approach to the legendary cuisine and libations that have established Waldorf Astoria as synonymous with unforgettable luxury experiences.From arrival to departure, guests will be embraced by the hotel’s inspirational environments and welcomed by True Waldorf Service. Waldorf Astoria San Francisco’s Personal Concierges will ensure that each guest receives anticipatory and personalised service; before, during, and after their stay.Waldorf Astoria San Francisco will participate in Hilton HHonors®, the only guest loyalty programme where guests who book directly through have access to benefits including a Personal Concierge and complimentary Wi-Fi at 26 Waldorf Astoria hotels worldwide.Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more