Eastlake Middle School sets up outdoor grill to solve long lunch line

first_img Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings Elizabeth Alvarez Elizabeth Alvarez, Eastlake Middle School sets up outdoor grill to solve long lunch line problemcenter_img Posted: February 28, 2018 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings February 28, 2018last_img read more

3 Friends Dog Park OneYear Anniversary Celebration Tomorrow

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The 3 Friends Dog Park will be celebrating their one year anniversary on Saturday, October 20, with a Halloween themed party and costume contest. The one-year anniversary will take place at the park from 1 to 3 p.m. The celebration on Saturday will feature the release of three balloons into the air commemorating the three friends of the dog park- Dean Birmley, Martha Brewer and Alice Puster. 3 Friends Dog Park opened in September 2017, and sits on about two acres of land behind Jo-Ann Fabric, off Aspen Drive.center_img Dale Bagley, one of the volunteers who helped build the gazebo where the new benches are located: “We did this multi-tier gazebo here, and this thing is huge with multi-levels. Now we are working on the seating in there so people have a good place to sit and watch their dogs play.”  The park also celebrated the one-year milestone with new benches. The funding for the benches was donated by Kelly Griebel of Century 21 as well as Alaska 1st Real Estate, each donated $750.last_img read more

NASA engineer looks to Saturn moon Titan for human colony

first_img See dramatic clouds streak across Saturn’s moon Titan See Cassini’s last image before it died at Saturn 4 Tags So far, Wellons is doing a good job of selling us on Titan, but the moon isn’t exactly a body double for Maui. It’s chilly to the tune of -290 degrees Fahrenheit (-179 degrees Celsius). NASA says you could walk around on Titan without a spacesuit, but you’d need an oxygen mask and protection from the cold.So Titan has some downsides, but it’s worth tossing it into the speculation hopper as we contemplate colonizing the solar system some day. I have to agree with Wellons when she says “it just seems like an awesome place to live.” 13 Photos Share your voice Cassini at Saturncenter_img Sci-Tech Enlarge ImageTitan poses in front of Saturn in this mosaic image from the Cassini mission. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Come, move to the moon: You can jump like a grasshopper. Come, move to Mars: You can bound like a bunny. Come, move to Titan: You can fly! I know which one I’d choose.NASA’s Janelle Wellons is pumping up Saturn’s moon Titan as a possible site of human settlement should Earth become uninhabitable. Wellons is an instrument operations engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She participated in a Reddit Q&A on Wednesday with women who work at NASA.space05.jpgEnlarge ImageTitan has a hazy atmosphere, which makes the surface difficult to see. Cassini’s near-infrared spectrometer penetrated the clouds to give us a look at its surface. NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Idaho A Reddit user asked, “Where would the most suitable place in the universe be to go if we couldn’t theoretically live on Earth anymore?”Wellons suggests Titan, calling it a more interesting answer than the standard Mars or moon response. Wellons used to work as an engineer on NASA’s Cassini mission, which is now over. The spacecraft spent years studying the ringed planet and its many satellites, including weird and fascinating Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.NASA chief scientist Jim Green had previously floated Titan as a possible option for colonization.”Titan is the only place besides Earth known to have liquids in the form of lakes and seas on its surface,” Wellons says. “These liquids are made of methane but, armed with the right kind of protective gear, one could theoretically be able to swim without harm!”Titan isn’t just a potential swimming spot, it also has a draw for anybody who’s ever taken flight in a dream. Wellons points to the thick atmosphere and its ability to shield us from space radiation. “It is so dense that we could actually attach wings to our arms and fly on this moon,” she says. Hell yeah.  Comments NASA shoots for Saturn’s moons with dazzling Cassini views (pictures) NASA Spacelast_img read more

Dalits not allowed to touch water tankers servicing upper caste villages in

first_imgWells and hand pumps in upper caste villages are being zealously guarded by lathi-wielding men.ReutersIn the parched badlands of Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand, wells and ponds have dried up, rivers have shrunk miserably. Water scarcity is a way of life in this region of Uttar Pradesh – made worse this year by lack of rainfall.Water woes have been further compounded by the caste woes emerging in the times of water scarcity.Water tankers are being sent to upper caste settlements, conveniently sidestepping the Dalit villages.People belonging to Dalit castes are not allowed to “even touch” functional hand pumps installed in upper caste villages.”If they (upper caste) are in a benevolent mood, they might give us a pot full of water and nothing more than that,” said Ritu Kumari of Tendura village.According to her, Dalits in the village have to walk seven to eight kilometres to another village to fetch water from a hand pump installed in the Dalit area.”Even there, we are not allowed to get more than one bucket because the pump is drying up,” she added.Wells and hand pumps in upper caste villages are being zealously guarded by lathi-wielding men.”This is to prevent theft of water. Unknown people (read Dalits) come here to steal water and we cannot afford this because there is already a water shortage,” said Manish Shukla.Asked if it was not inhuman to deny water to someone, he retorted: “It is the law of jungle that prevails here. If we give away water, how will we survive?”Even the Dalit children are ruthlessly pushed back if they dare to venture near a hand pump or tube well owned by upper caste. Children from upper caste remain, silent spectators, as they imbibe the caste bias and prepare to grow up with it.Water supply through tankers is also meant for upper castes.A district official in Banda said: “We do not differentiate on the basis of caste. Whenever we get requests, we send water tankers but we also have our limitations and cannot send tankers to all villages.”The ‘requests’ obviously come from upper castes who are politically influential and can pull strings.Former Congress legislator Vivek Singh explained: “The caste bias becomes more pronounced when the divide between haves and have-not widens. People who can afford to buy bottled water are being given tanker supplies while those who cannot, are denied this basic amenity. The local leaders are equally insensitive – they send water tankers to villages that have voted for them while others remain deprived.”He said: “People in Bundelkhand have learnt to live with casteism but no one ever imagined that caste would dominate the distribution of water in the region.”last_img read more

Raudha committed suicide Fresh autopsy

first_imgMaldivian medical student and model Raudha Athif, found dead at a dormitory of Rajshahi Islami Bank Medical College Hospital on 29 March, committed suicide, according to the second autopsy report, says UNB.In the postmortem report, it was mentioned that the actual reason behind the death could not be found as the body got decomposed, Inspector of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the investigative officer of the case Asmaul Haque said, adding, “But the suicidal incident can’t be ignored.”As soon as the report of the test of Raudha’s mobile phone, and laptop are available, the final report will be submitted to the court, he said.The IO also said they are conducting in-depth investigation to ascertain whether it was a suicide or a murder.Earlier on 29 March, police recovered the body of Raudha, an MBBS second year student of Rajshahi Islami Bank Medical College Hospital, from its female hostel.The medical college authorities filed an unnatural death case with Shah Makhdum police station on that day.The following day, a three-member physician committee of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital conducted an autopsy on the body of Raudha and reported that the Maldivian student committed suicide.On 10 April, Raudha’s father Mohammad Athif filed a murder case with a Rajshahi court against victim’s coursemate Sirat Parveen Mahmud, 20, alleging that Raudha was strangled.Later, the case was transferred to the CID on 13 April.On 18 April, a court ordered Raudha’s body to be exhumed for a fresh postmortem.last_img read more

Coordination must for sustaining disaster risk management

first_imgDisaster management and relief minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya addresses the launching ceremony of National Resilience Programme (NRP) at a city hotel on Thursday. Photo: UNDPDisaster management and relief minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya said Bangladesh always faces natural disaster due to the adverse impact of climate change.“We need to continue our efforts to protect the lives and livelihoods from natural disasters,” the minister told the launching ceremony of National Resilience Programme (NRP) at a city hotel on Thursday.The government and UN agencies have jointly initiated NRP at a cost of $12 million  to sustain the resilience of human and economic development in Bangladesh through inclusive and gender responsive disaster management and disaster risk informed development, says a UNDP press release.Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya hoped the newly launched programme would further build the capacity of the relevant ministries and increase resilience to natural disasters.He called upon all the line ministries and development partners to implement the programme effectively and efficiently for disaster risk reduction in line with the government commitment to implement the Sendai Framework.Disaster management and relief ministry secretary Shah Kamal said that 18 ministries are engaged with disaster management, so effective coordination is must for sustaining the disaster risk management initiatives.He said it is essential to have strong partnership for inclusive disaster risk reduction plan to sustain the economic and human development.The secretary hopes that NRP will enhance the strategic intervention and minimise the challenges of disaster management.“The government is following Whole of Society Approach in disaster management.”Shah Kamal underscored the need for construction of 3,000 cyclone centers in line with the 7th Five Year Plan for minimising the disaster risks of vulnerable people in cyclone prone areas.Disaster management and relief ministry additional secretary and also NRP national programme coordinator Md. Mohsin presented the overview and action plan of the programme.The programme is funded by the government, Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).The disaster management and relief ministry, the programming division of the planning commission, the women and children affairs and the local government division will implement the 3-year programme. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) will provide technical support.The disaster management will focus on disability inclusive and gender-responsive capacities, the programming division will focus on the capacity for disaster and climate risk informed planning, the department of women will focus on the gender dimension of the programme and the LGED will focus on resilient infrastructure.UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo emphasised on inclusive development, resilient infrastructure, engagement of private sector in risk informed business continuity plan and integration of global commitment in national development planning.Swedish ambassador Charlotta Schlyter said Bangladesh needs the engagement of women to fight and adapt disaster and climate risks.She underscored the need for gender responsive disaster management planning for enhancing sustainable development efforts.Water resources ministry secretary Kabir Bin Anwar, local government division additional secretary Mahbub Hossain, women and children affairs ministry additional secretary Md Ainul Kabir, planning division additional secretary Kazal Islam and DFID humanitarian adviser Omar Farook, among others, addressed the event.last_img read more

Malaysia to build island near Singapore

first_imgMalaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. ReutersMalaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said Wednesday he wants to develop an island on a cluster of rocks previously disputed with Singapore, a move that could anger its neighbour.The strategically located area has long been a flashpoint between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and they previously took a territorial dispute to the United Nations top court.The International Court of Justice in 2008 awarded two rock clusters, called Middle Rocks, to Malaysia while a nearby island was deemed to be Singaporean territory.Malaysia launched a challenge to that ruling last year but Singapore’s foreign ministry said Wednesday it had been withdrawn by Kuala Lumpur.However, at the same time Mahathir announced Malaysia wanted to develop an island on Middle Rocks, at the eastern entrance of the strategic Singapore Strait.The 100-kilometre (60-mile) strait is one of the world’s busiest commercial shipping routes, with vessels using it to access the city-state’s port.“It is our intention to enlarge Middle Rocks into a small island for us,” the 92-year-old-who started his second stint as premier this month after a surprise election win-told a press conference.He gave no more details about what the proposed island would look like or how long it would take to build.Mahathir added that Malaysia had already built a structure on Middle Rocks. Reports said Malaysia inaugurated a maritime base there last year.James Chin, a Malaysia expert from the University of Tasmania, told AFP that Singapore would see the move as “hostile”.“Among the Singapore elite, they will see it as part of Mahathir’s anti-Singapore stance,” he said.It came after Mahathir announced this week that he was scrapping a planned high-speed railway between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, as he seeks to improve the nation’s finances.Both developments are likely to alarm the Singapore government, already wary of Mahathir’s return as ties between the neighbours were famously stormy during his first stint as premier from 1981-2003.Still, Kuala Lumpur’s decision to drop its case at the ICJ could assuage fears.Malaysia had lodged its challenge in February 2017, calling for the court to overturn its earlier ruling granting its neighbour sovereignty over the disputed island.last_img read more

In Wake of Professors Comments Katherine Johnson is Still Celebrated in Physics

first_imgBy Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent@StacyBrownMediaFor many, the words of a senior scientist who said physics “was invented and built by men,” stung. The words earlier this month of Professor Alessandro Strumia, who was suspended from working with the European nuclear research center, Cern, served as a reminder of the great accomplishments of Katherine Johnson, who recently turned 100.Celebrate indeed. Strumia also claimed in his controversial comments that physics is “becoming sexist against men.”Katherine Johnson’s work at NASA’s Langley Research Center spanned 1953 to 1986 and included calculating the trajectory of the early space launches. (Photo: NASA Sean Smith / Wikimedia Commons)“Let’s celebrate our sister leader, Katherine Johnson,” NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., said this week. “We’re reminded,” Chavis said, “of Johnson, who hand-crunched the numbers for America’s first manned space flight – a feat that finally got its Big Screen acknowledgement just two years ago. Katherine Johnson’s historic contributions to the evolution of applied mathematics and aerospace science epitomizes her genius to overcome the scientific challenges of her generation.”“Today, African American women in particular should be inspired by the example of Katherine Johnson in STEM career fields,” Chavis said. “The NNPA salutes Johnson’s transformative legacy that is no longer hidden.”The recipient of the 2015 National Medal of Freedom who was also recognized by People Magazine in 2016 as one of the 25 Women Changing the World, Johnson enjoyed a brilliant 33-year career at NASA. That portion of her life story was featured on the big screen in “Hidden Figures,” the award-winning movie, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe.In an earlier interview, she told NNPA Newswire that she missed working. “I’d go back now,” she said.After leaving her teaching job in 1953, Johnson began working for NASA, “hand” calculating the trajectories for several space missions, including for the famed space flight of Alan Shephard, the first American in space, and the trajectory for the famed 1968 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon.“I’d do them over if I had to. I’d do anything for anyone,” she said.At an early age, Johnson developed enviable math skills that are recounted on the NASA website in  featured piece titled, “The girl who loved to count.” “I counted everything. I counted the steps to the road, the steps up to church, the number of dishes and silverware I washed … anything that could be counted, I did,” Johnson said.“I entered college, I was 15. I was going to be a math teacher because that was it. You could be a math teacher or a nurse, but I was told I would make a good research mathematician and they had me take all of the courses in the catalogue,” she said.When Astronaut John Glenn went to the moon, Johnson said her “Hidden Figures” crew acted as the computer for the mission. She said calculating everything involved in the flight became like a geometry problem.“I felt most proud of the success of the Apollo mission. We had to determine so much. Where you were, where the moon would be and how fast the astronauts were going,” Johnson said.“We were really concerned but the astronaut had to do it just as we laid it out. I was looking at the television and hoping that we were right,” she said.Born in 1918 in West Virginia, Johnson was a research mathematician, who by her own admission, was simply fascinated by numbers, according to her biography posted by NASA. By the age of 10, Johnson was a high school freshman – an amazing feat in an era when school for African-Americans normally stopped at eighth grade.Her father was determined that Johnson would have a chance to meet her potential. “He drove the family 120 miles to Institute, West Virginia, where I could continue my education through high school,” she said.An achiever at the highest level, Johnson graduated from high school at 14 and from college at 18.By 1953, the growing demands of early space research meant there were openings for African American “computers” (a term that held a different meaning at that time than it does today) at Langley Research Center’s Guidance and Navigation Department – and Johnson found the perfect place to put her extraordinary mathematical skills to work.Glenn requested that she personally recheck the calculations made by the new electronic computers before his flight aboard Friendship 7 – the mission on which he became the first American to orbit the Earth.She continued to work at NASA until 1986.Her calculations proved as critical to the success of the Apollo Moon landing program and the start of the Space Shuttle program as they did to those first steps on the country’s journey into space, according to NASA.Still, Johnson said the book, the Academy Award-nominated movie and her celebrated work with NASA aren’t her greatest accomplishments.“Just staying alive is the greatest accomplishment,” she said.last_img read more

Clean and green Kolkata to be focus of KMC under Hakim

first_imgKolkata: Making the city clean and green will be the main thrust of Kolkata Municipal Corporation under the new Mayor Firhad Hakim.Clearing accumulated water in shorter times and supply of drinking water to some dry pockets that still exist in the city, will also be given priority. As the state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister, Hakim has taken several steps to implement Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s mission of “Clean and Green City.” Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeReplacing the old garbage vats in Kolkata and the districts, modern compactors have been installed. The Municipal Affairs department has given funds to all the civic bodies in the state to install them. Comprehensive plans have been undertaken to clean the religious places of Tarakeshwar and Tarapith and to do the same, development boards have been set up. Over a decade ago, vast areas surrounding Tarakeshwar and Tarapith temples were full of dirt and filth. The devotees used to throw flowers and the pond behind the Tarakeshwar Temple was not cleaned for several decades. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedBecause of Hakim’s efforts, the surrounding areas of the temples have now been given a new look. Hakim’s biggest achievement as the Urban Development minister is New Town. When the Left Front government left Bengal in 2011, nobody thought that an Eco Park, now a star tourist attraction, could be built in the city. The entire New Town area used to look like a desert. Hakim, with the help of his finest officers, has been able to change the scenario and now New Town is one of the best planned townships in the country, with all modern facilities in place. Several steps have been taken to curb pollution in the area and battery-operated public buses and cycle-sharing schemes have been introduced for the same. There are pockets in Kolkata, particularly in Tollygunge and Jadavpur, where drinking water scarcity still persists. Hakim has decided to address the problem and it is hoped that the issue will be a matter of the past soon. Though waterlogging is no longer a major issue in Kolkata as the time taken by the accumulated water to recede has come down significantly. The old waterlogging pockets like Amherst Street, vast areas surrounding Rabindra Sadan and Akashbani Bhavan do not exist now. But there are pockets like Silpara, Sarsuna and Behala where the problem of waterlogging is still a major issue. Civic officials feel that Hakim, being a hard taskmaster, will expedite the work to complete the unfinished projects.last_img read more

Nepalese man held with snake venom worth over Rs 1 crore

first_imgDarjeeling: The Sashashtra Seema Bal (SSB) apprehended a Nepalese citizen trying to sneak in a jar of crystallised snake venom from the country worth more than Rs 1 crore. The person has been arrested and later remanded to two days police custody by a Siliguri Court.The incident occurred on Thursday evening at Panitanki, the Indo-Nepal border near Siliguri. Troopers of the 41 Battalion of SSB were manning the Border OutPost when they saw the person acting suspiciously. He had crossed over from Nepal. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseHe was then questioned by the SSB and then frisked. A bag was then recovered from the man, identified as 49-year-old Bal Bahadur Yava. Inside the bag they found a jar of snake venom. He is a resident of Jhapa, Nepal. Later, Yava was handed over to the police at Khoribari police station. Booked under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, he was produced at the ACJM Court in Siliguri on Friday. “His bail prayer was rejected and he has been remanded to two days police custody,” stated Sudip Rai Basunia, Assistant Public Prosecutor, Siliguri. The bullet-proof glass jar bore labels of Red Dragon (the name of the company) and Made in France. The jar is being sent to Haffkine Institute, Mumbai for tests. It may be mentioned that since 2015, multiple jars of snake venom have been recovered from this region.last_img read more

Bratya inaugurates 26th West Bengal State Science and Technology Congress

first_imgKolkata: While inaugurating the 26th West Bengal State Science and Technology Congress on the occasion of National Science Day, Bengal Science, Technology and Biotechnology minister Bratya Basu said ‘science without proof’ is running rampant in India, in which attempts are also being made to pass off superstitious beliefs as science.”In recent times, superstitious beliefs such as claims of plastic surgery of Ganesha or test tube baby of Gandhari or a Pushpak udaan from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka have become a matter of concern for people in this country, to the point that research is being done on such beliefs. This is a matter of great regret to me,” said Basu. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseHe further said: “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants to encourage a scientific way of thinking in every corner of the state. So, the government is organising science meets not only at the state level but also at the regional level. This year, we have already hosted three regional science and technology meets, where around 1,300 research papers were submitted and out of them, 160 have been selected and will be taken for the state meet.” The two-day science and technology congress, which is being organised by the department of Science, Technology and Biotechnology at Science City, will witness a plethora of experts who will deliver lectures on various subjects, as well as panel discussions. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataBasu also inaugurated a children’s science pavilion at the meet and said it is important to foster young scientific minds as they have the potential to become the next Satyendra Nath Bose, Prafulla Chandra Ray or Acharya Jagadish Chandra Basu. For the past 32 years, the National Science Day is observed every year across the country on this day, as a tribute to famous Indian scientist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, also known as C V Raman, who discovered the Raman Effect. Sourav Pal, director of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, who was also present at the inauguration ceremony, said: “We need to remember C V Raman on this day for his contributions to the world of science and also to the Indian scientific community.”last_img read more

Your Future iPhone Might Know How You Are Feeling

first_img 2 min read Everything you do online is tracked. But what if companies were to know not only what you look at online, but also how you feel about it?That’s the next generation of computer data analytics. And if a recent Apple acquisition is any indication, a future generation of your iPhone may be capable of just that.The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant has reportedly scooped up San Diego-based artificial intelligence startup Emotient, which analyzes facial expressions to determine a person’s emotions.The acquisition was confirmed to the Wall Street Journal, though terms of the deal were not.Related: Apple Is Quietly Creating a New Indoor Mapping SystemApple did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur’s request for comment.What’s the value in being able to register a user’s feelings? From a business perspective, knowing what your customers think about an advertisement, a product or a story allows a company to adjust that piece of content so that customers like it better. That, in theory, will drive consumers to spend more and companies to make more money.This isn’t the first artificial intelligence startup that Apple has scooped up recently. In October, the company bought VocalIQ, a U.K.-based startup that aims to make it possible for people to speak with their computer devices.Related: Apple’s Latest Experiment Means You May Never Have to Listen to Your Voicemails Again Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. January 8, 2016center_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now »last_img read more

Play TravelBrands TicTacKnow to win a Royal Caribbean cruise

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: Contests, Royal Caribbean International, TravelBrands Play TravelBrands’ Tic-Tac-Know to win a Royal Caribbean cruise Share Posted bycenter_img MISSISSAUGA — Game on! TravelBrands is once again inviting travel agents to play its popular Tic-Tac-Know game, running from now until Sept. 8.Agents who book and guarantee any Royal Caribbean cruise will be eligible to play. All eligible players will be entered to win up to 10,000 Loyalty Rewards Points plus a chance to win the grand prize of a Royal Caribbean Cruise for two.“The response we had to our first Tic-Tac-Know game in July was fantastic,” said Nathalie Tanious, Vice President, Cruise Division, TravelBrands. “We decided to bring this game back by showcasing the great product Royal Caribbean has to offer, and to make the prizing bigger than before as a thank you to our loyal agents.”Qualifying agents will be entered into the Grand Prize draw to win a six to eight-night cruise for two with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. The lucky winner will get to choose their cruise destination out of the following destinations: Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada & New England, Alaska and Europe. The Grand Prize Winner will be announced by the end of September.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoIn order to be qualified, the agent must book any Royal Caribbean Cruise Line product with a minimum net booking value of $500 before taxes and fees. When a qualified booking is made, the agent will receive an email seven days later inviting them to take part in the game.Agents must be registered with and book through travelbrandsaccess.com. They can also book via phone to be entered. << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, August 17, 2017 last_img read more

Video of couple getting scammed by Paris taxi driver goes viral

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> PARIS — A Thai couple is being hailed for keeping their cool after a Paris taxi driver tried to charge them nearly five times the actual fare from Charles de Gaulle airport to the city centre.The couple filmed their exchange with the driver while still seated in the backseat and uploaded it to YouTube earlier this month where it quickly went viral with over 220,000 views.In the video, the driver is seen demanding €247 for the 45-kilometre ride, nearly five times the flat €50 or €55 fee official Paris cabs charge from the airport to Paris’ right or left bank, respectively. The driver repeatedly insists that taxi fares in Paris are not fixed – “it’s by metre” – and shows the couple an app on his phone that indicates the price of 247.The couple, who were previously told by friends that a cab ride from the airport should cost “less than €70”, refuses to pay and questions whether he is a legal taxi.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is back“It’s not my car, it’s the company, you understand?” the driver angrily replies.He claims it’s a company car from Chauffeur Prive, a legitimate company, reports the Independent. But according to the company’s website, a ride from Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris costs a flat fee of €45.The couple asks to be taken to the police station where they suggest the matter can be resolved, but the driver refuses. They eventually offer to pay €100, but the driver calls them “crazy” before speeding up.At this point, the couple is heard calling emergency services but are unable to pinpoint their exact location. They eventually agree to pay the driver €200 simply to get out of the car.“The doors were locked and we had all our luggage in the trunk. He did not want to let us out, and kept driving while [supposedly] phoning his company to find a compromise,” Charkrid Thanhachartyothin, one of the passengers, told Le Parisien.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesBoers, the city’s specialist taxi police brigade, is currently investigating the incident. Posted by Travelweek Group Friday, November 16, 2018 Tags: Crime, Paris Video of couple getting scammed by Paris taxi driver goes virallast_img read more

Four Seasons Hotels to open third location in Colombia

first_img Travelweek Group Wednesday, June 5, 2019 TORONTO — Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and San Francisco Investments have announced plans to open a luxury hotel and private residences in Cartagena, marking the third Four Seasons in Colombia.Located on the doorstep of Cartagena’s historic walled city, Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Cartagena will feature 131 rooms, including a Royal Suite and a Presidential Suite boasting 390 square metres and 325 square metres of living area, respectively.The hotel will also include approximately 16 private residences, 16,000 square feet of meeting and event space, six food and beverage concepts with both indoor and terrace dining, a spa and fitness centre as well as a rooftop pool with views of Cartagena Bay.In addition, several culturally significant buildings, such as the Cloister of Saint Francis, the Club Cartagena, and four renowned theatres, Teatro Cartagena, Teatro Calamarí, Teatro Bucanero and Teatro Rialto will be revitalized and restored by Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Cartagena.More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksAs part of its investment, Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Cartagena will revitalize and restore several culturally significant buildings dating as far back as the 16th century, including the Cloister of Saint Francis, the Club Cartagena, and four renowned theatres.“This new Hotel and Private Residences is the perfect project for us to expand our presence in South America, providing us with the rare opportunity to convert such an exceptional collection of historic buildings within a marquee location in one of the region’s most alluring cities,” says Bart Carnahan, Executive Vice President, Global Business Development and Portfolio Management, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Together with our partners at Valorem, we look forward to bringing the very best in luxury hospitality to Cartagena.” Posted by Four Seasons Hotels to open third location in Colombiacenter_img Tags: Colombia, Four Seasons Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Teeka Tiwari Editor Palm Beach Letter PS The

first_img Teeka Tiwari Editor, Palm Beach Letter P.S. The bitcoin mania isn’t over… It’s just getting started. And an event set to occur as early as April 2 is set to launch a second, massive run-up. Bitcoin’s price could soar 20 times higher. And I’ve found three plays that could soar even higher than bitcoin. I’m talking about making 50, 100, even 200 times your money. You can get the details right here. Reader Mailbag Today, readers respond to Doug’s take on the political correctness movement: Please look up the origin of PC. Educate your audience. I refuse to acknowledge those two words—it’s a term Stalin popularized. We can thank the “New” out of control educational system! College is a breeding ground. Sad, very sad.—Craig More Scrutiny Is Not a Bad Thing China wants nothing to do with cryptocurrencies. And banks are banning the use of credit cards to purchase them. (That’s actually good news. As I’ve said before, you should never borrow money to fund a crypto investment.) This week, two federal agencies—the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)—are preparing to send reports to Congress about crypto assets. Even the G20 (a group of 19 major national economies and the European Union) is threatening to take cryptos more seriously. All of this scrutiny has people scared that we’ll see a coordinated global effort to snuff out bitcoin and crypto assets. I believe this fear is overblown. Global governments have much bigger problems than bitcoin. The idea that they’ll all join hands and put their differences aside in the relentless pursuit of crushing bitcoin appears farfetched to me. Instead, we’re seeing the maturing of the crypto asset class. None of this is inherently bad. For cryptos to make the leap to a multitrillion-dollar asset class… some form of regulatory framework must be in place. I think it’s an overreaction to assume that all governments want to destroy the crypto asset market. Even if they wanted to, the decentralized nature of bitcoin and other crypto assets makes it impossible for governments to eliminate them (just ask China). Governments can certainly make things more difficult by shutting down the exchanges. But as we’ve already seen, even when the most important market in the space—China—decided to shut down its exchanges, other countries such as Japan welcomed the Chinese exchange operators with open arms. The Crypto Genie Is Out of the Bottle Governments can wail and gnash all they want… but nothing will remove cryptos from the market. The asset class is here to stay. And I think U.S. regulatory bodies understand this reality. That’s why I think the CFTC and SEC hearings will be more concerned with curtailing initial coin offering (ICO) fraud than trying to kill all things crypto-related. The CFTC approved bitcoin futures this past December. It would hardly make sense for it to greenlight futures and then expend resources to destroy the asset class. That’s why I think the current regulatory fears washing through the crypto markets are overblown. Just like they were during the many scary periods I went through with cryptos in 2017. Then, like now, I offered the same advice: Make sure you have rational position sizes. Stop checking prices. Don’t worry about how long this sell-off will last. No one can answer that question with anything more than a guess. (That said, I’m currently working on an essay that will offer my best guess.) I’ll leave you with this… The biggest mistake I made in the decades of the late 1980s and ’90s was to underestimate just how powerful an impact technology would have on the future. I under-owned—and sold too quickly—some of the biggest winners of the past 25 years. I’m not going to make that mistake twice. The blockchain and crypto assets are a new breed of technology that will have as much (if not more) of an impact on the world as the tech companies of the 1980s and 1990s have today. Let the Game Come to You! Buy These Three Cryptos Before April 2nd Nobody’s talking about it, but an estimated $846 billion mountain of money is expected to hit cryptocurrencies as early as April 2nd. That’s more money than the value of every single cryptocurrency on the market—combined. Three small cryptos in particular are expected to see the biggest portions of that cash… Details here. Identity REVEALED: The man who beat Buffett by 2-to-1 He’s called the “Billionaire Beater” because his research outperformed some of America’s most famous billionaires several times over. One he beat by more than 2-to-1 over a recent ten year period. He also crushed three legendary hedge fund billionaires over that same time frame. He’s a humble guy, though, and keeps to himself, but here’s how you can get elite-level access to his stock research… For example, in 2013, the Chinese government banned its banks from dealing with bitcoin. This was at a time when 90% of all bitcoin mining and the majority of bitcoin activity took place in China. On top of that, hackers broke into the world’s largest bitcoin exchange at the time (Mt. Gox) and stole nearly 850,000 bitcoins. Bitcoin dropped 80%… But it still refused to die. When I finally became convinced to buy bitcoin in early 2016, it was at $450 and had a $6.6 billion market cap. I knew that any asset class that could survive so much negativity had to have long-term value. Since then, of course, bitcoin has been as high as $20,000. Now that bitcoin has dropped as low as $7,000, does that mean the party is over? Technology Has a History of Fits and Starts I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many bitcoin millionaires—some now billionaires—who lived through bitcoin’s 80% drop in 2013. I asked what kept them in bitcoin through the negativity. After all, they had made fortunes from bitcoin… So why stick around? What separated them from the hordes of “investors” who sold was their unswerving belief that the world needed a practical alternative to fiat currency. Bitcoin is the first currency that can’t be devalued by a government. It’s the first asset that we’ve had complete ownership over. It’s the most difficult asset to seize in the world. Barring torture, there isn’t a government in the world that can take your bitcoin from you (assuming you’ve stored it securely). That makes bitcoin—and crypto assets overall—unique. In my opinion, bitcoin’s unique qualities will continue to create value for its holders. But it won’t move in a straight line. No asset ever moves in one direction. Even the biggest stock winners of the last two decades—Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook—had long periods of price drops, price consolidations, and fears about their long-term viability as businesses. In the 1990s, the government tried to break up Microsoft. Apple traded for barely the cash on its balance sheet in 2003 as people failed to see the significance of the iPod. In 2007, Google dropped 70% as investors thought it couldn’t survive the Great Recession. And Facebook dropped 50% right out of the gate when it went public. Just like those tech giants, bitcoin and crypto assets are now under a global microscope. All of this PC correctness nonsense is in the Marxist Progressivist line, which Obama-lite democrats are THE PROPONENTS of. Dumb down and numb down the masses, give them a bag of “goodies” to make them dependent on government and you have met your goal = gain the power. Eliminate/smear everybody with different views and you have made it! It’s like from Marx’s Manifesto. We must stay alert and not let the USA become the united socialist states of America!—Vera —center_img Recommended Link Recommended Link Justin’s note: Over the last few months, we’ve shared many essays on the big opportunity in cryptocurrencies. With the recent sell-off, I wanted to get this new essay from Palm Beach Letter editor Teeka Tiwari out to you as soon as possible. Teeka knows more about the crypto market than anyone I know, and he explains below what you should be doing today… By Teeka Tiwari, editor, The Palm Beach Letter I’m sure you’re aware of the vicious sell-off currently going on in the cryptocurrency market. But what you might not know is that this type of volatility isn’t new. Even as recently as last March and September, we dealt with similar market meltdowns. What was especially tough for us was that our most important positions actually ended up dropping far lower than the general market. At certain periods last year, we saw peak-to-valley drops of 67%, 73%, and 78% in some of my recommendations. It was a bloodbath. Hackers attacked Ethereum—my most important position… and the one I had staked my reputation on—every day. I can’t count how many times Ethereum forked its code to deal with various attacks. Aside from the normal angry emails we receive when prices are tanking, I received many mocking emails from “friends” reveling in my perceived “misery.” More than one asked, “How are your ‘tulip bulbs’ doing?” Then, like now, I knew the slings and arrows of the market would ultimately strengthen the entire crypto asset ecosystem. Whether it was hackers trying to destabilize the Ethereum network or the Chinese government trying to ban exchanges, I’ve always known that the decentralized nature of crypto assets makes them very resilient to external threats. That resiliency is what attracted me to bitcoin in the first place. — Mr. Casey forgets to mention that his fellow multi-millionaires support the PC movement. Warren Buffett and Lloyd Blankfein fund candidates that support all this PC nonsense but have no idea why—they flail around for an explanation. There is an answer but it cannot be found in secularism.—KostaIf you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here.last_img read more

Activists hope a new nonpartisan online campaign

first_imgActivists hope a new non-partisan online campaign – based on a successful US user-led movement – could finally enable disabled people to become a political force in the UK, and play a significant role in deciding June’s general election.The hope is that the #CripTheVoteUK campaign will allow the millions of disabled people in the UK to use their weight of numbers to affect the election’s outcome.The campaign will not support any particular political party, but will encourage disabled people to register to vote and use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to discuss discrimination, oppression and inequality and the policies and practices that most affect them.Its first major action will be a #CripTheVoteUK Twitter discussion on the Department for Work and Pensions and benefit cuts, on Sunday (30 April) from 7-8pm, hosted by the disabled political journalist Dr Frances Ryan.Other Twitter chats are likely to include independent living, inclusive education, and the threats to disabled people’s rights of a “hard Brexit”.#CripTheVote was launched by three US disabled activists who were frustrated at the failure of the 2016 presidential candidates to talk about disability issues.The trio – Gregg Beratan, Alice Wong and Andrew Pulrang – are now supporting the UK extension of their movement, after being approached by Canadian disabled activist Alex Haagaard, who had asked if they were planning any work around the snap UK election called by prime minister Theresa May earlier this month.They put Haagaard in touch with disabled activist Eleanor Lisney in the UK, and the two of them have recruited other experienced disability activists, including Rick Burgess and Dennis Queen, to organise and lead #CripTheVoteUK.Lisney said: “We want to make enough noise [so that politicians] realise that disabled people are a big proportion of the population and that they cannot disregard our voting power.“We are an important voice.”She said it was crucial that #CripTheVote and #CripTheVoteUK were both “intersectional”, acknowledging that disabled people also face discrimination because of other characteristics such as their race, sexuality and gender.Lisney said the attacks on disabled people’s rights were so serious that the new campaign could save lives.She added: “I think disabled people all over the world are realising what is happening globally, that we are taking a step backwards.”Haagaard said she had become involved after spending a year in the UK, and joining an online narcolepsy support group.She said: “Since returning [to Canada] I have continued to watch member after member struggle with cuts to their benefits, assertions that they’re fit to work despite doctors’ letters to the contrary, and draconian reassessment cycles that leave them in a constant state of stress (which in turn severely exacerbates many of their symptoms).“It’s been horrifying to witness this, and having participated in the discussions of the #CripTheVote movement during the US election cycle, it seemed clear to me that these sorts of conversations needed to be made a key issue of the next UK election.”She said she accepted that “the fact this is a snap election with a very compressed timeline puts us at a disadvantage as an awareness campaign”, but she said she hoped that social media could play “a major role in changing the mainstream conversation” on the election.She said: “It’s a big goal, but I hope #CripTheVoteUK can contribute to making disability rights in the UK a viral topic.”Burgess said he hoped the six weeks leading to the election would be just a “starting point” for what would be a long-term campaign, but the immediate priority was “getting people to make sure they are registered to vote and getting them enthused so they will vote”.He said it would “take effort” for the campaign to remain non-partisan, but he said: “I think we will be direct about facts and policy but we will not be saying ‘…and therefore we think ‘X party’ is really great.’“We have to be realistic about the position we are in and critical of policy, regardless of who it’s implemented by.“As happened in America, you don’t want to be partisan and aligned to a party, but you do need to talk about policies, principles and rights, because if you don’t, something like Trump could happen.”Burgess said he and others had started thinking about the idea of a more organised disabled people’s “voting block” following the successful WOW petition, which he helped organise and led to a House of Commons debate in 2014 on the impact of welfare cuts and reforms on disabled people.He said: “There are 13 million disabled people. If that was more organised and engaged we would be a serious electoral force that parties would have to listen to.“In the long-term, disabled people have to be more of an organised block of voters in the same way people talk about the grey lobby.“Politicians need to be a little bit afraid of offending us. At the moment, they don’t appear remotely worried about what they do.”Burgess said he hoped that #CripTheVoteUK would see disabled people taking on some of the influence currently wielded by the big disability charities.He said: “It is about fertilising and organising the grassroots. Power should come from the bottom, from the real people.“What disabled people want is not the same thing as what a corporate charity that represents disabled people may want.“If you look at disability rights history, often we have felt very betrayed by charities.”Beratan, who himself lived in the UK for 15 years, said #CripTheVote was “geared towards both engaging the disability community in discussing the policies and politics that will most impact our lives but also to use our collective power to amplify the community’s voice on these issues”.And he said that “shrewed” politicians would use #CripTheVoteUK to engage with disabled voters.He said he and his colleagues had been more than happy to advise on setting up #CripTheVoteUK but “have been clear that #CripTheVoteUK needs to develop into whatever the UK disability community needs it to be.“As we saw in the US, #CripTheVote took off because the disability community took ownership of it.”Although he did not want to speak for the UK organisers, he said it had been “very important” in the US to keep #CripTheVote “nonpartisan”.He said: “Most of the evidence out there shows that the disability community breaks all across the political spectrum, but as we’ve seen many times, with the issues that affect our community most, partisan allegiances fall away.“We do tend to make it clear though that nonpartisan does not mean non critical. We’ve always been highly critical of policies that harm disabled people.”And he said he saw a lot of similarities between the two communities.He said: “We’ve both been largely ignored by the mainstream political discourse, and are both more likely to be scapegoated than engaged with.“So ideally I’d love to see them force disability into the conversation in this election.”last_img read more

Nine MPs on a Commons committee are refusing to ex

first_imgNine MPs on a Commons committee are refusing to explain why they failed to ask the minister for disabled people about shocking figures that suggest attempted suicides among people claiming out-of-work disability benefits doubled between 2007 and 2014.The work and pensions select committee was passed the figures by Disability News Service (DNS) a few days before Sarah Newton gave evidence last month.But despite being promised that the figures had “informed the briefing” prepared for the MPs on the committee ahead of the minister’s evidence session – and Labour MP Neil Coyle telling DNS that he was “sure it will be raised” – no effort was made to ask Newton about them.And this week, none of the nine committee members who attended the session – Labour’s Frank Field, who chairs the committee, Coyle (pictured), Ruth George and Stephen McCabe, Tory MPs Heidi Allen, Andrew Bowie, Alex Burghart and Chris Green, and SNP’s Chris Stephens – would explain why they failed to ask the minister about the figures.Instead, they hid behind the committee’s media officer, who accused DNS of trying to “circumvent” her by asking the MPs individually why they failed to raise the issue with Newton.Last month, the media officer had told DNS that the figures had “informed the briefing” handed to the MPs before the evidence session, but that the committee “does not discuss those decisions outside the committee”.She insisted this week that, because she had already told DNS that Field would not comment on the refusal to raise the figures with the minister, this meant that she had “fully answered” questions on the figures.When DNS pointed out that it was a fundamental democratic principle to be able to hold MPs to account for their work, she said that all the MPs “have been advised to refer you to me but this is, again, the final response”.She later said in a statement: “Committees deliberate in private. Revealing the committee’s private deliberations has been considered a contempt of parliament.”DNS has pointed out that it has been asking MPs to explain their failure to ask questions in an open, public session, and not to release their “private deliberations”.The committee’s media officer had failed by noon today (Thursday) to provide any examples of where revealing a committee’s private deliberations has been considered a contempt of parliament.The new analysis of NHS statistics, prepared by the independent social research institute NatCen and published by Disability News Service (DNS) for the first time last month, showed that in 2007 – a year before the introduction of the much-criticised work capability assessment (WCA) – 21 per cent of incapacity benefit (IB) claimants told researchers they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.The following year, IB began to be replaced by employment and support allowance (ESA), with eligibility tested by the WCA, under the New Labour government.But by 2014, following six years of the WCA – and four years of social security reforms under the new coalition government, and austerity-related cuts to disability benefits and services – more than 43 per cent of claimants were saying they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.Over the same period, the proportion of adults questioned for the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) who were not claiming IB (in 2007) or ESA (in 2014) and had attempted to take their own lives remained statistically stable (6.0 per cent in 2007 against 6.7 per cent in 2014).Although the figures do not prove that the rate of attempted suicides doubled in that period – for example, the group of IB claimants could have had less severe impairments than those on ESA – and there is no proof that the introduction of the WCA caused the increase, they have alarmed many disabled activists and researchers.Sally McManus, who leads research on the survey for NatCen, on behalf of NHS Digital, has also shown that the proportion of IB/ESA claimants who have ever deliberately self-harmed also rose sharply from 2007 to 2014, as did the proportion of claimants who had had suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives.In 2007, the proportion of IB claimants who said they had self-harmed was 14 per cent, and this rose to 34 per cent of ESA claimants in 2014.And in 2007, the proportion of IB claimants who said they had had suicidal thoughts was 39 per cent, which rose to 66 per cent of ESA claimants in 2014.Samaritans can be contacted free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.orglast_img read more

Baker Institute expert Assumptions about oils influence on politics in the Middle

first_imgShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.eduBaker Institute expert: Assumptions about oil’s influence on politics in the Middle East should be reversedHOUSTON – (July 7, 2016) – Assumptions about oil’s influence on politics in the Middle East should be reversed, according to a new article from an expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Instead of oil buttressing autocracy, the article argues that autocracy among oil exporters buttresses oil by encouraging consumption.Credit: shutterstock.com/Rice University“Energy and the State in the Middle East” was authored by Jim Krane, the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at the Baker Institute. It appears in the new book “Delivering Energy Law and Policy in the E.U. and the U.S.: A Reader,” which was co-edited by Raphael Heffron and Gavin Little and published by Edinburgh University Press.“When it comes to energy, the Middle East is best-known as a supplier of commodities to the importing world,” Krane wrote. “Collectively, the region harbors around half of the world’s conventional reserves of oil and natural gas. But recently the countries of the Middle East and North Africa have become recognized as important centers of energy demand.”The MENA region has maintained nearly 6 percent yearly growth in consumption over the four decades since 1973, a much faster rate of growth than the 2 percent average for the world as a whole, according to Krane. His paper examines drivers behind the MENA region’s growing consumption of oil and gas, in particular the government policies that have contributed to the energy intensity of the region.“I argue that hydrocarbon demand is an outgrowth of the pervasive and structural role of oil and gas in the formation of many of these states, which has imposed deep influences on their institutional design and outcomes,” Krane wrote.Among some of the larger oil exporters, the effect of hydrocarbons dates to their origins as sovereign independent states, Krane said. Oil helped finance their emergence from colonial rule and, at times, guided the placement of national borders to encompass known oilfields. “The business of exporting hydrocarbons has also contributed to the character of governance in the Middle East, helping to maintain autocratic regimes in most of these otherwise diverse states,” Krane wrote. “Finally, in many MENA countries, government policies that made available low-priced fuel and electricity contributed to an ‘entitlement mentality’ among citizens toward cheap energy. In turn, these attitudes have encouraged energy-intense habits, influencing the design of the built environment and guiding patterns of human settlement.”In short, the presence of oil and gas has commanded a huge role in sustaining and organizing Middle Eastern states and societies and promoting their integration into the global economy, Krane said. These generalizations are strongest in the region’s energy-exporting countries but remain apparent in most of the Arab Middle East, including among net importers, he added.“Put another way, the old ‘oil influences politics’ adage ought to be flipped,” Krane concluded. “In the Gulf, it is politics that influences oil. Basically regimes stay in power by underpricing and encouraging consumption of oil.”-30-For more information, to schedule an interview with Krane or to receive a copy of the article, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.Related materials:“Delivering Energy Law and Policy in the E.U. and the U.S.: A Reader”: https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-delivering-energy-law-and-policy-in-the-eu-and-the-us.htmlKrane bio: http://bakerinstitute.org/experts/jim-kraneKrane on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jimkrane @jimkraneFollow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog. AddThislast_img read more

SolarCity Accepts Teslas 26 Billion Offer Both Shares Fall

first_img SolarCity Corp. agreed to Tesla Motors Inc.’s $2.6 billion offer to buy the solar panel installer, the companies said on Monday, clearing one obstacle in the way of Elon Musk’s ambitious plans for a carbon-free energy and transportation company.Tesla’s offer represented about half of SolarCity’s value a year ago, a tumble reflecting the solar company’s slowing growth, complex financial structure and the increased scrutiny of government incentives for rooftop solar.For Tesla, acquiring SolarCity offers the promise of greater economies of scale in electrical energy management systems, battery production and marketing, tempered by the near-term challenge of managing a high-risk ramp-up of vehicle production and a merger simultaneously.Standard & Poors said Monday it put Tesla’s credit ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications “to reflect the significant risks related to the sustainability of the company’s capital structure following the proposed transaction.”Tesla’s stock swap offer valued SolarCity at $25.37 a share, or $200 million less than the initial proposal Musk outlined in June, before advisers to the companies had done due diligence.SolarCity shares shed 7.4 per cent on Monday to close at $24.72, a level that suggests most shareholders are betting the deal will be approved. Tesla shares closed down 2 percent at $230.01.The company on Monday cut its forecast for full-year installations by 10 percent from prior guidance. In 2017, SolarCity said it expects improvement driven by integrated battery storage offerings and “a new solar product focused on the 5 million new roofs installed each year in the U.S.”SolarCity has come under pressure from rivals offering low-cost solar energy from large, utility-scale installations, and because some state governments have reined in subsidies that encouraged rooftop solar.”SolarCity’s cost of capital is higher than the individual in most cases,” Musk said on a call Monday, adding SolarCity could focus on selling systems to homeowners, financed through their mortgages.Tesla shares also dipped, as Musk repeated that if the deal is consummated, the combined Tesla-SolarCity could require a “small equity capital raise” next year. Until Friday’s close, Tesla shares were up 7 percent since the company first announced its proposal. Tesla said in a regulatory filing it would issue shares as part of the transaction.Musk, chairman of both Tesla and SolarCity, said a capital increase could be a “low to mid single digit” percentage of Tesla’s market capitalization, which on Monday was about $34 billion.Both companies have been burning through cash, although they have projected achieving positive cash flow later this year. SolarCity Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Rive, who is Musk’s cousin, repeated that forecast during a conference call on Monday.Musk last week said it could ultimately cost Tesla “tens of billions” of dollars over several years to develop a pickup truck, a semi truck and a “spacebus” people hauler as outlined in his new strategic plan for the automaker.Some analysts are skeptical that combining Tesla and SolarCity will yield a quick turnaround.”When two highly leveraged companies that have to raise huge amounts of capital merge, you don’t get a stronger company. You get a larger company that combines the weaknesses of both smaller companies,” said Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.Analysts who follow SolarCity expressed more upbeat outlooks. JP Morgan called the offer “attractive,” saying it would give “capital-hungry SCTY better access to wholesale capital markets via its acquirer’s balance sheet.”Tesla has enjoyed strong demand for its stock, and raised about $1.7 billion with a share sale in May.Cost savingsMusk said the plan to consolidate two clean energy businesses in which he has large stakes will remove barriers to growth between companies he always intended to function as one.Musk and Tesla Chief Financial Officer Jason Wheeler said the companies could save at least $150 million a year by combining sales forces, and sending one truck to a home to install solar panels, a Tesla energy storage system and a recharging system for a Tesla car. Now, as many as three trucks and technicians might go.Musk said a combined SolarCity and Tesla should be able to spend less on manufacturing and capital investments than they would have separately, and will be able to negotiate deals with utility companies more quickly.Musk said Tesla and SolarCity are already working on consolidating and sharing key technologies, such as electronic power controls. “If it doesn’t go through, it will be awkward,” he said.Delivering on those promises will add to Tesla’s ambitious agenda. Over the next two years, the luxury electric carmaker plans to increase vehicle production roughly fivefold at its Fremont, California, assembly plant as it starts making the Model 3 sedan and related vehicles.Tesla later this year plans to start production of car batteries at its Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada. Tesla and partner Panasonic Corp. have begun installing complex, automated battery manufacturing equipment in parts of the plant as construction continues. Musk has said the Gigafactory ultimately will have solar power systems on its roof.Musk is the largest shareholder in both companies, and if the transaction goes through could increase his stake in Tesla from about 21 per cent to 23.4 percent, including the conversion of his current stake in SolarCity.His cousins Lyndon Rive and Peter Rive are co-founders of SolarCity. The companies share board members and major shareholders. SolarCity formed a special committee to evaluate the Tesla offer, and Musk said he had no say in the final acquisition price.Final approval of the deal will depend on independent shareholders. The deal includes an unusually long “go-shop” provision that allows SolarCity to solicit offers from other potential buyers for 45 days through Sept. 14.Musk and sources familiar with the situation have said they are confident the deal will win needed support.Daniel Marcus, principal of Marcus Capital LLC, a Chicago investment adviser which owned 22,100 Tesla shares at the end of June, said he supports the takeover bid and Musk’s long-range plan.“If some people see things three steps ahead, Elon Musk is 10 steps ahead,” Marcus said.Musk has wooed larger shareholders, including managers at Fidelity Investments whose funds are among the biggest owners of both SolarCity and Tesla stock, outside of Musk.SolarCity was a Wall Street darling following its 2012 initial public offering thanks to supercharged growth of its no-money-down rooftop solar offerings. SolarCity said late last year it would grow more slowly and focus on generating cash and cutting costs. The company’s shares hit $81 in early 2014.The company’s outlook has darkened as government policies that underpinned the rooftop solar sector’s expansion in recent years face increased scrutiny in many U.S. states.(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bengaluru, Liana Baker in New York, Paul Lienert in Detroit and Nichola Groom in Los Angeles.; Editing by Joseph White and Jeffrey Benkoe) SolarCity Accepts Tesla’s $2.6 Billion Offer, Both Shares Fall Next Article Reuters August 2, 2016 This story originally appeared on Reuters SolarCity 6 min read –shares Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Register Now » Add to Queuelast_img read more