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Why Web Application Maintenance Should Be More Of A Thing

first_imgBug FixingObvious but worth making explicit. The software has bugs, and they need fixing. Even if you include a small period of free bug fixes after shipping a project, at some point the client will need to start paying for these. HomeWeb DesignWhy Web Application Maintenance Should Be More Of A Thing (rb, ra, hj, il)From our sponsors: Why Web Application Maintenance Should Be More Of A Thing Related postsInclusive Components: Book Reviews And Accessibility Resources13th December 2019Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?12th December 2019Building A CSS Layout: Live Stream With Rachel Andrew10th December 2019Struggling To Get A Handle On Traffic Surges10th December 2019How To Design Profitable Sales Funnels On Mobile6th December 2019How To Build A Real-Time Multiplayer Virtual Reality Game (Part 2)5th December 2019 Technology and Platform ChangesThird-party libraries need updating. The underlying language requires an update, e.g. PHP 5.6 to PHP 7.1 Modern operating systems send out updates regularly. Keeping on top of this is maintenance and at times will also require changes to the code base as the old ways of doing certain things become deprecated. Why Web Application Maintenance Should Be More Of A ThingYou are here: Hard To Sell?Interestingly, when I discuss this with my peers, they feel that it is difficult to convince clients that they need maintenance. They are concerned that their clients don’t have the budget and they don’t want to come across as too expensive.Well, here’s the thing: it’s actually a pretty easy sell. We’re dealing with business people, and we simply need to be talking to them about maintenance in commercial terms. Business people understand that assets require maintenance or they’ll become liabilities. It’s just another standard ongoing monthly overhead. A cost of doing business. We just need to be putting this in our proposals and making sure that we follow up on it.An extremely effective method is to offer a retainer that incorporates maintenance at its core but also bundles a lot of extra value for the client, things like:Reporting on progress vs. KPIs (e.g. traffic, conversions, search volumes)Limited ‘free’ time each month for small tweaks to the siteReporting on downtime, server updates or development work completedAccess to you or specific members of your team by phone to answer questionsIndeed, you can make the retainer save the client money and pay for itself. A good example of this would be a client’s requirement to get a simple report or export from the database each month for offline processing.You could quote for a number of development days to build out a — probably more complex than initially assumed — reporting user interface or alternatively point the client to your retainer. Include within it a task each month for a developer to manually run a pre-set SQL query to manually provide the same data.A trivial task for you or your team; lots of value to your client.A Practical ExampleYou’ll, of course, have your own way of writing proposals but here are a couple of snippets from an example pitch.In the section of your proposal where you might paint your vision for the future, you can add something about maintenance. Use this as an opportunity to plant the seed about forming a long-term relationship.You are looking to minimize long-term risk.You want to ensure that your application performs well, that it remains secure and that it is easy to work on.You also understand how important maintenance is for any business asset.Later on, in the deliverables section, you can add a part about maintenance either as a stand-alone option or bundled in with an ongoing retainer.In the following example, we keep it simple and bundle it in with a pre-paid development retainer:We strongly advocate that all clients consider maintenance to be an essential overhead for their website. Modern web applications require maintenance and just like your house or your car; you keep your asset maintained to reduce the tangible risk that they become liabilities later on.As a client who is sensibly keen to keep on top of the application’s maintenance as well as getting new features added, we’d suggest N days per month (as a starting point) for general maintenance and development retainer.We’d spread things out so that a developer is working on your system at least [some period per week/month] giving you the distinct advantage of having a developer able to switch to something more important should issues arise during the [same period]. Depending upon your priorities that time could all be spent on new feature work or divided with maintenance, it’s your call. We normally suggest a 75%/25% split between new features and important maintenance.As previously mentioned, this is also a great opportunity to lump maintenance in with other value-added ongoing services like performance reporting, conducting housekeeping tasks like checking backups and maybe a monthly call to discuss progress and priorities.What you’ll probably find is that after you land the work, the retainer is then not mentioned again. This is understandable as there is lots for you and your client to be considering at the beginning of a project, but as the project is wrapping up is a great time to re-introduce it as part of your project offboarding process.Whether this is talking about phase 2 or simply introducing final invoices and handing over, remind them about maintenance. Remind them of ongoing training, reporting, and being available for support. Make the push for a retainer, remembering to talk in those same commercial terms: their new asset needs maintaining to stay shiny.Can Maintenance Be Annoying?A common misconception is that maintenance retainers can become an additional burden. The concern is that clients will be constantly ringing you up and asking for small tweaks as part of your retainer. This is a particular concern for smaller teams or solo consultants.It is not usually the case, though. Maybe at the beginning, the client will have a list of snags that need working through, but this is par for the course; if you’re experienced, then you’re expecting it. These are easily managed by improving communication channels (use an issue tracker) and lumping all requests together, i.e, working on them in a single hit.As the application matures, you’ll drop into a tick-over mode. This is where the retainer becomes particularly valuable to both parties. It obviously depends on how you’ve structured the retainer but from your perspective, you are striving to remind the client each month how valuable you are. You can send them your monthly report, tell them how you fixed a slowdown in that routine and that the server was patched for this week’s global OS exploit. Is your pattern library up to date today? Alla Kholmatova has just finished a fully fledged book on Design Systems and how to get them right. With common traps, gotchas and the lessons she learned. Hardcover, eBook. Just sayin’.center_img Table of Contents → You were, of course, also available to work on a number of new requested features that were additionally chargeable. From your client’s perspective, they see that you are there, they see progress, and they get to remove “worry about the website” from their list. Clearly, ‘those clients’ do exist, though, so the most important thing is to get your retainer wording right and manage expectations accordingly.If your client is expecting the moon on the stick for a low monthly fee, push back or renegotiate. Paying you to do — say — two hours maintenance and housekeeping per month in amongst providing a monthly report and other ancillary tasks is exactly that; it’s not a blank cheque to make lots of ad-hoc changes. Remind them what is included and what isn’t.How Do We Make Maintenance Easier?Finally, to ensure the best value for your clients and to make your life easier, use some of these tactics when building your applications.Long-Term Support (LTS)Use technology platforms with well documented LTS releases and upgrade paths.Ongoing OS, language, framework and CMS upgrades should be expected and factored in for all projects so tracking an LTS version is a no-brainer.Everything should be running on a supported version. Big alarm bells should be ringing if this is not the case.Good Project HygieneHave maintenance tasks publicly in your feature backlog or issue tracking system and agree on priorities with your client. Don’t hide the maintenance tasks away.Code level and functional tests allow you to keep an eye on particularly problematic code and will help when pulling modules out for refactoring.Monitor the application and understand where the bottlenecks and errors are. Any issues can get added to the development backlog and prioritized accordingly.Monitor support requests. Are end users providing you with useful feedback that could indicate maintenance requirements?The Application Should Be PortableAny developer should be able to get the system up and running easily locally — not just you! Use virtual servers or containers to ensure that development versions of the applications are identical to production.The application should be well documented. At a minimum, the provisioning and deployment workflows and any special incantations required to deploy to live should be written down.Maintenance Is A Genuine Win-WinMaintenance is the work we need to do on an application so it can safely stand still. It is a standard business cost. On average 75% of the total cost of ownership over a software application’s lifetime.As professionals, we have a duty of care to be educating our clients about maintenance from the outset. There is a huge opportunity here for additional income while providing tangible value to your clients. You get to keep an ongoing commercial relationship and will be the first person they turn to when they have new requirements.Continuing to provide value through your retainer will build up trust with the client. You’ll get a platform to suggest enhancements or new features. Work that you have a great chance of winning. Your client reduces their lifetime costs, they reduce their risk, and they get to stop worrying about performance or security.Do yourself, your client and our entire industry a favor: help make web application maintenance become more of a thing. Posted on 26th March 2018Web Design FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share Traditional software developers have been hiding a secret from us in plain sight. It’s not even a disputed fact. It’s part of their business model.It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about high-end enterprise software vendors or smaller software houses that write the tools that we all use day to day in our jobs or businesses. It’s right there front and center. Additional costs that they don’t hide and that we’ve become accustomed paying.So what is this secret?Well, a lot of traditional software vendors make more money from maintaining the software that they write than they do in the initial sale.Not convinced?A quick search on the term “Total Cost of Ownership” will provide you with lots of similar definitions like this one from Gartner (emphasis mine):[TCO is] the cost to implement, operate, support & maintain or extend, and decommission an application.Furthermore, this paper by Stanford university asserts that maintenance normally amounts to 60% to 90% of the TCO of a software product.It’s worth letting that sink in for a minute. They make well over the initial purchase price by selling ongoing support and maintenance plans.“You must unlearn what you have learned!” Meet the brand new episode of SmashingConf San Francisco with smart front-end tricks and UX techniques. Featuring Yiying Lu, Aarron Draplin, Smashing Yoda, and many others. Tickets now on sale. April 17-18. Check the speakers →We Don’t Push MaintenanceThe problem as I see it is that in the web development industry, web application maintenance isn’t something that we focus on. We might put it in our proposals because we like the idea of a monthly retainer, but they will likely cover simple housekeeping tasks or new feature requests.It is not unheard of to hide essential upgrades and optimizations within our quotes for later iterations because we‘re not confident that the client will want to pay for the things that we see as essential improvements. We try and get them in through the back door. Or in other words, we are not open and transparent that, just like more traditional software, these applications need maintaining.Regardless of the reasons why, it is becoming clear that we are storing up problems for the future. The software applications we’re building are here for the long-term. We need to be thinking like traditional software vendors. Our software will still be running for 10 or 15 years from now, and it should be kept well maintained.So, how can we change this? How do we all as an industry ensure that our clients are protected so that things stay secure and up to date? Equally, how do we get to take a share of the maintenance pie?What Is Maintenance?In their 2012 paper Effective Application Maintenance, Heather Smith and James McKeen define maintenance as (emphasis is mine):Porting an application to a new server, interfacing with a different operating system, upgrading to a newer release, altering a tax table, or complying with new regulations—all necessitate application — maintenance. As a result, maintenance is focused on upgrading an application to ensure it remains productive and/or cost effective. The definition of application maintenance preferred by the focus group is — any modification of an application to correct faults; to improve performance; or to adapt the application to a changed environment or changed requirements. Thus, adding new functionality to an existing application (i.e., enhancement) is not, strictly speaking, considered maintenance.In other words, maintenance is essential work that needs to be carried out on a software application so it can continue to reliably and securely function.It is not adding new features. It is not checking log files or ensuring backups have ran (these are housekeeping tasks). It is working on the code and the underlying platform to ensure that things are up to date, that it performs as its users would expect and that the lights stay on.Here are a few examples: ScalingAs the application grows, there will be resource issues. Routines within the code that worked fine with 10,000 transactions per day struggle with 10,000 per hour. The application needs to be monitored, but also action needs to be taken when alerts are triggered.last_img read more

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Will wind turbines and solar panels be IoT juice of choice?

first_imgTags:#green#Internet of Things#IoT#renewables#Smart Cities#solar#wind energy Wind taking second place to solarThe system is capable of harvesting 8 milliWatts of solar power and 26 milliWatts of wind power, enough to power 3,400 LED lights. For low power IoT devices, this is perfect as it doesn’t require a huge amount of space and is fully renewable energy.There are other ways to harvest wind energy without using turbines. Plenty of smart cities are adding small wind turbines to new homes, alongside solar panels, to harvest the most renewable energy possible.However, wind energy has become a secondary cause for many, as solar panel sales skyrocket. Part of the reason for wind turbines lack of success is the lack of energy produced by small turbines, something that the team of researchers appear to have fixed with their dual setup. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck Related Posts David Curry Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution will bring a rise in productivity and lower time spent on a single process, but something not factored into the surge in connected devices is energy consumption.That may lead to an increase in carbon emissions, if smart city planners are unable to develop renewable systems that provide enough energy while not being intrusive to daily life, like wind turbines.See Also: Accenture sees nearly half of cars autonomous in 25 yearsFortunately, researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing have built a renewable system that fits on top of buildings and utilizes both wind and solar power in one convenient system.“To realize the sustainable energy supply in a smart city, it is essential to maximize energy scavenging from the city environments for achieving the self-powered functions of some intelligent devices and sensors,” said the team in an ACS Nano publication. “Although the solar energy can be well harvested by using existing technologies, large amounts of wasted wind energy in the city cannot be effectively utilized since conventional wind turbine generators can only be installed in remote areas due to their large volumes and safety issues.”“Here, we rationally design a hybridized nanogenerator (see image below), including a solar cell and a triboelectric nanogenerator, that can individually/simultaneously scavenge solar and wind energies, which can be extensively installed on the roofs of the city buildings.”last_img read more

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Lord Shiva Maha Shivaratri: Celebrations in Himachal from Feb 21 to Feb 27

first_imgLord Shiva Maha Shivaratri in Himachal Pradesh is marked in a unique way, popularly known as Chhoti Kashi, as it sees a congregation of over 200 deities from hundreds of village temples. People chant Om Namah Shivaya which is a popular mantra in Hinduism and particularly in Shaivism. This year’s celebrations will be held from Feb 21 to 27. The celebrations date back to 1526 when this town was founded during the rule of Ajbar Sen. He had ‘invited’ all the local deities to mark the founding of the new town.Since then, the assembly of deities from hundreds of village temples during Mahashivratri has become a tradition.After the rule of princely states came to an end, the district administration took over the task of inviting the gods and goddesses.”More than 215 gods and goddesses have been invited to participate in Mahashivratri,” Deputy Commissioner Devesh Kumar, the chief organiser of the festival, informed.The arrival of the deities in beautifully decorated palanquins amid sounds of trumpets and drums has begun. They will stay at the Paddal ground till the fair concludes, said Kumar.Like the week-long Kullu Dussehra festivities, Mandi’s Mahashivratri also sees a congregation of the divine and the temporal.Mandi, located on the Chandigarh-Manali national highway, is dotted with more than 80 temples. The prominent ones among them are those of Bhutnath, Triloki Nath, Jagannath, Tarna Devi and Jalpa Devi.The rulers of Mandi state were devotees of Lord Shiva.According to a legend, ruler Sen (1499-1534) saw in his dreams a cow offering milk to an idol of Lord Shiva. His dreams turned into reality when he himself saw the cow offering milk to an idol.He then constructed a temple there in 1526 – the Bhutnath temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Simultaneously, the foundation of Mandi town was also laid and he shifted his capital here.During the first day of the fair, Lord Madho Rai, an incarnate of Lord Vishnu and the chief deity, leads the procession. The assembled deities follow him in beautifully decorated palanquins, as per protocol, and assemble at the Bhutnath temple.Three such processions, locally called Jaleb, would be taken out on the opening, middle and concluding days of the fair, said an organiser.Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Governor Urmila Singh will respectively participate on the first and last day of the festival.Every year the festival attracts scores of tourists, especially foreigners and researchers.The conduit between the mortals and the deities are the ‘gur’ – the traditional shamans of Himachal, who form the core of the communities’ spiritual sustenance. The ‘gur’ mediates between the people and the gods.During the festival, transactions worth millions of rupees, cultural events and rural sports take place.- With inputs from IANSadvertisementlast_img read more

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SPORT-HOCK-CUP 2LST(SPB16)

first_imgCAG rallied from a 0-1 first half deficit to oust Central CAG rallied from a 0-1 first half deficit to oust Central Railway. International Devendra Walmiki struck Centrals goal from their second penalty corner in the 20th minute as they enjoyed a slender 1-0 half-time lead. However, CAG changed tactics in the second half and managed to score two quick goals through Darshan D S, who first converted a short corner in the 48th minute and seven minutes later converted a penalty stroke after teammate Thimmaiah was stick-checked by a rival defender inside D. In the morning, former champions and last years runners-up Indian Oil had to fight hard to quell Navys challenge. Current India player Dharamvir scored the sixth goal for the oilmen after Gurjinders three and Thakurs brace. The sailors, who led 1-0 at half time, scored through Rana Pratap, Janma Majhi and Jaspal Singh. PTI SSR NRB CM JMFlast_img read more

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Australian Open: Osaka wins, becomes world no 1

first_imgSHARE Australia Japan’s Naomi Osaka said she was “in a state of shock” on Saturday after holding her nerve to battle past Petra Kvitova to win the Australian Open in a three-set thriller that also delivered her the world number one ranking.The fourth seed and US Open champion triumphed 7-6 (7/2), 5-7, 6-4 in a two hour 27 minute epic over the Czech eighth seed to claim back-to-back Grand Slams and become the first Asian, male or female, to hold the top spot.The Japanese youngster fell to one knee in celebration, head bowed, as Melbourne Park erupted in thunderous cheers.“I felt like I was in a state of shock through the entire trophy presentation,” the 21-year-old said.A rattled Osaka almost blew her title hopes with one hand on the trophy when she failed to convert three championship points leading 5-3 in the second set.The never-say-die Kvitova forced a deciding set before Osaka finally edged ahead with a decisive break early in the third.“Of course I felt very disappointed and sad when I had three match points. I tried to tell myself there’s nothing I can do about it. Told myself I’m playing a final and need to keep fighting and couldn’t act immature and needed to keep fighting,” she said.Her jubilation was a marked contrast to Osaka’s maiden Slam win last year, when she tearfully hid her face as boos rang around Flushing Meadows in the wake of losing finalist Serena Williams’ tirade at the umpire.This time, Osaka cried with joy and smiled as she became the youngest woman to win back-to-back majors since Martina Hingis in 1998 and the youngest number one since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.Her gutsy performance confirms her status as the leading light of tennis’ new generation.Kvitova can console herself with a career-best performance at Melbourne Park, where she did not drop a set on her way to the final.It was her first Grand Slam decider since a burglar slashed her racquet hand in a 2016 knife attack and the Czech has shown she is again a contender at the majors.“Thank you for sticking with me even when we didn’t know if I would able to hold a racquet again. It’s crazy. I can hardly believe that I just played in a Grand Slam final again,” Kvitova told her team.Predictions of a slugfest between two of the game’s biggest hitters proved accurate as the pair went toe-to-toe in the first set.They had never met before and Osaka initially struggled to unlock the lanky left-hander’s serve, while Kvitova at times could not handle her opponent’s powerful returns.The Czech mixed up her game with drop shots and changes of pace but blew three break chances in a crunch sixth game in the first set.Kvitova saved two set points to force a tie-break but Osaka ran away with it 7-2, taking the first set the Czech had conceded in the entire tournament.Kvitova regrouped and kept her hopes alive with the first break of the match, going up 2-0 in the second.Osaka was frustrated but did not panic, going back on level terms in the next game after benefiting from a Kvitova double fault and poorly hit drop shot.The Japanese star broke again to take control as Kvitova’s error rate climbed, bringing up three championship points. But the Czech saved all of them, forcing Osaka to serve for the title.Nerves took hold as Osaka conceded a break to make it 5-5, smashing a ball into the ground and putting her hands over her ears.The Czech broke again to seize momentum with her fourth straight game, claiming the set as Osaka left the court with a towel draped over her head.Osaka regained her cool and clipped a clean backhand winner to take a break point in the third game of the decider, going on to see off a Kvitova break opportunity, her mental demons put to bed.Kvitova would not surrender, saving three break points before again forcing Osaka to serve it out, but the Japanese champion managed it on the second attempt for a famous victory. SHARE SHARE EMAIL × RELATED Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her match against Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova   –  Reuters January 26, 2019 Australian Open: Naomi Osaka reaches semis for first timecenter_img Published on COMMENT Australian Open: Djokovic demolishes Pouille, enters finals tennis She is first Asian to hold the top spot Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her match against Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova   –  Reuters COMMENTSlast_img read more

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Over 7,000 adult JNU students get warning letter sent to parents for not meeting attendance criteria

first_imgThe Jawaharlal Nehru University is ready to send out letters of warning to the parents of over 7,000 students — around 86 per cent of total student strength — for failing to meet the varsity’s new mandatory attendance rule.At least three MPhil/PhD students — all of them from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, have already been sent such warning letters dated April 16, issued by the office of the assistant registrar, reports HT.This is what the letter readsThe letter tells the parents that their child “has been reported by the centre/school for remaining absent unauthorisedly for all days in the current winter semester 2018 till end of February 2018.””Considering future prospects of your ward, you are hereby requested to advise your ward to comply with the attendance rules,” the letter further reads.Students, however, criticised the university’s move of ‘telling off adults, all of who were above the age of 25.”Simone Zoya Khan, the JNU Students Union vice president, expressed her disbelief when asked about the letters.These are 27, 28, 29-year-old research students. What do they mean by sending letters to their parents?? Some research scholars are married and have kids. This is just the university’s way of undermining the voice and agency of the student.- Simone Zoya Khan, JNU Students Union Vice President,”I mean, for BA or MA students I can understand. But for research scholars, it is just absurd,” she added.Sajjan Singh, JNU’s assistant registrar of evaluation, said that they were to send such letters to the parents of any student who has failed to meet the required 75 per cent attendance policy.advertisement”We have to send approximately 7,000 letters. But I am not sure how many have already been dispatched,” he said.The JNU has a student population of around 8,100.Mandatory attendanceWhile mandatory attendance requirements are not new in Delhi universities, the rules usually apply to undergraduate students.Delhi University and Ambedkar University, for example, have a minimum attendance requirement mostly for their undergraduate students.Read: Importance of balancing sports and academics: Difficult but doableRead: 5 reasons girls should play sportslast_img read more

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Struggles in East Kalimantan Underscore Need for Better Access to Environmental Information

first_imgIn 2011, two children drowned in a mining pit on the outskirts of Samarinda, the capital of Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province. Companies have excavated several mining pits near residential areas and abandoned them without taking proper environmental and safety control measures. These pits often fill with rainwater and become drowning hazards. From 2011 to 2013, 11 people have drowned in unused mining pits in East Kalimantan.In the hopes of preventing these kinds of fatalities in the future, the Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), a group of Indonesian NGOs and community organizations, wanted to determine what companies were doing to mitigate mines’ environmental and health impacts. While more than 70 percent of Samarinda’s land is allocated to mining concessions, little information is provided to citizens on companies’ compliance to safety and environmental health rules.JATAM requested from the Provincial Environment Agency the environmental impact assessments (EIAs) of more than 60 mining companies in East Kalimantan—information citizens are legally entitled to through the country’s 2008 Public Disclosure Act or Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. They found that despite Indonesia’s FOI law, actually obtaining critical, government-held information can be exceedingly difficult. This situation leaves Samarinda’s citizens vulnerable to environmental, health, and social injustices.Requesting Information from Indonesia’s GovernmentKahar Al Bahri, JATAM’s East Kalimantan Coordinator, describes the process of requesting environmental information under Indonesia’s FOI law in an interview on YouTube.According to Article 22 of Indonesia’s Freedom of Information Act, every “public information applicant may submit a request to obtain Public Information to the relevant Public Agency in writing or otherwise.” The Public Agency must submit a written response no later than 10 working days from the receipt of the request—either to provide the information or explain a refusal. However, in practice, JATAM’s experience was much more arduous. A summary of their process is as follows:JATAM initiated the process on January 12, 2012 by sending a letter to the Provincial Environment Agency in Samarinda, East Kalimantan. After their request went unanswered, they sent and re-sent letters to the Provincial Environment Agency in Samarinda, the Environment Agency of East Kalimantan, and the Information Commission of East Kalimantan. Still, JATAM received no response. They then filed a formal complaint with the mayor of Samarinda, who claimed that the information they requested was private.JATAM then sent a formal complaint to the Information Commission of East Kalimantan, which agreed to mediate a meeting between JATAM and the Environment Agency of East Kalimantan. The Environment Agency, however, did not attend the first meeting, and at the second meeting, the Environment Agency’s head denied the legitimacy of JATAM as an organization that could file a FOI request. Eventually, through the Information Commission’s mediation, the Environment Agency agreed to give JATAM the EIAs in one month.Less than a month later, the Environment Agency claimed that the meeting did not follow the correct legal procedures and refused to comply with the Information Commission’s decision. JATAM involved the local court system and, after several months, the court ruled that the Environment Agency had eight days to comply with JATAM’s EIA request.In May 2013, the Environmental Agency was delaying the request, but had begun issuing one EIA per week.To date, JATAM continues to work towards acquiring all the information they need.The Access Initiative’s STRIPE ProjectIn order to obtain environmental information to which Indonesian citizens are legally entitled, JATAM had to make multiple requests over more than a year, file multiple formal complaints, and, ultimately, bring their fight to the local court system.This mirrors The Access Initiative’s (TAI’s) own experience with the Strengthening the Right to Information for People and the Environment (STRIPE) project. Launched in 2010, the STRIPE project was an initiative in partnership with the Open Society Foundations, Thailand Environment Institute, and Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), with support from Washington State University, Vancouver and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. STRIPE sought to empower communities in Indonesia and Thailand to protect their environmental health by improving access to information. Like JATAM, The Access Initiative and its partners also found that information was difficult to attain using the FOI Act in both Indonesia and Thailand. ICEL, for example, received complete, comprehensible responses to only 40 percent of its 145 FOI requests.STRIPE, the Jakarta Declaration, and the Need for Proactive DisclosureIn response to this finding, STRIPE partners held a Regional Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia in April 2013 and issued the “Jakarta Declaration for Strengthening the Right to Environmental Information for People and the Environment.” The Jakarta Declaration urges governments to improve access to all information on air and water quality pollution—including Environmental Impact Assessments—and offers a detailed road map on how to do this. It asks Indonesia’s and other governments to do more on making information available, specifically to promote proactive disclosure of environmental information.As we can see through the experiences of JATAM and The Access Initiative’s STRIPE project, in many countries—including Indonesia—FOI laws are not enough. To really improve access to information, governments and companies need to proactively disclose environmental data in ways that communities can easily understand—such as by publishing it in newspapers, making warning notices available in local communities, or putting it on public websites. Such information should be made available even without a formal request for information.Next StepsThere is definitely room for improvement in Indonesia. Timely access to information should be a priority for the country, especially because it has just become the chair of the Open Government Partnership, a global initiative to boost government transparency. As Indonesia adopts its second action plan under the partnership, a priority should be ensuring better access to information in the environment sector —including environment quality and health information.The Access Initiative and its partners will continue to promote the proper implementation of FOI as an advocacy tool. We’re launching the second phase of STRIPE this week in Jakarta. The project will focus on building strong civil society coalitions to advocate for corporate disclosure of information. We also aim to increase civil society’s ability to analyze, use, and visualize information received from government in evidence-based advocacy campaigns.More importantly, the Access Initiative and partners will push for the recognition that proactive transparency of environmental information is paramount—both in Indonesia, and in countries around the globe.LEARN MORE: To learn more about The Access Initiative and receive updates on STRIPE Phase II, sign up for our newsletter here.A special thanks to: Ariana Alisjahbana (WRI) for translating the many steps of JATAM’s right to information (RTI) request.last_img read more

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Bet We Can Make a Tea Drinker Out of You

first_img Editors’ Recommendations The Best CBD Coffee Brands for Energy Without the Jitters Think you can’t live without that cup o’ Joe in the morning? You might think again when we tempt your taste buds with tea. That’s right. You might discover a tea drinker inside you who wants to duel with the coffee drinker side. It’s okay, there’s room for both in your life. Check out some of the flavorful, and amusing, varieties we’ve uncovered.Zoomdweebie’s Tea As they boast proudly on their webside, they are “NOT Aunt Mabel’s or Grandma Hattie’s tea.” They hand craft their teas in small batches and you’ll be amazed at the flavor combinations they’ve come up with. Here’s a small sample: Napalm Ferret Green Tea. Butterbeer Tea, Smaug Tea (ingredients include things like cinnamon chips, cayenne pepper and magic), and an OYGFIB blend which stands for Orange you glad Frank is bananas?See, you had no idea tea could be this tasty or this much fun.Manteas You’ll also find an assortment of Manteas at Zoomdweebie’s and there’s bacon involved. We knew that would get your attention. Sip a steaming cup of smoky bacon or chocolate bacon tea. It will make a believer out of you and you’ll soon wonder why you were so clingy about your coffee. Other blends include RadioactivitTEA, Mayan Chocolate Chai and Maple Bacon Black Tea.Enhance Your HealthYogi Tea offers a special blend called “Men’s Tea,” which has a roasted spice flavor that includes ginger, ginseng and chili. The company based the creation on Ayurvedic principles for an active and productive life. We also found a tea designed to promote male fertility and sexual vitality. ViriliTea is crafted from a wide mix of flavors and herbs such as ginger, cat mint, cinnamon bark, stevia, ginseng, mulra puama, epimedium, goji berry and more.Beer-Tea combos Developing an appreciation for tea is not lost on craft beer brewers. You’ll find several varieties that have tea infused into the beer to give it a distinctive flavor. Here are a few: Dogfish Head Sah’tea, which is flavored with black tea; ParTea Pale Ale brewed with whole leaf black tea; Beaver Brewing Chamomile Wheat infused with chamomile tea; and Gilgamesh Brewing Mamba crafted with black tea, bergamot, tangerine peel and rye.Photo: T-Rex tea infuser sold by ThinkGeek.com $10.99 Why Tea and Beer Go Well Together (and 5 Tea Beers to Try) A Brief History of Bubble Tea and the Best Flavors to Try The Best CBD Oil and Skincare Creams for Managing Pain 7 Fall Cocktail Recipes to Enjoy With Cooler Weatherlast_img read more

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Farmers Urged Not To Take Law into Their Hands

first_img He was speaking during the launch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Farmers Watch group at the Dutch Hill New Testament Church of God in Ulster Spring, Trelawny on August 30. Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, has emphasised the importance of farmers working with the police in the fight against praedial larceny. The Farmers Watch group project, is a collaboration between the police and citizens of South Trelawny, and is designed to bring both stakeholders together in a bid to reduce incidences of praedial larceny and other community issues. Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, has emphasised the importance of farmers working with the police in the fight against praedial larceny.He also encouraged the farmers to report farm theft to the police, while urging them not to take the law into their own hands.“Report them quietly to the police. You have good police here, officers who you can trust and rely on. Even if it is your brother or sister, if you know they are thieves, report it. The ‘jungle justice’ is not going to work,” the Minister argued.He was speaking during the launch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Farmers Watch group at the Dutch Hill New Testament Church of God in Ulster Spring, Trelawny on August 30.Meanwhile, Minister Hutchinson reassured the residents that once the Agricultural Produce Act is amended, farmers will be able to recover the full cost of their produce, if stolen.“This Agricultural Produce Act is one where we are going to stipulate that anybody who is caught can be charged up to $3 million. On top of that, if you lose a big animal costing $300,000 or you lose crop, we are now putting in the Act that, that thief must pay you back the $300,000 that you have lost,” he stated.The Farmers Watch group project, is a collaboration between the police and citizens of South Trelawny, and is designed to bring both stakeholders together in a bid to reduce incidences of praedial larceny and other community issues. Story Highlightslast_img read more

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Mary Kom Sarita Devi Neeraj to spearhead team for World Cships

first_imgNew Delhi: India Open gold medalists Sarita Devi (60kg), Neeraj (57kg) and Jamuna Boro (54kg) find themselves among 10 women boxers selected to represent India as the three-day trials for the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships came to an end at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Thursday. Six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) and World Championships bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) have already confirmed their places in the squad due to their consistent performances in the last few months. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh Manipur’s Sarita Devi, a world champion in 2006, confirmed yet another trip to the prestigious tournament to be held in Russia in October when she dominated last year’s World Championships bronze medallist Simranjit Kaur in the 60kg category. Simranjit had been in good form as validated by her gold from the Indonesia President’s Cup last month and a flawless win over Parveen at the trials justified that. But in the final, she went down to the highly motivated Sarita Devi, who won her eighth medal from the Asian Championships this year. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later Fresh from claiming the gold at the Umakhanov Memorial International just last week, Haryana pugilist Neeraj continued her winning streak by edging Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha Moun to secure the 57kg berth. The ever-improving Neeraj had even conquered the India Open gold back in May. Manisha’s gritty upset win over the World Championships silver medallist Sonia Chahal a day earlier was not enough for her to withstand the barrage of punches from the young Neeraj. In 75kg, Asian Championships gold medallist Pooja Rani failed to assert her supremacy even after a series of strong performances that saw her bagging the bronze from the Umakhanov Memorial International and subsequently dashing the hopes of India Open champion Bhagyabati Kachari in her opening bout at the trials. In 48kg, Strandja Cup silver medallist Manju Rani gave a display of her immense talent once again when she overpowered Indonesia President’s Cup gold medallist Monika. While Manju Rani had outpunched Kalaivani to reach the final, Monika had pummelled Neetu into submission. The 64kg also witnessed an upset when Assam’s 2017 world youth champion Ankushita Boro was blanked by Madhya Pradesh girl Manju Bomboriya in a scintillating performance. Indonesia President’s Cup gold medallist Jamuna Boro had to dig deep to stave off a stiff resistance from Shiksha and book her 54kg World Championships ticket. Shiksha had earlier stunned the Cologne Boxing World Cup gold medallist Meena Kumari in a gruelling encounter to reach the final. In 81kg, Chandigarh’s Nandini outlasted Lalfakmawi while Kavita Chahal emerged triumphant over Neha Yadav. The World Championships will take place in Russia from October 3 to 13. The Squad: Manju Rani (48kg) Mary Kom (51kg) Jamuna Boro (54kg) Neeraj (57kg) Sarita Devi (60kg) Manju Bomboriya (64kg) Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) Saweety Boora (75kg) Nandini (81kg) Kavita Chahal (+81kg)last_img read more

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Registering satellites launched into outer space related UN treaties discussed at meeting

This year marks the 50th session of the Committee and is also important for the wider space community as being the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first artificial satellite, as well as marking 40 years since the entry into force of the Outer Space Treaty.The Vienna meeting of the Legal Subcommittee of COPUOS also examined aspects of capacity building in space law, during which leading experts gave presentations, and noted the positive effect of a recent letter by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraging participation in the outer space treaties.The Subcommittee, like COPUOS, is composed of 67 Member States, while inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as the Association of Space Explorers and the Planetary Society, have permanent observer status with COPUOS.The Committee was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to review the scope of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programmes in this field to be undertaken under UN auspices, and to deal with related matters.The Vienna-based UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly and of COPUOS and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. 5 April 2007Registering satellites and other objects launched into outer space, along with the status of the five United Nations treaties covering outer space, were among the main issues discussed during a 11-day meeting in Vienna under the auspices of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) that ended today. read more

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Hamilton begins search for 2018 Christmas trees

(Stock photo)With just 15 weeks until Christmas, the city of Hamilton has begun its search for three perfect trees to spruce up the holiday celebrations this year. The city is putting out a call to residents to consider donating a large Spruce tree that is at least 40 feet tall. The tree must be in the front yard, accessible from the street and clear of overhead wires. Officials say the trees will be cut and transported at no cost to the owners.The selected trees will be on display at Gore Park, City Hall and Memorial Square in Dundas. If you have a large tree that you think could be the perfect centerpiece for the city’s holiday celebrations, call 905-546-2424, ext. 4392. read more

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Football Unproven wideouts Wilson issuing in new offense and more storylines for

OSU redshirt sophomore wide receiver Parris Campbell (21) scores a touchdown during the second half of the Buckeyes game against Rutgers on Oct. 1. The Buckeyes won 58-0. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorOn Saturday, Ohio State’s football team will showcase what’s to come in the fall with the annual spring game. At 12:30 p.m. at Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes take the field for the first time since the team’s disappointing finish to last season in the Fiesta Bowl. “(Defensive coordinator) Greg Schiano is looking for certain things. (Offensive coordinator) Kevin Wilson is looking for certain things,” said OSU coach Urban Meyer. “What I’m looking for is energy, enthusiasm.” Here are five storylines to watch heading into the spring game on Saturday.Wilson casts away old offensive lookAfter Clemson shut out OSU 31-0 in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, Meyer hinted at changes on the offense.“I’m going to take a hard look at some things when we get back,” Meyer said.Within two weeks, OSU hired former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day as co-offensive coordinators to replace co-offensive coordinators Tim Beck and Ed Warinner, who took jobs as offensive coordinator at Texas and offensive line coach at Minnesota, respectively. Wilson is also the tight ends coach while Day is the acting quarterbacks coach.On Saturday, the Buckeyes will unveil a Wilson-led offense, with a potentially increased pace of play.“He likes to go fast. We know that, but we want to be under control when we’re going fast,” said redshirt junior wide receiver Terry McLaurin.The question remains if OSU’s success with the deep ball can resurrect with Wilson at the helm.Redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman, averaging nine yards per passing attempt. But last year, with two seasons of starting experience under his belt, he averaged just 6.7 yards per attempt. Last season, former OSU wide receiver Noah Brown was expected to be a deep threat. However, after a four-touchdown showing against Oklahoma in the third game of the year, he pulled in just two touchdowns over the next 10 games.With Wilson calling plays and Day coaching Barrett, Saturday’s game will be the first opportunity to show improvement in finding windows down the field.Wide receivers unproven, againWithout a stud wide receiver leading the wideouts last year, OSU faltered in the passing game often. The team struggled last season, posting only 1,445 total receiving yards and hauling in just 16 touchdowns.On top of limited production, OSU must now replace its three leading receivers from last season.Taking over will be wideouts McLaurin, redshirt sophomore K.J. Hill, sophomore Binjimen Victor and redshirt junior H-back Parris Campbell, among others.Wide receivers coach Zach Smith is excited to see how his group will look during the spring game and get a preview of what it will be like to play in a game-day atmosphere.“Saturday’s the day where you see if they can go out on the field, no coaches on the field, with 100,000 people and go make the same play that they made in practice,” Smith said.Next man up in the secondaryThe Buckeyes will not only be losing impact players in their receiving corps, but their secondary as well, following the departure of safety Malik Hooker and cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley.There is only one returning starting safety on the Buckeyes — senior Damon Webb — but cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said he will have to compete with some of the other guys like sophomore Jordan Fuller and senior Erick Smith, and they all might rotate playing time.“When you have a talented team, the more guys you can play, keep fresh, keep healthy and get experience, the better you are going to be defensively,” Coombs said. “So, I would say there is no reason those three kids (Webb, Smith, Fuller) couldn’t do the same thing in the backend.”As for the cornerback position, Coombs said there are six or even seven players who might rotate in the cycle. Younger guys such as freshmen Jeffrey Okudah, Shaun Wade and Marcus Williamson have impressed early despite their inexperience.“The new guys (Okudah, Wade, Williamson) are really playing well, as is (sophomore) Rodjay Burns,” Coombs said. “So, this group of kids — from a pecking order standpoint, if we lined up today — I would expect that six of them would play, maybe seven, during the course of the game. They’re that talented and we’re going to keep fresh guys out there.”Five D-linemen packagesThe defensive line was a focal point for success in 2016, and the team might opt to capitalize on all the returning talent by utilizing a five-man front in the upcoming season.Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year redshirt senior Tyquan Lewis, redshirt junior Sam Hubbard, senior Jalyn Holmes and sophomore Nick Bosa all return to the line for the Buckeyes in 2017, as will redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones.“We have five premier — in my mind, five — four defensive ends and Dre’Mont Jones,” Meyer said. “You know, I would like to see all five on the field at one time.”The team might also have Hubbard play a bit of linebacker in the upcoming season, and the fourth-year lineman said he’s ready to give that position a shot if he believes it will help the team.“I think coach (Larry) Johnson and coach Schiano want to get the best guys out on the field, and if that means me standing up a little bit to get another Dre’Mont or four (defensive) ends on the field, or me out in space, it’s just what they decide,” Hubbard said. “So we’re just playing around with a bunch of different combinations right now.”Right side offensive lineFor the second year in a row, OSU’s returning right guard will shift even further inside to take over at center. On Saturday, Barrett will take snaps from redshirt senior center Billy Price, OSU’s third starting center in as many years. Former OSU center Pat Elflein, a first-team All-American and the 2016 Rimington Award winner, debuted as the starting center at the 2016 OSU spring game after transitioning to the position from right guard.“I think Billy’s going to do exactly what I did and win all the accolades post-season and do all that,” Elflein said at the NFL combine.Sliding into Price’s former starting right guard spot will be one of a triumvirate of guards — junior Demetrius Knox, redshirt sophomore Matt Burrell or redshirt junior Malcolm Pridgeon.Knox, who has been working with the starting unit, missed the Student Appreciation Day practice on April 8 due to academic issues. In his place with the first team was Burrell, who has been praised by Meyer, Jones and Price.Whoever lines up as starting right guard between entrenched starters Price and junior right tackle Isaiah Prince will have the first opportunity to establish himself and build chemistry with the duo in front of tens of thousands of fans. read more

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Mad Dog Hinch and Team GBs hockey women finally beat the penalty

first_imgIn the end it took a woman with a terrifying nickname and a secret notebook to end the curse of the penalty shoot-out.With the score 3-3 at the end of normal time in the Olympic women’s hockey final, a dreaded shoot out beckoned. One last hurdle before the team could claim a deserved gold.After years of failure at international level, up stepped goalkeeper Maddie Hinch to show that players from these islands can hold their nerve.A daunting sight in her pads and mask, the Team GB goalkeeper – known as ‘Mad Dog’ for her reckless bravery – blocked all four Dutch penalties.Meanwhile, Helen Richardson-Walsh capitalised on a foul by the Dutch keeper to score a penalty stroke, before Hollie Webb found the net, unleashing wild celebrations.It was one of the most rapturously received of Team GB’s many medals of the Rio 2016 games, forcing the postponement of BBC’s News at Ten and propelling the relatively niche sport on to the front pages.Behind the victory lay a team of women whose steel and determination has captured the imagination of viewers at home.The BBC said around 9 million people watched the final and Great Britain Hockey hopes the team’s success will lead to a surge in people wanting to take part in the sport.Alex Danson, Team GB’s striker, said: “That’s something the organisation feels – and us as athletes feel – so strongly about. We came here to do a job and if the by-product of that is people back home want to pick up a stick then please get to your clubs.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. There was passion aplenty, exemplified by Georgia Twigg, the 25-year-old trainee lawyer who collapsed during Wednesday’s semi-final after being hit in the face by the ball, only to go back on the pitch after receiving stitches.Kate Richardson-Walsh, the team captain, also knows all about the sport’s potential risks. During Team GB’s first match of the 2012 Games against Japan her jaw was fractured by a blow from a stick. Following surgery she returned, just three games later, wearing a protective mask.As well as bravery there had also been intense hours of preparation.  Before the final Hinch, who studied sport and exercise science at Loughborough University, taped notes on to her water bottle with prompts for how she wanted to play the game. Maddie Hinch of Great Britain against Laurien Leurink of Netherlands during the Women’s Hockey final at the Rio 2016 OlympicsCredit:Fernando Soutello/Soutello/AGIF/REX/Shutterstock She also compiled a notebook outlining the Dutch player’s penalty-taking techniques. “The notebook is purely for the shoot-out,” she told The Telegraph after the match. “In there I have the players that I think will step up and for each of those players I have a plan of what I will do against them.“Under pressure players tend to resort to what they know best, so I come up with a plan and that gives me confidence. I definitely think that plays a mental game against them, because if I was them, I would be wondering what was in the book about me.”But, the 27-year-old from Pulborough, West Sussex, admitted that, despite her preparation, there had been nerves at the prospect of facing the Dutch. After all, the Netherlands are the world’s No 1 team, have won gold at the last two Olympics and are the reigning world champions. “Any hockey goalkeepers who say they have never closed their eyes and thought, ‘Please don’t hit me’, are lying,” said Hinch. Maddie Hinch of Great Britain against Laurien Leurink of Netherlands during the Women's Hockey final at the Rio 2016 Olympics Maddie Hinch's water bottle, with added match notes Team GB Women's Hockey Team Her start in goal was down to a PE teacher. “I was apparently incredibly dramatic playing rounders, diving everywhere for the ball, and Miss Lambert told me ‘we must get you in goal at hockey next term’,” she said. “I had never even really heard of hockey, I’d never seen it or played it. I think as a new kid they nominated me because no-one else wanted to put the pads on.“At first I didn’t enjoy it at all, I didn’t understand what could be enjoyable about it, putting on 15kg of smelly kit and rolling the ball out to other people all the time. But I found out that there are days when you are treated like a hero when you have a good game, and now I love it.” Team GB Women’s Hockey TeamCredit:Pip for Investec Hinch said she has been stunned by the reaction of the British public to the team’s triumph. “My brother texted me to say ‘you’re trending on Twitter’. He didn’t mention anything about the gold medal – that came later,” she said.“I’ve heard the viewing figures on TV were huge and that’s exactly what we do this for, so people will watch the sport. We were completely unaware of how much people were starting to pay attention to us.” The goalkeeper had almost given up hope of Olympic glory after failing to be picked in 2012.“I had my heart set on being reserve keeper at London 2012, but I missed out on that and that was a big knock to me, I just thought ‘will I ever get to play?’,” she said.  Maddie Hinch’s water bottle, with added match notes Shona Mccallin and Maddie Hinch of Team GB celebrate victory after beating the Netherlands in the Rio 2016 Games Women’s Hockey finalCredit:Fernando Soutello/Soutello/AGIF/REX/Shutterstock Shona Mccallin and Maddie Hinch of Team GB celebrate victory after beating the Netherlands in the Rio 2016 Games Women's Hockey final Britain did not even qualify in women’s hockey for Athens 2004, so low had the fortunes of the sport fallen. But after a bronze in London, funding for hockey went up and led to a 25 per cent increase in women taking part.More are now surely set to follow where Hinch and her team-mates led the way.And that nickname? “I’ve been told that I’m a little bit nuts, but I think I’m one of the more sane people out there,” said Mad Dog. For Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh history was made in more ways than one. The pair became the first same-sex couple to ever win gold at the Olympics and the first married couple to win gold for Britain since Cyril and Dorothy Wright in the sailing in 1920.”To win an Olympic medal is special,” said Kate. “To win an Olympic medal with your wife there next to you, taking a penalty in the pressure moments is so special. We will cherish this for the rest of our lives.”Helen added: “It’s difficult to put into words what this means. Seventeen years ago, when I started my career, we were so far off this. It has taken so much hard work and it means absolutely everything.”The couple married in 2013, with the entire squad from the 2012 Games invited to the reception. Helen said recently: “Nobody had a problem with it before but it just wasn’t an open talking point. Now if you’ve got a boyfriend, girlfriend or are married it’s a non-issue. It’s not a taboo, it’s just part and parcel of who we are and it’s special. It makes me proud of my sport.”Next season they will be playing club hockey in Holland, where the game is the country’s second most popular sport after football, and Kate, now 36, confirmed that Friday night’s final would be her last international appearance.”I will retire as a reigning European champion with England and an Olympic champion with Great Britain,” she said. Several of her team-mates also faced obstacles on the way to glory.Defender Crista Cullen came out of retirement to play in Brazil. The 30-year-old had already returned to Kenya, her childhood home, where she obtained a pilot’s  licence and set up a wildlife conservation business.But – having won bronze at London 2012 – she was persuaded to have one last attempt at gold in Rio.“To fight for an Olympic medal is what gets us up every morning, let alone to be in a gold medal match,” she said.  Danson was initially turned away from England hockey trials because of her poor fitness levels.Undaunted she knuckled down and returned with a fitness rating higher than that required by the Royal Marines and went on to become the joint top scorer at London 2012.last_img read more

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Universities are ignoring students lowest marks to calculate degree classification report finds

first_imgLast year, the then universities minister Jo Johnson urged vice-Chancellors to tackle grade inflation Credit: Christopher Furlong Universities are ignoring students’ lowest module scores, a report has found, as it warns that the practise could lead to grade inflation.Dozens of institutions use the “discounting” mechanism to leave out the courses in which undergraduates got the poorest results when calculating a student’s final degree classification, according to a survey of universities.A report was conducted by Universities UK, the vice-Chancellor membership body, and Guild HE, a group for leaders of higher education institutions, following concern that institutions were seeking to boost results by manipulating their degree algorithm.It found that there is widespread variation in how universities calculate the degree classifications, including how much weight is given to modules in different years of study – known as the degree algorithm.“This project was undertaken because of concerns that design decisions on degree algorithms were being systematically used to inflate the proportion of first or upper second-class degrees awarded by an institution,” the report said. Last year, the then universities minister Jo Johnson urged vice-Chancellors to tackle grade inflation  “If only the worst, outlying marks are omitted, it is possible that this would lead to grade inflation,” the report said.David Allen, a lecturer at the University of the West of England’s Bristol Business School, said “If you have university which is discounting [the worst grades] this must be inflating the grades. It didn’t take much to scratch the surface to see that this is pretty dire. It is an unfair system”.Mr Allen, who has researched the effects of varying degree algorithms, found that an institution could have double the proportion of first-class degree holders than another university with an identical set of student grades.Last year, the then universities minister Jo Johnson urged vice-Chancellors to tackle grade inflation which he said is “ripping” through universities. The problem risks creating a “dangerous impression of slipping standards”, he said.The proportion of students leaving university with top honours has reached record levels in the last five years, data released earlier this year shows.More than 104,000 students – or one in four –  graduated with a top degree classification last year, a five-fold increase on the number graduating with a First in 1999. While it found “limited evidence” to suggest this is the case, the report concluded that there must be more accountable governance in place to oversee the issue of degree algorithms.It said that while the “discounting” mechanism is intended to “recognise consistent performance by omitting outliers” from the final degree classification, this is rarely how it is used in practise.last_img read more

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Terror suspects are to be monitored more closely as Government unveils new

Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, is to make a key announcement on counter terrorism measures Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi terrorist attach “might have been averted” if two pieces of intelligence  had been interpreted differently by MI5Credit: Facebook Suspected British jihadis will be monitored more closely and convicted terrorists given longer prison sentences as part of a package of new counter-terrorism measures to be unveiled.Technology companies will also be called on to do more to tackle extremist content posted online, while new powers will be introduced to fast track terror suspects to jail before they have finalised any plans for an attack.Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, is also expected to announce a new approach to targeting the growing threat of right wing extremism, illustrating how potential sources of terrorism have become increasingly diverse. His keynote speech follows a review of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, known as Contest, and coincides with the anniversary of the London Bridge and Borough Market attack.Meanwhile, the family of James McMullan who was killed in that attack, have told The Sunday Telegraph how they have been barred from fitting a bronze plaque at the spot where he was murdered.The Home Office yesterday warned that Britain faces a severe threat from Islamist terrorism for at least another two years.MI5 and counter terrorism police are currently running more than 500 live operations involving roughly 3,000 “subjects of interest” at any one time.However, more than 20,000 people who have previously been investigated and categorised as a “closed subject of interest” could still pose a threat. Salman Abedi was categorised as one such individual at the time of his attack at the Manchester Arena last year which resulted in 22 people being killed and hundreds injured.A report by David Anderson QC into four of the five attacks of 2017 concluded that the Manchester arena attack “might have been averted” if two pieces of intelligence about Abedi had been interpreted differently by MI5.The new security measures to be unveiled are expected to focus on the importance of trying to spot those like Abedi who may have become radicalised again.An extra 1,000 security services staff will also be recruited to collect and analyse data as well as keep suspects under better surveillance.MI5 will also be expected to share information about suspected extremists more widely with other organisations, including local councils and neighbourhood policing units.Extra resources will be provided for areas such as Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester to help monitor Muslim extremists. Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi terrorist attach “might have been averted” if two pieces of intelligence  had been interpreted differently by MI5 Mr Javid, who will attend a memorial service to mark the anniversary of the London Bridge attack, said: “The Government is absolutely committed to doing everything possible to tackle the terrorist threat. It is my first priority every day in this job.“We are working with the police, intelligence and security agencies, the private and public sector and international partners to make sure we have the best plans in place.”Ahead of the commemorative events which will also include a minute’s silence to remember the eight people murdered, the Prime Minister Theresa May said that the capital’s resolve against terrorism has never been stronger.“My message to those who seek to target our way of life or try to divide us is clear – our resolve to stand firm and overcome this threat together has never been stronger,” she said.Security agencies and police have foiled 12 Islamist and four extreme right-wing plots since March last year. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, is to make a key announcement on counter terrorism measuresCredit:David Rose/The Telegraph read more

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Bill Bryson The people of Britain need to stop tearing their country

Bill Bryson the author photographed with American ex-pat Kate Hedges Bill Bryson has said the people of Britain need to “stop tearing their country down”, and that expats like him help remind the people who live here how great the country is.The Anglo-American writer made the comments ahead of joining a group of seven US expats, who are walking the 569-mile “Bryson Line”. They are trekking from Cape Wrath to Bognor Regis, in order to raise £100,000 for British charities, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England  and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children.This walk is based on his book, The Road to Little Dribbling, in which the author works out the longest distance one can walk through Britain in a straight line. The expats have re-created this, sticking to it as closely as possible using public footpaths.Mr Bryson told The Telegraph: “They’re just trying to demonstrate that there are a lot of people like us who live in Britain voluntarily…people spend a lot of time tearing Britain down and taking it for granted but it’s actually a brilliant place.“It’s one of the great benefits of immigrants who remind us there are a lot of good reasons to be pleased with wherever you are.” Bill Bryson the author photographed with American ex-pat Kate HedgesCredit: Heathcliff O’Malley Although he is not joining the group for the entire 30-mile walk, Mr Bryson is very enthusiastic about the project, for which he has called himself a “benign cheerleader.” The author, who became a British citizen in 2015, is very enthusiastic about Britain’s countryside and thinks we should be getting out and walking in it more.He explained: “All of us could do with a lot more exercise and fresh air, what I’ve been telling people for 40 years is you have an incredibly beautiful country here, so use it and value it. We live in a very expensive time but you don’t have to pay anyone to enjoy our beautiful landscapes. “The National Parks system here is really wonderful. You have so many miles of public footpaths in Britain. In a little country it’s an incredible number. On the whole you already are doing a really good job.”Mr Bryson also revealed he is thinking about updating and re-releasing perhaps his most famous book, A Short History Of Nearly Everything,  which explores the histories and current status of science.He said: “The book could certainly do with being updated. A lot has happened in 15 years.  One of the things I would like to do is revise it and bring it up to date. It’s just a question of getting some of the figures up to the present.” The Bryson Line walkers begin their journey on Saturday June 9th and finish on July 8th 2018. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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New Zealand prime minister shocks nation with sudden resignation

first_img Monday 5 Dec 2016, 7:08 AM New Zealand prime minister shocks nation with sudden resignation Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull sent John Key a short message: “Say it ain’t so, bro.” Short URL Dec 5th 2016, 7:08 AM 23,679 Views 18 Comments http://jrnl.ie/3119734 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Image: Manish Swarup/AP Photo New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Image: Manish Swarup/AP Photo By Associated Press Source: The Top Story/YouTubeKey was a successful currency trader before turning to politics. He was elected to the nation’s parliament in 2002 and enjoyed a quick rise, becoming leader of his center-right opposition party in 2006. He won his first general election and became prime minister in 2008.He won subsequent elections in 2011 and 2014 and retained unusually high popularity ratings. His party was a clear favorite to win the most votes at next year’s election, at least until his announcement today.Key said that steering the country of 4.7 million through the economic crisis of 2008 and on to improved fortunes was a proud accomplishment.“Very few countries are in the financial position we are in,” Key said. “We’re strong, we’re in surplus, we’re growing, we’re creating jobs, we’re doing well.”New Zealand is enjoying relatively robust annual GDP growth of over 3 percent and the unemployment rate has fallen below 5 percent, thanks in part to growth in tourism and construction.Key also talked about the importance of standing beside the people of Christchurch after an earthquake in 2011 killed 185 people.“Simply put, it has, for me, been the most remarkable, satisfying and exciting time of my life,” he said. “But despite the amazing career I have had in politics, I have never seen myself as a career politician.”He said the role came with costs.“For my wife Bronagh, there have been many nights and weekends spent alone,” he said. “My daughter Stephie and my son Max have transitioned from teenagers to young adults while coping with an extraordinary level of intrusion and pressure because of their father’s job.”He said he wasn’t sure what life after politics would bring, other than he would probably take up positions on a couple of company boards and accept international speaking engagements.He said he would remain on as a member of parliament long enough that he wouldn’t force a special election ahead of next year’s general election.“All I can say is that I gave it everything I had,” he said. “I left nothing in the tank.”Read: ‘I made sure my wife and 2-year-old were safe’: All Black stars turn thoughts to home after earthquakeRead: Up to 100,000 landslides in New Zealand as rescuers airlift stranded tourists NEW ZEALAND’S POPULAR Prime Minister John Key stunned the nation today when he announced, in a breaking voice, he was resigning after eight years as leader.Key had been widely expected to contest his fourth general election next year. But he said he wanted to ensure he didn’t make the mistake that some other world leaders have done, and instead wanted to leave while he was on top of his game.Speaking in a shaking voice, Key said he had made personal sacrifices for the job and the role had taken a toll on his family.Key said his National Party caucus would meet 12 December to decide on a new party leader and prime minister, and that he expected to formally submit his resignation to the Governor-General that same day.He said he would back his deputy Bill English to take over. English said he would likely decide in the next day or two if he would seek the role.The New Zealand dollar fell by nearly 1 percent on the news and was trading at $0.71 U.S.Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he’d sent Key a short message: “Say it ain’t so, bro.”“John Key is one of the most outstanding national leaders in the world today,” Turnbull told reporters. “He has done an extraordinary job for New Zealand. He is somebody that all of us, right around the world, leaders in countries large and small, draw inspiration from.”New Zealand’s opposition leader Andrew Little said the decision had taken everybody by surprise.“He is entitled to be recognised for what he has done for New Zealand,” Little said. “He’s been there through some pretty difficult times.” Share77 Tweet Email1 last_img read more

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Akinci wins Turkish Cypriot elections

first_imgA left-wing moderate has won the presidential election in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, in a move that many see as a major breakthrough in the stalled reunification talks.Mustafa Akinci, the 67-year-old former mayor of the Turkish half of Nicosia, was returned last weekend by a large majority, gaining more than 60 per cent of the vote compared to less than 40 per cent for the outgoing conservative Dervis Eroglu.During his election campaign, Akinci promised to do his utmost to end four decades of division on the island. Commentators have declared the result a significant boost for the chances of moving the stalled UN-brokered negotiations forward.Dr Michalis Michael, deputy director for the Centre of Dialogue and senior research fellow at La Trobe University, told Neos Kosmos that Akinci’s elevation to being the leader and chief negotiator for the Turkish Cypriots offers the best hope for resolving ‘the Cyprus problem’.“Without a doubt, Akinci is one of the most pro-solution and pro-reconciliation politicians in Cyprus, and with his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, there appears to be a real synergy – a meeting of minds – at least at a leadership level, to break the deadlock,” said Dr Michael.“While a solution may not exclusively depend on personalities alone – as we witnessed during the Christofias-Talat period – Akinci’s election constitutes a strong sign from the Turkish Cypriots to reach out to the Greek Cypriots and forge together a common destiny within the EU, and away from their dependency on Ankara. “For all those who truly wish to see a re-unified, prosperous and peaceful Cyprus, including here in Australia, now is the time to lend their support and contribute in a positive way to the reinvigorated peace process.”On the eve of the election Mr Akinci described UN negotiations – planned to start again next month – as holding “a possibility for all sides to win”.Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades congratulated Akinci on the result and called him personally last Sunday. In a statement to the media, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said:“The Republic of Cyprus welcomes the choice of Mustafa Akinci as the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, a man who through his public discourse and declarations, has referred to the need for reunification of the country.”Meanwhile the Anastasiades government will be looking for immediate gestures of goodwill to back up Akinci’s words. The Republic of Cyprus has made long-standing requests for Varosha, a resort town in the north (under the control of the Turkish army since 1974) to be opened up. In return for Varosha, the government has said it would allow direct flights into the north and open up Famagusta port to international traffic. Such actions would reduce the global isolation Turkish Cypriots have felt since their 1991 unilateral proclamation of independence.Increasing colonisation of the island’s north by Anatolians has prompted complaints by the 120,000-strong Turkish Cypriot community, particularly over perceived ‘Islamisation’ under the governing AKP party in Turkey.With 35,000 Turkish troops in northern Cyprus, moderates in the community have also voiced grievances about militarisation. They will look to Akinci to make real his vow that both communities “must heal our wounds together”. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Le Pérou déclenche lalerte après la mort de dauphins et de pélicans

first_imgLe Pérou déclenche l’alerte après la mort de dauphins et de pélicansLe gouvernement péruvien a décidé de lancer une “alerte sanitaire” suite à la découverte de centaines de dauphins et de pélicans morts sur les côtes du pays. Si plusieurs hypothèses ont été évoquées, l’origine de la mort des animaux reste inconnue. Le drapeau rouge a été hissé sur les plages du Pérou. Une mesure qui fait suite à l’hécatombe que connait le pays depuis le début de l’année. En effet, entre janvier et avril, près de 900 dauphins se sont échoués morts sur le littoral nord, selon les chiffres officiels. Plus sérieux encore, en moins de deux semaines, ce sont plus de 1.500 pélicans qui ont été retrouvés inertes sur près de 200 kilomètres de côtes à Piura, à la frontière avec l’Équateur, et Lambayeque, à 790 kilomètres au nord de Lima, si l’on en croit les chiffres du ministère de l’Agriculture.Vivement inquiété par ces morts mystérieuses, le ministère de la Santé péruvien a décidé de déclencher l'”alerte sanitaire exhortant “la population à s’abstenir de se rendre sur les plages dans la région de Lima et du littoral au nord du pays jusqu’à ce que soient connues les causes de la mort” des animaux. De même, il est désormais fortement déconseillé de consommer du poisson cru dans tout le pays. Si de nombreuses analyses ont été réalisées, les scientifiques n’ont donc pour l’heure pas réussi à identifier la cause de ces morts. Une absence de verdict vivement critiquée.”C’est incroyable que l’Institut de la mer (qui dépend du ministère de la Pêche) ne se prononce pas sur la mort massive de pélicans et de dauphins”, s’est indigné lundi Carlos Bocanegra, un biologiste réputé de l’Université de Trujillo cité par l’AFP. “Je pense qu’on essaie de sauver certains intérêts”, accuse-t-il, faisant allusion au puissant lobby des industriels de la pêche, un secteur prédominant de l’économie péruvienne. En effet, au cours des derniers mois, le gouvernement a évoqué une possible contamination des dauphins par un virus. Exploration pétrolière, virus ou pêche excessive ? Néanmoins, il a écarté l’hypothèse d’un dommage collatéral de la pêche au filet ou d’une éventuelle contamination des eaux. “Quand nous saurons avec exactitude les causes scientifiques de ce qui provoque la mort (des dauphins et des pélicans) nous lèverons l’alerte”, a ainsi déclaré lundi le responsable de l’environnement au ministère de la Santé Bernardo Ausejo, estimant encore le délai “à cinq ou dix jours”. Du côté de l’Organisation scientifique pour la conservation des animaux aquatiques (Orca), on a en revanche une idée bien précise de la cause de ces morts. Selon l’ONG, celles-ci seraient dues aux activités d’exploration des compagnies pétrolières dans la zone produisent des bruits affectant les cétacés victimes d’un “impact acoustique”. Pour sa part, le directeur de l’ONG Mundo Azul, le biologiste allemand Stefan Austermühle, penche plutôt pour une origine virale. Il  indique ainsi à l’AFP que la mort massive des pélicans et des dauphins “représente un risque pour la santé humaine en raison de la possible mutation d’un virus”.Les changements climatiques mis en cause ?À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Dans un éditorial du quotidien El Comercio, l’ancien ministre de la santé Uriel Garcia évoque quant à lui “la pêche excessive” de certaines espèces en particulier l’anchois, dont se nourrissent les pélicans, qui en viendraient alors à mourir de faim et pas de maladie. Autre hypothèse : un expert en météorologie, Abraham Levy, estime que le réchauffement des eaux du Pacifique pouvant être lié au phénomène de El Nino pourrait expliquer les récents phénomènes. “Le réchauffement de la mer altère la chaîne alimentaire, qui est complexe et qui commence par le plancton pour se terminer avec les oiseaux marins d’un côté et les mammifères marins de l’autre”, explique t-il à l’AFP. Le Pérou reste donc en état d’alerte en attendant que l’une ou plusieurs de ses hypothèses ne soient validées.Le 9 mai 2012 à 09:37 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more