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Ferguson stands by criticism of Phoenix pay system as incomprehensible failure

first_imgOTTAWA – Auditor general Michael Ferguson is standing by his conclusion that the federal public service’s “obedient” culture led to the “incomprehensible failure” of the Phoenix pay system.Ferguson reiterated his criticisms Thursday before the House of Commons public accounts committee — just two days after the top federal civil servant blasted the auditor general’s critique of the public service as “an opinion piece.”Ferguson’s audit report last month concluded that the Phoenix system was an “incomprehensible failure” of project management and oversight, which led to green-lighting a system that wasn’t ready.The report said it was unfathomable that no one spoke up to say it wasn’t going to work and needed to be stopped; it blamed “an obedient culture” among public servants — a message Ferguson repeated at committee Thursday.Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick disputed that conclusion during an appearance before the same committee earlier this week, accusing the auditor of making “sweeping generalizations” about public servants.The Phoenix system has resulted in thousands of federal civil servants being under-paid, over-paid or not paid at all.Ferguson is scheduled to appear before the committee again next week, when members said they intend to delve deeper into Wernick’s criticism of the auditor general’s message.last_img read more

Carbon monoxide poisonings in BC prompt warning about detectors

first_imgVANCOUVER — A senior paramedic in British Columbia is encouraging homeowners to buy carbon monoxide detectors and inspect their appliances following a spike in poisonings in the past week.Leon Baranowski, paramedic practice leader with B.C. Emergency Health Services, says the colourless and odourless gas can be emitted from fuels including wood, gasoline, coal and propane when they don’t burn completely.“At this time of year, as people start to turn on their water heaters, their gas appliances, fire places and panel heaters in unventilated spaces, carbon monoxide has the potential to build up in that environment. Over time, that can start to overcome patients and affect them,” Baranowski said.A family of five from Barriere, B.C., was airlifted to a hospital in Vancouver in serious but stable condition on Thursday. Two family members were unconscious when they were pulled from their home and the monitors worn by paramedics indicated high levels of the gas when they entered the home.On Wednesday, 13 people with carbon monoxide poisoning were taken to hospital from an office building in Vancouver. Energy company FortisBC said a technician identified a problem with a boiler.There were at least another three cases on the Lower Mainland in the past week, said Emergency Health Services communications officer Shannon Miller.Paramedics in the province respond to about 100 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning over the course of the year, she said.  Baranowski said patients at the lower end of the spectrum can present cold and flu-like symptoms, including a dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.“As the symptoms progress after prolonged exposure, that can lead to increased shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, loss of consciousness and, in the worst case, even death. Carbon monoxide starts to replace oxygen in the body, which we all need to function,” he said.Paramedics treat patients with oxygen. In more serious cases, patients may enter a pressurized chamber for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which involves raising the pressure in the chamber and delivering oxygen at a high pressure.Certain populations are more at risk, including children and the elderly, he said.Carbon monoxide detectors are between $50 and $100 to purchase he said, and when the alarm sounds that means it’s time to get out of the building quickly.If multiple people start to experience symptoms in the same room or house, that’s also a signal that there could be a carbon monoxide leak in the house, he said.“Ultimately if people take quick action and we get there, then they stand a better chance of having no neurological deficits and no lasting outcomes,” he said.Amy Smart, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

FAA investigating after pilot injured by green laser light

first_imgDELTONA, Fla. — Federal Aviation Administration officials say a pilot flying from Canada to Orlando International Airport had his eyes burned by a green laser light.Spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said in an email that the WestJet Airlines aircraft was about 25 miles (40 kilometres) from the airport when the laser light hit the pilot. The flight landed safely a short time later, and the pilot was placed on medical leave, which is routine in such cases.The FAA notified the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, which sent a deputy to a central Florida address pinpointed as a possible location the light came from. The sheriff’s office says no one there had any knowledge of the incident and said they don’t have a laser pointer.The flight originated in Newfoundland, Canada. The FAA is investigating.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Drakes YOLO days are running out Menon

first_img Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook That is, unless you are Aubrey Drake Graham.Drake hatched his long-term goals during a short burst of adolescence. TV star to rapper to cultural livewire. This was the game plan since puberty. He didn’t just follow his dreams — he kidnapped his dreams, locked them in a cage and dared them to escape. Twitter Advertisementcenter_img The net result is that while most people arrive at the Big 3-0 with an active To-Do list, there’s not much more Drake needs to do, not unless he plans to colonize Mars or start his own YOLO religion. Advertisement Advertisement Drake turns 30 on Monday.That’s a major milestone for anyone. For the first time, you are closer to 40 than 18, which is like having your right foot on the dock as your left foot, still in the canoe, starts to drift the other way.Time is a perpetual ripple in your 20s. It is silent. But in your 30s, the biological and social clocks tick in Dolby Surround. Pings that seemed like distant echoes at 20 — establishing a career, finding love, building a nest egg — can thunder a decade later when living for the moment gives way to worrying about the future.last_img read more

The Top 10 Theatre Productions of 2016

first_imgWe all hailed Hosanna, starring Damien Atkins (left) and Jason Cadieux. A Canadian classic astonishingly reinvented, a pair of epic trilogies and a new musical whose feel-good quality was entirely justified were among the top productions of the past year. Enthralling viewers with a mix of drama, comedy and music, these were rich shows worth seeing a second and even a third time.1. salt-water moonFactory Theatre, February 26 to March 13The highlight of Factory’s Naked season was director Ravi Jain‘s spare, transcendent reimagining of David French‘s Newfoundland love story. No naturalistic costumes or sets. No attempts at accents. Singer/guitarist Ania Soul underscored moments, crooned contemporary tunes and also read aloud the play’s stage directions while the superb actors (Kawa Ada and Mayko Nguyen) negotiated a stage lit only by candles. The result was an emotionally rich experience that glows in the memories of all who saw it. Jeremy Mimnagh Twitter 2. HOSANNASoulpepper, September 23 to October 22Another landmark Canadian play, Michel Tremblay‘s passionate, sharp-edged exploration of sexuality and sexual politics focuses on a humiliated drag queen and her over-the-hill lover. The polished Soulpepper production sparkled in the hands of director Gregory Prest and actors Damien Atkins and Jason Cadieux, whose chemistry proved the strongest since the work’s 1974 Tarragon premiere. Add designer Yannik Larivée‘s mirrored set and lighting by Rebecca Picherack, which reflected in several senses the various sides of the pair, and the result was scintillating theatre. Login/Register With: Advertisement 3. the death of the kingModern Times Stage Company/Theatre Centre, March 26 to April 10 Modern Times director Soheil Parsa worked his magic with the revival of Bahram Beyzaie‘s tale, inspired by Persian history, about the body of a ruler found in a poor miller’s house. Partly a mystery that explored who killed him and why, the play allowed each member of the miller’s family to become the king in a fascinating series of switched roles. Advertisement Facebook Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Bahareh Yaraghi (left), Ron Kennell and Jani Lauzon helped bring The Death Of A King to vivid life.last_img read more


first_img Twitter Advertisement Drake won multiple honours at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards and encouraged the audience of musicians to give their peers their flowers while they’re still alive.“We’ve obviously had like an unfortunate series of losses within our business, and I just want to encourage everybody to let other artists know how you feel about them,” Drake said as he accepted top male artist Wednesday. “Let them know that you love them (and) respect them while we’re all still here.”Drake could have been referring to a number of deaths in the music industry, from Nipsey Hussle to Aretha Franklin. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Facebookcenter_img Advertisement Login/Register With: The rap star, who walked into Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena with 17 nominations, also won top Billboard 200 album, beating out Cardi B, Travis Scott, Post Malone and the late XXXTentacion.BTS was also having a major night. At the Billboard Awards and American Music Awards, the K-pop band had only previously won “social” awards based off their fanatic fan base, but on Wednesday BTS picked up top duo/group, besting Grammy-winning groups like Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons and Dan + Shay.“I still can’t believe we’re here on this stage with so many great artists,” RM said as fans screamed loudly. “We’re still the same boys from six years ago, we still have the same dreams … we still have the same thoughts. Let us keep dreaming.”Imagine Dragons did pick up top rock artist, and band leader Dan Reynolds used his speech to highlight the dangers of conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth. He earned rousing applause.Halsey arrives at the Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)The show was a family affair: Ciara’s husband, NFL player Russell Wilson, and young son danced along while she worked the stage, and Nick and Joe Jonas gave kisses to Priyanka Chopra and Sophie Turner of “Game of Thrones” fame when they sang in the audience before hitting the stage.Cardi B, the night’s top nominee with 21, locked lips with husband Offset on the red carpet and the couple sat closely inside the venue. She will compete for top artists along with Drake, Scott, Malone and Ariana Grande.Taylor Swift kicked off the show when she brought her new music video to life with a colorful, eye-popping performance of her song “ME!” She was backed by dancers wearing bright, pastel colours and her featured guest — Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco — descended from the ceiling holding an umbrellaA marching band kicked off Swift’s performance — like most of the world, maybe Swift was inspired by Beyonce’s new Coachella film? Dancers also spun in the air holding umbrellas.Ciara arrives at the Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)Swift is the most decorated winner in the history of the Billboard Awards with 23 wins. She is nominated for two awards at the show airing live on NBC — top female artist and top touring artist.Kelly Clarkson is hosting the show for a second time — and sang a medley of hits following Swift’s performance, from Cardi B’s “I Like It” to “Boo’d Up” by Ella Mai, who won the first award of the evening, top R&B artist.Clarkson will also perform later in the show. Other performers include Madonna with Maluma, BTS with Halsey, Paula Abdul, Panic! at the Disco, Lauren Daigle, Ciara and Mariah Carey, who will receive the Icon Award.THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Drake (Credit: Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (10225918w)Drake accepts the top billboard 200 album award for “Scorpion” at the Billboard Music Awards, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas2019 Billboard Music Awards – Show, Las Vegas, USA – 01 May 2019last_img read more

Conservatives attempt to quash injection site threatened health and lives of addicts

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled against the Conservative government’s efforts to shut down Vancouver’s safe-injection site for drug addicts.In a 9-0 decision released Friday morning, the high court ordered the federal health minister to grant Insite an exemption so it can continue to provide a safe and clean environment for intravenous drug users.The Supreme Court dismissed the federal government’s appeal of lower court rulings in British Columbia that gave the Insite clinic a Constitutional exemption from the country’s drug laws to continue to operate.Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the government was “disappointed” with the decision, but would “comply” with the ruling.The court found that the federal minister of health’s decision to deny Insite a permit exempting it from drug laws threatened the health and lives of drug addicts and violated the Constitutional right of addicts to life, liberty and security of the person.“The minister’s decision…would have prevented injection drug users from accessing the health services offered by Insite, threatening their health and indeed their lives,” said the court, in its precedence-setting ruling.The court found that the Insite clinic’s operations did not have a negative impact on the “public safety and health objectives of Canada.”The court also found that the impact of Insite’s service also outweighed any potential benefits from using the country’s drug laws to shut the clinic down.“During its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernable negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada,” the Supreme Court said. “The effect of denying the services of Insite to the population it serves and the correlative increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users is grossly disproportionate to any benefit that Canada might derive from presenting a uniform stance on the possession of narcotics.”An outbreak of an AIDS and Hepatitis C epidemic in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside triggered the declaration of a public health emergency in the notorious neighbourhood in 1997.The crisis forced health authorities to get creative in dealing with the complex issues faced by many of the neighbourhood’s residents who were afflicted with mental, physical and emotional health issues. The idea for a safe injection site was born.In 2003, the federal Liberal health minister gave Insite a conditional exemption from drug laws, creating the continent’s first government-sanctioned safe injection site.“The experiment has proven successful. Insite has saved lives and improved health without increasing the incidence of drug use and crime in the surrounding area,” the court found. “It is supported by the Vancouver police, the city and provincial governments.”The Conservative government of Stephen Harper, however, decided it wanted to shut down the injection site and the government indicated it would not provide an exemption in 2008.The Supreme Court issued a sternly worded reprimand for the minister.“The minister must consider whether denying an exemption would cause deprivations of life and security of the person that are not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,” the court said.“Where, as here, a supervised injections site will decrease the risk of death and disease, and there is little or no evidence that it will have a negative impact on public safety, the minister should generally grant an exemption.”last_img read more

Yukon battle looms over Peel watershed development

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe spring sitting of the Yukon legislature ended this week as it began, under a cloud of protest over development in a protected area.APTN National News reporter Luke Smith explains.last_img

Canary in a coal mine How the Arctic is disappearing before our

first_imgAPTN National NewsIt’s one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century.But for a variety of reasons, global warming doesn’t always get the political attention it deserves.So APTN National News paid to have videojournalist Tom Fennario embedded on a Greenpeace ship for nine days while it toured the high Arctic Circle.The region is currently undergoing massive changes at a rate never before seen – changes that can be attributed to global warming.Here is the first story of a three-part series.last_img read more

Former climate researcher using green thumb to find ways to grow vegetables

first_imgShirley McLeanAPTN National NewsAt one point in his life, Glenn Scott wanted to study broadcasting.Instead, he found himself in the circumpolar north studying climate change in Russia and Alaska.Now Scott, owner of AgriArctic Yukon Inc is developing spaceship-like pods with silver material on the walls surrounded by budding signs of life.He calls it the Agridome, a small dome he designed and built to test the feasibility of growing vegetables year round in Canada’s North.“So for the last three months I’ve been involved in constructing these germination racks,” explained Scott. “And this vertical aeroponics unit here all connected to an automation system to demonstrate you can grow things in the north and grow them productively.”The walls are lined with mylar; a shiny silver material that reflects the energy efficient lighting.Scott is experimenting with aeroponics to grow the vegetables without soil and minimum amounts of water.The vegetables receive food through a fine nutrient-rich mist or spray which is applied directly to their roots.In the middle of the dome is a double sided wall holding rows of soilless plants in plastic pods with their roots exposed to the air.Scott said one of the major benefits of using this system is the reduction in water usage.And by arranging plants vertically, rather than horizontally, northern growers will optimize space and energy efficiency.He can also monitor the plants ph balance and temperature inside the dome via his high-tech computer system.The $90.000 project is funded by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Cold Climate Innovation of the Yukon Research Centre.“Food security is an important issue in the North and we are committed to supporting innovative and affordable technologies to grow our food”, said Stephen Mooney, Director, Cold Climate Innovation, Yukon Research Centre.Mooney says one of the factors that make this project promising is the potential for commercialization.“The idea is to really cookie cut this and work the bugs out so we can make more of these and pack them up and distribute them across the north.”During the winter, Whitehorse temperatures dipped to -30 C while the dome maintained a balmy 15 C.The whole dome takes up about 30 square metres.Scott said he wants Northerners in remote communities to be able to grow fresh vegetables year round and help with the high cost of living.His contribution to food security.Food security is a big issue in the North.This past fall, Canada’s Auditor General critisized Canada’s Nutrition North program for not being able to tell if it was making food in the North more affordable.And an APTN Investigation into the problem found people scrounging in the local dump to find food.Also, an internal federal government report stated that Ottawa must spend more money in the North for food. In Whitehorse, Scott’s crop yielded tomatoes, peppers, sweet peas, cucumbers, zucchini, herbs and even cantaloupe.Next winter he hopes to experiment growing the staples, carrots and read more

Alberta womens advocate says Indigenous women are presumed guilty until found innocent

first_imgChris Stewart APTN National NewsAn Indigenous women’s advocate in Alberta says Indigenous women are considered guilty and must prove themselves innocent in the province’s justice system.Muriel Stanley-Venne said the system is built so judges and lawyers assume the worst.Stanley-Venne was commenting on a case where a Cree woman was sexually assaulted and sent to jail.cstewart@aptn.calast_img

Mohawk ironworkers remembered during New York ceremony to mark anniversary of 911

first_imgLindsay RichardsonAPTN NewsMany Mohawk ironworkers helped raise the original World Trade Centre Towers in New York City.In 2001, they were also there to help clean up the remnants after the 9/11 attacks.For some, that clean up has come at a great cost to their

Indigenous studies now mandatory in southern Ontario schools

first_imgAnnette FrancisAPTN NewsStudents in southern Ontario will soon be studying the works of authors like Thomas King, Drew Hayden Taylor, and Thomson Highway.That’s because Indigenous voices are now mandatory in 13 high schools in southern Ontario.The move by the Ontario government is seen as an act of reconciliation.Métis teach Marilyn Robitaille has been teaching English for the past 15 years.Now she gets to include Métis culture in the curriculum.“Actually it’s a dream come true for me being able to share some of the personal aspects of my life with students in a way that is meaningful,” Robitaille said.“And lets them connect to me and connect to the texts and have the authentic voice I think that’s real.”It’s all part of the contemporary Indigenous voices course, now a mandatory English credit for all grade 11 high school students in the Kawartha Pine ridge District School Board.It’s only the fourth school board in Ontario to make the course mandatory.Teachers have been provided with new teaching resources and have received cultural competency training.The Indigenous education consultant says it’s an exciting time and a lot of work“The curriculum component is there and that’s all we’re asking our teachers to cover,” said Dean Smith, Indigenous education consultant.“They’re not being asked to bring in anything cultural and that’s where the community and the authentic voice has to come in.”Three weeks into the school year, 15 year old Emily Mrozowski said the change is good.“I really like history so we’re learning about treaties and I find that interesting,” she said.“But I also find it cool how everything like the medicine wheel for example it’s a cycle I don’t know I just find it interesting how it relates to everything.”The Kawartha board serves students from three First Nations.As an Indigenous education consultant with the school board, Marjolaine Lapointes supports teachers implementing Indigenous education.She says, it’s a significant move to reconciliation.“I think of all of the Indigenous students that we have here in the board are now going to be able to see themselves reflected in the curriculum and they’re going to be able to engage with their realities in the course that they’re taking,” she said.“And I think also of all of the all of our non indigenous students who are seeing these truths right, so we talk about truth and reconciliation where they’re going to be able to access all of these authentic voices for their own learning.”Lapointe said she would like to see Indigenous content included in all grades, starting in kindergarten“We’ve really talked about the culture that they’re going to be reading about and learning about and it’s giving them the background knowledge,” she said.“So when they read a novel and it talks about an animal as a symbol for example they understand importance of symbol and what that means in a culture they don’t necessarily already know.” read more

Boris Becker claims diplomatic immunity in UK bankruptcy

first_imgLONDON – Retired German tennis star Boris Becker is claiming his unpaid role as a sports attache for Central African Republic gives him diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy proceedings in Britain.The three-time Wimbledon champion took up the attache role in April. His lawyers claimed in Britain’s High Court late Thursday that this protects him from ongoing bankruptcy actions.Becker says his role as Central African Republic attache to the European Union on sporting, cultural and humanitarian affairs means he is covered by a 1961 convention on diplomatic relations.Legal expert Mark Stephens told The Associated Press that in his view Becker’s claim is valid, but he urged Central African Republic to take steps to prevent the apparent abuse of diplomatic immunity.“Central African Republic should be asked to revoke his immunity for this particular case because it relates to his personal activities and predates his appointment and in no way relates to his diplomatic function,” Stephens said. “That would let the court case proceed.”The 50-year-old Becker, who lives in Britain, was declared bankrupt in June 2017. He is selling some of his memorabilia including Wimbledon trophies in an effort to reduce his debts.The former world No. 1 has criticized the bankruptcy proceedings as “unjustified and unjust,” saying he had been pushed into an unnecessary declaration of bankruptcy by “a bunch of anonymous and unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats” trying to damage him.“I have now asserted diplomatic immunity as I am in fact bound to do, in order to bring this farce to an end, so that I can start to rebuild my life,” Becker said.Becker was named to the volunteer sports attache role on April 26, more than nine months after his bankruptcy declaration.Central African Republic President Faustin Touadera said at the time he was “extremely pleased that a world star like Boris Becker, with his extensive international relations, has agreed to support our country.”Becker said then that he hoped to help improve living conditions in Central African Republic. A press release indicated he would have an office at the country’s embassy in Brussels.Since the appointment, Becker’s Twitter feed has shown no signs of promoting anything in Central African Republic. It was also not immediately clear whether Becker has ever visited the African nation.The landlocked Central African Republic is one of the world’s most impoverished countries, destabilized by deadly sectarian violence since 2013 with thousands of people of killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.The news of Becker’s claim of immunity was met with confusion Friday in the country’s capital, Bangui, where several people said they didn’t even know who Becker was.A spokesman for the presidency said it was up to Becker to be responsible for his own actions.“We’re not responding to something that has nothing to do with us,” spokesman Albert Yaloke Mokpeme said.But a member of the country’s Olympic committee, Cecile Kolingba, said “trying to brandish this diplomatic cover to escape justice, I find that dishonest.”Attacks by armed groups surged again last year in parts of the country of 4.5 million people, sending thousands of people fleeing from their homes. The unrest has created more than a half a million refugees, according to the United Nations.___Marboua reported from Bangui, Central African Republic. Cara Anna in Johannesburg contributed.last_img read more

Alberta terminates deal with builder of Grande Prairie regional hospital

first_imgEDMONTON – The Alberta government is looking for a new builder for the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital.Infrastructure Minister Sandra Jansen says it has terminated the contract with the current builder, Calgary-based Graham Construction.Graham Construction and the province have been at odds over the timeline and costs of the $763-million project.In July, Jansen directed Graham submit a revised plan to get back on track, but says the new blueprint wasn’t good enough.Work on the project will now be stopped, with a new construction manager expected to be hired by late next month.Graham officials could not be immediately reached for comment but have previously accused the government of crippling the project with never-ending design changes, poor budgeting and bad faith negotiations.last_img read more

Women of French yellow vest group counter violent image

first_imgPARIS — Several hundred women wearing yellow vests have marched through Paris in a bid to restore a peaceful image to the grassroots protest movement, a day after demonstrations veered once more into violence.Some women carried yellow balloons during Saturday’s march from the Place de la Bastille to the Opera Garnier. At one point, they fell to their knees in a minute of silence for the 10 people killed and many others injured since the movement began in mid-November.Women also marched in other cities around France.The movement is losing wind with repeated violence at weekly demonstrations.Some women tried to rebrand the movement as peaceful through signs reading “I am your daughter” or “I am your Grandma.”Protesters wear fluorescent yellow safety vests required in French cars.The Associated Presslast_img read more

World Tai Chi and Qigong Day in Fort St John a success

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Willow Moon Internal Arts held their practice outside on the corner of 100th and 100th to celebrate World Tai Chi and Qigong Day this past Saturday.The practice demonstrated numerous forms including 24 form, 13 postures Saber, 48 form, Water Style and Five Elements Qigong. The practice featured over twenty students of a variety of levels and ages.Annually World Tai Chi and Qigong Day takes place on the last Saturday of April and has been held since 1999. This year marks the 13th year that Willow Moon Internal Arts has taken part in the annual event. This year, hundreds of cities in over 70 countries took part in the event to promote and demonstrate the pure beauty and stunning nature of Tai Chi and Qigong. The event began in New Zealand and wrapped up in Hawaii compliments of the numerous time zones.Additionally, the 2017/2018 season marks the 40th anniversary of Willow Moon Internal Arts and the continuous practice of Tai Chi and Qigong in Fort St John.last_img read more

Haryana govt likely to incur heavy cost in taking over Rapid rail

first_imgGurugram: The Haryana government officials have officially begun the process of taking over the Rapid rail metro that is also credited for being India’s first private metro system. In doing so however the government is likely to incur a heavy cost of sustaining the private metro system. Initially, run by ILF&S nation’s first private metro is under a heavy debt of Rs 1,800 crore where 10 per cent interest is being paid on a yearly basis. For operation and salaries over Rs 20 crore is being paid on a yearly basis. The Haryana government is now planning to give only operations part to the Delhi metro rail corporation for which there is a pact of paying the public agency over three crores yearly. According to sources the government is likely to take a decision on the issue after May 12. The move to acquire the metro project comes when the private metro system is reeling under heavy losses. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsBuilt on the model of public-private partnership, Gurugram’s rapid metro was set to change the landscape of public transportation model in Gurugram when it first started its operation in 2013. Five years, after all, did not go to the plan and the management served Haryana Government the notice of compensating it for Rs 1484 Crore of losses. Initially, the DLF-IL&FS consortium ran the Rapid Metro Rail Gurugram Limited (RMGL). According to sources ever since the DLF withdrew its stakes from the project and the ITNL’s parent company — Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) — ran into financial trouble, the ITNL found it difficult to operate the Gurugram private metro. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderHigher costs for travelling, less focus on last mile connectivity and lesser frequency of the movement of trains are resulting in many residents still relying on other modes of transportation. According to reports, there are over 50,000 commuters who use the services of the private metro daily. This, however, is not enough for the metro to recover its costs. The management of the private metro has also been odds with the public agencies over the display of advertisements that is a major source of revenue. The major concern for the management remains over the dwindling number of commuters using the Rapid Metro services Considered to be a bane for many residents who drive on routes of Golf Course, Sikanderpur, MG road and Cybercity, the diesel run autos and private city buses continue to retain its popularity. While these transportation mediums still charge a reasonable sum from their customers, the ticket prices in the rapid metro range from a minimum sum of Rs 20 to a maximum of Rs 35. Not only are the common citizens but even the office goers have lessened their daily travels due to a cheaper mode of transport.last_img read more

Microsofts new device to store digital info as DNA

first_imgSan Francisco: Tech major Microsoft has successfully developed an end-to-end automated DNA storage device that can translate digital information into DNA and back to bits, the company said in a blog post. The fully automated system to store and retrieve data in manufactured DNA is a key step in moving the technology out of the research lab and into commercial datacenters. The novel system, developed in partnership with University of Washington, translated “HELLO” into DNA and converted it back to digital data in just 21 hours, reported the paper published in Nature Scientific Reports journal. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year “Our ultimate goal is to put a system into production that, to the end user, looks very much like any other cloud storage service — bits are sent to a datacenter and stored there and then they just appear when the customer wants them,” Karin Strauss, principal researcher at Microsoft, wrote in the post on Thursday. “To do that, we needed to prove that this is practical from an automation perspective,” Strauss added. The system has so far stored one gigabyte of data in DNA, which includes cat photographs, great literary works, pop videos as well as archival recordings in DNA, which could be retrieved without errors, the researchers said. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India The automated DNA data storage system uses software that converts the ones and zeros of digital data into the As, Ts, Cs and Gs that make up the building blocks of DNA. Then it uses cheap lab equipments to flow the necessary liquids and chemicals into a synthesiser that builds manufactured snippets of DNA and to push them into a storage vessel. When the system needs to retrieve the information, it adds other chemicals to properly prepare the DNA and uses microfluidic pumps to push the liquids into other parts of the system that “read” the DNA sequences and convert it back to information that a computer can understand. Information is stored in synthetic DNA molecules created in a lab, not DNA from humans or other living things, and can be encrypted before it is sent to the system. Further, the team also developed techniques to search for and retrieve only images that contain an apple or a green bicycle — using the molecules themselves and without having to convert the files back into a digital format. “We are definitely seeing a new kind of computer system being born here where you are using molecules to store data and electronics for control and processing. Putting them together holds some really interesting possibilities for the future,” said Luis Ceze, Professor at the varsity.last_img read more

Saumitra Khan under EC lens for not vacating govt guest house

first_imgKolkata: Saumitra Khan, a former Trinamool Congress leader who is now contesting the Lok Sabha election from Bishnupur (SC) constituency after he joined the saffron brigade in January, has been under the scanner of the Election Commission for not vacating a government guest house. As per the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), nobody can occupy a government guest house following the notification of elections particularly when he/she is contesting the elections. The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) may seek a report from the District Election Officer (DEO) of West Burdwan in this regard. The district TMC leaders have recently registered a complaint with the Returning Officer of Durgapur saying that Khan has allegedly been staying in a government-owned guest house and had held a press conference there. In their complaint, the TMC leaders pointed out that Khan has been staying at the guest house in Durgapur flouting the ECI norms. They alleged that a candidate who is contesting the election cannot stay at a government guest house following the notification. After the matter came to light, the Commission has taken cognizance. The election officials will examine the report submitted by the DEO. In another development, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer has sent a report to the ECI regarding the controversial statements made by Sayantan Basu who is contesting the election from Basirhat with a BJP ticket. The CEO office had earlier served a show-cause notice to Basu and sought a video of his derogatory speech. The CEO office is awaiting instructions from the ECI.last_img read more