Thailand has first avian flu outbreaks in 3 months

first_imgJul 11, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Avian influenza has surfaced in poultry flocks in Thailand for the first time in 3 months, according to reports from the country.The disease has broken out among birds at five locations in Suphan Buri province, about 60 miles north of Bangkok, according to several news services. The Associated Press reported that the disease was found in 10 fighting cocks in five villages where outbreaks occurred in 2004.The last poultry outbreaks of avian flu in Thailand were reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in mid-April. Thailand has had no reported human cases of H5N1 flu since October 2004.News reports today did not say whether laboratory tests have identified the H5N1 strain in the new outbreaks, but they strongly implied that the outbreaks involved that strain.The Bangkok newspaper The Nation quoted Nirandorn Uangtrakoolsuk, a Livestock Department official, as saying that officials have destroyed more than 450 birds and banned the movement of poultry in the area of the outbreak.Nirandorn also said authorities were running laboratory tests to determine if recent “mass deaths of fowl” in six other provinces were related to avian flu, the report said. The provinces were Pathum Thani, Chachoengsao, Prachin Buri, Kalasin, Lampang, and Phetchabun.The new outbreaks forestalled Thai authorities’ plan to declare the country free of avian flu tomorrow, according to the Nation and the Bangkok Post. Jul 12 would have marked the passage of 90 days since the last recorded case, in Lop Buri province in April.The Post story said Thailand, a major poultry exporter, cannot resume exporting fresh poultry until the OIE certifies that the country has been free of outbreaks for at least 90 days.The latest outbreaks occurred at “small, native chicken farms,” not at farms raising poultry for export, said Anan Sirimongkolkasem, president of the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association, as quoted by the Post.Nirandorn said the new outbreaks were small and unlikely to evolve into a serious crisis, according to the Nation. He called on farmers to immediately notify officials of any mass deaths of poultry.The head of the Livestock Department, Yukol Limlaemthong, said infected birds are living longer because of increasing immunity to the virus, making it less likely that unusual deaths will alert farmers to outbreaks, according to a Reuters report.The Post reported that about 11,000 Thai poultry farms and 1,700 layer farms have met government biosecurity standards that include strict safeguards against outside contamination. But small farms still pose a concern because most operate as open-air facilities that can easily be contaminated from the outside, the newspaper said.Seventeen human cases of H5N1 infection, 12 of them fatal, occurred in Thailand in 2004. Overall, the virus has infected at least 108 people and killed 54 in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia since late 2003, according to the World Health Organization’s count. Unofficial counts put the death toll at 55.In other developments, Japanese authorities said they discovered the seventh outbreak of avian flu in less than a month in an area about 60 miles north of Tokyo, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report today.Previous outbreaks were identified as H5N2, a milder strain than H5N1, the report said. A local official said the latest outbreak involved an H5 virus, and tests to identify it further were under way.Authorities in Ibaraki prefecture said they would cull 8,550 birds at the infected farm, AFP reported. About 150,000 chickens at six other farms in the area have been destroyed to stop the disease, the story said. Officials had checked 11 other farms and found no cases.last_img read more

Institute highlights film media as avenue for social change

first_imgAs social issues such as homelessness continue to affect the Los Angeles community, USC Media Institute for Social Change has taken strides to address these injustices through the artistic expressions of motion pictures, messaging platforms and music.In partnership with the imagery messaging app Kwippit, USC Media Institute for Social Change is addressing homelessness through stickers and gifs called Kwipps, which are intended to encourage social discourse. Image from Sarah London.Since the institute was founded in 2013 by professor Michael Taylor, the USC School of Cinematic Arts has been promoting the use of film media to institute progressive social change.According to the USC MISC website, the organization aims to strengthen SCA’s legacy. It redefines its curriculum to respond to the changing spectrum of media, arts and technology to aid leading social justice movements. According to Taylor, visual media and digital communication platforms are the new language of the 21st century. As a result, USC MISC was eager to form a partnership with digital content network Kwippit to raise awareness within a larger audience.“When you think of the different touch points with people who are excited about ending the cycle of homelessness, you’ve got technology through the Kwippit app, you’ve got media and sharing the video through the USC MISC, and then you’ve got an entire community of hip-hop artist and musicians who are passionate about doing work around ending the cycle of homelessness,” Kwippit Chief Branding Officer Krista Treide said. USC MISC and Kwippit combined their digital and media imagery platforms to create a series of untraditional stickers and gifs — also known as Kwipps — to encourage discourse among the younger generation. “[Kwipps] are all emojis that represent different social issues,” Taylor said. According to Kwippit Chief Integration Officer Bill Ekeler, Kwippit came across USC MISC while looking for a partnership with an organization that communicated through visual representations and vivid imagery similar to the mobile messaging app.“[We] want to be able to tell [our] stories through media, and to be able to customize those stories into imagery that represents what we do,” Ekeler said. “We set up a series of meetings and overtime created imagery that represented different social issues that USC MISC has undertaken to set up a channel for them specifically to raise funds and raise awareness.” According to Ekeler, the USC MISC Channel on Kwippit will generate $1.99 from each user’s subscription fee annually in service of alleviating homelessness rates in Los Angeles. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from channel downloads will be dedicated to foundations seeking to end homelessness.These organizations include United Way Greater Los Angeles, Skid Row Housing Trust, Downtown Women’s Center and scholarship funding for USC MISC students creating content that addresses homelessness. “[Kwippit] is also a micro-donation platform … looking to connect with non-profits all over the world,” Treide said. “We have established really unique partnerships that are more innovative than traditional partnerships and traditional marketing platforms.”On April 19, USC MISC will host a benefit concert to raise funding and awareness for homelessness. The content will take place at the Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles and feature performers such as Del the Funky Homosapien, Ras Kass and Bishop Lamont. According to Treide, these artists have agreed to aid the micro-donation platform on Kwippit by donating profits from their music. Additionally, USC MISC seeks to capitalize on the impact of social media and popular culture to expand the audience scope that their humanitarian content can reach. The institution views the media technology platform as an avenue to educate and interest a wider public audience to participate in social reforms and provoke conversations. “We would like to say that media is the language of the 21st century … Not too long ago, people are writing in papers about all of these issues … You stand the chances of reaching a much wider audience and having a greater impact,” Taylor said. “It may be something that people will watch for its entertainment value. But in addition to being entertained by it … the film may raise their awareness of the issue. And occasionally, it might even change their behavior.” According to Treide, the combination of creative content generation, message micro-donation platform and music as an expressive art form is anticipated to raise funds from subscriptions and accelerate conversation around the social issue of homelessness. “I think getting accessing into the messaging space is very coveted,” Triede said. “Users of smartphones are more likely to open a message immediately. [Taylor] agreed that we can really change the world through media, one Kwipp at a time.”last_img read more

Microsoft: Don’t Get ‘Scroogled’ By Google Search Results

first_imgMassive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… markhachman IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Bing, for its part, chose the Samsung Infuse 4G, released in May 2011, the superb Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX, and the Sony Ericsson Xperia arc as its top three choices. At fifth, it placed the Apple iPhone 4s. At sixth, however, Bing chose the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G, a phone that was released in 2009 and available from just one store. The T-Mobile G2, one of the very first Android smartphones, is seventh, one place above the Microsoft-powered Nokia Lumia 920. Wow.(Interestingly, if one searches for “smartphone” – not “best smartphone” – on both sites, Bing’s results bury the iPhone 4S farther down, bump up the Lumia, and include the original, much-despised BlackBerry Storm. Google places the Apple iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4 in the first three results.)A more significant problem is the exclusion of Amazon in search results. This kind of thing happen all the time; search flight listings on Kayak.com and you’ll quickly find that the results exclude Southwest Airlines. But Kayak at least lists the flight times, even as it excludes the prices; on Google, you’ll need to remember to check Amazon to see if the company even sells the item. That’s a problem.“So for this holiday season, we just want to make sure shoppers know that when searching for that perfect gift for Cousin Harry on Google Shopping, the results they are seeing are partially optimized to benefit Google’s revenue, not a shopper’s pocketbook,” Microsoft’s Nichols wrote. “If this practice has you concerned, then please try Bing for an honest search.”The conclusion? Yes, more Microsoft FUD. But this time it just might be justified. Tags:#e-commerce#Google#Microsoft#search Related Posts center_img On Wednesday, Microsoft began running a national ad campaign to warn users to avoid being “Scroogled” by Google search results that have been influenced by paid placement.Specifically, Microsoft’s campaign attempts to portray Google as basing its Google Shopper search results on the amount of money each vendor has paid, rather than the accuracy of the results themselves. More practically, Microsoft claims that popular online retailer Amazon opted out of Google’s search, but that Bing users will be able to compare prices against the Web’s largest e-tailer. Who Is More Unbiased?With the new campaign, Microsoft is taking the side of the angels, using semi-patriotic language reminiscent of the recent presidential election. “Today, Bing renews its commitment to the old rules – to honoring our side of the bargain with shoppers by delivering better, more objectively ranked search results,” Mike Nichols, a corporate vice president and chief marketing officer for Bing, said in a blog post. “We won’t let who pays us for ads or other services affect what you see in your search results. Search results are one thing; ads are another. We won’t switch to pay-to-rank to allow some shopping search results to appear higher than others. We don’t believe shoppers should risk paying more, simply because they started their search at Google.”Hoist By Its Own Petard?Now that the program is in place, Microsoft is positioning its own results as complete and unbiased, and a better alternative for shoppers this Holiday season. And the company is going full bore: not only has it launched a “Scroogled” Web site that invites shoppers to submit their examples of being “Scroogled,” but it has peppered the site with links to the Google founders’ letter, where Larry Page and Sergey Brin claimed, in the famous “Don’t Be Evil” paragraph, that their company’s search results “are unbiased and objective, and we do not accept payment for them or for inclusion or more frequent updating.”Damningly, Microsoft is also using Google’s more recent words against it, citing the language used by Google in announcing an update to Google Shopping announced this spring:“Ranking in Google Shopping, when the full transition is complete this fall, will be based on a combination of relevance and bid price – just like Product Listing Ads today,” Sameer Samat, vice president of product management for Google Shopping, wrote in a blog post. “This will give merchants greater control over where their products appear on Google Shopping.”While Microsoft’s campaign must be seen as a classic example of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) tactics it has honed over the decades to fight everything from Netscape to Linus, the company suggests that shoppers won’t be best served by the pay-to-play rankings. Like Amazon, merchants may choose not to pay to rank results preferentially for low-margin products, which could affect their supply, and specialty merchants might be excluded as well. Microsoft also called out Google’s search results, which claim to be defined by “relevance”.If one clicks on a particular product, Google opens a separate page listing stores and prices, with a box that encompasses all of the results and defines them as “sponsored.” “Google is compensated by these merchants,” an informational blurb reads, but only if the user clicks on the “i.” But on the main results page, Google hides the pay-to-play results under the link, ‘Why these results?” – a difference in language Google couldn’t explain.“While good deals and wide selection take a back seat on Google Shopping thanks to its policies, the way to look at the deception taking place is how Google hides its disclosure policy to customers behind a little link on the side of the page and offers a vague explanation of the factors that may influence ranking, including payment,” Stefan Weitz, the senior director at Bing, said in an emailed statement to ReadWrite.For its part, Google wouldn’t specifically address the pay-to-play charge, but characterized Google Shopper as a useful tool.“Google Shopping makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they’re looking for, compare different products and connect with merchants to make a purchase,” a Google respresentative said in an emailed statement. “With new 360-degree, interactive product images, social shopping lists and a fast growing inventory of more than a billion products worldwide, Google is a great resource for shoppers to find what they need, at great prices for their loved ones this holiday season.”Does Pay-to-Play Affect Search Results?The problem in comparing the two search engine results is that the results are rarely, if ever, clear-cut. In one test ReadWrite conducted (without input from Google) Microsoft’s results seemed less relevant. But on others, an observer could conclude that a vendor paid for placement – but might also believe that the search engine simply returned a more relevant result.Take a search for “telescope,” for example. On Google, the first five results are for Celestron telescopes, then the Tasco Specialty 49TN. On Bing, the first two results are for Celestron products, then the Tasco 49TN, the BARSKA StarWatcher, and then two more Celestron scopes. The searches are different, but is one better than the other? 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now The answer might lie in comparing the searches that you (or an acknowledged expert) might make himself. When shopping for the “best smartphone” on Google, Google ranked the Sony Xperia S as the most relevant result – an odd choice, given that few U.S. reviewers had actually reviewed it, let alone given it top marks. (CNET gave it three stars, though PhoneArena’s review said that Sony “hit the nail on the head”). Google’s next choices were the Samsung Captivate Glide (ranked 3 out of 5 or 4 out of 5 in most reviews, and then the Samsung Galaxy S II, the older version of the well-reviewed Galaxy S III now on store shelves. Google did not place an Apple product in the first page (18 products) of results. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

Gibdock 1st Baleària Ferry Converted to LNG

first_imgzoomThe converted Nápoles alongside at Gibdock before reentering service with Baleària. Image Courtesy: Gibdock Baleària’s ferry Napoles has started operating using LNG as fuel following the completion of a major conversion project carried out by Gibraltar’s Gibdock shipyard.The 186-meter long Napoles, which has a capacity for 1,600 passengers and 1,430 lane meters of cargo, is the first of six ships that Baleària plans to convert to dual fuel operations to comply with International Maritime Organization (IMO) sulphur cap regulations.Gibdock has secured a contract to convert a second vessel, Sicilia, which is due to arrive at the yard later this year.Napoles arrived at Gibdock in mid-November 2018, with the yard already having pre-fabricated two LNG bunker fuel reception stations for later installation. The majority of subsequent work took place alongside the yard’s main repair wharf, with some elements of the LNG conversion undertaken in Gibdock’s Panamax size Dock No.1.The project included the installation of dual-fuel LNG and diesel engines produced by MAN Energy Solutions as well as a Wärtsilä tank for LNG storage.According to Gibdock, one of the key elements of the project was the modification of the MAN 9L 48/60-A main engines to 9L 51/60DFF, completed by MAN Primeserv. Extensive automation system and cabling work was also carried out by Gibdock.With this change in fuel, Nápoles is expected to reduce its CO2 emissions by 9,113.45 tons and NOx emissions by 871.37 tons a year as well as fully eliminate all sulphur and particle emissions, the ferry company earlier explained.After its departure, Napoles began working on a new passenger and Spanish freight route connecting Huelva and the Canary Islands.last_img read more

Paperny Force Four to move under eOne TV banner

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Toronto-headquartered Entertainment One is bringing its Canadian unscripted properties under one roof, realscreen has confirmed.The company will amalgamate the operations of Paperny Entertainment and Force Four Entertainment, both of which joined the eOne umbrella in 2014, under the eOne Television brand in the coming months.The move will look to optimally position eOne’s Canadian-based unscripted television unit for future growth, while complementing eOne’s U.S.-based alternative programming efforts. Advertisement Paperny executive VP Cal Shumiatcher will lead the combined business, overseeing the consolidation process with Force Four’s John Ritchie also taking on a new leadership role within the merged business.David Paperny (pictured), Paperny Entertainment founder and president, will remain with the company to ensure a smooth transition before exiting on July 31, while executive VP Audrey Mehler will depart the company in the coming days. Force Four chief operating officer Gillian Lowrey, meanwhile, will exit April 1.Paperny, which has produced such series as Yukon Gold and Klondike Trappers, was acquired in 2014 for CAD$29.2 million (US$27.2 million). Vancouver-based Force Four, meanwhile, was picked up in August 2014 and has previously produced Slice’s First Dates and Global’s Border Security: America’s Front Line.eOne’s Canadian unscripted business will continue to have offices in Vancouver and Toronto, with a satellite office in New York.By Daniele Alcinii Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Caravan on Hwy 401 slows traffic on Canadas busiest road in support

first_imgTom FennarioAPTN NewsTraffic was backed up on different parts of Hwy 401 Friday by a caravan of mainly from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, who purposely drove slowly in a show of solidarity for members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.One caravan began near Cornwall, Ont. and headed west, while another close to London, Ont.Reports suggested they were driving between 45 km/h to 60 km/h. The speed limit is 100 km/h.The Ontario Provincial Police basically provided an escort for the rolling blockades.Brandon Doxtator photo.RCMP took 14 people into custody Monday after rushing a homemade checkpoint on Gidimt’en territory set up to block Coast GasLink employees from reaching a healing centre on Unist’ot’en territory.Coast GasLink wants access through the Unist’ot’en camp 20 kilometres up the Morice River road from the Gidimt’en check point to complete preparatory work on the 670-kilometre pipeline.The camp has been standing for nearly a decade to prevent three proposed pipelines from cutting through Wet’suwet’en territory.The company has signed agreements with elected representatives of 20 First Nations along the pipeline route.Anger greeted news Wednesday that hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs brokered a peaceful end to a potentially violent pipeline standoff.Leader Freda Huson stormed out of a closed-door meeting at the Unist’ot’en camp south of Houston, B.C., and slammed the door.She just learned chiefs promised the RCMP she and her partner Warner Naziel would abide by rules of an interim court injunction in exchange for calling off a police raid.tfennario@aptn.ca@tfennariolast_img read more

Ottawa say Fairfax Financial Holdings interested in broken Churchill rail line

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government says a Toronto-based holding company is interested in becoming a new partner in a possible deal for a takeover of the broken rail line that runs to Churchill in northern Manitoba.Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says Fairfax Financial Holdings Inc. has expressed interest in the Hudson Bay Rail line, the Port of Churchill and other associated assets.Carr says Fairfax is considering partnering with Missinippi Rail and One North to acquire the line from Omnitrax.Severe flooding damaged the rail line last spring, cutting the only land link to Churchill, a town of 900 on the west coast of Hudson Bay.The situation is hurting the region’s tourism industry and raising the price of food and fuel.Carr, the MP for Winnipeg South Centre, says having Fairfax involved is an important step toward a positive solution for the people of Churchill.“This development has the potential to contribute to an arrangement supported by First Nations and communities in northern Manitoba,” he said Thursday in a release.“This would enable a sustainable business approach that results in a safe and reliable rail line.”Fairfax president Paul Rivett said the company is optimistic about the north. He said the Churchill rail corridor and the Port of Churchill are important pieces of infrastructure for northern communities and Canada’s economy.“Partnering with First Nations and communities is the right model for this investment,” he said in a release.“We have deep experience in infrastructure projects and have the necessary operational expertise to run shortline railways in partnership with our investee company AGT Foods. The key is that the plan has to be viable and profitable in the long term as a business.”Carr’s comments come only days after Ottawa filed a lawsuit against Denver-based Omnitrax.The lawsuit alleges Omnitrax has failed to repair and maintain the rail line in violation of a 2008 agreement that saw the company receive $18.8 million in federal aid for maintenance and upgrades. The lawsuit seeks repayment of the money.Omnitrax has said it plans to file a complaint against the federal government under the North American Free Trade Agreement.The company has said the federal government’s decision to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly on western grain in 2012 drastically cut grain shipments along the rail line and through the Port of Churchill.last_img read more

Naya Pakistan should demonstrate Naya action on terror India

first_imgNew Delhi: Pakistan will be judged not by words but on basis of the action it takes to dismantle terror infrastructure on its soil, India said Saturday, asserting that its non-military strike on the JeM terrorist training camp in Balakot achieved its desired objective. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said if Pakistan claims to be a ‘naya Pakistan’ (New Pakistan) with a ‘nayi soch’ (new thinking), then it should demonstrate ‘naya’ action (new action) against terror groups operating with impunity from its soil. The MEA’s comments came a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he will not allow Pakistani soil to be used for terror directed at other countries. Khan has been saying that a ‘Naya Pakistan’ is embarking on a new journey under his leadership. Kumar said Pakistan has been making identical statements after separate terror attacks and now Islamabad will have to take up the concrete action the international community expected it to take and must rein in terror groups operating from its soil. “We remain resolute in our determination to persuade the international community of the necessity of compelling Pakistan to move beyond mere words and to show credible, verifiable and sustained actions. We have and we will continue to act with responsibility and maturity,” he said at a media briefing. Kumar said the widespread presence of terrorist camps in Pakistan is public knowledge and repeated requests by India and the international community for Pakistan to take action against such groups has been met with “denial”. “In 2004, the then President of Pakistan had made a solemn public commitment that they would not allow any territory under their control to be used for terrorist activity in any manner,” he said. “But till today, however, Pakistan has failed to take any credible action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and other terrorist organisations, which continue to operate with impunity from Pakistan,” he said, adding Pakistan will be judged not by its words but on the basis of action it takes to dismantle terror infrastructure. Tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbours escalated after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack and subsequent aerial strike by India on a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot on February 26. Pakistan retaliated the strike next day by unsuccessfully attempting to target Indian military installations. The JeM claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack. “Our non-military counter terrorism strike of February 26 achieved the intended objective. It has demonstrated our firm resolve to take decisive action against cross-border terrorism,” Kumar said about Balakot strike. He, however, evaded questions on number of casualties in the strike. Kumar said the fact that Pakistan refused access to journalists from visiting the site of the strike in Balakot meant that they have “plenty to hide”. “So the initial bravado that everything is open please come and visit has disappeared. We are absolutely confident that strikes on Balakot has been successful and achieved the desired objectives,” he asserted. On Pakistan’s retaliatory strike, he said instead of taking action against terrorist groups on its soil, Islamabad chose to escalate through an “act of aggression” by violating Indian airspace and attempting, unsuccessfully, to target military facilities. Kumar also accused Pakistan of propagating a “false narrative” of the events of the day when Pakistani jets unsuccessfully attempted to target Indian military installations. In the aerial combat India had lost a Mig-21 Bison aircraft and its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan. Pakistan claimed it downed two Indian jets, and rejected IAF’s assertion that a F-16 aircraft was shot down by it during the dogfight. “Only one aircraft was lost by us. If, as Pakistan claims, they have a video recording of the downing of a second Indian aircraft, why have they not shown it to the international media even after more than one week? “Questions should be asked to them as to where the fuselage of the aircraft is and what has happened to the pilots? As we have already said, there are eyewitness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan,” Kumar said. He said Pakistan should explain why it continues to deny that its F-16 aircraft has been shot down. “We have asked the United States to also examine whether the use of F16 against India is in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale,” he added. Kumar said India’s armed forces continue to maintain strict vigil and will remain determined in the defence of the nation and its citizens. Hitting out at Pakistan for remaining in a state of denial, he said, “It is regrettable that Pakistan still continues to deny Jaish-e-Mohammed’s own claim of taking ownership of the Pulwama attack.” The MEA spokesperson referred to the Pakistan foreign minister’s interview to BBC on March where he talked about “some confusion” about JeM’s claim on the Pulwama attack. “Is Pakistan defending the Jaish-e-Mohammed and acting as its spokesperson? Does Pakistan’s claim have any credibility,” Kumar asked. He said despite the media interviews by Pakistan’s foreign minister and former president Musharraf acknowledging the presence of JeM in Pakistan, the spokesperson of the Pakistan armed forces openly denied the presence of the terror group in the country.last_img read more

Two Naveen Kasana gang members held

first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi Police on Thursday said that Crime Branch officers from Shakarpur arrested two members of the notorious Naveen Kasana gang on April 1, thus recovering two pistols and several live cartridges.Identifying the arrested as Ravinder (28) and Anil Kumar (23), DCP Crime Ram Gopal Naik said that the two gang members were involved in several cases of robbing jewellers and business-people at gunpoint with their accomplices, Police said that they received a tip-off about Ravinder arranging a meeting with one of his accomplices near Preet Vihar metro station and laid a trap for him on April 1. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderRavinder was apprehended from Preet Vihar metro station following a short chase. Police claimed that upon sustained interrogation, he disclosed the location of one of his accomplices and another member of the gang, Anil Kumar, who was also arrested on the same day. According to police, during sustained interrogation, both the accused confessed to their involvement in robbing a Karol Bagh jeweller off Rs 2 crore and a cloth merchant off Rs 15 lakh near Shalimar Bagh area. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsDuring police questioning, the two finally gave up the location of one of their hideouts in New Govindpura, where one semi-automatic pistol with two live rounds and one country-made pistol with two live cartridges were found. Addressing a press conference, DCP Naik said that the Naveen Kasana gang has been operating in the Trans-Yamuna region since 2010 and efforts were being made to apprehend members since then. Sources familiar with developments said that with the arrests of Ravinder and Kumar, only two members of the gang are left to be apprehended.last_img read more

International experts confirm Nicaragua caused irreparable damage to Costa Rican wetlands

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica begins mitigation of Nicaragua’s canal work in disputed area Costa Rica adds yet another claim to ongoing border dispute with Nicaragua Costa Rica begins repairing damages on island disputed by Nicaragua International Court of Justice to rule on Costa Rica-Nicaragua border dispute on Dec. 16 Costa Rican Environment Vice Minister Ana Lorena Guevara reiterated on Thursday that Nicaragua’s dredging of two artificial canals in Costa Rica’s northeastern region had caused considerable environmental damage to protected wetlands.“The environmental damage is so severe that it makes it impossible to fully restore the wetlands to their original state due to at least one of the two 200-meter canals,” Guevara said at a press conference on Thursday.“The depth of the canal created by dredging did not leave sufficient substrate for species to grow back,” she said.Environment Ministry (MINAE) officials joined a group of experts from the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, or Ramsar, which included specialists in hydrology and marine biology.The mission on Monday conducted air, aquatic and ground inspections in an area known as Isla Portillos, or Isla Calero,  a small wetland of 1.2 square miles that both countries claim as their own. The case is being heard by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.The wetlands, declared of international importance in 1996, were invaded by Nicaragua in 2010 with the goal of opening an artificial passage connecting the San Juan River and the Caribbean Sea for navigational purposes. The move led to an international dispute at The Hague-based court.Recommended: A timeline of the disputeOn November 22, the world court ordered the removal of all dredging equipment, military personnel and civilian groups in the area, except Ramsar and Costa Rican environmental experts, who are conducting damage assessments.Prior to the court rulings, Costa Rica in September released satellite photos showing the excavation of two canals in the disputed wetland, and this week’s inspection confirmed the canals currently have widths ranging from 12-28 meters, and depths ranging from 50 centimeters to 2 meters.Material removed by the dredges formed small islands of sediment at various points in the previously flooded areas. “We could even walk over them,” Guevara said.Trees and native vegetation also were removed. Inspectors found extensive damage to a never-before-registered mangrove, which is unique in this region of the Caribbean coast.The western canal, located some 300 meters from the eastern canal, caused less damage, mostly deforestation, and MINAE believes the area could be naturally restored.The eastern canal begins near the Caribbean shoreline, and officials say the world court rulings have prevented Nicaragua from finishing the canal, which would have led to the mixing of sea water and freshwater in the wetlands.Experts on Monday found sand excavations on the beach and an artificial dam that drops three feet from the beach level to the dredging area.“If they [Nicaragua] had finished this work, there would have been an intrusion of salt water into the wetlands’ fresh water that would have been catastrophic for the flora and fauna, which most likely would have disappeared,” the vice minister said.Under surveillanceAs in past MINAE missions, a Nicaraguan Army vessel followed the group throughout the day, starting at the San Juan River. Soldiers filmed and photographed the inspection. At one point a verbal confrontation took place between the two groups when soldiers tried to force inspectors to leave, Guevara said.“We told them our group was part of an official mission of the Costa Rican government and the Ramsar Convention, and according to provisions of the world court at The Hague we had complied with the requirement of sending a written notice to the Foreign Ministry in Managua,” the Costa Rican official said.María Rivera, a Ramsar adviser for the Americas, also spoke with soldiers. “She told them we had permission to be in the area and that a full report of the inspection would be sent to the Nicaraguan government in coming days,” Guevara said.During past trips to the area, Nicaraguan soldiers blocked visits by experts by denying them navigation permits on the San Juan River. This time, inspectors entered the area by air.The Ramsar experts will prepare a report of the inspection, which is expected to be made public in early April. That report will include recommendations for mitigating the environmental damage to the area. Facebook Commentslast_img read more