Bob Weir & Phil Lesh Confirm Live Webcasts For Upcoming Duo Tour

first_imgThis weekend, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh will begin a 6-date run of “Bobby & Phil” duo shows, the first of their kind for the two founding Grateful Dead bandmates. Now, has announced that they will be webcasting all six of the upcoming shows, so you can witness the performances from the comfort of your couch (or wherever you happen to be).The Bobby & Phil duo will perform two nights at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on Friday, March 2nd and Saturday, March 3rd followed by two nights at Boston’s Wang Theatre on Wednesday, March 7th and Thursday, March 8th and, finally, two nights at Chicago’s Chicago Theatre on Saturday, March 10th and Sunday, March 11th. The tour is being presented by Peter Shapiro, the man behind Fare Thee Well, LOCKN’, Brooklyn Bowl, The Capitol Theatre, and a variety of other large-scale live music projects.Pre-orders for Bobby & Phil webcasts are available now through here. You can order a single show, or select a discounted 2-pack or 6-pack. You can also elect to add an mp3 of the performance to your order. Each of the webcasts is scheduled to begin at 7:45 local time (7:45 ET for New York and Boston; 8:45 ET for Chicago).Not much is known about these upcoming shows. The tour was initially revealed by Weir during an interview on SiriusXM’s Tales from The Golden Road. During the broadcast, Weir elaborated slightly on the tour, noting that, in addition to the Grateful Dead bassist and guitarist, fans can expect to see a number of special guests join the two during the performances. Various other rumors have circulated regarding the format of the shows, though the band has yet to officially announce any specifics of what fans can expect at the performances. We’ll just have to wait and see…Until then, you check out the official website for the Bobby & Phil duo to purchase tickets or find out more.Bob Weir And Phil Lesh Tour DatesMarch 2 – New York, NY – Radio City Music HallMarch 3 – New York, NY – Radio City Music HallMarch 7 – Boston, MA – Wang TheatreMarch 8 – Boston, MA – Wang TheatreMarch 10 – Chicago, IL – Chicago TheatreMarch 11 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre[H/T Jambase]last_img read more

INFOGRAPHIC: 4 steps to make cloud deliver on its promise

first_imgWhy should businesses adopt cloud computing? There are many reasons but I want to focus on the killer reason: speed of response. From my experience, internal IT struggles most in this area, which is why users turn to “shadow IT” solutions. These in turn cause major headaches for CIOs the world over, nearly 3 in 4 of whom don’t know how many shadow IT apps are running in their business.The implication is that internal IT hasn’t responded to users’ need for speed. But why not?Because we’ve spent the last two decades, seeking to consolidate IT infrastructure into a centralised yet heterogeneous environment. This was in response to perceived inefficiency and difficulty in managing the extensive distribution of IT that then prevailed. Enterprises had discrete IT resources in every department and division, which in turn meant most of those resources were underutilised.Hence the move to “consolidate” into pools of shared resources. Putting all of IT’s infrastructure in a single place allowed you to aggressively drive down costs as far as possible. Thanks to relatively open and common interoperability standards, this cost-driven “pick and mix” approach led to the heterogeneous IT environment – and the siloing of IT into Network, Compute,  Storage, Systems Management disciplines – which we see in most IT organisation structures today.This heterogeneity is the primary hurdle to adequately responding to that need for speed. As an organisational model, it’s well past its use-by date.Most CIOs first attempted to respond by purchasing cloud automation software tools, then trying to layer this over their current infrastructure.The majority of these attempts fail resoundingly.  The reason is that Cloud is only 20% technology, the other 80% is people and processes.  External Cloud Providers have built radically different processes to deliver their services. Internal IT struggles to emulate these processes, as doing so involves significant change to the current operating model.  Making this change involves rethinking, dismantling and rebuilding just about every current process in internal IT.So what can CIOs do to get the cloud to deliver on its promise?#1: Standardise your infrastructure.One of the biggest promises of the cloud is speed which is delivered through automation of routine processes – but automation requires standardisation. If your infrastructure keeps changing, you can’t automate workloads without risking performance fluctuations. Do away with “choice on every layer” and force your IT team to adopt a single standard for all infrastructure that’s secure, scalable, and reliable. Remember, if it isn’t standardised, you can’t automate it.#2: Standardise your services.The standardisation principle also applies to what your end-users receive. Only when IT ruthlessly eliminates unnecessary variance in the services you offer can you start to automate and speed up the provisioning of services.  This requires significant management of expectations and internal “selling” of the value the business can get by limiting the variances to an absolute minimum. If you’re rolling out VDI, see if you can satisfy 95% of users with just three standard images. Don’t get me wrong – this is hard yards – but trying to automate an infinite number of user images will never work.#3: Dismantle your siloes. This is perhaps the hardest, but most critical point of all. CIOs need to break down the barricades between compute, storage, and network siloes so that a single IT body delivers all services throughout the business. Using Converged Infrastructure helps a lot here. This requires extensive skills development and change management, particularly in helping technical experts relinquish their domain – but the alternative is the dysfunctional and unresponsive IT landscape we’re seeing today.#4: Add the software layer. Only when business processes and IT operating environments have been streamlined, should the business introduce Cloud Software Tools to automate services. With a standard infrastructure and services catalogue in place, and an organisational model that is responsible for all elements of the service, these tools can be very effective.  Without that, there will be wasted money and time.Only the CIO can own the agenda to deliver a high quality internal cloud-like experience. CIOs that are not up for the challenge in people and processes will struggle to deliver services comparable to those that are externally available. When that happens, the trend to Shadow IT will accelerate.Get it right and you can deliver services with speed and agility that are comparable to external Public providers. But at the same time, you’ll have better outcomes in the critical areas of security, data sovereignty, service availability and overall service costs. That’s the best way to get IT out of the shadows.last_img read more

SMC expands academic and athletic facilities

first_imgNew fields and traditions are taking root at Saint Mary’s this spring as construction progresses on the Patricia Wiedner Purcell Athletic Fields and yet-unnamed Science Hall.Austin Stahley, manager of energy and facilities projects, said in an email that the concession building of the field complex has been finished, and permanent power for the athletic complex had been completed at the end of the December. This enabled all the equipment and lighting to be energized, he said.The last five to 10 percent of field construction, including softball field fine-turning and drainage and seeding, will resume in the spring, Stahley said.“At this time, there are numerous variables that will affect our decision on how soon the fields will be available for practices, games, events, etc.,” Stahley said. “We will be monitoring the maturity of the turf to determine when appropriate conditions have been met to avoid adverse effects to the complex as a whole.”The fields include a soccer, lacrosse and softball field, Athletic Director Julie Schroeder-Biek said.“To have a field dedicated to each of those sports is huge because most colleges will share a soccer field and lacrosse field,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We have independent fields for each of those sports, and that’s incredibly exciting.”A new lighting system will also benefit the student athletes of the College, she said.“I am thrilled about the lights,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We’ll have night games, and that will allow [the students] to stay in class a little bit longer, and that will be less class time missed.”Schroeder-Biek said the complex also includes a scoreboard and press boxes. The most recent large-scale athletic department renovation was the construction of the current Angela Athletic Facility in 1977, she said.“[The new complex] is finally what this campus deserves in terms of varsity athletic fields,” she said. “Now they have that NCAA DIII varsity athletics feel. … I can’t wait for the visiting teams to see the fields. The soccer fields were the best fields in the league, and now I’m really excited about the look and the quality.”The presence of a large, French cross-shaped gate and the likely addition of a bell to ring before games and after victories adds to the collegiate curb appeal and new traditions brought by the project, she said.Senior lacrosse captain Kristen Whalen said she is excited about developing and sharing new traditions with the lacrosse team this season.“The iron gates featuring the French cross at the entrance are absolutely marvelous,” Whalen said. “I can’t wait to watch them become another charming and distinguishable feature at Saint Mary’s, like the iconic Le Mans façade.”The use of the fields this spring season depends on the stability of the newly-grown root base and subsoil, Schroeder-Biek said.“They’re beautiful, and we’re all so anxious to get out on those fields,” Schroeder-Biek said. “And it’s so much easier on the student-athlete experience. It was really tough on soccer this fall to have to go off-site all the time for practices. “We’re really hopeful we can be out there in the spring,” she said. “We’re at that wait-and-see moment right now.”Whalen said she is also anxious to play on the fields and believes pride in the new complex will feed into the team’s competitive edge.“In the past, our home facilities have been fairly rugged in comparison to larger, co-ed schools in our conference,” Whalen said. “On and off the field, a Belle exudes class, is fiercely competitive and relentlessly puts her best foot forward until the end — now we are blessed to have a facility that embodies these characteristics, too.”“I am so humbled by the Purcells’ generosity,” Whalen said. “The attention to detail surpasses everything I could have hoped for. The thought of playing on the field for Senior Day [on April 16] is honestly more exciting than graduation.”Plans for a future renovation and addition onto Angela Athletic Facility are in discussion, Schroeder-Biek said.Construction of the Science Hall is also making progress and is on track to meet the fall 2016 completion date, Stahley said in an email. The mild winter has been beneficial in keeping on track, he said.“We’ve been able to keep a constant workforce on site to enable the project’s success and fall completion,” Stahley said. “For example, with the minimal amount of snow, less attention and labor hours are being delegated toward usually important items such as snow removal on the roof.“This benefits everyone’s progress because of the connection and coordination between the different trades.”Currently, attention is being focused on the existing south side, he said.“Due to the phasing aspect of this project, certain classrooms and lab spaces need to be completed before we can begin demolition and renovation of existing areas to maintain associated learning environments,” Stahley said. “The majority of the remaining work will not be completed earlier than this summer or fall of 2016.” Tags: construction update, new athletic fields, new science hall, SMClast_img read more

Patagonia Fitz Sneak: The one quiver shoe

first_imgIs it just me, or has the world become overly specialized? With more and more products flooding the market, and more and more people doing different stuff all the time, it seems like everything new is developed specifically for one special thing. Gone are the days of the one-quiver anything, now you have to have a different something for each endeavor. Powder skis, groomer skis, park skis, backcountry skis. Downhill bike, cross-country bike, park bike, commuter bike. Small stream trout rod, big river trout rod, smallmouth bass rod, largemouth bass rod. You get the picture, and that’s just the hard goods. When it comes to soft goods, the issue is even more dynamic with baselayers, mid layers, jackets, hats, pants, and of course shoes.Let me be upfront in saying that I am both a gear hound and a shoe hound. My closet is loaded with both from years of dedicated and deliberate accumulation, much of it specialized to the point of never getting used because as often as I would like, I never seem to use my ten-mile-and-above-wet-weather-hydration-compatible-high-altitude day pack or my low-light-late-season-snowing-but-not-too-hard-high-exertion ski goggle lenses. True, sometimes the situation calls for a specialized piece, but usually I just go with whatever gear I’ve used the most because most of the time confidence in what you are using trumps any advantages over-specialization brings to the table.This is why my go-to footwear over the past few weeks has been the Patagonia Fitz. At first glance the Fitz is just another sneaker – albeit made by one of the largest and diverse outdoor brands in the game today – but look a little harder and the Fitz is much more. This is a shoe for all occasions due to its construction and style. Allow me to elaborate.From a technical standpoint, the Fitz fits the bill for all types of active pursuits. First, it’s a lightweight shoe, has a breathable mesh lining, cushy insole and foot bed, and a grippy rubber sole for traction. All this adds up to a super comfortable sneaker equally adept at urban assaults or short day hikes. I would not hesitate to take this shoe out on the trail – in fact, I have done this – because the suede upper prevents the usual wear and tear from dirt, sticks, and the rocks I usually kick down the trail pretending to be a caveman version of Pele. Speaking of suede, that brings me to my next point: style.The Fitz is low profile, meaning they look great with shorts and allow pant or jean cuffs to drape over them with ease. The leather adds a touch of class to this shoe allowing you to sport them at the bar or the boardroom – with three subdued color options, they can almost pass as a type of dress shoe (this may be a stretch depending on what you consider a dress shoe, but they have leather so…). The stitching of the Fitz Roy silhouette, and Patagonia logo, is a unique feature I have not seen on a shoe before – this is no Swoosh.I tend to opt for some type of sneaker in the summer as oppose to flops just in case I need to break into a sprint at any given moment, plus I enjoy the support for my freestyle walking habit. The great thing about the Fitz is it satisfies my wife’s desire for me to not wear skate shoes – she finds them tacky, and I don’t skate so they also make me a poser – while satisfying my desire to be ready to chase a purse snatcher, climb a tree, race a bike, hop a fence, dunk, launch a staircase, send a gap, or otherwise display my athletic prowess at the drop of a hat.I can do all this while still keeping it cool and classy in the Fitz, and that’s all you can ask for in a shoe.last_img read more

Peru Will Be No. 1 Coca Producer By 2011, Experts Say

first_imgBy Dialogo August 18, 2009 Peru could displace Colombia in 2011 as the world’s biggest producer of coca, the raw material of cocaine, according to experts quoted by La Republica newspaper. In “2011 or 2012 Peru very probably should come to be the No. 1 producer of cocaine in the world, as occurred in the 1980s,” analyst Jaime Garcia Diaz told the paper. In that decade, the amount of territory in Peru on which coca leaf was being grown was about 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres). In 2005, about 48,200 hectares were used to grow coca and in 2008 56,100 hectares, and at present the country is the world’s second largest producer of coca, according to the United Nations. If the rising trend of the past few years is maintained, with coca production increasing by about 4 or 5 percent annually, coca leaf cropland in Peru will total 75,000 hectares in 2011, despite the government’s efforts to eradicate about 10,000 hectares of the illegal crop each year. In contrast, in Colombia, the land area on which coca leaf was being grown, by 2008, had fallen by 18 percent to about 80,953 hectares, according to U.N. figures cited by La Republica. Garcia Diaz and drug trafficking expert Jaime Antezana, both of whom are with ConsultAndes, agree that the aggressive campaign to eradicate coca plots being pursued in Colombia could cause drug traffickers to shift their production to Peru. This situation “would cause the coca land area in our country to grow by about 10 percent,” said Garcia Diaz, emphasizing that the government’s efforts to eradicate the coca leaf cropland are insufficient. The areas of greatest coca leaf and cocaine production in Peru are the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene Rivers and the Huallaga Valley, where drug traffickers linked with the so-called “remnants” of the Shining Path guerrilla group operate. Peru, like neighboring Bolivia, allows cultivation of coca in small quantities for use in teas, folk remedies and Andean religious rites. Since time immemorial, Andean peasants have chewed coca – a mild stiumulant in its unadulterated form – to ward off hunger pangs and cope with the affects of altitude sickness.last_img read more

Momentum builds for extending DNA testing

first_img September 1, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News Momentum builds for extending DNA testing Governor orders evidence preserved while legislators propose no innocence deadline Jan Pudlow Senior Editor With an October 1 deadline looming, greater opportunities for DNA testing for claims of innocence are advancing in all three branches of government.In the executive branch, on August 5, Gov. Jeb Bush signed Executive Order 05-160 to preserve physical evidence for post-conviction DNA testing, saying, “the destruction of this evidence could potentially enable the innocent to be wrongly convicted and the guilty to go free.”In the legislative branch, Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, and Rep. John Quinones, R-Kissimmee, both lawyers, are filing bills to do away with any deadline for post-conviction DNA testing. Taking the DNA testing matter even further is HB 71, filed jointly by Rep. Phillip Brutus, D-N. Miami, and Rep. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, also both lawyers, which would create the Florida Commission on Innocence.Poised to work toward a judicial-branch solution is a team of pro bono attorneys at Carlton Fields — Sylvia Walbolt, chair of the firm’s board of directors in Tampa, former chief judge of the Second District Court of Appeal John Blue (whom Walbolt said has “been instrumental and a real inspiration to all of us”), and Nancy Henry in the Miami office.“Carlton Fields has joined with the Innocence Project to evaluate whether a petition needs to be filed with the court, similar to the one filed in 2003,” Walbolt said. “We are evaluating whether we need to do that in light of the governor’s executive order and the potential legislation. You could be in a position to have the evidence preserved, but you can’t file the petition for testing it. That is the problem. There are just not enough lawyers to assist people in seeking to get access to that evidence. The real question is whether the legislation takes care of it.”All of this DNA action has been heartening to Jenny Greenberg, director of the Florida Innocence Initiative in Tallahassee, where more than 1,200 cases are piled up waiting for evaluations for DNA testing on claims of innocence.“Though I knew the governor was looking at the issue, I had no idea that it was going to be successful,” Greenberg said. “I have to say I am absolutely thrilled. This is very, very big.”Fighting against the clock of the October 1 deadline, Greenberg said, “Maintaining the evidence is the most critical thing that needed to happen. We are nothing but grateful the executive branch exerted leadership on a criminal justice crisis. There is a tremendous sense of relief. The deadline is still coming. We are not out of the woods in any way, shape, or form. But when we do get out of the woods, we will have evidence to test.” Not the ‘Bird Road Rapist’ The governor’s action came two days after 67-year-old Luis Diaz was exonerated as the “Bird Road Rapist” after 26 years wrongly locked in prison. Those two events prompted a joint letter to the editor to Florida’s daily newspapers from Florida Bar President Alan Bookman and President-elect Hank Coxe, a criminal defense attorney:“Two major events took place.. . which served as reminders that Florida’s judicial system serves as a national model while remaining a complex and difficult process,” they wrote.“The first was the release of Luis Diaz in a Miami courtroom after he spent 26 years in prison. The tragic but remarkable result was the product of modern science coupled with a true commitment to justice by Florida lawyers Stephen Artusi, Stephen Warren, New York lawyers Barry Scheck and Colin Starger, and many others.“The second was the executive order by Gov. Jeb Bush, who should be loudly applauded for this action, to preserve evidence for future DNA testing which could lead to the exoneration of other innocent people, accompanied by a renewed commitment to identifying the true perpetrators of the crimes.” The 21st Century Fingerprint Exonerating the innocent and finding the true criminals is the impetus for Villalobos and Quinones to file their bills removing the deadline for DNA testing, an issue that has come before the legislature for extensions since Villalobos sponsored the first DNA testing bill in 2001.“I’m not going to ask for any more extensions, because in two years we will be here again,” said Villalobos, a former prosecutor and the Senate majority leader.“I think the public has accepted the science of DNA. The technology has gotten to the point that it is a scientific certainty. It is no longer a theory and the public understands what it is now and it works. It is nothing more than a genetic fingerprint. It is the 21st century fingerprint.”Both Quinones and Villalobos said their bills will support DNA testing even for those who entered no contest or guilty pleas, recognizing that even the innocent sometimes enter pleas in order to avoid harsher sentences or the death penalty.“We are going to make a match,” Quinones said of the bills. (Quinones’ bill is HB 61, and Villalobos’ bill, he said, is “still in the hopper.”) “I am committed to working with Sen. Villalobos.. . . I think there should not be an expiration on innocence.”Quinones said he is “very optimistic” after the governor signed the executive order and hopes the bills proposing the removal of the October 1 deadline for DNA testing could be added in the call for a special session expected this fall on slot machines. If not, Villalobos said, their bills would be retroactive to include anyone barred from filing for DNA testing because of the deadline.Allowing DNA testing for claims of innocence, Villalobos said, will bring finality to victims of crimes.“If I were a victim or the family member of a victim, finality to me means the guilty person is paying the price for the crime committed. Having the wrong person in prison serves no public purpose. First of all, it is immoral to have someone innocent in prison. Second, the guilty person is free. When I heard about Mr. Diaz, the first thing that came to mind is, ‘Oh, my God, he’s innocent!’ The second thing that came to mind is, ‘The real criminal is out there.’”Citing new DNA test results, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle joined in a motion with the Innocence Project of the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law and co-counsel Holland & Knight to vacate five 1980 convictions of Diaz.The new DNA test results, according to the Innocence Project, supported Diaz’s claim that he was mistakenly identified by eight different victims who were attacked in eight different incidents.“This should be a landmark case in the history of eyewitness reform,”Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, said in a prepared statement.“There are reforms police and prosecutors are using across the country that reduce error, protect the innocent, and help apprehend the guilty. It’s just good law enforcement. We hope in light of a case like Mr. Diaz’s that they are adopted rapidly everywhere.” Learning From Mistakes That would be one of the goals of HB 71, filed by Brutus and Joyner.The bill proposes the creation of a 12-member Florida Commission on Innocence, including an appointee by the Florida Supreme Court, who would be the presiding officer and would then appoint two members of the general public and two representatives from the academic community specializing in criminal justice and forensic science.The other seven appointees would be named by The Florida Bar, the Florida Public Defender Association, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the Criminal Courts Steering Committee, the governor, and the chairs of both of the Democratic Caucus and the Republican Caucus of the House of Representatives.Their charge, according to the bill, would be to “thoroughly investigate all postconviction exonerations.. . . ascertain what errors or defects, if any, occurred in the investigation, prosecution, defense, or judicial administration of the case that led to the wrongful conviction.”Calling it “our dream bill,” Greenberg, of the Florida Innocence Initiative, said: “We all know that the real impact on our justice system is not freeing the relative handful, but the lessons these cases teach. Let’s go about enacting some remedies. A year after Wilton Dedge, we still have jailhouse snitches. This is the only ethical response to the devastation we are seeing in these cases.” Dedge Still Waits for Justice As for Dedge, the 43-year-old Florida man still waits for justice. After spending more than half his life in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, after 16 years that dragged by after he first asked for DNA testing that would finally exonerate him, he walked out of a cell in August 2004.A year later, Dedge does not feel free. “I’m still in a way doing time, because I’ve got the case on my mind every day,” he told the St. Petersburg Times. After frustrated attempts to garner compensation from the legislature, his pro bono attorney Sandy D’Alemberte is now suing the state, using the unique argument that the state took Dedge’s liberty, similar to the taking of property.Meanwhile, back at the legislature, Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, has once again filed a claims bill (SB 72) to compensate Dedge.Once again in the House, Quinones, chair of the Claims Committee, said he will work toward a holistic approach to compensate the wrongly incarcerated, including health insurance, education, and jobs. Florida would have been the first in the nation to take that approach, Quinones said, noting that in July, Louisiana became the first state to embrace the holistic approach with a $150,000 cap on compensation.Quinones’s holistic approach bill failed in the last days of the session in May, when the Senate refused to concur with the House plan and it died in messages. The Senate’s Wrongful Incarceration Compensation Act would have paid a single applicant up to $5 million and likened compensating Dedge and others wrongfully incarcerated to condemnation of land in an eminent domain case. The original House plan had set a cap at the sovereign immunity of $200,000, which was later removed, and nixed the option of going to court to get a judgment and or going through the Attorney General’s Office in negotiations, leaving compensation decisions totally with the legislature.“I can’t tell you the specifics of the bill we will look at,” Quinones said, saying discussions include establishing a third-party agency to review applications and “not necessarily leave it up to the legislature. That was the concern of the Senate. We are willing to compromise and make changes to get us closer to the Senate, including compensation for Wilton Dedge.” Momentum builds for extending DNA testinglast_img read more

For credit union executives, these are exciting times

ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Numbers don’t lie, and the statistics suggest that credit unions are growing within the United States. Membership at credit unions increased by 0.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015, according to the Credit Union National Association. During the 12 months from April 2014 to March 2015, membership rose 2.9 percent, well above the national population growth, which saw a 0.7 percent increase.For credit union executives, this is wonderful news. The more members a credit union has, the more money at its disposal to hire employees, hand out loans and help members make investments. However, executives should know that while more Americans than ever before are choosing to join credit unions, these same people are changing how they invest their money.Credit card debt droppingOne of the biggest changes in thinking among American consumers concerns debt. Paying off debt is an issue the affects many people. The average American owes more than $7,000 in credit card debt, according to financial blog NerdWallet. If citizens with no debt are eliminated from the equation, then the average person has an outstanding credit card balance of more than twice that, a total of $15,706. continue reading » read more

TWA Flight 800 Remembered on 20th Anniversary

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Ana BorrutoSunday marks 20 years since TWA Flight 800 exploded over the Atlantic Ocean several miles off Long Island, killing all 230 onboard, yet the debate over the exact cause of the tragedy rages on.The anniversary has brought new attention to old questions regarding whether terrorism, so-called “friendly fire,” or a technological malfunction brought the plane down. Theories have circulated since the disaster that Flight 800’s demise was the result of an errant missile fired by the U.S. Navy, or a terrorist. Victims’ families and loved ones joined first responders Sunday honoring all those who lost their lives.“Sometimes I go ‘Well, why me? Why did I survive and then my friends did not?’” said David Crane, a former TWA flight attendant who was on the same plane days before it crashed. He said flight attendants went through more advanced training after the crash. “It went from ‘How to handle hijackers’ to how to handle ‘if you survive, if there is a bomb on board,’ which is a totally different scenario.”The Boeing 747 destined for Paris fell from the sky 12 minutes after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on the night of July 17, 1996. It ranks as the third-deadliest aviation accident in U.S. history. The victims are remembered at the TWA Flight 800 International Memorial at Smith Point County Park in Shirley.Among those hosting memorial events is Barry Donadio, who was an EMT at the time. He responded to the crash site after he and other first responders were told there were survivors. But once on the scene, they soon realized the sad reality that there were no survivors, as the bodies of passengers and crew members were brought ashore.“There are times you can be the best EMT, doctor, or whatever you are, and there’s sometimes nothing you can do other than pray for somebody,” Donadio said.The victims included 16 members of a Pennsylvania high school French club, American composer David Hogan and Jack O’Hara, executive producer of ABC Sports.Christine Negroni, an aviation journalist who was at the scene for six weeks covering the crash for CNN, recalled that she was on one of TWA’s 747s to Rome two weeks before the crash.“It feels very personal when you [try to] imagine what it was like to be those people,” Negroni said. “I did think about that quite a bit when I was out at the scene for CNN.”Negroni is the author of The Crash Detectives: Investigating the World’s Most Mysterious Air Disasters, which is due out in September, one of several books that explore the cause of Flight 800. Negroni doubts theories that a missile brought down the plane, as some witnesses have said. Four years after the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the likely culprit was an electrical malfunction causing the fuel tank to explode.“Problems have been solved,” Negroni said. “Every catastrophe creates an opportunity to make a safer airplane.”Another book, TWA Flight 800: The Crash, The Cover-up, and The Conspiracy, by journalist Jack Cashill, released July 5, revisits theories that the plane was brought down by terrorists, by the U.S. military, or other means besides the NTSB’s narrative.But regardless of what brought the plane down, the victims’ friends and family hope the anniversary will help bring closure, while keeping their loved ones’ memories alive.last_img read more

Trump order targets Chinese internet stars TikTok, WeChat

first_imgTopics : Trump’s order cites a threat to “national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States” in taking aim at the companies.”TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories,” the order contended.Data from TikTok could potentially be used by China to track the locations of federal employees and contractors, build dossiers on people for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage, the order alleged.The TikTok mobile app has been downloaded some 175 million times in the US and more than a billion times around the world. US President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered sweeping restrictions against Chinese-owned social media stars TikTok and WeChat, which could strangle their ability to operate in the United States.Trump’s executive order, which takes effect in 45 days, bars anyone under US jurisdiction from doing business with TikTok or WeChat’s owners.It heaps pressure on ByteDance, TikTok’s parent, to close negotiations to sell to Microsoft and further escalates the Trump administration’s multi-front confrontation with Beijing.center_img The US Senate voted Thursday to bar TikTok from being downloaded onto US government employees’ telephones, intensifying US scrutiny of the popular Chinese-owned video app.The bill passed by the Republican controlled Senate now goes to the House of Representatives, led by Democrats.Several US agencies already bar employees from downloading TikTok onto their phones.Trump and other officials have argued the app could be used for Chinese espionage, a claim repeatedly denied by TikTok, which does not operate within China.Trump, who has locked horns with China on a range of issues including trade and the coronavirus pandemic, has set a deadline of mid-September for TikTok to be acquired by a US firm or be banned in the United States.Microsoft has expanded its talks on TikTok to a potential deal that would include buying the global operations of the fast-growing video-sharing app, the Financial Times reported Thursday.Microsoft declined to comment on the report, after previously disclosing it was considering a deal for TikTok operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.TikTok’s kaleidoscopic feeds of short video clips feature everything from hair dye tutorials to dance routines and jokes about daily life.The company on Thursday announced plans for its first data center for European users, to be set up in Ireland.WeChat is a messaging, social media, and electronic payment platform owned by TenCent Holdings and is reported to have more than a billion users.Trump’s order contended that WeChat captures user data that could then exploited by the Chinese government but provided no evidence that is happening.”WeChat captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States,” the order read.”Thereby allowing the Chinese Communist Party a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens who may be enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives.”last_img read more

Talanx and ver.di strike deal in breakthrough for new German DC model

first_img“The fact that Talanx – as the first employer in Germany – now plans to implement this new instrument of retirement provision on a joint basis with us represents an important step especially for employees with low incomes and can could be a model for other companies.“ The prospective plan will be provided via Die Deutsche Betriebsrente, a vehicle set up by Talanx and fellow insurer Zurich last year. It may yet also secure Zurich as a client, with the insurer saying it also intended to adopt the social partner model, and planned to begin negotiations with ver.di shortly.The Talanx spokesman explained that Talanx and ver.di hoped their agreement could serve as a blueprint. “We have to wait and see if other industries feel fired up by it,” he said. Finally!The new type of pension provision has been permissible since the beginning of 2018, when major occupational pensions reform legislation entered into force, and take-up of the option has been keenly anticipated.Klaus Stiefermann, managing director of aba, Germany’s main workplace pensions association, said: “As aba we are very happy that there’s some movement with regard to the social partner model. From what we read [this development] looks very promising.”The new type of arrangement is referred to as the social partner model because it has to be collectively agreed by the employer or employer associations, and the employee side. The social partners are responsible for jointly “steering” the arrangement, which provides a “pure DC” or “defined ambition” pension plan to reflect the fact that neither the employer nor the pension fund or insurer can be on the hook for any benefits.This represents a major change in occupational pensions in Germany, with the point being that guarantees come at a cost, therefore eating into returns – a particular concern in light of negative interest rates and low yields.“Now occupational pensions can benefit from participating in productive capital,” said aba’s Stiefermann. “We wish the negotiating partners success – the importance of their leadership with regard to [the new model] cannot be emphasised enough.” The plan is to be implemented after approval from BaFin, the financial regulator. Martina Grundler, insurance expert at ver.di, which covers the services sector, added: “For employees, the social partner model can be a sensible building block for financial security in old age. The German insurer Talanx and the country’s second largest trade union ver.di have agreed to deliver a defined contribution (DC) plan under the so-called social partner model, marking a breakthrough for a new approach to pensions in Germany.“The social partner model is alive and well – despite all the naysayers,” said Fabian von Löbbecke, a member of the board at Talanx.“Roughly two years after the act to strengthen company pensions came into effect, we have found an important partner in ver.di, with whom we have now established the foundation for making the new retirement provision model available to our employees.”The two parties still have to agree technical details, with Talanx saying the agreement with ver.di was expected to be finalised by the beginning of January 2020. Von Löbbecke described the negotiations as “constructive and goal-oriented”. last_img read more