NCLT Benches To Resume Physical Hearings From March 1

first_imgNews UpdatesNCLT Benches To Resume Physical Hearings From March 1 LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK23 Feb 2021 7:01 AMShare This – xThe National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has decided to resume physical hearing of cases filed before it from March 1. However, if any party expresses difficulty in physical hearing, he/ she may be permitted to appear via video conferencing. As per an office order issued by the Registrar, “All NCLT Benches shall start regular Physical hearing w.e.f 0l.03.2021. In case any…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has decided to resume physical hearing of cases filed before it from March 1. However, if any party expresses difficulty in physical hearing, he/ she may be permitted to appear via video conferencing. As per an office order issued by the Registrar, “All NCLT Benches shall start regular Physical hearing w.e.f 0l.03.2021. In case any counsel/ representative of party expresses difficulty in physical hearing, he/ she may be permitted for virtual hearing.” The Principal Bench of the NCLT shall comprise of BSV Prakash Kumar (Acting President) and Hemant Kumar Sarangi (Member). Further, five Division Benches will function in the prescribed alternate arrangement at Delhi, two Division Benches shall be functional in Chennai and five in Mumbai (of these two Division Benches will function in an alternate fashion). Access the Officer Order attached below to access Bench constitution of all NCLT Benches. Click Here To Download Order Read OrderSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more

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Tips for a positive resignation

first_img 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Most employees will face a time when, for whatever reason, they decide to leave an employer. When that occurs, how they approach the situation can have a big impact on their relationship with their former employer. Even though they may be eager to move on to the next great opportunity, burning bridges is never advised.Here are some best practice recommendations to leave on the right foot and boost the odds of maintaining a positive relationship:Whenever possible, tell your manager first, says Laurie J. Maddalena, CPCC, PHR, CEO/chief leadership consultant with Envision Excellence LLC, in Rockville, Md. “Don’t go first to HR and bypass your direct manager unless there’s something egregious going on,” says Maddalena.Follow up your verbal notice with a resignation letter. “Thank the company if that resonates with you—for their support or training or whatever,” Maddalena recommends. In addition, she says: “If you had a great relationship with your manager, mention that you appreciate the manager’s support.” continue reading »last_img read more

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Over 28K ‘lockdown’ babies expected in WV this year

first_imgHe added that since March, health centers saw a 50-percent drop in people using their services, mostly due to lack of public transport, limited clinical staff and reduced clinic hours. Harold Alfred Marshall, director of the Commission on Population (POPCOM) Region 6, said that over 28,000 babies are expected to be born by December this year in the region or nine months after the beginning of community quarantine.  The national lockdown started on March 16. This estimate, according to Marshall, was based on the 2010 to 2015 census of the Philippine Statistics Authority. He noted that the regular number of births in Western Visayas was 14,408 in a two-month period, citing the census. These commodities include pills, injectables, intrauterine device, and progestin subdermal implants. He said the quarantines imposed in various provinces and cities made it harder for married women of reproductive age to go to health centers where contraceptives are available. “We are looking twice the risk at 28,860 births pero these are just projections. We will see additional births kon tanan nga married couples nga na-lockdown will have unprotected sex,” Marshall said. ILOILO City – The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will not just cause deaths in Western Visayas but will also lead to the birth of more babies.center_img “Amo ina ang estimated birth rate nga wala lockdown, ano pa gid ayhan kon may ara,” Marshall pointed out. Last March – when lockdown measures were still relatively new – POPCOM-6 urged couples to avail themselves family planning commodities at their health centers may it be a temporary, permanent, or natural modern scientific method. Apart from impeded family planning services, POPCOM-6, according to Marshall, is also looking into adolescent pregnancies and incest as contributing factors in the projected spike in the region’s population. “Possible ang family planning programs kon wala nag-untat, basi naghina kay nahadlok ang aton health providers mag-provide family planning kay may direct face-to-face contact. Ang iban nga health providers ginlain ang ila assignment; imbes nga mag-distribute sang family planning commodities, nag-distribute sang relief packs,” Marshall said. The pandemic also disrupted family planning services offered by local government units (LGUs).   Marshall, once again, appealed to couples in the region: “Indi gid kita mag-untat demand sang serbisyo particular sang family planning sa aton local government kay inyo ini sia deretso.”  He also urged LGUs to remain committed to their advocacy in ensuring uninterrupted rollout and access of reproductive rights, particularly on family planning services, despite the ongoing health crisis. “Kinahanglan padayun ang paghatag sang serbisyo sa family planning sa mga kababainhan kag kalalakinhan nga nagapangita sang sining serbisyo,” Marshall said./PNlast_img read more

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Exhibition blowout to tip-off new year

first_imgGREGORY DIXON/Herald photoAfter coming out flat in a disappointing first half Wednesday night, the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team overcame a halftime deficit to defeat Division III opponent UW-Stevens Point, 77-58.UW-Stevens Point came out firing in the first half. Led by junior forward Haley Houghton, the Pointers led by as much as 13 before Wisconsin was able to cut the lead to two at halftime.”I want to give Stevens Point a lot of credit,” UW head coach Lisa Stone said. “They really came to play. They were energized early and hit some big shots early. Defensively, we didn’t get a whole lot of stops either.””I thought our kids played hard,” Stevens Point coach Shirley Egner said. “I think we got a lot out of the game. That was what we came down here to do, to see our strengths and weaknesses.”Although quiet for most of the first half, Wisconsin’s all-Big Ten guard Jolene Anderson helped spark a comeback just before halftime.”I felt like Jolene led the team,” UW guard Janese Banks said. “She was the most vocal I’ve ever seen her, which I thought was very good.””My shots just kind of started falling,” Anderson said of her play at the end of the half. “I knew Rae Lin (D’Alie) was going to give me some good passes that would lead to an open shot. I just had to come off the screens my teammates set.”Anderson and Banks became vocal leaders at halftime, diagramming for their teammates what needed to be done in the second half.”I had gotten in there and Jolene and Janese had already written on the board,” Stone said. “They didn’t need me in there at halftime.””Obviously in the first half, I knew the freshmen were going to be excited,” Anderson said. “At halftime, we sat down, we did write things on the board of what we needed to get done in the second half,” Anderson said.The Badgers came out ready to play in the second half, looking like a completely different team that had trailed their Division III opponent by double digits in the first half.Banks led Wisconsin in scoring with 17 points, helped by a 7-7 run at the free-throw line, and added five steals on defense.”It felt good to be out there,” said Banks, who missed part of last season with a foot injury. “It was just exciting for everybody. I love the energy. I felt like a lot of people were nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I know my teammates count on me to bring a lot of pressure and to help them when help is needed.”Coming into the season with a very young team, Stone utilized her freshmen often against UW-Stevens Point. She saw some early production from the newcomers, which includes seven freshman and junior transfer Ivana Mijalcevic.Freshman point guard D’Alie, standing at just 5-foot-3, started the game and played 25 minutes, contributing a pair of free throws and three assists.”Rae Lin deserves to start,” Stone said. “She’s done a great job of leading our team in practice, has really taken on the role of listening to what I say. She tries hard. She’s tough as nails. I think she defies all obstacles with her size. She might be short in stature, but she’s pretty big with a big heart.”Guard Teah Gant added eight points and three assists, and forward Mariah Dunham was big on the boards, collecting eight rebounds. Dunham also scored six points in her first game as a Badger.”You saw four freshmen out there an awful lot today,” Stone said. “For them to get their feet wet was a good experience. What I like about our new players is that they bring tremendous energy, they’re very focused, they’re excited. Everybody’s families are here. It’s exciting to have that.”Coach Stone feels her team can learn many things from the exhibition game.”We’re in a learning process right now,” Stone said. “When you can learn and find success in the learning process, that’s important with this young team.”Stone stressed the need to improve free-throw shooting and rebounding. Wisconsin went 19-30 at the free-throw line, and only out-rebounded the smaller Stevens Point squad by nine.”I think all of us need to address free-throw shooting,” Stone said, “and to be consistent on an intense level defensively for the whole game.”Despite an abundance of fresh faces on this year’s squad, Anderson feels that the chemistry level of the team is already high early on in the season.”I think our team chemistry is the best that I’ve seen in my first two years here,” Anderson said. “Our team just executed and went out in the second half and got things done.”last_img read more

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AH Women’s Website has Spread Coast-to-Coast

first_imgBy John BurtonATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – It’s surely an age-old question: What to do with the kids today? It’s a question Sherry Lombardi and Kerry Bowbliss, two young mothers with young children, found themselves asking.When they didn’t find an easy and available answer, they felt they weren’t alone and started a company that would meet that need.“We started it because we needed it,” Lombardi said, explaining how their company, Hulafrog, came to be.“The problem is there is so many things to do in the community,” Lombardi said, “but there is no central place to get that information.”The company got its unusual name because its founders wanted something fun, memorable and short that would convey the idea of children and their activities.Kerry Bowbliss, left, and Sherry Lombardi are co-founders of Hulafrog, an Internet company whose websites allow parents in a community to find activities and services for their children in one convenient location.The women, who both live in Atlantic Highlands, started their company in 2010, with a website focusing on the Red Bank area. Since launching the initial site and building their technology platform, Hulafrog has grown to 25 sites around the country. Its founders hope to be in 250 markets by the end of 2013, creating a truly national network of local sites.They are also hoping to garner the interest of national advertisers, Lombardi and Bowbliss said.The site lays out events, classes, activities, shopping and services geared for children, allowing the user to easily search and find specific things or just to get an idea.On the site for Monday, Sept. 17, among the items listed on the Red Bank site, under the “Top Rated Events Today,” were story time at the Red Bank Public Library for both the morning and afternoon sessions; and a baby-and-mom story time at the Monmouth County Public Library, Eastern Branch, in Shrewsbury Borough.The site also features “Our Picks” where those running the sites (publishers, as Lombardi and Bow­bliss call them) highlight some events or activities. On the Red Bank site they emphasized the Mon­mouth Day Care’s Touch-a-Truck event, scheduled for Sat­urday, Sept. 22, at the Red Bank Middle School.“Anybody can go on the site and find hundreds of events,” Lombardi said.Along with those listings, site visitors can find listings of related businesses and profiles of some advertisers.The sites generate revenue through advertising and about 82 percent of visitors have contacted a business that advertised on the sites. The Red Bank site sees about 5,000 to 6,000 visitors a month, the women said.Both women have backgrounds in Internet industries. Lombardi previously co-founded a web analytics firm; Bowbliss was involved in the publishing end of the financial services industry.Both left the corporate grind as they started families. Lombardi has an 8-year-old daughter and a son, 6; Bowbliss’ kids are a son, 8, and a 6-year-old daughter. After staying home with their young ones, the two felt it was time to re-enter the workforce, but maybe not at their previous go-go pace.They feel theirs is not a unique story as they meet women with similar backgrounds who express a similar interest in getting involved in the venture. “Maybe they don’t have 60 hours to work, but maybe they have 30,” Lombardi said.The 25 Hulafrog sites’ publishers are currently all women, who have similar backgrounds – college educated, having worked in marketing or related fields.The operation is ”kind of Yelp for parents meets Avon,” was how Lombardi explained it, referencing the online guide and the iconic cosmetic company made up of legions of independent distributors. Like Avon, “being able to work at home has been a big part of it,” in attracting publishers, Lombardi said.“For the women who are running these sites, it’s challenging and rewarding,” she said. “It’s a job they can sink their teeth in.” The position allows them to get out in the community and relate to others in a peer-to-peer way.The publishers are paid on a commission basis, like Avon, Lombardi said.They believe the future looks promising because, as long as there are kids, parents are going to be looking for ways to entertain, educate and occupy.“Remember, there’s always something going on,” Bowbliss said.last_img read more

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Science Confronts Philosophy, or Vice Versa

first_img1Peter Lipton, “Philosophy of Science: The World of Science,” Science, 11 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5826, p. 834, DOI: 10.1126/science.1141366.2Christoph Adami, “Philosophy of Mind: Who Watches the Watcher?”, Science, 25 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5828, pp. 1125-1126, DOI: 10.1126/science.1141809.These book reviews have been in the queue for three months but finally needed airing, because they are important.  Scientists cannot escape philosophy.  They are embedded within it, whether they like it or not.  To pretend philosophy has no bearing on their work is itself a philosophy.  The question is not whether a scientist practices philosophy, but how well he or she does it.  These two did not do it very well.  Both appealed to emotion and flights of fancy to defend objectivism and materialism.    Christians are objectivists, but are the only ones who have a warrant for it.  Christian objectivism is founded in the eternal, unchangeable Creator.  That “anchor on the infinite” is what gives us confidence in objective reality.  A materialist cannot anchor his thoughts on anything universal, necessary, or certain; he is trapped in his cage of limited perceptions.  He cannot prove that his sensations and perceptions pertain to anything that is “out there” in the world (the correspondence theory of truth).  The Christian has an infinite-personal God that gives us the completeness to our human incompleteness.    The case is stronger than this.  Philosopher of science Greg Bahnsen forcefully argued that only the Christian world view provides the “preconditions of intelligibility” for any rational response to existence, epistemology and morality (see American Vision for lecture series).  A skeptic might accuse Christians of having a world view based on faith (fideism).  Bahnsen’s comeback is that without the Christian world view, you cannot prove anything.  The world makes sense from a Christian view; it makes no sense from any other view.  Christians accept that they start with a world view and its presuppositions, just like everyone begins with presuppositions.  But if you want to argue anything rationally, you must start with Christian presuppositions, or your answers become arbitrary or inconsistent, or both – and once you permit arbitrariness or inconsistency, you cannot prove anything.  This, Bahnsen explains, is the transcendental proof of God’s existence.  It’s not a slippery proof based on reason (like Descartes), or on empiricism (like Paley), or on pragmatism (like one’s personal testimony), or on any of the other approaches that usually result in a stand-off.  It is a proof based on the preconditions of intelligibility: without the Christian world view, you cannot prove anything.  All rational discussion ends before it begins unless you accept as a precondition that the infinite-personal God of the Bible exists.  Then, and only then, observations and arguments make sense   A corollary is that the only way that secularists like Lipton and Adami can make their arguments is by pilfering the presuppositions of Christians.  In a vivid metaphor, Bahnsen says that the only way the bad boy can slap his father’s face is by sitting in his lap.    The Christian world view is also the precondition for intelligibility in science.  Both Greg Bahnsen and J. P. Moreland (see his book Christianity and the Nature of Science) have argued this case cogently that one must accept Christian presuppositions before one can even do science.  To do science, you must defend the correspondence theory of truth, be able to account for a world of natural law, defend the validity of inductive inference and deductive proof, accept the reality of the mind, believe in the universal applicability of the laws of logic, and uphold universal standards of morality.  All these functions come included in the Christian world view package.  They are indefensible in any other world view.    Christianity, then, is a precondition for the intelligibility of science and for reason itself.  This does not mean that non-Christians cannot do science or use reason, because clearly they do; it means that they cannot account for the validity of science from within their own world view.  Whether they are aware of it or not, they plagiarize Christian assumptions whenever they reason inductively or deductively about the world.  (This, Christians know, is because they retain the image of God impressed on their souls.)    The argument that a materialist, as a collection of particles and forces, can do science without God has no more power than plugging an extension cord into itself.  (That, indeed, would be a strange loop.)  For the power to flow, science has to be plugged into a socket named Christian Presuppositions.  We have minds that can reason about objective reality because we have an all-knowing, rational, all-wise God who imbued some of that rationality into us.  He is the completion to our incompleteness.  He is the one who watches the watcher.(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Practicing scientists often disdain philosophy.  To them, it seems like mumbo-jumbo with convoluted arguments telling them why they don’t exist or why two-ness cannot be represented on a chalkboard.  To a scientist dealing with real lab rats or chemicals off the shelf, such ramblings seem detached and worthless.  Who would know more what science is than a scientist?  Philosophizing about science seems far less productive than just doing science.  One described philosophy as “incomprehensible answers to insoluble problems.”    Philosophy’s domain is all-encompassing.  It attempts to address, in a systematic and rigorous manner, questions about what exists (ontology), how we know things (epistemology), and how we should live our lives (moral and political philosophy).  Philosophers ask the pointed questions that give precision to our thoughts.  A fairly new branch of philosophy is the philosophy of science.  The question “what is science?” is not and cannot be a scientific question.  It is a statement of philosophy about science, describing the limits of its epistemology and the nature of its ontology.    On the rare occasions when the scientific journals discuss philosophy of science, they usually delve into it only long enough to come back to a reassuring verdict that objectivism is still the only philosophy worth believing (i.e., that our sensations of the world correspond to what is objectively real).  Here were some examples in the form of book reviews in Science magazine.Perspectives on perspectivism:  Perspectivism (a form of constructivism, i.e., that our view of reality is a construct of our sensations) claims that the human mind cannot extricate itself from an observation in a bias-free manner: what we call a quark, for instance, or what we perceive as red, is a function of how we, as humans, classify and perceive things.  Peter Lipton reviewed a recent book by Ronald Giere on this view, Scientific Perspectivism, in Science May 11.1  Lipton reviewed the theories of Immanuel Kant and Thomas Kuhn (“Kant on wheels”), and discussed Giere’s own position.  Giere extended his discussion of color perception to all of science, concluding that “science is perspectival through and through.”Constructivists deny the “view from nowhere.”  Science can only describe the world from a human perspective.  Objectivists claim that, on the contrary, there is such a view.  You can’t think without thinking, but it does not follow that what you are thinking about–baryons, say–must somehow include the thinker.  Objectivists hold on to the idea that the world has its own structure, which science reveals.Lipton ended up disagreeing with Giere, but provided only fuzzy responses: he said the constructivist position “remains obscure” and “difficult to grasp.”  He said objectivists will “not be moved” by the book, because it has an “uncertain force.”  Here was his summary case for objectivism:Scientific descriptions surely are incomplete and affected by interest, but these are features the objectivist can take on board.  Completeness and objectivity are orthogonal.  Maybe in the end constructivism is true, or as true as a constructivist can consistently allow.  Nevertheless, the thought that the world has determinate objective structures is almost irresistible, and Giere has not ruled out the optimistic view that science is telling us something about them.It is not clear, however, that Giere or other constructivists would be put off by these arguments.  There is no necessary connection between an argument being pleasing and it being true.  Are not descriptions like “irresistible” and “optimistic” some of the very human perspectives Giere was talking about?Who watches the watcher?  Chris Adami, usually known for his evolutionary computing work, reviewed an unusual book by Douglas Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop, in Science May 25.2  Hofstadter tried to give a completely materialist explanation of mind:Hofstadter’s explanation of human consciousness is disarmingly simple.  Even though he spends most of the book giving examples and analogies from realms as disparate as particle physics and boxes of envelopes, the main idea is simply that our feeling of a conscious “I” is but an illusion created by our neuronal circuitry: an illusion that is only apparent at the level of symbols and thoughts, in much the same way as the concepts of pressure and temperature are only apparent at the level of 1023 molecules but not the level of single molecules.  In other words, Hofstadter denies consciousness an element of ontological reality, without denying that our thoughts and feelings, pains and longings have an “inner reality” when we have them.  But to show that consciousness is a collective phenomenon of sorts, he needs to delve deep into the theory of computation and, in particular, Austrian mathematician Kurt G�del’s proof of his incompleteness theorem, as these concepts are key to the idea the author wants to convey.  And he does this admirably in a mostly playful manner, choosing carefully constructed analogies more often than mathematical descriptions.Again, however, it is not at all certain a philosopher of another persuasion would be tongue-tied over these arguments.  Playful arguments have no necessary connection with truth.  As skilled and admirable as Hofstadter’s writing might be, he has a fundamental problem explaining consciousness from particulars of neurons.  To do it, he tried to extend G�del’s incompleteness realms upward into unknown territory where each higher realm provides the completion of each lower realm, then wraps in on itself: “Hofstadter suggests, our ability to construct symbols and statements that are about these symbols and statements creates the ‘strange’ reflexive loop of the book’s title out of which our sensation of ‘I’ emerges.”    At this point, Adami (though admiring the book) comes close to bringing the case down with a pointed question:This ambitious program aimed at a deconstruction of our consciousness is not without peril.  For example, if we posit that our consciousness is an illusion created by our thoughts “watching ourselves think” [as the philosopher of mind Daniel Dennett had previously suggested], we might ask “Who watches the watcher?”  Or, if I am hallucinating an “I,” who is hallucinating it?  However, an infinite regress is avoided because on the level of the neuronal circuitry, the impression of having a mind is just another pattern of firings–something consciousness researcher and neuroscientist Christof Koch of the California Institute of Technology calls “the neuronal correlate” of consciousness.Yet is this answer not begging the question?  The issue is whether a mind can be reduced to neurons, yet Adami just stated as a matter of fact that “the impression of having a mind is just another pattern of firings” without arguing for how or why this could be so.    Adami clearly enjoyed the book as a companion to Koch’s The Quest for Consciousness.  He accepted the premise that mind can be expressed as an artifact of neuron firing patterns.  One consequence is that humans should be able to build conscious robots some day.  A second consequence is almost purely metaphysical:Second, the G�delian construction suggests a tantalizing hypothesis, namely that a level of consciousness could exist far beyond human consciousness, on a level once removed from our level of symbols and ideas (which themselves are once removed from the level of neuronal firing patterns).  Indeed, G�del’s construction guarantees that, while statements on the higher level can be patently true but not provable on the lower level, an extension exists that makes the system complete on that higher level.  However, new unprovable statements emerge on the next higher level–that is, on a level that maps an improbable jumble of our thoughts and ideas to, well, something utterly incomprehensible to us, who are stuck at our pedestrian echelon.  How incomprehensible?  At least as inscrutable as the love for Bartok’s second violin concerto is to a single neuron firing away.Thus Adami ends on an irrational leap.  Appeals to higher levels of consciousness that are unknowable from our level, even in principle, beleaguer any attempts to encapsulate mind within a materialist world view.  (And, as a materialist himself, Adami clearly did not intend to suggest that the highest level includes God.)  Claiming such ideas are incomprehensible or inscrutable is no escape if Adami wants to play the philosophy game.  An interlocutor would call it another case of Adami begging his own question: who watches the watcher?last_img read more

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Europa Joins the Geyser Club

first_img(Visited 43 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Hints of watery plumes have been detected on Europa – like Enceladus, at its south pole, too.Judging from its surface, Europa should have activity.  It resembles the known active surface of Saturn’s geysering moon Enceladus.  Europa has numerous ridges bounded by parallel mounds that suggest water from its inferred subsurface ocean has gushed out of linear vents many times.  No activity has been detected, though, till now.  The Hubble Space Telescope detected blogs of hydrogen and oxygen near the south pole, best explained as plumes of water vapor.  Planetary scientists are excited (see Hubble Site, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Nature News, Science Now, BBC News, National Geographic, New Scientist and data are indirect and preliminary.  No plumes have been imaged; only concentrations of hydrogen and oxygen that suggest ionization of water has occurred.  The concentration of hydrogen, moreover (imaged in ultraviolet light) varied during the orbit, becoming strongest when Europa was farthest from Jupiter.  Planetary scientists announcing the find at the AGU meeting said the data are best explained by watery plumes 200 km high (125 miles) – higher than Mt. Everest and higher than Io’s volcanoes, but not as high as Enceladus’s geysers.  According to the estimates, 7 tons of material is escaping per second (most of it falling back on the surface), at supersonic speeds of 700 meters per second.  As for a mechanism, “The frictional heat of ice rubbing against itself might melt parts of the icy crust and feed the plumes,” Nature News said.  If so, the material does not necessarily tap into the subsurface ocean.It’s possible many more plumes exist.  The south polar plumes were best seen against the blackness of space; others would have been harder to discern against the bright surface.  This initial observation is sure to be followed up by more attempts.  Since no proposed Europa missions could reach the moon till the 2020’s or 2030’s, most observations will require Earth-based observations, although America’s Juno mission to Jupiter (arriving in 2016) might be able to sense the plumes remotely.None of the articles addressed the age question.  All of them except Science Now suggested that the presence of water might mean life exists there.Update 12/18/14: Cassini scientists could not find signs of plumes in their data from the spacecraft’s flyby of Jupiter in 2001 (see JPL press release).  Either the plumes are intermittent, or the Hubble Space Telescope saw something else.  The Hubble team is going to look some more.Since the observations are indirect, it will take time to corroborate the conclusions that water or water vapor is indeed erupting at Europa, but the possibility is intriguing and will be fun to watch.  It should be quite a surprise to those believing the moons are billions of years old to find another one popping off – at its south pole, too, just like on Enceladus.  What is it about south poles that generates activity?  One would expect the equators to be the most active.  The active zones may just be the latest in a long series of eruptions that produced the ridges on both moons.  It shouldn’t be too hard to estimate upper limits for activity.  Given that small bodies should freeze solid in short order, it’s likely the scientists will struggle now with Europa’s activity like they have with Enceladus, Io, Titan, Triton, the Moon, Earth, etc.Science reporters are so predictable.  They completely ignore the age issue.  Instead, hearing the word “water,” they go into robotic mode.  They turn off their minds and quack the L-word Life like programmed rubber ducks (see hydrobioscopy in the Darwin Dictionary).last_img read more

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All aboard the Youth Express

first_imgFrom Left: Chairperson of theGauteng Advisory Board Simon Molefe,Deputy Minister Obed Bapela and NYDACEO Steven Ngobeni stand in front ofthe Youth Express train. Traditional dancers who are part of theUmoja group were on hand to providesome entertainment. The Youth Express train that will betravelling around the country. (Images: Zakithi Motha)MEDIA CONTACTS• Linda Mbongwa+27 11 651 7053• Palesa Madumo+27 11 506 7376+27 72 973 2996Valencia TalaneThe Youth Express train takes off on 1 June from Johannesburg’s Park station, carrying on board be an energised team of people who are passionate about taking youth development further than it has gone before.Young people across South Africa should take the opportunity to acquaint themselves with, and explore the services of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) when the train hits their hometown.The NYDA launched their campaign for June, which is South Africa’s Youth Month, in Johannesburg on Tuesday 29 May. The organisation’s programme for this year involves a month-long train ride to all the provinces, an effort they describe as a way to reach as many of young South Africans as possible.In a partnership with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), the NYDA will use the month to enhance their awareness campaign by taking their services to rural areas.The expedition is described by CEO Steven Ngobeni as an opportunity for the organisation to shine through in its efforts and show that it is capable of making strides in the field of youth development.It also gives the agency an opportunity to revive their image, which came under attack in 2010 from media reports of overspending for the hosting of the World Festival of Youth and Students, held in that year.At the centre of this year’s campaign is a youth fair planned for the official Youth Day celebrations at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. This will involve young entrepreneurs setting up exhibition stands at the venue and showcasing their businesses, while networking with captains of industry.Youth Day, which is celebrated on 16 June, is observed nationally to commemorate the student uprising of 1976 that occurred in several of the country’s largest townships. The day has been recognised as a national public holiday since 1994 and honours those who took part in the protests against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction for black pupils.Righting mistakes of the pastIn the past, said Ngobeni, the systems in place for the NYDA to operate would give potential young entrepreneurs large funds in the form of loans, without helping them to understand the implications of handling their money and their business.This is not the case anymore as the organisation now goes through all the processes with the client to make sure they have sufficient understanding of how their business works and to ensure sustainability.“The problem with the ways of the past is that there was no financial management training to accompany the loan. So instead of developing young entrepreneurs, we were, in a sense, setting that young person up to fail,” he said.“We are now moving towards making sure that young people know where to go for help when they need to start a business, including assigning them a mentor who will walk them through the processes.”He added that through a new initiative called Ithubalentsha micro enterprise programme, they hope to give deserving young people access to sustainable enterprise development products and services. “Ithubalentsha” is a Zulu word meaning “An opportunity for the youth”.Corporates lend a handIn order for the key programmes of the NYDA to succeed, however, the cooperation of corporate South Africa is needed. The message from the agency is that with the unemployment rate being as high as it is in the country, South African companies need to be asking themselves how they can help.Mzwabantu Ntlangeni, the NYDA’s executive manager of corporate partnerships, expressed satisfaction at the role that some of the country’s largest and most well-known companies have played in partnership endeavours.“We believe that there is no such thing as knocking on the wrong door,” he said, explaining that where the NYDA is not able to assist a budding entrepreneur or a young person with a worthy social initiative, they show them the way to the right door.“And the response has been very positive from corporates. A lot of them have had a somewhat negative impression of how the NYDA operates because of the media reports regarding, among other things, the world youth festival.“But when they see our plan of action, they see feasible projects that they can take part in and help turn the situation with the youth around in a big way.”One such company is the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa). Head of communications Lawrence Venkile said their core vision as a company is to position rail services as the preferred mode of transportation, and that incorporating the skills of young people in order to do this makes sense for their brand.“We see ourselves as having an opportunity to contribute towards youth development through mobility,” he said.Venkile further said while they find the opportunity to create jobs for young people exciting, their objectives do not end there. Prasa also wants to attract as many young commuters to the use of its services on a daily basis.“We transport over two-million people daily on our trains, so to attract more young people, our plan is to make our trains trendy.”Turning a bad image aroundBecause the NYDA is a government agency, its performance and governance record is monitored by the national government. Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration, Obed Bapela, was also on hand to provide some scope into the work of the NYDA.Bapela paid tribute to the outgoing board of the NYDA, whose term ended in April this year, saying they laid the foundation for what is now a world-class youth development agency that adheres to good corporate governance principles.“It is as a result of the hard work that went into the first three years of this agency that it has managed to receive unqualified audit opinions for the financial years since its establishment,” he said.He further listed some of the NYDA’s most notable achievements since its establishment in 2009. Among these is the successful setting up of 144 service delivery access points across the country through which the organisation can be reached.The agency has also linked over 2 000 young people with mentors and given over R60-million (just over US$ 7-million) in loans to entrepreneurs.Bapela concedes that there is more to be done still. In a country with young people accounting for 70% of the 25% unemployment rate, the work cannot be done by the government alone.last_img read more

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Trade assistance must help all affected farmers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Following the recent escalation of trade tensions between China and the United States that will likely exacerbate the erosion of agricultural export markets and further depress commodity prices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expected to announce a trade assistance package to support struggling family farmers and ranchers.In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, National Farmers Union (NFU) provided recommendations for how best to “craft a package that will adequately address the broad, long-term impacts to all of American agriculture.”“Family farmers and ranchers have borne the brunt of the trade war with China, which has intentionally targeted American agricultural products with retaliatory tariffs. We appreciate the administration’s recent efforts to relieve the immense economic pressure those in the agriculture industry are feeling as a result,” said Roger Johnson, NFU President Roger Johnson. “Though China’s tariffs have specifically targeted soybeans, pork, and sorghum, many other commodities have been impacted, both directly and indirectly. We ask that trade assistance be offered to producers of all affected commodities, and that payment rates be based on historical production. In addition, we recommend that the USDA address the growing problem of oversupply by providing farmers with incentives to reduce overall production.“The ever-worsening financial challenges being forced on family farmers and ranchers cannot be overstated. We urge the USDA to ensure that this assistance package provides fair and equitable relief to all family farmers impacted by disruptions in international markets.”last_img read more

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