Province Releases Financial Statements

first_imgThe province released its annual financial statements, today, Sept. 10, showing a lower surplus than expected for the 2009 fiscal year. The public accounts for the fiscal year ending March 31 reports a surplus of $19.7 million. Total revenues from all sources were $9.19 billion, $64.6 million lower than the previous year, mainly because of a decrease in revenue from taxes and a decline in federal contributions. Total expenses from all sources were $9.17 billion, $334.7 million more than the previous year because of higher costs in health care, education and universities. Financial results of the consolidated fund, which includes government departments and public-service units, showed an overall decrease in revenue of $44.4 million compared with the year before, but was $27.1 million higher than budget. Consolidated fund expenses were $388.1 higher, and $188.1 million more than budget. This is because of a $256 million additional appropriation for university funding in 2009. Nova Scotia’s net direct debt, the difference between the province’s liabilities and financial assets, was $12.3 billion, $208.7 million higher than the previous year. The increase is mainly attributed to a large net investment in tangible capital assets. Provincial debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product has decreased one percentage point, from 37 per cent to 36 per cent. The consolidated fund spent $364.7 million on tangible capital assets, or $23.2 million more than budgeted, primarily as a result of new highway construction. Nova Scotia’s economy experienced an estimated two per cent growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the fiscal year, up from a 1.7 per cent growth rate in 2007-08. The increased growth rate was mostly driven by consumer and government spending in the first half of the fiscal year. The number of people active in the labour market increased by 0.9 per cent, while overall employment increased by 1.3 per cent. This resulted in a 0.3 per cent decrease in the overall employment rate to 7.7 per cent. The March 31 financial statements are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Nova Scotia’s auditor general has provided an unqualified auditor’s report that is included in Public Accounts Volume 1. The Public Accounts documents are available online at www.gov.ns.ca/finance.last_img read more

Bernal set to make history as first Colombian to win Tour de

first_imgVal Thorens (France): Egan Bernal is poised to make history in more ways than one at this year’s Tour de France, with the 22-year-old set to become first-ever Colombian champion of Tour de France and the youngest winner of cycling’s most prestigious race in modern times.Although Sunday’s processional final stage to Paris still remains, once Bernal (22 years, 196 days on July 28) passes the throng of fans along Champs-Elysees and reaches the finish line, he will become the youngest Tour champion since Francois Faber (22 years, 187 days) in 1909 and the third-youngest winner of all time. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThe sport’s professionalism has taken a major leap since those early days, with Italy’s Felice Gimondi in 1965 and France’s Laurent Fignon in 1983 being the only cyclists under the age of 23 to have clinched the Tour de France title since it resumed after the World War II hiatus, reports Efe news.Because of his tender age and a lack of expectations, Bernal was able to shield himself from the pressure that fell on the shoulders of his British teammate and 2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas and make a decisive move in the Alps, gaining ground in Thursday’s Stage 18 and then taking the lead in Friday’s Stage 19. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterSince that latter stage was cut short due to an ice storm, the times for the general classification were taken at the summit of the Col de l’Iseran mountain pass; that proved to be a big turning point because Bernal had easily outpaced the previous overall leader, France’s Julian Alaphilippe, on that climb.After Bernal effectively wrapped up the Tour in Saturday’s Stage 20 from Albertville to Val Thorens, a stretch that also was shortened due to hailstorms, Team Ineos (formerly Team Sky) General Manager Dave Brailsford praised his young cyclist. “We knew we had a group of older guys who were performing well, but we looked very hard to find the new generation and we decided that it was going to be Egan. We fought pretty hard to get him and he developed fantastically well,” Brailsford said.Bernal is set to become the fourth cyclist to win the Tour as a member of that team after Bradley Wiggins (2012), Chris Froome (2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017) and Thomas (2018).Unlike his predecessors, Bernal won the race by attacking at elevations of more than 2,000 meters (6,550 feet), an attitude atypical for a team known for riding defensively in the mountains.The 2019 Tour was considered one of the most open in years because of the absence of Froome, who was unable to compete due to injuries suffered in a horrific crash in June.Bernal, for his part, had been planning to compete in the Giro d’Italia this year but had to skip that race after breaking his collarbone in training in early May.That proved to be a blessing in disguise, however, as it enabled him to focus on the Tour as Team Ineos co-leader along with Thomas, who is set to finish second in this year’s race.last_img read more

Ayodhya mediation panel submits report to SC hearing today

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court is likely to consider on Friday the “outcome” of mediation proceedings conducted by a panel set up to amicably resolve the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya and may decide where to hear the matter or continue with the mediation. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on July 18, had asked the three-member mediation panel, headed by former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla, to inform the court about the outcome of the mediation proceedings as on July 31 by August 1 to enable it to proceed further in the matter. It is understood that the Kalifulla panel has submitted its report on Thursday in a sealed cover about the progress made in the in-camera mediation proceedings. “We request the mediation panel to inform the court the outcome of the mediation proceedings as on July 31 …,” said the bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.last_img read more

House GOP leaders delay tax plan release amid changes

first_imgWASHINGTON – House Republicans, straining to make last-minute changes to their far-reaching tax proposal, on Tuesday delayed the rollout by a day after they failed to finalize the details.The plan pushed by President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress is a top legislative priority. The details originally were to be unveiled on Wednesday, but that was delayed until Thursday, said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.The committee had worked throughout the day and evening to produce a plan for the first overhaul of the nation’s tax code in three decades.“We are making excellent progress. We are very close,” Brady told reporters late Tuesday night. “A lot of work remains with the drafters, they are continuing to work through the night. We are moving forward.”At the White House, an official said Trump looked forward to seeing legislation this week, adding the administration was confident the delay wouldn’t affect the ultimate timing of the bill. Brady said his panel plans to vote on the bill next week.Although they had settled on some key details — such as a cut in the corporate tax rate to 20 per cent and maintaining the top personal income tax rate for the wealthy of 39.6 per cent — other elements still had to be resolved, including the income levels for the tax brackets.Trump has intensified his lobbying for the nearly $6 trillion tax overhaul plan, seeking a major legislative achievement after the collapse of the health care repeal. Republicans see taxes as a political imperative that will decide whether they keep their congressional majorities in next year’s midterm elections.The president set an ambitious timetable and predicted a grand signing ceremony before Christmas at “the biggest tax event in the history of our country.”Late Tuesday, Trump renewed his cheerleading on Twitter.“The Republican House members are working hard (and late) toward the Massive Tax Cuts that they know you deserve. These will be biggest ever!”The plan originally unveiled by Trump and congressional Republicans called for shrinking the number of tax brackets from seven to three, with respective tax rates of 12 per cent, 25 per cent, 35 per cent. That plan drew immediate criticism from Democrats, who complained it was too favourable to the wealthy and undermined Trump’s rhetoric about it benefiting the middle class.The current Republican plan calls for nearly doubling the standard deduction used by most average Americans to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for families, and increasing the per-child tax credit. In addition to slashing the corporate tax rate, it also seeks to repeal inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates, a big break for the wealthy.Brady did not answer directly when he was asked — while leaving House Speaker Paul Ryan’s suite Tuesday — whether the drop in the corporate tax rate would happen immediately. But, he said: “I want as much growth right from Day One as I can.”Trump intensified his lobbying for the tax overhaul plan even as its shape was still under negotiation by the Republicans on Capitol Hill.“The process is complicated but the end result will not be that complicated. It’s going to be: People are going to pay less tax by a lot, companies are going to pay less tax by a lot – that’s a big difference — and companies are going to start rebuilding and they’re going to stay here,” Trump said in the Roosevelt Room, where he was joined by the heads of more than a dozen business and trade allies.Trump said he’s directing Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn and other administration officials to stay behind when he heads for Asia on Friday so they can help sell the tax proposal. The White House said Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, had cancelled plans to accompany the president to China and South Korea to help push the package.The president said he was hopeful the House will approve the tax bill by Thanksgiving. But his overly optimistic timetable didn’t address the concerns of lawmakers from states such as New York and New Jersey who have opposed a proposal to eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes, arguing it would hurt their constituents and subject them to being taxed twice.A battle continues over contributions to 401(k) retirements accounts. The financial industry and some Republican lawmakers insist that the GOP plan not change the tax benefits of the popular savings vehicles, as has been floated by GOP leaders.__Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Marcy Gordon, Erica Werner and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.last_img read more

Venture capitalist Roger McNamee calls for end to Sidewalk Labs development

The Canadian Press TORONTO — A prominent technology investor is adding his voice to those calling on Toronto to abandon the Sidewalk Labs development on the city’s waterfront. Venture capitalist Roger McNamee, who was an early investor in Facebook and other technology giants, writes in a letter to Toronto city council ahead of a Thursday meeting that the project is a “dystopian vision that has no place in a democratic society.”McNamee, who has been a vocal critical of the tech industry in recent years over data and privacy concerns, says the smart city project is a highly evolved version of surveillance capitalism that gives too much power and control to the project’s backer Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google.BlockSidewalk, a group looking to stop the project, sent a letter to the Waterfront Toronto board earlier this week asking it to not even assess the development plan Sidewalk Labs is expected to submit in the coming weeks.The group says the structure of the deal is fatally flawed, and that it will be taking its campaign to city council when it hears an update on the project Thursday.Sidewalk Labs has said in the past that it hopes to set a new standard in responsible data use, and plans to have a independent trust manage the data generated by the smart city development. read more

Illicit drug trade threatening peacebuilding efforts in GuineaBissau UN warns

“Although Guinea-Bissau has come a long way since the civil war of the late 1990s, all of the gains achieved to this point in establishing democratic governance and stability in the country will be at risk is this menace is not confronted head on,” Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe told a meeting of the Security Council. Mr. Pascoe noted that various sources, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), have reported that Guinea-Bissau is fast becoming a strategic link in the transport of illegal narcotics from South America to Europe. “The potentially damaging impact of this illegal trade, including its corrupting influence on the country’s fragile institutions, should not be underestimated,” he told the 15-member body. In his recent report on peacebuilding efforts in Guinea-Bissau, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the Security Council to adopt strong measures and consider dispatching a team of experts to investigate the identity and activities of those involved in drug trafficking and organized crime in the country. Mr. Pascoe said the Council’s endorsement of this recommendation would add “momentum for action” in advance of the high-level conference to be convened later this month by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to address drug trafficking in the region. “The drug trafficking threat is a major challenge to Guinea-Bissau and to its neighbours, many of which are still recovering from long periods of civil conflicts,” he stated. “As the United Nations continues to contribute to the consolidation of the fragile peace processes in those countries to prevent a relapse into new cycles of instability, we believe that tackling the emerging new danger of drug trafficking vigorously and resolutely is essential for the success of ongoing peacebuilding initiatives,” he added. A crucial test for Guinea-Bissau’s peacebuilding efforts will be the holding of legislative elections scheduled for 16 November, particularly in light of the continuing political and security tensions in the country. Mr. Pascoe reported that preparations for the polls are on track but added that there is an “uneasy calm” in the West African nation as the elections approach. Authorities announced in early August they had uncovered an attempted coup by the Navy Chief of Staff, and security forces are stepping up checks to ensure that a peaceful election. In addition, Guinea-Bissau’s difficulty in paying the salaries of public officials in a timely manner is exacerbating social, political and security tensions. “Those payments are now reportedly two months in arrears, raising concerns that if not addressed, this matter could create social instability prior to or during the elections,” Mr. Pascoe cautioned, adding that the situation has been worsened by high food and fuel prices in the small, poor nation. Despite the challenges it faces, Guinea-Bissau is making steady progress in its efforts to rebuild after years of conflict, the UN political chief stated, noting the recent advances made in the country by the UN Peacebuilding Commission, established in 2005 to help post-conflict countries avoid slipping back into turmoil. 7 October 2008The impact of the illicit drug trade on Guinea-Bissau should not be underestimated, the top United Nations political official said today, warning that the scourge threatens to undo the important progress achieved by the post-conflict nation. read more

UN chief lands in Cyprus to usher reunification talks into final stages

31 January 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today praised the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders for the significant progress made under United Nations-backed talks on reunifying Cyprus, as he arrived on the Mediterranean island for the first time. In 2008 Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat committed to establishing a federal government with a single international personality, along with a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, each of equal status. “I am under no illusions that the Cyprus problem is easy to solve, or about the difficulties that you face,” Mr. Ban said on his arrival at Larnaca Airport. “At the same time, I am confident that a solution is possible and within reach.”In December, the Security Council extended by six months the mandate UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP), which was set up in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the communities. After hostilities erupted again in 1974, its responsibilities were expanded to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone and undertake humanitarian activities.Mr. Ban said he was impressed by the time and energy invested by the two leaders over the past 16 months during the fully-fledged negotiations on reunification of the island. “I am pleased by the significant progress that has been achieved recently on governance and power-sharing,” he said in remarks commending the efforts of Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat. “I am here to encourage the two leaders to bring these talks to a successful conclusion,” he said, noting that reaching a “mutually acceptable solution will require courage, flexibility and vision, as well as a spirit of compromise.“You are the ones driving the process and the ones who will benefit from the tremendous benefits and opportunities a settlement would bring to this island,” said Mr. Ban.During his three-day visit to Cyprus, Mr. Ban is slated to hold discussions with Alexander Downer, his Special Adviser for Cyprus, as well as with Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat. read more

COI to probe weather disaster

In the wake of the recent deaths, injuries and missing individuals as a result of the monsoon rains, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga to immediately take the necessary steps to appoint a Committee of Inquiry to examine the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the fishermen and the reasons as to why affected people were not informed of the impending severe weather conditions in order to be able to take precautionary measures.The President has requested that a report be submitted to him without delay, the President’s office said in a statement today. Over 100 houses have also been reported as being fully damaged by the storm, the DMC said. (Colombo Gazette) The committee members are Dr. A.W. Mohottala (Chairman), A. Dissanayake and C. Rajapaksha. The death toll from the storm had risen to 40 fishermen dead and several still missing, the Disaster Management Center said this afternoon.DMC spokesman Sarath Lal said that the bodies of the 40 fishermen have been recovered and search and rescue operations are underway to locate those missing. Accordingly a three member committee has been named to investigate the incident. read more

Ravi warns companies not paying bonuses

“We call upon them to ensure if they had a wrong interpretation, correct it now.” he insisted.The government is to collect between 65 to 70 billion rupees from the Super Gains Tax imposed through 35 big cooperates in Sri Lanka. (Courtesy LBO) Karunanayake revealed there are 2 or 3 corporate companies that have already mentioned they are not going to pay bonus payments this year due to the tax. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament that the government is in search for big companies that are not paying bonus payments to employees.“I was disappointed with some of the companies that pretended to be paying Super Gains Tax and stop certain payments,” “We’ll look to those companies and see how decent those companies,”“If they pay for themselves bonuses and deprived the people who are working under them by saying it is a government imposition; I think that is very unfair,” “There is no right to any of them to deprive any money going out to the hard working employees of their company.” read more

More Afghans return home from Pakistan camps despite concerns – UN refugee

Shortages of land and shelter in their country are among the biggest obstacles to returning, according to the findings of a census of Afghans in Pakistan conducted last year. But refugees from among the 240 families who left Khaki camp in the North West Frontier Project this week said it was now time to return, according to a news release from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).“The elders of Kelagai village living in Khaki camp decided to repatriate because we came to know that some people have occupied our land,” said 60-year-old Omra Khan. “Once we go there, we will ask the Government to help us get it back.”“I came here because of the Russian invasion of our land and we could not live under those circumstances. I have lived in Pakistan for more than 25 years and now it is time to go back.”Established in the early 1980s, Khaki camp is home to Afghans from Paktia, Logar, Nangarhar and Laghman provinces, and smaller numbers from Baghlan. Thursday’s returnees were heading to Kelagai village in Doshi district of Baghlan province.“I want my children to see their own country. They cannot be refugees all their life,” said Muhammad Mir, another refugee who was also travelling in the convoy, before repatriating with his family and frail old mother.More than 113,000 Afghans have returned home from Pakistan so far this year. Under the assisted return programme, UNHCR offers returning Afghans travel assistance that varies from $4 to $37 per person depending on the distance, and a cash payment of $12 per person to help them re-establish themselves in Afghanistan. The assistance is paid on arrival.Since UNHCR started facilitating returns to Afghanistan in 2002, more than 2.85 million Afghans have returned from Pakistan and more than 1.4 million others from Iran. An estimated 2.5 million Afghans remain in Pakistan and over 900,000 in Iran. read more

Deadly militia attack against Palestinians in Baghdad sparks appeal from UN agency

At least nine people, including several children, were reportedly killed and many others were wounded when local militia shelled the Al Baladiya area of the Iraqi capital for three hours yesterday, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).There was no attempt by Iraqi police or the United States-led Multi-National Forces inside the strife-torn country to stop the attack, UNHCR said, and the militia also blocked ambulances from taking the dead and wounded to hospital.Briefing journalists in Geneva, UNHCR deputy director for the region Radhouane Nouicer said the agency was dismayed at the lack of protection afforded to Palestinians living in Iraq.Attacks against Palestinians have surged since Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled in 2003, especially after the bombing of a key Shiite Muslim mosque in Samarra in February. Some Palestinians received preferential treatment under the former dictator and they have since become targets.Only about 15,000 Palestinians are thought to remain in Iraq, down from an estimated 34,000 three years ago. More than 350 remain stranded in desperate conditions on the border with Syria, and UNHCR has appealed repeatedly for countries to offer refuge.“They have very limited freedom of movement and no possibility to leave the country – unlike Iraqis – [or] to find a safe haven, nor any community to protect them,” Mr. Nouicer said.He added that discussions with Iraqi authorities have so far yielded little optimism about what can be done for the Palestinians.“We are urgently appealing to the Iraqi Government and the Multi-National Forces to provide protection and safety or an alternative safe location for this targeted group. We also ask the world to stop turning their back and provide a humane solution.” read more

More updates on the BELAZ 75710 450 tonne truck…

first_imgAs stated in the earlier release, BELAZ has just launched, and entered for field testing, the 450 t capacity 75710 truck, which will be commercially available within two years. The model has an electromechanical transmission, with all design, development, casting, forging, welding and machining of truck body parts and rotation bodies conducted on site at the BELAZ plant in Zhodino, Belarus. Components are sourced from the leading global players including engines from MTU and Cummins, electric transmissions from GE and Siemens, distributors and pumps from Bosch and steering systems from Danfoss amongst others.The massive new model is just one development in a wider program of investment: this year BELAZ has invested over $100 million in R&D and in 2014 this figure will increase to more than $150 million. The group said the investment is aimed at “increasing the company’s competitiveness in an ever more demanding industry sector, with the company now expanding into several strategic markets, including Australia, Southeast Asia, Africa, South America and North America.” This includes more participation in major industry event, and International Mining caught up with Sergei Gaevski, Marketing from the BELAZ Specialist Foreign Trade Department at AIMEX recently in Sydney.The company states: “Recognising the need to produce consistently more efficient, effective and productive vehicles, Belaz has just launched its 75710, the world’s largest dump truck, with a 25% larger hauling capacity than the 360 t 75600 model. The larger capacity means a decrease in hauling cost per tonne.” The 75710 has two 16-cylinder, four-cycle MTU diesel engines to produce a maximum speed of 64 km/h.  Fully laden, on a 10% gradient, the company says it can maintain a speed of 40km/h so loads are delivered more quickly and cost effectively. The truck is also very fuel efficient, using 198g/kWh per engine. When carrying less than capacity loads, it can run on just one engine, significantly reducing fuel consumption. The 75710 uses an AC electric drive Siemens MMT500 electromechanical transmission, with two traction alternators, four traction electric motors and motor-wheel reduction gears, auxiliary electric machines, adjustment and control devices.It is fitted with eight wheels (with tyres identical to those on the 75600) and two turntable axles.  This design allows a turning radius of just under 20 m. High strength, low-alloyed steel is used in the strong but lightweight welded structure of the frame, while the body has an FOPS safety system, and a protective canopy, and is heated by engine exhaust gas.  It is also equipped with a device for mechanical locking in the raised position and it has rock ejectors. Taking into account the need to minimise downtime and the costs associated with operator training, BELAZ has designed the 75710 to function within the specifications of the 75600 so no additional training is required. A pneumatic, three axis virtual simulator featuring real time responses, an instructor monitoring station and an accurate cabin layout has been produced.The 75710 cab has an ROPS safety system (in accordance with ISO4371) and an adjustable operator’s seat. Noise levels inside the cab are less than 80 dB (A) and the overall vibration level is less than 115 dB (A). To ensure that it will function effectively in all environmental conditions, the 75710 is now being field tested at the KRU Bachatski open pit coal mine in Siberia, previously visited by IM Editor Paul Moore, a mine recognised as having some of the harshest mining conditions in the world.last_img read more

Rhein Neckar Lowen win Super Cup hattrick in Germany

Rhein Neckar Lowen won the third Pixum Super Cup 2018 in a row! The “Lions” beat reigning champions SG Flensburg Handewitt 33:26 in front of more than 8.000 fans in Dusseldorf.Andy Schmid netted 10 goals for the winners.SG Flensburg-Handewitt – Rhein-Neckar Löwen 26:33 (16:18)SG Flensburg-Handewitt: Buric, Bergerud  19. – 30.); Karlsson, Golla, Jensen (1), Glandorf (3), Svan (1), Wanne (2), Jeppsson (1), Jöndal, (1/1), Steinhauser, Zachariassen (6), Gottfridsson (5), Lauge (4), Baijens, Röd (2);Rhein-Neckar Löwen: Appelgren, Palicka; Schmid (10/1), Lipovina, Sigurdsson (9), Radivojevic, Tollbring (1/1), Abutovic, Mensah (1), Fäth (2), Groetzki (3), Taleski, Guardiola, Petersson (5), Nielsen, Kohlbacher (2).PHOTO: RNL Facebook ← Previous Story Pixum Super Cup 2018 – SG Flensburg Handewitt or Rhein Neckar Lowen? Next Story → EUROTOURNOI 2018: Mini-Cologne + Veszprem and Meshkov Rhein Neckar Lowen read more

Colm Tóibín the only Irish novelist to make Man Booker Prize shortlist

first_imgThe Testament of Mary by Colm TóbínWe Need New Names by NoViolet BulawayoThe Luminaries by Eleanor CattonHarvest by Jim CraceThe Lowland by Jhumpa LahiriA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth OzekiThree Irish authors make Man Booker Prize longlist> COLM TÓIBÍN HAS made it onto this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist with his book The Testament of Mary.The announcement was made this morning on the Man Booker Prize Twitter page and through a seven second Vine video.The longlist included two other Irish authors – Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic and Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart .It’s Toibín’s third time to feature on a Man Booker Prize shortlist, he also made the cut with The Blackwater Lightship (1999) and The Master (2004).The shortlist:last_img

As Journalists Seek Encryption SecureDrop Proves a Challenge

first_imgIf you want to reach Thomas Fox-Brewster, you’d best be prepared to download new software. In his Twitter bio, Fox-Brewster — a security reporter for Forbes — lists a series of codes which will allow anyone with a tip to covertly reach out through an encrypted channel. It might seem inconveniently picky, even a potential obstacle to reaching sources, but Fox-Brewster is among the growing ranks of journalists who have ditched insecure communication techniques in favor of tools like Signal and Ricochet. Signal is a secure call and messaging app, run by volunteers and grant-funded programmers under the moniker Open Whisper Systems. It’s open source and free to use. SecureDrop was first conceived in 2011 by famed programmer and activist Aaron Swartz at the request of Kevin Poulsen, an editor at Wired.  “There’s a growing technology gap: phone records, e-mail, computer forensics, and outright hacking are valuable weapons for anyone looking to identify a journalist’s source,” Poulsen wrote in 2013. “With some exceptions, the press has done little to keep pace: our information-security efforts tend to gravitate toward the parts of our infrastructure that accept credit cards.” Sources are given a random code name which acts as a passcode. They can use this name to reaccess messages at a later date. This code name is different than the name that appears for the journalists on the other side.  Contacts are added through a specific serial code which is visible and shareable with other users. However, contact relationships are device specific and don’t run through servers or networks. Since SecureDrop is open source (and therefore free), newsrooms can conceiveably set up the system themselves, even using repurposed hardware. For these companies, the Foundation offers a year of support and training for $5000. Michael Luo, editor of NewYorker.com and a former investigative editor at The New York Times, says that while he’s a big fan of the system, it has yet to pay off. Eric Lach, the site’s deputy news editor, checks the system every few days, but it hasn’t led to any stories. One of the difficulties with SecureDrop is that it requires more work on behalf of the source than just downloading an app, or picking up a phone.  Encryption has become increasingly common for journalists hoping to get the next big story by ensuring sources that their identities stay secret while their secrets go public. There are many options to choose from, some open source and others proprietary, with no consensus on any standard. This leaves newsrooms to fend for themselves as they try to protect people with secrets without making it too difficult for such whistleblowers to come forward.  “In an age of pervasive internet surveillance, traditional tools like email and phone calls are no longer enough to safely link reporters and their contacts. The most sensitive sources need a more secure channel, one that’s encrypted and anonymous by default,” senior writer Andy Greenberg wrote in last week’s announcement about Wired adopting SecureDrop. A SLOW START  With SecureDrop, there’s nothing to identify. Journalists are as ignorant of their sources as the Department of Justice itself. While this creates its own issues in terms of authentication, it frees up reporters from external pressure to reveal sources. This is in contrast to a phone call, which can be tapped or traced through phone companies, or apps like Facebook Messenger; Facebook is explicit in its willingness to reveal the content of messages when faced with a valid search warrant.  While many publications embrace the publicity as a means of coaxing tipsters, others prefer to keep their use, well, anonymous. The perils of an open inbox might include an influx of bizarre messages, or in the case of The New Yorker, endless poetry and cartoon submissions, according to Holmes. Though SecureDrop was built by and for the magazine industry, several other pieces of software are popular with journalists due to their differing levels of security and ease of use. To discreetly share documents or messages with a participating newsroom, tipsters must download Tor, a software program which allows users to circumvent existing tracing mechanisms that reveal location and other information. Tor is best known as an entry port for the “Dark Web” — a difficult-to-access set of websites which sometimes facilitate illegal activities, such as the hiring of hitmen. For-profit institutions are asked to pay $10,000 for a year of support, which covers installation — performed in office by Freedom of the Press Foundation staff — the training of journalists and IT,  and the set up of a SecureDrop landing page, in accordance with the Foundation’s  best practices. This contract also covers ongoing support. Media organizations are expected to pay the Foundation’s travel expenses as well.  Signal INSIDE THE MACHINE Compared to applications like Signal and Ricochet, which are used in conjunction with smart phones and personal computers, SecureDrop might be the most secure way to leak documents. But its set up is complex and its yield so far has been low — a steep consideration as some news organizations spend up to $3,000 in new hardware, and $10,000 in support contracts with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which manages the SecureDrop project.center_img A fully functioning newsroom setup requires a server to run the application itself; a server to monitor the health of the first server; a dedicated firewall to keep SecureDrop separate from the rest of the newsroom’s traffic; computers with the operating system Tails, on which the reporters can view the documents securely; a separate computer — generally “well-guarded” — which hosts a user interface on which a specific set of editors (usually only one or two) can review submissions; and USB sticks to transfer the documents from the well-guarded computer to the viewing station, and from the viewing station to a normal computer, where the journalist eventually prepares the documents for publication. Not everyone seeking anonymity is a murderer, however. Tor is often seen as the best bet for sources inside the government or corporations who wish to share information which is of public interest, but puts the source at risk in their personal or professional lives.   The New Yorker was the first magazine to publicize its use of the system in 2013, then under the name “Strongbox.” It’s since been followed by The Intercept, ProPublica, and The New York Times — publications known for their extensive investigative reporting. The Nation will also join later this year.  For the newsroom, however, things are more difficult to set up. The Foundation combats this flaw with a sliding pay scale for technical support and training. “We know that not every news organization that wants to support public interest journalism is going to be as well funded as The Washington Post,” says Holmes.  THE MOTHER OF INVENTION “The proposals came during an apparent phone conversation that was captured on video and provided to Gizmodo via SecureDrop, a portal permitting whistleblowers and sources to reach us while remaining anonymous,” the article reads. Ricochet Last Thursday, Wired became the latest magazine to publicize its use of SecureDrop, which allows whistleblowers and leakers to anonymously send documents and messages to media organizations without identifying or traceable information. This comes one month after Forbes adopted the program, and four years after The New Yorker took the technology public.  “SecureDrop is notoriously challenging to use and takes dedication within a newsroom to check it diligently and respond. But it’s pretty good now for what we’ve got, and it’s only going to get better,” Holmes says. Open PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is a non-proprietary email encryption software which can be used in conjunction with Windows, Mac and Android mailbox tools, as well as many others. Like the other services, Open PGP uses end-to-end encryption, which makes it difficult for emails to be read if they are intercepted. Open PGP “SecureDrop can be a little bit intensive,” Harlo Holmes, director of newsroom digital security at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, tells Folio:. “Source protection is really difficult to begin with…This is one way that is addressing that problem head on.” Signal is like WhatsApp for the fearful. Users download an app, which then uses the phone’s existing number and contact book. All messages are encrypted on both sides, which means that Open Whisper Systems can’t see your messages, though communication is not anonymous between users. The good news is, with end-to-end encryption, Open Whisper Systems has nothing to share with law enforcement should they request message transcripts.  The tool has seen a resurgence since the election of President Donald Trump, who has publicly threatened to prosecute government employees who leak documents to the press. However, the origins of SecureDrop harken back to WikiLeaks and Obama-era strong-arming by the Department of Justice to get journalists to identify confidential sources. Ricochet is a machine-specific instant messaging system which operates through Tor. The free and open-source software is encrypted end-to-end, and anonymized, which means your computer does not know where the messages are coming from. “We’re certainly getting tips, but nothing incredibly useful,” Luo tells Folio:. “Why is that? I guess I feel like, at this point, The New Yorker is not necessarily the front-of-mind outlet for those kinds of leaked documents and data, in the way that The Times and ProPublica, for example, are.” While it doesn’t matter which specific hardware is used, the Foundation provides recommendations in the range of $2000–$3000 per set up. Elsewhere in the mediasphere, however, stories are trickling in. Last week, Vice’s Motherboard published a story about people who spy on their loved ones, informed by data obtained through SecureDrop. In February, Gizmodo published a recording of Trump discussing trade tariffs with Wilbur Ross, a then-nominee for Secretary of Commerce.last_img read more

Your most sensitive data is likely exposed online These people try to

first_imgJustin Paine sits in a pub in Oakland, California, searching the internet for your most sensitive data. It doesn’t take him long to find a promising lead.On his laptop, he opens Shodan, a searchable index of cloud servers and other internet-connected devices. Then he types the keyword “Kibana,” which reveals more than 15,000 databases stored online. Paine starts digging through the results, a plate of chicken tenders and fries growing cold next to him.”This one’s from Russia. This one’s from China,” Paine said. “This one is just wide open.”From there, Paine can sift through each database and check its contents. One database appears to have information about hotel room service. If he keeps looking deeper, he might find credit card or passport numbers. That isn’t far-fetched. In the past, he’s found databases containing patient information from drug addiction treatment centers, as well as library borrowing records and online gambling transactions.Paine is part of an informal army of web researchers who indulge an obscure passion: scouring the internet for unsecured databases. The databases — unencrypted and in plain sight — can contain all sorts of sensitive information, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, bank details, Social Security numbers and medical diagnoses. In the wrong hands, the data could be exploited for fraud, identity theft or blackmail. The data-hunting community is both eclectic and global. Some of its members are professional security experts, others are hobbyists. Some are advanced programmers, others can’t write a line of code. They’re in Ukraine, Israel, Australia, the US and just about any country you name. They share a common purpose: spurring database owners to lock down your info. Anybody in the world can find this data. Bob Diachenko, database hunter Cloud computing Hacking Privacy Comments Tags Cloud database removed after exposing details on 80 million US households Millions of Facebook records were exposed on public Amazon server Patient names, treatments leak among millions of rehab records To search out databases, you have to have a high tolerance for boredom and a higher one for disappointment. Paine said it would take hours to find out whether the hotel room service database was actually a cache of exposed sensitive data. Poring over databases can be mind-numbing and tends to be full of false leads. It isn’t like searching for a needle in a haystack; it’s like searching fields of haystacks hoping one might contain a needle. What’s more, there’s no guarantee the hunters will be able to prompt the owners of an exposed database to fix the problem. Sometimes, the owner will threaten legal action instead.Database jackpotYour login credentials could be in the cloud for anyone to grab. CNET The payoff, however, can be a thrill. Bob Diachenko, who hunts databases from his office in Ukraine, used to work in public relations for a company called Kromtech, which learned from a security researcher that it had a data breach. The experience intrigued Diachenko, and with no experience he dove into hunting databases. In July, he found records on thousands of US voters in an unsecured database, simply by using the keyword “voter.””If me, a guy with no technical background, can find this data,” Diachenko said, “then anybody in the world can find this data.”In January, Diachenko found 24 million financial documents related to US mortgages and banking on an exposed database. The publicity generated by the find, as well as others, helps Diachenko promote SecurityDiscovery.com, a cybersecurity consulting business he set up after leaving his previous job.Publicizing a problemChris Vickery, a director of cyberrisk research at UpGuard, says big finds raise awareness and help drum up business from companies anxious to make sure their names aren’t associated with sloppy practices. Even if the companies don’t choose UpGuard, he said, the public nature of discoveries helps his field grow.Earlier this year, Vickery looked for something big by searching on “data lake,” a term for large compilations of data stored in multiple file formats. Your data found exposed 1:48 The search helped his team make one of the biggest finds to date, a cache of 540 million Facebook records that included user’s names, Facebook ID numbers and about 22,000 unencrypted passwords stored in the cloud. The data had been stored by third-party companies, not Facebook itself.”I was swinging for the fences,” Vickery said, describing the process.Getting it securedFacebook said it acted swiftly to get the data removed. But not all companies are responsive.When database hunters can’t get a company to react, they sometimes turn to a security writer who uses the pen name Dissent. She used to hunt unsecured databases herself but now spends her time prompting companies to respond to data exposures that other researchers find. “An optimal response is, ‘Thank you for letting us know. We’re securing it and we’re notifying patients or customers and the relevant regulators,'” said Dissent, who asked to be identified by her pen name to protect her privacy.Not every company understands what it means for data to be exposed, something Dissent has documented on her website Databreaches.net. In 2017, Diachenko sought her help in reporting exposed health records from a financial software vendor to a New York City hospital. It’s a little bit like a drug. Justin Painecenter_img 3 A database with info on 80M+ US households was left open… Now playing: Watch this: Security Software Internet The pursuit of unsecured data is a sign of the times. Any organization — a private company, a nonprofit or a government agency — can store data on the cloud easily and cheaply. But many software tools that help put databases on the cloud leave the data exposed by default. Even when the tools do make data private from the start, not every organization has the expertise to know it should leave those protections in place. Often, the data just sits there in plain text waiting to be read. That means there’ll always be something for people like Paine to find. In April, researchers in Israel found demographic details on more than 80 million US households, including addresses, ages and income level.No one knows how big the problem is, says Troy Hunt, a cybersecurity expert who’s chronicled on his blog the issue of exposed databases. There are far more unsecured databases than those publicized by researchers, he says, but you can only count the ones you can see. What’s more, new databases are constantly added to the cloud.”It’s one of those tip-of-the-iceberg situations,” Hunt said. The hospital described the exposure as a hack, even though Diachenko had simply found the data online and didn’t break any passwords or encryption to see it. Dissent wrote a blog post explaining that a hospital contractor had left the data unsecured. The hospital hired an external IT company to investigate.Tools for good or badThe search tools that database hunters use are powerful. Sitting in the pub, Paine shows me one of his techniques, which has let him find exposed data on Amazon Web Services databases and which he said was “hacked together with various different tools.” The makeshift approach is necessary because data stored on Amazon’s cloud service isn’t indexed on Shodan.First, he opens a tool called Bucket Stream, which searches through public logs of the security certificates that websites need to access encryption technology. The logs let Paine find the names of new “buckets,” or containers for data, stored by Amazon, and check whether they’re publicly viewable. Then he uses a separate tool to create a searchable database of his findings.For someone who searches for caches of personal data down between the couch cushions of the internet, Paine doesn’t display glee or dismay as he examines the results. This is just the reality of the internet. It’s filled with databases that should be locked behind a password and encrypted but aren’t.Ideally, companies would hire experts to do the work he does, he says. Companies, he says, should “make sure your data isn’t leaking.”If that happened more often, Paine would have to find a new hobby. But that might be hard for him.”It’s a little bit like a drug,” he said, before finally getting around to digging into his fries and chicken. Share your voicelast_img read more

Therapeutic foster care program struggles to get off its feet in YK

first_imgA new foster care program aimed at helping keep Western children in their communities is in-development. It incorporates therapeutic methods to help fix behavioral issues in the home that might be affecting both the child and parent. But the program is facing problems with one major hiccup — no one has signed up yet.Download AudioNow, multiple agency officials are working to raise awareness about the program.The Office of Children’s Services Building in Bethel. (Photo by Lakeidra Chavis/KYUK)Fennisha Gardner, the protective services manger for the Office of Children’s Services’ Western region, says the goal of bringing therapeutic foster care to this part of the state, is simple: to keep children in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta.“So out of the 56 villages, we would like to have some type of hub of therapeutic foster homes,” said Gardner. “In which case, the child would be able to stay closer to their culture, to their relatives, to their parents.”There’s just one problem.“I do not have a ‘yes’ yet,” said Gardner. “I still need the communities to come together and bring somebody forward,” said Gardner.Therapeutic foster care carries the basic framework of regular foster care, but it’s designed to offer mental and behavioral health treatment to children who have suffered severe trauma, like abuse. The program also works to improve the behaviors of the parent.AK Child and Family is the licensing agency for the delta.Doug White, is the agency’s director of community programs, and he says the name ‘foster care’ in the title may be bit misleading.“They simply need a placement out of their home for a period of time, for the family and children to address any behavioral issues that they might be having,” said White.Therapeutic foster care parents are trained on mental health issues, solutions to handling them and community resources available to assist the child.Success in the program is measured by its ability to keep children in their communities, instead of sending them elsewhere for these types of services.“When that link is broken is broken within the family system, it’s often very difficult to get children back,” said White. “We hear time and time again from families and elders that children leave for treatment and don’t come back for years.”White says the factors for becoming a successful therapeutic parent are flexibility, openness and understanding. These qualities don’t necessarily equate to a certain income or education level.But there are some barriers.Part of the requirement of becoming a therapeutic foster parent is a two-month training in Anchorage. However, the agencies are trying to find ways to have the training in a hub, like Bethel.In general therapeutic foster care is more community-centric. Social workers conduct more house checks, and families interact with health care professionals more, they have to attend treatment-planning sessions, take the child to appointments, and complete daily reports on the child’s behavior.Currently, OCS and AK Child and Family, among other agencies in the delta, are meeting once a month to discuss ways to increase public awareness.They’ve focused on foster parents currently in the Delta. But to date, no one has committed to the program.Yurii Miller, an OCS licensing manager, says reasons for not participating may in part be due the time commitment needed for training and the amount of paperwork.Miller acknowledged that part of the challenge is that the program is designed to work best in a bigger city, like Anchorage—a place filled with more resources. But they’ve applied this framework for the program elsewhere–like Nome.“I will say this much, it’s been done in other communities and it’s been successful,” said Miller. “I think it just takes a lot of planning on behalf of the agency and children services. The resources are there, it’s just a matter of putting them together.”As of September, there are 191 children in out-of-home foster care in Western Alaska. The amount of foster parents in the region is 151, but this number also includes people currently applying to become a foster parent. In Bethel alone, that number is 33.The number of people applying to become foster cares parents, in the region has remained steady, and is mostly comprised of family members.In Alaska, there are 43 therapeutic foster parents. But Miller says the biggest barrier in the delta, seems to be the time commitment to becoming one.last_img read more

Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 leaked online on torrent websites

first_imgGame of Thrones season 8 episode 3 leakGame of Thrones (@gameofthrones/Instagram)Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 “The Long Night” has been leaked online few minutes after its worldwide release on HBO and other streaming services. Just like the previous two episodes, fans are opting to watch the illegal HD-720p version of the fantasy drama show.Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 is undoubtedly going to be one of the most important episodes in the entire history of HBO’s Game of Thrones. This is the episode where we are going to see the death of several of our beloved characters. We have already predicted the death in episode 3 but are still hoping that Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen should survive the great battle. This is one of the highly anticipated episodes so far and fans from around the world are desperately waiting to see it.Just hours before the release of first and second episodes, hackers were able to get a hold on to good quality print and uploaded it on torrent websites for illegal download. Something similar has happened again as the episode has finally made it way to the online illegal world from Spain and there are hundreds of thousands of users who are preferring to download the illegal print rather than paying a small fee to stream it without any worry. Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 promo detailsGame of Thrones (@gameofthrones/Instagram)The Reddit subthreads are filled with the discussions about the possible shocking deaths and fans are being warned not to click on such links if they choose to stay away from spoilers.It should be noted that it is never a good idea to download illegal prints. First of all, torrent downloading is illegal in most of the countries and at the same time, torrent files like Game of Thrones consist of several malware or ransomware. By downloading the illegal prints, users somehow expose their system’s files to the hackers, which in the long run is not a good thing.As we previously covered, Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 “The Long Night” is going to feature Jon Snow’s fight with the White Walkers. Daenerys Targaryen and her army will support Jon in this battle and so does the Wildings and Jaime Lannister. There are predictions that Jaime Lannister will die in the upcoming battle. We are sure that several of our favorite characters are going to die in the forthcoming episode and it would be interesting to see how HBO pulls it off.Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 “The Long Night” streams legally on April 28 in the United States and on April 29, 6:30 am in India on Hotstar.last_img read more

PMO directives flouted buses still run on contract

first_img.Directives of the prime minister office to ensure discipline on Dhaka roads are being flouted. The authorities have made no visible progress in implementing these directives in nearly one month.The PMO, on 16 August, issued a 17-point directive, asking the authorities to take up certain measures, including keeping the doors of running buses closed and allowing passengers to alight and get down from the buses only at the bus stops.Transport sector experts said at least 7 of the directives could have been implemented promptly, but they were not.Moreover, transport workers are defying the decisions of owners’ association not to operate buses on contract basis to curb road accidents. Most of the buses of the capital are still plying on daily contract.PMO’s directives floutedOn Tuesday and Wednesday, gross violation of the directives were evident in at least eight areas of city.One of the directives was to display drivers’ and helpers’ names with pictures, the driving licence and mobile numbers at two prominent places on the bus. This reporter found no such display in at least 25 buses on Tuesday and Wednesday.The directive of keeping the doors of running buses closed and allowing passengers to get on and down from the buses only at the stoppages were also flouted. On Wednesday, the buses were seen stopping at and taking passengers from random places.Motorcyclists’ are also violating the directives. The riders were not wearing helmets as per the instruction. Moreover, this reporter found at least five foot over bridges in a dirty condition.Jaywalkers were also seen crossing the roads risking their lives.Chairman of center for urban studies Nazrul Islam told Prothom Alo, the government lacks the commitment to stop anarchy on the roads. The people also have a tendency to violate the law. Political resolve and commitment from the high-ups of the government is a must to bring discipline in our roads.Contract system is still in placeTransport sector experts said, contract-based driving is one of the main reasons of accidents on the city streets.Under contract system, drivers and conductors have to give the owners fixed amounts at the end of the day or shift, leading to frantic races to get more passengers.In face of countrywide protests by students demanding safe roads, the owners association on 8 August declared that no public transport would run on city roads on contract basis. The association also declared to rescind membership of the company if any owner of their company operates buses on contracts. But the decision is being defied as this reporter talked with drivers and conductors of at least 10 city buses who are still running on contract. Owners association revoked membership of 5 bus companies for running their bus on contract but they are still plying on the road as they still have their registration valid.Khandker Enayet Ullah, secretary general of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association, however, said they will stop contract system. It might take a little more time, but they will change the system.BUET’s accident research institutes’ former director Moazzem Hossain said, owners and workers are controlling the transport sector at their will. The government neither has the capacity nor the manpower to implement those directives.Concerted effort from political parties and general people is needed to establish rules in roads, he added.last_img read more

The great Dodo weight debate

first_img Citation: The great Dodo weight debate (2011, April 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-04-great-dodo-weight-debate.html Dodo bird (Raphus Cucullatus) Back in the early 1990s, Andrew Kitchener from the National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh constructed a model based on bones and concluded the Dodo bird was far skinner than images had depicted them. His findings put the bird’s weight in the range of 10.5 to 17.5 kilograms.In a new study last month published in Naturwissenschaften, a team of researchers led by Delphine Angst from the Natural History Museum in Paris looked at 75 Dodo leg bones, including 25 femurs, tibiotarsus, and tarsometatarsus which they had collected from 14 different museums. By studying these bones, they came to the conclusion that the real body mass of the Dodo was really that of about 10 kilograms.However, in yet another study published again this month in Naturwissenschaften, another team says that Angst and her team were wrong in their analysis of the leg dimensions and that it is the femur that is more relevant. Their research suggests that the accurate weight would have been in a range of 9.5 to 18 kilograms.Paleo-ornithologist Antoine Louchart believes it is important that they get these figures correct as it will help scientists trying to understand just how birds evolve when living on islands when it comes to an increase or decrease of size. (PhysOrg.com) — The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus), a pigeon type bird that went extinct over 300 years ago is raising debate these last few months on just how slender or plump it really was. When the Dodo bird was first discovered by Dutch ships on the island of Mauritius, the drawings of the birds that were brought back showed a slender bird. However, over the years, the drawings showed a gradual plumping of the Dodo and this has been a big debate for years. The way of the digital dodo More information: The end of the fat dodo? A new mass estimate for Raphus cucullatus, NATURWISSENSCHAFTEN, Volume 98, Number 3, 233-236, DOI: 10.1007/s00114-010-0759-7 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further © 2010 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more