Few Mutational Pathways Lead to Darwinian Evolution

first_imgMutations may not be as helpful for neo-Darwinian evolution as expected, say researchers from Harvard.  Let’s say five mutations need to occur for a bacterium to gain resistance to an antibiotic, and there are 120 ways to get these mutations.  They found that only about 10 of the pathways could be selected by natural selection.  Since natural selection would have to confer better fitness at each step, most of the pathways are dead ends.    Although the team studied only one particular kind of resistance, “this finding likely applies to most protein evolution,” they said.  “Although many mutational paths lead to favored variants, only a very small fraction are likely to result in continuously improved fitness and therefore be relevant to the process of natural selection.”    See also Science Daily, EurekAlert.  The original paper was published in Science.1  The abstract states:Five point mutations in a particular beta-lactamase allele jointly increase bacterial resistance to a clinically important antibiotic by a factor of 100,000.  In principle, evolution to this high-resistance beta-lactamase might follow any of the 120 mutational trajectories linking these alleles.  However, we demonstrate that 102 trajectories are inaccessible to Darwinian selection and that many of the remaining trajectories have negligible probabilities of realization, because four of these five mutations fail to increase drug resistance in some combinations.  Pervasive biophysical pleiotropy [i.e., one modification causing a cascade of effects] within the beta-lactamase seems to be responsible, and because such pleiotropy appears to be a general property of missense mutations, we conclude that much protein evolution will be similarly constrained.  This implies that the protein tape of life [sic] may be largely reproducible and even predictable.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)The last sentence about what this implies is purely a speculation.  They elaborate slightly in the last sentence of the paper: “It now appears that intramolecular interactions render many mutational trajectories selectively inaccessible, which implies that replaying the protein tape of life might be surprisingly repetitive.  It remains to be seen whether intermolecular interactions similarly constrain Darwinian evolution at larger scales of biological organization.”  If those larger scales are random and require multiple steps, it would seem the same principle applies.1Weinreich et al., “Darwinian Evolution Can Follow Only Very Few Mutational Paths to Fitter Proteins,” Science, 7 April 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5770, pp. 111-114, DOI: 10.1126/science.1123539.It wasn’t going to work anyway, so this just makes it harder.  They are’t talking about adding new genetic information or function, but rather losing function (susceptibility to the antiobiotic) in such a manner that each stage doesn’t kill all of the organisms in one fell swoop.  If this principle applies, as they suggested, to larger scales of biological organization, then the neo-Darwinian gig is, for all practical purposes, over.  Try getting a whale from a cow against these kinds of constraints.  This makes “the protein tape of life” predictable?  In whose Tinker Bell tale?(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

The 2012 Magazine Manufacturing and Production Technology Survey

first_imgMean percentages do not tell the whole story. Slightly more than 22 percent of all respondents reported some level of paid Web content delivery—between 1 percent and 24 percent, to be exact—which was offset by the 46 percent who reported none. A similar issue existed with tablet apps, with almost 15 percent reporting between 1 percent and 24 percent of paid subscriptions from that format, offset by the 64 percent who reported none. The data support the notion that digital delivery has a revenue potential which has yet to be fully realized.The respondents carried out a wide array of job responsibilities—often filling more than one role. Of the 436 total work area responses, production was the most often cited, at almost 23 percent. Art/design and various digital media tasks were next, at 20 percent and 19 percent, respectively (Figure 3). Another trend is the progressive decline in reported investment in new production technology. The mean value dropped from $35.4 thousand in 2008 to $21.8 thousand in 2011 (Figure 6). Allowing for the margin of error, plus the fact that about 35 percent reported no new investment in each of the four years, the data seem to indicate a conservative, wait-and-see attitude.While new hiring may explain some of the modest increase in production department investment, the fact remains that new technology has not yet made the impact that one would expect from the rise of tablets. While the potential engagement and revenue growth of this channel is not seriously questioned, the data show that they have not yet accelerated production budgets.Specific Production TechnologiesFor the past few years, the survey has asked whether respondents’ companies are currently using various digital technologies. We broke down the “yes” responses according to whether the respondent’s company published b-to-b or consumer magazines (Figure 7), as well as by level of combined revenue (Figure 8).In general, b-to-b magazines claimed a greater degree of use of all technologies, except for the use of job ticket files in the Job Definition Format (JDF) first introduced in 2000. The difference was greatest for virtual proofing, with 80 percent of b-to-b magazines reporting its use, compared with 70 percent of consumer magazines. About 65 percent of respondents reported their organization has a publication designer/art director that also does production work. This number has been fairly consistent over the years. It is also somewhat higher for b-to-b (66 percent) than it is for consumer magazines (55 percent).Regardless of how the respondents described their work responsibilities, the proportion of in-house resources devoted solely to print was substantial, at about 69 percent. Close to 23 percent reported in-house resource allocation to a combination of print and app production, while app-only work garnered only 4 percent (Figure 4). For many years, Folio: and Readex Research have conducted a survey of magazine production professionals—noting their preferences and tendencies on the subject of creating a finished product. This year’s survey contained a few new questions, mainly about technologies for producing digital content, as well as some new measurements of user satisfaction.As the magazine industry struggles with technological and financial chaos, it is important to hold the proclamations of industry pundits (including this writer) at arm’s length, and look for data supporting actual change. This decade may become the beginning of a mobile publishing era, but print is still the dominant medium, and the tools for creating non-print content are very much in their infancy. Technology developers still have a long way to go in creating tools for tablet and smartphone content that rival those of print production. Using revenue levels to analyze technology adoption reveals a typical distribution, with bigger companies making correspondingly bigger investments. The only exception to this was in virtual proofing, where magazines with revenues between $1 million and $9.9 million reporting slightly higher adoption than their richer counterparts. The very high popularity of ad portal systems among companies with revenues of $10 million or more is worth nothing, as is the non-existence of JDF use by magazines making less than $10 million.Publishing in XML, an often-mentioned topic at conferences, does not seem to be getting much traction, with an overall response of only 15 percent of those surveyed—down from an average of 20 percent during the previous four years. While this number may be influenced by the low number of respondents this year, it is at least fair warning that XML publishing has stalled. This may well be due to the structural requirements of XML itself, which is better suited to predictable, structured content, and less so for creative, design-driven publications.Virtual proofing is by far the most widely-accepted technology named in the survey, with about 73 percent of all respondents claiming current use. This is very consistent with previous surveys. Of those using the technology, the mean starting point was four years ago, and the mean annual savings is $48.9 thousand—up significantly from previous years. The data suggest that virtual proofing has become a mainstream technology. Except for covers, costly physical proofs have all but disappeared from the editorial side of many magazines. Advertising is less likely to let go of the contract proof security blanket. However, cost and time factors—plus improved color management—will ultimately push most advertisers into the all-digital world.Ad Portal SystemsAd portal systems, defined as “a system that allows advertisers to digitally send ads to your organization by dragging PDFs to a portal icon on their desktops,” have achieved modest success, with 28 percent of all respondents affirming their use. Both use and mean annual savings ($62.5 thousand) have risen steadily over the past five years. Part of the resistance to such systems has been the lack of predictability and uniformity of PDF files in general. Problems like incorrect page size, inadequate bleed, low-resolution images, and the like can make automatic drag-and-drop an untenable proposition. Automated file preflight can often allay these fears, but it will take time for technology fully compensate for potential user error.Online Insertion Order SystemsOnline insertion order systems, defined as “a system where advertising orders can be sent to and managed by your organization electronically,” have remained the same, at about 21 percent. The claimed mean annual savings of only $32.5 thousand may be due to the low number of respondents using such systems. For advertisers and publishers with adequate IT resources, such systems are a logical, albeit sometimes complicated solution. The fact remains, however, that integrating accounting with magazine production is not often a realistic short-term goal.JDF Files JDF files were by far the least-used technology of all those surveyed, with only about 3 percent responding in the affirmative. This may be explained by a separate survey question, asking respondents to specify the method of sending its final magazine layouts to the printer. Over 53 percent indicated they used a supplier’s proprietary upload system, such as R.R. Donnelley’s InSite portal. Almost 37 percent said they used FTP, with about 10 percent using other methods, such as email attachments. Since job tickets are a production-specific technology, it may be safe to assume that magazine publishers may simply be submitting files without knowing (or caring) whether JDF is used or not.The low numbers for some of these technologies may be due to the lack of a clear “aha moment,” or simply to inertia and the need to simply survive. We will continue to track most of these—plus emerging technologies on the app creation side—to gauge whether or not developers are on the right track.Satisfaction LevelsA new question in this year’s survey dealt with respondent satisfaction—and dissatisfaction—with existing production technology. As with the adoption question, we used magazine type (Figure 9) and revenue level (Figure 10) to show how each technology fared with respondents.Not surprisingly, print layout and production technology ranked highest among respondents, with only minor differences based on magazine type and revenue level. Virtual proofing and website production technology ranked second and third. The latter is remarkable only in the fact that companies with revenues of $10 million or more indicated they were very or somewhat satisfied less often (44 percent) than companies with revenues under $1 million. Arguably, this may be due to the maturity of tools for creating simple websites (i.e., Dreamweaver) and the relative chaos of Web content management used to create more complex publisher sites. Respondent CharacteristicsOver 36 percent of all respondents indicated that their organization publishes b-to-b magazines, while almost 34 percent indicated that their organization publishes special interest or mass market consumer magazines. Multiple responses, including association/journal/newsletter (27 percent) and city/regional (10 percent) were allowed, so the total was greater than 100 percent.Of the 144 respondents who publish magazines, slightly fewer than 19 percent reported over $10 million in combined revenue for their respective organizations. The largest segment, about 36 percent, reported between $1 million and $9.9 million, while fewer than 26 percent reported less than $1 million (Figure 1).Only about 42 percent of all respondents reported that their paid magazine subscriptions were delivered entirely in print, while over 24 percent reported that between 75 percent and 99 percent were so delivered. The mean percentage for print delivery was 78 percent for b-to-b print content and 88 percent for consumer print, compared with 14 percent for paid Web content of either type (Figure 2). It should be noted that the total number of respondents in 2012 was smaller than in previous years—169 compared to 224 the previous year. Of those respondents, 25 were excluded as being from organizations that did not publish magazines, leaving a total of 144. However, we believe that meaningful trends can be discerned from the data. The total is still a respectable 14.4 percent of the original 1,000 member sample, with a margin of error of ±7.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Many of the respondents’ defining characteristics—such as the percentage of consumer versus business-to-business publishers or combined revenue figures—are consistent with previous years. So long as truly minor shifts or differences (i.e., those within the margin of error) are ignored, there is plenty of significant data to discuss. In future surveys, we will dig deeper into job responsibilities and resource allocation as it pertains to production realities. With many of the tablet app-creation tools requiring the resource equivalent of an entirely new publication—at least at launch—it will become increasingly critical to know how such resources are best used, and how production systems can relieve the overload.Investment TrendsRespondents were asked to consider their company’s annual investment in the production department—including both personnel and technology—and compare it with the previous year. The percentage of those reporting increased investment was about 19 percent, up very slightly (within the margin of error) from the 2011 survey response of 14 percent. The percentage reporting no change remained about the same (60 percent), while those reporting decreased investment hovered around 11 percent. The spike in decreased spending coinciding with the recession seems to have abated, but overall spending increases are still far short of 2008 levels (Figure 5). The same perception skew was reflected in respondents’ satisfaction with content management systems in general, with only 22 percent of respondents from $10+ million companies indicating they were very or somewhat satisfied, and 41 percent of respondents from under $1 million companies saying so. Again, this may be due to the different features, perceptions, and expectations surrounding systems designed for large and small companies.Ad portal and insertion order systems received higher-than-average satisfaction ratings among respondents from companies with $10+ million revenue, at 48 percent and 26 percent, respectively. This makes sense, given the fact that such companies indicated higher-than-average use.Respondents’ dissatisfaction with technologies was to some degree a mirror of the satisfaction rankings, with some interesting exceptions. In Figure 11, we see that mobile app layout production technology received a higher percentage of very or somewhat dissatisfied response among respondents at consumer magazines (17 percent) versus that of b-to-b magazines (11 percent). When seen through a breakdown of revenue levels (Figure 12), the very or somewhat dissatisfied response was much higher for companies with under $1 million in combined revenue (19 percent) than it was for companies reporting higher revenue. This may be due to the fact that, until recently, app creation tools tended to favor larger publishers with more resources.It should be noted that a significant number of respondents were neutral or checked “not applicable” for some technologies, including content management, mobile app production and XML. The above analysis of outliers in these areas is useful, but should not distract us from the fact that certain technologies are still far from being mainstream.ConclusionsPerhaps one of the more telling results of the survey can be gleaned from the verbatim responses to the question, “What technology has had the single biggest positive impact on your magazine production?” The greatest number of responses (24) had to do with Adobe desktop software, notably InDesign. The next most frequently cited technology was online or virtual proofing (16) followed by PDF or Acrobat (10). These technologies are largely but not exclusively centered on the production of a printed page.While respondents have certainly begun to produce non-print content, the “aha moment” comparable to PageMaker or QuarkXPress in the 1980s has not yet occurred. Enabling technologies such as content management still have significant negative user perceptions.In the realm of practical, cost-effective production, the printed page revolution that began with Ready Set Go and PageMaker and concluded with InDesign is largely over. The digital content revolution has barely begun.last_img read more

Senate confirms Trumps science adviser after twoyear vacancy

first_img Angela Lang/CNET Share your voice Tags Read the Rylo camera preview See at Amazon Sci-Tech Tech Industry Comments Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) Sarah Tew/CNET Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) Amazon Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. The Cheapskate $59 at eBay Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Read Lenovo Smart Clock review Read the AirPods review Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) $999 Read DJI Osmo Action preview Post a comment Boost Mobile $60 at Best Buy $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express Best Buy What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Turo Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Sarah Tew/CNET Tags Sprint 7 Read Google Home Hub review Sarah Tew/CNETcenter_img Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. $210 at Best Buy See it The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. See It $155 at Google Express I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) $6 at Tidal See It Share your voice Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Sarah Tew/CNET Donald Trump,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) 0 Chris Monroe/CNET $999 Kelvin Droegemeier, vice president of research and professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, has been confirmed as Trump’s top science adviser. OU School Meterology via YouTube The US Senate late Wednesday confirmed extreme-weather specialist Kelvin Droegemeier as President Donald Trump’s top science and technology adviser, after a lengthy vacancy.Droegemeier will be the head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, advising the president on science matters that affect the country’s economy, national security, environment, health and foreign relations. The role had been vacant for nearly two years, the office’s longest stretch without a leader.The OSTP staffing level has plummeted under the Trump administration, which has alienated many scientists, in particular over the issue of global climate change. Former OSTP director John Holdren, who served during the presidency of Barack Obama, told the journal Science in 2017 that the office had peaked at 135 employees but dropped to 35. Droegemeier previously served as vice president of research and professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. A meteorologist by training, Droegemeier has also been active in government, serving as Oklahoma’s secretary of science and technology. He was also appointed to the National Science Board in 2004 and 2011. Droegemeier didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Rylo HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Turo: Save $30 on any car rental $999 See It Apple iPhone XS Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays $520 at HP Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. See at Turo Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). $999 $299 at Amazon DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89)last_img read more

In a major push to offline retail Amazon to buy 10 stake

first_imgAmazon logoReutersIn a major boost to its offline retail segment ambitions in India, Amazon is all set to take over a minority stake in the Future Retail next week. The deal is expected to get the board approval on 14th November. This is likely one of the most the aggressive measures taken by the e-commerce giant, Amazon, to gain access to the growing retail business in India.The Economic Times has reported that the deal is likely to give Amazon access to one-third of India’s organised food and grocery market through the Big Bazaar and Nilgiris supermarket chains. The deal is expected to cost Amazon’s investment arm an amount of about Rs.2,500 crore. Notably, Future group has more than 1,100 stores in the country upon which Amazon will capitalize.One of the people associated with the development told the Economic Times “Amazon, through the foreign portfolio investor (FPI) route, will buy about 9.5% stake in Future Retail and has already signed a term sheet. The deal will be announced after board approval on November 14.”The two companies started negotiating for a partnership since the starting of this year when Future Group founder Kishore Biyani first met Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at his Seattle-based headquarters. Later, the executives of two companies met multiple times to deliberate on the modalities of the deal.The investment laws in Indian allows 51% foreign investment in multi-brand retail, however, Amazon is entering through the arm that’s registered as an FPI. It is the same route through which it acquired a minority stake of 5% in Shoppers Stop last year. An FPI is allowed to acquire less than 10% stake in an Indian company as a single firm, on the other hand, an Indian entity can dilute up to 49% stake to multiple FPIs.  Pictured: A retail outlet of Big Bazaar, which is owned by the Future Retail Ltd.Wikimedia commonsThe Indian consumer is still preferring offline retails business over the online mode which is evident with the fact that retail sale through physical stores accounts for more than 95% of all retail sales in the country.last_img read more

Debtladen Jet Airways defaults on loan repayment

first_img[Representational image]Wikimedia CommonsThe outlook for Jet Airways worsened on Wednesday with the cash-strapped carrier defaulting on loan repayments to banks.”Payment of interest and principal installment due to the consortium of Indian Banks (led by State Bank of IndiaNSE 0.10 %) on December 31, 2018 has been delayed due to temporary cashflow mismatch,” Jet Airways said in a regulatory filing, PTI reported.The report came hours after Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube said in an earnings conference call that the airline is on the path of recovery.”… we remain focused on our airlines business turnaround, which we are happy to report is on track,” Dubey had said on Tuesday during the Q2 FY2019 conference call with analysts.Dubey had, however, drawn attention to the hostile market dynamics that had run the airline down. “Compared to the same quarter last year, the Indian rupee has depreciated by about 10%, and Brent is higher by almost $25 per barrel or 50%. However, instead of witnessing an increase in fares, to recover these cost increases, the industry fares and yields are in fact down. Such a low fare environment is not sustainable for the industry nor good for the consumer in the medium term, and it is imperative that fares rise in the short term,” the CEO said.Jet Airways, once a success story in Indian aviation, has been alternating between attempts to raise cash in the market and find a new buyer.On Monday, the company’s shares saw a spurt after reports said the management was in talks with the State Bank of India (SBI) for a Rs 1,500 crore interim loan. The bump-up in share prices came as the report said that Etihad Airways, which holds 24 percent equity stake in Jet, would offer guarantee for the loan.Seeking suitorsIndia’s biggest full service carrier, which posted three consecutive quarters of losses since March, has been looking for a suitor for some time. Etihad itself had emerged as a possible buyer earlier but Chairman Naresh Goyal’s unwillingness to cede control had spoiled the merger prospects.Jet Airways, which Goyal founded in 1993, is reeling under a debt pile of 81.5 billion rupees ($1.2 billion). Bloated costs, surging fuel prices and a weaker rupee are hurting Jet Airways. Peers such as SpiceJet and Indigo had reported impressive profits during the same period.An erosion in market share in recent years and the inability to expand into other markets also caused Jet’s downfall. The rise of Indigo and the launch of Air Asia ate into Jet’s formidable market share.last_img read more

Red alert issued to bar Rifats killers from leaving country

first_imgMiscreants stab Shah Neyaj Rifat Sharif in broad daylight at College road in Barguna on Wednesday morning. Image grabbed from video.Red alert has been issued at the country’s international airports, land ports and maritime ports so that the murderers of Rifat Sharif, the young man from Barguna, cannot leave the country, police headquarters said on Friday morning.“The authorities of all of the concerned airports, land ports and maritime ports have been asked to take necessary action so that those accused in Rifat Sharif’s murder cannot leave the country,” assistant inspector general (AIG, media) Sohel Rana of the police headquarters told Prothom Alo.Earlier on Thursday, the High Court (HC) gave a verbal order to ensure that the accused cannot cross the country’s borders.An HC bench of justice FRM Nazmul Ahsan and justice KM Kamrul Quader gave the order after the Supreme Court lawyer Ruhul Kuddus drew the court’s attention to the matter.The court expressed regret at the social degeneration leading to such matters.Prime minister Sheikh Hasina also ordered the law enforcement agencies to arrest the accused at any cost, road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader told the media at secretariat on Thursday.The police have informed the media that three have been arrested in connection with the murder so far.On Friday, the law enforcement agencies released four young men who were detained on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Rifat Sharif.Police freed them as there was no evidence of their involvement in the incident.Rifat Sharif, 22, was hacked to death by a group of young men in front of his wife in the district town of Barguna on 26 June.The entire incident was captured on a surveillance camera. It was seen in the footage that the attackers were hacking Rifat with machetes indiscriminately while his wife Ayesha Siddiqua was frantically trying to save him.However, the attackers pushed her aside and continued to hack him, leaving him drenched in blood.Rifat’s father Abdul Halim filed a lawsuit against 12 including Sabbir, Rifat, Rishan and four to five unnamed people on Wednesday in connection with the murder.last_img read more

One dead in US school shooting near Columbine

first_imgCassanda Sadusky, survivor of the attack, looks at a line of crosses commemorating those killed in the Columbine High School shooting on the 20th anniversary of the attack in Littleton, Colorado, US on 20 April. Reuters File PhotoA teenaged student was fatally shot and multiple others were wounded Tuesday in a school shooting by fellow pupils in the US state of Colorado, across town from one of the worst gun massacres in the country’s modern history.”It is with extreme sadness that we can confirm that 1 student at the STEM School was killed,” the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter, putting the deceased victim’s age at 18.Sheriff Tony Spurlock had earlier said several of the wounded students — of whom there were a total of eight — were in critical condition, including some in surgery. No staff or teachers were known to be hurt. The youngest injured student was 15.Two suspects were in custody — an adult man and a male youth. Both attended the school. There were no further suspects.The two individuals “walked into the STEM school, got deep inside the school and engaged students in two separate locations,” the sheriff added, noting the shooting took place at the high school, where students spend the last four years before college.”We have no information about anyone being targeted.”A handgun was recovered at the scene.Spurlock said the school notified first responders “almost immediately” and deputies arrived to the scene about two minutes later.Quick response”I have to believe that the quick response of the officers that got inside that school helped save lives,” the sheriff said.The STEM School Highlands Ranch, a kindergarten through 12th grade institution in central Colorado with a student population of around 1,800, is located around five miles (eight kilometers) by road from Columbine High School.The school was closed for several hours as a large police contingent was deployed at the site. The lockdown was lifted around 3:00 pm (2100 GMT).Security measures were taken at several area schools and parents of STEM students were asked to pick up their children at a site near the school.”I’m just trying not to vomit or cry,” one mother told The Denver Post.Brian Jones, whose son is in second grade (about age seven or eight) said: “It’s nerve-wracking… There were lots of parents and lots of kids crying.”Two heavily armed teens killed 12 students and one teacher at Columbine in 1999 — at the time the deadliest such attack in US history.Spurlock said that the two suspects in the latest shooting had not been on the radar of law enforcement.”This is a terrible event,” he said.”We’re going to investigate that and we will get to the bottom of it to figure out how and what has occurred.”Fierce debate, more killingsThe Columbine shooting sparked a fierce national debate over gun rights and violence. Yet 20 years later, it seems no closer to resolution.School shootings have since become a frequent occurrence in the US, where firearms killed nearly 40,000 people in 2017, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.Since Columbine, an estimated 226,000 children in 233 schools have been exposed to the sight or sound of gunfire, according to a Washington Post investigation.The worst shootings to date were those at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut in 2012 (20 young children and six adults were killed) and at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last year (17 dead).The number of firearms in circulation has continued to grow (now at 393 million in a nation of 326 million people), and mass shootings have become a disturbingly regular part of American life.Despite the scale of gun violence across the nation, efforts to address it legislatively have long been largely deadlocked at the federal levellast_img read more

N Korea tested rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons

first_imgNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Photo: AFPNorth Korean state media said Sunday that leader Kim Jong Un had overseen a rocket and tactical guided weapons test, after the drill Saturday raised concerns Pyongyang was escalating provocations with US nuclear negotiations deadlocked.But the United States seemed to seek a conciliatory tone in response, with secretary of state Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that Washington still saw “a path forward” in the denuclearisation process.The North last carried out a missile test in November 2017, before a rapid diplomatic rapprochement saw tensions ease on the peninsula and a series of summits.A return to missile launches would be likely to infuriate US president Donald Trump, but the North’s official KCNA news agency shied away from the term in its report, saying Kim had ordered a “strike drill” involving “long-range multiple rocket launchers” — which are not targeted by UN sanctions resolutions — and unspecified “tactical guided weapons”.Seoul’s defence ministry said Sunday an analysis of the launch indicated Pyongyang had tested “240-mm and 300-mm multiple rocket launchers and a new type of tactical guided weapons with a range of around 70 to 240 kilometres” (45 to 150 miles).The United States and North Korea have been at loggerheads since the collapse of a Trump-Kim summit in February, when the two sides clashed over sanctions and the extent of Pyongyang’s concessions on its atomic arsenal.But despite the latest sabre-rattling from Pyongyang, Trump insisted that a breakthrough was possible.”Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it,” Trump tweeted Saturday.”He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!” The US leader did not elaborate on Kim’s promise.Pompeo, speaking Sunday on ABC, said the rockets were relatively short range, had crossed no international boundary, had landed in waters east of North Korea “and didn’t present a threat to the United States or to South Korea or Japan.”He called the situation serious and said the US always knew the road to denuclearization would be “bumpy and a long one.”But, Pompeo added, “we still believe there’s a path forward.”The state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Sunday carried 16 photos of the weapons test on its front page, including a picture of a grim-looking Kim clutching his binoculars in an observation post as well as several images of projectiles shooting skywards.- Broken promises? -Trump proclaimed that the North Korean nuclear threat was over after the two sides’ historic first summit in Singapore in June, when Kim pledged to work towards “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.The two have since disagreed over what that means, but Trump has insisted the leaders remain close even after their follow-up meeting in Vietnam broke up without a deal or even a joint statement, and that Kim would maintain his moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear tests.But with negotiations lagging, the North appears to be testing the US while staying below that threshold.The Saturday drill followed last month’s test-firing of very short-range tactical weapons, and came days after a senior North Korean diplomat chastised Pompeo for making “foolish and dangerous” comments during nuclear talks.Analysts said Pyongyang appears intent on raising pressure on Washington.”Kim wants to ensure the world knows it is upset with the US hardline stance on denuclearisation and will not bow to external pressure,” said Scott Seaman of the Eurasia Group.- ‘Unwanted outcome’ -But Ankit Panda of the Federation of American Scientists stressed that the projectile launch “does not violate Kim Jong Un’s self-imposed missile-testing moratorium”, which “only applied to intercontinental-range ballistic missiles”.Even so, a statement from Seoul’s presidential Blue House said it was “greatly concerned”, calling it a violation of a military agreement signed by both Koreas last year.On Friday, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Pyongyang should show “visible, concrete and substantial” denuclearisation action if it wants sanctions relief — the issue at the centre of the Hanoi debacle.Earlier this week, North Korean vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui warned Washington of an “unwanted outcome” if it did not adjust its stance on economic sanctions.- Biegun visit -Since the collapse of the Hanoi summit, South Korean president Moon Jae-in — who brokered the first meeting between the mercurial US and North Korean leaders — has tried to salvage diplomacy, but Pyongyang has remained largely unresponsive.Last week, on the anniversary of the first Panmunjom summit between Moon and Kim, KCNA said Washington and Seoul “keep pushing the situation of the Korean peninsula and the region to an undesirable phase”, criticising their joint military exercises.The North Korean drill comes just days before US special representative Stephen Biegun is to visit Japan and South Korea for talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal.last_img read more

Senator Whitmire Files Bill To Force An Election About Latest Plan For

first_img RYAN POPPETexas State Senator John Whitmire argues the latest plan for the Astrodome, which is projected to cost $105 million, requires taxpayers’ funding and that Harris County residents already rejected a bond proposal in 2013.A Houston lawmaker filed a bill Tuesday that could derail the solution for one of the city’s ultimate dilemmas.Texas State Senator John Whitmire (Democrat-District 15) wants voters to decide what happens to the Astrodome.Senator Whitmire’s bill (SB 884) calls for Texas counties with at least 3.3 million residents to obtain voter approval to redevelop sports facilities older than 50 years if the project costs 10 million dollars or more.All those conditions apply to Harris County’s latest plan for building a garage under the Astrodome and repurpose it to host different kinds of events.Whitmire says two main reasons he wants a vote are that the plan requires taxpayers’ funding and Harris County residents already rejected a bond proposal to renovate the Dome.“They expressed themselves in 2013. That vote, in my world, still governs until you go back out and resubmit it,” Whitmire said at a press conference.Harris County Judge Ed Emmett reacted to the news after the Commissioners Court meeting and said he feels frustrated about the bill, mostly because he wasn’t consulted.Emmett says he believes in the project because big events, such as the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) and the Auto Show, want to use a repurposed Astrodome.“Plus, it would be usable for festivals and gatherings, and all those people would pay rent and then that rent would help offset the cost to property taxpayers,” Emmett added.If Whitmire’s bill becomes law, the vote would take place in November.The Democratic Senator’s bill has bipartisan support, with powerful names in the Texas Legislature, such as Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Senators Paul Bettencourt and Sylvia Garcia, favoring it. X 00:00 /01:17 Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Sharelast_img read more