Siblings given community service for neighbourhood brawl

first_imgA war of words and a damaged fence has led to neighbours at Sisters Village, West Bank Demerara (WBD), being slapped with multiple charges.In evidence, brought before Magistrate Clive Nurse at the Wales Magistrate’s Court on Monday, it was stated that on May 24, 2016, siblings Rushell Abrams and Marcel Abrams, of Lot 68 Sisters Village, both verbally abused their neighbour, Padmini Fernandes, who was the Virtual Complainant (VC).Marcel Abrams, 34, was also charged for damaging the fence of the VC to the tune of 00. The court heard that Fernandes had also verbally abused the sisters.In her explanation, Marcel said that on the day of the argument, the VC allegedly told her that she would “never get a husband” after which a slew of expletives was traded. The defendant admitted that she later retorted: “I rebuke you! I rebuke you!” while rocking the VC’s fence, thus causing the damage.After hearing the statements, Magistrate Nurse encouraged the neighbours to live in peace, but ordered that the Abrams siblings serve community service as a consequence. Marcel Abrams will serve 30 hours of community service cleaning the windows of the Wales Court and Wales Police Station, effective July 25 to August 5. The Magistrate ruled that her sister, Rushell Abrams, will serve 20 hours cleaning the windows.Magistrate Nurse warned that failure to abide by the court’s ruling will cause the Sisters Village siblings to spend two weeks and one week respectively, in the New Amsterdam Prison. The two women were also placed on a one-year bond to keep the peace and maintain good behaviour. Fernandes, the VC, was also placed on a bond, pending the outcome of the entire matter.last_img read more

Increase in water rates approved

first_img…as GWI urged to improve its overall servicesGuyanese will see an increase in the rates for water effective October 2018 following a decision taken by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve the request of the Guyana Water Inc (GWI).The PUC said in a statement that the final increase will be made effective from October 2019. It said the implementation of the increases in a graduated format was an attempt to alleviate the financial burden on consumers when compared to the last implemented charges as awarded under an order of 2005.But the PUC said it also recognised that the increase with respect to the proposedGWI’s panel at one of the Public Utilities Commission hearingsmonthly consumption charge would initially result in great hardship to the rural areas. As a result, the Commission has determined that there would be a graduated rate for consumers who are currently paying $60.90 per cubic metre.In its filing, the GWI has requested a two-tiered rate tariff for its metered pensioners and a flat rate for its non-metered pensioners. The aim of this request is to offer a reduced tariff to this category of consumers. As such, the PUC said it has favourably considered this request.As such, the new charges for metered residential consumers will comprise a fixed monthly charge of $250 and a monthly consumption charge of $86 per cubic metre for consumers in the $60.90 per cubic metre category. On the other hand, all customers will pay $112 per cubic metre. However, with the second increase, the monthly fixed charge will be $500 and the monthly consumption charge $112 per cubic metre.Meanwhile, the new monthly fixed charge for unmetered residential consumers as of this year will be $250, along with a monthly consumption charge of $1100. From October 2018, these charges will be increased to $500 and $1450 respectively.While there will not be any fixed monthly charges for metered pensioners, a consumption charge of $74 will be applied for every cubic metre for the first ten cubic metres. There will also be an increase to $112 for each cubic metre thereafter. For unmetered pensioners, they will incur no fixed charges while their monthly consumption charge will be a flat fee of $740 per month. Further, there will be no new charges for metered non-residential and unmetered non-residential consumers.However, as a pre-condition to applying these new tariffs, the PUC has mandated that the GWI improve its system and, therefore, recommended that it implement a system which would allow pensioners to be added to its database which may require a period of time beyond the GWI-proposed 2018 timeline.The company was also urged to sanitise its database and create the necessary platforms. One of the recommendations is to have a consumer database, which should be continuously sanitised to reflect legitimate debtors. This should be accomplished no later than June 30, 2019, while the collection rates on annual billings should increase incrementally each year to a level of 96 per cent by the end of December 2020.The PUC said all disconnected consumers who have not been legitimately reconnected should be revisited at least within 60 days of being disconnected, to ensure that these consumers were not illegally reconnected and the collection of outstanding balances should be vigorously pursued.last_img read more

High drama as $38.5B Public Infrastructure budget passed

first_img– Opposition questions $199. 7M rental of buildings for UNThere was high drama in the National Assembly as the Government was questioned about various projects and expenditures under the Public Infrastructure Ministry, which has been allocated $38.5billion in the budget for 2019.Public Infrastructure Minister David PattersonAt one point, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, had Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira’s microphone cut off even as she argued for more time for her side to scrutinize the Ministry’s budget. The extended time was, however, granted.Opposition Parliamentarian Irfaan Ali questioned the amount allocated to renting buildings. A whopping $199.7 million was allocated for renting of buildings, which Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson explained would be used to house offices for the United Nations (UN) branches in Guyana.“This is just one building, one complex. It’s immediately south of the US Embassy. It is to house the United Nations. The UN has, at this moment, six offices. The FAO building, the Unicef building, the UNDP (United Nations Development Program), PAHO (Pan American Health Organisation), UNAIDS, all of which (we will house).”According to Patterson, the intention is to provide one consolidated complex that could meet the standards of security necessary for the agencies. But when Ali grilled the Minister about whether acquisition of the buildings — which will carry an average monthly cost of over $15 million — went through competitive tender, things became murky.Patterson informed the House that he worked on the basis of a shortlist of requirements provided by the UN. An impassioned Ali pointed out that tax payers’ money would still be used to cover the expenses of renting the complex. To this Patterson noted that when everything is considered, the Government got value for money with the arrangement.The Minister was also quizzed on the allocation of $374.8 million to Kwakwani Utilities Incorporated. Opposition Parliamentarian Juan Edghill noted that a similar sum was allocated in 2018, and the community suffered from electricity shortage.Edghill questioned what betterment would be brought to the community. Eventually, the Ministry’s budget was passed in the Committee of Supply.Government has allocated $38.5 billion in the 2019 budget to carry out several infrastructural projects.This had included, among other things, money for construction of 6 kilometres of paved roads in Linden, extensions of the highway from Hope Canal to Mahaica, and a feasibility study for a Linden-to-Mabura link.When it comes to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Finance Minister Winston Jordan had said the monies allocated for all capital projects constitute 71.9 per cent of the total Ministry budget. The money is also an increase from the $32 billion the Ministry received last year.When it comes to the East Coast of Demerara (ECD), Jordan revealed that the projected cost of the East Coast/East Bank road linkage project (Ogle bypass) has jumped from US$50 million to US$120 million. He noted that Government would approach its bilateral partner — in this case the Export-Import Bank of India — for more funds.This EBD-ECD Bypass project is expected to be 26 kilometres of constructed road linking two of the country’s main thoroughfares. This new road link would also be connected to key communities in Georgetown and along the East Bank of Demerara. Those include Diamond, Mocha, Eccles – all on the East Bank – and Aubrey Barker Road in Georgetown.last_img read more

La Penitence Market vendor shot to head trying to ward off bandits from robbing…

first_imgLa Penitence Market vendor Doodnauth ‘Hardat’ Danrasi is battling for his life at the Georgetown Public Hospital, after being shot to his head on Easter Monday reportedly while trying to ward off four armed bandits from robbing his wife, Meena Danrasi, in the vicinity of Twin’s Drug Store on Saffon Street, Georgetown.Based on reports received, the now seriously injured man, a resident of Winsor Forest, West Coast Demerara, had a scuffle with at least four armed men who had relieved his wife of her apron containing over $100,000.The four armed men reportedly appeared at the market under the pretext of purchasing fruits and vegetables, but instead held the woman at gunpoint. Upon realizing what was happening, ‘Hardat’ reportedly went to his wife’s rescue, and one of the men discharged a round that hit him to the temple. Seizing the apron containing the money, the bandits then escaped on two motorcycles.An eyewitness told media operatives that the shooting incident occurred at about 17:30hrs, when there were not a lot of people at the market. She said ‘Hardat’ was advancing towards the armed men a knife in his hand when he was shot.“There were four of them, no mask… people say that one of the constable know one of them; and it look like since yesterday them de targeting… I de done pack up, and is when I hear the screaming and meh husband tell me to run….,” she detailed.She said Hardat intervened while the bandits were about to rob his wife, Meena Danrasi. “They told her (to take off her apron) and she decided not to give (it) up. Her husband had a knife, and (he) tried to defend her, and told them, ‘Lef de woman! Lef de woman!’ and they shot him.”She said she cut her apron from off her body with a knife and dashed the apron in a corner. She said the constables who rushed to the scene tried their best to deter the bandits, taking into consideration that none of them was armed. The unarmed Constables tried their best by screaming for help.“No one was around to help, so the man them just collect the apron with the money and run on them bikes and ride way”, the woman added.After the bandits had left the scene, the injured man was rushed to the hospital. His condition, according to reports, is listed as serious.last_img read more

Pawnbrokers help keep tanks full

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“She didn’t have enough, so she pawned a ring. She and her friend picked it up on the way back.” Pawn shops lend money by taking items as collateral and charging an interest rate regulated by the state. Loans can range from 20 percent to 50 percent of an item’s fair market value. A few new customers have popped into Rick’s Pawn Shop and Diamond Exchange in Lancaster asking for help to fill the tank. “We don’t usually ask, but when we engage them in conversation, we’ve heard people say they’re on their way to L.A. and have to have gas money,” said owner Sylvia Sill. “My clerks tell me we have two to three people a day who mention gas.” While construction workers in Newhall were hocking their tools, Sill said regular items such as jewelry, musical instruments and TV sets were coming in to fuel customer needs. SANTA CLARITA – With gas prices topping $3 a gallon, some consumers are looking for help from their local pawnbrokers. At pumps around the Santa Clarita Valley, a low of $3.05 for regular unleaded gas was offered at the Chevron station in Valencia, while customers paid $3.13 for unleaded and $3.31 for supreme at a nearby Shell station. “We’re starting to hear more that they need gas money,” said Theodore DeVries of Abe’s Newhall Pawn Shop and Diamond Exchange. “We’re seeing construction workers bringing in their tools to get enough money for gas to get to work.” DeVries said a woman driving from Bakersfield to pick up a friend at the airport stopped in when she found herself short on gas. Jason Landes at the Palmdale Pawn Shop said his customer base is changing because of the rising gas prices. “I’ve had people who have been coming in for years and new people needing 20 or 50 bucks to pay for gas,” he said. “Once gas hit about $2.70-$2.75 a gallon, it’s been steadily increasing. People are coming in sooner than I might have seen them before.” According to the Auto Club of Southern California, gas prices have increased an average of 11 cents over the past week. Hikes at the pump have been attributed to the rising price paid for crude oil futures. carol.rock@dailynews.com (661) 257-5252160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

SUPER McGEADY FIRES IRELAND TO WIN OVER MACEDONIA

first_imgDONEGAL’S AIDEN McGeady opened the scoring with his first ever goal for Ireland in a 2-1 win over Macedonia tonight.McGeady – he is ours! – showed super skills throughout the game at the Aviva stadium.And another Donegal descendant James McCarthy finally made his full debut, coming in for the final few minutes. Keiren Westwood marked his first competitive start for the Republic of Ireland with a vital save to deny Macedonia a battling point in Dublin.The Coventry goalkeeper, winning just his sixth senior cap, rushed from his line to deny Ivan Trickovski with 15 minutes remaining as the visitors fought back from a calamitous start to push Ireland all the way.Giovanni Trapattoni’s men had raced into a 2-0 lead within 21 minutes, thanks mainly to two glaring errors from Macedonia goalkeeper Edin Nuredinovski.He allowed Aiden McGeady’s shot to beat him at his near post with just 85 seconds on the clock to hand the winger his first senior international goal in his 38th appearance, and then spilled Derry man Darron Gibson’s free-kick at the feet of skipper Robbie Keane with predictable consequences. However, Trickovski pulled one back on the stroke of half-time to keep the game in the melting pot, and the second half was far too even for the liking of anyone in green.Westwood’s intervention ultimately denied Macedonia the chance to write another chapter in their history of inflicting wounds on us.We join leaders Russia and Slovakia on 10 points at the top of Group B as a result of a victory which was far harder fought than it promised to be in the early stages.Trapattoni had predicted with some certainty that Mirsad Jonuz’s side would get men behind the ball in an attempt to frustrate Ireland, and that they would be a threat only from set-pieces.In the event, they played with commendable endeavour to ensure that a defence including three men – Westwood, Kevin Foley and Darren O’Dea – making their competitive debuts had to remain on its toes. The Ireland boss insisted he had no worries about throwing Coventry’s Westwood in at the deep end in the absence of the injured Shay Given, and his confidence proved well-founded.Jonuz, however, could not say the same of his last line of defence.Nuredinovski endured a night to forget at the Aviva Stadium as he gifted the Republic two goals inside the opening 21 minutes.The game was a little more than a minute old when McGeady, who had been sent out under explicit instructions to shoot on sight, cut inside from the left and did just that. His low drive was well struck, but it should not have perhaps eluded Nuredinovski’s grasp to nestle in the bottom corner. We didn’t care – we were jumping up and down!!!!Things could hardly have started more perfectly for Trapattoni and his players, and they went close again with 11 minutes gone when Kevin Doyle climbed well to head down Kevin Kilbane’s cross, and it took a brave intervention by the Macedonian goalkeeper to prevent Keane from extending his side’s lead.Doyle was clearly in some discomfort in the aftermath of the attack and his evening ended with just 17 minutes gone when he hobbled off, much to the concern of his international manager and no doubt Wolves boss Mick McCarthy.Shane Long replaced him and within seconds of the Reading man’s arrival, Ireland extended their lead.Gibson, another man who had been told to try his luck from distance, blasted a 21st-minute free-kick towards goal and saw Nuredinovski fumble it into the path of the ever-alert Keane, who bundled it over the line to double the dose.But if the home fans among a sparse crowd thought the points were safe, they were mistaken as Macedonia launched a spirited fightback.With midfielder Darko Tasevski prompting behind strikers Goran Pandev and Ilco Naumoski, they began to make an impression and they got their reward on the stroke of half-time when Trickovski accepted Pandev’s pass and cut inside Richard Dunne, his deft finish giving the visitors hope.They returned in confident mood and went close to an equaliser within three minutes of the restart when Pandev guided a volley just wide from Goran Popov’s teasing cross.But they were perhaps fortunate to still have 11 men on the pitch seconds later when central defender Boban Grncarov planted his studs into the side of Long’s head with a ridiculously high challenge.We had resumed in sluggish fashion, but we found our tempo once again as the half wore on with McGeady seeing another rasping effort blocked and Damien Duff thumping a low drive inches wide.But Macedonia were refusing to lie down and the tension mounted as they forced a series of free-kicks to fulfil at least part of Trapattoni’s prophecy.Ireland had Westwood to thank for preserving their lead with 15 minutes remaining when midfielder Muhamed Demiri lifted the ball over Dunne to find Trickovski, the goalkeeper coming swiftly from his line to make an invaluable block.Keith Fahey replaced Gibson and James McCarthy was brought on for Keane as Trapattoni attempted to close the game down, but there was a tangible sense of relief on the final whistle.Ireland: 1 Westwood; 2 Foley, 4 O’Dea, 5 Dunne, 3 Kilbane; 7 McGeady, 6 Whelan, 8 Gibson (18 Fahey ’77), 11 Duff; 9 Doyle (14 Long ’20), 10 Keane (13 McCarthy ’87).Subs not used: 16 Forde, 12 Kelly, 15 Clark, 17 Lawrence.Booked: Westwood, Dunne, GibsonFYR Macedonia: 1 Nuredinoski; 2 Shikov, 3 Popov, 4 Noveski, 15 Grncharov; 8 Shumulikosi, 17 Demiri (6 Georgievski ’84), 16 Tasevski (20 Gjurovski ’61), Trichkovski; 10 Pandev, 11 Naumoski (9 Risticj ’68).Subs not used: 12 Bogatinov, 5 Metreski, 13 Despotovski, 18 Lazevski.Booked: Grncharov, Popov, DemiriReferee: Istvan Vad (Hungary).SUPER McGEADY FIRES IRELAND TO WIN OVER MACEDONIA was last modified: March 27th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

PORTSALON GOLF CLUB NOTES

first_imgCourse ImprovementsOver the past few days Paul Mc Ginley and his team visited Portsalon Golf Club to review the progress on the course development works which have been undertaken by the greens staff at Portsalon Golf Course. Paul has express his satisfaction with the many changes and sees these as enhancing the overall golfing experience at Portsalon golf club for both members and visitors. Some of the most recent of the changes include the re development and inclusion of bunkers on the 9th and 14th fairways and at the 17th green, and the extension of the 10th tee box, other changes are on-going the club captain D P Logue and council appreciate the co-operation from members and visitors during this time of change. He said the vast number of visitors who are playing Portsalon golf club at this time shows their overall approval of the on-going development The general comments among the many golfers who played are all positive and approve of the development work undertaken. He also encourages all members and visitors to use the divot bags. With the good weather and the growth commences members will see the positive results of their efforts. EventsOn Saturday 21st April there is an open gents competition and on Sunday 22nd April a members competition. On Wednesday 25th April a gents open competition. A time sheet is in operation for all competitions at Portsalon Golf Club, contact 074 91 59459 for your tee time or go online at www.portsalongolfclub.com Gaeltacht LeagueOn Saturday last Donal Callaghan’s Gaeltacht League team travelled to Cloughanelly for their final match in this season’s competition. The travelling Portsalon team came away with four matches to Cloughanelly’s six matches..On Saturday 21st April the prestigious Gaeltacht League Captain’s Day will take place at Nairn Portnoo Golf Club. The overall winners of the Gaeltacht league will be decided by a play off between the top four qualifying clubs. Portsalon golf club will be contesting for the overall league title. The three remaining teams will contest for the overall Gaeltacht League Captains prize and in addition each club will also has a captain’s prize. The team Captain Donal Callaghan would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members who played in this season’s competition.Donegal Links ClassicThe most eagerly awaited team golfing event of the year has been announced for the North West during the week. The Donegal Links Classic which is staged over three of Donegal’s most prestigious links golf courses Ballyliffen, Portsalon and Rosapenna golf courses. The Donegal Links Classic is scheduled to run over three days 4th 5th & 6th June 2012.The Donegal Links Classic is one of the longest running team events in the golfing calendar year and is well worth a visit for anyone interested. The format as in previous years is a team of four (gents or ladies). There is a host of prizes on offer daily team and individual prizes on each of the course on a daily basis and the overall prizes for the three days golfing. In order to ensure your place in this magnificent golfing event contact Ballyliffen Golf Club on 074 9376119ResultsThere was a large turnout at Portsalon golf course on Wednesday 11th for the open competition and the winner was Mick Mc Glynn (22) 39 points BOT Runner Up: Bernard Nash (17) 39 points Gross: Mark Frain (6) Ballaghaderran 26 Gross BOT Third: John Strain (21) 37 points Visitor: Charlie Patton (16) Otway 35pts. The CSS was 34 points. The winner of the open staged on Saturday 14th was Michael Morris (25) 41 points Runner Up: Colm Mc Conigley (17) 40 points BOT Gross: Gary Whoriskey (6) Gweedore 34 points Third:Derek Kelly (20) Letterkenny 39 points. The CSS for home players was 34 points and away players 33 points. The winner of the Sunday members competition was Patrick Shields (16) 41 points BOT, runner up Stephen Connolly (5) 41 points BOT Gross Pascal Cullen (5) 32 points, 3rd Hugh Doherty (18) 41 points. The CSS was 37 pointsMatch PlayThe closing date for this seasons match play singles competition has now past. The competition secretary has now completed the dray for the first round matches. All first round matches must be played by 30th April. Ulster FourballThe first of the Ulster competitions teed off on Sunday last as Hugh Mc Ginley led his team in the first leg of the Ulster Fourball competition against Royal Belfast golf club. The home team emerged winners by four matches to one.Ulster CupOn Sunday 22nd sees the first leg of the Ulster Cup competition and the team captain John Logue will travel with his team for the first leg match to Silverwood golf club in Lurgan On Line BookingMembers and visitors to Portsalon Golf Club should note that on line booking is now available for all competitions at Portsalon at the flick of a button go to portsalongolfclub.comDivot BagsMembers and visitors please note that divot bags are now available on entry to the first tee box. Please ensure that you pick up a bag and assist with the course maintenancePORTSALON GOLF CLUB NOTES was last modified: April 19th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Portsalon Golf Club Noteslast_img read more

ANGER AS DONEGAL LADIES TOLD TO PLAY CLUB GAME 5 DAYS BEFORE NATIONAL LEAGUE FINAL

first_imgThe Donegal Ladies won the Ulster title for the first time last yearDONEGAL Ladies bid to play in the top tier of senior gaelic football has been dealt a ‘severe blow’ after a gaeltacht club cup final was fixed FIVE days before a massive game for the county.Donegal are in the Lidl Division 2 final against Westmeath in a winner-takes-all decider on Saturday week at Parnell Park in Dublin (5.30pm).The winners will be promoted to Lidl Division 1 next year where top counties like Cork, Kerry, Dublin and Mayo await. Despite finishing top of the division – unlike in the men’s game – Donegal ladies must win the final to gain promotion. Defeat will see them remain in Division 2. However the gaeltacht committee has fixed their ladies final for next Monday in Glenties.At least 10 members of the Donegal panel are from the two clubs in that final – Glenfin and Termon.No-one from the Donegal Ladies Board was available for comment today.However we understand members of the squad are furious with next Monday’s game, fearing injury to key players could de-rail to Division 1 bid.“Can you imagine this happening in the men’s game?” said one supporter who knows the team members well. “It’s like St Eunan’s taking on Naomh Conaill in the Championship five days before Donegal going to Croke Park for a final. It wouldn’t happen.“This is not like any usual ‘club versus county’ row because the gaeltacht match could be easily postponed. If Monday’s game goes ahead and Termon and Glenfin players are out of the National League Final because of injury, it could put back ladies football in the county two years. All the efforts of the county girls would have been for nothing.”She said the gaeltacht competition committee “needs to see the big picture and postpone this game”.She added: “It’s not fair on the girls playing for those clubs in the final and it’s certainly not fair on girls from other clubs who have put in a massive effort.”There has been some criticism of the gaeltacht competition in the past with members of Irish-speaking clubs in Donegal believing it should be changed to a gaeilge competition. This has already been changed at national level to allow clubs in Belfast to compete.Some clubs here believe at least 10 members of club panels should be able to speak and use Irish before being allowed to take part in the competition.Donegal Senior Ladies have made huge strides in recent years.They landed the Ulster title for the first time last year. They also topped Division 2 but failed to gain promotion. ANGER AS DONEGAL LADIES TOLD TO PLAY CLUB GAME 5 DAYS BEFORE NATIONAL LEAGUE FINAL was last modified: April 28th, 2016 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegal ladiesGameglenfinrowTermonWestmeathlast_img read more

Public Not Patronizing Evolution-Based IMAX Films

first_imgMark Looy at Answers in Genesis comments on reports that some IMAX movie theaters are dropping evolution-based films because the public is taking offense at them.  Looy denies that “religious fundamentalists” or creation organizations are putting any pressure on the theaters.  He claims this is just an informal grass-roots response by viewers who are becoming increasingly aware of the controversy over evolution.Update 03/29/2005: Alan Leshner, AAAS president, wrote his colleagues expressing “strong concerns” over this trend, reports EurekAlert.  “The desire not to antagonize audiences and to avoid negative business outcomes is entirely understandable.” he conceded.  “Yet, the suppression of scientifically accurate information as a response to those with differing perspectives is inappropriate and threatens both the integrity of science and the broader public education to which we all are committed.”  He applauded the Forth Worth theater that reversed its decision to withdraw the film “Volcanoes of the Deep Sea.”What if they threw a Darwin Party and nobody came?  The Darwinists must be running scared if their traditional propaganda markets are drying up.  They can’t force people to buy IMAX tickets, and no amount of big-budget special effects can compensate for distasteful ideas.  Nobody desires the suppression of “scientifically accurate information,” Dr. Leshner; that’s what this controversy is all about.  The public doesn’t like indoctrination into evolutionary just-so stories presented as if they were facts.    Here’s the solution: make films with debate instead of indoctrination.  People like a good fight.  The creation side typically gives the best evolutionary arguments and then rebuts them.  Darwinists, even if they mention any controversy at all, either dispute other committed evolutionists, or set up straw men or red herrings without really dealing seriously with the main issues.    Here’s another suggestion for IMAX theater managers.  Want to pack the places out?  Commission IMAX versions of the films Unlocking the Mystery of Life and The Privileged Planet.  Based on the track records of these films, you would probably attract busloads of interested people, who would come back with all their friends.  Even more would come just to find out what the commotion is about as a few Darwinists picket outside, chanting Evolution is a fact, read this place the riot act; ask me how I know it’s true, teacher said design’s taboo.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Poison hemlock: It’s everywhere

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A few weeks ago I posted a piece about identifying and controlling poison hemlock on the Fairfield County Extension Facebook page and the response I got back immediately was simply, “It’s everywhere!” Indeed, in recent years it seems to have become widespread throughout many Ohio counties, Fairfield included. Perhaps we are seeing it spreading most quickly in road and other right-of-ways that are difficult to mow and seldom ever sprayed with herbicide. From there this noxious weed seems to be spreading into fence rows, barn lots, hay fields and areas of pasture fields that lack enough competition to keep it crowded out. Last week I received a note from a friend in Seneca County explaining he suspects Hemlock poisoning is what recently killed one of his three year old bulls. That said, let’s take a closer look at poison hemlock.Poison hemlock is a biennial member of the carrot family — Conium maculatum —which can cause respiratory failure and even death when ingested by livestock or humans. It’s a non-native invasive that may, at times, be confused with giant hogweed – Heracleum mantegazzianum – a plant with many similarities and also spreading in parts of Ohio.In fertile soils poison hemlock may easily grow up to 10 or 12 feet, producing small white flowers that are typical of the carrot family. The plant began flowering around Ohio a few weeks ago. The herb has a smooth, purple-spotted stem and dark, glossy bluish-green fern-like triangular leaves. It has a fleshy white taproot. Both the leaves and roots have a disagreeable parsnip-like odor.All parts of the plant are poisonous including the leaves, stems, seeds and roots. Simply handling the plant seldomcauses a toxic reaction in humans, but ingesting it through the eyes, open wounds, or orally causes poisoning. Perhaps poison hemlock’s most famous claim to fame was when it was used to execute Socrates in 329 B.C.The taste of the leaves and seeds of poison hemlock is unpleasant to livestock, so toxic quantities are seldom consumed when ample desirable feed is available for the animals. Cattle can usually survive poison hemlock if consumed in amounts less than 0.4% of their body weight (4 to 5 pounds for mature cows) although abortions are possible at lower rates. The toxicity of the plant changes little if fermented with silage or dried in hay.Being a biennial, poison hemlock is most easily controlled late in the fall after emergence. Crossbow, Banvel and 2,4-D are fairly effective on small poison hemlock even in the spring. Taller plants may need to be controlled with glyphosate. Mowing after the plants have bolted and before seed set will prevent seed production.last_img read more

What is the chance of herbicide resistance in Buckeye Gold — the rubber dandelion industrial crop — jumping over to common dandelion?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Buckeye Gold (Taraxacum kok-saghyz, also known as rubber dandelion, and rubber root) is a species of dandelion that is of commercial interest for the high quality rubber produced in its roots. However, it is a slow growing species that competes poorly with Ohio weeds in field plantings, and chemical broadleaf herbicides also kill most of the plants. In order to overcome these agronomic shortcomings, scientists are developing herbicide-resistant varieties by a number of methods, including selection, transgene insertion, and gene editing. However, the release of such germplasm raises the question of gene flow between Buckeye Gold and its ubiquitous weedy cousin, the common dandelion (T. officinale). Could herbicide resistance in Buckeye Gold transfer to common dandelion? Can Buckeye Gold and common dandelion interbreed?We have surveyed common dandelions around the world. In North America, we have found only triploid obligate apomictic common dandelion plants. These produce clonal seed with exactly the same chromosomes as the mother dandelions. Thus, common dandelions cannot be fertilized by pollen from the rubber dandelion, which is a sexual diploid, like people. However, because rubber dandelions produce seed with two sets of chromosomes, one from the mother and the other donated by pollen from a father plant, it may still be possible for common dandelion to pollinate Buckeye Gold dandelion.To address this possibility, unidirectional reciprocal crosses were conducted and progeny were evaluated with molecular markers. In addition, natural hybridization was quantified in plants produced by seed collected from Buckeye Gold plants grown in open sided greenhouses surrounded by natural common dandelion infested meadows over three years (~3.35 million Buckeye Gold plants in all). Hybrids were only detected during one of these years, at a rate of one in 100,000, when pollination was augmented with bee hives. Common dandelion pollen, from a number of mothers, used to fertilize Buckeye Gold flowers, produced low seed set and seeds with a low germination rate.The very rare, true hybrid progeny, from both natural and deliberate methods, looked more like common dandelion (thin, yellowish green, lacerate leaves), than rubber dandelion (thick, bluish green, slightly lacerate leaves). Only a few of the hybrids produced viable (clonal) seeds, whereas the rest were sterile. Seeds produced by these apomictic hybrids established and produced apomictic progeny when in competition with perennial rye grass in planting boxes, similarly to common dandelion, which the weaker Buckeye Gold could not do. What does it mean?In conclusion, gene transfer to common dandelion via Buckeye Gold pollen, appears not be possible. In the opposite direction, very rare hybrids produced by Buckeye Gold mothers pollinated by common dandelion fathers cannot accept pollen from either dandelion species, and so cannot backcross into common dandelion. This means that it does not appear possible to transfer herbicide resistance from potential herbicide resistant Buckeye Gold varieties to the common dandelion. However, the ability of very rare, potentially herbicide resistant, hybrids to persist and become weedy is not yet known.The scientific article behind this report may be accessed at Ecosphere 9(2):e02115. Doi: 10.1002/ecs2.2115 Katrina Cornish, is a joint Professor in Horticulture and Crop Sciences and Food Agricultural and Biological Engineering. She can be reached at 330-263-3982, or cornish.19@osu.edu. This column is provided by the OSU Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, OSU Extension, Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center, and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.last_img read more

Threatened by Naxals: Fadnavis

first_imgMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday that he had received a letter from a Maoist group threatening to kill him. “I have received this letter and I have forwarded it to the police. An investigation is under way,” said Mr. Fadnavis. He, however, refused to divulge the details of the letter. According to sources, two letters on May 13 and 18 targeting Mr. Fadnavis, his family and police officers who were part of an anti-naxal operation in Gadchiroli were sent to Mantralaya. One of the letters is from the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the other from Dandkaranya special zonal committee, sources said. The letters were handed over to senior police officials. “The case has been handed over to the State intelligence department for investigation and the CM’s security has been beefed up,” said a senior Mumbai Police officer. Mr. Fadnavis told media persons that the police during investigations had found internal communication pertaining to an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Narendra Modi along the lines of the Rajiv Gandhi killing. “We have got a lot of evidence from their internal documents. Naxalism is no longer limited to the jungles. It is also present in urban areas,” said Mr. Fadnavis. The Chief Minister said that there were naxal operatives in cities who were misleading the people.last_img read more

Physicist who inspired Interstellar spills the backstory—and the scene that makes him cringe

first_imgInterstellar, which opens this week, looks set to be one of the most talked-about films of 2014, not just because of its compelling storyline and dazzling special effects, but also for the fact that it sticks pretty close to established science and any speculation remains in the realm of plausibility. The man who inspired the film and kept a close eye on its scientific fidelity is Kip Thorne, a renowned theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and one of the world’s leading experts in the astrophysical predictions of general relativity.In 2006, Thorne and Lynda Obst, a longtime friend and film producer, wrote an eight-page treatment for a film that sprang from the astrophysics of black holes, wormholes, and time dilation. Steven Spielberg was soon on board to direct. Jonathan Nolan, who wrote films such as The Prestige and The Dark Knight Rises with his director brother Christopher, was working on the screenplay. Six years later, however, Spielberg had to drop out but was replaced by Christopher Nolan, director of the three Dark Knight movies and Inception.The movie is set in a not-too-distant future, when various blights on crops have driven humanity to the brink of starvation and against science. A secret effort is under way to make a last-ditch attempt to find another planet that humans could colonize. Thorne has written about his experiences working with Hollywood and the scientific concepts addressed in the film in a book, The Science of Interstellar, to be published on 7 November. He spoke with ScienceInsider about the experience earlier this week. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Q: How much of your original treatment remains in the final film?A: We wrote an original treatment, but it has changed so much that it’s not recognizable as the same movie except for the scientific vision and the venue, what I like to call the warped side of the universe—black holes, wormholes, higher dimensions, and so forth.The story is essentially completely changed, except in the broadest brush sense that we had explorers leaving the Earth, traveling out to a wormhole in the outer parts of the solar system and through the wormhole, and visiting planets. Beyond that the story is truly the Nolans’ story. The thing that was preserved was the vision—the thing that was most important to Lynda and me—the vision of a movie in which real science, ranging from truth to speculation, is embedded deep into the movie’s fabric from the outset.Also preserved were the guidelines we laid down from the outset. First, that nothing would violate established physical laws. Second, that all the wild speculations, and there certainly are some here, would spring from science and not from the fertile mind of a screenwriter. When I discussed those guidelines with Christopher Nolan at our first meeting in 2013, he said he liked them, to the extent that [they didn’t] get in the way of making a great movie. I do like what he did with the science. I’m very pleased with how it came out.Q: Is there anywhere the moviemakers strayed outside your guidelines? A: Not seriously. The one place where I am the least comfortable is on [a] planet where they have these ice clouds. These structures go beyond what I think the material strength of ice would be able to support. But I’d say if that’s the most egregious violation of physical law, they’ve done very, very well. There’s some artistic license there. Every time I watch the movie, that’s the one place where I cringe. I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody that.Q: In your book, you say that Christopher Nolan introduced science elements of his own to the script. What did he bring?A: The one that has the biggest impact, and that I really like, is the tesseract [the 4D analog of a cube]. When he told me in our first meeting that he was thinking of using a tesseract, he didn’t go into any detail. But I was very pleased because when I was 13 years old I read a book, One Two Three … Infinity by George Gamow, in which George drew a picture of a tesseract. It looks like two cubes, one inside another, and I spent hours staring at that, trying to come to grips with it. I found it so fascinating that it was one of the more significant influences on me to become a theoretical physicist.So when he told me he wanted to use a tesseract, I thought that was great. I immediately saw and discussed with him how this was an ideal way to take his hero and carry him into the fifth dimension, and rapidly travel from one region of our universe to another, because distances in the [fifth dimension] will be much less than they are in our brane [our 4D slice of reality]. The tesseract that he created for the film is far more complex than any tesseract one has seen before. It’s fascinating; it’s beautifully designed.Q: Where did the idea of blight-plaguing Earth come from?A: This was due to [Jonathan Nolan]. When he introduced the idea, he and I and Lynda decided we really needed to find what was known about blight and other kinds of biological catastrophes, if they are to be responsible for diminishing the Earth to the degree you see in the film. We set up a “blight dinner” with biologists who were experts and we discussed this at length, trying to identify what things could go wrong with the biology of the Earth.Q: You worked with the visual effects team at the company Double Negative in London, providing them with equations, which they then worked into their code. What was it like seeing those equations turned into the visual representation of a black hole?A: It was wonderful to see the resolution they got. In practice I always did an implementation of the equation myself in Mathematica. I’m a real klutz computationally so Mathematica is just ideal for me. So I knew roughly what they were going to come up with, but it was just awe-inspiring to get back film clips from [Double Negative] and see this fabulous resolution and fabulous dynamics they were able to achieve.Q: You’ve said that you learned something new from their simulations?A: We learned [that] when you have a fast-spinning black hole, without any accretion disk, and let it just lens the distant sky—a star field—we saw a fantastically beautiful structure that is sort of like a fingerprint, but much more complex. We’ve long known that you’ll get multiple images of each star [around a black hole], due to [the combination of] light rays that come pretty much directly to the camera, [and] rays that go in and circle around the black hole once and come to the camera. But what we found was that on the side of the spinning black hole where space is moving towards us, [you see this beautiful structure].It was completely unexpected with huge amounts of internal structure in it, regions where the star field appears to be quiescent and other regions where the stars seem to be whirling around in little vortices. To me it’s a lovely kind of discovery in the sense that it is really very beautiful and it arises from a collaboration between a scientist and a group of computer artists. We are submitting a paper about this and about the particular method that Double Negative uses to the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.last_img read more

Is Greed Killing The IPO Market In India?

first_imgIn recent weeks, several large equity offerings, including those from reputable business houses, have struggled to hit their targets. India’s stock markets have been volatile, reacting to fears of a widening global credit crunch and fears of a U.S. recession.In January, the Indian primary equity market was chalking up new records. Now, suddenly, there are hardly any takers for new corporate paper. The first casualty of the Indian IPO bubble was, ironically enough, a hospital. On February 7, Wockhardt Hospital pulled out its Rs. 676 crore ($178 million) IPO. It had exhibited all the signs of a patient on his last legs. The price band of the book-built issue was lowered from Rs. 280-310 ($7-$8) to Rs. 225-260 ($6-$7). The last date for subscription was extended.But qualified institutional buyers, including foreign investors, mutual funds and hedge funds, applied for only 0.06% of their quota in the Wockhardt issue. The non-institutional portion (mainly for high net-worth individuals or HNIs) was subscribed 0.0048 times. Even the retail part saw demand for barely more than half the pie. It was an unmitigated disaster and the first time in recent memory that an IPO from a respected business house has flopped in India.Close on its heels, real estate company Emaar MGF, a joint venture between the Dubai-based Emaar group and MGF Development of New Delhi, also had to withdraw its IPO in the face of low demand. The Rs. 6,500 crore ($1.7 billion) issue started with a price band of Rs. 610-690 ($16-$18). It was brought down to Rs. 530-630 ($14-$16.50) in two tranches. The last date of subscription was extended by three days, but to no avail.“We are clearly a victim of the (secondary) market,” says Emaar MGF managing director Shravan Gupta. Along with other markets around the globe, the Indian stock markets, too, have had a torrid run the past few weeks. The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, Sensex, touched 21,207 on January 10, an all-time high. Barely a month later, on February 10, it fell to 16,608, a five-month low.Wockhardt and Emaar MGF were bad enough for investor sentiment; more issues are being withdrawn or postponed. But the massively-hyped Reliance Power IPO was the most high profile casualty. This was an issue from the Ambani stable; word on the street is that the Ambanis have always made money for their investors. At Rs. 11,500 crore ($3.025 billion), it was India’s largest-ever IPO.The Reliance Power IPO was subscribed one minute after it opened. It was eventually oversubscribed 73 times and raised $190 billion. Some $100 billion of this came from foreign funds. This constitutes one-and-a-half times the total foreign institutional investor (FII) money coming into the country since 1992. “When Reliance Power lists early February, it will be among the 10 top listed companies in India,” Anil Ambani, the younger son of Reliance founder the late Dhirubhai Ambani, told a press conference shortly after the IPO closed. “If we assume it lists at the issue price of Rs. 450 ($12), the market capitalization for the group will be around $100 billion.” It was not to be. Reliance Power ended its first day on the markets at Rs. 372 ($9.80). Millions lost money. The Sensex dropped 863 points in sympathy. The myth of Ambani invincibility was shaken. The Financial Times of London wrote: “It’s only when the tide goes out… that you discover who has been swimming naked. Few are caught in quite such an alarming state of undress as Reliance Power.”Clearly, it didn’t help the Reliance Power IPO that the Sensex lost more than a fifth of its market capitalization between January and February. Wharton management professor Saikat Chaudhuri sees nothing wholly unexpected in these developments. “The market periodically has to adjust,” he says. “If there is a bull run, the market usually pulls back to an extent, especially now because there is so much uncertainty surrounding the credit crunch.”The Hole in the Credit BarrelChaudhuri points to the continuing flow of “bad news on the credit crunch, particularly from banks,” and says that several private equity deals are also stuck. He doesn’t see any respite until some clarity emerges on the actual size of the credit crisis. “Until this is resolved – say (for example) people know that the top 10 banks will take a $50 billion hit – the market will continue to be jittery,” he says. “Short-term investors are very nervous. They are not sure if the problems associated with the credit crunch have been adequately addressed and if the market has all the information it needs.”Fears about a possible U.S. recession are also stoking the uncertainty in the Indian markets, says Chaudhuri. “If the U.S. is headed for a recession, then of course a lot of growing firms in India, particularly those in the IT sector, are going to take a bit of a hit because they are still very heavily dependent on the U.S. market.”Franklin Allen, a finance professor at Wharton, says primary markets will continue to be “tricky” until the markets settle down. “When you have so much volatility [in the secondary market] – it’s up 2% one day and coming down 2% the next day – it is very difficult to do these primary market operations; that is the underlying problem,” he says. “This happens also in developed markets when there is volatility.”“Now, if I were an investor, I don’t think something like Reliance Power should have taken a hit,” says Chaudhuri, pointing out that India is power-deficient and its infrastructure sector is “growing very well. In the worst case, if India’s growth needs were to come down a notch, its power needs will still have to be met.”While the fall in the Sensex and the air of pessimism hurt the Reliance Power listing, many people point to high valuations as a reason for the IPO market going bust. “The bull frenzy led to unsustainable valuations,” says Prithvi Haldea, chairman and managing director of Prime Database, which tracks IPOs. “Retail investors feel they have been cheated,” says Kirit Somaiya, president of the Investors’ Grievance Forum (IGF).“It’s just a question of timing,” says Chaudhuri. “It is fine to be greedy, but you have to do that when the market is rising. I am not making a value judgment, but everybody is always trying to extract the most that they can at any point in time. That’s their natural quest.” He says it may have been a good idea for some promoters to postpone their IPOs until things got clearer on the credit contraction front. Sudip Gupta, professor of finance at the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business (ISB), says, “What is interesting and important is what to expect now when things look relatively bad worldwide. The informational cascade effect comes in here.” He explains that the first few investors in an IPO bring in bad news, forcing a price cut, scaring away potential investors, and “thus generating an informational cascade.”Gupta says that if the IPO’s price cut is “too much,” investors may start to wonder “why the firm is so desperate for cash.” In other words, he says price cuts don’t necessarily work. Gupta of Emaar MGF says the company will come back to the market in three to six months, when he hopes it will be less volatile.Reliance Power’s Make-Good GestureIn a post-listing development, Reliance Power has announced that it will issue bonus shares to its investors; however, the promoter group will not be entitled to these shares. Reliance Power has since risen to more than Rs. 400 ($10.50). But analysts read into the bonus proposal a tacit admission that the pricing was indeed too “aggressive” in the first place.“The pricing of an IPO is dependent on three factors – the state of the capital markets, sector fundamentals and company performance,” says S. Ramesh, chief operating officer at Kotak, one of the leading investment bankers in India. “One needs the tailwinds of all these three to achieve good IPO response and post-listing performance.” He says what is important is a stable market; if you are on a rollercoaster ride, all bets are off.Most merchant bankers agree. And there is no disputing the fact that, if the market hadn’t tanked, all these issues would have done very well on listing. The reason why so many were disappointed in the performance of Reliance Power was its showing in the gray market in several cities of the western state of Gujarat. This unofficial and illegal market trades in shares even before the IPO and allotment. (The final settlement is when the scrip lists.)Reliance Power changed hands at Rs. 900 in January. When the market fell in February, it came down to Rs. 600 ($24). Even at this reduced rate, it commanded a premium of Rs. 150 ($4) over the issue price of Rs. 450 ($12). When it listed at less than Rs. 400 ($10.50), these investors – mainly high-net-worth individuals – ran up huge losses.Many investors had borrowed at high interest rates to buy Reliance Power shares. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the share would have to list at Rs. 600 ($24) for them to break even. What happened was a disaster for these speculators. Many are refusing to pay up. And there is turmoil in the illegal betting shops in cities like Rajkot and Baroda.Irrational Exuberance,Indian FlavorPromoters are a shade more candid. “It takes two hands to clap,” says Ravi Ramu, chief financial officer of Puravankara Projects, a real estate developer in Bangalore. “If you ask about the greed of merchant bankers and promoters, you should also talk about the irrational exuberance of investors. Do they rush to invest in an issue simply because it rained harder that day? In the euphoria, they forget to look at the fundamentals.”Ramu and Puravankara must have a feeling of déjà vu. When Puravankara floated its IPO last August, the ripples of the U.S. subprime crisis were hitting Indian shores. Puravankara had to reduce the price band by 20% from Rs. 500-525 to Rs. 400-450 and extend the issue by three days. It finally did garner adequate subscription. But on the day it listed, it closed at Rs. 362.80 against the issue price of Rs. 400 ($10).Puravankara is not a typical case. Most IPOs have been listing way above the issue price. Power Grid closed its first day at Rs. 100.70 (against an issue price of Rs. 52). Other such runaway examples include Mundra Port Rs. 440 (Rs. 961.70 issue price) and Power Finance Rs. 85 (Rs. 112.60 issue price).“When things sell, everything sells,” says Vivek Suchanti, managing director of Concept Public Relations. ConceptWprovides public relations services for IPOs, which basically means hard selling the issue to the media.“Bankers and promoters sell anything at any price on the story going ahead,” he continues. “Investors look at gray market prices and buy. This is also true of the ‘sophisticated’ investors such as FIIs and hedge funds.” Says Somaiya of IGF: “Emaar MGF, Wockhardt Hospitals and Reliance Power were absurdly overpriced. Euphoria was created which was not supported by fundamentals.”Some numbers do suggest aggressive pricing. Based on the issue price, Emaar MGF would have a P/E (price/earning) ratio of 165 at the lower end of the price band against 73 for DLF and 49 for Unitech, the established leaders in the real estate sector. At the Wockhardt Hospitals P/E of close to 200, it was looking at a valuation around Rs. 2,700 crore ($710 million), when its older and larger listed peer Apollo Hospitals commands just Rs. 2,500 crore ($658 million).Reliance Power, of course, doesn’t have a P/E; it has no earnings. As its prospectus explained: “We currently have no power plants in operation or other revenue-generating operations, and we have no significant operating history from which you can evaluate our business and future prospects and viability… Commercial operations at our first power plant – Rosa Phase I – are not scheduled to commence before December 2009…” For many it is not overpricing that is the norm but underpricing. Gupta of ISB says that this is not just an Indian phenomenon. “One of the stylized facts about IPOs that are universally verified is initial underpricing,” he says. “What we have observed in the Indian IPO market so far is not very different.”Gupta explains the reasons for the underpricing. “An IPO is different from a secondary offer as investors know little about the fundamental prospects of the project,” he says. “Since investors cannot distinguish bad quality projects from good quality projects, the good quality project has to be sold at a discount (underpricing) so that investors are attracted to invest in the IPO.” Gupta says the issuing firm also may not know the actual prospects of the project, and improves its understanding from institutional investors as the IPO gets listed.Gupta says IPOs in emerging economies could be under priced by as much as 100%; this means the price doubles on the first day. “Even in the U.S., generally known to have a transparent financial market, in 1999-2000 (the Internet boom), the first-day under-pricing was 65% on an average,” he saysAdds Ramesh of Kotak: “IPOs are typically priced by leaving a discount to the realizable price at listing. It is always a good idea to leave a discount to motivate investors to subscribe.”Regulatory UrgeMarket watchers recommend other measures to regulate the behavior of investors, merchant bankers and promoters. SEBI has been looking at putting a price band on the movement of the share on listing day. But nobody is quite sure how that will help, except to stop huge volatility. All it may succeed in doing is moving the volatility from day one to week one, say some investment experts.“I don’t think the regulator should set the price of issues,” says Allen, who has other, longer-term suggestions. “Make the markets efficient. As long as there are enough knowledgeable investors, promoters who try to overprice won’t succeed.”Another suggestion is to make the bankers more accountable. If the bankers are made to function as underwriters, too (which means that they will have to pay out the money for the unsubscribed portion of an issue), they are likely to be more circumspect about pricing. But this means that they will always opt for caution and the promoters will never get the best deal.There are other suggestions floating around, which many consider unworkable. The State Bank of India (SBI) has suggested to Parliament that the agencies that currently rate IPOs should be allowed to give an independent view of the pricing. But market participants don’t think anyone will give pricing a second look in a bull market, when they aren’t likely even to read the IPO ratings. In a bear market, they are not going to be investing in IPOs, anyway.Gupta of ISB says the critical phase is now. “Although there may have been signs of investor greed in the IPO process last year, investor fear may do more damage than investor greed.”According to Haldea of Prime, public issues may reach Rs. 75,000 crore ($19.7 billion) in 2008, a new record. This includes Rs. 60,000 crore ($15.8 billion) of IPOs and Rs. 15,000 crore ($3.9 billion) in follow-on offers. The study was done before the market went into a decline. But with a recovery in sight, the figure is unlikely to change very much. Unless, of course, the bears win back the advantage.Fear rules today, but it’s not clear for how long. “Everyone suffers from a memory loss,” says Ramu of Puravankara. “All the investors – and new ones – will be back.” Suchanti of Concept is a little more pessimistic. “I am going on a holiday,” he says. Related Itemslast_img read more

Japan Comedy Duo Apologises After Reports They Said Naomi Osaka ‘Needs Bleach’

first_imgTokyo: A Japanese comedy duo and their management company have apologized after the pair reportedly said during a live event that Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, who just won the Pan Pacific Open at the weekend, “needed some bleach.”Japanese media said the duo, known as “A Masso,” made the remark during a Sunday event, the same day that Osaka lifted her first trophy since winning the Australian Open in January, and also said that “she is too sunburned.” In separate messages carried on the website of their management company, Watanabe Entertainment Co Ltd, both women apologized for making “inappropriate, hurtful remarks” but did not refer to Osaka, who is Haitian and Japanese, by name.”Though we should have thought about it, we made remarks that hurt many people, something we will never do again,” Ai Murakami wrote.”We sincerely apologize for making the specific person feel uncomfortable, as well as for everyone else connected to the event. We also sincerely apologize for causing trouble.”Watanabe Entertainment, also without naming Osaka, added their own apology for “remarks inconsiderate of diversity in an era where diversity is respected,” saying the duo had been severely warned and steps taken to raise their awareness of the issue.Neither Watanabe Entertainment nor Naomi Osaka’s management office in Japan was immediately available to comment.Osaka, who will turn 22 next month, was born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother but moved to the United States when she was young.She has been widely hailed in Japan, which has traditionally seen itself as a racially homogeneous country, although successful mixed-race athletes such as Osaka herself, sprinter Asuka Cambridge and baseball pitcher Yu Darvish are challenging that image.In January, Japanese noodle company Nissin had to remove a controversial commercial in which a cartoon character depicting Osaka was shown with pale skin and light brown hair after it prompted an outcry. Nissin said it had not intended to “whitewash” Osaka and promised to pay more attention to diversity issues. japanNaomi Osakatennis First Published: September 25, 2019, 5:59 PM IST Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.last_img read more

IPL 2016: Confident KKR seek home comfort vs resurgent KXIP

first_imgOn a high after a resounding victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will aim to produce a similar performance when they face Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter on Wednesday. (Full IPL 2016 Coverage)KKR presently have 10 points with five wins from eight games, whereas Kings XI are at the bottom of the leader board with just two wins from seven matches.The Knights had a night to remember on Monday as they pulled of a stunning win against RCB. Chasing 186, the men-in-purple were at one stage struggling at 69/4. (Pathan, Russell muscle Kolkata to five-wicket win over Bangalore)But then Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell got together to bail their side out of trouble. Though Russell got out towards the end, Pathan (60) carried his bat through ensuring KKR got home with five wickets to spare.The Kings XI are also coming into the contest at the back of a big win against table toppers Gujarat Lions and would ideally want to grab another one here. It was Axar Patel who brought the Gujarat side on their knees with his four wickets in five balls and the Eden Gardens strip might also provide some purchase to the left-arm spinner. (Pathan disagrees with Gavaskar’s understanding of RCB bowling attack)But KKR have a settled bowling unit of their own and putting up or chasing down a score against the home side would not be easy.The Kings in all probability would not tinker much with their winning combination and would hope their new crowned captain Murali Vijay and Marcus Stoinis can get them off to a flying start with the willow. However, the visitors will be without their in-form batsman Shaun Marsh who has picked up a back injury and will take no further part in the tourney.advertisementThe last time these two sides met in Mohali, KKR had come out on top with a six-wicket victory and the Gautam Gambhir led side would ideally want a repeat so that their homecoming tastes sweet. (Murali Vijay floored by Axar Patel’s ‘incredible’ bowling performance)If so, the sugar once again has to provided by the KKR batsmen who have been in tremendous form this season. Led by Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, the Shahrukh Khan co-owned franchise has had brisk starts upfront. What would boost them is the fact that Pathan has come back to form along with Russell who is well known for hitting the long ball.Kings XI’s major concern will be their inexperienced bowling line-up but they would like to back it up with the strength in their batting. If the likes of David Miller and Glen Maxwell get going with the bat it will be quite difficult to stop them, but so far their bats have been silent.The squads:Kings XI Punjab: David Miller, Murali Vijay (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Kyle Abott, Farhaan Behardien, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohit Sharma, Gurukeerat Maan sinh, Manan Vohra, Sandeep Sharma, Axar Patel, Rishi Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil singh, Shardul Thakur, Anureet Singh, KC Cariappa, Nikhil Naik, Arman Jaffar, Pradeep Shahu.Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Sheldon Jackson, Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Jason Holder, Colin Munro, Rajgopal Sathish, Manan Ajay Sharma.last_img read more