EU demand siphons illicit timber from Ukraine, investigation finds

first_imgAnimals, boreal forests, Certification, Conservation, Corruption, Deforestation, Economics, Environment, Forest Stewardship Council, Forestry, Forests, Illegal Logging, Illegal Timber Trade, Logging, Mammals, Pulp And Paper, Sustainability, Sustainable Forest Management, Temperate Forests, Timber, Timber Laws, timber trade, Trees, Wildlife Article published by John Cannon Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Corrupt management of Ukraine’s timber sector is supplying the EU with large amounts of wood from the country’s dense forests.The London-based investigative nonprofit Earthsight found evidence that forestry officials have taken bribes to supply major European firms with Ukrainian wood that may have been harvested illegally.Earthsight argues that EU-based companies are not carrying out the due diligence that the EU Timber Regulation requires when buying from “high-risk” sources of timber. Lax due diligence by European companies is driving the illegal harvest of timber in Ukraine, one of the largest suppliers to the continent, according to a report published July 14.“It’s a huge source of high-risk timber coming into the EU,” said Sam Lawson, who directs the London-based investigative non-profit Earthsight.Ukraine holds some of Europe’s largest tracts of unspoiled forests. But those forests, home to brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos), wolves (Canis lupus lupus), and bison (Bison bonasus), also supply more “high-risk timber” to the EU than all countries in the tropics combined, Lawson said. Earthsight carried out a two-year probe into the country’s timber sector, digging through court documents and customs records, interviewing industry staff and government officials, and conducting on-the-ground and under cover investigations.Video © Earthsight.The effort uncovered evidence of corruption on the part of government-run “state forestry enterprises” and department heads in Ukraine. They also traced the tendrils of that corruption to large sawmills, suppliers and retailers in the EU — companies that Earthsight says are falling short of their responsibility to verify that the wood they buy comes from trees cut down in accordance with the law. That means that a significant proportion of the wood found in products around the continent come from illegally harvested sources, Lawson told Mongabay.“It gets used in absolutely everything,” he said. “You can barely look around you without seeing something that could have Ukrainian wood in it.”The timber industry is a huge source of income for the country, bringing in around $1.7 billion every year, roughly 2 percent of Ukraine’s 2016 gross domestic product. But the Earthsight team uncovered evidence of substantial corruption and questionable management of this economically vital resource, extending from the dense forests of western Ukraine on up through the supply chain.An Earthsight-funded study revealed that more than two-thirds of the trees harvested in 2017 were cut down because managers took advantage of a loophole designed to stop the spread of disease. In many cases, forest managers liberally applied this method of “sanitary felling” to clear away more trees than needed to be cut down simply for health reasons, Lawson said.“It’s a common form of malpractice in other parts of the ex-Soviet world,” he said. Trees felled under this pretext account for between 38 and 44 percent of total production and exports — a harvest that Earthsight contends should be considered “unjustified” and “illegal.”A researcher in a “state forestry enterprise” in Zakarpattia, Ukraine. Image © Earthsight.In response to problems within the timber industry, Ukrainian officials banned the export of unprocessed timber in 2015.“If you have a lot of corruption in your logging sector driven by overseas demand,” Lawson said, “then a log export ban is a sensitive thing to do to try and provide some breathing space within which to reform the industry.”In effect, the ban gives a country like Ukraine control over processing facilities, where inspectors can verify the origins of the raw materials coming in, he added.But data from EU customs offices “show that they’re importing huge volumes of logs into Europe that are supposedly banned from export in Ukraine,” Lawson said. And the team found that much of the wood was finding its way into EU countries tagged as fuelwood.Lawson said European authorities were putting pressure on Ukraine to allow round log exports again, using the argument that EU-based companies didn’t have access to enough information that would “persuade” them to stop importing Ukrainian timber.“Why do you have to persuade the importers to comply with the law?” Lawson said. The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), a set of laws that went into effect in 2013, mandates that companies check the sources of the wood from high-risk sources that they import.“The EUTR is a law,” he added. “It’s not a voluntary thing.”Wood at a sawmill in Lviv, Ukraine. Image © Earthsight.Earthsight turned up evidence of millions of dollars of graft wending its way through the industry. Several key figures in the timber industry appear to have profited personally from corrupt management. In 2017, Roman Cherevaty, the director of a regional forestry board in the Carpathian Mountains, was arrested by police in a sting operation as he tried to bribe officials with payments of $10,000 a month to overlook illegal logging practices.Viktor Sivets, the former head of the national forestry department, has been investigated for taking perhaps 30 million euros ($35.1 million) in bribes at the expense of Ukraine’s forests.“The reason that Sivets was able to run that corrupt scheme was that he was basically able to order individual logging enterprises under his management to sell logs to these overseas buyers at specific prices,” Lawson said. “That was what gave him the power to extract bribes.”Sivets was also an associate of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, himself accused of running a broadreaching syndicate during his term that may have cost Ukraine $100 billion.Until the 2015 log export ban, Holzindustrie Schweighofer, an Austrian timber processor, had been the leading purchaser of Ukrainian wood. The Earthsight team pointed to filings by Ukrainian prosecutors showing that Schweighofer and several other importers had paid a total of 13 million Euros ($15.2 million) for “marketing” services to Sivets and his wife through “letterbox” companies based in U.K. that often consist of little more than a mailing address. In other cases, these companies were registered in places known for shrouding owners’ identities in secrecy, such as Panama and Belize.A clear-cut site near Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. Image © Earthsight.“As it is our principle to only act within the framework of every national and international law relevant for our company, we of course strongly reject these allegations,” Thomas Huemer, a spokesman for Schweighofer, said in an email to Mongabay. Huemer added that it was company policy “not to do any business with convicted offenders in the areas of corruption and illegal felling.”Schweighofer and one of the world’s largest panel-making companies, Austria-based EGGER, also received timber that was suspected of having been sold at reduced prices to companies registered in “secrecy jurisdictions” like Belize or Panama, according to Earthsight’s investigation.A spokesperson for EGGER told Mongabay in an email that part of the company’s approach to sustainability involved using wood “from forest thinning [and] hygienic activities as raw materials in the production process, and applying very strict wood procurement policies to ensure control of the wood origin.” Egger did not respond directly to a question about whether sanitary felling was considered a “hygienic” activity.An FSC-certified forest in Zakarpattia in the Ukrainian Carpathians. Image © Earthsight.“Reducing the risks of illegality of wood is EGGER’s highest concern and we will also take further steps of investigation specifically for the wood from Ukraine,” the spokesperson said. “We also count on the support of local authorities and European institutions for a strict law to ensure control of the wood origin.”Lawson said some companies had come to rely on certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Ukraine to verify that the sources of their timber were legal.“Rather than doing meaningful due diligence as the law requires, they’re buying FSC wood instead, which is failing to fulfill the spirit of what that law is supposed to achieve,” Lawson said.He said the substitution of FSC standards for companies’ own due diligence could be seen as “undermining” the EUTR’s impact, especially given the volume of wood that Ukraine supplies to the rest of the continent.“Your roof, your floor, your table, the newspaper you are holding, all might well be made from Ukrainian wood,” Lawson said in a statement. “And if it is, there is a good chance it was cut or traded illegally, abetted by high-level corruption.”Banner image of railway cars with timber © Earthsight.John Cannon is a Mongabay staff writer based in the Middle East. Find him on Twitter: @johnccannonEditor’s note: Mongabay has an ongoing collaboration with Earthsight on the Indonesia for Sale series.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Voting counts

first_imgThe Carter Center last week issued a 146-page report of its analysis of our 2015 General Elections. As it had done in previous elections, it included several recommendations which, in its estimation, would lead to a more equitable and stable system of governance in our country. The latter condition has, over the past century, proven to be rather elusive, notwithstanding the protestations of first the colonial power, and subsequently, the politicians that succeeded them.While, at the most general level, the quest was stated as increasing the “democratic credentials” of the Government, the nature of our severely ethnically divided polity has posed challenges in operationalising the meaning of “rule by the people, for the people and of the people.” At our first general elections, held in 1953 under universal adult suffrage following the model in Britain, we utilised a “first past the post” electoral system in an electorate that was divided into geographical “constituencies”. The candidate garnering the most votes within each constituency was “elected” to the legislature, and PPP candidates won 18 out of 24 constituencies.The same system was used in 1957 and 1961, but by then the PPP had been split, and the faction led by Mr Forbes Burnham pointed out that the number of total votes secured in all of the constituencies did not translate into a proportional number of seats in the legislature.While, in Britain, the system had not precipitated such objections beyond academic comment, it was retained because the value of having representatives who were clearly identified with geographical constituencies was adjudged to outweigh the lack of equity. In Guyana, however, because of the ethnic cleavages along which the votes were increasingly being distributed, the system led to an objectionable ethnic underrepresentation in the legislature.Mr Burnham’s faction — the “PNC” by 1958 — called for a system of voting called “Proportional Representation” (PR), which would rectify the anomaly. There were several variants of the latter system, but the one selected by the British made the entire country a single constituency; and after all the votes were counted, the seats to the legislature were apportioned in proportion to the total number of votes won by each competing party.Ironically, the British claimed they chose PR to reduce the effect of ethnic voting — by encouraging a proliferation of parties that would be encouraged to compete, since there were no minimum required cut-offs, and even 1% of the vote may secure a seat. This, however, had already been shown not to deliver that outcome in Israel, the only country with such a system.Since the middle of the 19th century, however, other forms of PR have been successfully introduced by the British in countries such as Australia. Those systems would have better served the goal which the British claimed it sought to achieve in this country’s PR election of 1964. The fact that the British actually wanted to find a mechanism to remove the PPP from office is too well known to be rehearsed.That the PNC rigged elections to remain in office until 1992 also does not bear repetition, but the role of the Carter Center in returning “free and fair” elections in that year does. With the Center as a broker, several rules of engagement were agreed to by the political players, but history has since shown that the electoral system itself needed to be changed to secure governments that would be seen as legitimate by all sections of our still-ethnically-riven polity.The riots inspired by the PNC following the elections of 1997 did precipitate some changes, especially in returning a number of legislative seats from “constituencies”. In its recent report, the Carter Center suggests that this move should now “ensure geographic seats are more equitably distributed among electors.”But more interestingly, it suggests the use of a PR method long used in Australia: “a ranked-choice voting system, to give greater incentive for candidates to appeal to more than their base voters.” (To be continued)last_img read more

Ancelotti:Madrid not affected by Valencia shock

first_img0Shares0000MADRID, January 5 – Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti insists his side’s confidence will not be shaken after Valencia came from behind to end the European champions’ 22-game winning streak on Sunday with a 2-1 win at Mestalla. Defeat leaves Los Blancos just a point ahead of title rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid with a visit to Atletico in the Copa del Rey to come on Wednesday.Cristiano Ronaldo had fired the visitors into an early lead from the penalty spot, but Ancelotti was left to bemoan key missed chances by the Portuguese and Gareth Bale either side of Antonio Barragan’s equaliser for Valencia as Nicolas Otamendi headed home the winner 25 minutes from time.“I don’t think we deserved to lose because we just didn’t have the luck to score when we had the chances to make it 2-0, then to go ahead 2-1 and finally at the end when we had many chances to make it 2-2,” said the Italian.“There were important points of the match where we didn’t take our chances, but as I’ve said in football this happens. You can’t always be efficient up front.“I think we worked hard and had chances. We were always dangerous but we didn’t score.“I don’t think it will affect the team. As I said it has happened after 22 victories. The season is very long and we are well-positioned in La Liga and have a lot of competitions. This won’t affect us because we know all the things we have done well until now.”Ancelotti surprisingly withdrew the star trio of Bale, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema in the search for an equaliser in the second-half.However, the 55-year-old denied he is concerned about the physical condition of his squad ahead of a demanding January schedule which could see Real face Atletico and Barca four times in the Cup, as well as Liga encounters with Espanyol, Getafe, Cordoba and Real Sociedad.“We knew what the schedule would be and that Valencia are a strong team, above all this year. We prepared well for the game and we played well. We congratulate Valencia, who played well, and now we have to prepare for the next game.“For the game on Wednesday we need to think how to play better to win the game. I think physically the team showed it is in good shape, especially in the final part of the game.”Sergio Ramos also pleaded for calm after a glorious run and end to 2014 which saw Madrid win four trophies in the same year for the first time.“I’m hurt by the loss of three points and the end of the run, but there is a long way to go in the league. We didn’t brag about our victories before the match nor will we throw the towel in on La Liga now.“If anything has characterised this group it is the humility and work and this will not change that. It will make us stronger. We will continue to grow as a team for sure.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Tresvant nets 39 as LBCC prevails

first_imgRico Myles led L.A. Trade Tech with 21 points. Louis Hamilton had 20 points and eight rebounds. – Robert Morales Cerritos 55, Pasadena City 47 Demetrius Turner had 11 points to help the Falcons (9-16) beat the visiting Lancers (6-18). Orange Coast 70, Cypress 64 Shaun Engle scored 22 points to help the visiting Pirates (13-12, 4-3) beat the Chargers (6-20, 0-8) in OEC play. Women’s basketball Long Beach City 72, L.A. City 34 The Vikings (15-9) had everything their way in this SCC interdivisional game. Dijon Franklin led four Vikings in double figures with 22 points. TyQuanna Ganaway pulled down nine rebounds and Allegra Kohley grabbed a game-high 12. – Robert Morales Pasadena City 75, Cerritos 54 Kiesha Phelps scored 18 points to help the visiting Lancers (28-0) beat the Falcons (15-12) in an SCC interdivision game. Shontay Delpit had 13 points for Cerritos. Orange Coast 63, Cypress 52 Courtney Ford scored 20 points to help the visiting Pirates (23-3, 9-0) beat the Chargers (11-14, 4-5) in Orange Empire Conference play. Brandi Thomas contributed 21 points for Cypress. Softball Long Beach City 2, Santa Ana 0 Jessica Amador hit a game-ending double in the bottom of the seventh inning, driving in Sarah Frudakis and Christine Garcia as the Vikings beat the Dons in both teams’ season opener at LBCC. Frudakis tossed a two-hitter and struck out four. The Vikings will host College of the Canyons today at 2:30 p.m. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Deon Tresvant had one thing in mind as he quickly drove the length of the court during the waning seconds of Long Beach City College’s basketball game against Los Angeles Trade Tech on Wednesday night: “This is my house, and I’m about to win this game,” Tresvant said. “This is our house. It’s what I do. Kept our streak going. Ten-game winning streak, baby. This was a playoff game to me.” Tresvant’s layup rolled around the rim and dropped through the basket as time ran out for a 91-89 Long Beach victory over the Beavers in a South Coast Conference interdivisional game. center_img Once the verdict was in, the Vikings mobbed Tresvant near the end line as they all joined in the celebration that comes with winning 10 in a row. It was a game in which Long Beach (17-10) did not play its best basketball. The Vikings committed 25 turnovers. Then again, L.A. Trade Tech (18-8) turned the ball over 32 times in what was a sloppily played game by both teams, the thrilling finish notwithstanding. Tresvant was spectacular. Yes, he did have seven of his team’s turnovers, but he also scored 39 points on 16-of-32 shooting from the field. Eric Williams also was solid, scoring 22 points and pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds. Chris Brown had 11 points and five rebounds for Long Beach. “I’m disappointed with the way we handled the ball,” said Long Beach coach Gary Anderson, who was smiling. “We’ve been handling the ball well. I thought we lost our composure. And the other thing is, you’ve gotta make those free throws, too. I don’t know. How did we win that?” That’s easy. The Beavers not only had seven more turnovers than the Vikings, but they made just 53.8 (14 of 26) percent of their free throws. Long Beach was not good at the free throw line either, but the Vikings made 63.6 (21 of 33) percent. last_img read more

Five of Euro 2016’s biggest flops

first_img0Shares0000Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action for Sweden PHOTO/Sky Sports.PARIS, France, July 11- With the European Championship coming to a close, here are five stars who failed to live up to expectations at the tournament in France:Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) Fresh from scoring 50 goals for Paris Saint-Germain last season, Ibrahimovic looked ready to terrorise opposition defences at the Euros. On the eve of Sweden’s first game against the Republic of Ireland, Ibrahimovic – who has never done modesty – declared: “The legend can still deliver.”He left France – definitively after signing for Manchester United — having failed in his quest to score at a fourth consecutive European Championship finals. He forced the own goal which brought Sweden’s equaliser in their opening draw with Ireland but did not manage a single shot on target in that match or in the 1-0 defeat to Italy that followed. It was an inauspicious end to his international career, with Ibrahimovic retiring from Sweden duty after the 1-0 loss to Belgium that eliminated them in the group stage.Thomas Mueller (Germany)Curiously Mueller was once again unable to reproduce his superb World Cup form at a European Championship finals. The 26-year-old Bayern Munich forward won the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup with five goals and scored five more as Germany became world champions in Brazil two years ago. And yet, after failing to find the net at Euro 2012 he was again unable to hit the target in France as Germany lost to France in the semi-finals.Joe Hart (England)It was another major tournament to forget for England as they bowed out in the last 16 after a humiliating 2-1 defeat to Iceland. And it was another awful tournament for English goalkeepers. After David Seaman at the 2002 World Cup, David James at Euro 2004 and Robert Green in 2010, Hart got in on the act in France with not one, but two, major gaffes. The Manchester City ‘keeper was widely criticised for not getting to Gareth Bale’s free-kick that put Wales ahead during their group game in Lens. At least England came back to win that match 2-1, but they did not recover from seeing Hart let Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s shot squirm under his body for Iceland’s crucial second goal in Nice.Sergio Ramos (Spain)Spain were a disappointment in France as they bowed out in the last 16 having won the last two Euro titles. Ramos is a survivor of Spain’s three successive international triumphs, at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. But in France, after Vicente del Bosque’s side began promisingly with wins over the Czech Republic and Turkey, things did not go to plan. Ramos missed a penalty before La Roja succumbed to a 2-1 loss to Croatia in their final group match. That condemned them to second place in their section and so a last-16 meeting with Italy. In that game, Ramos endured a torrid time up against the Azzurri’s strike pairing of Graziano Pelle and Eder as Spain lost 2-0 and made an early exit.Arda Turan (Turkey)Barcelona midfielder Turan’s status as an icon in his home country of Turkey meant fans were largely pinning their hopes on him to drive Fatih Terim’s team on in France. But after a difficult season at club level Turan toiled at the Euros, struggling to influence games from a position wide on the left. The 29-year-old issued a public apology for his display in Turkey’s opening 1-0 loss to Croatia, but he then had to endure the ignominy of being booed by Turkish fans during the 3-0 defeat to Spain in Nice. “Whatever happens that shouldn’t happen,” Terim said before Turkey bowed out.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Experts say don’t let freeway jams jangle your nerves

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“It’s going to try everybody’s patience,” said Tom Marshall, California Highway Patrol spokesman. “Leave time to get where you’re going. Just assume that you will run into traffic delays if you’re going anywhere in Southern California in the next 24 hours.” Ah, the joys of commuting in a disaster-prone state. But while getting outraged at the traffic tie-ups is understandable, experts say there are better ways to cope. Sy Cohn, a Claremont-based driving therapist, says that even as we clear brush around our homes to prepare for wildfires, we should use similar preventive measures in planning our commutes. Pack survival kits for the car and fill them with items that you like to hear, see and smell. Include CDs of music you love, audio books, pictures and even perfume – whatever creates an atmosphere that makes you feel good, Cohn said. If freeways and local streets seem crazier than usual, you’re not losing your mind – commutes lately are absolutely wicked. Fires have forced the closure of 30 roads in Los Angeles County and the detours are bogging down everyone’s travel times as they shove more vehicles onto our already clogged freeways and streets. It marks the second traffic nightmare in the past two weeks for the region, after a 31-vehicle pileup inside a truck tunnel on the southbound Golden State Freeway in the Newhall Pass shut down the major artery at the Antelope Valley Freeway for two days. Now, more bottlenecks are expected over the next few days. “We all have a choice about how we want to react to traffic. And you have a choice not to take it out on others,” Cohn said. “Have things in the car that you like to have, that you can refocus on.” And most importantly, Cohn says, remember to breathe. When we’re tense, we hold our breath – and the greatest stress the body undergoes is not having enough oxygen. Also, check your mouth: Subconsciously, you may be clenching your teeth in response to stress and traffic, said Saj Jivraj, an Oxnard-based prosthodontist. “People do it without realizing it,” said Jivraj. “More than likely, they’re also gripping the steering wheel.” In fact, stress from commutes can accelerate aging by 10 years, said Kathleen Hall, founder of The Stress Institute, an Atlanta-based center. And when it comes to commutes, women emerge from their cars more frazzled than men, according to a study by the center that measured cortisol levels in male and female motorists before and after their drives to work. The stress hormone remained level for men – who tend to disconnect during their drives by listening to sports, talk radio and business news, Hall said. But it soared more than 100 percent in women, who are more inclined to sit behind the wheel and make lists of work, errands and obligations – and worry, Hall said. “Women are so overbooked, overworked and overwhelmed, and they look at that hour commute as where they can work,” said Hall. “Now we have to look at it and say, this is our hour of self-care.” Everyone can benefit by reframing thought of their treacherous commutes into a quality hour of personal time, said Hall. That could mean turning the drive into a spiritual hour, learning languages on CDs, or singing your heart out to favorite tunes as if preparing for “American Idol.” You will emerge from your car relaxed and positive, Hall said. “And if an emergency happens, you are totally grounded and totally centered,” Hall said. “And you may be the only leader around to save lives.” (818) 713-3683160Want 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

La Mirada to get 18-acre piece of regional park for aquatic center

first_imgBut since then, city officials now say they will provide equal access and fees if they take over the park. “When the gym was built, it was on county land,” Councilman Hal Malkin said. “\ worked OK with the gym.” Tuesday’s agreement also provides that La Mirada will reimburse the county for the costs of relocating playground equipment, a maintenance facility, a disc golf course and picnic tables, and replacement of sidewalks. The city also will be required to provide 10 weeks of free swimming lessons and recreational swimming. Travis said the city already planned to do this. “\ gives us the opportunity to build the long-awaited aquatic facility,” she said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the land to do that.” Imee Perius, spokesman for the county Parks and Recreation Department, said the deal is a good one for the county. “The city of La Mirada has money to develop an aquatic center that will be more of a regional attraction,” Perius said. “It’s something the county sees as a benefit not just to the surrounding community of La Mirada, but to the regional area,” he said. The center will include a family-fun area with slides, play structures and a flow channel area, a 25-yard pool for swimming lessons, a 50-meter competition pool and a spa. (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022FUTURE PLANS: An artist’s rendering shows the aquatic center the city plans to build on 18 acres of La Mirada Regional Park acquired Tuesday from the county. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2The park could provide opportunities for more services for the city, Travis said. Still, any transfer of the park to the city isn’t likely to occur for two to three years, she said. “In the future we have an aquatic center to build,” Travis said. This isn’t the first time La Mirada and the county have talked about transferring the entire park to the city. During the 1990s there were talks, but they broke down when Supervisor Don Knabe insisted the city treat all users of the park equally, whether or not they were residents of La Mirada. LA MIRADA – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the transfer of an 18-acre piece of La Mirada Regional Park to the city of La Mirada where a new, $24 million aquatic center will be built. The La Mirada City Council approved its end of the deal last week. The city now will prepare a conceptual plan and feasibility report pertaining to the proposed acquisition of the entire 105-acre county regional park. “We don’t own any additional land, and this would provide the opportunity for future land,” City Manager Andrea Travis said. last_img read more

Christian Eriksen wonder strike helps Spurs to 4-2 pre-season victory over PSG

first_img1 Christian Eriksen: The Dane netted a 30-yard stunner in the International Champions Cup Harry Kane picked up where he left off for Tottenham as they opened their pre-season schedule with a 4-2 win over Paris St Germain in Orlando.The England striker, who scored eight goals in his final three Premier League games of last term to take the Golden Boot, bagged from the spot for Spurs late on in the International Champions Cup.In an entertaining game, Mauricio Pochettino’s men went behind early on as Edison Cavani put the French side ahead, but quickfire goals from Christian Eriksen – a 30-yard stunner – and Eric Dier overturned the deficit.Javier Pastore brought PSG level before the break, but Spurs ran out winners in the second half with two late goals, first from Toby Alderweireld and then Kane.They are next in action against Roma on Wednesday before a quick reunion with Kyle Walker as they face Manchester City next Saturday.last_img read more

Using the Web to Predict the Next President: So Far, 50/50

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Trends#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts Yesterday, we wrote that if the web were an indicator of political results, Ron Paul and Barack Obama would likely be squaring off in the US presidential elections next November. But with the first state contest out of the way, it looks like the web was only half right (any maybe didn’t have much to do with it at all). Obama, who was in a statistical tie with Hillary Clinton and John Edwards according to pre-caucus polls, convincingly defeated his rivals. Paul, however, finished fifth — exactly where he was polling (I incorrectly used his national poll average yesterday as his Iowa poll numbers), and still no where near the winner, Mike Huckabee, who collected 34% of the vote to Paul’s 10%.Some tech pundits were impressed by Ron Paul’s 10%. “He beat the original odds on favorite to win (not the caucus, but the nomination) Rudy Giuliani. […] That’s pretty darn impressive, in my book,” wrote Mark Hopkins. Perhaps, but polling data predicted that as well. The final pre-caucus Iowa poll average at Real Clear Politics had Paul ahead of Giuliani, and actually, it more or less predicted the results of the caucus exactly (McCain and Thompson swapped positions, but both finished in a virtual tie — as they had been polling).On the Democratic side, the web looks to have been a little better at predicting the results of the election. Obama, who was far and away the most popular Democratic candidate on the Internet, captured 37% of his party’s state delegates, easily beating Edwards and Clinton. So why is it that the web was so reliable at predicting the winner on the Democratic side, but so out of touch with the Republican side? We can piece together the answer from exit polling and other data by figuring out just why each candidate won.Why Obama WonWe’ll tackle Obama first. According to exit polls, most of Obama’s support came from the 17-44 age group, which made up 30% of Democratic caucus goers. In the 17-24 age bracket, which made up 17% of the total turnout, Obama won 57% of the vote. It’s clear that Obama resonated with young voters in Iowa — precisely the type of people who would be most likely to follow politics via the Internet. What’s more, he (and the Democratic party) were able to motivate young voters to caucus.Obama also won a plurality of independent and first-time caucus goers. Clearly, the Internet helped Obama a great deal. He was able to mobilize young voters online and actually translate that support into results at the polls. Further, as we noted earlier this year, Obama’s online popularity has helped him out-fundraise his rivals.But Obama also used that money to far outspend other Democrats in Iowa. He reportedly spent $9 million to run nearly 11,000 television ad spots in Iowa — nearly $2 million more than Hillary Clinton. Obama also made 186 campaign stops in Iowa since July 1, 2007 — not the most among Democrats, but still indicative of a strong campaign in the state.The data suggests that though the Internet clearly helped Obama by rallying support among young voters who actually turned up to vote, it was likely traditional offline campaigning that won the state for the Illinois Senator.Why Huckabee WonHuckabee’s numbers are more curious. He was outspent in Iowa (Mitt Romney — who finished second — spent $7 million on TV ads to Huckabee’s $1.4 million), and though Huckabee saw a surge of Internet support in the past couple of months, the exit polling showed that young voters made up only a small fraction on the Republican side, where the large majority of caucus participants were over the age of 45.The exit polls do point to a reason for Huckabee’s run away victory, though: 60% of Republican voters identified themselves as “born-again or evangelical Christians,” and 46% of those voted for Huckabee. Huckabee, who is an ordained Southern Baptist minister, is generally seen as a champion of the Christian right.It seems likely, then, that Huckabee owes his Iowa victory to a grassroots support movement among evangelical Christians — one that likely did not take place on social networking sites and YouTube, but rather in Churches and at small town hall meetings. Huckabee did make 120 visits to the state, the second most of any Republican candidate.Why Ron Paul Didn’t WinThe same exit poll numbers that attribute Huckabee’s win to a strong evangelical Christian showing, also demonstrate a poor youth turnout that likely hurt Ron Paul. Most of Paul’s votes came from the 17-29 year old crowd, but that only accounted for 11% of the total caucus participants on the Republican side. Where Obama was helped by a strong youth turnout (the 17-29 age group made up 22% of Democratic voters), Paul was hurt by a weak youth turnout for the Republican caucus. It is interesting to note, as well, that Huckabee still crushed Paul in that age group, taking 40% of the under 30 vote, to Paul’s 21%.Paul may also have been hurt by not running a very strong traditional campaign in Iowa. By mid-December, Paul had only bought radio time in Iowa, while his competition was spending up a storm to the tune of 8,500 TV spots for Romney and 1,800 spots for Huckabee. Paul also visited Iowa the least of the top 6 Republican candidates — only 37 times since July 1. Compared to 144 visits from Romney and 120 visits from Huckabee, Paul was a relative ghost in Iowa.This could indicate that Paul conceded Iowa to the front-runners and plans to spend his massive war chest elsewhere (perhaps, as many have speculated, to run as an Independent — note: I am not well versed in campaign finance law, so I am not totally sure if it is legally plausible to spend money donated for a party primary run on a general election as an Independent). Or it could indicate what many of us have suspected, that the Internet can make a vocal minority appear to have much more momentum than they actually do.The grassroots movement that has sprung up around Paul is spearheaded by a very web-savvy bunch. They have organized around tools like email, message boards, Google News, and Technorati, such that if something is blogged about Ron Paul, or submitted to Digg, or Reddit, they descend on it and make sure their collective voice is heard. But I think poll results — and I suspect election results as well — will continue to indicate that Paul’s vocal online minority is still just that: a minority.And as for beating Giuliani? As I mentioned, the traditional polls predicted it would happen, and it’s really not a surprise considering Giuliani abandoned Iowa and New Hampshire weeks ago to focus his attention on later primary states, such as Florida (which votes on January 29) or those that vote on so-called Super Tuesday (February 5). Still, 10% of the vote is better than he was polling and is impressive. I don’t think it will be enough to carry him to the nomination, but the Internet did make Ron Paul relevant enough to get the mainstream media talking about him, which likely helped him gain some supporters.I think the most interesting scenario for the future is an Independent run by Ron Paul (let’s face it, he’s not going to win the Republican nomination, and his politics line up more with the Libertarian party anyway — whom he represented in the 1988 presidential election). Ron Paul might still not have a realistic shot at winning the general election as an Independent, but with his fundraising prowess, he could make sure he was heard and might draw enough votes away from the major party nominees to have a real impact on the results.center_img josh catone 1 Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Transitioning Platforms: Why CIOs Should Be Looking at Windows* 8

first_imgAs expected, HIMSS13 is abuzz with new offerings. Mobility, of course, is a central focus, and while devices and apps should garner a good deal of any healthcare CIO’s attention, don’t overlook the fact that Microsoft’s latest upgrade delivers a game-changing approach to the Windows* operating system.Yes, it’s early. Maybe your organization is still running XP, or you’re just getting Windows 7 off the ground. Maybe you always prefer to wait on future versions. But proactive CIOs are looking at Windows 8 now because it enables them to incorporate the BYO phenomenon with all of their legacy software.“From the CIO’s perspective, the challenge is keeping everything in synch at all times,” says Stanley Crane, CTO at Allscripts. “In Windows 8, the same management tools they use today to manage Windows 7 and XP environments translate exactly. There’s no new tool kit to get, the mechanisms are in place, you can keep everyone in synch. That, to me, is a huge plus.”Thanks to backward compatibility, Windows 7-based healthcare organizations that may not have a lot of touch enablement (yet) can still run all of their applications in desktop mode within the Windows 8 environment without making any changes.But in a move to accommodate the newer platforms that are touch-enabled, Windows 8 offers a choice: compute traditionally with a keyboard and mouse, or compute the way our collective consumer experience has been guiding us: with touch. Users can go back and forth seamlessly between both compute models.For CIOs, having this capability means not having to bolt on a consumer BYO approach to their legacy environments. No need to use virtualization software in cases where it doesn’t make sense, simply because it’s the only way to prevent information from sitting on devices. They can compute natively in Windows on a mobile device.“It’s not a forklift upgrade where I have to switch everything to touch; I don’t have to,” adds Mark Blatt, M.D., Worldwide Medical Director at Intel. “I can migrate to touch in a natural manner as makes sense. And I can let the consumer, or enduser, add their own BYO touch to the platform, fully knowing I have all the manageability and security tools that I’ve always had available to me. I’m not compromising anything.”In addition, Windows 8 offers three interesting capabilities over the existing touch mobile device platforms currently on the market:• Live Tile: an environment in which users can communicate bi-directionally with the application that sits below it. It’s a nice innovation worthy of a little effort. For example, in the Live Tile environment, the icon could say, “You have stat lab values.” And after a certain amount of time, it could change from green to yellow to red, or it could buzz; it’s a live, interactive environment that’s pushing information to the tile, rather than telling you to go pull it from the store. Think of the possibilities here. FYI, users can right-click to turn off active tiles and make them static.• Picture password: a sign-on capability completely unique to the user, so they don’t have to remember pins or passwords. It frees users from some of the legacy constraints without sacrificing security. A welcome addition in health care settings.• Snap mode: a feature that offers the ability to run two different applications at the same time. Not just two different windows, but two applications on the screen at the same time. A physician could, for example, open a neuroanatomy program from the store that shows pictures of the brain and nervous system. On the other half of the screen, she could be running a DICOM viewer in desktop mode that shows an actual CAT scan of the patient’s brain. Having this ability to multi-task and bring up multiple apps in live environments is critical to the way health care providers think and work—and Snap mode allows this flexibility.For functionality and flexibility, healthcare CIOs could do worse than consider a Windows 8 upgrade, given the overall gains. Is it on your organization’s radar yet? Why or why not?As a B2B journalist, John Farrell has covered healthcare IT since 1997 and is Intel’s sponsored correspondent.last_img read more