EDMONTON – Research suggests even underground oilsands mines have profound effects on the forest community that vary from animal to animal.“What you’re seeing in the oilsands is a change in how that landscape works,” said University of Victoria ecologist Jason Fisher, who works for the Alberta government agency Innotech.Fisher’s paper, published in the journal Frontiers In Ecology, looked at the effects of forestry and in-situ oilsands mines on 10 mammals from moose to wolves to squirrels. It found some species were winners and some were losers, but all were affected.“I didn’t expect to find an effect on red squirrels or snowshoe hares,” Fisher said. “The fact we found these consistent large effects on the entire mammals community was quite a surprise to me.”Fisher’s paper looked at 3,000 square kilometres of forest north of Cold Lake, Alta., that was heavily logged and criss-crossed by roads, seismic lines, well pads and other energy industry features. All the oilsands development in the area is in situ, meaning the bitumen is mined from beneath the surface without large open pits.“It’s an area of intensive development,” Fisher said.He and co-author Cole Burton set up wildlife cameras at 62 sites and set about documenting animal life. They studied species that could be photographed: wolves, deer, moose, bears, coyotes, lynx, foxes, hares, squirrels and a type of weasels called fishers.Three years, 141,000 photos and a complicated statistical analysis later, they had a clear picture of how industrial features were affecting the animals.The impacts were complex.Cutblocks, with their open shrubbery, were good for moose but bad for hares. Seismic lines were great for coyotes but terrible for bears. Trails were good for lynx but bad for fishers. Squirrels were fine with trails but disliked well sites.On average, Fisher found man-made features led to a decreased presence of moose, black bears, fishers and foxes. They were particularly hard on foxes and bears.But those features led to the other six species studied being more common, especially white-tailed deer.“A carnivore that makes its living by chasing things through the woods, then that species is going to do well,” said Fisher. “If you increase resources for something that can exploit (shrubby) vegetation, that’s the kind of species that does well.“For species that don’t rely on movement through a forest or (shrubby) vegetation, those are the losers.”No species was unaffected. That means a study of one species — say, caribou — can’t deliver a complete picture of how development affects ecosystems, Fisher said.“By trying to fix the problem symptom by symptom, you miss the underlying problem, which is the fundamental change to the landscape.”Scientists are just starting to sort through the tangled web of life in Canada’s northern forests, said Fisher. But they’re making progress, he said, and their work needs to be consulted as governments consider development.“We can’t demonize any of these industries. This is the net result of a bunch of things happening on a landscape all at the same time.“To not include cumulative effects assessment in a scientific way is to ignore a lot of the information we have available.”— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960
HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia government says it will introduce a new law to make it easier for Acadian and black candidates to get elected in certain ridings.Government house leader Geoff MacLellan said Thursday the province would follow the key recommendations of a committee that studied Nova Scotia’s voting rules.“There’s nothing that strikes us as problematic,” said MacLellan.The committee was appointed in April after the province lost a court battle with a group that represents Nova Scotia’s Acadian population.The three-member committee submitted 29 recommendations to the Liberal government Thursday, saying the province should ensure black and Acadian minorities have a bigger say in elections, and also strengthen other means of representation.“It’s definitely a win for the Acadian community,” said Ghislain Boudreau, president of the Acadian Federation of Nova Scotia. “We’re very pleased with the report.”Doug Keefe, chairman of the committee, said the proposed law must include the broad principles for setting electoral boundaries.Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada without such a law, he said.The lack of legislation set the stage for an incendiary standoff in 2012, when then NDP premier Darrell Dexter rejected a proposed electoral map drafted by an independent electoral boundaries commission.At the time, Dexter took aim at the province’s four so-called exceptional ridings, established in 1992 to give Acadian and black voters a stronger voice in the legislature.By 2012, the populations in the four ridings had become much smaller than the provincial average, which was about 14,000 people. Dexter said the boundaries had to be changed because the number of residents did not fall within a range of plus or minus 25 per cent of the average.In September 2012, the boundaries commission effectively abolished the predominantly French-speaking ridings of Clare, Argyle and Richmond, and it said the Halifax-area riding of Preston, with its large black population, must be merged with a neighbouring district.“That was the end of the exceptional ridings,” Keefe said.At the time, critics said minority groups in each riding would see their influence reduced at election time. In the old riding of Argyle, for example, there were only 6,200 voters, and about 60 per cent of them were Acadian. Under redistribution, the Acadian proportion dropped to about 22 per cent.Three months later, the Acadian federation said it would launch a court challenge to quash the redrawn electoral map.In January 2017, Premier Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government accepted an appeal court decision that said the previous NDP government had violated the constitution by forcing an independent commission to redraw the map.On Thursday, Keefe’s committee stopped short of recommending restoration of the exceptional ridings. The committee said that decision should be left to another independent boundaries commission, which will be appointed before the next election.With a new law in place, the provincial government will be required to accept the map drafted by the commission, Keefe said.As well, he said the commission should have the ability to recommend the creation of additional ridings, over and above the 51 that already exist.Keefe said with the province’s rural population in decline, some ridings have become so large they make little sense to the voters who live there. He said some other jurisdictions in Canada have already created exceptional ridings in rural areas.He also said the committee heard during public consultations that members of the province’s black community, which makes up about two per cent of the population, had expressed their support for exceptional ridings.Boudreau, whose organization represents about four per cent of the province’s population, said the federation is in favour of creating new ridings.“We hope that there will be some protected ridings that will be re-established,” Boudreau said, adding that the federation will be pushing for a new, exceptional riding in the Cheticamp area of Cape Breton, which has a large Acadian population.MacLellan said it will be up to the boundaries commission to decide if the province needs more members of the legislature.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said every other jurisdiction in Canada has a law allowing the creation of “exceptional ridings.”
APTN National NewsThousands of people across Canada spent Valentine’s Day remembering Aboriginal women who have either gone missing or have been murdered.Rallies were held in major centres with families and organizations demanding that police and government do a better job of tackling the problem and taking the issue seriously.APTN National News reporter Donna Smith has this story.
21 September 2011In the face of the world financial crisis, Argentina called from the podium of the United Nations today for true economic reform to regulate run-away speculation and other factors undermining market stability, global development and well-being. “Speculation apparently has no brakes and can move from one place to another and from one country or region to another, affecting currencies, economies and also the daily life of citizens, destroying jobs, depriving them of a worth education and of health care,” Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner told the General Assembly on the opening day of its annual general debate.“It is crucial that this be understood, because today it might be speculation on food, yesterday it was on oil, and tomorrow it could be on mints if that proves profitable and provides a better market position to those capital flows that are transferred from one end of the world to the other without any type of control or regulation,” she said.“Regrettably we continue in the same position because beyond what I would call totally cosmetic changes no serious steps have been taken towards the regulation that is required.”At the same time Ms. Kirchner called for fundamental Security Council reform, expanding its current 15-State membership, but not by increasing the number of permanent members. That category should be eliminated, she said, along with the right to veto now held by the five permanent members – the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia and the United States. The veto was necessary at the UN’s foundation during the Cold War when there was a bipolar world aligned either with the US or the former Soviet Union, but now it no longer defends security and stability and is used for those members’ national interests, she said. Referring to the dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), she called on the UK to negotiate with Argentina, as demanded by UN resolutions, saying that fishing and offshore oil resources were being illegally appropriated. Returning to a theme that her country has raised every year since 2003, Ms. Kirchner called on Iran to hand over Iranians implicated by Argentine judicial authorities in the blowing up of the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994 respectively.She noted that the Iranian foreign ministry in July voiced its intention to “cooperate and begin a constructive dialogue,” an offer she said Argentina would take up. But, she added, “although this may show a change of attitude on the part of the (Iranian) Government, it does not by itself constitute satisfaction of our demands which, as I have said with all clarity, are those of justice.” Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo Mendez echoed Ms. Kirchner’s calls for financial reforms and urged the UN to establish measures that allow States to implement policies enabling them to reduce inequalities in their own countries, as well between rich and poor countries.He stressed that inequality is growth-stifling and called on the Assembly to design and construct a new financial model that can adequately respond to cyclical economic crises.“Solidarity is not only a moral imperative, it is a necessary reality to achieve progress and to avoid and combat the dark consequences if we ignore it: violence and delinquency,” Mr. Lugo said, emphasizing that inequality would not be reduced without cooperation from all statesHe also voiced opposition to the United States’ 50-year economic embargo against Cuba.Mr. Lugo also had a meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the margins of the Assembly’s debate during which the two men discussed the country’s progress towards the socio-economic and poverty reduction targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and regional efforts to address social inequality.Mr. Ban took note of Paraguay’s contribution to the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and thanked the country for its leadership in the designation of 30 July as the World Day of Friendship. The Secretary-General expressed his hope that under Paraguay’s leadership of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the region would continue to work closely with the UN.
Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health is advising residents of Freelton to boil their water, after bacteria was detected.Residents are advised not to use the water supply. The boil water advisory will remain in effect until further notice.
by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Mar 13, 2015 1:00 pm MDT WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is telling Congress the steps he will be taking once the federal government hits the debt limit on Monday.Lew took the first step Friday by suspending issuance of special Treasury securities that are used by state and local governments. He said that on Monday he will stop making investments in a pension fund for government employees.The nation’s current debt stands at $18.1 trillion. Over the past year, the government has been able to borrow as much money as it needs to finance operations because Congress had suspended the debt limit.However, the debt limit will go back into effect on Monday at the level where debt is currently. After that, Lew can employ various emergency measures to keep from going over the limit.The Congressional Budget Office in a report last week estimated that the various measures Lew can employ could put off the date the debt ceiling will have to be raised until October or November.Lew included a description of the various measures he can use along with his letter. The fact sheet said that suspending the issuance of debt investments in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund would free up $20 billion in headroom for the government to sell regular Treasury securities over the next three months.In his letter Friday, Lew urged Congress to move to raise the debt limit as quickly as possible.“The creditworthiness of the United States is not a bargaining chip and I again urge Congress to address this matter without controversy or brinksmanship,” Lew said.Republicans now control both the House and the Senate. More conservative GOP lawmakers would like to use the need to raise the borrowing limit as leverage to force President Barack Obama to change his policies in such areas as health care and immigration.But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in a television interview Sunday that he remained firm in his view that the GOP should not employ such tactics.“I made it very clear after the November election that we’re certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt,” McConnell said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”McConnell did suggest that Republicans may try to get some policy initiatives passed by attaching the proposals as part of legislation to raise the debt ceiling.“We’ll figure some way to handle it and hopefully it might carry some other important legislation that we can agree on in connection with it,” he said.It was a standoff over the debt limit in August 2011 that prompted the first ever downgrade of the nation’s credit rating by Standard & poor’s and in October 2013, there was a 16-day partial government shutdown. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Treasury Secretary notifies Congress of emergency measures he will employ to avoid debt limit
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Adrian Beltre went into this off-season pretty sure he had played his last game after 21 big league seasons. While he will miss baseball, Beltre says he is happy about his decision to retire.Beltre, who spent the last eight seasons of his Hall of Fame-caliber career with the Texas Rangers, said goodbye Friday in a laugh-filled news conference at the ballpark where the four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove third baseman joined the 3,000-hit club in 2017.There were no tears from the 39-year-old Beltre, who 10 days earlier had announced his decision.The room was filled with current and former teammates, including Elvis Andrus, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Ian Kinsler. Beltre’s wife and three children sat on the front row.___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsStephen Hawkins, The Associated Press
The Fiesta Bowl trophy was on display along with Ohio State and Clemson helmets during media day on Dec. 29. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo Editor The Ohio State Buckeyes and Clemson Tigers spoke to the media and had some fun with Spirit, the Fiesta Bowl mascot, two days before their playoff game.
IRELAND COACH JOE SCHMIDT has revealed that Sean O’Brien may be out of action for at least four months.Schmidt, who was a guest on the Late Late Show this evening, told Ryan Tubridy that O’Brien, who had a shoulder operation last week, had little hope of featuring in the Six Nations.The New Zealander lamented the fact that O’Brien and Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris [ankle] would be missing from the Six Nations squad he names on 21 January.Schmidt said, “Sean had an operation last Friday and he’s likely to be out for four months; maybe beyond that.”Leinster forwards coach Jono Gibbes told TheScore.ie in December that O’Brien, who dislocated his shoulder in a home win over Ulster, would be out for two months. Schmidt’s comments have put a sobering note to the forward’s injury woes.O’Brien is in France this weekend as he is meeting with representatives of Heineken Cup champions Toulon. He has yet to agree a contract extension with the IRFU. Leinster will be hoping to compete in the Pro12 and Heineken Cup finals this season so O’rien will aim to return for the business end of the current campaign.Schmidt, meanwhile, has targeted a top two finish in the upcoming six Nations and wants to reach the World Cup semi finals with Ireland in 2015. “If you make the semi finals, you are one of four teams and you give yourself a chance to go further,” he said.Sean O’Brien in France as contract negotiations drag onPaddy Jackson stars but Ulster fall short of bonus point
iPhones and cats go together like… well, like anything else and cats on the Internet do. The latest diversionary use for cats? Unlocking the iPhone 5S via its fancy Touch ID sensor, of course.No, there’s not some kind of fundamental flaw in the Touch ID sensor that’s going to allow a criminal to gain access to your phone by coercing his cat into pawing your phone. It’s scanning and storing the unique data it captures from the cat’s paw the same way it would from your thumb.The iPhone 5S won’t authenticate your left thumb if you’ve only enrolled your right. Likewise, without the same paw placed in the same way over the sensor, the iPhone 5S wouldn’t authenticate a cat.It works with body parts other than thumbs of fingers, too. You could enroll your palm, big toe, or something else. Just make sure it’s something you’re comfortable swiping in public. More importantly, make sure it’s something everyone else is comfortable seeing you swipe in public.It’s still fun to see it work. And why not enroll your cat? If you’re going to install apps like Friskies’ Games for Cats! on your iPhone 5S you may as well just sign it over entirely. Who knows, this may even be the start of a new security trend. It’s not as though a thief is likely to steal your iPhone 5S and your cat, right?
Something for the weekend: UK and Australia-based employees at recruitment firm Logical Resources Sales and Technical Recruitment will not have to steer clear of soggy Brussels sprouts at their workplace Christmas party this year, as the organisation has opted to jet its 11 employees to Thailand for an alternative festive shindig.To celebrate achieving ambitious revenue targets before deadline, directors Rob Carlton and Kurt Wagner will treat their Leeds and Melbourne-based employees to a week-long, all-expenses-paid holiday to Phuket, Thailand.Staying at the Novotel at Kamala Beach hotel, just north of Patong Beach, between 10 and 17 December 2018, employees will be able to enjoy the exciting nearby nightlife as a reward for their hard work in hitting the organisation’s high-flying target.This is not the first time that Logical Resources Sales and Technical Recruitment staff have enjoyed a sojourn away in recognition of team success; staff have previously been rewarded with two trips to Ibiza, a stay in Barcelona and a visit to Tomorrowland, a festival in Belgium.Rob Carlton, director at Logical Resources Sales and Technical Recruitment, said: “We believe that recognition in the workplace has the power to transform lives, and this is an attitude we’ve taken at Logical Resources Sales and Technical Recruitment over the years. An engaged, committed workforce is absolutely critical to maintaining a positive internal culture, as well as [to generate] business growth, so it makes sense to reward our employees when it’s due.“We set some really aggressive targets for this incentive, so it’s testament to the team’s passion, commitment and ability that they managed to succeed, helping our clients to achieve their goals while also reaching our own business objectives.”Here at Employee Benefits, we are already mentally packing our suitcases at the thought of a luxurious holiday for our Christmas reward. We wonder if Logical Resources Sales and Technical Recruitment has room for a few more…
President Donald Trump White House photo)The White House today released an outline of President Trump’s first budget. As expected, the document calls for cutting government programs to offset a big increase in defense spending. The budget cuts would hit Alaska hard — if Congress were to adopt them.Listen nowBut Sen. Lisa Murkowski wants you to know that Congress is not going to pass this budget.“This is the president’s request,” Murkowski told reporters. “It is not a budget that Congress is going to enact.”That’s the case every year. The Constitution gives Congress the national purse strings. Murkowski said she’s been reminding her staff of that, because alarmed Alaskans are already contacting her office.“There is plenty in this budget request to get very upset about. Because these are priorities that, for us, in a high-cost, cold, remote state mean a lot,” Murkowski said.File photo by Skip Gray/360 NorthThe budget would eliminate Essential Air Service and LIHEAP, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance, two programs that send millions of dollars to Alaska each year. It would stop funding for the Denali Commission for rural infrastructure. Trump’s budget would also defund an EPA program that last year provided $20 million to build water and wastewater projects in Alaska Native villages, where thousands of homes still lack running water and residents have to haul their waste in buckets.And yet the budget also said it provides “robust funding for critical drinking and wastewater infrastructure.” It said the spending levels reflect the president’s “ongoing commitment to infrastructure repair and replacement.”Murkowski said an Alaska village can’t compete with places like Flint, Michigan in federal programs, because an agency is likely to apply a simple cost-benefit analysis.“When you do that, Alaska always loses, because our costs are high and the numbers of people that you’re serving is low,” Murkowski said.Murkowski said she knows EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt understands the need to fund Alaska village water projects, because he raised the subject with her in a meeting before his confirmation vote.“So we’re going to keep him to his word on that,” Murkowski said. “Too important.”Murkowski serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and she chairs the subcommittee that writes the EPA budget. She pointed out that Pruitt and the cabinet secretaries are still assembling their teams. She said this budget may have been written by people who aren’t familiar with all the programs.“And if you don’t know exactly what (the programs) do, and how helpful and beneficial they are, it might be easy to say, ‘Well, we’ll just rid of that one. We’ll just take that one off the books. We’ll zero it out for now until somebody says otherwise,’” Murkowski said. “And my sense is that’s some of what we’re dealing with right now.”Murkowski is also reminding her staff that the 53-page document the White House released isn’t even the president’s real budget. The fuller version is expected in late April. In the meantime, Murkowski said her office is collecting stories from Alaskans about how they’d be affected if particular programs were to be cut or eliminated.Of things she likes in the document, Murkowski named the increase in spending to restore military forces, which she says may mean the 425th Brigade Combat Team at JBER will be kept whole.Sen. Dan Sullivan, in a written statement, praised the increase in defense spending but said some of the budget cuts fall too heavily on rural communities.Alaska Congressman Don Young issued a statement, too, and he put it bluntly: “This budget isn’t going anywhere.” Congress, he noted, sets spending.
Hello and welcome to StokeonTrentLive’s breaking news service bringing you all the latest updates from Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire on Wednesday, March, 6. Our team of reporters will be updating this live service with all the latest on the traffic and travel and weather updates – as well as news and entertainment through the day. We’ll be bringing you the very latest updates in our live news feed below. For the latest news and breaking news visit www.stokeontrentlive.co.uk Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you. Follow us on Twitter @SOTLive – the official Sentinel account – real news in real time. We’re also on Facebook – your must-see news, features, videos and pictures throughout Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire & South Cheshire. Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive . 17:57Police and paramedics called to two incidents in townOne woman was taken to hospital following a three-vehicle crash. More here. 17:56Motorcyclist taken to hospital after accident on A500Police and paramedics were called to the scene earlier today. More here.15:41Firefighters called to blaze at industrial siteThe building was evacuated – with the blaze believed to have been caused by a burst gasket on a thermal oil pipeline. More here.15:37Woman taken to hospital after accident at busy crossroadsOne vehicle ended up on its side as a result of the collision earlier today. More here.12:28Brownhills Road / Davenport Street / Newcastle Street busy but moving between A500 (Porthill Bank) and Tunstall. 12:27Moorland Road / Ford Green Road busy but moving at A5272 High Lane (Smallthorne Roundabout). 11:37 Slow traffic on A530 Middlewich Road in both directions near the Rising Sun Inn. In the roadworks area.Temporary traffic lights are in operation. 11:06Cyclist suffers serious injuries after being hit by coachMore here.11:02**Service Update** – 101/22/21 back to normal schedule.32 service running up to 12minutes late due to temporary roadworks on Bucknall Road.— The Potteries buses (@potteriesbuses) March 6, 201910:23Temporary traffic lights and Street lighting works on A53 Ladderedge near Westwood Golf Club.Between 9.30am and 3pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays until 3pm on March 7. 09:50Gas main work and temporary traffic lights on A525 Higherland near Tesco Express.Until March 11. 09:48Traffic heavier than normal on A34 Stone Road Northbound from A5035 Longton Road (Trentham roundabout) to A500 D Road (Hanford Interchange). 09:48Temporary traffic lights and water main work on B5044 Silverdale Road near Castle motte Memorial park.Until March 7.09:31All lanes now open on the #M6 southbound between J13 #Staffordsouth and J12 #Gailey— Highways England (@HighwaysWMIDS) March 6, 201909:21Queuing traffic on A5035 Longton Road Westbound from B5490 Stanley Matthews Way (Hem Heath) to A34 Stone Road (Trentham roundabout, Stoke-On-Trent). 09:21One lane closed due to broken down vehicle on M6 Southbound from J13 A449 (Stafford South) to J12 A5 (Gailey). Traffic is coping well.Lane one (of four) is closed.08:55A34 Newcastle Road busy but moving between Springfield Retail Park and A500 D Road (Hanford Interchange). 08:46Police statement on Bottomhouse crashA Staffordshire Police spokesman said:We were called at 7.40am this morning to a report of a three vehicle road traffic collision on the A523 in Bottomhouse, Leek, near to the Green Man Inn.Colleagues from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and West Midlands Ambulance Service are also in attendance. No serious injuries have been reported at this time.The road remains open with officers directing traffic so please allow extra time for your journey.”08:32Queuing traffic on A50 Eastbound at B5030 Ashbourne Road (McDonalds roundabout). 08:26 Heavy traffic on A527 Porthill Road at A500 D Road / Longbridge Hayes Road / Longbridge Hayes Road (Porthill Bank). Travel time is four minutes. 08:08Reports of queuing traffic due to accident on A523 near B5053.Police on route. 08:02A52 Werrington Road Westbound busy but moving before A52 Leek Road (Lime Kiln Traffic Lights). 08:01Incident update- Vehicle has now been recovered and scene now clear https://t.co/QZR9tsBsq9— Highways England (@HighwaysNWEST) March 6, 201907:46Heavy traffic on Brownhills Road / Davenport Street / Newcastle Street between A500 (Porthill Bank) and Tunstall. 07:42Usual congestion on B5051 Moorland Road / Ford Green Road at A5272 High Lane (Smallthorne Roundabout). 07:42Heavy traffic on Bucknall Road inbound from A52 Leek Road (Lime Kiln Traffic Lights) to Hanley Town centre. Travel time is four minutes. 07:37Reports of broken down van on A34 at Meaford Road. Traffic is coping well. 07:36Reports of slow traffic due to traffic light failure on A500 D Road at A34 Talke Road (Talke Roundabout). 07:28 Queuing traffic on A50 Eastbound at B5030 Ashbourne Road (McDonalds roundabout). 07:28Heavy traffic on A500 D Road Southbound around A527 Porthill Road (Porthill Bank). Travel time is four minutes.
Agency NewsVirtuoso Two new Australian based agencies have joined Virtuoso – Toorak Travel and Travel Masters.“These agencies exhibit key characteristics for member success, both having well established experience and dynamic forward thinking energy,” said Virtuoso Asia Pacific Managing Director, Michael Londregan. “Travel Masters joins Virtuoso along with its sister branch, The Travel Studio in Mermaid Waters, and enjoys significant strength in the luxury cruise segment and we look forward to working with them to grow all their luxury segments.“Toorak Travel has exceptional experience in providing VIP service to its clients and these clients will now benefit from the direct relationships with the world’s finest hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines and tour operators which will now be accessible through their Virtuoso membership.“Over the past 12 months, Virtuoso has had an overwhelming response from Australian agencies keen to develop their talents into a viable competitive advantage.“We look forward to working with these new businesses to ensure they take their place among the best of the best travel businesses in the market”L-R: Michael Londregan, Anna Rizzi and Julie Poumes from Toorak Travel, Matthew Upchurch, Suzanne Duzenman from Global International Travel Service.MAIN IMAGE: L-R: David Brandon and Elizabeth Clarke from Savenio, Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch, Neil Kirby and Julie Marshall from Travel Masters, Michael Londregan.
Fancy meeting an intergalactic intelligent life form? How about hanging out with your own Oh, the loveable misfit from another planet in Fox’s latest animated adventure, Home?From strange crop circles to UFO sightings. Here are 10 of the best places around the world to go on an alien adventure:1. Sochi, RussiaResidents in Russia’s ‘M-Triangle’, a remote mountainous region east of Moscow, claim to have seen unexplained flashing lights at night, whilst others say they’ve come face to face with extra-terrestrials! But for the best chance of making new friends from another galaxy, head to Sochi. Sightings are so frequent here that UFO spotters think it could be a hub for aliens wanting to touch down on our little blue planet. 9. Bonnybridge, Scotland, UKThings are far from bonny in this Scottish town, considered the world’s top UFO spotting site. At the heart of the ‘Falkirk Triangle’, which encompasses Stirling, Fife and some suburbs of Edinburgh. Cast your eyes up and you might just be lucky enough to spot a flying saucer; with over 300 reported sighting a year, your chances are good! 5. Poirino, ItalyWhen aliens try to make contact they do it in style. Take a trip to Poirino in northern Italy, 12 miles southeast of Turin to see some cute crop circles. They could have been left by some artsy extra-terrestrials, they could be the handy work of crafty locals – we’ll let you decide. 4. Atacama Desert, ChileThis 600 mile stretch of red rocks and sandy slopes in northern Chile looks like something you’d find on Mars. One million people live here, despite there being no recorded rainfall in the region. But wait, it gets weirder! NASA have chosen the Atacama Desert to house their ALMA project. Europe, North America and East Asia are working together on this, the largest astronomical project in the world with 59 antennas searching the sky for signs of life.Read more: 10 amazing places you won’t believe exist on Earth 10. Etosha Pan, NamibiaCheck out Etosha for a slice of Saturn, without the space travel. Ethereal Etosha (meaning ‘great white place’ – for obvious reasons) National Park is twinned with a huge lake on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. Aside from looking like each other when viewed through a fancy space probe, they both refill from the bottom with groundwater which then evaporates, leaving behind the eerie white flats marked with sediment flows.If you liked this then read more about space travel:Skyscanner’s top 6 space destinations5 ways to be an astronautFancy going on your own adventure? For a chance to win a family trip to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, enter our competition here.Home is only in cinemas from March 20th 2015.Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map 7. Rio Tinto, SpainIf Mars is the red planet, then this shockingly red river in south-western Spain would not be out of place there. Although the abnormal red colour of the water is caused by pollution from mining, and not by otherworldly operations, it’s still a pretty strange sight. You’re not a million light-years away from outer space on the banks of the Rio Tinto River; scientists believe that bacteria in the river are similar to life-forms they would hope to find on Mars. 8. Wiltshire, UKThis mystical masterpiece, found on Windmill Hill in Wiltshire is one of many you can marvel at across the UK. What makes this one special is its intricate design. Even if you can’t get a bird’s eye view, it’s still fun to wander through the fields and marvel at this possible sign of life from another planet. 6. Nullarbor Plain, AustraliaCrossing this arid land in southern Australia is considered a cultural pilgrimage, an ancient route used by Aborigines and other nomadic tribes for thousands of years. It was considered uninhabitable and the British military even tested the atomic bomb here in the 1950s. However, this isolated area shows signs of life. Drivers have reported UFO sightings and claimed to have been abducted by aliens along the route. We’d suggest maybe pulling over for a nap, but still, heed the warnings on the highway signs which warn motorists to ‘Beware of UFOs’.Find flights to Australia 2. Idaho, USCan’t afford a trip on a rocket to the moon? Well, visit the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho for the next best thing. Formed by the Earth’s shifting surface over 30 million years, the park looks like a lunar landscape. All you’d need is the space suit and zero gravity and you’re sorted for a space odyssey.Find flights to the USA 3. Roswell, New Mexico, USJust as in teen sci-fi TV hit of the same name, alien activity in Roswell is common. The tiny town has earned its reputation as a bed of unearthly encounters, with regular sightings since 1947, when debris from a flying saucer was allegedly found in an army air field nearby. They even have a four-day festival to celebrate all things out of this world, including a fancy dress competition for the best alien outfit. Related10 crazy events around the world for non-football fans this summerForget football, what about wife-carrying?! Check out these 10 weird and wonderful summer events around the world.Adventure Travel Around the WorldAdventure travel expert Catrionna Grant from Tucan Travel introduces the world’s top spots for exciting travel options12 holiday hotspots to suit your star sign in 2015The sun and moon are aligned to bring you the perfect trip for your zodiac sign in 2015.
Plans for a luxurious full-service marina/resort complex in Bizerte, at the northern point of Tunisia, have been announced by the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism. Located at the northern tip of the African continent, Bizerte lies at the cross roads of the Mediterranean Western and Eastern basins. First a Carthaginian then a Roman site, Bizerte was the more recently the French military base in the 1950s. The location connects to a lake offering 60 sq km of clean navigable waters, as well as a natural shelter. A combination of easy access, services, infrastructure, natural beauty, rich culture, year-round climate, offshore status and availability of large-scale technical maintenance infrastructure lead to the decision to develop here.The full services marina will offer seafront apartments for sale, commercial and retail areas, a boutique hotel, thalassotherapy center and many more amenities. The project was first approved by the Ministry of Tourism in October 2006 with the government of the country endorsing the plans in December, 2008. The developers have been granted a 50-years concession to create around 900 berths for yachts up to 150m, full marina services (including a boatyard and dry port located outside the marina), over 20,000 square meters of retail space, 17,000 square meters of parking, 48,000 square meters for residential development, a 50-room boutique hotel and thalassotherapy center and more.The marina is only 45 minutes from Tunis International Airport by highway, and a heliport is planned, as well. The Bizerte Cap 3000 Marina will offer an impressive package for yachtsmen:– competitive rates – offshore status (which provides further cost advantages for refuelling and maintenance services) – no currency restrictions, no personal income taxes, duty free import, export and bunkering – proximity to major shipyards – 800+ berths for boats from 10 to 30m long – 33 berths for super yachts (from 35 to 70m) – 9 Berths for Mega yachts (110m) with a dedicated quay and VIP receptionThe natural beauty of the region combined with excellent weather (an average of 300 days of sunshine, moderate temperatures) contribute to make of Bizerte marina an outstanding site. White-sand beaches, creeks and bays, the navigable Lake of Bizerte, and easy access to large city amenities are just a few key highlights of the location. Residents and visitors will also enjoy a varied natural environment, proximity to the UNESCOP World Heritage site Lake Ichkeul, large forests of Mediterranean pine, and more.www.tunisia.com/tunisia/bizerte-marina
Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Democratic Party (DP) Serdar Denktash and the authorities in the north were slammed on Tuesday for granting thousands of new ‘TRNC citizenships’ to Turkish mainlanders.Politicians and the public, through social media, heavily criticised the year-old National Unity Party (UBP)-DP coalition.Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Chairman Tufan Erhurman issued a statement on social media on Wednesday warning the UBP and DP that the coalition should not be able to continue with a mentality that disregards the views of others.Erhurman said they demanded the names of those granted ‘citizenship’ but he was refused on the basis of personal data.“They are hiding the names because it might be understood that they granted citizenship to people who just completed five years instead of those who had been working with proper permits for 10-11 years,” Erhurman said.The People’s Party (HP), led by Kudret Ozersay, was equally critical of the system in the north. The party said the system was not reliable and should change.“Decision to grant citizenship should be given by the Turkish Cypriot authorities based on the conditions of the country. We consider any potential demand, persistence or pressure apart from this (decision of the TC authorities) wrong and as an intervention in the political will of the community,” HP said.Serdar Denktas told the Turkish Cypriot ‘parliament’ on Monday that the UBP-DP administration had granted 7,200 ‘citizenships’, suggesting that more would be given.“If this number rises to 27,000 it will because we are granting these people their rights which haven’t been granted for many years,” he said.In recent years, Turkish Cypriot media have reported that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was putting pressure on the north for Turkish citizens living there to be granted ‘TRNC citizenship’.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppGet Maximum Privacy with Minimum EffortFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
By Bejay Browne With emotions running high over a proposed ‘white zone’ suggested by Green party MP George Perdikis postponing development in the sea caves area of Peyia, a public meeting on Sunday looks set to be well attended by locals and council members.The white zone suggestion is opposed by most of the council, with the exception of local resident and councillor, Linda Leblanc.“We need to have a masterplan for the area and any development should be sustainable and exist alongside the environment without destroying it, as is the law,” she said.She told the Sunday Mail that whist she understands the wishes of Peyia landowners to exercise their right to develop their land, she supports the idea of a white zone, that effectively would mean that for a short period of time no building permits along the coastline from Ayios Giorgos to Coral Bay would be issued or examined, so the state could take decisions on protecting the area.The suggestion comes after weeks of demonstrations and press reports about the six villas being built right by the sea caves area and the news this week that an environmental impact authorisation has just been granted for a five-star, eight-storey hotel and 44 villas at nearby Kafizis beach.The wider public has been angered over environmental damage at the sea caves, which are a birthing spot for the endangered Mediterranean monk seal (monachus monachus).NGOs – including Save Akamas-Save Cyprus – environmentalists and nature lovers are encouraging the public to take a stand against such projects in Cyprus before it’s too late.Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis entered the fray on Friday, saying he would announce 20 measures to help resolve the ongoing debate.Some of the proposed measures Kadis is putting forth include forbidding water sports and fishing within 300 metres of the closest caves used by the monk seals and the creation of a buffer zone that will not allow development within a certain distance of the beach’s protection zone.Protesters at the site of development of the Peyia sea caves ( Linda James)Leblanc said that as much of the coastline and adjacent land in Peyia is privately owned, locals are up in arms, incorrectly believing that a white zone, if approved, could be introduced almost overnight, and then they would be ‘stuck’ with a no build zone for the foreseeable future.“This is not so, the zone would be in place only until after proper environmental studies have been carried out and conclusions reached. It is very complicated, as much of the coastline of Peyia is Natura 2000 marine protected and the surrounding land zoning is all different.”The European Commission’s Natura 2000 is a network of sites selected to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. How a site is chosen depends on what it aims to protect and stems from the Habitats Directive, which ensures the conservation of a wide range of rare, threatened or endemic animal and plant species.Natura 2000 protects not only designated areas of land but also marine habitats. More than 3000 marine Natura 2000 sites have been designated, which cover more than five per cent of the total EU marine area (over 300,000 km2).Klitos Papastylianou, from the Initiative for the Protection of the Natural Coastline, said that the area of the ‘sea caves’ in Peyia covers the entire area from Aspros River in the north and Keratidi Bay in the south and is not only a Marine Protected Area (MPA) but also includes a terrestrial area along the coastline of Peyia municipality.“The entire sea cave area is included in the Natura 2000 network, both as a Site of Community Interest and Special Protection Area Akamas Peninsula” he said.Additionally, the entire area is situated within the Beach Protection Zone (92.3m) and also should be protected as part of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol of the Barcelona Convention (100m).Furthermore, numerous declared ancient monuments are found in the area, mostly from Aspros River to Kafizi, he added.In 2008 the relevant minister signed off a few areas which were rezoned for development and these included the area where the six contentious villas are being built, said Leblanc.The councillor said that the government is obliged to follow EU law and this includes the stipulations of Natura 2000. Perdikis has said that the Greens would lodge a formal complaint with the EU.Papastylianou is concerned that between March 2017 and March 2018, three different environmental authorisations were granted, for five different town planning applications and two different localities.In March 2017 a preliminary environmental impact authorisation was granted for the six villas being built by Leptos Estates without an appropriate assessment, he said.Construction of the villas got underway mid-September 2017, following all of the necessary permits being granted.Last May a preliminary environmental impact authorisation was also granted for nine villas by Celicandia Ltd) in Kafizis and Manikis, again without an appropriate assessment according to Papastylianou, and on March 9 the same authorisation was granted for the eight-storey hotel and 44 villas by Korantina Homes Ltd in the same areas.Korantina Homes and Celicandia both have the same managing director, George Ioannou. The area is already home to Cap St George a luxury beach club and restaurant also developed by Korantina homes.Reports indicate that this week work at the six villas has speeded up and all of the developer’s signs have been removed.Currently, both the auditor general and the attorney general are investigating to see if the rezoning of the area included any discrepancies, and there could be consequences if any are found, said Leblanc.Leblanc noted that Peyia Mayor Marinos Lambrou, who is actively trying to find a solution to the current situation, requested all of the relevant information from the land registry to check who owns land close to the coastline that would be affected by a white zone.Leblanc said that most of it appears to privately owned and belong to locals, which is why they are adamant that they want to hold onto their right to build, she said.The decision to hold an ‘all Peyia public meeting’– which is only open to those from the area – was taken following an extraordinary council meeting on Thursday called by Lambrou to discuss the development at the sea caves.Leblanc said the government should have implemented a plan on how to integrate development alongside Natura 2000.“Development is permitted, but it is very specific and mustn’t have an impact on any of the protected species,” she said.The ‘all Peyia public meeting,’ will be held in the centre of the village on Sunday afternoon at 5pm.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoKelley Blue Book10 Electric Cars That Last the LongestKelley Blue BookUndoBon VoyagedCelebrity Mega Yachts That Are Out Of This World – Step AboardBon VoyagedUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola