The Empire State Building Will Sync To Dead & Company’s Encore Tonight

first_imgDead & Company return to Citi Field tonight in New York! Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzman, Mickey Hart, veteran Jeff Chimenti, and newcomers John Mayer and Oteil Burbridge will bring their sunshine daydreams back to our hearts in the Big Apple exactly one year after their last visit. The band’s return also marks the one year anniversary of bassist Burbridge taking his first vocal verse during “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad.” It’s a beautiful thing, to watch Dead & Co grow.Rock An Official “Let Oteil Sing” T-Shirt, And All Proceeds Will Go To CharityIn celebration of tonight’s show, the Empire State Building will illuminate during the Dead & Company encore with a live music-to-light show. Starting around 11:00PM ET, the “dazzling display will be deployed ‘without a net’ throughout the city and on the jumbo screens at Citi Field,” according to the Facebook post. For fans who aren’t attending the show and who wish to enjoy the beauty of the 102-story skyscraper, you can tune into iHeartRadio’s Q104.3 and listen along with the dancing lights.It’s a great time to be alive!last_img read more

Read More →

Competition that computes

first_imgOn the surface, it might appear that evacuating a major city following a natural disaster and playing foosball have little, if anything, in common. For students participating in the IACS Computational Challenge, however, both are problems that can be tackled with some clever coding.Part of ComputeFest, a two-week program hosted by the Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS) within the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the Challenge offers students from across Harvard the chance to flaunt their mathematical and computing skills by trying to build the best solution to a given problem, or a strategy good enough to win a 10-round tournament.This year, they had just two days to do it.In last year’s challenge, the first, students were challenged to design a system to evacuate thousands of Cambridge residents through debris-choked streets following a natural disaster. That competition played out over 10 days. For last week’s challenge, students were tasked with designing a program to play foosball.To determine who did the best job, eight teams of programmers gathered last week at Maxwell Dworkin to let their programs duke it out.As students hunkered over laptops to watch the games, the tension was punctuated by exclamations and high fives from the winning teams, while losers worked feverishly to fine-tune their code before the next match.The team of James Damore, a second-year Ph.D. student in systems biology, and Bo Waggoner, a second-year Ph.D. student in computer science, was declared the winner after more than an hour of competition. The pair received iPad minis as prizes, while the runners-up received external hard-drives.“I really like games, and the combination of mathematical, computational, and strategic caught my eye,” Damore said, explaining what attracted him to the challenge.He and Waggoner first modeled the game as though none of the players were able to move. Once they found the optimal strategy for those conditions, “we just put our players in a peak distribution, and our strategy was to just have one player chase the ball on top of that distribution.”For Waggoner, the challenge was a chance to exercise coding skills in a fun, unusual way.“I’m a grad student, so I’m not taking many programming classes, so it was fun to practice that skill,” he said. “But we don’t feel like we’ve solved the game by any means. On another day, we might not have won.”The foosball competition was developed by Cris Cecka and Pavlos Protopapas, both lecturers in computational science, and was intended to offer a slightly different challenge from last year’s event.“Last year we had a problem that was very difficult to solve,” Cecka said. “We wanted this one to be more engaging and attract more people. I’ve developed game AIs before, and enjoyed doing it, so I thought it would make for a great competition.“One of our goals was to make the solution space wide open,” he continued. “I wanted raw computation to be one answer to the problem, and I wanted really good probabilistic analysis to be another.”For Miriam Huntley, a third-year Ph.D. student in applied physics, the challenge was a worthwhile skill-building exercise.“This is a good way, first of all, to practice the computational skills I use in the lab, because I code a lot,”she said. “But this also provides a good incentive to hone your skills in a high-pressure situation, and it’s just fun!”last_img read more

Read More →

ND Chorale prepares traditional Christmas performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

first_imgFor nearly 30 years, the Notre Dame Chorale has ushered in the holiday season with their performance of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” a wildly popular Baroque masterpiece that tells the story of Christianity in three parts. Music professor Alexander Blachly, director of the Chorale, described the piece as “indestructible.”“That’s the word that people usually use about it,” Blachly said. “It means no matter how you perform, it is going to sound great. But I think it sounds a lot more great when it’s performed with this sense of style.” Courtesy of Alexander Blachly The Notre Dame Chorale performs Handel’s “Messiah,” a Christmas tradition at the University, in Leighton Concert Hall.When Blachly arrived at Notre Dame in 1993, the Chorale had significantly fewer members and performed “Messiah” with a full orchestra. For the past several years, however, the Chorale, which now has around 70 members, has performed with a small orchestra composed of 15 Baroque instruments. The distinctive sound of the Baroque orchestra, Blachly said, contributes to the “style” of the work.“It’s clearer, it has a different kind of articulation, the notes speak in a different way,” Blachly said. “The sound of the orchestra is really quite light and the whole piece then has an agility to it. Many movements in Messiah are dances. It’s very hard to get a modern orchestra to dance. It sounds very heavy. … Just by nature, the Baroque instruments have this quality of a kind of dance-like agility. It just makes the piece move so much faster and so much, much, much more interesting.”Handel loved “Messiah” and directed it many times during his years in London, usually as a fundraiser for a charity or hospital. The passion, variety and drama of the piece, Blachly said, points to Handel’s inspiration.“It sort of runs the gamut of what’s possible to make an interesting performance,” Blachly said. “… The piece is just full of these great contrasts and that’s part of what makes it such a great piece. You don’t get bored because so many different things happen one after the other. It’s a very colorful conception that Handel had and he wrote it in this blind white heat. He wrote this whole piece in three weeks.”The movements range from exuberant to gentle to powerful, Blachly noted, making for an interesting experience for the Chorale members as well. Senior Caiti Crahan, president of the Chorale, emphasized the unity of the work despite the differences in tone.“Some of [the songs] are very serious and loud and some of them are more bouncy and some of them are very slow,” Crahan said. “So there [are] variations but it’s all him.”In order to represent the full range of Handel’s expression, Blachly said the Chorale approaches the work “rhetorically.”“We try to think what it was in the words that inspired Handel to write the music that particular way because in every case, he’s illustrating the words in one way or another,” Blachly said. “So once you’re aware of that, then you try to figure out ‘what is it in his mind, what is he thinking of, what do those words suggest to him’ and then what is going on in the music that would correspond to the words.”Blachly offered the interaction between the angels announcing Jesus’ birth and the shepherds on Christmas night as an example of Handel’s grasp on his composition.“What happens with Handel is he’s got this incredible burst of sound with trumpets, when the angels first sing Glory to God,” Blachly said. “And then you can actually hear them going back up to heaven. You can hear them disappearing. The music is softer and softer and softer and softer … and then they’re gone. You can literally hear the angels moving through the sky.”Tapping into Handel’s mind in such a way gives the performance a richness that is not often seen, Blachly said.“I think some performances are not particularly aware of these things and they really miss out on an opportunity to make the music more interesting because of that,” he said.For Crahan, the Messiah tradition is one of the highlights of Chorale.“The soloists are really talented. It’s kind of inspiring to see them perform,” Crahan said. “I think the part that I like best is that we do it every year so it feels like a very Christmas-y tradition and gets us all [in] the holiday mood. … You can kind of hear yourself improving over the four years that you sing it, which is also really fun.”“Messiah” is Chorale’s most popular performance of the year, Blachly said. Crahan described how the adrenaline of performing is heightened by having a larger audience than a typical Chorale performance.“We have so much more energy and so much more fun when you can see an audience is engaged,” Crahan said. “When we sing the Hallelujah chorus, which is the last piece and the most famous one, obviously, everybody stands up which is so cool to see every year.”Blachly pointed to the Chorale members’ talents and the adjustable acoustics of Leighton Concert Hall as major improvements to the tradition. The acoustics, Blachly said, allow the less powerful, but more “colorful” Baroque instruments to stand out.“This is really satisfying because the choir is so good and the hall is so good and the orchestra so good,” Blachly said. “It’s just a great treat to do it. It’s really fun to do it and we can do it on very short notice; that’s the other thing that’s kind of incredible. When I started here, it was very slow going … now the learning curve is so fast. It’s just extraordinary.”Tags: chorale, christmas, Handel, Messiah, Orchestralast_img read more

Read More →

Reed’s Campaign Office Vandalism Remains A Political Football

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image courtesy TomReedForCongress.com.CORNING — With police continuing their investigation into the vandalism at Congressman Tom Reed’s Corning campaign office, the attack is stirring emotions from Reed’s campaign and that of his opponent, Tracy Mitrano.Reed’s campaign sent WNY News Now a video clip in which Mitrano appears to claim Reed may have set up the attack on his own office.The partial video clip shows Mitrano at a speaking event in which she says “and he (Reed) can maybe even have someone throw a brick.”In response to the accusations, Mitrano’s campaign responded that Reed is speculating on who vandalized his office and has no idea who did. “Tom Reed has a long record of fabricating false political attacks, like today’s clip and release, to hold onto his power. He has become the worst kind of Washington politician, someone who claims to be working for us when he has actually turned his back on us,” she said in a statement.“Reed has said the broken window was a politically motivated attack carried out by a “radical extremist” who supports Tracy. Given the ongoing investigation, Reed’s statement is baseless. He has been speculating about who did this since Day one. The reality is we do not know who threw the brick, nor does Tom Reed. The individual should come forward and be brought to justice,” Mitrano Campaign spokesperson Claudia Wheatley said.Reed Spokesman Matt Coker said in a press release “While officers are working hard to bring the perpetrator to justice, Tracy is hurling silly and baseless accusations in an attempt to undermine the police’s investigation and deflect from the fact that this was a politically motivated attack carried out by a radical extremist of her political stripes,” Coker said.At the time of the attack, Reed blamed extremists and vowed to fight extremism. He praised the Corning Police Department for investigating the crime and said he will always support law enforcement.Mitrano responded to WNY News Now by saying she has great respect for law enforcement and the sacrifices they make.Wheatley said “The insinuation the Reed campaign is making that Tracy does not respect law enforcement is false. Tracy has seen firsthand the sacrifices they make to keep our families safe. Tracy comes from a family with a law enforcement and military background, two of her step-sons in this district are Deputy Sheriffs. She has great respect for their service to our community.”“Tracy continues to monitor the ongoing investigation by Corning Police and hopes that the individual who damaged Reed’s campaign office is brought to justice. Property damage and violence in any form is unacceptable,” Wheatley said.last_img read more

Read More →

Clean Day

first_img Clean Day partners The program was created by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, UGA Extension Service, Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Crop Production Alliance. It began in 1995. Current partners include GDA, UGA Extension, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Division. Georgia Clean Day coordinators set a collection day in a county. Area farmers must call in ahead and tell the type and amount of chemicals they need to bring. The materials are collected and carefully stored by type before transportation. This year, Waste Technologies in Ohio will incinerate the materials on a contract. Guillebeau said they burn the chemicals in a special high-temperature furnace. The extreme heat breaks the chemicals down into their basic, and often harmless, components. “The company is certified to do this,” he said. “They are very careful to ‘scrub’ the smoke to remove any harmful gases that emerge.” Safely removing the hazard What do you call a program to help farmers safely dispose of 100 tons of pesticides they can no longer use? Successful. “Georgia Clean Day safely eliminates the potential hazard excess pesticides pose on Georgia farms,” said University of Georgia scientist Paul Guillebeau. “It actually protects the environment.” Providing options Program participation Overbuying. A farmer may find a real bargain on a chemical he plans to use. So he buys a lot of it at the sale price, Guillebeau said. But plans or production recommendations may change, leaving him oversupplied. Accumulation. A farmer may not use an entire package in one season. When the new season arrives, he may choose newer, more effective chemicals. Over the years, these small amounts add up. Discontinuation. After it’s bought, the manufacturer may discontinue the product, or release one that’s more effective. If that happens, the farmer may choose to use the newer chemical. EPA regulation. New research may show harmful effects. In that case, the Environmental Protection Agency and the manufacturer recall the chemical. But some may remain on the farm.center_img But hiring a private company to remove and incinerate pesticides is out of financial reach for most farmers. The program provides an option for farmers who want to comply with pesticide and environmental regulations. In just the past year, farmers have been able to dispose of more than 200,000 pounds of excess pesticides. Thanks in part to funding by the Georgia legislature, Guillebeau will be able to continue offering this program through 1999 and set additional collection dates around the state. Guillebeau is the Extension Service pesticide coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He said farmers may have excess pesticides for any of several reasons. Benefits of the program Guillebeau said some materials can also become useless, but still toxic, if they freeze or get wet. Stored safely, excess pesticides pose no environmental threat. But over time, packages may break down and let the still-toxic product spill or leak. “DDT, once a common agricultural chemical, won’t break down for decades,” Guillebeau said. “So incineration is the only way to remove it safely.” Without this program, farmers would remain liable for these pesticides. But they couldn’t use them. So they would sit in barns, shelters and corners until they escaped their containers and entered the environment. “I can’t think of a better use of tax dollars,” Guillebeau said. “This helps farmers do what they know is right with their excess pesticides and provides protection to our soil, water and air.”last_img read more

Read More →

Los Zetas Sows Fear While Expanding Reach Throughout Central America

first_imgBy Dialogo October 17, 2011 Honduran police say they’ve confiscated nearly 12,400 kilograms of cocaine so far this year. Yet for Honduras Police Director José Muñoz, the drug cartel known as Los Zetas — believed to be responsible for much of this trafficking — is a monumental adversary that “no nation can take on by itself.” Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the Northern Triangle countries of Central America, are jointly gathering intelligence and sharing information to prevent drug traffickers from making further inroads in the region. However, they do so with limitations. With so many planes landing in Honduras on their way north, the country doesn’t even have radars to detect them. Caught between South American producers and North American consumers — and bearing high costs for both — they have requested assistance from the United States as a bloc. “To confront the drug trafficking phenomenon, the producing, the bridge and the consuming countries must all participate,” said Muñoz. The Honduran Air Force would like to revamp its 30-year-old aircraft fleet by acquiring at least four Super Tucanos, which have been successfully deployed by the Dominican Republic and other countries in combating drug trafficking. Its commander has announced he will seek legislation that allows the Air Force to shoot down suspicious airplanes flying in Honduran air space if the pilots haven’t submitted flight plans, refuse to identify themselves when requested to do so, or disobey commands to land. Los Zetas’ intimidation campaign In one incident in northern Guatemala earlier this year, Los Zetas criminals left the dismembered bodies of 27 laborers — 26 of which had been beheaded — outside a farm house in the northern province of Petén. They also left a calling card that covered almost an entire wall. It was a threat for the owner of the ranch, signed “Z 200” — scribbled entirely in blood. “Z 200” is a cell of the larger Los Zetas, whose members are expanding their reach from their native Tamaulipas, Mexico, to neighboring Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Extreme violence is their signature. The May 15 killings in Guatemala exemplify the lengths they’ll go to assert their control throughout Central America. The massacre astounded the region, but it wasn’t the first time Los Zetas had struck in such a manner. Nor would it be their last. Nine days later, assistant prosecutor Allan Stowlinsky was found murdered, his remains cut into five pieces. His head was stuffed inside a plastic bag left at the market, and his extremities in four other bags, next to local government offices in the province of Alta Verapaz. Stowlinsky had been instrumental in the investigation of the farm workers’ deaths and the subsequent arrest of alleged group leader Hugo Álvaro Gómez, alias Witch Commander. Stowlinsky had been abducted the previous evening, while on his way to pick up his son from a soccer match. A note with the inscription “Z 200 ” had been left behind. The death trail is as long as the drug flow, and just as constant. After conferring with the heads of state of Honduras and El Salvador, Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom said he calculates each ton of drug in transit through the region costs Central America 18 lives. The toll could be larger. Last summer, 16 Honduran families bid farewell to loved ones, only to receive them back days later in coffins. They were among the 72 victims of the Los Zetas slaughter in Tamaulipas on Aug. 24. The migrants had been asked to join the group. They refused and paid with their lives. First narco lab in the region Lately though, Los Zetas are not merely waiting to intercept Central Americans as they head north. Gang leaders are themselves making trips to the south, seeking to enlist participants in a roster of activities that include drug trafficking, local drug distribution, theft, extortion, kidnapping, money laundering and assassination by hire. Documents retrieved by Guatemalan intelligence revealed the cartel’s intentions to expand operations between the Caribbean ports of Tela and Omoa, in Honduras, in order to transport drugs by sea to the Guatemalan coastal city of Puerto Barrios. Guatemalan authorities have also found lists of contributors and receipts for up to $12,000 for boat pickups and deliveries in Omoa. In early March, Honduran military and police officials dismantled a drug laboratory nestled in a coffee plantation in a remote, mountainous zone called Cerro Negro, very close to Omoa, in the department of Cortés. Far from improvised, it was a full-fledged setup. With a powerful generator, underground cabling, water supplies, air compressors, ovens, sifters, molds, precursor chemicals and means to recycle them, the lab was fully equipped to process cocaine paste. “This is the first narco lab found in Central America,” said then-Security Minister Oscar Álvarez, underscoring that the cartel no longer intends to use Honduras merely as a transit point, but as a processing center as well. He compared the lab to similar ones operating in Colombia. Nobody was captured, but police informants said the men running the lab had Mexican accents. They reported having seen helicopters landing and small planes flying over the area. A continued search led authorities to two clandestine airstrips nearby. Then, a few days later, Honduran authorities seized an arsenal in San Pedro Sula, the country’s second-largest city, separated from the Atlantic coast by only 36 miles. “The arsenal belongs to Los Zetas of Mexico,” Honduras Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. René Arnoldo Osorio told the press after seventeen AK-47 rifles, eight boxes of M-16 rifles; 25 RPGs and over 600 chargers were discovered in a three-meter deep, ceramic-covered tunnel that opened from a closet. Besides the weapons, authorities also retrieved 10 sacks of cocaine, four Mexican police badges, six bullet-proof vests and five complete Honduran special-forces uniforms, as well as maps with detailed air, water and land transportation routes in the residence that functioned, in appearance, as headquarters for a transportation company.last_img read more

Read More →

Shannan Gilbert’s Disappearance: Three Years Later

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Shannan GilbertShannan Gilbert was running frantically down Anchor Way in Oak Beach the last time she was seen alive exactly three years ago today.In the darkness, Suffolk County detectives believe that in the early hours of May 1, 2010, the 24-year-old ran into the towering reeds bordering the road, not realizing she was entering flooded marsh that, at times, can be filled waist-deep with water and quicksand-like mud.Investigators said her death was likely an accidental drowning, although the medical examiner could not determine an actual cause of death from Shannan’s hair and bones, the only pieces that remained of her body when it was found one year later.But there are certain facts that, at least publicly, have yet to be reconciled by police.Shannan’s pocketbook, jeans, shoes and lip gloss were found in the marsh near Anchor Way, near the area residents of Oak Beach reported last seeing her. If Shannan’s remains were found with these items, the accidental drowning theory would make sense. But they weren’t.Shannan’s body was found on the other side of the marsh, which means she would have had to travel a quarter of a mile by foot, wading through areas of waist-high water, through the quicksand-like areas and towering reeds of the marsh. She would also have had to unbuckle her sandals and maneuver out of her tight-fitting jeans near the beginning of this journey.If this did happen, and Shannan traveled a quarter of a mile through the marsh half naked, why did she accidentally drown only 100 feet away from the safety of Ocean Parkway in shallow water?It’s a question police have yet to address. Since Shannan’s remains were found, investigators have remained mum about new developments on Shannan’s case and the other victims—eight women, a man and a female toddler, only half of whom have been identified—found along Ocean Parkway.“We are not commenting further at this time on the Gilgo investigation until/unless we have some additional information pertaining to the investigation that serves the investigation or the public by its release,” Suffolk County police have repeatedly told the Press in statements over the past year.Investigators have said they don’t believe Shannan’s death is related to the victims of a suspected serial killer, whose remains were found several miles away. But it is because of Shannan that those victims were found at all.Police were searching for Shannan when they discovered other bodies in the brush, including those of Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy, Maureen Brainard-Barnes and Amber Lynn Costello.Last November, Shannan’s mother Mari and her attorney, John Ray, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Oak Beach resident Dr. Charles Peter Hackett for Shannan’s disappearance and death.“We allege that Dr. Peter Hackett has told others that he encountered Shannan knocking on his door on May 1, that he let her into his home and that he administered narcotics,” said Ray outside of the Suffolk County Supreme Court Complex in Riverhead. “He used the phrase that it was ‘too late’ to help her and that he then released her.”The suit’s allegations—that Hackett gave Shannan drugs and then let her go, thereby causing her death, and that he misrepresented the facts to both the public and the police—are based on Ray’s own investigation of Shannan’s disappearance and of Hackett, as well as conversations he says he’s had with the doctor’s neighbors in the Oak Beach community.“There’s no direct evidence as to who killed this lady,” he continued. “But circumstantial evidence can be very strong. And the circumstantial evidence right now is very strong to support what we’re doing here with this lawsuit.”That circumstantial evidence all stems from a phone call Mari says she received from Hackett during the mid-afternoon hours of May 1, 2010.“[Hackett] did say that he had Shannan, that we was taking care of Shannan, and he was running a halfway house for girls,” Mari said, adding that Hackett seemed  “very distant” and worried about himself more than about the well-being of her daughter when asking whether Shannan had come home.Hackett, who now resides in Florida, could not be reached for comment. Police have stated in the past that Hackett is not considered a suspect.Officially, Shannan’s death has been ruled “undetermined.” Her remains are still in the custody of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office and her family is hoping to save enough money to pay for a private exam by another medical examiner.In December, Megan Waterman’s mother, Lorraine Ela and Amber Lynn Costello’s sister, Kimberly Overstreet marked the anniversary of the discovery of the bodies of their loved ones near Gilgo Beach.Lorraine told the Press says she  had little communication from authorities and is looking to hire a private investigator.“Honestly, the Suffolk County Police Department have not talked to me,” said Ela, adding that she’d like the FBI to take over the Gilgo case. “It’s a cold case. They’re not out there looking for anybody. It’s sitting on their back burner because of the lifestyle that the girls were living.”Kimberly wondered why there wasn’t a bigger deal made about the other women’s disappearances before her sister and the other women, who were working as prostitutes, went missing.“It’s just a shame, I never even heard of Shannan Gilbert or any of them,” she said. “Me or my sister, we never heard anything. We didn’t even know girls were missing.”As far as the lawsuit goes, Mari said she didn’t care if she got $1 or $1 million, she just wanted justice for her daughter.And with no new information released by police, the wait for that justice, and for any answers, continues.Those with information on Shannan’s disappearance or any information on the victims found on Ocean Parkway can call Homicide Squad detectives at 631-852-6396, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-220-8477, text tips anonymously by texting “SCPD” to “CRIMES” (274637) or email information via www.tipsubmit.comThere is a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case, the highest sum ever offered in Suffolk County history for an unsolved homicide.last_img read more

Read More →

Congress voices frustration as Salmonella toll rises

first_img During testimony, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) presented an 18-page report that the committee had requested to gauge the FDA’s progress on implementing its food safety plan. The GAO said in the report that the FDA has not articulated the resources it needs or the timeline for implementing the plan. Aside from the infusion of financial resources, Leavitt said that some of the food safety plan’s components would require new authorities from Congress, such as the ability to mandate food recalls if companies don’t initiate them voluntarily. For example, the GAO said the FDA reported it planned to spend about $90 million over fiscal years 2008 and 2009 to enact key parts of the plan. However, the price tag for the FDA to inspect each of the 65,500 domestic food firms it regulates would total about $524 million. On the other hand, the report said the FDA’s plan to inspect firms based on vulnerability and risk was “efficient and effective.” Jun 10 CIDRAP News story “President seeks more food safety funding for FDA” Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said nine of the 10 companies declined to voluntarily submit their records to the committee for fear of breaching confidentiality agreements with food import companies, the AP report said. “Consumers should be aware that raw tomatoes are often used in the preparation of fresh salsa, guacamole, and pico de gallo, and are part of fillings for tortillas and are used in many other dishes,” the CDC cautioned. Jun 12 GAO report FDA efforts questionedMeanwhile, frustration over another foodborne illness outbreak linked to produce bubbled over yesterday in Washington at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. See also: The GAO said that since 2004 it has made 34 food safety recommendations to the FDA, but the agency has implemented only seven of them, though in some instances it has taken partial steps. For example, the GAO has recommended that the FDA establish equivalence agreements with foreign countries to shift some of its oversight burden. It said the FDA still has not forged any such agreements, an authority that would require approval from Congress. Committee subpoenas food-testing recordsDuring the hearing, committee members voted unanimously to subpoena nine companies that analyze high-risk food imports, according to an AP report today. The committee has been investigating claims that some of the laboratories are skirting FDA rules by repeatedly testing food until acceptable results are obtained. Jun 4 CIDRAP News story “Tomatoes suspected in multistate Salmonella outbreak”center_img Based on interviews with 161 people, illness onset dates ranged from Apr 10 to Jun 1. At least 25 people were hospitalized. Though no deaths have officially been linked to the outbreak, a Texas man in his sixties who died of cancer was infected with the outbreak strain, which may have contributed to his death, the CDC reported. David Acheson, the FDA’s associate commissioner for foods, said yesterday that officials couldn’t guarantee that they would be able to trace the contamination to the farm level, though that’s the goal, the Los Angeles Times reported today. The story said the FDA has focused on growing regions in central Florida and Mexico. Jun 13, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday that the number of people sickened in a nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to raw tomatoes has climbed to 228 in 23 states, while federal lawmakers voiced frustration over what they saw as slow progress toward improving produce safety. In November 2007—in the wake of several high-profile food contamination incidents—the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a food safety plan consisting of 14 broad recommendations and 50 action steps. But some lawmakers said the FDA bears part of the blame for ongoing outbreaks, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. Rep Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said, “You’ve had time. We’re still waiting.” The illnesses are linked to a relatively rare strain, Salmonella enterica serotype Saintpaul. In early June the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers not to eat raw red plum, red Roma, or red round tomatoes, or products that contain any of those varieties, unless the growing areas are on a list posted on the agency’s Web site. Investigators have not yet found contaminated products in consumers’ homes or food service institutions; the link to raw tomatoes was made through epidemiologic studies. Jun 12 CDC press release The uniqueness of the strain and wide distribution of cases suggest that the contaminated tomatoes were marketed throughout the United States, the CDC said in a press release yesterday. On Jun 9, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said the Bush administration had increased its fiscal year 2008 budget request by $275 million to support the FDA’s new food and medical product safety initiatives, including the food safety plan. The request raised the total proposed increase in the FDA’s’ 2009 budget request to $404.7 million, a 17.8% increase from the 2008 budget. Because of reporting delays and lack of stool specimens from many people who have Salmonella infections, the CDC said its case total probably underestimates the number of people sickened in the outbreak. “Some of these unreported illnesses may be in states that aren’t on today’s map,” the agency said.last_img read more

Read More →

Developer Sunland Group is releasing four new apartment projects on the Gold Coast in 2017

first_imgSunland group AGM. chairman Soheil Abedian and MD Sahba Abedian. Pic Glenn BarnesTHE Gold Coast plays a huge part in Sunland Group’s $800 million southeast Queensland portfolio with four new apartment projects launching this year.Pimpama, Labrador, Mermaid Waters, Palm Beach and Coolangatta are the latest Gold Coast suburbs in the developer’s sights.Sunland Group managing director Sahba Abedian said planning was underway to launch up to four new apartment projects as well as extend on existing projects on the Gold Coast this year.“Our Queensland portfolio has a strong focus on the southeast corner, with a particular emphasis on residential housing and apartments on the Gold Coast,” he said.“Planning is underway for new residential apartment developments in Labrador, Mermaid Waters, Palm Beach and Coolangatta and new housing collections at The Heights, in Pimpama.“The first of our new Gold Coast projects, Arbour Residences, will be launched in mid-2017 and will feature a collection of 113 private parkland terrace homes at The Heights, adjoining an expansive conservation corridor.”The Pimpama project has an estimated end value of $48 million.In Labrador, Sunland Group has planned a high-rise tower at One Marine Pde.Sunland Group has also planned twin apartment buildings for Palm Beach and Greenmount Residences project, in Coolangatta.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 2:05Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -2:05 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels576p576p480p480p360p360p240p240pAutoA, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreen$5 beach mansion02:06Following the recent sellout of the Magnoli Residences (Palm Beach) and The Lakes Residences (Mermaid Waters), Mr Abedian said the developer’s portfolio was designed specifically for owner-occupier’s.“In the past few years we have seen the resurgence of the owner occupier market,” he said.The Gold Coast projects are being officially launched at Pal Versace tonight.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North9 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoThe Group’s total portfolio includes more than 5,800 residences along Australia’s east coast with an estimated end value of $3.8 billion.Sunland Group’s Gold Coast projects:One Marine Parade, Labrador — $136mMagnoli Apartments, Palm Beach — $144mGreenmount Residences, Coolangatta — $285mThe Hills Residences, Everton Hills — $47.1mArbour Residences, Pimpama — $48mThe Terraces, Peregian Springs — $26.8mThe Lakes Apartments, Mermaid Waters — $143mlast_img read more

Read More →

Property beats superannuation hands down when it comes to a comfortable retirement

first_imgWealthMarket believes it’s better to be a smart first-time investor, rather than a first-time owner occupier.THROW in the towel on a dream home and aim to build up a $1.6m property portfolio is the latest advice for those who want to retire comfortably.WealthMarket property consultant Steve Smith believes a property portfolio could beat superannuation hands down but it would require assets worth about $1.6m generating an annual return of about 5 per cent.He said such a portfolio had the potential to bring in $80,000 a year in passive income – significantly higher than the $20,000 a year that many rely on off a pension. Giving up the dream home might be an option for a more comfortable retirement.“Rather than continuing to save money to purchase their dream first home in a place they want to live, it’s about entering the property market sooner rather than later by buying property as an investment,” he said. “Be a smart first-time investor, rather than a first-time homeowner buyer.”With it came “all the deduction benefits such as depreciation and interest, that investment property ownership brings”, he said.According to a HSBC retirement report, only 21 per cent of Aussies believed they would have a comfortable retirement.Dmitry Kotleev, 37, has made a start towards getting his portfolio off the ground, putting $18,000 down on an off the plan property (5 per cent deposit) which settles in 2019.“You only need a small deposit to purchase your first investment property,” he said.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus23 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market23 hours agoBanking on just super probably won’t see you through retirement, experts warn. TOP QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF: 1. What’s the end game Is it to fully find your retirement with passive income? Start by doing the numbers, and work out how many properties you need to acquire to generate your income, taking into account tax, strata levies, and maintenance costs. 2. What’s achievable Can’t afford a $1 million investment property returning a 5 per cent yield – that’s going to deliver $50,000 in income? Nor can most people. Be realistic and look at acquiring multiple, more affordable properties. 3. What’s going to give solid capital growth To fund your retirement, you’re going to need solid capital growth. This means you are able to buy more properties as the accrued equity from investment one will help you fund the deposit for number two. And, if you have any outstanding debt on a multi-property portfolio you can sell off half your portfolio to pay off the remaining assets – living on the remaining income. 4. What can you do quickly The longer you hold your investments, the more capital growth you will achieve. Plus, it takes a bit of time to get your portfolio together. 5. What help do you need Talk to a professional who knows the investment market before starting your journey. They can help you with everything from tax to location to debt management. (Source: WealthMarket) FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK FREE: GET THE COURIER-MAIL’S REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO INBOXlast_img read more

Read More →