Tyler’s Speakership Threatened

first_imgHouse Speaker J. Alex Tyler Sr. has again been allegedly trapped in a corruption web; and once more, his position as Speaker of the House is in trouble, so much so that Maryland County District # 2 Representative, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, a strong supporter of the re-election and non-removal of Speaker Tyler, is calling for an investigation.Rep. Chambers, the Chairman of the Committee of National Defense, said in his letter read on Tuesday, May 17 during the 30th Day Sitting of the 5th Session of the House of Representatives, that the ongoing corruption saga emanating from the Global Witness Report, which implicated prominent public officials, including some members of the Legislature, has the propensity to bring the government to public ridicule, demean its image and thereby erode public trust and confidence. Dr. Chambers urged his colleagues to institute and support the necessary safeguards that will ensure an independent investigation of the matter so as to protect the sanctity of the House of Representatives.The House Defense Chairman insisted that it is incumbent upon them at all times to maintain and protect the public trust, calling for the establishment of an independent investigation.Dr. Chambers, in his argument on Thursday, also told his colleagues that it would be sensible for the Speaker to recuse himself.According to the Global Witness Report, The Deceivers, in which several former and current public officials were named, Speaker Tyler allegedly received US$75,000 in an effort to secure the Wologizi iron ore concession in northern Liberia for Sable Mining, a company based in the United Kingdom. Two years ago, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) invited the Speaker over a US$25,000 payment for ‘consultancy’ involving the late Michael Allison.The Daily Observer has gathered that on Thursday, May 19, due to a ‘secret meeting’ in the office of the Speaker, there was no ‘quorum’ in the House Chambers for Session, despite the distribution of the Session’s agenda after the restoration of electricity.A lawmaker, who requested anonymity, told the Daily Observer that high on the day’s agenda “was the essence and effect of the setting up of an independent committee and for the Speaker to recuse himself.”The Daily Observer also gathered that there would be resistance from some members of the House of Representatives to allow Speaker Tyler to continue to preside over the House.According a report, about 33 lawmakers have resolved to vote in favor of establishing an independent investigation and also to demand the Speaker recuse himself as Presiding Officer of the House of Representatives, until the end of the investigation by the special Presidential task force headed by Cllr. Fonati Koffa. Today – the 32nd Day Sitting of the 5th Session of the House of Representatives – the House is expected to finalize signatures for an independent investigation to be founded and the Speaker to be recused.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Mike Fiers pitches Oakland A’s past St. Louis Cardinals

first_imgOAKLAND — Mike Fiers was handed the role of ace of the A’s rotation when he pitched the season-opener against the Seattle Mariners, and he continues to establish himself in that position.Fiers (10-3) won his eighth decision in a row Saturday night as the A’s beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-3 before 24,851 at the Coliseum. The A’s remain a half-game behind Tampa Bay in the race for the second American League wild-card spot.Mark Canha’s two-run single in the first and Chad Pinder’s pinch-hit …last_img read more

Candidates Vie for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week

first_imgNo speculations here:  Thurston Lacalli, in Nature (Nov 25), in an article on the evolution of the eye, commenting on a presumed ancestral marine worm that had two kinds of photoreceptors:Speculations aside, the new work provides a solid starting point for further study of the evolution of photoreceptor organs during the diversification of bilateral multicelled animals.  In evolutionary terms, it is a long way from a simple ocellus [see 08/13/2004 headline], involving no more than a few cells, to the complexity of an optimally constructed image-forming eye.  Evolution seems to have accomplished this transition piecemeal, by myriad small steps, each an adaptive improvement over what went before.  A detailed accounting of the steps is as yet beyond us, but clarifying the nature of the ancestral condition is a useful beginning.The persistence of myth:  Paul Mellars, in Nature (25 Nov) in an article on Neanderthal man (see also 10/01/2004 and 09/21/2004 headlines):That the Neanderthals were replaced by populations that had evolved biologically, and no doubt behaviourally, in the very different environments of southern Africa makes the rapid demise of the Neanderthals even more remarkable, and forces us to ask what other cultural or cognitive developments may have made this replacement possible…. Perhaps it was the emergence of more complex language [see 02/27/2004 headline] and other forms of symbolic communication that gave the crucial adaptive advantage to fully modern populations and led to their subsequent dispersal across Asia and Europe and the demise of the European Neanderthals.  The precise mechanisms and timing of this dramatic population dispersal from southern Africa to the rest of the world remains to be investigated.No data?  No problem:  R. Van Boekel et al., in Nature (25 Nov), in the abstract to a paper on interplanetary dust:Our Solar System was formed from a cloud of gas and dust…. Little is known about the evolution of the dust that forms Earth-like planets. (Note: All they suggested was that observations from dust disks around other stars shows an apparent zone of crystallization in the inner regions: “Our observations thus imply that crystallization of almost the entire inner disk and a substantial part of the outer disk must have occurred very early in the evolution of the disk.”  How the crystals afterward survived the melting of terrestrial planets during their formation and bombardment was not explained.)Giving evolution a kickstart:  Robert Service, in Science (26 Nov), commenting on recent experiments on artificial selection of proteins:Evolution isn’t known for its quick work.  In recent years, researchers have come up with numerous ways to give it a kick in order to evolve [sic; this is intelligent design] proteins with new functions.  But most of these techniques are painfully slow, taking as long as a month to go through a single round of evolution.  The immune cells of vertebrates long ago perfected a faster approach, which they use to generate the myriad antibody proteins that fight off infections.  Now a team of California researchers has coaxed immune cells to apply their skill to other proteins, an ability that could speed the development of novel proteins for studies from catalysis to cell biology.Comfort is the mother of evolution:  Erik Stokstad, in a story on horse evolution in Science (26 Nov):High-crowned teeth took a while to evolve to resist gritty food.  Later, During the Miocene, horses and camels were evolving longer limbs, but apparently not to escape accelerating predators–which evolved longer limbs some 20 million years later.  Instead, [Christine] Janis (Brown U.) proposed, the limbs first evolved to be more efficient at walking…. High-crowned teeth might not be the only way to make life on the grasslands less of a grind. Contributions for the weekly prize sometimes come in as numerous as contestants at the Boston Marathon.  You can send in your contributions or vote on the following:Evolution as sculptor:  Sid Perkins, in Science News, submitted three entries in an article on penguin evolution:Early in penguin evolution, the bones, especially in the wings and hind limbs, became thick and dense.  This change would have improved the ease with which the birds could dive to chase underwater prey.  In contrast, the bones of flight-capable birds are highly buoyant because evolution has fine-tuned them to be thin, light, and, in some cases, filled with air.Besides acquiring dense bones, penguin ancestors evolved narrow wings with inflexible elbows that worked as streamlined hydrofoils….Evolution Marches On…  So, even though penguins have been immensely successful, the forces of evolution continue to sculpt their genome. (Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0center_img Decisions, decisions.  It’s like having 800 cable channels and nothing worth watching except the old comedies.last_img read more

LAPN communique ses priorités aux partis fédéraux à loccasion des élections fédérales

first_imgLe Chef national de l’Assemblée des Premières Nations (APN), Perry Bellegarde, a dévoilé mercredi une liste des priorités sur lesquelles il souhaiterait que le prochain parti au pouvoir se penche après sa victoire aux élections du 19 octobre.Le Chef Bellegarde a affirmé que le prochain gouvernement fédéral devait « éliminer l’écart » entre les Premières Nations et le reste du Canada.« Les priorités des Premières Nations sont celles du Canada », a déclaré M. Bellegarde, lors d’une conférence de presse à Ottawa.Le Chef national a admis qu’il n’avait pas voté lors des précédentes élections fédérales et qu’il n’était pas certain de le faire au cours de la prochaine. M. Bellegarde a expliqué que les Aînés lui avaient déconseillé de voter aux élections fédérales étant donné qu’à titre de peuples visés par des traités, les Premières Nations ont une relation directe avec la Couronne, peu importe le parti détenant les rênes du pouvoir.Cependant, M. Bellegarde a souligné que les peuples des Premières Nations devraient voter pour influencer les résultats des élections et forcer le prochain gouvernement fédéral à agir pour régler les problèmes de longue date auxquels sont confrontées les Premières Nations.Le Chef Bellegarde a fait connaître six thèmes prioritaires de l’APN, notamment le renforcement des familles et des collectivités des Premières Nations, l’obtention d’un financement équitable, la défense de leurs droits, l’environnement, la protection des langues autochtones et la mise en application des recommandations de la Commission de vérité et de réconciliation.« Quand cet écart sera comblé, le Canada en ressortira gagnant », a réitéré M. Bellegarde.M. Bellegarde a poursuivi en disant que l’APN aimerait que le prochain gouvernement fédéral s’engage dans les 100 premiers jours de sa prise de pouvoir à mettre en place un processus visant à améliorer l’éducation dans les réserves en augmentant le financement et en accordant aux collectivités le contrôle de leurs écoles.Le prochain gouvernement fédéral devrait également instaurer une enquête nationale sur le nombre élevé de femmes et de jeunes filles autochtones disparues et assassinées dans ce même délai.L’APN souhaite également que le prochain gouvernement fédéral supprime le plafonnement à 2 % du financement des Premières Nations imposé par les libéraux fédéraux dans les années 1990. M. Bellegarde a déclaré que ce plafonnement devrait être remplacé par une « nouvelle relation fiscale ». Cette dernière devrait inclure de nouvelles ententes de transfertfiscales, la création d’un processus multipartite pour créer une structure de partage des revenus tirés des ressources et un financement rétabli pour les organisations politiques des Premières Nations, selon l’APN.M. Bellegarde a fait savoir que l’APN souhaite que la Loi antiterroriste, le projet de loi C-51, soit abrogée avec les changements portant sur les règlements environnementaux contenus dans les projets de loi C-38 et C-45 du gouvernement Harper, qui ont provoqué le mouvement Idle No More.M. Bellegarde a affirmé que l’APN veut aider à créer un comité mixte composé de l’APN et du cabinet pour gérer et surveiller les relations entre la Couronne et les Premières Nations.L’APN désire également un financement accru pour préserver et promouvoir les langues autochtones et faire en sorte qu’elles deviennent une priorité.M. Bellegarde a mentionné qu’il n’avait pas de chiffres en tête, mais a soutenu qu’il faudrait des milliards de dollars pour faire en sorte que les collectivités des Premières Nations soient mises sur le même plan que celles du reste du Canada pour ce qui est des nécessités de base comme le logement et l’accès à l’eau potable.La situation dans laquelle se trouvent bon nombre des collectivités et des peuples des Premières Nations est dramatique. Les citoyens des Premières Nations ont une espérance de vie de cinq à sept ans de moins que celle de la moyenne canadienne. Le taux de mortalité infantile est 1,5 fois plus élevé que celui de la moyenne nationale et la moitié des enfants des Premières Nations vivent dans la pauvreté. Il y a actuellement 40 000 enfants autochtones confiés à l’État et le taux de suicide des jeunes est de cinq à sept fois plus élevé que celui de la moyenne nationale.M. Bellegarde a fait savoir que le chef du NPD, Thomas Mulcair, l’a appelé ce matin avant l’annonce et que le NPD s’est déjà engagé à ouvrir une enquête nationale sur les femmes et les jeunes filles autochtones assassinées et disparues.Le chef libéral, Justin Trudeau, a écrit sur Twitter qu’il soutenait la demande du Chef Bellegarde de « combler le fossé ». M. Trudeau s’est engagé à investir 2,6 milliards de dollars d’argent neuf sur quatre ans pour financer l’éducation de base.Le Parti conservateur a publié une déclaration stipulant qu’il croit « qu’une participation accrue des Autochtones dans l’économie est le moyen le plus efficace d’améliorer le bien-être et la qualité de vie des peuples autochtones au Canada ».Selon les conservateurs, leur gouvernement a augmenté le financement de l’éducation de 25 %, construit 41 écoles et investi de l’argent dans 500 projets scolaires en plus d’avoir collaboré à la rénovation de 22 000 résidences existantes. Ils expliquent également qu’ils ontadopté la Loi sur la transparence financière des Premières Nations, qui est contestée par 200 Premières Nations.Dans cette déclaration, il est écrit que « le NDP et les libéraux favorisent des dépenses irresponsables plutôt qu’une responsabilité concrète et financière ».Le gouvernement Harper a déjà rejeté les demandes pour une enquête publique et la mise en application des recommandations de la Commission de vérité et de réconciliation. Le gouvernement Harper a également refusé d’accroître le financement pour l’éducation des Premières Nations parce que les Chefs ont rejeté la proposition de la Loi sur le contrôle par les Premières Nations de leurs systèmes d’éducation.last_img read more

Caral Ni Chuilinmartin mcguinnessSEAMUS HEANEY ART

first_img Caral Ni Chuilinmartin mcguinnessSEAMUS HEANEY ARTS AND LITERARY CENTRE£1M PLEDGED FOR PROPOSED SEAMUS HEANEY ARTS CENTRE IN BELLAGHY ShareTweet The late great poet Seamus HeaneyALMOST £1 million has been pledged by Sinn Fein ministers towards the construction of a Seamus Heaney arts centre in his home village.It will be constructed in Bellaghy, south Derry, as a tribute to the area’s most famous son and poet who died in August 2013. He was aged 74.The overall cost of the Seamus Heaney Arts and Literary Centre is £4.2 million. The centre is being developed with the support of the Heaney family, and is expected to attract up to 50,000 visitors each year when it opens in 2016, Culture Northern Ireland said.Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said: “I am today pleased to commit almost £1 million of funding for this magnificent project.“This honours a man who is undoubtedly amongst the greatest literary exponents ever to have come from these shores and who, like his fellow Nobel laureates Shaw, Yeats and Beckett, has done so much to ensure that the richness of Irish literature has received true recognition on the world stage.”£1M PLEDGED FOR PROPOSED SEAMUS HEANEY ARTS CENTRE IN BELLAGHY was last modified: October 1st, 2015 by John2John2 Tags: Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin today announced funding of £980,000 towards the development.Mr McGuinness said: “The new Seamus Heaney Arts and Literary Centre in Bellaghy is a fitting way to celebrate the contribution of a literary giant.“Through this centre the work, writings and life of Seamus Heaney will continue to enrich all our lives and move us deeply.”More than 2,000 books and reference materials from the personal library of the late poet will create a haven for literature and the arts in the new visitor centre to celebrate the life and work of the late Nobel laureate.last_img read more

TWO men in balaclavas and armed with a knife robbe

first_img TWO men in balaclavas and armed with a knife robbed a shop in Co Derry on Friday, say police.The men reportedly entered the shop in Drumsurn, near Limavady, at around 11.15am and demanded money from a female member of staff.The woman handed over cash and the men then left the shop and got into a blue Peugeot car with no number plate and drove off. The men were said to be aged in their 20s and wearing dark clothing and the female staff member was not injured during the robbery.Detectives in Coleraine have appealed for help in catching the armed robbers.MASKED MEN HUNTED OVER ARMED ROBBERY OF SHOP IN CO DERRY was last modified: November 26th, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: DrumsurnlimavadyMASKED MEN HUNTED OVER ARMED ROBBERY OF SHOP IN CO DERRYcenter_img ShareTweetlast_img read more

Identifying ways to improve existing guidelines for ethical humananimal chimera research

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 25 2018In Greek mythology, a chimera is a figure with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent. But the concept is not entirely imaginary.Human chimeras are people who have cells from more than one person, sometimes as a result of absorbing the genetic code of a twin while still in the womb, or as the result of receiving an organ transplant. Scientists have created dozens of types of human-animal chimeras by putting human cells into lab animals to conduct potentially life-saving research, such as recent attempts to grow human organs in animals for transplant into patients with a serious medical need.But the ethical implications are profound, including concerns that the transfer of human stem cells into animal hosts would result in an animal possessing at least partially human moral status, especially if the central nervous system is involved. The debate will likely grow in intensity as advances in human stem cell science and genetic engineering techniques enable researchers to more extensively and precisely insert developing human cells (and self-organizing mini-organ structures derived from human stem cells) into any stage of embryonic, fetal, or post-natal development of vertebrate animals.”These scientific advances are thrilling,” said Insoo Hyun, PhD, professor of bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Yet they also reveal conceptual, ethical, and procedural limitations in existing ethics guidance for biomedical research on chimeras.”To address these shortfalls, Hyun, a principal investigator of the project, along with co-investigator Patricia Marshall, PhD, professor of bioethics at Case Western Reserve, and bioethicists from the Hastings Center in New York will identify ways of improving existing guidelines and ensuring professional accountability and responsibility in human-animal chimera research. The interdisciplinary bioethics project is supported by a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.At present there are two sets of influential guidelines for this research – one from the U.S. National Academies of Sciences and the other from the International Society of Stem Cell Research. “These recommendations represent important landmarks in U.S. and international initiatives that offer oversight to the emerging science of human-animal chimera research,” said Hyun. “But our review of this guidance, and preliminary exploration with major thought leaders in the field, make clear the need for improvements. The first need is for conceptual clarity and ethical analysis related to defining and measuring ‘humanization’ and its significance to animal welfare. The second is for improvement of the oversight system, including greater clarity about who should be responsible and accountable for the research and how best to address potential concerns in an efficient review system.”Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchScientists develop universal FACS-based approach to heterogenous cell sorting, propelling organoid researchHyun and Marshall’s work will be supported by an advisory group of 20 scientists, philosophers, and bioethics leaders in the field, helping to carry out an extensive review of current guidelines and relevant professional literature, as well as examining philosophical concerns, moral uncertainties, and value conflicts related to chimera research. They will also conduct detailed interviews with scientists and members of stem cell and animal-research oversight committees at a number of institutions, including Harvard University, the Salk Institute, Stanford University, and Weill Cornell Medicine.”Our goal is to ensure that the lived experiences, goals, and challenges of experts in the field will inform the recommendations that will emerge from this research project,” said Marshall.Hyun and Marshall will publish their recommendations for enhancing the current guidelines in a special issue of the Hastings Center Report, a leading peer-reviewed academic journal of bioethics. They will also develop a set of educational materials, both in print and online, that includes challenging real-world and thought-experiment scenarios with commentaries on how such situations can be managed in light of complex normative concerns. Source:http://casemed.case.edu/cwrumed360/news-releases/release.cfm?news_id=1529&news_category=8last_img read more

Driverless cars might follow the rules of the road but what about

Recently, while on my way to the University of Pittsburgh’s campus, I made a quick “Pittsburgh left” – taking a left turn just as the light turns green – while facing a driverless car. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Instead of jolting forward or honking – as some human drivers would be tempted to do – the car allowed me to go. In this case, the interaction was pleasant. (How polite of the car to let me cut it off!) But as a sociolinguist who studies human-computer interaction, I started thinking about how self-driving cars will communicate with the human drivers they encounter on the road. Driving can involve a range of social signals and unspoken rules, some of which vary by country – even by region or city. How will driverless cars be able to navigate this complexity? Can they ever be programmed to do so?What driverless cars can doHere in Pittsburgh, Uber has tested self-driving cars with a backup driver behind the wheel; in Phoenix, Waymo’s cars operate in a limited part of the city without any backup driver at all. We know the driverless cars are equipped with a technology called LIDAR, which creates a 360-degree image of the car’s surroundings. Image sensors can interpret signs, lights and lane markings. A separate radar detects objects, while a computer incorporates all of this information along with mapping data to guide the car. Although ideally autonomous vehicles will be able to “talk” to one another in order to allow smoother navigation and reduce crashes, this technology is still in the early stages. Provided by The Conversation Citation: Driverless cars might follow the rules of the road, but what about the language of driving? (2018, January 8) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-driverless-cars-road-language.html Google testing appropriate honking with self-driving cars In cities and countries around the world, drivers use a range of hand signals to communicate with other drivers. Credit: Lightspring/Shutterstock.com But any autonomous vehicle will also need to be able to interact with traditional cars and their drivers, as well as pedestrians, bikes and unforeseen events like lane closures, disabled stop lights, emergency vehicles and accidents. The complex language of drivingThis is where things can get murky.For example, if you’re driving and pass a speed trap, you might flash your headlights at drivers coming in the other direction to let them know. But flashing headlights can also mean “your high beams are too bright,” “you forgot to put your headlights on” or “go ahead” in situations where it’s unclear who has the right of way. In order to interpret the meaning, a person will consider the context: the time of day, the type of road, the weather. But how would an autonomous vehicle react? There are other forms of communication to help us navigate, ranging from honks and sirens, to hand signals and even bumper stickers. Of course, humans use all sorts of hand gestures – waving a car in front of them, indicating that another driver needs to slow, and even giving the finger when angry. Sounds can communicate love, anger, arrivals, departures, warnings and more. Drivers can express total disapproval with a hard, extended hit of the horn. Of course, emergency sirens encourage drivers to make way. But specific meaning can vary by region or country. For example, a few years ago, Public Radio International ran a story about the language of honking in Cairo, Egypt, which is “spoken” primarily by men. These honks can have complex constructions; for example, four short honks followed by a long one mean “open your eyes” to warn someone who is not paying attention. In Pittsburgh, people tend to honk before going through a short, narrow or curvy tunnel. In Morocco, where I’m originally from, drivers perform varied honks when passing; they’ll honk once before passing to secure cooperation, again as they pass (to signal progress), and lastly after they pass to say, “thank you.” Yet this might be confusing – or even perceived as rude – to drivers in the U.S. Written communication also plays a role between cars and drivers. For example, signs such as “Baby on Board” or “Students on Board” are supposed to encourage the drivers following these vehicles to be even more careful. Bumper stickers like “Caution: Wide Right Turn” or “This Vehicle Makes Frequent Stops” can be critical to safety. What if there’s a communication breakdown?Vehicles can be taught to “read” road signs, and thus presumably can be taught to recognize common warnings on bumpers. Yet navigating construction sites or accident scenes may require following directions from a human in a way that cannot be programmed. This creates a huge opportunity for error. Because hand signals vary widely from region to region (and even person to person), autonomous cars could fail to recognize a signal to go or, more catastrophically, could mistakenly follow a hand gesture into a barrier or another car. This gives me pause: How much knowledge about our societal and linguistic values are built into the system? How can driverless cars learn to interpret hand and auditory signals? Google cars can apparently recognize hand signals on bikers, but what if the biker doesn’t use standard signals? Who gets to embed the algorithm in the machine, and how are sociolinguistic values assigned? In my experience, the self-driving car was very polite and didn’t honk or otherwise chastise me for my behavior (though the human passenger did communicate his displeasure with a gaze). But had I waved it in front of me, would it have been able to respond appropriately? A 2015 story in Robotics Trends described how a bike and a Google car got stuck in a standoff when the car misread signals from the biker. Cities (and countries) possess a variety of sociolinguistic cues. It remains to be seen if the engineers working on driverless cars will be able to program these subtle – but important – differences into these vehicles as more and more appear on the roads. Explore further This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. read more

Alibaba net profit soars 35 as Singles Day pays off

Alibaba profit nearly doubles on robust revenues Citation: Alibaba net profit soars 35% as Singles Day pays off (2018, February 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-alibaba-net-profit-soars-singles.html The company said profit jumped to 24.1 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) between October and December, compared to 17.9 billion yuan in the same quarter in 2016.Alibaba runs an annual promotion on November 11 that draws the country’s growing consumer class which can buy an array of products at the click of a button on their smartphones.Last year’s event recorded 168.2 billion yuan ($25.9 billion) in payments, a 39 percent increase from the 2016 festival.Rivals such as JD.com had also reported brisk business on November 11.”Alibaba had another great quarter driven by the continued strength of the Chinese consumer and the wide and innovative range of services we provide for merchants and consumers,” Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang said in an earnings report.”We are excited by the continued momentum in new retail, which came to life during another record-breaking 11.11 Global Shopping Festival,” Zhang said.Alibaba, which has made billionaire founder Jack Ma one of China’s richest men and a global e-commerce icon, has been on a roll, regularly beating revenue estimates.The New York-listed company said revenue jumped 56 percent to 83 billion yuan ($12.76 billion) in the quarter.The shopping platform also continued to attract new customers to its platform, key to maintaining its dominance in China, where trends and shopping preferences can shift quickly.The number of active consumers on its retail marketplaces reached a new high of 515 million, the company said, an increase of 27 million from the 12-month period ended September 30, 2017. Also on Thursday, Alibaba announced it would formally take a stake in its affiliated business unit, Ant Financial which operates the massively popular Ali Pay mobile payment application and credit scoring unit Sesame Credit, among other financial services businesses.Alibaba said it would take a 33 percent stake in Ant Financial, controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, which had been held as a separate company but part of the Alibaba Group. Alibaba said it would acquire newly issued shares from Ant Financial in exchange for certain intellectual property rights held by Alibaba but connected to Ant Financial. The step is a sign that Ant Financial is on a path to its own public listing soon, with Alibaba’s equity stake likely to resolve some lingering legal issues. In 2016, Ant Financial raised $4.5 billion at a roughly $60 billion valuation. Bumper profits for Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba were fuelled by successful Singles Day sales Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Thursday posted a 35 percent surge in net profit in the third quarter, fuelled by a record-breaking sales bonanza during its annual Singles Day shopping festival. © 2018 AFP Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Ukraine computer involved in Tennessee elections attack

Citation: Ukraine computer involved in Tennessee elections attack (2018, May 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-ukraine-involved-tennessee-elections.html Cyberattack on Tennessee election website preceded outage Cyber-security experts hired by Knox County to analyze the so-called “denial of service” cyberattack, said Friday that “a suspiciously large number of foreign countries” accessed the site as votes were being reported on May 1.That intense activity was among the likely causes of the crash, according to the report by Sword & Shield Enterprise Security.”Given the circumstantial evidence_especially the simultaneous proven malicious intrusion from a Ukraine IP address_I think it is reasonable to at least hypothesize that it was an intended event,” David Ball, the county’s deputy director of information technology, added in an email to The Associated Press.County officials said no voting data was affected, but the site was down for an hour after the polls closed, causing confusion before technicians fixed the problem.The vulnerability identified by Sword & Shield has been fixed and additional safeguards are now in place, said Ball.The election results, to be officially certified later this month, left Glenn Jacobs, also known as the pro wrestler Kane, ahead by 17 votes in the Republican primary for Knox County’s mayor.Investigators said it’s impossible to prove just where the so-called “denial of service” attack originated from, since the county can’t store all the “packet data” needed to identify the source.”The effect was clearly a loss of service, but it is unclear, with the information provided, if the outage was an intended event or a side effect of the events,” the report said.Ball said “the bottom line is that there was a proven malicious attack from a foreign source occurring simultaneously with an apparent deliberate DOS attack. Nothing was held back from Sword and Shield, and their assessment was well aligned with our initial assessment on election night.”Knox County uses Hart InterCivic’s eSlate electronic voting machines, which do not create a paper record of the votes. Ball said Hart’s equipment “is not networked in any way.”Joyce McCants, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Knoxville, said Knox County has not reached out to the FBI in relation to the website crash.Election security experts have raised concerns that foreign state actors could use such attacks to erode public confidence in the democratic process. Projects like Defend Digital Democracy at Harvard University have been urging elections officials across the country to prepare for exactly such scenarios.Richard Moran, the county’s information and technology senior director, has said that while heavy traffic came from overseas servers, it doesn’t mean that the attacker was in a foreign country.Dan Wallach, a computer science professor at Rice University, notes that the internet is a “messy place” with a lot of background traffic, and it would be difficult to find its origin because attackers are very good at hiding their location.”What attackers will do is, they’ll break into other computers and then launch their attacks from there,” he said.The report said the website received requests for access from about 100 countries, from all over the world. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Investigators found evidence of a “malicious intrusion” into a Tennessee county’s elections website from a computer in Ukraine during a concerted cyberattack, which likely caused the site to crash just as it was reporting vote totals in this month’s primary. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more