Haiti Leader Calls For ‘Red Helmet’ UN Force

first_imgBy Dialogo April 02, 2010 Haitian President René Préval has given his backing to the creation of a UN “red helmet” humanitarian rapid reaction force which could swing into action within hours of natural disasters. In a speech before a donor’s conference at the UN headquarters on Wednesday to pledge help for his quake-hit nation, Préval argued there was a “need for creating a humanitarian intervention force under the auspices of the UN to coordinate response to disasters, which are bound to occur.” Along with the January 12 quake that left over 220,000 people dead, Préval said recent major natural disasters such as the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean and 2008’s Cyclone Nargis that struck Myanmar highlighted the need for rapid intervention to save the maximum numbers of lives. Préval was backed in his call by former French minister Nicole Guedj, who founded the “Red Helmet Foundation,” to lobby for the humanitarian force. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called the goal “a good project that deserves study and reflection,” he added. Wednesday’s conference ended with some 50 international donors making 9.9-billion-dollars in pledges in a bid to help Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake.last_img read more

Lawmakers favor POGO shut down

first_img“Based sa aming computation, [sa]dapat na P62 billion, ang binabayaran lang ng POGO is more orless P11 billion, so ang nawawala saating gobyerno in terms of taxes is about P50 billion,” he explained. MANILA – Some lawmakers are in favor ofshutting down Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) in the country due totax evasion. According to Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, thecountry lost billions in unpaid taxes since POGO firms began operating in 2016. “Saakin, wala tayong nakukuhang malaking benepisyo sa POGO. Sa tingin ko dapat nang itigil kung hindinatin ma-enforce ang tamang buwis,hindi natin mabantayan ang airports dahilcorrupted na ang ating immigration,”he added. Some congressmen also called for a banon POGOs during a hearing in the lower chamber.center_img A casino dealer collects chips at a roulette table in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. REUTERS/ERIK DE CASTRO Sen. Risa Hontiveros earlier exposed an alleged “pastillas” scheme within the Bureau of Immigration that allows the seamless entry of Chinese nationals into the country for a fee starting at P10,000. “‘Pay or go home. ‘Pag hindi nagbayad, uwi na lang sila,” House Committee on Games andAmusement chairman Eric Yap said. (GMANews/PN)last_img read more

Taking a closer look at energy generation investment on the farm

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest With steadily increasing energy costs and an ever-uncertain future, it makes sound economic sense to take a look at improving the energy portfolio on Ohio farms.“Regardless of the strides we have made in energy efficiency, it will not offset the increasing global demand for energy. On average the U.S. represents around 4% of the world’s population, yet consumes just over 18% of world’s total energy. Furthermore, Ohio is a large energy consumption state, ranking 7th in 2013” said Eric Romich, OSU Extension energy development specialist. “Ohio is also home to ageing energy generation facilities. Accelerated retirements of electricity generation capacity will likely result in continued price increases for electricity.”Whether it is solar or wind energy investment, there are a number of issues to consider when making decisions about conservation and generation of energy on-farm. It is best to start with a broad look at the energy use and goals for the farm.“Farmers are looking at options to invest in technologies that will lower future energy cost allowing their farm to become more energy efficient. When you get down to it in terms of investing in energy, I believe in the energy pyramid which starts with an assessment of energy use, then implementing conservation practices, investing in energy efficiency technologies, and ultimately considering alternative methods of generation,” Romich said. “It starts with an assessment of usage to understand what the issues are on your farm and energy costs. Is there unnecessary use of energy? Find it and use simple efficiency measures to address it. On average, your payback for an investment on an energy efficiency project is going to be quicker than investments in renewable energy generation.”Once energy conservation and efficiency measures are in place, then on-site energy generation options can be more properly considered.“When we talk about trends in energy, right now it is solar. There is photovoltaic (PV) solar, which is most of what we are seeing in Ohio. This is directly converting sunlight into electricity,” Romich said. “We don’t see a lot of small scale wind right now. There is also solar thermal and there are applications for that on dairy farms. Some are closed loops and some are open. Egg production facilities, for example, can use solar thermal to heat water for washing the eggs. If you need a lot of hot water for something, solar thermal can pay.”Due to improving technology and efficiency, PV solar also has potential to pay off in the right farm situations.“There are a couple of things driving interest with PV solar in the agricultural community right now. There is a 30% federal investment tax credit for the equipment and installation cost and it is scheduled to sunset Dec. 31 of 2016. To be clear, this is not upfront money, but a tax credit.” he said. “Also, the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants through USDA can cover up to 25% of the project. While the REAP is a great program, it is a competitive program and it is not a guarantee that you’ll get funded. However, if you receive the REAP grant and you stack all of these benefits together, it can make for an attractive project.”An investment in PV solar can be particularly beneficial for larger livestock operations“On those kinds of farms, it is fairly easy to calculate your year-after-year energy usage. It can be much harder to estimate energy costs on a grain farm where drying grain can be very different from year to year,” Romich said. “With net metering you want to work with your utility to match your system with your energy needs and the utility’s existing infrastructure. We are seeing systems going in for grain dryers too, but you need to analyze a larger sample of your usage rather than just looking at last year’s bill. Regardless of the type of farm you have, you should contact your electric utility provider to review a proposed project before signing any paperwork with a developer. Your energy provider needs to be viewed as a partner on this.”Take a look at factors including meter charges, demand charges for offsetting energy use during periods of peak demand, the need for three-phase electric, costs associated with insuring the systems, and long term energy use.“Get some quotes. You’re not going to go buy the first tractor you see. You’re going to look around. Do the same thing with solar. It can be hard when you are looking at proposals to really understand the cost of the materials and labor to make decisions. Having multiple quotes helps you to see that and determine what you like and what you don’t,” Romich said. “Details can make a big impact. What factors are you using to calculate energy savings? Have escalation rates been applied to energy costs, and if so at what rate? Insurance cost is rarely accounted for, but if you are putting a $100,000 solar system on your barn and a wind storm comes through, you want to make sure you’re in a situation to get it up and running again.”Another important — but often confusing — factor in making the decision for solar is the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).“SRECs were created by policy as a means of tracking the generation of renewable energy. If you have a solar system certified by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, an SREC will be created for every megawatt hour of electricity produced by your solar system. An electronic database tracks the amount of electricity generated by your system and the related creation of renewable energy credits,” Romich said. “There are a number of different ways a system owner can sell their SRECs. You may choose to personally manage the sale of your SRECs as they are generated via a web-based exchange program, enter into an agreement to sell your SRECs to an aggregator or broker, or sell your SRECs directly to the developer who built their system.”Ohio’s alternative energy portfolio standards require Ohio’s electric distribution utilities or electric services companies to diversify their electricity generation to include 12.5% renewable energy by 2027. Basically, utilities can purchase SRECs from other certified systems to comply with the requirement, creating a demand for SRECs in Ohio. However, the passage of SB 310 in 2014 put a two-year freeze on Ohio’s alternative energy portfolio standards.“That hurt the value of SRECs in Ohio. There is no assigned value to an SREC, as the prices are influenced by renewable energy policy, supply and demand,” Romich said. “In Ohio the solar weighted average price per certificate on the PJM Generation Attribute Tracking System reached a high price of $471 in 2010 and a low price of $85 in 2015.”This unpredictability of SRECs can make it hard to use them in making decisions about whether to invest in solar or not. John Lindner, from Clark County, for example owns SRECs produced by the solar panels on his farm (see the related story on page 29) but because they are undependable, Lindner did not factor SRECs into the payback time for his investment. The sale of his SRECs will just be extra.“John owns those and they are his to sell or he can hold them and see if the price goes back up,” Romich said. “Some solar proposals will try to oversimplify the transaction of SRECs by calling it a discount, rebate, payment, allowance or refund. Regardless of what you call an SREC agreement, the value of these agreements can be significant, and the terms can extend for 20 years or more. In addition, the sale of an SREC is a taxable transaction and the sale proceeds will be taxed as ordinary income. If a system owner agrees to receive money upfront for the rights to their SRECs, there will typically be a contract associated with the agreement. The complexity of the agreements can vary significantly and in some cases you may want to have an attorney representing your best interest look at the contract before signing any paperwork.”There are also many factors to consider with the specifics of the farm site for solar, said Chad Martin, the renewable energy Extension specialist at Purdue University.“Look at ground mounted versus rooftops. It is easier to adjust them according to the time of year when they are on the ground compared to on the roof,” Martin said. “We saw one guy who wanted to use them for shade in his cattle pasture. Is there space on the ground? Is there enough space for roof mounting? What warranties are out there for ground or roof? Talk to other farmers who have put them in, that can really help too.”Once the myriad of variables has been considered, they need to be tallied to find the length of time required to pay back, and benefit financially from, the significant initial investment.“If you can hit 10 years or less on the payback I think it has some merit. Panels are typically warrantied for 20 to 25 years and the warranty is 10 to 15 years on inverters that transfer direct current from the solar to alternating current. You need to look at this from a long-term perspective. This is a long-term investment and you need to look at it this way,” Martin said. “You also need to look at what your main motivation is. It is economic or environmental? There is security in knowing you can produce a percentage of your farm’s electrical needs and you can really reduce your variable costs that continue to rise. In 1990 we were at 5.4 cents per kilowatt-hour and in March of this year it was 9.83 cents. There has been a steady increase and our facilities are aging. When you look at that, some farms are concerned about the rising costs and getting the energy they need in the future. Solar energy can help address that challenge.”last_img read more

Add Beautiful Light to Your Scenes With a China Ball

first_imgChina balls are one of the cheapest and most effective ways to add beautiful light to your scenes. Here are just three of the many ways you can use them on set.Top image from Leafhouse FilmsThe china ball is one of my favorite tools to work with on set. The quality of light from a china ball can be absolutely beautiful; it’s very soft, forgiving, and can really wrap around your talent’s face. That said, to make the most out of china balls means that you’ll need to know each and every way you can use them. Below are just three examples of the most effective ways to utilize them.1. Ambient Room LightingImage from The Kreen of the CropInterior scenes will often call for the base light level in a room to get brought up. Say for instance you’re working with a nice three point lighting setup on your actor, but the lights aren’t spilling into your background enough, and the ambient level of the room is too low. By placing a china ball or two up high near the ceiling, you can easily brighten the room without having to further soften the light. This is a very fast and foolproof way to add ambience without eating up more time on set.2. Softbox-styleImage from No Film SchoolIf you don’t have a softbox on set and there’s no time to set up c-stands, flags, and silks to diffuse your standard film lights, china balls are an excellent alternative. The light quality from a china ball is nearly identical to that of a high-quality softbox and requires very little set-up time. You’ll usually want to clip some black duvetyne to the back of the china ball to avoid having it spill all over the room. This will allow you to hit just the talent’s face with light (much like a sofbox would), effectively keeping the background light levels in check.3. On a Boom PoleImage from Comet Tale ProductionsOne of the most difficult types of setups to light (especially if you’re on a budget) is a long tracking shot. Tracking shots float through various spaces on your set, which means you need to light a much bigger area — unless, of course, you’re using a china ball.An excellent alternative to rigging up countless lights across your set is to simply put the china ball on a boom pole and have a crew member walk with it. Doing this will allow your actors to move freely throughout the set, and can save you precious time while still delivering beautiful results.Obviously this list is just the tip of the china ball iceberg. Here’s a little bonus video from Film Riot where Ryan Connolly teaches you how to build a china ball/dimmer switch combo.Ever used a china ball on set? Got any footage to share? Show us what you’ve got in the comments below!last_img read more

Police Investigate weekend Robberies

first_img Related Items:#BlueHillsrobberies, #helpstopcrimeinTCI, #weekendrobberiesinProvo Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, March 15, 2017 – Providenciales – Detectives of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force are investigating a number of Robberies that occurred over the weekend in the Blue Hills area of Providenciales.Around 5:08am on Sunday 3rd March 2017, a complainant reported that he heard rambling from his neighbor’s apartment as if someone was burglarizing it.   Police responded to the scene located on Bay Road where the victim was met.   He told officers that he had just arrived home when two men (one short and the other tall) with firearms approached him demanding money. He gave them a small amount of cash.   The culprits took him to his room where they assaulted him, took his cell phone and another sum of money.Another male reported that while at the same location, as he was about to exit his vehicle an unknown masked man approached him with a gun and demanded money.  The gunman ordered him to lay on the ground as he searched the victim.   A black Samsung cellphone was stolen.  Checks were made in the area for persons fitting the descriptions given but no one was found.  Investigation are ongoing in both matters.If anyone has information relating to this incident contact the police at Chalk Sound Police Station at 338-5901 or contact Crime stoppers at 1-800-8477.   The information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence.   We remind you not to report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter page.Press Release: RTCIPF#BlueHillsrobberies#weekendrobberiesinProvo#helpstopcrimeinTCI Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

This Puja Park Street to come alive in all its glory

first_imgKolkata: The only street in the world renamed after ‘St Teresa of Calcutta’ has been decorated during Durga Puja.It may be mentioned that during the Puja, lakhs of people throng Mother Teresa Sarani, popularly known as Park Street, because of the famous eateries and the ambience.The place happens to be one of the favourite destinations of people in midst of pandal hopping. Park Street becomes the first choice of many while eating out during the puja days with their near and dear ones. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeFor the first time ever in the city’s history, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had taken the step to decorate Park Street during different festivals. During Christmas, the place gets illuminated in resplendent shades.Similarly, during Durga Puja as well, initiative has been taken to decorate the place and lights have been put up across the street.There are permanent iron structures across the road on which lighting arrangements are put up, giving a new look to Park Street. It may be mentioned that the state government has taken several steps to attract foreign tourists to Bengal and thousands of foreign tourists, who visit Kolkata, like to go to Park Street at least once for its never-endingstreet food collection. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe state government also organises Durga Puja immersion carnival every year and it takes place on Red Road, situated close to Park Street. The immersion carnival attracts tourists from different parts of the country and abroad as well. This year, the carnival will be held on October 23 in which Durga idols of famous Pujas in the city and its outskirts will be passing one after the other on decorated tableaus.Thousands of people gather along Red Road to get a glimpse of the extravagant carnival and people from different parts of the world too visit Red Road for the same.last_img read more

Wellness guide to quit smoking drinking

first_imgMost lifestyle advice tells you to give that glass of wine or cigarette a miss. Serving as a reminder, a new book on healthy living reiterates the advice we know too well, topped off with practical tips that finally help you say ‘No. ‘Live Well To 101’, a wellness guide by doctor and television presenter Dawn Harper, lists useful tips to quit smoking and drinking: Cigarettes don’t contain just nicotine but a range of toxic, carcinogenic chemicals you wouldn’t want near your body. Next time you reach for a cigarette that looks quite appealing, imagine yourself licking tarmac or chewing on rubber cement. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIf you get the opportunity to talk to a smoker who has developed diseases as a result of smoking, knowing their stories might help put off your habit. To quit, go public! Telling everyone will keep you motivated. Also put aside cigarette money for something special. It’s easier never to start than it is to quit. Spread the message. Don’t wait for warning signs. They may not come. Be honest with yourself about your consumption and start putting in dry days in your diary. Recognise your triggers and work on them. For instance, if you reach for the bottle when your kids are asleep, find ways to keep yourself occupied and not be tempted.last_img read more