Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters crowned Miss Universe 2017

first_imgThe reigning Miss South Africa is the new Miss Universe, the first South African to win the title since Margaret Gardiner wore the crown in 1978.Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is crowned Miss Universe in Las Vegas on 27 November 2017. (Image: Miss Universe website)CD AndersonAt the Miss Universe pageant held in Las Vegas on 26 November 2017, Nel-Peters beat 91 fellow global contestants for the crown.Laura Gonzalez, Miss Colombia, and Miss Jamaica, Davina Bennett, are her two princesses.Nel-Peters went into the competition as a favourite with fans and judges, and during the live broadcast cemented her win with some impressive answers to the judges’ questions.When asked about the challenges faced by women in the world today, she answered: “Women earn 75% of what men earn doing the same thing. I believe in equal pay for equal work.”It received enthusiastic applause at the event and Nel-Peters was trending on social media.The last question she was asked was about her best quality and how she would apply that talent to her reign as Miss Universe.“As Miss Universe, you have to be confident in who you are. Miss Universe has to overcome her fears and teach others to do the same. And nothing is ever too much to ask for. That is exactly who I am.”Watch the moment Nel-Peters is announced the winner below:Her win put South African Twitter in a frenzy, with thousands praising her Country Duty, flying the flag for South Africa on the world stage.Tweets about #MissUniverse2017 demi Congratulations Demi-Leigh, South Africa is proud of you.Source: News24 Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

SA women’s lives improving: survey

first_img8 August 2013 Two in every three young people believe that the lives of women in South Africa are getting better. As the country prepares to celebrate Women’s Day on Friday, a survey conducted by Pondering Panda has found that out of the 3 258 interviewed, about 64% felt the lives of women in this country were improving, compared to 21% who felt they were getting worse. The remaining 12% felt that the quality of women’s lives was staying the same. “If the opinion of young people is anything to go by, the lives of the majority of women in South Africa appear to be getting better,” Pondering Panda spokesperson, Shirley Wakefield, said in a statement. “While this is good news, we shouldn’t get complacent – 1 in 3 still feel the lives of women either aren’t changing or are getting worse. “Women’s Day is therefore still of great importance to highlight the issues and challenges facing women in South Africa – and is something more than 9 in 10 young people support. “It’s also nice to know that for more than 80% of young people, the women in their lives can look forward to something special this Women’s Day,” she said. Some 91% of those interviewed felt celebrating Women’s Day was important, with 41% of those interviewed claiming they already had plans for Women’s Day. About 40% intended to do something special, but were yet to plan anything, while 18% were either unsure, or not planning to do anything at the time of the survey. Source: SANews.gov.zalast_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

Chrome 4: Stable Version of Chrome Gets Extensions and Bookmark Sync

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts frederic lardinois 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Bookmark SyncStarting today, the stable version of Chrome will also feature Google’s bookmark sync. We reported that Google was planning this feature last August and the first version to support bookmark syncing was released in early November. Right now, this feature only supports the syncing of bookmarks, but as our own Sarah Perez pointed out last year, the infrastructure is flexible enough to also allow Google to sync other data (passwords, favorite sites on the New Tab page or your browser history) in real time.With Weave, Mozilla is working on a similar project. For the time being, however, this is just an extension and not a core feature of Firefox. Google just released a new stable version of Chrome for Windows PCs that includes two of the most frequently requested features: extensions and bookmark sync. This change won’t affect those users who are already using these features through Chrome’s beta or developer preview channel. Windows users who are using the stable version of Chrome, however, will finally be able to use extensions and sync bookmarks between multiple machines. Extensions for (Almost) EverybodyGoogle first made extensions for Chrome available in a developer release in December. Since then, developers have created over 1,500 extensions for Chrome. Some of the most popular include an extension that checks your GMail for new messages, an extension that allows users to open certain sites in an Internet Explorer window inside Chrome, as well as various adblockers. Google also just updated its own Google Voice extension for Chrome. Here at ReadWriteWeb, some of our personal favorites include Type-ahead find and the Google Similar Pages extension.For now, the only stable version of Chrome that supports bookmarks and extensions is the Windows version. If you want to use extensions on the Mac, you will have to switch to the developer preview channel. For Linux users, extensions are already enabled in the beta channel. Tags:#news#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

Secrets of Smart Car Buying

first_imgElaine Courtney and Dr. Michael Gutter of Florida Extension will present a 90-minute session on making a smart car buying decision. This webinar will offer PFMs and other financial educators resources and tips to help service members navigate the overwhelming process of buying a car. For many young service members, the purchase of a vehicle is the first major financial obligation he or she may make. By taking advantage of discounts offered to military service members, avoiding scams and risky sales, and maximizing savings, buyers can make the most of this big purchase.Elaine Courtney has been presenting on this topic in Florida Extension programs for a number of years. She has extensive experience teaching financial management, nutrition education and volunteer development programs. She received a B.S. and M.S. degrees from Florida State University, has done post graduate work at University of Minnesota and University of West Florida.  She is a member of the Association of Financial Counseling, Planning and Education and is an Accredited Financial Counselor. Employed for 30 years with the University of Florida Extension Program in Okaloosa County (faculty member; ranking IV).  Her primary responsibilities are in the areas of Family Economic Stability; Nutrition and Health; and Volunteer Development.  She is the coordinator of the Okaloosa Saves program and helped begin the Military Saves program.  She works closely with the military and has personal experience as a military spouse.  For the last seven years, she has co-taught the Eglin AFB First Term Airman Class (FTAC) section on personal finance. She has served as co-chair of the University of Florida/IFAS Extension Focus Team for Financial Stability; UF/IFAS Tenure and Promotion Board 2008-2010; and on the America Saves/USDA-NIFA Extension Leadership Team. Received numerous awards from professional organizations, including FEAFCS Distinguished Service Award and state and national Continued Excellence Award.Michael Gutter, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor, Interim Family and Consumer Sciences State Program Leader, and Financial Management State Specialist for the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, in the Institute for Food and Agricultural at the University of Florida. His BS is in Family Financial Management and his PhD is in Family Resource Management from The Ohio State University with a specialization in Finance. Gutter currently explores how financial education and financial socialization are related to financial capability. His Extension Programming includes the Florida Master Money Mentor Volunteer Program, Florida Saves, and Fresh$tart Florida. He recently won Outstanding Conference Paper Award for the 2010 Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education.  The common theme that connects Dr. Gutter’s Research, Teaching and Outreach is helping households achieve financial security. His projects focus on enabling access to resources and services as well as improving people’s knowledge and understanding about family resource management. These projects have had funding from the Consumer Federation of America and Bank of America.This free webinar requires no registration. To discover more on this topic, including supporting resources, and to connect to the webinar, visit the event page.This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on January 7, 2014.last_img read more

9 months agoPorto midfielder Hector Herrera on Arsenal, Wolves radar

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Porto midfielder Hector Herrera on Arsenal, Wolves radarby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the lovePorto midfielder Hector Herrera is on Arsenal’s radar this month.TMW says Arsenal are planning a move for Porto ace Herrera.Gunners boss Unai Emery is looking at the midfielder as he seeks to strenghten his option.But he’s not alone. Roma, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Wolves have also been linked.Herrera enjoyed an outstanding World Cup with Mexico and was linked with Real Madrid last summer. last_img read more

7 hours agoEx-Man Utd stars ​Van Persie, Scholes tell Woodward: Solskjaer must stay

first_imgEx-Man Utd stars ​Van Persie, Scholes tell Woodward: Solskjaer must stayby Ansser Sadiq7 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveTwo former Manchester United players believe that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should remain in charge at the club.Solskjaer is under increased pressure after United’s poor performances this season.Some fans believe that he should get the boot.But two players who enjoyed success with United, Robin van Persie and Paul Scholes, are behind Solskjaer.”It has been a rough start,” Van Persie said on BT Sport after United’s battling 1-0 win over Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday night. “What is tough for Solskjaer is it’s not his team. He needs time.”Scholes said: “When you assess the season so far, 14th tells you everything. It has not been good enough.”But we have to trust what Ole is doing. He’s right at the start of his rebuild. His first three signings have done very well. I’ve still got the faith. Let him carry on.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Wrestling Ohio State dominates Missouri in top5 dual

OSU freshman Luke Fletcher celebrates his first varsity victory over Missouri’s Zach Synon. Credit: Sam Janicki. Courtesy of OSU AthleticsThe dual-meet between Ohio State and Missouri, featuring two 2016 Olympians and recognizing last season’s championships won by sophomore Myles Martin and junior Kyle Snyder, the No. 4 Buckeyes dominated the No. 5 Tigers 30-9.Redshirt juniors Nathan Tomasello and Bo Jordan, Snyder and Martin all won in landslide decisions.“You see these four guys, four of the 10 were a critical part of our first national championship,” OSU coach Tom Ryan said.At 133 pounds, Tomasello faced off against Missouri’s Jaydin Eierman, in a match that turned controversial after Tomasello finished a slam out of bounds after a blown whistle.“I didn’t hear any whistle and then as the whistle blew, I already had him in the air,” Tomasello said.  “I wanted to finish my tag.  I think it was kind of good to get the crowd more involved after that.”Tomasello won the match 11-2. Since beginning the season with an injury, he has lived up to the hype of a championship contender in the few weeks of competition.“Patience, patience is important,” Tomasello said.  “Having support from the training staff and from coach Ryan and all the guys like Kyle (Snyder) has helped me to continue to push hard and come back even better than I was last year.”A point of anticipation in Thursday’s match was the debut of OSU freshman Luke Pletcher at 141 pounds, who had his redshirt pulled earlier this week.  Down early in the first period, Pletcher rebounded by scoring a late takedown, ultimately prevailing 6-3.“I remember him staying in the fight,” Ryan said.  “I remember him scoring late in the periods.  You want to be the guy that scores the last points in the period.”Coach Ryan praised Pletcher’s ability to handle the stress and pressure that comes with short turnarounds and tough competition.  “We felt pretty good about Luke going in. On a daily basis, he does the things necessary to have a performance like that.”OSU’s Kollin Moore, redshirt freshman at 197 lbs., wrestled the tightest match of the night, taking on Olympic bronze medalist and top-ranked J’den Cox of Missouri.  Moore fell behind 0-2 early, but kept close the entire match.  Two crucial takedowns in the third period brought Moore within a point of Cox, but his effort fell short, as Cox prevailed 6-4.Bo Jordan and brother Micah won their matches by a combined score of 37-13. Martin scored six takedowns, winning 21-5. Snyder pinned his opponent in the heavyweight division. read more

US women shut out Japan in preWorld Cup friendly at Crew Stadium

The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup won’t begin until June 26, but the U.S. women’s national team looks ready. Preparations for this summer’s tournament continued for the American women Saturday with a 2-0 international friendly match win against Japan at Crew Stadium. The U.S. took a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute, thanks to veteran forward Abby Wambach’s goal — the 118th of her international career. Just eight minutes later, Wambach assisted on a goal that forward Amy Rodriguez hit off the post to give America a 2-0 lead. The U.S. went on to win by the same score. Japan began the match with offensive pressure and threatened American goalkeeper Hope Solo as the U.S. sat back early. “If you look at the first 25 minutes, I don’t think it’s good soccer,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said. “(Japan) played good. They kept possession and so forth.” Momentum swung in America’s favor when defender Ali Krieger provided the free-kick service for Wambach’s goal from about 35 yards away from Japan’s net. Wambach met Krieger’s lofted ball in stride and headed it passed Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. “We struggled big time until we scored the first goal,” Sundhage said. “Abby was great today. Just look at that goal; it (was) fantastic.” Wambach contributed to the American attack again just moments later. In the 37th minute, Wambach assisted on Rodriguez’s goal with a simple pass into Japan’s penalty area. Rodriguez hit the pass in stride, and the ball eventually trickled over the goal line after hitting off Kaihori’s near post. Despite contributing to both goals, Wambach credited the win to the U.S.’s defenders, saying they had a “strong” performance. “We have such a great defense,” Wambach said. “Our back four (defenders) are so solid. I like our chances when we score one goal.” Solo, who collected the 51st shutout of her international career, agreed. “It’s pretty easy playing with this back line,” Solo said. “My work is half as much as it usually is playing in the (Women’s Professional Soccer league).” The U.S.’s momentum continued immediately after play resumed in the second half, as the team fired three shots in the first seven minutes. By game’s end, the Americans took nine on-target shots at Kaihori, but none found the back of the net. Though her team did not score in the final 53 minutes of the game, Sundhage said the U.S.’s performance improved after the team’s early hiccups. “The second half was so much better than the first half,” Sundhage said. “We can do better.” Discipline in every facet of the U.S.’s game helped limit Japan’s offense in the final minutes — America went 21 minutes without committing a foul, from the 62nd minute until the 83rd minute. The 2-0 lead was all the Americans needed. Sundhage said she was happy with the outcome of the match. “This is a great team, and the team put it together,” Sundhage said. “We stayed composed and we came back. You don’t have to play beautiful soccer for 90 minutes, but you need to be smart enough to find a way. We did it.” The U.S. women’s national team will continue its FIFA World Cup preparation with another game against Japan on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. in Cary, N.C. read more

Recent signed law from Rep Farrington enhances child pornography penalties

first_img Categories: Farrington News,News 19Dec Recent signed law from Rep. Farrington enhances child pornography penalties Proposal set in motion in wake of Larry Nassar scandalLegislation proposed by state Rep. Diana Farrington enacting sentencing guidelines within new penalties for possession, production and distribution of child pornography was recently signed by the Governor.Under previous law, an individual who knowingly possessed or sought to gain possession of sexual material involving children could be guilty of a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. House Bill 5661, now Public Act 374 of 2018, imposes a 10-year maximum sentence for the new crime of aggravated possession of child sexually abusive material.The proposal also has a 15-year maximum for distributing, promoting or financing the distribution of the material and a 25-year maximum for producing the material.“The heinous acts of Larry Nassar pressed us into action. We needed to work quickly and effectively to keep our children safe,” said Farrington, of Utica. “I’m pleased we were able to come together and roll out solutions that will harshly penalize individuals who engage in this awful behavior and hopefully prevent such incidents from occurring again.”In addition to Nassar’s sexual abuse while working in a variety of different medical capacities, one of his lesser publicized offenses was his vast collection of child pornography. An FBI raid revealed that Nassar was in possession of at least 37,000 images and videos of child pornography. This material allegedly depicted children as young as infants, as well as personal videos of himself sexually assaulting girls under the age of 12. Nassar pleaded guilty to three federal charges related to child pornography in federal court.Farrington’s bill was one of five signed as part of ongoing, bipartisan Nassar-related efforts that have taken place during the 2018-19 legislative term.last_img read more

Backpagecom CEO plead guilty to state US charges

Citation: Backpage.com, CEO plead guilty to state, US charges (2018, April 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-backpagecom-ceo-guilty-state.html Feds seize Backpage.com, websites in enforcement action In this Jan. 10, 2017 file photo Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer appears before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent subcommittee on Investigations looking into Backpage.com. Ferrer will serve no more than five years in state prison under a plea agreement announced Thursday, April 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, file) In this Jan. 10, 2017 file photo, Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer leaves the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ferrer will serve no more than five years in state prison under a plea agreement announced Thursday, April 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, file) Federal prosecutors say that Backpage brought in a half-billion dollars since it began in 2004, mostly through prominent risque advertising for escorts and massages, among other services and some goods for sale. Authorities allege the site was often used to traffic underage victims, while company officials said they tried to scrub the website of such ads.Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer will serve no more than five years in prison under a California agreement in which he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and three counts of money laundering in California. Also Thursday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the company pleaded guilty to human trafficking.And a federal judge in Phoenix unsealed an April 5 plea deal revealing that Ferrer pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and Backpage.com pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy.”For far too long, Backpage.com existed as the dominant marketplace for illicit commercial sex, a place where sex traffickers frequently advertised children and adults alike,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “But this illegality stops right now.”Under his plea agreement, Ferrer agreed to make the company’s data available to law enforcement as investigations and prosecutions continue. The guilty pleas are the latest in a cascade of developments in the last week against the company founded by the former owners of the Village Voice in New York City, Michael Lacey, 69, and James Larkin, 68.The company founders were among Backpage officials indicted by a federal grand jury in Arizona. Attorneys for the company and Lacey, Larkin and Ferrer did not respond to multiple telephone and email messages from The Associated Press.The U.S. Justice Department also seized and shut down the website, and Ferrer’s federal plea deal requires him to help the government seize all the company’s assets.Ferrer could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine in the federal case in Arizona, while Backpage.com could face a maximum fine of $500,000 for its money laundering conspiracy plea in the Arizona case. The chief executive of a website that authorities have dubbed a lucrative nationwide “online brothel” pleaded guilty Thursday to state and federal charges including conspiracy and money laundering, and agreed to testify in ongoing prosecutions against others at Backpage.com, authorities said. Explore further The federal plea deal says any prison sentence Ferrer would face would run concurrent with his 5-year terms in Texas and California. “Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and it is happening in our own backyard,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement announcing the plea deal. He called Ferrer’s plea “a game-changer in combatting human trafficking in California, indeed worldwide.”Larkin and Lacey remain jailed in Arizona while awaiting hearings on whether they should be released after pleading not guilty to federal charges alleging they helped publish ads for sexual services.Five employees of the site also were arrested and pleaded not guilty, but Lacey and Larkin are the only ones in jail.Lacey and Larkin also earlier pleaded not guilty in California after Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Larry Brown last year allowed the state to continue with money laundering charges. The state attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case, alleges that Backpage’s operators illegally funneled nearly $45 million through multiple companies and created websites to get around banks that refused to process their transactions.But Brown threw out pimping conspiracy and other state charges against Backpage’s operators. Brown ruled that the charges are barred by a federal law protecting free speech that grants immunity to websites posting content from others.President Donald Trump this week signed a law making it easier to prosecute website operators in the future.Texas state agents raided the Dallas headquarters of Backpage and arrested Ferrer on a California warrant after he arrived at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport on a flight from Amsterdam on Oct. 6, 2016. The Dutch-owned company is incorporated in Delaware, but its principal place of business is in Dallas.Paxon called Thursday’s pleas “a significant victory in the fight against human trafficking in Texas and around the world.” © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 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