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Giant steps for little legs

first_imgBy ANEEKA SIMONIS COUNTLESS little legs made many large strides last week as part of a campaign to get kids…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

China’s Belt and Road Initiative could increase alien species invasion

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, China And Energy, China’s Demand For Resources, Climate Change, Conservation, Deforestation, Environment, Forests, Global Trade, Green, Infrastructure, Mammals, Rainforests, Research, Roads, Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Article published by Shreya Dasgupta China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative could introduce alien invasive species into several countries, threatening their native biodiversity, warns a new study.Researchers looked at the risk of invasion of more than 800 alien invasive vertebrate species and found that there were 14 invasion hotspots — areas that have both high introduction risk with the movement of people and goods, and conditions that would allow the invasive species to thrive.These hotspots include areas in North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.Other researchers say the study doesn’t include many other kinds of invaders, such as insects and pathogens, which can have major financial impacts on ecosystems, agriculture and livestock. China’s ambitious, multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative could introduce alien invasive species into several countries, threatening their native biodiversity, warns a new study.Announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as “One Belt One Road” and “21st-century Maritime Silk Road,” proposes to connect China to countries in Asia, Africa and Europe via a network of land- and sea-based routes, making trade between the countries easier. There are plans for an overland economic belt of six corridors, which will include infrastructure like roads, railroads, airports and gas pipelines, connecting China to Central and South Asia and Europe. There’s also the Maritime Silk Road, or sea route corridors that aim to connect China with Southeast Asia, Oceania and North Africa through a chain of seaports.The Belt and Road Initiative will link China with once remote areas of Asia via roads, railways and ports. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.While increased connectivity through mega infrastructure projects like the BRI can offer opportunities for trade and growth for the participating countries, it can have huge environmental costs too. Conservationists have, for instance, voiced their concern over the BRI potentially accelerating the invasion of alien species and the loss of native biodiversity.To find out where alien species can easily move in, Yiming Li, an ecologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his colleagues looked at the risk of invasion of more than 800 invasive species, including 98 amphibians, 177 reptiles, 391 birds and 150 mammals, across 121 countries that China considers to be potential hosts for BRI projects. For these species, the team assessed two things: the “introduction risk,” or the likelihood that a species would be introduced to a new area, and “habitat suitability,” or the likelihood that the species, once introduced, would thrive in that location because of suitable habitat.The study did not evaluate the impacts that the BRI itself would have on invasion risks, Li told Mongabay. Rather, it identified areas within BRI countries that have high invasion risk. This, Li said, would help achieve the green development goal of BRI’s sustainable development.Li’s team identified 14 invasion hotspots — areas that have both high introduction risk with the movement of people and goods, and conditions that would allow the invasive species to thrive — mostly located on the six proposed economic corridors. These hotspots include areas in North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, the researchers report in the study published in Current Biology.China’s Belt and Road Initiative showing China in Red, the members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in orange, and the six proposed corridors of the Silk Road Economic Belt, a land transportation route running from China to southern Europe via Central Asia and the Middle East, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a sea route connecting the port of Shanghai to Venice, Italy, via India and Africa. Image by Lommes via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).In just Indonesia, for instance, the study found that there could be suitable habitats for more than 300 alien vertebrate species, including the American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus or Rana catesbeiana), an amphibian native to North America that has been linked to outbreaks of the deadly chytrid fungus leading to declines in frog populations in Central America and elsewhere. Similarly, Malaysia offers suitable habitat for nearly 200 invasive species.The large number of invasive vertebrate species that could plague countries hosting Belt and Road projects is “startling,” William Laurance, a distinguished research professor at James Cook University in Australia, who was not involved in the study, told Mongabay. “Of course, this doesn’t include many other kinds of invaders, such as insects and pathogens, which can have major impacts on ecosystems, agriculture and livestock,” he said.There could, in fact, be “massive hidden costs of the Belt & Road for host nations,” said Laurance, who is also a member of Mongabay’s advisory board. “In particular, some invasive species could have multi-billion dollar impacts on a nation’s agricultural exports. So, really, the potential risks of the Belt & Road to spread invaders is incredibly high.”To reduce invasion risk, Li and his colleagues say there needs to be stricter surveillance of goods and commodities that move through the roads, airports, seaports and other transportation corridors. In countries that have limited resources, they also suggest establishing a special fund that would support the operation of biosecurity measures, such as increased research into preventing invasion of alien species as well as eradication techniques, and training people to identify problematic species.“The Chinese government has been starting several projects to control and prevent alien species invasions during these recent years,” Li said. “We believe that this study will be helpful for more participating countries to further facilitate their cooperation to prevent alien species invasions more effectively.”The American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus), an amphibian native to North America, is a damaging invasive species known to have spread the deadly chytrid fungus leading to the decline of frog populations elsewhere. Image by Yiming Li.Laurance, however, said that once new roads, railways or ports were constructed, invasive species would be able to “spread like wildfire” and be nearly impossible to stop.“It’s also extremely difficult and expensive to try to monitor and control invaders to keep them out, or control them once they’ve arrived and gotten established,” he added. “Our studies show that many Belt & Road projects are already very marginal in terms of their costs and benefits, and are intensely risky for host nations and investors in Belt & Road projects. In fact, I believe that many planned Belt & Road projects should be completely cancelled, based on our detailed cost-benefit studies of such projects across dozens of nations in the Asia-Pacific region and Africa.”Banner image of a logging road in Malaysian Borneo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Citation:Liu, X., Blackburn, T. M., Song, T., Li, X., Huang, C., & Li, Y. (2019). Risks of Biological Invasion on the Belt and Road. Current Biology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.12.036center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Government’s role in business

first_imgThe ongoing three-way contretemps between RUSAL, its workers and trade union, and the Government has once again brought to the fore the vexed question of the PNC-led Government’s position on the now dominant neo-liberal “night-watchman” state. This model did not just shrink the Government’s role in the economy, but rejected it taking any responsibility for alleviating the condition of the poorer elements of society. Unions were demobilized, and workers reverted to dealing directly with employers.The PNC stuck doggedly to this position when it shut down four of the seven sugar estates and ignored its “social responsibility” to the 7000 workers that were fired and the over 100,000 affected in the rural communities that depended on the monies injected by those workers. This retreat from social responsibility was even more callous, since it was undertaken with an unabashed Marxist, Clive Thomas, at the head of GuySuCo, after he has spent his previous 50 years railing against the “capitalist” reliance on markets for making decisions.Even in the US, the Government had rediscovered its “social responsibility” and intervened in the market to save General Motors, and indeed several banks, which were all declared as “too big to fail” in 2008; but not the PNC/APNU Government here with the sugar industry in 2016. Government insisted that the subsidies were too onerous, and even rejected its own CoI recommendation that the subsidies continue for another three years while the company be brought to a point of sale.However, from its stance on RUSAL’s firing of 61 bauxite workers, the PNC/APNU Government appears to have rediscovered its “social responsibility” from its socialist days. It dragged the bauxite company to the table, and demanded that the fired workers be rehired forthwith, and presumably they be paid for the days they were on strike, as demanded.RUSAL is yet to respond to this interjection of the state into its relations with its workers; but, for sure, the multinational corporations (MNCs) that are expected to flock to our shores after first oil will be looking on with great interest at the Government’s stance on its role in the economy.The neo-liberal, hands-off ethos for the state was articulated a half-century ago by the influential thinker Ayn Rand, and summarised in her novel “Atlas Shrugged”, which still sells 150 thousand copies annually. Basically, Rand derided altruism (“breeds immorality and evil”) and trumpeted selfishness (“the highest virtue”). She lionised the human ego, rejected God as an artifice for the expiation of human failures, extolled the separation of state and the economy, and promoted governmental deregulation.Basically, the flaw with this model goes to the very core of its central premise – the exaltation of selfishness. Its adherents miscalculated the power of its corollary, greed, which had been kept in check — however tenuously — by the old regulatory framework. In practical terms, the model raises what is known in economics and related fields as the issue of “moral hazard”. It identifies the ever-present dilemma posed when people who are “back-stopped” become more inclined to take risks. Where does one then draw the line?Business and entrepreneurial behaviour is at the bottom, a matter of taking risks; and society is willing to have those who take risks receive the rewards – if, on the whole, the entire society benefits. And this last point was the motive behind governmental regulation. For instance, early on, when the corporation was invented as a “legal body” to encourage investments without threatening personal assets, there were laws enacted to ensure that the facility was not flagrantly abused. Closer home to the present crisis, banks should be heavily regulated to ensure that depositors’ money is secure, because the state had given them a virtual and literal power to create money. They were forced to be conservative but steady.The state therefore has a responsibility to both workers and businesses, and it is hoped that this PNC-led Government would not just opportunistically intervene, but pronounce where it would draw the line.last_img read more

Alonso- 2012 was my best season in Formula 1

The Spaniard reckons that he was at his peak at the time and performed some of his best racing.He also went onto add that 2014 was probably his second best and surprisingly, 2016 is his third best.“2012 is probably my best season in Formula 1,” said the double World Champion“Then it could be 2014 my second best. Then probably this one will be on the final step of the podium so far.“I felt very confident in the car in every condition [in 2016]. Even the last 10 laps in Brazil I felt really competitive with 40-lap old tyres, things like that.“That confidence in the car gave me the opportunity to drive at the limit on many occasions.“I consider this year on a very high standard from my driving part of view.”0Shares0000(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000McLaren driver Fernando Alonso prepares to take part in the first practice session ahead of the weekend’s German Grand Prix on July 29, 2016MADRID, Spain, Dec 18- According to Fernando Alonso, 2012 was his best season in Formula 1, despite winning the World Championship in 2005 and 2006.In 2012, Alonso won three races with Ferrari and finished on the podium a further stnine times, but still lost out to Sebastian Vettel in the last race of the season in Brazil. read more

September buildings permits worth less than half of 2011’s

first_img– Advertisement – It raised the year-to-date total to $48.8 million, which is only about 15 per cent of last year’s nine month total. However, minus the $270.6 million permit for the new hospital, the total for the first nine months of 2011 was actually about $4 million less than the current third quarter total. The 2012 total is also about $10 million more than the 2010 total, and $30 million more than what was recorded in the first three-quarters of 2009. The 25 September permits this year resulted in city revenue of $10,600, which again is about half of last year’s September total. In this case, the running total of $246,700 is a little more than one third of the comparable total in 2011.last_img read more

Actresses draw DUI charges

first_imgMischa Barton was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and possessing marijuana after sheriff’s deputies saw her car straddling two lanes of traffic. The 21-year-old actress, who starred on Fox’s teen drama “The O.C.,” was driving on La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood when she was stopped at 2:45 a.m., authorities said. Deputies saw her vehicle straddling the lanes and failing to signal for a turn, according to a sheriff’s press statement. Barton was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a license, possessing a controlled substance and possessing marijuana, according to a statement from sheriff’s Sgt. John Hocking. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonShe spent about seven hours in the West Hollywood jail before being released on $10,000 bail. A court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 28. In Los Angeles, prosecutors charged actress Rebecca De Mornay with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs stemming from her arrest two months ago. De Mornay is scheduled to be arraigned Monday. She faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of both misdemeanor counts. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Arsene Wenger backs fit-again Mesut Ozil to prove his class at Arsenal

first_img1 Arsene Wenger admits Mesut Ozil faces a fight to win back his Arsenal place but insists the German is still one of the finest players in the world.Ozil has missed the Gunners’ last two matches and was left out of Germany’s World Cup qualifiers while he recovered from a knee injury.He was also absent for Arsenal’s goalless draw at Chelsea last month, when Wenger’s men showed the sort of grit and resilience that has been lacking in recent seasons.The form of the likes of Alex Iwobi and Jack Wilshere has certainly helped fill the void but Ozil is back in training and could return against Watford on Saturday.“Of course he is important. But I have many players – we spoke about Jack, we spoke about Iwobi,” Wenger said.“They are all players who play in this similar position and it is very interesting because it gives me a lot of opportunities to keep them all focused and refreshed.“People go quickly to conclusions. Last year we played the last 11 games and won 10. We beat Man City in the FA Cup semi-final and Chelsea in the final and he played as well. You can always find the example. But it’s true that we have done well recently.“We live in the world where people have opinions and sometimes they are right and sometimes they are not always proven right on the longer period. You need players who have quality and Ozil is one of the best players in the world.”Ozil is out of contract next summer and Wenger conceded for the first time on Thursday he may be forced to sell the midfielder in January, along with Alexis Sanchez, who could also leave for free at the end of the season.Asked if Ozil now needed to earn a new deal, Wenger said: “You should ask him that question. I cannot tell you what is in his mind. I genuinely think he wants to stay. But I am always positive about that.”Wilshere is another whose contract expires next summer and the 25-year-old must prove his fitness.Wenger said he expected Wilshere to go to the World Cup with England if he could avoid injury this season and believes the midfielder is now ready for Premier League action.“If the competition was less ferocious, he is ready to play. I wouldn’t be scared to play him,” Wenger said.“What I mean is that when I go to Europa League, people think I give the same importance. In the Premier League he can play, he is nearly back to his best now.”Wenger added, however, that Wilshere would never be able to reduce his intensity.“It is part of his game. You cannot ask a guy not to go into any contact,” Wenger said.“I believe it his strength. His strength is to turn the game forward and have acceleration individually or with the ball. Sometimes when he accelerates individually he pushes the ball too far and gets confronted.“I watched him when he played against Barcelona, or when he was 17 or 18, and you see straight away that he had that from the start, that turn, take the game forward and give that little burst which makes the difference.” The World Cup winner has missed the Gunners’ last two matches last_img read more

Maurizio Sarri gives jokey response to Chelsea fans singing ‘We want Sarri out’

first_img 3 But it was all smiles by the end as Chelsea won 2-1 The Chelsea boss looked very frustrated in the dugout while his side were behind Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has conceded that his side were ‘lucky’ to beat Cardiff on Sunday.The London side were behind for most of the second half, but given hope by Cesar Azpilicueta’s 84th minute offside equaliser before Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed home the winner. “Probably today we were lucky,” Sarri admitted to talkSPORT’s Laurence Mora, “But sometimes we need to be lucky.“I don’t know, I didn’t see the situation, the corner was too far from the bench and I am not sure about the offside.“But if you tell me that it was an offside I believe you.” Loftus-Cheek netted the winner for Chelsea Getty Images – Getty Pre-match, parts of the London club’s faithful were enraged by Maurizio Sarri’s team selection with Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Callum Hudson-Odoi all left on the bench.While 1-0 down, with things starting to look hopeless, the manager brought on Hazard along with Olivier Giroud and Ruben-Loftus Cheek.Hudson-Odoi was left on the sidelines, despite the away section singing his name vociferously.As the third change was made – confirming the youngster would not be getting on – the Chelsea fans loudly sang, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing,’ followed by, ‘We want Sarri out.’ 3 3 When asked if he understands the supporters’ frustrations, Sarri continued: “Of course, of course, I can understand everything.“I understand they were frustrated about the result. I was disappointed for my players, not for me of course.“I can understand that very well. I am 60 so I can understand.”The Blues’ manager then joked: “Unfortunately I am getting used to this,” followed by a self-depreciating chuckle.last_img read more

Transfer Talk: Rangers target Newcastle striker, Stewart attracts QPR

first_imgCeltic are set to begin fresh negotiations with winger James Forrest after initial talks broke down at the end of last season. The Scotland international is out of contract in January.Morton have signed former Dundee United winger Kudus Oyenuga on a one-year contract while Hibs youngsters Aaron Dunsmore and Lewis Allan have joined Edinburgh City and Livingston respectively on loan deals. And in case you missed it yesterday, Henri Anier has left Dundee United by mutual consent.Down south, Everton have made contact with Crystal Palace with a view to signing former Bristol City winger Yannick Bolasie. Let’s all take a moment to be thankful for #Pogback. Despite Manchester United’s dramatic cinematic trailer most of us are just celebrating the saga finally coming to an end. Meanwhile, in unfinished business, Rangers could move for another striker in light of Martyn Waghorn’s hamstring injury. Mark Warburton is said to be interested in a loan deal for Newcastle youngster Adam Armstrong.In another saga, this time north of the border, we’re still asking where will Greg Stewart go? The Dundee striker is now attracting Queen’s Park Rangers and Oxford United.Speaking of the latter, the English third tier side appear to have dropped their interest in Motherwell winger Marvin Johnson after several failed bids last week.last_img read more

Governor Holcomb Declares September 22-28, 2019 Rail Safety Week

first_imgGovernor Eric Holcomb has declared September 22-28, 2019 as Indiana Rail Safety Week in conjunction with the U.S. and Canada Rail Safety Week that will take place in all 50 states and Canadian provinces.The goal is to increase rail safety awareness by working collaboratively on national rail safety week. Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), local law enforcement agencies and railroad companies have partnered together to raise awareness about the dangers of disregarding railroad crossing laws and trespassing on railroad property.“Every three hours, a vehicle or person are hit by a train in the United States,” states Jessica Feder, Executive Director, Indiana Operation Lifesaver.  “Indiana law enforcement agencies and railroad special agents will be out monitoring railroad crossings and checking for trespassers during rail safety week. We want the public to know how important it is to pay attention at railroad crossings and that trespassing on railroad tracks and property is dangerous and illegal.” Indiana Operation Lifesaver has scheduled numerous enforcement blitzes throughout the state involving law enforcement agencies and an event with Amtrak called Operation Clear Track.There will be public safety announcements throughout the state, safety information distributed at college campuses, booths at statewide festivals and events, social media campaigns, messages on the INDOT dynamic highway signs, first responder training, and Operation Lifesaver signs at crossings where multiple train versus vehicle collisions have occurred.Indiana Operation Lifesaver is taking a proactive lead in the elimination of crossing collisions and trespasser fatalities.In 2018, there were 150 railroad crossing collisions resulting in 54 people injured and 17 fatalities in the state of Indiana. Indiana is currently ranked 3rd nationally for railroad crossing collisions. The Hoosier State had 12 trespasser deaths last year as well as seven injuries.  “Our goal is to keep Hoosiers safe at crossings and near train tracks,” said Jessica Feder. “We encourage everyone to make safe decisions and pay attention at all railroad crossings and near railroad property. It could save your life!”Indiana Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade intersections and on railroad rights-of-way through public education, engineering and enforcement. To learn more about Indiana Operation Lifesaver, please visit us online at www.oli.org or call 812-528-4327.last_img read more