Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the apparent targeted surveillance of foreign journalists by the German foreign intelligence agency (BND). According to an online report of the magazine Der Spiegel, starting from 1999 the BND spied on at least 50 telephone and fax numbers or email addresses of journalists or newsrooms worldwide. “We have long feared that the BND monitored journalists as part of its mass filtering of communication data, at least as ‘by-catch.’ The targeted surveillance revealed by the Spiegel investigation is a massive violation of press freedom”, said Christian Mihr, the executive director of RSF Germany. “The reform of the BND bill was already a clear breach of the constitution. It does not alter the current practice of monitoring journalists.” According to documents seen by Spiegel, among the targets were the British BBC in Afghanistan and London, the New York Times in Afghanistan, as well as mobile and satellite telephones of the news agency Reuters in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. The German Bundestag has passed the new BND law in October last year. Exemptions protecting journalists, such as those in paragraph 3 of Germany’s so-called G10 law – a law specifying the restrictions that can be placed on the constitutional right to the confidentiality of email and telecommunications – are completely absent from the law. The bill allows, for example, the BND to place the New York Times under surveillance if the newspaper received confidential information that the German authorities regarded as sensitive. Germany is ranked 16th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index. February 24, 2017 Spiegel report: German foreign intelligence agency BND spied on foreign journalists News News News RSF_en GermanyEurope – Central Asia Online freedomsProtecting sources Judicial harassmentWhistleblowers News RSF asks Germany to let Myanmar journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu apply for asylum May 31, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Germany Use the Digital Services Act to make democracy prevail over platform interests, RSF tells EU Receive email alerts March 30, 2021 Find out more June 2, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information Organisation © picture alliance / dpa GermanyEurope – Central Asia Online freedomsProtecting sources Judicial harassmentWhistleblowers German BND Act: A missed opportunity for press freedom to go further
The gains the housing market has experienced in the spring so far mean good news for housing going forward in 2015, according to National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe on the NAHB’s Eye on Housing blog Wednesday.For starters, new home sales spiked by nearly 20 percent year-over-year in March up to about 481,000, according to a report from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. It was the highest level the market has experienced since 2008 Existing home sales also jumped upward in March, by 6.1 percent, the largest monthly increase since December 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. Also according to NAR, the pace of existing sales in March rose by 10.4 percent from March 2014 and has increased year-over-year for six consecutive months.The NAR Pending Home Sales Index increased by 11.1 percent year-over-year in March and has been gaining momentum, meaning that existing home sales will likely increase in the coming months. In March, the index hit its highest level in nearly two years (since June 2013).Market share for FHA-insured mortgages on new homes spiked from 10 percent in Q4 up to 16 percent in Q1. Previously, the share of FHA-backed loans had seen a general trend of decline for four years.”This reverses a general trend over the last four years of declining shares for FHA-insured mortgages,” Crowe said. “However, as more first-time buyers enter the market, this share may experience some growth, along with a decline in the cash share of new homes, which is currently 4 percent.”Despite the gains for the housing market this spring, the Census Bureau reported that homeownership nationwide had fallen to 63.7 percent in Q1, its lowest level since the 1990s, with ongoing declines happening primarily among households under age 45. By comparison, households 55 and over remained strong, as demonstrated by the NAHB 55+ Housing Market Index.Crowe said a bright spot for housing was the gains in household formations toward the end of 2014, which came at an annualized pace of 1.5 million – a significantly high number in the post-recession housing market, according to quarterly Census Bureau data.”While much of this increase is and will continue to be concentrated in rental housing, higher rents will encourage existing renters to transition to homeownership in the coming years,” Crowe said. “Future quarters will prove to what degree this recent increase is a significant break with prior levels.” Tagged with: Housing Market NAHB National Association of Home Builders Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Related Articles The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago About Author: Brian Honea May 6, 2015 1,205 Views Previous: Single-Family Rental Transactions See Low Delinquencies, Improved Vacancies Next: DS News Webcast: Thursday 5/7/2015 in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, News Share Save Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Spring Gains Mean Good News For Housing Moving Forward Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Spring Gains Mean Good News For Housing Moving Forward Housing Market NAHB National Association of Home Builders 2015-05-06 Brian Honea Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Print This Post Subscribe
Ice shelf break-up and disintegration events over the past 5 decades have led to speed-up, thinning, and retreat of upstream tributary glaciers and increases to rates of global sea-level rise. The southward progression of these episodes indicates a climatic cause and in turn suggests that the larger Larsen C and George VI ice shelves may undergo a similar collapse in the future. However, the extent to which removal of the Larsen C and George VI ice shelves will affect upstream tributary glaciers and add to global sea levels is unknown. Here we apply numerical ice-sheet models of varying complexity to show that the centennial sea-level commitment of Larsen C embayment glaciers following immediate shelf collapse is low ( < 2.5 mm to 2100, < 4.2 mm to 2300). Despite its large size, Larsen C does not provide strong buttressing forces to upstream basins and its collapse does not result in large additional discharge from its tributary glaciers in any of our model scenarios. In contrast, the response of inland glaciers to a collapse of the George VI Ice Shelf may add up to 8mm to global sea levels by 2100 and 22mm by 2300 due in part to the mechanism of marine ice sheet instability. Our results demonstrate the varying and relative importance to sea level of the large Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves considered to present a risk of collapse.
Block 7 in the offshore portion of Mexico’s Sureste Basin contains the recently appraised Zama oil discovery Image: Talos Energy is the operator of offshore Block 7 in Sureste Basin. Photo: courtesy of C Morrison/Pixabay. Talos Energy and its partners have secured a two-year contract term extension of their production sharing contract (PSC) for offshore Block 7 in Mexico’s Sureste Basin, which contains the Zama oil discovery.The US-based oil and gas company is the operator of Block 7 where it is partnered by Wintershall DEA’s Sierra Oil & Gas and Premier Oil.The extension for the offshore Mexican block has been granted by the National Hydrocarbons Commission of Mexico (CNH). The partners have also secured regulatory approvals to undertake additional exploration activities on Block 7.CNH approved modified exploration plan for Sureste Basin blockThe CNH has approved the partners’ modified exploration plan for the Sureste Basin block as well. The expanded plan enables the partners to assess additional exploration prospects on the offshore Mexican block in the future which comes in the wake of the completion of the appraisal of the Zama discovery in June 2019.The Block 7 consortium has marked various potential exploration targets, which include the Xlapak and Pok-A-Tok prospects. Each of the additional prospects in the Sureste Basin is estimated to have gross unrisked resources ranges between 75-150 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBoe).The prospects are said to be oil bearing with similarly-aged sands as those seen in the drilling programme related to the Zama discovery and its appraisal to be targeted.According to Talos Energy, the additional inventory identified by the partners in the Sureste Basin is within close proximity to the Zama oil discovery, which potentially gives scope for substantial development cost synergies if the drilling campaign succeeds.Talos Energy said that the consortium is continuing discussions regarding its Zama unitization plan with Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), while moving ahead simultaneously with its front-end engineering and design (FEED) work. The consortium expects to take a final investment decision (FID) on developing the Zama oil discovery in 2020.Talos president and CEO Timothy Duncan said: “We are excited about the additional potential of these prospects, all of which could be incremental to our world-class Zama discovery, the first by the private sector in Mexico’s history.“Finally, we believe these approvals, in combination with the significant increase in industry activity, are yet another indicator of the tremendous potential of the basin in the future.”
No Oxford colleges pay staff the Oxford Living Wage, which is set by Oxford City Council.Freedom of Information (FOI) requests sent by Cherwell reveal that St. Anne’s and Wycliffe Hall also do not pay the real living wage to all employees, which is currently set at £8.75 an hour by the Living Wage Foundation.The Chair of the Oxford Living Wage Review, Councillor Mark Ladbrooke, called for all Oxford employers “to go the extra mile and pay their staff the Oxford Living Wage.”The Oxford living wage, of £9.69 and hour, is set by Oxford City Council to account for the higher cost of living in Oxford.Oxford is the least affordable city in the UK after London, with an average house price more than eleven times higher than the average gross earnings in the city, according to Lloyd’s Bank. Wycliffe Hall pay four staff below the living wage whilst St. Anne’s pay casual labourers at a lowest rate of £7.50 per hour, the government’s living wage.A spokesmen for Wycliffe Hall told Cherwell: “Wycliffe Hall would love to pay all its employees the living wage, and is actively working towards being able to do so as soon as possible.”The government’s living wage is different to the real living wage, which takes account of higher costs of living around the UK.Last term it was revealed that only one third of Oxford Colleges were accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.These included Jesus, Christ Church, Hertford, Somerville, Mansfield, Merton, and Queen’s.Accreditation means that an institution has a “moral commitment” to the living wage and raises its pay levels to match those set by the foundation. Cherwell asked colleges who are not already accredited whether they would look for accreditation.Keble, Balliol, Teddy Hall, and Lincoln were among those who said they had no plans for accreditation, despite paying all staff at least the real living wage.Only Regent’s Park said that they were looking to gain accreditation.The Oxford Living Wage Campaign told Cherwell: “The Living Wage Campaign values transparency and wage security for workers, and remains committed to Living Wage accreditation in Oxford’s colleges.”“We are currently building campaigns in several colleges and hope to see movement in this direction in the future, and onwards to an Oxford Living Wage for all workers.”The FOIs also revealed the top level of pay for college employees. Among those who provided data, All Souls’ warden was paid the highest wage, earning £134,313 per year.The top paid staff members of both Somerville and Balliol earned more than £100,000 per year.Councillor Mark Ladbrooke of Oxford City Council said: “More than 40 Oxford employers are accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, and we would like to see more sign up.“Paying staff the Living Wage helps them to live with dignity, and being an accredited employer is good for business, as it helps to improve staff motivation, retention and customer service.“It’s often said that Oxford has London prices with Midlands wages – and in the case of housing we are more unaffordable than London.“That’s why we pay the higher Oxford Living Wage to all our staff and agency workers, and why we require contractors with contracts over £100,000 to pay it to their staff.”A spokesperson for St. Hilda’s College told Cherwell: “The Oxford Living Wage is set by Oxford City Council as a minimum wage for its own workers.“It has no statistical underpinning and is arbitrarily set at 95% of the London Living Wage (as determined by the Living Wage Foundation).“We do not believe that it is an authoritative measure.”The Principal Bursar of St John’s, Prof Andrew Parker, said: “St John’s is committed to meeting and paying the expectations of the living wage as set by the Living Wage Foundation each year.“Given the College’s stated commitment to following the living wage, we do not see that seeking accreditation will make an effective difference to our staff.”Oxford Student Union said: “Oxford SU believes that people should be paid enough to live decently, and the best way to ensure this is to support a Living Wage. Oxford SU believes that employees of the University and its Colleges should be paid the real Living Wage.”Cherwell sent FOI requests to 33 Oxford colleges and received 23 replies.St Anne’s did not reply to a request for comment and Oxford University declined to comment.
THE Bakers’ Benevolent Society is holding its first Mid-Summer Ball at the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London on June 22. The event starts with a champagne reception, followed by a five-course banquet and then dancing to a live band. Tickets cost £100 per person or £900 per table of 10.Contact Sue Aley on 01992 575951 for further details of the ball or to reserve your table.
A Texas woman named Faith A. Rodgers filed a lawsuit against R. Kelly in a Manhattan court on Monday. According to the New York Times, the suit alleges sexual battery, false imprisonment, and failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease.The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims that Rodgers met the 51-year-old R&B star after a concert in San Antonio last March when she was 19. The two remained in contact over the phone for a few months before Kelly flew her to New York City, where the suit alleges he “initiated unwanted sexual contact” such as “non-consensual oral and vaginal intercourse” in a hotel room. The suit also alleges that Kelly did not tell Rodgers he was infected with herpes and she contracted the disease (failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease is a criminal act).Rodgers claims that she continued her relationship with Keller for roughly a year, during which he “routinely engaged in intimidation, mental, verbal and sexual abuse, during and after sexual contact.” Rodgers contends that it was “behavior designed to humiliate, embarrass, intimate and shame her,” and that Kelly regularly recorded her without her consent during sex. She added that he often kept her locked in secluded areas as a form of punishment and control.“Unfortunately, the facts and background of this case are not unique,” the lawsuit says. “This is a run-of-the-mill R. Kelly sexual abuse case.”Rodgers filed an anonymous police report against Kelly in Dallas last month, but her identity wasn’t revealed until she filed the lawsuit on Monday. Rodgers’ lawyer, S. Lee Merrit, told the New York Times that legal action was taken Texas and New York because incidents occurred in both states. Representatives for R. Kelly and his label RCA Records did not respond to requests for comment.Monday’s lawsuit highlights the latest accusations against R. Kelly, who has been accused of sexually abusing and coercing women in what amounts to a “sex cult.” In recent weeks, numerous members of the singer’s inner circle have cut ties with him, and Spotify and Apple Music have limited access to his music.[H/T – Billboard]
Show Closed This production ended its run on June 21, 2015 Skylight Nighy has performed in Hare’s Pravda, Map of the World, a previous production of Skylight and a Broadway mounting of the playwright’s The Vertical Hour. His many film credits include Love Actually, Wild Target, Pirate Radio, Valkyrie, AKA, Notes on a Scandal, Underworld, The Constant Gardner, Lawless Heart, Still Crazy, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and About Time. View Comments Skylight tells the story of a teacher, Kyra Hollis (Mulligan), who receives an unexpected visit from her former lover Tom Sergeant (Nighy) and his son Edward, played by Matthew Beard, who is making his stage debut. Related Shows Mulligan is making her West End stage debut in Skylight. She earned an Oscar nod for An Education and also appeared in Inside Llewyn Davis, The Great Gatsby, Drive, Never Let Me Go, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Brothers, Pride and Prejudice, My Boy Jack, When Did You Last See Your Father? and Public Enemies. She made her Broadway debut in The Seagull in 2008. We told you this show was one to watch! The West End revival of David Hare’s Skylight, starring Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy, is aiming for Broadway. According to the New York Post, the play will probably transfer to the Great White Way in spring 2015. Directed by Tony winner and Oscar nominee Stephen Daldry, Skylight is currently playing an acclaimed limited engagement at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre through August 23.
Many people enjoy the beautiful colors that mark the beginning of fall, but the reason why the leaves put on this show and start falling from the trees is often overlooked or misunderstood. Leaf colorDuring the spring and summer, trees are constantly producing a type of sugar called glucose through photosynthesis — the process plants use to turn water, carbon dioxide and sunlight into food. The trees store this glucose in the tree as a stored energy source for winter. They collect this sugar by breaking down the chlorphyll in their leaves. The chlorophyll in a tree’s leaves captures light and makes photosynthesis possible. It also gives plants their green color. There are other pigments in leaves but they are asked by the chlorophyll and the green hue prevails. During the fall and winter, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the trees shut down their food-making factories. As chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down, the green color begins to disappear. The veins that transport fluids from the tree branches to the leaves begin to close, and a layer of cells forms to clog the veins. This action traps different pigments — anthocyanins and carotenoids— in the leaves, resulting in the brilliant fall colors. Anthocyanins contain red and purple hues while Carotenoids exhibit orange, yellow and brown hues. Timing and color variation of leaf change depend on the tree species. Sourwood leaves often change color and fall off while most other species are still green. Oaks tend to be the last to change color. The exact color that each tree displays is dependent on the amount and types of pigment contained in its leaves. Oaks usually turn red or brown; poplars turn golden yellow; dogwoods turn purple-red; and maples have varying colors depending on the type. Temperature, light and water are the primary factors that influence the duration of fall color and how vibrant the colors appear. For example, low temperatures will produce red hues in maple due to Anthocyanin production. Decreased sunlight, from overcast days, can actually increase the intensity of fall color. Adequate soil moisture also seems to have an effect on color change. Drought conditions throughout the summer can delay the onset of fall color and lessen its intensity. Early frosts tend to decrease the amount of colors displayed. Rainy days and cool nights tend to produce the best fall colors. Falling leavesAfter the leaves put on their annual show — it’s time to get out the rake.Leaves fall because the veins that supply nutrients to the leaves close in the fall. Without nutrients or moisture, deciduous tree leaves drop from the tree.Deciduous trees drop their leaves as protection against cold temperatures. Leaves are the tender parts of the tree and are susceptible to freeze damage. Most deciduous leaves are fairly delicate, so dropping them minimizes cold damage to the trees. An exception to the deciduous tree rule is the oak tree. Oak leaves do not detach until new growth emerges in the spring. Evergreen trees, like pines and spruce, keep their leaves or needles because their leaves have a wax-like coating that can survive through several seasons before being shed for new growth. For more information on ornamental tree selection for landscapes, see the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences publication site at www.caes.uga.edu/publications.