Tag: 西湖阁论坛外网

French World Cup glory costs China firm Sh903mn

first_img0Shares0000The total payout to customers who bought the ‘Championship Package’ of selected products will amount to nearly $12 million © AFP / Adrian DENNISSHANGHAI, China, Jul 30 – A Chinese kitchen appliance maker said Monday it has so far made refunds worth Sh903mn (9mn USD), fulfilling a costly pledge to reimburse customers if France won the World Cup.Vatti, one of the French team’s sponsors, is coughing up after Didier Deschamps’ side beat Croatia 4-2 in the final in Moscow a fortnight ago. According to Vatti’s latest figures, the Chinese firm has made refunds — either in cash or gift cards — of more than 62 million yuan.And the cost to Vatti of the success of “Les Bleus” does not stop there, with a portion of refunds still outstanding.The total payout over the marketing stunt will amount to nearly $12 million.Vatti, founded in 1992, promised before the World Cup to refund customers who bought their “Championship Package” of selected products if France lifted the trophy.Vatti stock dived as France made their way through the tournament, but the firm is publicly sanguine.“The amount to repay could be very significant, but it was included in our annual budget. It will not have huge consequences on the company,” Wang Zhaozhao, a Vatti representative, previously told the China Securities Journal.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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County cops wanted

first_imgAn inability to recruit and retain qualified deputies has contributed to a recent spate of jailhouse murders and growing response times to emergency calls, sheriff’s union officials charged Friday. While the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has hired 584 people since it began a renewed recruitment campaign in July, it has lost a similar number to surrounding law enforcement agencies and to retirement. The department has about 8,150 sworn officers – 1,100 fewer than budgeted. The department is losing about 430 officers a year, including 100 to 150 who take jobs at other law enforcement agencies, said Steve Remige, president of the 7,000-member Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. In his last semiannual report, Special Counsel Merrick Bobb wrote that the department’s recruitment and hiring challenges are a result of unprecedented attrition, increased demand for law enforcement personnel throughout Southern California and a higher than normal number of retirements. In March 2002, the department had about 9,000 sworn officers. As a result of budget cuts during the recession and a three-year hiring freeze, the department lost about 1,000 officers. The department now faces significant challenges to rebuild its force including stiff competition from local police agencies offering higher pay and superior retirement benefits, Bobb wrote. Those agencies are actively courting sheriff’s deputies with signing bonuses, new equipment and promises they will not have to work in the jails. After they are hired, deputies spend an average of five to eight years working in the jails before getting a patrol job at a sheriff’s station, Remige said. That’s up from an average of one to two years when Remige joined the department in 1979. “Supervisor (Michael D.) Antonovich urges the sheriff to revisit the practice of placing new deputies in the jails for extended periods of time and to work with the rank and file to determine how best to make the department as attractive as possible for recruits who are beginning a law enforcement career,” Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell said. Remige also said he blames the Board of Supervisors’ decision to cut $200 million from the department’s budget in the past three years for the understaffing, which he said has contributed to eight inmate murders in two years at Men’s Central Jail. “We are paying for the mistakes of the past when the majority of the Board of Supervisors cut the sheriff’s funding,” Bell said. “We’re paying for that because the sheriff was not able to recruit and train deputies and he had to close the academy.” But Baca said the increase in jailhouse slayings is a result in a variety of factors. “A lot of it is because of the faulty design of the old jail,” Baca said. “It’s also decisions made in the classification system and an antiquated jail system that is labor intensive.” Remige also said he’s received anecdotal reports from deputies that it’s taking them longer to respond to calls for service, especially in unincorporated parts of the county in the Antelope Valley and elsewhere. Sheriff’s Department response-time reports show that the time it takes for a deputy to respond to a call have been increasing countywide since the supervisors slashed the department’s budget in 2002. The reports show it took an average of 4.8 minutes to respond to an emergency call in sheriff’s contract cities in 2002 – rising to 5 minutes this year. Emergency call response times in unincorporated areas rose from 6.2 minutes in 2002 to 6.4 minutes this year. Priority calls in contract cities went from 9 minutes in 2002 to 11.1 minutes this year and similar calls in unincorporated areas rose from 10.7 minutes to 12.9 minutes. In those years, routine calls in contract cities increased from 37.6 minutes to 42.9 minutes and in unincorporated areas from 40.7 minutes to 49.9 minutes. — Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985 troy.anderson@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake “We’ve had a net gain of 20 people,” Remige said. “If they are planning on hiring 1,100 deputies, and we’re only hiring an additional 20 a year, it’s going to take (55 years).” But Sheriff Lee Baca said he expects to hire 1,000 deputies next year for a net gain of about 600. “The hiring is not the problem,” Baca said. “It’s the fact that we have people who are retiring and leaving to work closer to home and it takes a while to get things moving in the right direction. “The Board of Supervisors have given us substantial funds in order to provide the necessary services. It also involves constant adjusting of overtime to fill vacancies to extend jail services, patrol services, as well as detectives.” Because of the staffing shortage, the department expects to spend a record $160 million on overtime this fiscal year for jail and patrol deputies to work multiple shifts.last_img read more

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News in brief: Chelsea youngsters to face Leeds, Lumley loan move

first_imgFA Youth CupHolders Chelsea will travel to Leeds United in the third round after the draw was made on Friday. The Blues defeated Fulham over two legs in last season’s final to lift the trophy for the third time in five years.QPR will visit Birmingham City, Fulham will be away to one of Crewe Alexandra, Abbey Hey or York City, while Brentford travel to Hull.Wealdstone could entertain Everton at The Vale, but will first have to overcome Stevenage in the second round. The third-round ties will be played by Saturday 20 December.Joe LumleyThe young QPR goalkeeper has joined Morecambe on a one-month youth loan. It will be Lumley’s second spell in League Two this season – he played five times at Accrington Stanley. The 19-year-old will be at the Globe Arena until 8 December and could make his debut in Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Dover Athletic.Michael HarrimanQPR’s 21-year-old full-back has had his loan at Luton Town extended for a further month. Harriman will now be with the Hatters until 6 December and is eligible for the FA Cup.Kit SymonsThe Fulham boss has missed out on the Championship manager of the month award for October, which was won by Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe.UxbridgeFormer Northwood and Harrow Borough striker Jon-Jo Bates, 23, has joined the club from Burnham.HarlequinsWing Aseli Tikoirotuma has been named to start at outside-centre for Fiji against France on Saturday, in the first of their autumn internationals.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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Darwin vs. the Fossils

first_imgWhat could be more iconic to evolution than dinosaurs and the horse series?  Museums often display skeletons of these animals as proof of evolution.  The real story told in scientific papers is often very different.  Two recent studies present major, serious challenges to Darwin’s theory.Horse series:  The old straight-line chart of horse evolution from a small dog-like animal to the modern thoroughbred is out.  Othniel Charles Marsh and Thomas Henry Huxley in the 1870s were possessed of a vision of straight-line evolution known as orthogenesis.  The iconic series presented in museums and textbooks has long been known to be erroneous.  Most evolutionists today realize that Darwin’s theory does not call for a single progressive line of descent, but rather a branching tree or bush.  Still, if Darwin’s theory is true, gradualism should prevail, with numerous intermediate forms progressing from ancestors to descendents.  Darwin himself taught that “Natural selection acts only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a great and sudden leap.”  Then came a paper in PNAS this week.1    A team of 22 international researchers led by Ludovic Orlando of the University of Lyon in France did one of the first-ever comprehensive comparisons of ancient DNA (aDNA) from fossil equids (including horses, donkeys and zebras).  These specimens came from 4 continents.  The results were so shocking, they call for an almost complete overhaul of the horse series.  For one thing, they concluded that many specimens relegated to separate species are actually variations on the same species.  For another, they found that for evolution to be true there had to be sudden bursts of diversification – Cambrian-like explosions within the horse family – contrary to Darwin’s prohibition of great and sudden leaps.  Here’s how they began:The rich fossil record of the family Equidae (Mammalia: Perissodactyla) over the past 55 MY has made it an icon for the patterns and processes of macroevolution.  Despite this, many aspects of equid phylogenetic relationships and taxonomy remain unresolved.  Recent genetic analyses of extinct equids have revealed unexpected evolutionary patterns and a need for major revisions at the generic, subgeneric, and species levels.  To investigate this issue we examine 35 ancient equid specimens from four geographic regions (South America, Europe, Southwest Asia, and South Africa), of which 22 delivered 87?688 bp of reproducible aDNA mitochondrial sequence.  Phylogenetic analyses support a major revision of the recent evolutionary history of equids and reveal two new species, a South American hippidion and a descendant of a basal lineage potentially related to Middle Pleistocene equids.  Sequences from specimens assigned to the giant extinct Cape zebra, Equus capensis, formed a separate clade within the modern plain zebra species, a phenotypicically [sic] plastic group that also included the extinct quagga.  In addition, we revise the currently recognized extinction times for two hemione-related equid groups.  However, it is apparent that the current dataset cannot solve all of the taxonomic and phylogenetic questions relevant to the evolution of Equus.  In light of these findings, we propose a rapid DNA barcoding approach to evaluate the taxonomic status of the many Late Pleistocene fossil Equidae species that have been described from purely morphological analyses.What they are saying is that the horse series had been built on morphological analyses – comparing the outward features of skeletons.  The molecular data they studied (ancient DNA) doesn’t match up.  They spoke of “explosive diversification” twice in the introduction, and then “rapid radiation” once for horses and another time for elephants and bears.  The only time they mentioned “gradual” was to debunk it: “The original linear model of gradual modification of fox-sized animals (Hyracothere horses) to the modern forms has been replaced by a more complex tree, showing periods of explosive diversification and branch extinctions over 55 MY” [million years].  Similarly, the only instance of the word “transition” connotes another bang: “The end of the Early Miocene (15?20 MYA) marks a particularly important transition, separating an initial phase of small leafy browsers from a second phase of more diverse animals, exhibiting tremendous body-size plasticity and modifications in tooth morphology.  This explosive diversification has been accompanied by several stages of geographic extension from North America to the rest of the New and Old Worlds.”  What this means is that these animals appeared in the fossil record suddenly without the gradual transitions Darwin expected, then appeared quickly all over the world.    They tried nonetheless to put the data into an evolutionary tree.  What resulted was confusion, disjunction, and irresolution.  Sample quote: “The lack of resolution is complicated by the short divergence time among caballines and New World horses (circa 0.5 MY; nodes A and B/B1/B2; Table S4) and the lack of a close outgroup, as has been noted with mammoths (30, 31).  When the rhino was used as an outgroup, the data were RY coded to reduce possible mutation saturation artifacts resulting from this the deep divergence (55 MYA), but this removed support for most nodes.”  Not only that, their best fit was at odds with previous theories.  This quote gives the feel of their frustration:According to our molecular dating estimates, the different equid lineages (hippidiforms, NWSL, caballines, and noncaballines) originated 3.7?4.3 MYA (95% confidence range: 2.8?6.2 MYA; Table S4).  This directly contrasts with classical palaeontological models of hippidiform origins as descendants of the Pliohippines (divergence time with the Equus lineage ~10 MYA) (19) or as a lineage diverging from a (Dinohippus, Astrohippus, and Equus) clade ~7?8 MYA (32), and considerably reduces the time gap between the supposed divergence of the hippidiform lineages and their first appearance in the fossil record 2.5 MYA (20).They had to leave resolution of these and other problems to future research.  Here’s one of their main take-home lessons: paleontologists have been too quick to split specimens into different groups.  The DNA data are showing that equids that appear morphologically different are really just variations of the same kinds.  Their final paragraph showed that their bombshell discovery could have impacts on many other evolutionary trees – including those of human ancestors:This pattern of taxonomic oversplitting does not appear to be restricted to equids but is widespread amongst other Quaternary megafauna [e.g., Late Pleistocene bison (49); Holarctic cave lions (50); New World brown bears (51), and ratite moas (52, 53)].  Together, these findings suggest that the morphological plasticity of large terrestrial vertebrates across space and time has generally been underestimated, opening the way to detailed studies of the environmental, ecological, and epigenetic factors involved.  Interestingly, in this regard the human lineage shows a rich fossil record over the last 6 MY, spreading over seven possible genera and 22 species (54).  The exact number of taxonomic groups that should be recognized is still debated, even within our own genus (55), and in this context it is pertinent to consider the degree of taxonomic oversplitting, from species to generic levels, that aDNA has revealed amongst Late Pleistocene equids and other megafauna.  A further important implication of this finding is that the number of megafaunal extinctions and loss of taxonomic diversity from the Pleistocene to modern day may not have been nearly as large as previously thought, at least at the species or subspecies level.  Conversely, at the molecular level, aDNA studies on a wide range of large mammal taxa (49, 50, 56, 57) have revealed that the loss of genetic diversity over this time period has been much larger than previously recognized with major implications for the conservation biology of surviving populations (58).non-sequitur to link this story to current climate debates.  At best, it is a distraction from the point of the article.Dinosaurs:  Maybe Darwin’s gradualism can be rescued with dinosaur fossils.  Not so; PhysOrg reported, “Fossils shake dinosaur family tree.”  A well-preserved fossil found in New Mexico, named Tawa after a Hopi sun god, is generating a similar song and dance we just saw for the horse series: “…an interesting fact about dinosaur evolution: once they appeared, they very rapidly diversified into the three main dinosaur lineages that persisted for more than 170 million years.”    The operative word is appeared.  This leaves important questions begging: appeared how and from what?  Darwin’s theory of common descent wants answers.  The new fossil is roughly similar to Herrerasaurus, considered by some to be the putative ancestor of the dinosaurs.  But Herrerasaurus is shown by its resemblance to Tawa to be a theropod.  In short, a fully-formed theropod “appeared” followed by an explosive appearance of all three main dinosaur types, which changed little for 170 million years in the evolutionary timeline.  Here’s how Sterling Nesbitt (U of Texas at Austin) explained it: “Tawa pulls Herrerasaurus into the theropod lineage, so that means all three lineages are present in South America pretty much as soon as dinosaurs evolved.”  This has to include the lumbering sauropods with their bird-hips and the carnivorous monster theropods with their lizard-hips; and what about the marine reptiles and pterosaurs?  They, too, “appeared” as from nowhere.    Another complication about Tawa is what it suggests about the source location of the missing ancestor, and how the descendents migrated.  At the New Mexico site, “Tawa skeletons were found beside two other theropod dinosaurs from around the same period,” the article continued.  “Nesbitt noted that each of the three is more closely related to a known dinosaur from South America than they are to each other.  This suggests these three species each descended from a separate lineage in South America, rather than all evolving from a local ancestor, and then later dispersed to North America and other parts of the supercontinent Pangaea.  It also suggests there were multiple dispersals out of South America.”  Positing three ancestral lines solves little; it multiplies the missing-ancestor problem threefold.    More on Tawa was reported by Nature News.  Jeanna Bryner at Live Science put a positive spin on the story, claiming, “Geographic Origin of Dinosaurs Pinned Down.”  She even put imaginary feathers (06/13/2007) on the critter: “Like Velociraptor, the dinosaur was likely covered with feather-like structures and sported claws and serrated teeth for snagging prey.”  If the ancestor if this creature crawled like a crocodile or amphibian, that’s a pretty dramatic overhaul in the body shop.  And what happened to the lumbering sauropods, if this is close to the ancestor of all dinosaurs?  It already looks like an advanced theropod.  Bryner did not explain how these dramatic changes in morphology occurred by an evolutionary process.  She only suggested that climate was a factor: “They think the answer is climate.  For some reason, only the carnivorous dinosaurs found temperatures in North America to be hospitable, the researchers suggest.”  (Note that her venue is Live Science, not Live Speculation.)    This month in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, the multiple-PhD creationist Dr. Jerry Bergman examined the issue of dinosaur evolution.2  He showed that the ancestry of dinosaurs is a hodgepodge of speculation without evidence.  He demonstrated this for the whole dinosaur clade, then specifically for the ceratopsids (like Triceratops) and the tyrannosaurids (like T. rex).  The picture, he said, is one of abrupt appearance, stasis, and extinction.  “Over 30 million dinosaur bones and parts, some in excellent states of preservation, have been identified, and although much speculation exists, not a single documented plausible direct ancestor has yet been located,” he said.  “All known dinosaurs appear fully formed in the fossil record.”  The news appears to confirm that picture.    Science Daily’s write-up contained this illustration of how evolutionary speculation operates: “Based on an analysis of the relationships among Tawa and other early dinosaurs, the researchers hypothesize that dinosaurs originated in a part of Pangea that is now South America, diverging into theropods (like Tyrannosaurus rex), sauropodomorphs (like Apatosaurus) and ornithischians (like Triceratops); and then dispersed more than 220 million years ago across parts of Pangea that later became separate continents.”  No basis for the analysis was given – other than a prior belief in evolution.  The artist reconstruction of Tawa looks nothing like an Apatosaurus or Triceratops.  The article did not mention any physical evidence of an ancestor or a location for it.  It did not mention any plausible way for a putative ancestor to “originate” or “diverge” into three very different body types.  Yet, somehow, this fossil “provides fantastic insight into the evolution of the skeleton of the first carnivorous dinosaurs” the article claimed.  As for causes for these changes, the study attributed all the evolution to climate and the missing ancestor’s ability to move around.  No evolutionary or genetic theory was defended, and no fossils were presented to support the “hypothesizing”  Dittos for the short write-up in National Geographic, which partly funded the research.  It claims the new fossil “boosts the theory” that dinosaurs “arose” then “diversified into three lineages and migrated out to the rest of the world, scientists say.”  If anyone in any other field, or a dad telling his children a bedtime story, invoked such evidence-free speculation, would it be called science?  The BBC News even allowed a scientist to state, without confrontation, that this fossil “filled a gap in the fossil record”.As icons for Darwinian evolution, it appears that horses and dinosaurs are not pulling their weight.  To show this is not an isolated problem, two other articles this week proclaim the same anti-gradualistic theme of abrupt appearance.  A press release from Howard Hughes Medical Institute Dec. 10 talked about experiments on stickleback fish.  “Biologists have been debating since Darwin’s time about whether evolution can proceed in a single large step or if numerous, individually minor changes are necessary.” the press release said.  “The new study, reported in the December 10, 2009, issue of Science Express and led by HHMI investigator David Kingsley of Stanford University, provides evidence that evolution can leap rather than shuffle.”  Even so, the article is primarily about gene loss and alterations in the regulation of existing genes – not the increases in genetic information that molecules-to-man evolution would require.  The best they could characterize the study was, “we are getting the first tantalizing glimpses of how new variants arise.”  Call back when you can see clearly.    Finally, Ken Smith reported for Nature News that “New species evolve in bursts.”  PhysOrg waxed even more dramatic, saying “Evolution may take giant leaps.”  What’s this about?  Mark Pagel compared four models of speciation, using “more than 100 species groups from the animal and plant kingdoms, including bumblebees, turtles, foxes and roses.”  His analysis refutes the “Red Queen” hypothesis of gradual, steady evolution, instead suggesting that “New species might arise as a result of single rare events, rather than through the gradual accumulation of many small changes over time, according to a study of thousands of species and their evolutionary family trees.”  Though a staunch evolutionist himself, Pagel realized how anti-Darwinian his feather-ruffling conclusion is: “It really goes against the grain because most of us have this Darwinian view of speciation,” he said.  “What we’re saying is that to think about natural selection as the cause of speciation is perhaps wrong.”    Maybe the new motto of the evolutionists should be, “One small step for a model; one giant leap for evolution.”  Or is that a leap of faith?1.  Orlando et al, “Revising the recent evolutionary history of equids using ancient DNA,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published December 9, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0903672106.2.  Available to the public in PDF at CRS.  Bergman, Jerry, “The Evolution of Dinosaurs: Much Conjecture, Little Evidence,” Creation Research Society Quarterly (Vol. 46, No. 2), Fall 2009.Single rare events – could that include something like six days of creation?  After all, the Darwinians are asking us to believe in miracles, anyway (sudden “giant leaps”, and animals that “arise” out of nowhere).  While Darwin is mumbling pathetically, with tears in his beard, let’s think about what the fossil evidence is telling us.(Visited 53 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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No hitch in seat-sharing: Uddhav

first_imgStating that the Shiv Sena’s alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was strong as ever, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said that the seat-sharing arrangements for the Assembly elections had already been decided.“We have satisfactorily sorted out the seat-sharing arrangements. The media need not worry about it at this moment. They will come to know at the right time,” he said, adding that all parties in the BJP-Sena ‘Mahayuti’ would be satisfactorily accommodated in the arrangement.Mr. Thackeray further said that the Sena’s demand for the post of the Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha ought not to be misconstrued as ‘disgruntlement’ on its part.“The Sena does not believe in doing anything by sly means…Expressing a wish or demanding something by rights [Deputy Speaker’s post] does not mean that we are upset with the BJP. We have made this alliance [with the BJP] on the principles of Hindutva, not for the sake of merely securing two or four union cabinet berths,” Mr. Thackeray remarked.Rebuking the opposition, the Sena chief drily remarked that he had no wish to participate in “the disappointment of those hoping for a rift” within the ‘Mahayuti’.Quashing suggestions of any disaffection with the BJP, he said, “Now that everything between the two parties is going fine, we will ensure that this alliance remains firm.” Mr. Thackeray emphasized his point by stating that he was satisfied with the Sena being only one berth in the cabinet.Sena MP Arvind Sawant is the lone MP to be given the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise Ministry portfolio.When asked whether he would be touring drought-hit areas in the State, Mr. Thackeray said that the term ‘drought tour’ was a misnomer.“Let us hope that this drought is on its last legs… Our [BJP-Sena] government’s aim has not been to provide empty succor to the afflicted but to ensure that the farmers and locals are well-provided in terms of fodder and food. I think the government has done its best to ameliorate the plight of the drought-afflicted,” he said.Mr. Thackeray announced that he, along with Aditya Thackeray, planned to visit and review the situation in afflicted areas in western Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha this Sunday.Earlier in the day, the Sena president received a rousing welcome by local Shiv Sainiks as he landed in Kolhapur.Mr. Thackeray, his wife Rashmi and son, Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray prayed at the Mahalaxmi Temple in Kolhapur with the party’s newly-elected MPs to celebrate the BJP-Sena’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections. 16 of the 18 newly-elected Sena MPs were present on the occasion. Also present was senior BJP leader and State Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil.“It was the late Balasaheb’s [Bal Thackeray] dream that the MP from Kolhapur should be from the Shiv Sena. Today, the people of Kolhapur have helped realize that dream by electing Sena MPs from both the Lok Sabha constituencies in the district and I am grateful to them,” Mr. Thackeray said.last_img read more

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Workshop to Highlight Changes to Environmental Management Standards

first_imgThe National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ) will be conducting an awareness session and workshop to highlight changes and revisions made to environmental requirement standards under which companies, manufacturers and exporters must operate.The session, which is scheduled for Wednesday, June 5, at the Bureau of Standards, 6 Winchester Road, Kingston, will specifically address the International Standardization Organization/International Electrotechnical Commission(ISO/IEC) 17021-2 Competence Requirements and the revision made to the ISO 14001:2015 Standard.Manager of the NCBJ, Jacqueline Scott-Brown, explained that the event will target ISO 14001 certified company representatives, environmental expert advisors and practitioners, technical experts, exporters, project managers and environmental management system auditors, who have to conform to these standards.She pointed out that the revision to the ISO 14001 will come into effect 2015 therefore, persons need to become familiar with the terms and conditions of the amended requirements.Turning to the ISO/IEC 17021-2 Competence Requirements, Mrs. Scott-Brown explained that this is an upgrade to the standard for auditing and certification of the environmental management system.“The requirement standards have been revised to make it easier for companies to better understand the underlying principles in relation to the environment such as waste management control, energy use and pollution prevention,” she noted.She urged persons to ensure that their activities, products, services, location and method of distribution reflect the new changes as this can allow them to expand their market reach and become globally competitive.The mandate of the NCBJ is to provide affordable certification to small, medium and large organizations in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.It actively promotes the international certification of management systems among Jamaican small and medium firms in particular, with the objective of these entities gaining international acceptance and quality standards.For more information on the upcoming session and the work of the NCBJ, persons may call 619-1131, 632-4275 or send email to: ncbj@bsj.org.jm.Contact: Kadian Brownlast_img read more

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Netflixs content streaming obligations grew by US

first_imgNetflix’s content streaming obligations grew by US$1.6 billion (€1.25 billion) in the first nine months of 2014, due to multi-year commitments linked to its latest European launches and the expansion of its original programming efforts.In its latest quarterly report, filed yesterday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Netflix said that its streaming content obligations had grown from US$7.3 billion as of December 31, 2013 to US$8.9 billion as of September 30, 2014.“A streaming content obligation is incurred at the time we enter into an agreement to obtain future titles,” said Netflix, explaining that certain agreements include the obligation to license rights for unknown future titles – “the ultimate quantity and/or fees for which are not yet determinable.”In its domestic streaming segment, Netflix recorded a US$91.3 million year-on-year increase in domestic streaming cost of revenues in Q3, which it said was primarily due to a US$71.2 million increase in content expenses relating to existing and new streaming content, including more exclusive and original programming.Streaming delivery expenses increased by US$12.8 million and other costs, such as payment processing fees and customer service call centres, increased $7.3 million due to Netflix’s growing member base, the company said.In its international segment, Netflix reported a similar US$82.1 million year-on-year increase in cost of revenues for the quarter. It said this was due to a US$66.4 million increase in content expenses and US$15.7 million more in streaming delivery expenses.“Our primary uses of cash include content acquisition and licensing, streaming delivery, marketing programs and payroll,” said Neflix in the filing.“We expect to continue to make significant investments in streaming content, including original content. We also expect to significantly increase our investments in international expansion.“Payment terms for certain content agreements require more upfront cash payments relative to the expense and therefore, future investments could impact our liquidity,” it warned.Elsewhere, Netflix said that a potential loss in ongoing legal action is “reasonably possible,” although the amount of such possible loss or a range of potential loss is “reasonably estimable.”Netflix is being sued by a group of shareholders, who allege that Netflix executives caused the company to buy back stock at “artificially inflated prices to the detriment of the company and its shareholders while contemporaneously selling personally held company stock.”Overall, in Q3, Netflix reported that domestic streaming revenues grew 25% year-on-year to US$877 million, while international revenue grew 89% to $346 million – both were in line with forecasts. Net income came in at US$59 million, up from US$32 million for the same quarter last year. However, Netflix added fewer new customers than it had previously predicted.last_img read more

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