The Liberal Democrats have published a manifesto w

first_imgThe Liberal Democrats have published a manifesto which – of the five main parties covering both England and Wales – appears to offer the most extensive series of proposals around disability rights.Among them are pledges to formally recognise British Sign Language (BSL) as an official UK language, and to enact the remaining unimplemented clauses of Labour’s Equality Act 2010, including the provisions on discrimination by taxis and private hire vehicles.Possibly the most eye-catching is that the party will “aim for the goal” of bringing together disability benefits and social care – including personal independence payment, employment and support allowance, a “replacement for the Independent Living Fund” and health and social care funding – into a single pot of funding, offering disabled people “one assessment, one budget” for all their needs.On social care, the party promises to end the practice of care workers being forced to rush from one job to the next; to “provide more choice at the end of life”, such as having the choice to die at home rather than in hospital; and to offer free end-of-life social care, if it is “affordable and cost effective”.Like the Conservatives, Greens, Labour and UKIP, the Liberal Democrats want to integrate the NHS and social care systems, but seem to be alone in suggesting a target date – of 2018 – for full pooling of budgets between health and care services.Full responsibility for social care would shift to the Department of Health, while a Liberal Democrat government would commission a “fundamental review” of NHS and social care funding in 2015.The Liberal Democrat manifesto also has a significant focus on mental health, through its “equal care for mental health” pledge.Among its mental health policies, it would ensure people with mental health problems “get the help they need to stay in or find work”, while it would continue the government’s support for the Time to Change anti-stigma programme.A string of welfare reform policies that would impact on disabled people include a promise to devolve support to local areas through a “reformed and improved” Work Programme, in partnership with local authorities and the Welsh and Scottish governments, and ensure better support for those furthest from the labour market, which would include many disabled people.It also pledges to improve links between jobcentres, Work Programme providers and the local NHS, to “ensure all those in receipt of health-related benefits are getting the care and support to which they are entitled”.It says it must continue to find “savings” in the welfare budget, but that its priority would be to tackle the causes of rising social security bills, such as high rents, low pay, sickness and unemployment.One cut would come from a one per cent cap on annual increases in working-age benefits, which would apply for the first three years of the next parliament.Although the party says it would exclude disability benefits from this cap – including personal independence payment (PIP) – it has confirmed that this protection would not extend to the main component of employment and support allowance (ESA), or the work-related activity top-up component of ESA, but only to the ESA support group top-up.Other social security pledges include a review of the work capability assessment and the PIP eligibility test, to ensure they are “fair, accurate and timely”.The party also holds out the possibility of scrapping the controversial use of private sector companies such as Atos, Capita and Maximus to carry out assessments, and replacing them with a public sector provider.There is also a pledge to review benefit sanctions procedures in jobcentres, ensuring there are no “league tables or targets”, and introducing a “yellow card” warning system so claimants are only sanctioned if they “deliberately and repeatedly break the rules”.And the party promises to clear the backlog of PIP assessments, “simplify and streamline” back-to-work support for disabled people, and “seek” to expand the Access to Work programme.As part of pledges on the coalition’s spare room subsidy removal policy – known by most campaigners and opposition MPs as the bedroom tax – the manifesto promises to ensure that all disabled people receive housing benefit for an extra room if they need one.The party would also ensure that all existing social tenants do not have their housing benefit reduced until they have been offered “reasonable alternative accommodation”, while disabled tenants whose homes have been “substantially adapted” will also not see their housing benefit reduced.The party promises to make parliament “more family-friendly”, including a review that would “pave the way for MP jobsharing arrangements”, which many disabled campaigners believe would make it easier for disabled people to enter parliament as part-time, job-share MPs.The manifesto also says that a Liberal Democrat government would encourage employers to shortlist all suitably qualified disabled candidates for jobs, and provide employers with advice on workplace adaptations, as well as copying across the public sector the Civil Service programme that offers accelerated progress through the ranks for under-represented groups, such as disabled people.On access, the party pledges to make more stations wheelchair-accessible and give wheelchair-users priority over children’s buggies when space is limited – a high-profile issue for many disabled people travelling on buses – and improve access to public transport for people with visual and hearing impairments.It also promises to produce a new standard for benchmarking the accessibility of cities, and to improve legislation on blue parking badges.The Liberal Democrats also say they would ensure “proper monitoring” of disability hate crime by police forces and other public bodies.And they promise to ensure that the government’s push for its “transactional” services to become “digital by default” does not leave some people behind, by “upholding the highest standards of accessibility in digital services and maintaining government programmes on digital inclusion”.The manifesto also says the party would review the impact of the coalition’s cuts and reforms to disabled student’s allowance, to “consider additional protections for the most vulnerable” disabled students, and ensure all disabled students receive “appropriate support”.Kelly-Marie Blundell (pictured), the disabled Liberal Democrat candidate for Guildford and a leading member of the Liberal Democrat Disability Association (LDDA), said she was pleased to see policies that she and other LDDA members had worked on make it into the manifesto.These include the commitment to recognise BSL as an official language, to take further action on disability hate crime, and to work towards reviewing and simplifying disability benefits, “including the assessments which have caused so many problems since Labour introduced them”. She said: “Protecting disability benefits from proposed cuts and limits on year-on-year increases will help a lot of people on low income, but also moving employment support to local councils, an area which I led on nationally, will help people with disabilities be best placed to find the right provisions and help to find work.“Protecting the Human Rights Act is vital to ensuring people with disabilities are protected in society, and strengthening resources to tackle disability hate crime, are also important inclusions.”She said she would have liked to have seen more of a commitment in the manifesto to incentivise companies to adapt workplaces for disabled people and to take them on as employees.She said: “All too often there are huge barriers in employing people with disabilities, and only through incentivising companies to get involved will we redress this inequality.” She added: “I’d also like to see more on disabled access to public transport, an area which is poorly provided for across the country, to level the playing-field for thousands of people with mobility problems.”Another disabled candidate, Loraine Birchall, who is standing for the Liberal Democrats in Carlisle, said she was pleased to see a commitment to creating jobcentre “complex case teams”, for benefit claimants who face greater challenges in returning to work or who may never be able to work.    And she welcomed the Liberal Democrat pledge to publish a disability and health employment green paper, working closely with service-users and third sector organisations.She also praised the manifesto’s focus on mental health, including the promise of equality of access to treatment.last_img read more

Kickstarter campaign to turn the Womens Building mural into a book

first_img 0% Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% The Women’s Building is looking to turn the Maestrapeace murals into a book. Angela Davis will write the opening essay of a book that will immortalize the mural.“If we can get 2000 people to give $25 each, we’ll reach our goal” of $50,000, according to campaign organizers.  It doesn’t sound so hard at all.And here is your link to the Kickstarter campaign. last_img

Was Apollo 11 a Beginning or an End

first_imgThe plan seemed preposterous. John F. Kennedy was just 43 years old, and he’d been president of the United States for just four months—a rough four months. So far, his attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro had ended in quick and utter disaster at the Bay of Pigs, and the Soviet Union had beaten the U.S. to outer space, launching cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into orbit and bringing him home onto the Russian steppe. Now here was Kennedy, on the afternoon of May 25, 1961, in front of a joint session of Congress, offering up what his national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, had referred to as a “grandstand play.”“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth,” Kennedy said.Congress greeted Kennedy’s cri de coeur with a smattering of applause. The president’s longtime speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, thought Kennedy sensed that “the audience was skeptical if not hostile.” A Gallup poll taken a week before the speech found that only 33 percent of Americans thought the nation should spend an estimated $40 billion to land a man on the moon. (The final bill ended up being $25 billion allocated over the course of a decade, about $180 billion in today’s dollars.)Fiscal conservatives fumed. “We’re going to go broke with this nonsense!” remarked the president’s own father, former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Joseph Kennedy. Scientists thought Kennedy’s proposed time span was fanciful. The Austrian theoretical physicist Hans Thirring told U.S. News and World Report, “I am quite sure it will not be done within the next 10 years, and I think it very likely not to happen within the next 30 years or 40 years.” And social reformers would come to see the Apollo program as a drain on needed resources. Whitney Young, president of the National Urban League, noted that America could “lift every poor person in the country above the official poverty standard” for a fraction of the cost of putting two men on the moon.   But on July 16, 1969, five and a half months before the end of the decade, a million people packed the beaches and highways of the Atlantic coast of Central Florida to watch the launch of Apollo 11. That morning, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins had woken up long before dawn and eaten the traditional NASA pre-mission breakfast of steak and eggs. As 9:32 a.m. approached, the three astronauts were sitting in their cramped command module atop a 363-foot, three-stage Saturn V rocket, going through their final preparations before countdown. Television viewers in 33 different countries watched as the Saturn V’s five engines reached their maximum thrust of 7.6 million pounds, lurching the spaceship into the air. For the next four days, the world kept following the mission’s progress as the crew flew 230,000 miles, entered the moon’s orbit, and finally touched down on the dusty lunar surface. “Houston, Tranquility Base here,” Armstrong reported back to Earth. “The Eagle has landed.” Apollo 11 was immediately celebrated as a signal human achievement. Greeting Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins after they returned to Earth, President Richard Nixon said, “This is the greatest week in the history of the world since the Creation!” And in the decades since, the moon landing has only grown in reputation. NASA has called it humanity’s “single greatest technological achievement of all time,” and polling has shown a steady increase in the public’s belief that the space program was worth its high cost. Pop culture touchstones like The Right Stuff and Apollo 13 have celebrated the courage and resourcefulness of the original astronauts and the genius of the engineers and scientists who powered them into the heavens. Watch oversaturated 1960s footage of one of those mighty Saturn V rockets erupting off the ground and try not to swoon.   But as the moon landing’s fiftieth anniversary nears, new books and documentaries have arrived to remind us that our great American space epic was not, in fact, a frictionless succession of missions accomplished and ticker-tape parades. Even the most hagiographic offerings have moments that serve as correctives to our rose-tinted public memory. Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11, by the Dallas writer James Donovan, is a largely familiar tale, a greatest-hits retelling of the Space Age from Sputnik to the moon landing. Donovan thrills at the celebrity of the Mercury Seven; mourns the deaths of Apollo 1 crew Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee; and, in the book’s best section, delivers a bravura ticktock of Apollo 11, with the Mission Control pencil pushers watching anxiously through thick clouds of cigarette smoke as Armstrong, a flyboy with the composure of a Zen monk, improvises a landing on the lunar surface before offering the world his inscrutable “One small step for man” koan.But Shoot for the Moon isn’t all hero worship. Throughout the book, Donovan sprinkles in reminders that the public’s ambivalence about the quest to put astronauts on the moon continued long after Kennedy’s speech to Congress. Four years later, in 1965, Gallup found that only 39 percent of Americans thought the U.S. should do everything possible to beat the Soviet Union to the moon. Dwight Eisenhower had dismissed the need for a robust manned spaceflight program in the fifties, and he spent his post-presidency grumbling about the Apollo program, calling it “a mad effort to win a stunt race.” As Douglas Brinkley’s new history, American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race, makes clear, Eisenhower was far from alone.Brinkley, a Rice University professor, focuses on the birth of the moon shot, taking us back a century earlier to show its roots in fantasy. French novelist Jules Verne imagined, in 1865, that the first lunar mission would involve three American astronauts launched from Florida, and American rocket innovator Robert Goddard announced, in 1920, that he had received applications from nine men who wanted to ride one of his ships to the moon. But Brinkley also notes that making a serious attempt to reach the moon was far from inevitable.During the presidential campaign, Kennedy had hammered the Eisenhower administration for falling behind the Soviet Union in the space race, but in his early months in office, “Kennedy had adopted much the same cautious position toward space as his predecessor,” Brinkley writes. “Rather than focusing on headline-grabbing space launches, Kennedy was looking elsewhere for measurable accomplishment.”Even after issuing his moon shot challenge, the young president expressed doubts and offered inconsistent rationales for why it was worth it. In his famous 1962 speech at Rice University, Kennedy rallied a crowd of 40,000 by promising that “new hopes for knowledge and peace” would come from exploring the moon and beyond. Two months later, in a private conversation with NASA administrator James Webb, the president declared himself “not that interested in space” and said that “the only justification” for the Apollo program’s lavish expenditures was “to beat [the Soviets].” Then Kennedy seemed to waffle on the idea that the moon shot was a geopolitical competition. In September 1963 he proposed in a speech to the UN General Assembly that the U.S. and Soviet Union join together for a binational moon mission. When that proposal led nowhere, the president once more adopted a hawkish pose. On the afternoon of November 22, 1963, he was scheduled to discuss the Apollo program with the Dallas Citizens Council and tell them that “the United States of America has no intent of finishing second in space.” Brinkley argues that Kennedy’s death ensured that the moon shot would have enough funding to meet its before-the-decade-is-out deadline. Delaying or canceling the program became politically untenable. “From 1964 to 1969,” Brinkley writes, “whenever Congress considered gutting the Apollo programs, [President] Johnson evoked the martyred JFK with don’t-you-dare political mastery.”Hundreds of spectators—many of whom had camped out the night before—wait for the launch of Apollo 11 at Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969.NASAWhen the Apollo 11 crew landed safely back on Earth, the idea that the mission was only the start of the Space Age was widely held. In just over a decade, NASA had built three different generations of spaceships, blasted humans into orbit, sent astronauts outside their vehicles to “walk” in the void of space, and finally orchestrated the dizzying spectacle of the moon landing. The Wright brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk had spurred decades of innovations that had forever changed the nature of war, travel, and trade on planet Earth. The space program seemed to offer the possibility of similarly radical results. “I thought at the time it was the beginning of something,” says the former Mission Control technician Poppy Northcutt during the close of Chasing the Moon, director Robert Stone’s gorgeous, often bittersweet documentary on the space race, which premieres on PBS’s American Experience in early July. “I thought it was the beginning of moving out to other planets.” Instead, in January 1970, NASA announced it would be shrinking its workforce by 50,000 over the next eighteen months. The agency’s budget, which reached a high of 4.4 percent of federal spending in 1966, dipped under 1 percent by 1975 and is now half a percent of the total. Over the past three decades, presidents George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have all announced bold goals for human space exploration, with planned return trips to the moon, landings on asteroids, and voyages to Mars. None of these ambitions have come anywhere close to being realized. This past March, Vice President Mike Pence declared that NASA would send astronauts back to the moon by the end of 2024 “by any means necessary.” Don’t bet on it. Since the retirement of the space shuttle, in 2011, the United States hasn’t even had the capacity to launch humans into orbit, much less embark on a far more difficult and costly moon mission. The pronouncements of private space moguls have been no more reliable. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in 2017 that he would land humans on Mars and lay the foundation for a colony there in 2024, but the spaceship that would actually take those first settlers there is still a far-off concept. SpaceX was slated to begin ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station in 2015 as part of a NASA contract. It has yet to launch its first manned mission. Virgin Galactic, founded by the British billionaire Richard Branson, began selling $200,000 tickets to space in 2004. In the fifteen years since, the company has flown a grand total of zero customers, and four people have died during testing. In the epilogue of Shoot for the Moon, Donovan asserts, “A new spirit of space exploration is in the air,” but if there is a new spirit, it’s mostly wishful thinking. The astrophysicist and television host Neil deGrasse Tyson offers a more believable assessment of the state of manned space exploration in his 2012 book Space Chronicles. “Unless we have a reprise of the geopolitical circumstances that dislodged $200 billion for space travel from taxpayers’ wallets in the 1960s,” Tyson writes, “I will remain unconvinced that we will ever send Homo sapiens anywhere beyond low Earth orbit.” So was Eisenhower right? Was Apollo a stunt? Did all those billions give us the world’s greatest photo op—Neil, Buzz, and an American flag on the surface of the moon—a propaganda victory over the Russians, and nothing else? As a kickoff to a new Age of Exploration, Apollo was certainly a dud. No human being has left low Earth orbit since 1972, much less set foot on another celestial body.Apollo defenders point to scientific and technological discoveries to justify the program. As Brinkley writes in American Moonshot, Apollo “teed up the technology-based economy the United States enjoys today,” leading to innovations in everything from computing to lightweight materials and meteorological forecasting. But these were all spin-off technologies that could have been developed for far less than $180 billion. The key engineering feats that powered the moon mission, the Saturn V rocket, in particular, did not spur the creation of bigger and better successors. In Space Chronicles, Tyson notes that “unlike . . . the first airplane or the first desktop computer—artifacts that make us all chuckle when we see them today—the first rocket to the Moon, the Saturn V, elicits awe, even reverence.” The last of those rockets, lying inert at a few museums, including Houston’s Johnson Space Center, stand like Gothic cathedrals. We stare and wonder how a culture ever marshaled the time, resources, and expertise to create something so intricate and grand.Still, Apollo has had psychic benefits that are hard to quantify. It is now our most potent national myth. The word “moon shot” has come to signify a go-for-broke effort to do the impossible. The phrase “If we can put a man on the moon, then—” starts many sentences asserting that seemingly intractable problems may not, in fact, be so intractable. And, unlike the Manhattan Project, a grand American project that resulted in the prospect of nuclear annihilation, Apollo 11 was the realization of an ancient and benign dream.After returning from space, a number of astronauts have talked about how the experience shifted their perspective on Earth, a phenomenon called the overview effect. Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell famously said, “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it.” First Name Editor’s Desk(Monthly)A message from the editors at Texas Monthly Enter your email address Subscribe now, or to get 10 days of free access, sign up with your email. Cancel anytime. Already a subscriber? Login or link your subscription. You’ve read your last free article Sign up for free access The State of Texas(Daily)A daily digest of Texas news, plus the latest from Texas Monthlycenter_img Subscribe Never Miss a StorySign up for Texas Monthly’s State of Texas newsletter to get stories like this delivered to your inbox daily. Sign UpI agree to the terms and conditions. Why am I seeing this? Hope you enjoyed your free ride. To get back in the saddle, subscribe! This Week in Texas(Weekly)The best stories from Texas Monthly If you fill out the first name, last name, or agree to terms fields, you will NOT be added to the newsletter list. Leave them blank to get signed up. NASA, too, has developed something of a global consciousness. The agency may be best known today for its unmanned exploration of the solar system and the Hubble Space Telescope’s photographs of distant galaxies and black holes, but NASA also closely monitors the earth. It was a NASA scientist, James Hansen, who spurred global awareness of climate change with his dramatic 1988 testimony to Congress, and the agency’s Earth Science division has used a global network of satellites to track our planet’s changing atmospheric conditions. Even now, under the direct control of a White House that has sought to undermine climate science, the agency remains clear-eyed. NASA’s website documents the warming of Earth’s oceans, the shrinking of our ice sheets, and the growing prevalence of extreme weather events. The agency has no doubt about the cause: “most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century.”If the Apollo program’s great achievement was to demonstrate that with enough money, courage, and scientific know-how we can do what seems impossible, then perhaps its example can help us tackle the great challenge that NASA sees bearing down on our planet right now. This would, in fact, be in keeping with Apollo’s history.Toward the end of Chasing the Moon, Stone shows archival footage of the Apollo 11 crew’s worldwide goodwill tour. The astronauts have suddenly become international heroes, and everywhere they go, adoring throngs greet them. At press conferences, reporters ask Armstrong and Aldrin how it felt to be there. They often struggle with the answer, but in Stone’s film, we watch the habitually taciturn Armstrong respond to one such question with poetry.“As we looked up from the surface of the moon  we could see above us the planet Earth, and it was very small, but it was very beautiful,” Armstrong says to the crowd of foreign reporters. “And it looked like an oasis in the heavens. And we thought it was very important, at that point, for us and men everywhere to save that planet, as a beautiful oasis that we together can enjoy, for all the future.”  Last Namelast_img read more

SAINTS are supported by a number of kit partners f

first_imgSAINTS are supported by a number of kit partners for the 2016 season.The club has strengthened its links with existing sponsors as well as welcoming a new company on board.Typhoo continue their partnership with the Club as main shirt sponsor.Their livery is proudly displayed on both the home and away shirts as well as on all our Trainingwear.It is the leading tea brand’s fifth year of their partnership with your Saints.Existing sponsors who are continuing their partnership with the club are:Hattons Solicitors have been a mainstay of the club since 2001. As well as sponsoring the West Stand, they continue to feature on the back of both shirts.Hattons offer a full range of legal services including family law, personal injury, medical negligence and wills and probate.Totally Wicked are in their fourth year of partnering with the Saints.With the mantra of “Change Your Habit, Change Your Life” they provide a wide range of e-cigarettes, e-liquids and vaping products.They are featured on the right sleeve and the back of the collar.MyProtein are Official Nutrition Providers to the Saints.They provide the squad with a number of products as part of their training regime as well as offering our fans fantastic discounts to their range.They will be on the left sleeve.St Helens College appear on the ‘collar’ of the home and away shirt for the third year.As well as the shirt branding, the Club partners with the college to create exciting and unique ventures for college students studying on vocational courses such as photography, catering and hospitality, marketing, media and music.They also gain valuable work experience at Langtree Park to enhance their curriculum and future employability.A-Star Recruitment are a recruitment specialist supplying skilled and unskilled workers for short or long-term vacancies across St Helens, Wigan, Warrington, Widnes, Liverpool and Manchester.They will appear on the rear of both shirts.Roofing Consultants Ltd are commercial and industrial roofing contractors. They have many years of roof refurbishment knowledge to become leading experts in the refurbishment of all types of commercial and Industrial roof coverings.Their logo is on the chest of the shirt.On the shorts and socks is AFEX.They are a trusted global payment and risk management solutions specialist with a heritage that dates back to 1979.They offer a comprehensive range of global payment and foreign exchange services, including Foreign Currency Drafts, Wire Transfers, risk management tools and designated Account Executives.AFEX can handle every aspect of a client’s foreign payment needs, from risk consultation to transaction execution.And finally, we welcome ESRG on the back of the shorts, for the first time.The ESRG Group have agreed a three-year sponsorship deal.The ESRG Group are a group of companies delivering independent and integrated cross border financial structuring specialising in manged funds, providing loan and equity Investment for start-up to new and growing businesses. Dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with the support they need to fulfil their ambitions through our investments.Clients Include:EntrepreneursSports personsProperty investors /developersCreative and Technological SectorLarge Pension Fund holdersDavid Evans – ESRG Group CEO said: “ESRG Group are immensely proud to become the official partners of St Helens R.F.C.“Recently ESRG Group launched ESRG Sport & Leisure, an investment company with extensive experience within the sporting and leisure sectors. It also benefits from the association with ESRG Group ambassador Paul Sculthorpe MBE.“This combination makes sponsorship with St Helens RFC a natural fit. We are very much looking forward to our three year partnership with the club and working on some exciting projects together.”ESRG Sport & Leisure focus on transforming individuals, businesses, brands and organisations through the power of Sport.Capabilities within the group include:Talent & Athlete ManagementSports MarketingActivationEventsBrand & Strategic ConsultancyDigital MarketingRights Representation & SalesSponsorship & Partnership Strategy Digital CRM & Sports TechnologyESRG Sports & Leisure’s current investment portfolio includes – Urban Fitness, Emerge Sports Management, Y – Sport, SportsMed Global, First Sport Management and Kicca.last_img read more

KEIRON Cunningham was pleased with the 4016 win o

first_imgKEIRON Cunningham was pleased with the 40-16 win over Castleford on Thursday night which lifted his side to third in Super League.After the match he said it is difficult to play sides that have nothing to lose.“These are really tough games to play in,” he said. “When the squads were announced early in the week expectations got higher too. You have to credit Castleford for the way they have played in the last few weeks. They have beaten some top teams and played some enterprising rugby.“When you play against those carefree sides it doesn’t matter (for them) if a pass doesn’t stick or a kick doesn’t find its spot. I felt we dropped into that vicious cycle a bit in the first half.“The defence and effort were there but the moral about playing rugby league is it is a simple game. If you keep hold of the ball, kick it and tackle well and get in the right areas of the field there is a good chance you might score a try.“They came to us in the first 20 minutes, but in the second 20 we completed high and posted some points. We should have kept them scoreless but we brought the NFL rulebook out and they scored at the end.”He continued: “Morgan Knowles and Luke Thompson were a good combination off the bench for us. We missed Thommo last week as he was giving us a lot before he got the ban. He is a real force for us and is coming of age. Morgan is an unsung hero. He tidies everything up; his wrestle and contact is brilliant and he controls the middle of field. He has he bright future.“Kyle (Amor) and James Roby are turning up each week too. We probably take for granted what they do for us each week.“We aren’t in a bad spot. If it wasn’t for a poor performance with the ball in hand at Wigan we probably should be 10 from 10. We are still edgy at the start of games and we have to overcome that.“Now we face two games that are similar to tonight – sides that are hellbent on shaking things up in for the top four. Saints v Widnes games are always entertaining too.”last_img read more


first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The weekend is expected to be beautiful for some outdoor activities and the Cape Fear has some fantastic options.  From a dogs-only pool trip to a walk of historic proportions,  Meteorologist Stephanie Waldref gives you some weekend ideas in What’s Happening.“What’s Happening” airs every Thursday at 5:30 on your home for positive stories, Good Evening Wilmington.last_img

WANTED Brunswick County man accused of kidnapping assaulting woman who lost eye

first_imgJemar Bell (Photo: Brunswick Co. Sheriff’s Office) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is searching for the man accused of kidnapping and beating a woman.Jemar Lee Bell, 36, of Bell Way Drive in Navassa, is wanted for first degree kidnapping, assault inflicting serious bodily injury, assault by strangulation, and assault on a female.- Advertisement – Investigators say the crimes took place between September 1 and October 14.According to warrants, Bell hit the woman hard enough that she lost her right eye. He’s also accused of choking her from behind until she thought she was going to pass out.If you know where Bell is, contact Det. Liles at (910) 880-5756.last_img

Front Street Brewery earns regional medals for their tasty brews

first_img(Photo: Front Street Brewery) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington has gotten a lot of attention for it’s booming craft beer scene and now one of the Port City’s oldest breweries has brought home multiple awards.Front Street Brewery entered nine categories at this year’s Carolinas Championship of Beer in Hickory.- Advertisement – The event featured nearly 400 beers from across the area.In the end, the brewery took home a medal in every single category it entered winning three gold, three silver and three bronze medals.The gold medal winning beers were the Amber-Jack ESB, the Port City IPA and the Sliante Irish Red.last_img

Rwanda ICT industry to drive growth

first_imgAdvertisement The growth of information communication technologies will increase employment and boost the country’s competitiveness and economic growth overtime. This was said by Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the youth and ICT minister, during the unveiling of a modern IT laboratory, with fully-equipped ICT infrastructure.This would also ensure provision of quality services and products. He was speaking at the launch of Techno Brain, an international software development company, at Umubano Hotel in Kacyiru, Kigali on Tuesday, Nsengimana addedYvette Uwineza, the Techno Brain country manager, said the facility was one of the efforts by the firm to contribute to the country’s growing ICT sector. – Advertisement – The firm, which started operations in June last year, employs 20 Rwandans and is expected to recruit over 100 more in the coming months. It recently won a tender to train the Rwanda Development Board staff in ICT use.The ICT landscape has evolved greatly in the last 10 years, especially after the laying of the fibre optic cable and the introduction the National Data Centre and e-governance services, as well as the rise in mobile telephony penetration.Rwanda was ranked by The International Telecommunication Union 2012 as one of the developing nations with vibrant ICT markets, along with Bahrain, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia.Credit: The New Timeslast_img read more

GoPro Inc Names Apples Daniel Coster as VP of Design

first_imgImage Credit: GoPro Advertisement Wearable camera maker GoPro Inc named Apple Inc designer Daniel Coster as vice president of design, effective the end of April.Coster was a core member of Apple‘s industrial design team for more than 20 years and is credited with contributing to devices such as iPhone 4 and iPad wireless keyboard, the company said in a statement.GoPro has faced increasing competition from enhanced video-shooting capabilities of Apple’s iPhone 6 range. – Advertisement – GoPro shares rose 16.3 percent to 13.58 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.[Reuters]last_img

Over 170 Million People in Africa Access Facebook Each Month 94 Being

first_imgOver 170 million people in Africa access FaceBook each month, 94% being on mobile. (Photo Credit: New Vision Uganda) Advertisement According to new reports, social media giants, Facebook Inc. has moved its Johannesburg offices into new premises, creating a new home for the company to work with its partners to boost innovation and provide an African home for the Facebook culture.Facebook Executives Carolyn Everson, VP Global Marketing Solutions and Nicola Mendelsohn, VP EMEA, attended the launch of the new office together with Nunu Ntshingila; the Regional Director of Facebook in Africa. And the reason behind the moving is Facebook African growth accelerating rapidly.Facebook established a direct presence in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 and since then the number of people connected to the social networking platform has grown to 42% to over 170 million monthly active users, with 94% of them are using mobile to access the platform. – Advertisement – “Facebook is deeply committed to Africa, a mobile-first continent where 7 in 10 of all connected people use the platform,” Carolyn Everson said in a press statement.Facebook says it sees growth of SMEs businesses that are driving economic development, companies that Facebook wants to help grow locally and regionally across the continent.“Many people in Africa who are coming online for the first time, are unleashing new possibilities for people and SMEs businesses alike,” Carol said.The Facebook team in Africa has grown alongside the number of people and businesses who use it and its ecosystem of developers, entrepreneurs and business partners, according to a report we attained.[related-posts]last_img read more

AfriLabs Announced 7 New TechHubs to its PanAfrikan Innovation Hub Network

first_imgiRise Tech-Innovation Hub first of its kind in Somalia. (Photo Courtesy: Quartz) Advertisement Pan-Africkan innovation hub network; AfriLabs has been working through tech hubs to build an innovation infrastructure that encourages the growth of Africa’s knowledge economy by supporting the development of start-ups, technology, and innovation, fostering partnerships between tech hubs across the different regions and promoting opportunities that the hubs and their communities can benefit from.On June 1st, this year, the pan-hub added 11 hubs including Uganda’s own – The Innovation Village, to its pan network. According to new reports, the tech networking and acceleration association has officially welcomed 7 other new hubs including iRise; the first ever incubation hub in Somalia that had just recently opened up, expanding its network to 67 tech and innovation hubs across more than 27 African countries with over 50,000 community members.Below are the new added incubation hubs;GE Garage, Nigeria.Ecolia Labs, Cameroon.Kumasi Hive.iRise Hub, Somalia.aLabs, Sierra Leone.CTID (Centre de Technologie, d’Innovation pour le Developement) Djibouti.Centre d’innovation de Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). – Advertisement – In a press statement, AfriLabs Executive Director; Anna Ekeledo, said, they are beyond ecstatic about AfriLabs expanding its network.“We look forward to carrying out more projects with our partners and members across Africa to support these hubs and the startups, entrepreneurs and innovators in their communities achieve even greater impact,” she said.last_img read more


first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Saturday 27 SeptemberRACING2.25 CurraghStellar Glow 7/4 > 5/42.30 MusselburghThe Wispe 4/1 > 9/42.45 EpsomChristophermarlowe evens > 4/53.05 MusselburghMr McLaren 4/1 > 11/43.30 CurraghOl’ Man River 4/5 > 1/2FOOTBALL10/11 West Brom 7/2 Burnley 12/5 DRAW0-0 DRAW 8/1 !!!! (Burnley bidding for their fourth consecutive 0-0)What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img

STARTERS ORDERS Sat Movers and Specials

first_imgHORSE RACING1.55 RiponJust Be Friendly 7/1 > 3/12.45 NavanLapilli 12/1 > 11/23.55 NavanToo Precious 9/2 > 5/2LIVE FOOTBALLPremier League17:30 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4K UHD9/5 Chelsea6/4 Liverpool5/2 DRAWBET NOW or 08000 521 321 Welcome to Starters Orders. Julie Collier with our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Saturday 29 SeptemberJULIE COLLIER Introduces the daily specials and offers on Saturday:<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>last_img

Rice earns three invites to coveted engineering symposium

first_imgShare NAE CONTACT Randy Atkins RICE CONTACT: Jade Boyd713-348-6778 Rice earns three invites to coveted engineering symposiumNational Academy’s ‘Frontiers’ symposium showcases top young talent Three of Rice University’s brightest young engineering faculty – Michael Deem, Rebekah Drezek and Marcia O’Malley — have been selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 11th annual Frontiers of Engineering symposium. Rice is one of just a handful of institutions to earn three invitations to the prestigious gathering. The three-day event brings together engineers ages 30 to 45 who are performing cutting-edge engineering research and technical work in a variety of disciplines. The invitation-only event is open to fewer than 100 participants from industry, academia, and government. This year’s 88 participants were chosen from a field of 220 applicants nominated by fellow engineers or organizations. ”Significant advances in engineering are occurring where disciplines intersect,” said NAE President William A. Wulf. ”Frontiers of Engineering provides an opportunity for engineers to learn about techniques and challenges in areas other than their own. This new knowledge can spark insights and collaborations that might not have occurred otherwise.” The symposium will be held Sept. 22-24 at GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, N.Y., and will explore aspects of ID and verification technologies, the engineering of complex systems, engineering for developing communities, and energy. Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will be a featured speaker. Jackson has served as chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and worked in the field of theoretical physics at both AT&T Bell Laboratories and Rutgers University. Deem, the John W. Cox Professor in Biochemical and Genetic Engineering and professor of physics and astronomy, specializes in statistical mechanics, specifically the computer simulation of complex molecular systems. He is interested in four main areas of research: the adaptive immune system response, cancer vaccines, protein structure and drug discovery, and zeolite structure and nucleation. His group uses both simulation and analytical statistical mechanics to attack these problems. Drezek, the Stanley C. Moore Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, conducts translational biomedical research at the interface between nanobiotechnology and biophotonics. In particular, her laboratory is developing new molecular imaging technologies for improved detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer. O’Malley, assistant professor in mechanical engineering and materials science, is director of the Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab, which studies the use of robotic devices in virtual and remote environments. Her current research interests include the development of new techniques for the display of augmented feedback in virtual environments, the implementation and study of haptic feedback in simulated and remote environments, including associated control issues, and the design and control of wearable robotic devices for rehabilitation and training. To learn more about Frontiers of Engineering, visit . The 2005 U.S. Frontiers meeting program is also available at the site. Symposium sponsors this year include General Electric Co., the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. Department of Defense, DARPA, Microsoft Corp., and Cummins Inc., and individual donors. The National Academy of Engineering is an independent, non-profit institution that serves as an adviser to government and the public on issues in engineering and technology. Its members consist of the nation’s premier engineers, who are elected by their peers for their distinguished achievements. Established in 1964, NAE operates under the congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. ### FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThislast_img read more

Students get handson demo of Japanese taiko drums

first_imgShareCONTACT: Mike WilliamsPHONE: 713-348-6728; cell 617-281-6854E-MAIL: mew2@rice.eduStudents get hands-on demo of Japanese ‘taiko’ drumsRice hosts students who were to have studied in quake-ravaged JapanWHO: Twenty Japanese college students and 14 U.S. undergraduates are spending the summer at Rice University in Houston. The group was to have spent the summer in Japan as part of the annual NanoJapan study-abroad program, but Rice University agreed to host the students after a March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged host sites in Japan.WHAT: The students will learn about and use traditional Japanese “taiko” drums during one of program’s cultural training sessions.WHEN: 9:30-10:30 a.m. and 10:30-11:30 a.m. June 14WHERE: Baker College, Rice University campus, 6100 Main St.PARKING: Because of road construction on campus, please use Entrance 3 on Main Street, across from Cambridge Street. Lovett Lot is on your right just inside the entrance. Buzz the parking office at the gate and give them your credentials for entry. Call Rice Media Relations (Mike Williams, 617-281-6854) for an escort to the class. Campus map: IT’S NEWSWORTHY: University laboratories across Japan are still rebuilding and dealing with rolling blackouts that resulted from a deadly earthquake and tsunami March 11. The award-winning undergraduate internship program NanoJapan has sent 16 U.S. students to study and work in Japanese nanotechnology laboratories each summer since 2005. Rather than cancel the program, organizers are running it in reverse this summer; 20 Japanese students are living and working with U.S. program participants at Rice University. The students are living in Rice housing and working together in Rice laboratories. The program also incorporates a number of intercultural activities and intense language training. AddThislast_img read more

Energy firms must acknowledge cybersecurity as more than an IT problem according

first_imgAddThis ShareDavid Jeff Energy firms must acknowledge cybersecurity as more than an IT problem, according to new Rice University paperHOUSTON – (Sept. 17, 2012) – Energy firms have spent vast sums on the security of their information systems, but they must reorient from a reactive, tactical posture regarding intrusions and attacks to a more strategic, holistic view that expands beyond the categorization of the issue as an IT problem, according to a new paper from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.Titled “Cybersecurity Issues and Policy Options for the U.S. Energy Industry,” the paper investigates how energy companies involved in the production and delivery of hydrocarbons, as well as companies that generate and transmit electricity, face new risks posed by malicious software (“malware”). These risks can affect the continuity of their operations, capacity to deliver products and services and ability to protect investments — particularly in research and development — from theft or unauthorized disclosure. The paper comes against the backdrop of the U.S. Congress’ failure this summer to pass significant cybersecurity legislation for the protection of commercial and government information technology infrastructure.“For the energy industry, cybersecurity is not just a technology problem, but rather is one that includes the larger dynamics of information and operations,” said Christopher Bronk, the paper’s principal author and a Baker Institute fellow in information technology policy. “How public policy can form components of the response to cybersecurity issues pertaining to the energy industry and the critical infrastructure that it builds, operates and maintains requires considering both the complexity of the issue and the nuance in potential policy prescriptions.”The paper details examples of major oil and gas companies that have suffered a significant data breach or disruption of IT service, the latest being Saudi Aramco. In August, Saudi Aramco saw as many as 30,000 computers on the company’s network compromised by a malicious piece of  “malware,” possibly the one labeled “Shamoon” by the computer malware analysis community.“The issues of cyberespionage and true cyberattacks — the ability to achieve kinetic outcomes by manipulation of computer systems — represent significant challenges for the energy industry, the United States government and the international community,” Bronk said.“Constructing institutions to cope with these problems and move beyond a reactive posture will require greater research investment, collaboration and unorthodox combinations of expertise from within the computing field and beyond it.”Bronk will host a range of international cybersecurity experts from business, government and academia at the Baker Institute tomorrow, Sept. 18, to share and discuss the latest information on how to detect, defend against and respond to emerging cyberthreats. For more information about this conference, visit previously served as a career diplomat with the Department of State, where his last assignment was in the Office of eDiplomacy, the department’s internal think tank on information technology, knowledge management, computer security and interagency collaboration. Adam Pridgen, a graduate student and cybersecurity researcher in Rice’s Department of Computer Science, is the paper’s secondary author. Deloitte LLP supported the research activity from which this paper was drawn.-30-For more information or to schedule an interview with Bronk, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.Related materials:“Cybersecurity Issues and Policy Options for the U.S. Energy Industry” paper: Bronk bio: Bronk on Twitter: @techpologistFounded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute sponsors more than 20 programs that conduct research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,   last_img read more

Synthetic biologists engineer inflammationsensing gut bacteria

first_imgShare6David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJade Boyd713-348-6778jadeboyd@rice.eduSynthetic biologists engineer inflammation-sensing gut bacteriaRice University bioengineers demo new class of minimally invasive biosensors HOUSTON — (April 5, 2017) — Synthetic biologists at Rice University have engineered gut bacteria capable of sensing colitis, an inflammation of the colon, in mice. The research points the way to new experiments for studying how gut bacteria and human hosts interact at a molecular level and could eventually lead to orally ingestible bacteria for monitoring gut health and disease.Jeff TaborThe research, published in a new study in Molecular Systems Biology, involved a series of breakthroughs in the lab of Jeffrey Tabor, assistant professor of bioengineering and of biosciences at Rice, and key contributions from collaborators Robert Britton and Noah Shroyer at Baylor College of Medicine. Tabor’s team, including lead co-author and postdoctoral researcher Kristina Daeffler, identified the first genetically encoded sensor of a novel biomarker linked to inflammation, inserted the genes for the sensor into a well-studied gut bacterium and collaborated with Shroyer and Britton to use the engineered bacteria to detect colon inflammation in mice.“The gut harbors trillions of microorganisms that play key roles in health and disease,” Tabor said. “However, it is a dark and relatively inaccessible place, and few technologies have been developed to study these processes in detail. On the other hand, bacteria have evolved tens of thousands of genetically encoded sensors, many of which sense gut-linked molecules. Thus, genetically engineered sensor bacteria have tremendous potential for studying gut pathways and diagnosing gut diseases.”Synthetic biologists like Tabor specialize in programming single-celled organisms like bacteria in much the same way an engineer might program a robot. In particular, Tabor’s team is working to develop bacterial sensors that can detect disease signals in the gut. Like electrical engineers who build circuits from wires and electronic components, Tabor’s team uses genetic circuits to program single-celled creatures to carry out complex information processing.Synthetic biologists at Rice University have engineered orally-ingestible gut bacteria capable of sensing colitis in mice. (Image courtesy of J. Tabor/Rice University)Previous work has suggested that alterations to the gut microbiota, genetic predisposition and other environmental factors may play key roles in inflammatory bowel disease, a condition that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and which affects as many as 1.6 million Americans.“Based on a number of previous studies, we hypothesized that the molecule thiosulfate may be elevated during colitis,” Daeffler said. “It has been difficult for scientists to study this link because there aren’t tools for reliably measuring thiosulfate in living animals. Our first goal in this project was to engineer such a tool.”From the outset of the project in 2015, Daeffler said, the idea was to use sensor bacteria, in this case an engineered form of Escherichia coli, to sense thiosulfate and related sulfur-containing compounds that may also be biomarkers of colitis. There were well-understood methods for programming E. coli to produce a fluorescent green protein in response to specific stimuli, but there were no known genes — in any organism — that were used to sense thiosulfate, and few for the other compounds.“There’s a link between gut sulfur metabolism and inflammation, and we knew that we needed to be able to measure sulfur metabolites accurately to diagnose colon inflammation,” she said.Tabor said study co-author Ravi Sheth, an undergraduate researcher in the group in 2015, used a computer program to identify potential sensors of thiosulfate and other sulfur compounds in the genome of Shewanella, a type of bacteria that live in marine sediment. Tabor’s group believes that Shewanella likely breathe these molecules and use the sensors to turn on the proper enzymes in their presence.Kristina DaefflerDaeffler spent one year engineering E. coli to express the sensor genes, validate their function and optimize them to respond to the potential biomarkers by producing a green fluorescent protein signal. It took another year to prove that the system worked and detected colon inflammation in mice.The researchers administered orally two drops containing about a billion sensor bacteria to both healthy mice and to mice with colitis. They measured the activity of the sensor bacteria in each group six hours later. The tell-tale green fluorescent protein showed up in the feces of the mice. Though it was not visible to the unaided eye, it could easily be measured with a standard laboratory instrument called a flow cytometer.The team found that the thiosulfate sensor was activated in the mice with inflammation, and was not activated in the healthy mice. Furthermore, the researchers found that the more inflammation the mouse had, the more the sensor was activated.Tabor said the study shows that gut bacteria can be outfitted with engineered sensors and used to noninvasively measure specific metabolites and that this result could open the door to many new studies that could help elucidate a wide range of gut processes.Though it would likely take several additional years of development, and it remains unknown if thiosulfate is a biomarker of human colitis, the sensor bacteria might eventually be re-engineered to function as a diagnostic of human colitis, Tabor said. In particular, the green fluorescent protein could be replaced with an enzyme that makes a colored pigment.“We’d like to develop a home inflammation test where a person prone to colitis flare-ups would eat yogurt that contained the engineered bacteria and see blue pigment in the toilet if they were sick,” he said.Tabor said such a test could reduce unneeded and costly trips to the doctor and unneeded colonoscopy procedures, which are both expensive and invasive. He said his team has begun collaborations with gastroenterologists at Baylor to achieve this goal.Additional co-authors include Britton, Shroyer, Jeffrey Galley and Laura Ortiz-Velez, all of Baylor College of Medicine, and Christopher Bibb of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.The research was supported by the Welch Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University’s Department of Bioengineering.-30-High-resolution IMAGES are available for download at: Synthetic biologists at Rice University have engineered orally ingestible gut bacteria capable of sensing colitis in mice. (Image courtesy of J. Tabor/Rice University) Jeffrey Tabor (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University) Kristina Daeffler (Photo courtesy of Tabor group/Rice University)The DOI of the Molecular Systems Biology paper is: 10.15252/msb.20167416A copy of the paper is available at: research stories from Rice:Rice U. lab creates open-source optogenetics hardware, software — Nov. 7, 2016 bacteria give biologists a cool new tool — May 10, 2016’s now easier to go with the flow — May 3, 2016 Tabor wins CAREER Award — April 4, 2016 means ‘go’ to therapeutic viruses — Dec. 1, 2015 bioengineered gut bacteria, no glory — May 12, 2014 synthetic biologists shine light on genetic circuit analysis — March 9, 2014, UW win $2M grant for synthetic biology research — Sept. 12, 2011 on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to AddThislast_img read more

Baker Institute expert explores tussle over tax reform and deduction limits

first_imgFacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis ShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.eduBaker Institute expert explores tussle over tax reform and deduction limitsHOUSTON – (Feb. 15, 2019) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 placed a $10,000 limit on the amount of state and local taxes people may deduct on their federal income tax returns. One year after the law’s passage, this so-called SALT deduction limit remains one of its most contested provisions, according to an expert in the Center for Public Finance at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.Credit: UniversityJoyce Beebe, a fellow in public finance, examined the pros and cons of the limit and state-level efforts to circumvent the caps in a new report, “Fiscal Federalism and the State and Local Tax Deduction Limit.”Prior to the tax reform, there was no cap on the amount taxpayers could claim for the deduction. Several states have since proposed or passed legislation to circumvent the limit. In response, the IRS issued a warning against state charitable contribution workarounds in May, followed in August by proposed U.S. Department of Treasury regulations intended to block those state actions.Four states (New York, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey) filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming the cap unfairly targeted them and represented federal interference with states’ constitutionally protected rights. In November, the federal government sought to dismiss the case, arguing that the states do not have legal standing to file the lawsuit.“Beyond the pointed statements between the federal and state government officials, these arguments bring up an important issue: What are the existing fiscal interactions between the federal and state governments, and how would the SALT deduction cap change these dynamics?” Beebe wrote.Her report reviews the connections between the governments and summarizes the viewpoints for and against a SALT deduction limit. It also discusses recent state actions to mitigate the effects of the cap, as well as federal government reactions and individual-level workarounds.“Fiscal federalism, which describes the financial relations between different levels of government based on their respective responsibilities, is a unique and indispensable feature of a federal government system,” Beebe wrote.The federal government provides substantial financial assistance to state and local governments. Beebe’s report focuses on two of the largest federal support mechanisms — federal grants and the SALT deduction.“Although removing the SALT deduction cap would cost the federal government more than $600 billion over the next decade, newly elected Democrats from high-tax states have begun discussions on either increasing or removing the cap,” Beebe wrote. “The partisan nature of the tax reform and the high level of fiscal deficits mean the limited SALT deductibility would have profound revenue implications, and the adversarial relationship between state and federal governments would intensify. Although the SALT deduction cap has been interpreted as a political move to harm blue states, or a maneuver simply to finance the TCJA, there is no doubt the federal government provides substantial financial assistance to state and local governments.”Because the SALT deduction is administrated through federal tax policy, the key economic issue centers on the magnitude of the spillover effects of state and local government spending, Beebe said.“Some of the workarounds may prevail on legal grounds, but whether they make good state tax policies is a separate matter,” she wrote. “Key state-level issues on both revenue and expenditures need to be addressed. The growing spending on entitlements and the looming budget shortfalls require not only efficient administration but also a reconsideration of spending priorities.”For more information or to schedule an interview with Beebe, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.-30-Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute.Follow the Baker Institute’s Center for Public Finance via Twitter @Baker_CPF.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Report: biography: Institute Center for Public Finance: in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,  last_img read more

New Navy Destroyers Ammo in Question at 800K per Round

first_img US Show Discussion  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Share The future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials on the Kennebeck River in the Atlantic Ocean on Dec. 7, 2016. The Zumwalt is the largest destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy. (U.S. Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works via Getty Images) center_img PORTLAND, Maine—The new guns on the Navy’s biggest and most advanced destroyer are going to be firing blanks if the Navy can’t find cost-effective projectiles.The GPS-guided, rocket-powered projectiles developed for the new 155mm Advanced Gun System currently cost about $800,000 apiece, nearly as much as a cruise missile, making them too expensive for the Navy to buy in large quantities for the stealthy USS Zumwalt, according to officials.The projectiles were supposed to be less expensive than missiles, providing a cost-effective way to pummel targets from 70 miles away, clearing a path for amphibious landings.But the current price compares with $1 million for a cruise missile, which has a range of 1,000 miles. And the price is expected to grow, officials said.For now, there are no plans to buy projectiles beyond the initial purchase of 90, according to the Navy’s draft 2018 budget. The Zumwalt is supposed to be stocked with 600.It’s stunning news for a program plagued by growing costs. “Congress is going to want to know how the Navy could get so far down the road without realizing that the price tag on these projectiles is so high,” said Loren Thompson, defense analyst at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Virginia.The Navy is evaluating alternatives for ammunition for the Zumwalt and two other ships in the class that are under construction at Bath Iron Works in Maine. Those options include both conventional and hyper-velocity projectiles, said Navy Capt. Thurraya Kent.Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, which developed the 155mm projectiles, blamed the low production rate of ships—only three are being built, compared with the 32 originally envisioned—for driving up costs of the guided munitions. The defense contractor is working with the Navy with options, a spokeswoman said.Related CoverageNavy’s New Destroyer Rides Like ‘A Really Souped-Up’ SUVThe Navy has been struggling to reduce costs because of budget limits, but those constraints could be eased when Republican President-elect Donald Trump takes office. He has vowed to boost defense spending and to increase the size of the U.S. fleet.The 610-foot Zumwalt, the first ship in the class, was commissioned into service last month and is currently en route to its home port in San Diego.The destroyer features electric propulsion, an angular shape to minimize radar signature, an unconventional wave-piercing hull, and a deckhouse that hides radar and other sensors. The 155mm Advanced Gun System was designed by BAE Armament Systems.The ships weigh in at nearly 15,000 tons, about 50 percent heavier than current destroyers. But the crew size is half of the 300 personnel of other destroyers, thanks to automation. Share this article New Navy Destroyer’s Ammo in Question at $800K per Round By The Associated Press November 13, 2016 Updated: November 13, 2016last_img read more