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Evolutionists Try to Out-Complex Behe

first_imgThe phrase irreducible complexity has reluctantly entered the working vocabulary of evolutionary biologists, though they usually disparage its source (Dr. Michael Behe, leading proponent of intelligent design).  The latest evidence is a paper in Science that was titled with an obvious play on words and an attempt to refute Behe’s principle.  They called it “irremediable complexity.”1     The team of biologists from Canada and the Czech Republic neither referenced Behe’s book nor mentioned his name, but it is clear they wanted to refute his thesis that complex molecular machines require intelligent design.  “Many of the cell’s macromolecular machines appear gratuitously complex, comprising more components than their basic functions seem to demand,” they said.  “How can we make sense of this complexity in the light of evolution?”  As examples, they produced the spliceosome and ribosome, structures they claim have “Seemingly gratuitous complexity”.  From the gratuitous, they invoked the fortuitous, in a somewhat circuitous manner.  By chance, they said, two independent bodies might become connected.  As additional mutations occur, it becomes more difficult for them to separate than to remain interdependent.  That’s the reason for their phrase “irremediable complexity” – there’s no going back.  The result is a kind of “ratchet” mechanism that increases complexity and interdependence, but not necessarily adaptation: “Thus, constructive neutral evolution is a directional force that drives increasing complexity without positive (and in small populations, against mildly negative) selection,” they explained.  “Negative selection is involved, but only as the stabilizing force that keeps this directionality from reversing.”2    How, then, does adaptation occur?  The ribosome and spliceosome, after all, are tremendously effective machines despite their complexity, gratuitous or not.  The authors seem to say that the function must have been already been present before the complexity accumulated:Although compensation for defects caused by “selfish” (self-propagating) DNA elements may seem intuitive, it is problematic to propose that, on the way to evolving compensatory machinery, an intermediate state had to exist that was less fit than its ancestors and sisters.  Why would such an intermediate not just die out in competition before its rescue by compensatory complexity yet to be invented?  A more workable model is that the compensating mechanism was already present (possibly serving unrelated functions).They were thus trying to solve one problem with evolutionary theory (adaptationism) by introducing another – a kind of “pre-adaptation” inherent in the machinery that turned on when the circumstances needed it.  This ratchet model, called “constructive neutral evolution,” they claimed, “provides an explanatory counterpoint to the selectionist or adaptationist views that pervade molecular biology.”  To support their model, therefore, they had to take issue with the vast majority of evolutionists who support Neo-Darwinism.    In the end, though, this was all about refuting Michael Behe’s claim that molecular machines illustrate intelligent design:Although this model is easiest to illustrate using molecular systems of peripheral importance or limited distribution (such as splicing or RNA editing), there is no reason why it might not contribute to the generation of any cellular complexity (the ribosome; mitochondrial respiratory complexes; light-harvesting antennae in photosynthetic organisms; RNA and DNA polymerases and their initiation, elongation, and termination complexes; protein import, folding, and degradation apparatuses; the cytoskeleton and its motors).  Much of the bewildering intricacy of cells could consist of originally fortuitous molecular interactions that have become more or less fixed by constructive neutral evolution.  Indeed, although complexity in biology is generally regarded as evidence of “fine tuning” or “sophistication,” large biological conglomerates might be better interpreted as the consequences of runaway bureaucracy—as biological parallels of nonsensically complex Rube Goldberg machines that are over-engineered to perform a single task.Readers of Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box (Free Press, 1996) might recall that on p. 75 he reproduced a Rube Goldberg cartoon as an illustration of irreducible complexity.1.  Michael W. Gray, Julius Lukes, John M. Archibald, Patrick J. Keeling, W. Ford Doolittle, “Irremediable Complexity?”, Science, 12 November 2010: Vol. 330. no. 6006, pp. 920-921, DOI: 10.1126/science.1198594.2.  In evolutionary theory, positive selection means increased fitness, whereas negative selection removes deleterious mutations.  Stabilizing selection works to keep things running in place with neither progress nor regress.The shameless, aimless, lameness game these guys played with words and concepts, invoking the Stuff Happens Law (SHL) as a scientific explanation (09/22/2009, 10/03/2010, 11/10/2010), refusing to acknowledge the name of Behe, and calling the most marvelous living machines ever discovered (including ATP synthase and the respiratory chain! – 09/22/2010) a bunch of slapdash accidents, is breathtaking.  This is another example of evolutionist ideologues talking nonsense to themselves in an echo chamber.  Science never gives Behe a chance to respond, or anyone else.  They did us all one favor, though – falsifying neo-Darwinism.    Their astounding list of machines they claim could be explained by “constructive neutral evolution” (a.k.a. SHL in a cheap tuxedo) shows also how ungrateful they are.  Those machines are keeping them alive.  They are keeping their brains capable of thinking and reasoning.  If they thought for a minute about the stupidity of their SHL theory, and the intricate complexity of those machines – the molecular trucks, proofreaders, editors, repair crews, and more – their response ought to be awe and thankfulness.  Instead, they became vain in their imaginations, neither were thankful (ref.).    The spliceosomes they claim are gratuitously complex are exquisitely functional.  Have these biologists never heard of alternative splicing?  The splicing machinery generates a multitude of protein products from the same DNA transcription (02/02/2010).  There are reasons these machines are complex, and the proof of the pudding is the brain that allows these scientists to think (although, like pudding, their thinking is mushy).    For them to think that the fortuitous (happenstance) produced the gratuitous (unplanned), they are not only reasoning circuitously, they are showing themselves to be muddle-headed ingrates.  What they need is fortitude and gratitude.  Then they might become circumspect, like they were designed to be.(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Special Economic Zones to boost growth

first_img17 January 2012A new Bill gazetted on Monday aims to boost job creation and industrialisation in South Africa’s outlying areas through the licensing of Special Economic Zones (SEZs).Briefing the media in Pretoria on the gazetting of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Bill for public comment, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said special economic zones would expand on the work already done by the country’s Industrial Development Zones (IDZs) and attract more foreign investment.In particular, SEZs would help stimulate industrialisation outside of the country’s main urban areas of Cape Town, Gauteng, Durban-Pietermaritzburg, East London and Port Elizabeth.Focus on innovationDavies said Industrial Development Zones would not be scrapped, but would continue to exist as SEZs under the new Bill.He said that while the focus of the IDZs – based near ports and airports – had been mainly on export industries, the SEZs would expanded on this, and include a focus on innovation and regional development in areas such as science parks, industrial parks and sector development zones.The department is working with various provinces, including Limpopo, Free State and the North West, and potential SEZs have been identified in areas such as light-manufacturing, agro-processing and platinum beneficiation.The department’s IDZ programme was initiated in 2000, and four zones had been designated, with three currently operational – namely Coega near Port Elizabeth, the East London IDZ, and Richards Bay.A fourth IDZ at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg has yet to come into operation, but the department is this year hunting for an international operator to run the IDZ.Davies said the IDZs had so far involved 40 investors, that had invested a total of R11.8-billion and created 33 000 jobs through the construction of these zones and direct employment in firms based there.IDZ review identifies faultsThe new Bill also proposes bolstering the governance and funding of SEZs following the department’s review of the IDZs, which began in 2007.Davies said the department had found that IDZs tended to favour only a few regions, with a narrow focus on supporting infrastructure, and that planning was done on an ad hoc basis, with inadequate co-ordination among key government agencies and stakeholders.Added to this, financing arrangements made it impossible to do long-term planning, while targeting of investments had been poor.To remedy this, the new Bill provided for the setting up of a SEZ fund, as well as a special economic zone board to regulate policy, issue operator permits for SEZs and advise the minister on the zones.The fund is not only intended for feasibility studies, but for incentives as well. The SEZ board would do the advisory work on where incentives would be directed, said Davies.He said investors in these zones would be able to access the department’s 12i incentive, adding that the National Treasury had recently gazetted increased tax benefits that companies could access through the incentive.Saldanha IDZ mootedMeanwhile, Davies said a feasibility study had been conducted on whether to set up an IDZ in Saldanha in the Western Cape, and pointed out that the results had been “quite positive”.The department’s director-General, Lionel October, said the IDZ plan for Saldanha was at a quite advanced stage and that it was hoped that the feasibility study would be completed by June this year. An application would then be submitted to the minister for approval of the IDZ.October said long-term viability – at least 20 years – was a key factor that the department would consider before designating SEZs, including the proposed IDZ at Saldanha.He said renewable energy manufacturing was one of the areas the department’s team was looking at in Saldanha. The department was also considering aquaculture, mineral sands, gas and oil as other sectors that could benefit from the proposed IDZ.Davies explained that a period of public consultation of the Bill and engagement with provinces to identify SEZs and to carry out feasibility studies would start as of this week, adding that the department intended to table the Bill and have it passed in Parliament this year.The Bill will be available shortly through www.dti.gov.zaSource: BuaNewslast_img read more

Curfew extended in Assam town

first_imgSlit bike seats trigger communal tension in Assam’s Hailakandi, curfew clamped The administration in southern Assam’s Hailakandi town extended curfew by 24 hours besides suspending mobile Internet services on Saturday.A person died on Friday night after two groups clashed over the parking of two-wheelers at a mosque. Officials said the condition of two among the 10 injured, including policemen, was critical.Hailakandi Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli said the situation was under control. “We have extended prohibitory orders by a day and suspended mobile Internet services to prevent spread of rumours.”Kuladhar Saikia, DGP, said the cybercell had been scanning social media activities. “Anyone found fuelling communal passion would be dealt with sternly,” he said. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ordered a probe by an Additional Chief Secretary. Apart from sending Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya to Hailakandi, he had been coordinating with Addl. DGP Mukesh Agarwal and Barak Valley Division Commissioner Anwaruddin Choudhury, who are camping in the town.Also Read  “I met the local leaders of Hindu and Muslim communities in the presence of senior officials for lasting peace,” Mr. Suklabaidya said, adding that he visited the injured at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital.He also announced ₹5 lakh as compensation for the family of Jasim Hussain, who succumbed to his injuries, and ₹50,000 each for the injured.The All Assam Minority Students’ Union blamed the government for failing to pre-empt the violence that had been brewing for a long time.“The administration appears to have let things happen,” its president Azizur Rahman said.The violence was triggered after two-wheelers a group had been parking haphazardly, allegedly to block the entrance to the mosque, were damaged. Things went out of control when another group decided to offer namaz on the road.The two groups began pelting stones. This led to mobs vandalising shops and setting vehicles on fire.last_img read more

Foreign media coverage on Anna Hazare’s arrest

first_imgIndia’s leading anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare’s protest against corruption and the demonstrations that followed after his arrest, gained a wide-spread coverage in the international media.Here are the excerpts: WASHINGTON POSTAnna Hazare, India’s leading anti-corruption activist, refuses to leave Delhi jail “Indian police jailed a leading anti-corruption campaigner and detained thousands of his supporters early Tuesday, hours before the veteran activist was due to begin an indefinite hunger strike to demand tougher laws against graft. As public anger rose, the government made a dramatic U-turn and decided to release the 74-year-old Anna Hazare on Tuesday evening. But Hazare refused to leave Delhi’s high-security Tihar Jail unless he was given written permission to resume his fast in a park in central Delhi. Supporters said he was continuing his hunger strike in jail. Hazare, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, is the face of a nationwide social movement against rampant corruption that has gathered pace this year after a string of high-profile scandals. He has become a major thorn in the side of the government, led by the Congress party, and the confrontation has become increasingly bitter in recent weeks. Hazare, adressed in homespun white cotton and a white cap, smiled and waved at supporters as he was driven away early Tuesday from his lodgings in the Indian capital in a police vehicle after earlier being denied permission to stage his protest. Later, hundreds of candle-holding, flag-waving protesters shouted slogans and pushed against the iron gates of Tihar Jail demanding his immediate release.”advertisementWASHINGTON TIMESAnti-graft activist fasts in custody “An anti-corruption activist arrested Tuesday for planning a public hunger strike began his fast behind bars, as his supporters held protests across the country with thousands detained by police. Anna Hazare’s demand for tougher anti-corruption laws has tested the beleaguered government and galvanized Indians fed up with seemingly endless scandals, exposing bribery and favoritism and paralyzing efforts to address poverty and speed development. Mr. Hazare, a 73-year-old social activist clad in the simple white cotton garb of India’s liberation leaders, has become an anti-corruption icon by channeling the tactics of freedom fighter Mohandas K. Gandhi. In April, he used a four-day fast to force the government to draft legislation to create an anti-corruption watchdog. He had planned to begin another public fast Tuesday to press for a stronger bill. Police barred his latest protest after organizers refused to limit the number of fasting days and participants, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said. “Protests are perfectly permissible and welcome, but it must be under reasonable conditions,” he said. Mr. Hazare vowed to carry on regardless, but he was arrested before leaving for the protest site in a New Delhi park.”NEW YORK TIMESHundreds Arrested in India Over Planned Protest”An anticorruption protest leader whose arrest on Tuesday morning reverberated across India, inciting outrage at the government, ended the day with a very different twist: He refused an offer to be released from jail. By late Tuesday, the scene outside Tihar Jail was playing on all-news channels across the country. More than 1,000 supporters waved flags and banners, chanting slogans, as the protest leader, Anna Hazare, rejected a police release order because it contained a condition he could not accept – that he agree not to stage an indefinite hunger strike. He began one in jail anyway. The late-night drama came after a long day in which Mr. Hazare had initially planned to begin a hunger strike at a park in New Delhi, augmented by rallies across the country. Seeking to pre-empt the demonstrations, the police arrested Mr. Hazare and his aides and detained more than 1,200 of his followers, though most had been released by early evening. “DAILY MAILMass protests erupt over arrest of ‘Gandhi’ hunger strike activist “The detention of an anti-corruption activist as he began a hunger strike has sparked protests across India, with police rounding up at least 1,200 supporters in New Delhi alone. Anna Hazare began fasting in custody after police arrested him at home to stop the planned public hunger strike in a New Delhi park, which was certain to embarrass India’s scandal-plagued government. Hazare’s demand for tougher anti-corruption laws has galvanised Indians fed up with the bribery and favouritism that has infested government at all levels and become a political distraction, preventing progress in addressing the widening gap between rich and poor.”WALL STEET JOURNALIndia Jails Anticorruption Activist”Delhi police jailed an anticorruption advocate on Tuesday after earlier preventing him from going on a public hunger strike to demand the government create an even-more-powerful ombudsman than envisioned in a bill before Parliament. Anna Hazare was arrested early Tuesday morning under a temporary legal provision that bans public gatherings and protests at a New Delhi park where he was planning to hold his hunger strike, said Rajan Bhagat, spokesman for the Delhi police. Mr. Bhagat said the prohibition was issued after Mr. Hazare refused to agree to the police’s conditions for allowing the protest, including restricting the fast to three days and limiting the number of protesters at the site to 5,000. Mr. Hazare, 73 years old, was later sent to the capital’s Tihar Jail for seven days after he failed to post bail or to promise before a magistrate not to defy the protest ban, which remains in place. He is now in the same jail as politicians arrested in recent months in connection with a slew of government scandals that created a wellspring of support for the activist’s anticorruption efforts. Mr. Bhagat said the police issued an “unconditional release warrant” for Mr. Hazare and his aides late Tuesday night. An aide to Mr. Hazare who was released told television reporters outside the jail that Mr. Hazare has said he won’t leave until he receives “written assurance” from the government that he will be allowed to go ahead with his plan for the hunger strike.”THE NEWSadvertisementAnna Hazare refuses to leave jail “An Indian anti-corruption activist refused to leave jail on Tuesday after being held in custody for several hours to prevent him starting a high-profile hunger strike in New Delhi. Veteran campaigner Anna Hazare, 74, was released by authorities but said he would only walk out of prison if his demands to be allowed to hold a public “fast unto death” in a city park were met, officials told. About 1,400 Hazare supporters were set free after being held during the day inside a sports stadium in a police operation that was widely criticised as an attempt to quell dissent. Corruption has become a key issue of public discontent in India, and Hazare has emerged as a prominent national figure for his campaign to demand that a new anti-graft law currently before parliament is strengthened.”last_img read more

Head injury

first_imgYouve fallen and hit your head. It hurts a little, but youre not bleeding and you feel okay. Do you have a head injury, or are you fine? Knowing how to tell a minor head injury from a serious one could literally save your life. Lets talk about head injuries.Millions of people get head injuries every year. They get into car accidents or fights, they fall, or they get hit in the head while playing sports or working on the job. Most head injuries are minor, because your head comes equipped with its own natural hard hat, a protective skull that surrounds and protects your brain. But sometimes that protection isnt enough. More than a half-million people each year get head injuries severe enough to send them to the hospital.The most common type of head injury is a concussion. Thats when a hit in the head makes your brain jiggle around in your skull. You can also get a bruise on your brain, called a contusion. Brain contusions are a lot more serious than bruises from a bump on the arm or leg. Other types of head injuries include a fractured skull or a cut on your scalp.If you get hit in the head or fall and you dont bleed, youve got a closed head injury. If an object enters your brain, like glass from a windshield during a car accident or a bullet from a gunshot, then you have an open head injury.It can be very hard to tell if youve got a minor closed head injury or a serious one. Your head might look perfectly fine from the outside, when you actually have bleeding or swelling inside your brain.advertisementTo tell the difference, look for other signs of a serious head injury, such as a severe headache; Clear or bloody fluid coming from your nose, ears, or mouth; Confusion, drowsiness, or a loss of consciousness; Changes in the way you hear, see, taste, or smell; memory loss; mood changes or strange behaviors; slurred speech or recurrent vomiting.If you or someone else has any of these symptoms, call for medical help right away.If you dont have these symptoms and you think its just a minor head injury, you probably dont need to be treated. Just ask a friend or family member to keep an eye on you. If its your child or someone else with the head injury, wake them up from sleep every 2 or 3 hours to ask questions like, “Where are you?” and “Whats your name?” just to make sure theyre alert.If youre in any doubt about whether a head injury is serious, play it safe and get medical help. To play it even safer, protect your head during any activities that could lead to an injury. Wear a helmet whenever you skateboard, roller skate, ski, snowboard, or ride a bike or motorcycle. Put on your seatbelt whenever youre in the car. And put kids in an age-appropriate car seat or booster seat.Review Date:10/25/2011Reviewed By:Alan Greene, MD, Author and Practicing Pediatrician; also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.last_img read more

Jamaica Commits To Closer Ties with South Africa

first_img She mentioned the Joint Commission on Science and Technology and agreements under consideration, including on air services “which is set to foster greater people-to-people movement and functional cooperation between our two countries.” Mr. Riley cited other agreements that “support the eradication of poverty and address the inequality that characterise most modern societies, issues which disproportionately confront women and children and other vulnerable groups.” Mr. Riley cited other agreements that “support the eradication of poverty and address the inequality that characterise most modern societies, issues which disproportionately confront women and children and other vulnerable groups”. Story Highlightscenter_img The Government of Jamaica has pledged to continue to work with the Republic of South Africa in strengthening bilateral partnerships for the benefit of the people of both countries.This commitment came from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, while addressing a reception to celebrate the 24th anniversary of South Africa’s Freedom Day, held on Thursday (May 10) at the Terra Nova Hotel, St. Andrew.Freedom Day marks the liberation of South Africa and its people from a period of colonialism and apartheid, which officially existed from 1948 to 1994.Minister Johnson Smith said there has been a significant increase in the level of cooperation between the countries.She mentioned the Joint Commission on Science and Technology and agreements under consideration, including on air services “which is set to foster greater people-to-people movement and functional cooperation between our two countries”.“These objectives will form a major part of the mandate of our new High Commissioner-designate to South Africa, Angella Comfort, who will take up her duties in short order in Pretoria,” she added.Charge d’Affaires at the South African High Commission, Phillip Riley, said the engagement between the countries is bringing tangible results.He noted, for example, that the bilateral cooperation on science, technology and innovation has resulted in the commencement of joint research, effective March this year.He said that the partnership is aimed at contributing towards scientific advancement in both countries through the joint funding of research activities in specified fields. The Government of Jamaica has pledged to continue to work with the Republic of South Africa in strengthening bilateral partnerships for the benefit of the people of both countries.last_img read more

Bourdains TV show apologizes for using offensive nickname for Newfoundlanders

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s TV show has apologized for calling Newfoundlanders by a diminutive nickname many find offensive.The Twitter account for CNN’s “Parts Unknown” used the term “Newfie” in a now-deleted tweet promoting this Sunday’s hotly anticipated episode on Newfoundland and Labrador.The official “Parts Unknown” account shared an article with Newfoundland-related books and local slang, saying “Embrace the Newfies as they are.”Users were quick to jump on the use of a term that’s considered derogatory, with origins implying Newfoundlanders are unintelligent and lazy.One man tweeted that “a fair portion of Newfoundlanders find the term ‘Newfie’ offensive” and said it was hard to understand why they used it “in an otherwise excellent article.”“Ah, you had me until you called me a Newfie. I find it an derogatory term,” another Twitter user said.User @staggcrystal wrote: “Come on CNN. It is Newfoundlanders.”Even as other Newfoundlanders said they didn’t find the term offensive, Seamus O’Regan, a St. John’s MP and the federal minister of veterans affairs, tweeted simply: “We don’t like it.”Late Thursday afternoon, the show acknowledged the criticism on Twitter, offered an apology and appeared to delete the original tweet.“We regret our use of the word ‘Newfie’ to describe the people of Newfoundland. We apologize for any offence and will stick to Newfoundlanders going forward,” it said.A little later, it added: “Tweets on this account are not written or reviewed by Anthony Bourdain. Once again we apologize.”James Baker of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., published a research paper last year on the history of the term, and its perception among post-secondary students in Newfoundland. He found that the results were a “mixed bag,” but people were quick to notice when the term was used in a derogatory way — especially on social media.“When you have someone who’s not a Newfoundlander uses it, people tend to pay much more attention to it, especially someone as famous as Anthony Bourdain,” said Baker.But Baker says most Americans, including Bourdain, likely wouldn’t pick up on the nuance behind the term, which has been compared to derogatory terms for other ethnic groups, like using “Polack” to refer to someone of Polish heritage.Baker added that while coverage of the province in American media can be fraught with cultural misunderstandings, interest in Newfoundland from outsiders can be seen as a positive, inviting potential visitors in the future.“Anything that paints the province in a positive light is a great opportunity for tourism.”Paul De Decker, a linguistics professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, says the term “runs a gambit” when discussed in his classes. Some students see it as a “badge of honour” or an endearing term, while others think it’s inappropriate, especially from people who aren’t from the island.But De Decker sees potential for linguistic change with new audiences like American “Parts Unknown” viewers, who are likely unaware of the term’s history, or the stereotype of Newfoundland as an economically disadvantaged province.“They see it [Newfoundland] for how Anthony Bourdain has portrayed it,” said De Decker. “They may not take away the same meaning that Canadians and Newfoundlanders have understood the term in the past. To them there might be nothing but positive associations with the term.”“It would be great if we’re now at the time, and maybe this is one episode, one media outlet, where the term can take on what we call amelioration — it takes on a positive aspect.”The celebrity chef visited the province last fall, dining with local chefs on delicacies from moose meat to authentic fish and chips.Bourdain also visited the French island of St. Pierre off the coast of Newfoundland, and embarked on cod fishing and moose hunting excursions.Bourdain’s Instagram posts, including a photo of himself enjoying a seaside dinner in front of a bearskin rug with the caption “#newfoundland,” generated local excitement at the time.Jeremy Charles, head chef behind Raymond’s in downtown St. John’s, hosted Bourdain on his visit, serving up menu items and showing off the province’s splendours.Jeremy Bonia, manager of Raymond’s, reflected positively on Bourdain’s visit, saying the chef himself never used the term in his writing or appearances on the show.Bonia said the restaurant has already received emails from potential international guests who heard about Raymond’s through early coverage on “Parts Unknown,” and expects that interest to grow after the episode airs.“At the end of the day, you’re always gonna have people not happy with something, or use the wrong word,” said Bonia. “Any time Newfoundland gets showcased internationally like this, it makes everybody really proud.”As the airdate approaches, other locals are expressing their excitement for the showcase of Newfoundland’s food and culture.Said Twitter user @mrsmaris: “All of Canada will be watching. No, seriously.”last_img read more

Mary Robinson Says Climate Change Is A Human Rights Issue

first_imgIn a TED talk earlier this year, former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, outlined for the audience how she sees that climate change is actually a human rights issue, something she had not connected when she began as UN High Commissioner of Human Rights in 1997.When travelling in Africa, however, she kept seeing how climate change was stymieing villagers’ ability to grow food properly and prepare for their future. She cites Uganda’s long periods of drought, followed by flash flooding and then drought again, destroying harvests, livelihoods and infrastructure. She also cited Malawi, which suffered from unprecedented flooding in January 2015, which killed 300 people and lost livelihoods for hundreds of thousands.Robinson says that while the average Malawian emits about 80kg of C02 per year, the average American emits 17.5 metric tonnes. Ironically, people not contributing to global warming are suffering the consequences of it.Although it is generally agreed that we need to stay below two degrees Celsius of warming of pre-industrial standards, Robinson’s concern is that we’re on course for about four degrees. “We have to go to zero carbon emissions by about 2050,” she says, “if we’re going to stay below two degrees Celsius of warming. And that means we have to leave about two-thirds of the known resources of fossil fuels in the ground.”Although she sees great progress to cut emissions here and there, it is not enough, and she’d like to see better cooperation. “The reality is that this issue is much too important to be left to politicians and to the United Nations,” she says. “We face an existential threat to the future of our planet. And that made me realize that climate change is the greatest threat to human rights in the 21st century.”Copyright ©2015Look to the Starslast_img read more

Celebrating Metis week

first_imgAPTN National NewsAlbertans wrapped up celebrating Metis week Friday.Festivities ended with a commemoration of the Metis’ most inspiring leader, Louis Riel.APTN National News reporter Noemi Lopinto has more on the celebrations.last_img