Titans pull away from Raiders, win going away

first_imgClick here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device. OAKLAND — The Raiders received a dose of hard reality Sunday in a 42-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans at the Coliseum.A sellout crowd saw what a potential playoff team looks like, and turns it wasn’t the Raiders in their penultimate game in Oakland.What was left of the crowd let its feelings be known with scattered boos as the teams shook hands afterward. The Raiders were coming off back-to-back 31-point road losses …last_img

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Forensics can stop illegal trade of ivory

first_imgAt CITES CoP17 in Johannesburg, scientists and investigators showed how they were using forensics to fight illegal ivory trade and poaching of Africa’s elephants.African elephant numbers are plunging because of poaching. Scientists and investigators are using forensics to track and seize illegal ivory and stop criminals at the source.(Image: Shamin Chibba)Shamin ChibbaThe fight against elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade is getting a boost from scientists and international law enforcement, which are using forensics to stop criminals.Speaking at the CITES CoP17 World Wildlife Conference, which ran from 24 September to 5 October in Johannesburg, Sam Wasser, a researcher at the University of Washington’s Centre for Conservation Biology, said they had created a system that helped to seize ivory in the destination country and track it to the source of the killing.Wasser led a discussion on using forensics to combat illegal ivory trade at its source. Using DNA analysis, researchers and investigators have been able to locate the source and track major exports. “We extract DNA from ivory samples and compare them to some 26 genetic markers.”He said that by current estimates, the African elephant could become extinct in ten years’ time. There are currently 400 000 elephants remaining in the wild and up to 40 000 are being killed by poachers every year.Male elephant tusks weigh anything between 45kg and 80kg while female tusks are as heavy as 20kg. On the black market, 0.5kg of ivory can be sold for up to R21 000.Illegal ivory trade was one of the five biggest organised crime networks in the world and was linked to other contraband such as cocaine and heroin, said Wasser. Most contraband is not seized in the source country. And of the 600-million port entries a year, only 2% of ship containers were checked.“To attack the problem we need to know where the ivory is coming from, how big are the networks and how much ivory there is. To stop this, we need to track trade at its source and attack prior to export. We also need to focus law enforcement on major poaching hot spots.”Poachers were well informed, said Wasser. They needed to know the land, make connections with rangers, know the elephants’ movements. They were also savvy when it came to exporting ivory, hiding tusks in long grain white rice sacks from Pakistan, for example.The first step in sampling is to identify pairs of tusks, which can be a monumental task as in many cases, pairs are split in different shipments.In one particular seizure, more than half of the tusks did not have matching pairs. “Pairs (are separated) and get shipped to different locations within a short space of time.”However, this tells investigators that the two shipments are being shipped by the same person.Kingpin’s arrestIn July this year, Kenyan businessman Feisal Ali Mohammed was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by a Mombasa law court after he was found guilty of illegal possession of ivory worth 44-million shillings (R6-million). He also received a fine of 20-million shillings (R2.7-million).According to The Guardian website, a warrant for his arrest was issued in 2014 after two tons of ivory were seized from a car yard in Mombasa. He evaded capture that time.But in October of the same year, Interpol issued a Red Notice identifying Ali as one of the world’s most wanted environmental crime fugitives. He was arrested in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on Christmas Eve 2014 and was returned to Mombasa to face trial.Despite Ali’s capture, Wasser said there were other major ivory smugglers who were well connected with game rangers, port authorities and the like.Any seizure of more than half-a-ton is considered large. However, investigators regularly seize up to two tons at a time, with the largest being 4.6 tons in Singapore last May.Smaller seizures, of up to 300 kilograms, are also made at airports. In one of the more recent seizures, airport security complied with the traffickers. “We saw some footage from Tanzania whereby a security guard switched off the X-ray machine to let through Chinese travellers with ivory going to Switzerland. They were seized in Switzerland,” said Wasser.Poaching locationsAll of the African elephants killed are concentrated within a 300km radius of two regions: 22% in Gabon and Republic of Congo in West Africa, and 78% Tanzania and Kenya in East Africa.According to Thure Cerling, a senior scientist at IsoForensics, most of the elephants killed are younger than five years of age.IsoForensics is an isotope analysis service that has been assessing seized tusks to determine the age of the elephants and their original habitat. “Elephants would have been killed a year before tusks are seized,” said Cerling.He uses samples taken from the cementum, or the outside of the tusk, which is richer in DNA material.Database links seizuresResearchers and investigators are relying on a database created by nonprofit research organisation C4ADS to track shipments – using an app called Windward – and seizures.According to Mary Utermohlen, an analyst at C4ADS, the organisation’s ivory seizure database has more than 1 100 ivory seizures between 2009 and August 2015. “We can link ships and the people involved in those seizures. It’s one degree out so it’s quite accurate.”Last year, C4ADS was able link two major seizures: a 3.1 ton seizure in Thailand in April 2015 and the 4.6 ton seizure in Singapore. Both came out of Mombasa, Kenya. By linking the two seizures, they began linking numerous other ivory exports.Utermohlen spoke of a mega-network in ivory trade wherein 21 seizures contained 81.6 tons of ivory, 4.1 tons of pangolin scales, and 200 kilograms of rhino horn.Wasser said they were trying hard to “feed into transnational investigations” by working with Interpol and other investigators. “Whether you’re pro-trade or against trade, we all want the same thing: stop the killing. That’s the fundamental thing to do right now.”last_img read more

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“Code For America” Reinvents Government One Step At A Time

first_img7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… The U.S. public sector employs some 21 million people, the vast majority at state and local governments. That makes the public sector ripe for innovation and reinvention, a task being tackled head-on by Code for America, a San Francisco-based incubator that aims to help “government work better for everyone.”Startups Attacking A Giant MarketLast week, I attended a Code for America demo day where seven startups, billed as the “inaugural class of the first-ever civic startup accelerator,” showed off their wares. The Code for America accelerator program hopes to disrupt the $170 billion government IT market, while providing new and improved services to U.S. citizens.One of the startups, MindMixer, had already shown up on my radar. MindMixer helps local government and civic entities create instant online communities. The company has so far set up more than 250 organizations around the country.MindMixer helps organizations collect ideas and perspectives and lets visitors vote on them, much the same way that I’m using Spigit to ideate solutions for America. One MindMixer community is ImproveSF, which is working to create a better San Francisco. Its “Design a New Library Card” challenge racked up 14,529 interactions.Handwriting To Digital Isn’t EasyAnother startup that drew much attention is Berkeley, Calif.-based Captricity. Co-Founder Kuang Chen reiterated how difficult it was to transform handwritten or other paper-based data into digital form.Captricity uses real people for data entry but you do need either have a scanner or camera to upload text originals to the Web. The company currently has an offer you can’t refuse: the first 25 pages for new customers are digitized for free. It’s $0.20 per page after that.As Code for America Director of Strategy and Communications Abhi Nemani tells me, “Captricity is one of the clearly compelling startups, it’s a problem we can all relate to.” The company already has received investments from Mitch Kapor’s Kapor Capital and others.Social media startups were well represented by Measured Voice and Revelstone, both promising to improve civic engagement supported by analytics to track social engagement.The Start Of Something Bigger?Three other startups, Aunt Bertha, LeanSprout and Recovers are described on Code America’s site. As Nemani says, “This is the first accelerator class. The whole ecosystem needs to be built up, but this is the start of something bigger.”I agree. Code for America has definitely struck the right tech chord. If you need more persuasive evidence that America needs to innovate, please see Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers General Partner Mary Meeker’s presentation “USA, Inc.” Key Points, which brilliantly articulates trends we should all be familiar with.Code on. michael tchong Related Posts Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoidcenter_img How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Why You Love Online Quizzes Tags:#Government#hacking#startups last_img read more

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Generika-Ayala caps return to spotlight with third-place finish

first_imgPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netGenerika-Ayala salvaged third place honors on Saturday night after crushing an uninspired Cignal HD, 25-12, 30-28, 25-13, in the Philippine Superliga at SM Mall of Asia Arena.It was a remarkable finish for the Lifesavers, who the past few years were in the doldrums but very quickly turned things around when they started beating top teams on their way to the semifinals.ADVERTISEMENT Without a legitimate superstar to build on, Generika-Ayala took everyone’s attention when it defeated title contender F2 Logistics in the preliminary and then ranked third entering the quarterfinals.“Everything is because of our determination to win,” said Generika top spiker Patty Orendain, who led her team with 16 points.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefShe got enough help from fellow low-key teammates Angeli Araneta, Ria Meneses, Mika Lopez and Fiola Ceballos.Generika coach Sherwin Meneses lauded the players’ willingness to play their respective roles. Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue MOST READ Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Lacson: 2019 budget delay due to P75-B House ‘insertion’ PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. center_img TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Doroy stays in top 10 Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño “We are very happy, all of us, this is our best Christmas,” said Orendain in Filipino. “Our coach said together we can accomplish things as long as we have teamwork.”The Lifesavers totally dominated the match except for the brief juncture in the second set where they yielded three set points. They out-attacked the HD Spikers, 40-32 and stymied the opposition’s offense with 11 kill blocks compared to three by Cignal.Cignal came out cold in the opening set and after putting up a fight in the second frame, also went out with the same lethargy, giving away a total of 25 points off errors.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion View commentslast_img read more

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