Fossils of oldest known snakes unearthed

first_imgFour new species of ancient snakes, including one that lived in what is now southern England, push back the known kin of today’s slitherers almost 70 million years earlier than thought. The species—one from the United States, two from England, and one from Portugal—were identified from new analyses of fragmentary fossils collected decades ago but then consigned to museum drawers. These fossils have been dated to between 143 million and 167 million years ago; previously, the oldest known snake fossils were about 100 million years old. Because the sediments that entombed the fossils were deposited in distinctly different environments, it’s likely the creatures (artist’s concept of one of the species shown above) inhabited different habitats, the researchers say. The fossils, including teeth and skull or jaw fragments from all four species but vertebrae from only two, show all the hallmarks of snakes, especially in the creatures’ heads, the researchers report online today in Nature Communications. The fossils are so fragmentary that it’s not clear how long these snakes were or how they were shaped, the researchers note. In fact, some of the vertebrae from one of the new species suggest that that creature had rear limbs. (Leglessness doth not a snake make: There are, in fact, legless lizards today.) The wide distribution of the four new species, as well as their presumed ecological diversity, hints that the earliest snakes probably evolved between 220 million and 240 million years ago (about the time that the supercontinent Pangaea was breaking up), if not earlier.last_img read more

Football : USA, Canada and Mexico to co-host FIFA World Cup 2026

first_imgAdvertisement(photo credits: ussoccer)The United States, Canada and Mexico have won the bid to host the 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup to be held in 2026. The joint bid from the 3 countries saw them beat their contenders Morocco by securing 67% of the votes.The 2026 world cup will mark the return of the tournament to North America after 32 years. This also marks the second time that the world cup is being hosted in more than one country after Japan and South Korea co-hosted it in 2002.BREAKING: FIFA announce 2026 World Cup will be co-hosted by USA, Canada and Mexico— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 13, 2018Carlos Cordeiro, the president of US Soccer, told the FIFA congress: “It’s a bit emotional for us today. Thank you so, so very much for this incredible honour. Thank you for entrusting us with the privilege of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2026.”“The beautiful game transcends borders and cultures. Football today is the only victor. And in that spirit we wish all Russian hosts and all the teams competing here the very best of luck.”Also Read: One Day To The WC And Julen Lopetegui Has Been Sacked As Spain’s Manager Advertisementlast_img read more

Officials raid West Ham United, Newcastle United for suspected tax fraud

first_imgEnglish football clubs were raided early on Wednesday morning by tax officials as part of a wide-sweeping probe, with several men arrested for suspected Income Tax and National Insurance fraud.British media were reporting that West Ham United and Newcastle United were targets of the investigation.The London club did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment, while a Newcastle spokesperson said she expected to issue a statement “in due course”.West Ham issued a statement to local media, saying the club was “cooperating fully with HMRC to assist their enquiries”.The body responsible for United Kingdom’s tax collection said: “180 HMRC officers have been deployed across the UK and France today.”Investigators have searched a number of premises in the North East and South East of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones.”This criminal investigation sends a clear message that, whoever you are, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences.”HMRC said French authorities were assisting the UK investigation, that they have made arrests and that several locations have been searched in France.A French judicial source with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to Reuters that a preliminary investigation has been opened and that operations were underway in France and in the UK.The source, who declined to be named, would not elaborate.last_img read more

8 killed in road accident in Haryana

first_imgJhajjar (Hr), Jul 8 (PTI) Eight persons were killed when their sport utility vehicle collided head on with a truck near Maarot village, about eight km from here, police said today.While seven persons died on the spot, one succumbed to his injuries on the way to PGI Rohtak hospital, they said.The accident took place at around 10 pm last night when the occupants of the vehicle were going towards Bahadurgarh, Jhajjar police, DSP (Beri), Jitender Kumar said.The deceased were identified as Raghbir, Raju, Jagdish, Birbal, Bhagirath, Raju, Sonu and Sukhendra (driver), police said, adding that all of them lived in Dadri and were in the age group of 27 to 35 years. PTI CHS VJ TR IKAlast_img

DX reunites after 8 years to take down Brothers of Destruction at WWE Crown Jewel

first_imgWorld Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) most loved and experienced superstars turned back the clock to put on a super show at WWE Crown Jewel in Riyadh on Saturday.In a match that was hyped up because of the return of Shawn Michaels inside the ring over 8 and a half years, the other three veterans also did pretty well to entertain the crowd and make their moneys worth.Triple H, The Undertaker and Kane along with Michaels gave the Saudi crowd many moments to remember after a mostly dull night thus far.In the end however, D-Generation X (DX), who were reuniting for a competitive match after a long time, somehow managed to keep the Brothers of Destruction at bay and get the three-fall.It was always going to be difficult for Michaels to match up with the tempo of Undertaker and Kane…even HHH as all of them have been performing at house shows and even main events time and again. HBK on the other hand, hasn’t been inside the ring to wrestle since his retirement match versus Ric Flair at WrestleMania 26. He has always been in and around the ring and reunited with Triple H on several occasions but his time has been limited to promos strictly.But on Friday, a new-look bald HBK did show the one present why he is so special and called the showstopper after all.The match took its fair share of time to get going as four of the veterans got together to put on a show and not to forget the long, signature entrances that preceded.advertisementBut, the crowd was up for it before even started as chants of “This is awesome” resonated around the arena before the match started. Triple H and Kane kicked things off for their respective teams but Michaels was soon tagged in and the crowd started chanting “You still got it”. That led to Kane tagging The Undertaker and the Dead Man entered the ring in his usual slow way to built the tension as usual.And that is when it started going downhill for DX. Taker beat Michaels down and started working on his arm and set him up for an old-school but Triple H somehow saved him and that brought Kane back into the thick of things. Taker slammed Michaels into the corner and he flipped around like the old days and Triple H followed soon after Kane Irish-whipped him but HHH fell outside the ring — signature DX for everyone present.SO MUCH HISTORY in one ring…#DX @TripleH & @ShawnMichaels battle The #BrothersOfDestruction @KaneWWE & The #Undertaker at #WWECrownJewel! (@WWE) November 2, 2018But Michaels showed immense will power and came back into the match and threw in some signature moves. He kicked up, hit and elbow off the top rope on Kane and tuned the band of course for a ‘Sweet Chin Music’ but his time was up for then as Kane reversed it into a ‘Chokeslam’.Following that, the action went outside the ring and Taker cleared out both the announce tables after a little melee as he looked to tombstone Michaels on one of them but that was stopped by Michaels’s partner but only to be ‘Chokeslammed’ through one of the tables and that took Hunter out of the match for the longest of times.THERE GOES THE GAME!#WWECrownJewel @KaneWWE @TripleH (@WWE) November 2, 2018Following that, HBK was all on his own as Triple H was attended by medics ringside. Michaels however, didn’t lose heart and tried to fight back. He sent Undertaker into the ring post and got back into the ring. Michaels and Kane then battled it out to go to the top rope and during the course, a Michaels blow led to Kane’s mask coming off.And, then came the moment the people of Saudi Arabia will forever remember. Michaels performed a moonsault from the top rope to take down both his opponents outside the ring and that led to a huge cheer.By that time, Triple H was back in the ring and Kane put his mask back on and the action resumed inside the ring.Taker took the tag but was greeted with a ‘Pedigree’ despite Kane trying to stop him. Triple H then sent Kane outside but was caught by Taker in a ‘Hell’s Gate’ submission move. Kane then came back but Michaels hit him with a ‘Sweet Chin Music’ and he landed on top of Taker and broke the hold.advertisementBut the momentum again shifted towards the brothers and they were set for a double ‘Tombstone’ but Michaels managed to escape by putting a thumb on Kane’s eyes and Triple H managed to escape Undertaker’s hold and then hit a clueless Kane with a ‘Pedigree’ and Michaels nailed his finisher yet again to get the three-count and win the match.MISSION COMPLETE for #DX!#WWECrownJewel @TripleH @ShawnMichaels Universe (@WWEUniverse) November 2, 2018EXCLUSIVE: After an incredible night at #WWECrownJewel, @ShawnMichaels is ready to return to his “regular life.” (@WWE) November 2, 2018After the match, both Michaels and Triple H were seen resting in the corner of the ring. All four put on a great show but Michaels’s comeback will be one to remember for the wrestling fans.last_img read more




first_imgIf you’re a referee that’s heading to the NTL in 2 weeks time, (or you’re just a referee after a good deal), then this story is for you.TFA are offering a special deal on socks with the old TFA logo.TFA are offering green and gold long socks and green and gold sports socks in all sizes for $5.50 per pair. Normally $7.70 per pair the special deal is only available until Tuesday February 28th.There is also limited stock in red and blue long socks and sports socks, so if you’re interested in placing an order email Rachel at or call 1800 654 951NTL referees please note…there will be no gear for sale at the NTL, if you are going to need some spare socks, make the most of this sale and pick up a pair now.last_img

Sports Super Developments

first_imgTouch Football Australia (TFA) is affiliated with Sports Super, the superannuation fund designed for all participants within the Australian sports industry.TFA’s members are eligible to join Sports Super – the super fund that is as committed to Touch Football as you, and we invite you to find out more to see if this could be an appropriate superannuation program for you. Sports Super has low fees for all members, is secure and strong – part of Australia’s largest super fund, has a strong and consistent performance history, and is quick and easy to join. Unlike all other fund programs Sports Super pays part of your fees directly back into our great sport. This is a fantastic new revenue opportunity for the sport of Touch Football which will allow us to continue to provide first class training and development programs. Score now with a great, secure, low fee fund with proven returns that uniquely benefits the whole Touch Football community. You may also be able to make some significant super fee savings. TFA advises that interested members should seek independent financial advice. TFA does not represent or warrant current or future financial performance or returns. You should obtain your own independent financial advice on the product.To find out more about this opportunity, email or visit the website A superannuation fee comparison between Sports Super and your existing arrangement can be provided upon request.last_img read more

Jamaicans Welcome Permanent Exhibition on Norman Manley

first_imgThe scores of Jamaicans, who journeyed to the birthplace of National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Norman Washington Manley in Roxborough, Manchester yesterday (July 4), to celebrate the 120th anniversary of his birth, are welcoming the opening of a permanent exhibition on his life, now located at the site.Constructed at a cost of just under $11 million and funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the exhibition details the hero’s life from his birth in the cool, green hills of Manchester, to his educational journey from Belmont to Jamaica College in Kingston.It also captures his family life, career in law, involvement in sports, his role as a Statesman, and his death.Several of Mr. Manley’s athletic and other medals are on display in the exhibition, which is brought to life by numerous photos of him interacting with his family, friends and on the national stage.Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, praised the exhibition. “We are very, very pleased. We worked very, very hard with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) and the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) to research and put things in place,” she said.She explained that an inter-ministerial team was formed with the Minister of Tourism and Entertainment to set about restoring the site. She thanked the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) Secretariat, which managed and monitored the project; the Manchester Parish Council, which implemented it, and the South Coast Resort Board for its role in getting the project done in record time.“We started in March and were able to restore and put the exhibition in so we are very pleased. This is the first phase, we came in under $11 million and people are pleased about the museum here,” she said.Ms. Hanna informed that solar panels will be installed at a later date to provide electricity that will allow the speeches of the National Hero to be included in the exhibition. She also said that there are discussions about having other events on the site, which offers a picturesque setting.Speaker of the House of Representatives and Member of Parliament for South Manchester, Hon. Michael Peart, noted that for over 30 years, he has been making the pilgrimage to Roxborough and finally, he is seeing the beginnings of something great happening at the site. He described the opening of the exhibition as something special.He pointed out that Mr. Manley excelled in every aspect in his life and in celebrating his life, “we need to take stock of ourselves and try to identify with his vision, as some of what he stood for seems to be fading”.Custos of Manchester, the Hon. Sally Porteous, said Mr. Manley would have been pleased to see what has been done to improve his birthplace. She pointed out that the visual images will create a reality for those not around in the days of Manley, to better understand the life and personality of a man, who accomplished so very much.National Security Minister and Member of Parliament for Central Manchester, Hon. Peter Bunting, also welcomed the new exhibition.He said it was a case of “promise made, promise kept” coming out of last year’s celebration, when a collective declaration was made by the Mayor, Councillors and himself that the site would not have been allowed to remain in its then condition for another year.By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporterlast_img read more

Rachael Rays Yumo Donates 160000 To Feeding America

first_imgFeeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization, has announced that television personality and bestselling author, Rachael Ray, has donated $160,000 to support the National Produce Program and the BackPack Program through her Yum-o! organization, which is a long-standing supporter of Feeding America and hunger-relief.The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, a nationwide initiative to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed to the 37 million people in the United States served by Feeding America network food banks and partner agencies. Last year alone, the National Produce Program secured more than 120 million pounds of fresh produce on behalf of food banks.“The donation from Yum-o! to the National Produce Program will help aid our food banks in the weekly distribution of more than eight million pounds of fresh produce to children and families facing hunger,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “We are especially grateful to Yum-o! for this donation because oftentimes food banks are the only source of fresh fruits and vegetables for people struggling to put food on the table.”Yum-o!’s donation will also support the BackPack Program at food banks across the country. Feeding America has granted five $10,000 donations to the following food banks: • Lowcountry Food Bank, Charleston, SC • Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, Norfolk, VA • Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania, Erie, PA • Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN • All Faiths Food Bank, Sarasota, FLThrough the BackPack Program, low-income children receive bags filled with shelf-stable, nutritious food to take home for the weekends and school vacations. Containing wholesome, easy-to-prepare meals, the bag is provided to eligible children free of charge and is distributed at the child’s school throughout the school year. The BackPack Program provides food and nourishment to nearly 230,000 children every year.“More than one in five children in the United States struggles with hunger, a reality that inspired my Yum-o! organization to focus on funding projects and charities that feed hungry children,” said Rachael Ray, founder of Yum-o!. “By supporting Feeding America’s National Produce Program and the BackPack Program at local food banks, Yum-o! can help ensure children facing food insecurity are receiving nutritious and wholesome food.”last_img read more

Morocco Doctor Arrested For Fake Baccalaureate Degree

Rabat – A female physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology was arrested on Thursday in the city of Al-Faqih Bin Saleh on grounds of forging the baccalaureate degree.According to Maghreb Press Agency (MAP), the accused presented a falsified baccalaureate degree in order to obtain a diploma equivalency to a PhD in gynecology and obstetrics she obtained from an Eastern European country.The academic level of the accused does not exceed the first year of the baccalaureate. The same source pointed out that prior to her arrest by elements of the judicial police, the accused “doctor” was engaged in the profession in a private clinic in the city of Al-Faqih Bin Saleh.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

The King Asked Me to Ensure Transparency of Elections Minister

Marrakech- What matters the most in the upcoming Moroccan elections is credibility and transparency, and that the elections reflect the policy of the country, Mohammed Hassad, Minister of Interior, said on Friday in Rabat.During a discussion of the Interior Ministry’s budget within at the upper house of parliament, the Minister underlined that respecting the agenda and credibility of the upcoming elections is one King Mohammed VI’s top priorities.Hassad said he has received instructions from the king to make sure that the elections are held in transparency. The Minister highlighted the judiciary’s decision to repeat some district elections in the past, such as the elections in Moulay Yakoub, near Fez, which were repeated four times, to ensure transparency in elections and the respect of democratic rules Hassad said that territorial administration officials were given strict instructions to conduct the elections in good conditions, and to not favor any political partyDuring a meeting of the Interior Committee, Hassad promised that authorities would ensure election transparency by following up on complaints with the courts. He also called on political parties to submit documented evidence of electoral violations, discouraging them from merely issuing accusations without arguments.Edited by Timothy Filla read more

ICC chamber ordered to rule again on genocide charge against Sudanese leader

The pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today was ordered to reconsider adding the charge of genocide to the arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir issued last year.Mr. al-Bashir became the first sitting head of State to be indicted by the Court, which charged him with two counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity last March.But the chamber at that time rejected Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s application to charge the Sudanese leader with genocide, ruling that there was insufficient evidence. The ICC’s appeals chamber today found the standard of proof set by the pre-trial chamber to be too demanding at the arrest warrant stage, amounting to an “error of law,” according to a news release issued by the court, which is based in The Hague. The pre-trial chamber has been directed to decide anew whether or not Mr. al-Bashir should be charged with genocide.The United Nations estimates that an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million forced from their homes since fighting erupted in 2003 in Darfur, pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen. In December, the ICC Prosecutor told the Security Council that indiscriminate bombings, rape and other crimes are continuing in Darfur, with the Government of Sudan still refusing to cooperate with his office and its indicted President and other suspects remaining at large.Soon after the arrest warrant for Mr. al-Bashir was issued, authorities expelled 13 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and revoked the permits of three local groups, dealing a blow to humanitarian efforts in the region.“The decisions to expel humanitarian workers and silence others by threats of expulsion, or the attempts at restricting the freedom of movement of UNAMID [joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur] are part and parcel of this policy to reduce the monitoring capacity of the international community,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said. 3 February 2010The pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today was ordered to reconsider adding the charge of genocide to the arrest warrant for Sudanese President President Omar al-Bashir issued last year. read more

Portuguesespeaking countries join forces with UN to fight HIV

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), signed an agreement yesterday in Lisbon with Domingos Simões Pereira, the Executive Secretary of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP).The memorandum of understanding aims to strengthen cooperation between the two bodies so that the human rights of people living with HIV are promoted and infection rates in Portuguese-speaking countries can be reduced.CPLP’s members are Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor-Leste.“South-South cooperation among Portuguese-speaking nations can help achieve universal access to HIV prevention treatment, care and support and eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV,” said Mr. Sidibé. “We can learn from each other, especially when we share a common vision in changing the course of the AIDS epidemic.”Under the agreement, civil society groups and networks that assist people living with HIV will receive technical, political and financial support and channels will be established so that groups operating in different countries can share their experiences and knowledge. 18 March 2010The United Nations agency that tackles HIV/AIDS and eight Portuguese-speaking countries that are home to an estimated 223 million people have agreed to strengthen their cooperation against the deadly disease. read more

TSX gets boost from retail sales data loonie continues streak for 5th

TORONTO — Canada’s main index saw its first day of gains in more than a week as Statistics Canada released another set of positive economic data.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index advanced 33.08 points to 14,984.96. The last time the commodity-heavy index finished the day out of the red was Monday, Aug. 14.Tuesday’s gain came as Statistics Canada released data showing retail sales rose 1.1 per cent in June, excluding automotive and gasoline sales.“Any tidbit of information — positive or negative — is going to have outsized impacts on the market today,” said Craig Jerusalim, a portfolio manager of Canadian equities at CIBC Asset Management.That’s because the backdrop is a low-volume market, he said, as many people are away on vacation.The retail sales data also helped to lift the Canadian dollar, which continued its streak of gains for the fifth consecutive day.The loonie was trading at an average price of 79.67 cents US, up 0.15 of a U.S. cent. It has advanced 1.27 of a U.S. cent since last Tuesday’s daily average price of 78.40 cents US.In New York, markets also got a boost after a muted start to the week, as investors jumped on the losses of the past couple weeks as a buying opportunity rather than joining the sell-off.The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 196.14 points to 21,899.89, the S&P 500 index added 24.14 points to 2,452.51, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 84.35 points to 6,297.48.Gold continued to be unable to crack the US$1,300 an ounce mark, Jerusalim said, despite the ongoing political and social issues coming out of the White House that usually see investors turn to the precious metal as a safe haven.The December bullion contract dropped $5.70 to US$1,291.00 an ounce.Jerusalim suggested some investors may also be turning to cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, as alternative safe haven assets. He said they seem to be doing well when the U.S. dollar is weak — traditionally, a time when gold rallies.“Cryptocurrencies could be taking some of that excess demand off the table.”Elsewhere in commodities, the October crude contract gained 30 cents to US$47.83 per barrel, the September natural gas contract shed 2.3 cents to roughly US$2.94 per mmBTU, and the September copper contract gained about seven-tenths of a cent to roughly US$2.99 pound.– With files from the Associated PressBy Aleksandra Sagan in VancouverFollow @AleksSagan on Twitter. read more

Ontario budget expected to include free dental care for lowincome seniors

The Ontario Government is expected to fulfill a promise of free dental care for low-income seniors in Thursday’s budget.The program could cost nearly 100 million dollars a year and is aimed at those who don’t have a supplementary source of income.It’s meant for those aged 65 years and over making under $19,300 a year – or couples making up to $32,000.The service could be accessed through public health units, community health centres and aboriginal health access centres, with the potential for mobile dental units in the future.Details and exact numbers will be outlined in the budget.Most Hamiltonians say they are excited for this group of people, but the news was met with some criticism, as this comes after the Ford government announced education changes.

Justice Department investigating potential collusion among major airlines that kept fares high

FILE – In this Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, Travelers pass through a corridor at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia. The U.S. government is investigating possible collusion between major airlines to limit available seats, which keeps airfares high, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press. The civil antitrust investigation by the Justice Department appears to focus on whether airlines illegally signaled to each other how quickly they would add new flights, routes and extra seats.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) by David Koenig, Scott Mayerowitz And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press Posted Jul 1, 2015 12:03 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 1, 2015 at 7:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Justice Department investigating potential collusion among major airlines that kept fares high WASHINGTON – The U.S. government is investigating possible collusion among major airlines to limit available seats, which keeps airfares high, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.The civil antitrust investigation by the Justice Department appears to focus on whether airlines illegally signalled to each other how quickly they would add new flights, routes and extra seats.A letter received Tuesday by major U.S. carriers demands copies of all communications the airlines had with each other, Wall Street analysts and major shareholders about their plans for passenger-carrying capacity, or “the undesirability of your company or any other airline increasing capacity.”The Justice Department asked each airline for its passenger-carrying capacity both by region, and overall, since January 2010.Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce confirmed that the department is looking into potential “unlawful co-ordination” among some airlines. She declined to comment further or say which airlines are being investigated.On a day when the overall stock market was up, stocks of the major U.S. airlines ended the day down 1 to 3 per cent on news of the investigation.American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines all said they received a letter and are complying. Several smaller carriers, including JetBlue Airways and Frontier Airlines, said they had not been contacted by the government.The airlines publicly discussed capacity early last month in Miami at the International Air Transport Association’s annual meeting. After hearing about that meeting, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., requested a Justice Department investigation.The department had tried to block the most recent merger, the 2013 joining of American Airlines and US Airways, but ultimately agreed to let it proceed after the airlines made minor concessions.Some Wall Street analysts argue that to remain financially strong, airlines should not expand capacity faster than the U.S. economy. And from January 2010 to January 2014, they didn’t.In that 4-year period, capacity on domestic flights was virtually flat while the U.S. economy grew about 2.2 per cent per year. From January 2014 to January 2015, however, the airlines expanded by 5.5 per cent, topping the economy’s 2.4 per cent growth for 2014.Thanks to a series of mergers starting in 2008, America, Delta, Southwest and United now control more than 80 per cent of the seats in the domestic travel market. They’ve eliminated unprofitable flights, filled more seats on planes and made a very public effort to slow growth to command higher airfares.It worked. The average domestic airfare rose an inflation-adjusted 13 per cent from 2009 to 2014, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. And that doesn’t include the billions of dollars airlines collect from new fees. During the past 12 months, the airlines took in $3.6 billion in bag fees and $3 billion in reservation-change fees.That has led to record profits. In the past two years, U.S. airlines earned a combined $19.7 billion.This year could bring even higher profits thanks to a massive drop in the price of jet fuel, airlines’ single highest expense. In April, U.S. airlines paid $1.94 a gallon, down 34 per cent from the year before.That worries Wall Street analysts and investors. Cheap fuel has led airlines to make money-losing decisions in the past, rapidly expanding, launching new routes and setting unrealistically low fares to lure passengers. Airlines already flying those routes would match the fare, and all carriers would lose money.Such price wars are long gone, but today’s low fuel costs along with recent comments from airline executives have given the market jitters.Airline stocks plunged in May after the chief financial officer of Southwest said at an industry event that the carrier would increase passenger-carrying capacity by 7 to 8 per cent, an increase over an earlier target.Wolfe Research analyst Hunter Keay, who hosted that May 19 conference, told investors in a note afterward that the big airlines are unhappy to be restraining growth while low-cost airlines like Spirit grow much faster. He urged the major airlines to “step up” and cut routes for the good of the industry.On June 1, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said his airline would cap its 2015 growth at 7 per cent. That sparked a rally in airline stocks, as investors were more assured that capacity growth would be limited.Keay said Wednesday that he had not been contacted by the government and doesn’t think the airlines have been acting inappropriately.“The analyst community is bringing up the subject. You certainly can’t fault an airline executive for responding to the question,” Keay said. “The capacity continues to grow at the airports people want to fly to and air travel remains a particular good value for the consumer, especially for the utility that it provides.”__Koenig reported from Dallas, Mayerowitz from New York.__David Koenig can be reached at, Mayerowitz at and Tucker at read more

UN chief hails peaceful and inclusive legislative elections in Côte dIvoire

“[The Secretary-General] congratulates Ivorian political parties for their active participation in the elections and the Commission électorale indépendante for its efforts in ensuring the people’s right to vote,” read a statement issued by his spokesperson late yesterday.“He also appreciates the positive role of international and national electoral observation teams, as well as the engagement of Ivorian civil society, which enhanced the transparency and credibility of the elections,” it added.Further in the statement, the UN chief commended the progress achieved by the west African country with the conclusion of a free and fair presidential election in October 2015 and the constitutional referendum in October this year.“The successful conclusion of the legislative election confirms Côte d’Ivoire’s steady march towards lasting peace and stability,” noted the statement.Mr. Ban also reiterated the commitment of the UN system, including the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), to continue supporting the country in sustaining the gains achieved in its consolidation of peace, stability and long-term prosperity. read more

Conflow secures first Colombian contract

first_imgConflow, a leading manufacturer of dust and fire suppression systems for the mining industry, has won a major new contract with Colombian producer of coking coal CI Milpa. This is the first contract that Conflow has secured in the country, following brokering a relationship with CI Milpa through its sister company Bretby Gammatech. A team from Conflow, part of the President Engineering Group,  visited the CI Milpa mine in Bogota and fitted two dust suppression systems.  They also fitted a fire suppression system on a roadway for Milpa in the other location in Bogota.Mark Henley, Managing Director of Conflow, said: “This is the start of a very positive relationship with CI Milpa and we are looking forward to further developing our business in Colombia.  Because of the large amount of mining in Colombia, we see it as a major growth area for our business.”David Fernando Jaimes Mojica from C.I. Milpa, said: “We are focused on continually improving the efficiency and safety of our production sites and the Conflow systems are an important part of this.  We chose to work with Conflow, because of the company’s expertise in the manufacture and installation of dust and fire suppression systems and are very pleased with the result.”C.I.Milpa has been a customer of Conflow’s sister company Bretby Gammatech for several years, as the company has supplied a number of Ash Probes to enable it to monitor the ash content of coal using Natural Gamma radiation.Conflow and Bretby Gammatech, as well as Bestobell Valves, are part of the Sheffield-based President Engineering Group, a manufacturer of solutions to the mining and energy markets.last_img read more

Opinion We have made no preparations for our ageing population

first_img‘BABY BOOM ON the wane’, a lead national newspaper proclaimed at the start of the month. While the ‘boom’ in births has been showing a steady decline, the opposite end of the age spectrum is showing a consistent and rapid rise.Ireland’s population is growing older and living longer. Our older population is increasing at a faster rate than that of our European neighbours. A ‘boom’ is forthcoming that will not go ‘on the wane’.The debate surrounding requirement for nursing home care is often skewed. Contrary to often-perceived perception, the number of older persons requiring such care is relatively small. Older persons are statistically classified as persons aged 65+; only one in 20 persons aged 65+ require nursing home care. The majority of persons requiring the continuous, specialist care of nursing homes are aged 85+. Around four in 20 in that age category require this care and call nursing home ‘home’. Requirement for long-term residential care doubles for those aged 85+ when compared to those in the 80-84 age group.The CSO has stated the “very old population” will rise “dramatically” in coming years. Its analysis projects the population aged 85+ will increase 46% by 2021.We have made no preparationsAs a country we have made no preparations for the demographic development of our ‘older old’. The reality is we are ill-prepared for it and, like with many other solutions in Ireland, the focus has only been on the short-term. Inaction will have huge implications for older persons.The social cost of failing to plan will prove far more distressing than the Exchequer one.  Imagine a family having no option but to care for a loved one at home, even though the older person has complex care needs they are not in a position to meet.The other outcome in that scenario would be for the person to seek care within an acute hospital setting, an inappropriate setting, at a much higher cost to the State – eight times higher than a nursing home. In that situation, for every 1,000 additional people who can’t access nursing homes, there will be an additional annual cost of €273 million to the Exchequer. Potentially, there could be 8,000 in this category, adding another €2 billion to our severely strained health budget.None of this takes account of the social or emotional cost for the older person or society and we simply cannot bury our head in the sand. For that reason, Nursing Homes Ireland commissioned an independent report that was published in February. Health’s Ageing Crisis: Time for Action which was undertaken by BDO, warns: “The provision of residential care for our ageing population is rapidly heading for crisis; however this is a situation that can, with the appropriate action, be avoided”.We are seeing a crisis emergePeople often accuse anyone who commissions a report of having a vested interest. Yes NHI does, but its members are engaging on daily basis with families seeking care for loved ones and we are seeing a crisis emerge. Last week, NHI published results of a survey it undertook amongst 122 private and voluntary nursing homes that highlighted a significant crisis in older person care. Almost half of respondents – 48% – stated typical waiting time for persons awaiting financial support of the Fair Deal scheme was three months or beyond. Survey respondents stated persons have passed away while awaiting Fair Deal financial support.The inordinate delays are causing stress, distress and bringing significant cost pressures to bear upon families. Families are trying to provide continuous care in a home setting while awaiting Fair Deal financial support. Older persons are remaining within hospitals or being readmitted to them because they cannot avail of the continuous care nursing homes specialise in providing.As an organisation we are committed to solutions.This year the State has significantly reduced the resources to enable older persons requiring the dedicated care of nursing homes to avail of it. It cut the allocated spend for the Fair Deal scheme by €35 million. As of 30th June, 1,465 were on Fair Deal placement list. Such a sizeable number defies the purpose of the scheme – to make nursing home care accessible, affordable and access to it anxiety free.We must planThis debate is about strategy. We aim to celebrate ageing but must embrace the responsibility that comes with a population that is growing older and living longer. We must plan and act appropriately. The reality for our sector – and we are just one of many stakeholders – is that we don’t know what the future strategy of the country is in relation to meeting our ageing demographics care and social requirements.As a society we must be informed if the State will continue to provide nursing home care, if the immense investment required for public homes to HIQA’s 2015 environmental standards deadline (€1.7 billion) will be forthcoming, and, crucially, how BDO’s projected requirement for 8,000 necessary new beds will be met. The projection is in keeping with CARDI (Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland) projected growth in requirement for 12,270 nursing home beds by 2021 and ESRI projected requirement for 13,324 beds to the same year.Over 22,000 people call private and voluntary nursing homes ‘home’ and equivalent staff are employed. Our sector has a key role to play in advising of strategy planning and implementation. We want the Department of Health to lead the required engagement and planning through a forum process that will bring together NHI, HSE, National Treatment Purchase Fund, HIQA, Age Action and other key stakeholders.The time for inaction is over.Opinion: Older people and Gaeilgeoirí are right to be indignant – this Cabinet doesn’t care about themRead: More blood donations needed to meet demand of ageing populationslast_img read more