… monitoring bauxite shipmentsBY UTAMU BELLEOperations at Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Incorporated (BMGGI) were placed under the microscope on Thursday, as Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Councillors made calls for proper systems of monitoring to be put in place by the Natural Resources Ministry to determine if anything apart from bauxite is being shipped out of Linden. The call was made after suspicions surfaced that apart from bauxite, other resources might also be leaving the shores of Guyana under the disguise of bauxite.A section of those gathered at the statutory meeting on ThursdayCouncillors are also demanding that better systems be put in place regarding the company’s kilns to stop dust pollution in the community. During discussions at the monthly statutory meeting of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), Regional Chairman Renis Morian, proposed that a motion be moved to have the Natural Resources Ministry put a system of monitoring in place to determine exactly what is being shipped out of Linden by BMGGI, in addition to another motion which deals with the dust situation.Councillor Charles Sampson, who put forward the motions, argued that despite a recent report that the community is no longer suffering from dust pollution, the issue still remains.“Bosai installed dust collectors on kilns 13 and 14… he dust collectors are not interlinked. If one of the dust collectors shuts down during production, it will send dust into the atmosphere. Bosai got dust collectors on the calcine, but what about the dryer? The dryers throw the most dust into the atmosphere… some days when you crossing the bridge, by time you get to the other side your whole face white… dust is real in this community, and Bosai got to do much better. They got to put a dust collector on number 10 kiln, the dryer,” the Councillor outlined.He continued that micro sized dust can still be seen in the air, especially at nights when passing the bauxite company and it is uncertain as to how efficient the dust collectors are. He said the onus is on the Natural Resources Ministry, the Public Health Ministry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce that dust in the atmosphere poses serious threats to the lives of people in the community, noting that other areas such as West Watooka and Canvas City are adversely affected.Meanwhile, the Regional Chairman called for a recommendation to be sent to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to have monitoring officials present to verify whether anything else besides bauxite is being exported. In his monthly report, Regional Vice Chairman Elroy Adolph, related that there was a recent visit by a team from the Natural Resources Ministry to Linden where meetings were hosted with BMGGI.Also speaking on the issue, Sampson noted that at the meeting, a question was asked about whether or not the quality of bauxite leaving the shores is known based on analysis.“Whatever Bosai ships out, based on the quality, that determines how much would have to be paid to GRA… We do not know what quality of bauxite goes out of this country on a consistent basis by either RUSAL or Bosai… we are being fooled and the only way we would know is if we set up a laboratory and get the samples that Bosai analyse so that we can cross check… we might say that fresh water ain’t got value but you know how much for a bottle of water… this is what we does process to drink,” he said.In putting forward the motion, Sampson called for all shipments and activities related to bauxite to be monitored to determine the quality and quantity, as well as for analysis to be carried out. As such, he called on Government to set up a laboratory.Additionally, Councillor Gordon Callender said the Council needs to take stock of what is happening in the bauxite industry by taking steps to monitor operations. The motion was seconded by Councillor Antonio Hackett with an amendment for the Maritime Administration Agency to be involved.
zoom Hong Kong-listed port investor China Merchants Port Holdings (CMPort) has agreed, through its subsidiary, to buy a 51 percent stake in Zhongshan Port Group.Under a share purchase agreement, expected to be signed on September 13, 2017, CMPort’s Shenzhen Chiwan Wharf Holdings Limited would buy the share from Zhongshan Zhonghang Investment Development for a total of CNY 485 million (USD 74.1 million).The amount would be paid in two installments and funded by the internal resources of the group and external bank loan facilities.Zhongshan Port Group currently operates three port zones namely Zhongshan Port, Xiaolan Port and Shenwan Port in the Pearl River Delta region with a total of 23 berths in operation.CMPort said that the acquisition would further strengthen its port network and strategic synergy of port resources in the Pearl River Delta region.Following completion of the deal, Chiwan Wharf, Zhongshan Zhonghang Investment Development and Zhongshan District City Construction Investment Group Co (ZDCCI) will each hold 51 percent, 11.51 percent and 37.49 percent of the equity interest in the port, respectively.Earlier in September, CMPort entered into a deal to buy 90 percent of shares in Brazilian port operator TCP Participações S.A.With the acquisition of TCP, worth USD 923.7 million, the group aims to expand its business to the Latin America region and further consolidate its position globally.
For a long time now, Test cricket has been limited to sparse bilateral series. It has turned boring, without context or purpose, and has been constantly criticised for its dragged five-day format. Questions were raised on why one should wait for five long days when other formats like Twenty-20 throw up results for fans in just three hours. The traditional form of cricket, which is far more involved, rests on unfolding drama and uncertainty – yet, it is unable to pull crowds. Test cricket is all about changing tactics that test the skill-set of a player. Only old fans of cricket can cherish the satisfaction that a player derives in the constant battle between ball and bat, only found in Tests. Yet, the charm among fans is dissipating as most stadiums go empty for even the most testing games. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhICC World Test Championship Like world cups in other formats, ICC has introduced the World Test Championship (WTC) to revitalise the popularity of Test cricket. ICC hopes that WTC will push teams to play for something beyond a series result – even the dead rubber matches will gain relevance now. Recently, in an interview, Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli rightly said, “We are awaiting the ICC World Test Championship with great enthusiasm as it adds context to the longest format of the game. Test cricket is very challenging and coming out on top in the traditional form is always highly satisfying.” Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterICC first came up with the idea in 2009 and the championship was approved in 2010, with plans of hosting the first edition in 2013. But it was postponed to 2017 and later stood cancelled. Finally, the Ashes Series, which started on August 1 between Test cricket’s oldest rivals Australia and England, marked the beginning of WTC. ICC has made some changes in the format to make Tests exciting with this world championship running across two years. The loopy format The top nine teams of ICC Test ranking are participating in WTC. During the two years, a total of 27 series will be organised, where 71 matches will be played. Each team will play in six series of which three will be organised on foreign soil while three will be at home. The top-two teams will play the final at the Mecca of Cricket, Lords cricket ground, in June 2021. However, when we look at the WTC format, it raises some questions. Unlike the recently-concluded ICC ODI World Cup which was played on the round-robin format allowing every team to play equal matches, the number of matches for each team in the Test Championship is different. For example, England will play 22 matches while Pakistan and Sri Lanka will play only 13 matches each. This creates a huge difference while playing to secure a place in the final. Moreover, every team in the championship will bilaterally decide its opponents – indicating a sharp lack of uniformity. India has four of six series against England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. India’s away series is against Australia and New Zealand, which will not be easy. On the other hand, New Zealand will not have to play teams like England and South Africa, which is a benefit for them. There are many aspects of the World Test Championship, from matches to home-away series and more, that lack uniformity. Though a total of 120 points are up for grabs for each series, match points will differ with the number of Tests being played under one whole series. A series consisting five matches will have 24 points for the winner of each match, whereas a two-match series will have 60 points for the winner. Similarly, points will be evenly distributed in four- and three-match series. Additionally, according to the information given by ICC, both teams will get half the points in case of a tie and on a draw, one-third of the points will be awarded. The maximum number of matches in a series will be five while two will be the least. Moreover, ICC has put the away and home series in the same bracket. Winning a series on foreign soil is considered a mark of quality cricket but in the WTC format, the away victories will be at par with those at home. Suppose Australia beat England 5–0 at their home in the Ashes they will be awarded 120 points. But in the home series to be held next year, Australia may clean sweep Pakistan 2-0, and will still have to be content with 120 points. It means, the team playing more home matches will have the upper-hand. All these issues raise the question of whether Test cricket will be able to really produce an undisputed champion as in the ODI and T20. ICC General Manager Geoff Allardyce, while talking about point sharing, argues, “The general rule of any competition is that every team has to compete for the same number of points. Each team has to play three series at home and three on overseas grounds and we have decided to give equal points for each series.” He also stated that ICC had given another option to participating countries, under which, only the first two matches of any series should be considered a part of WTC and 120 points should be given for these two matches only. But, all countries rejected the second option. New Rules ICC is doing many new things in this World Test Championship to popularise the longest format of cricket. For one, it has made a change in players’ jerseys. According to ICC, now in Test cricket too, numbers along with the players’ names will be written on jerseys. ICC has also made some changes regarding the slow over-rate in games. Until now, there was a rule to cut the captain’s match fees or to prevent him from playing a few matches as a penalty for slow over-rates in a test match. But now, by the new rule, a match fee deduction will apply to all team members. Moreover, two points will be deducted from the team responsible for slow over-rate in matches of WTC. In case the WTC final ends in a draw or tie, both teams will be declared joint winners. However, ICC has also given the option of Reserve Day which will happen only if there is some loss in the total playing time of five days. The total time set for a Test match is 30 hours (six hours daily) in five days. According to ICC, if there has been less than 30 hours of play then that time can be compensated on the sixth day. This rule has been introduced to prevent a repeat of its ODI mistake. If a team cannot play the final simply because its over-rate was slow, then it would be somewhat unfair. That is exactly what happened with New Zealand in the final of the ODI World Cup, when the Kiwis lost simply because they hit fewer fours than England. ICC has also made major amendments in the rule related to a substitute player. According to the new rule, if a player is injured, then another player can be included – who can bowl, bat and keep wickets. Such players will be called ‘Concussion Substitutes’. The decision on substitutes will be made by the medical representative of the team, with the match referee taking the final call. Additionally, the rule says that a new player must be deemed a “like for like” replacement by match officials. For example, if a batsman is injured then only a batsman can replace him and not a bowler. India’s chances India is the leading contender to emerge as the first WTC champion as it is set to launch its bid for the inaugural WTC on August 22 against West Indies in Antigua. India are the number one Test team at the moment. They won their maiden Test series 2-1 Down Under, last December-January, and have been invincible on home turf, not having lost a series since England beat them 2-1 in 2012. But India will have to face a litmus test when they fly to Australia and New Zealand for a four- and two-match series respectively. Turfs Down Under have always posed a challenge for the Indian cricket team. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav have though lent strength to the Indian pace attack. These will prove to be valuable on the hard and bouncy pitches of Australia and New Zealand. However, India needs to desperately work on its middle-order whose lack of depth has been exposed repeatedly. Other than Virat Kohli, Cheteswar Pujara and Rohit Sharma, no other batsman has yet gained trust. If India aspires to become the first champion, it needs to find a quick and reliable solution to its middle-order jigsaw.
Sci-Tech Tech Industry Comments 5:10 18:28 Neuralink brings the squishier, immensely complicated realm of biology into Musk’s purview. Human brains are famously hard to understand, though computer scientists at companies like Facebook and Google are progressing rapidly at emulating some of how brains work through technology called neural networks, the most practical and promising foundation for today’s artificial intelligence work. One of the most useful aspects of that research is getting computers to understand humans better by processing human speech.But as with his other projects, Musk sees Neuralink as important to civilization.”Even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind. Hopefully it is a benign scenario,” in which superintelligent AIs surpass but don’t wipe out humans, Musk said. “With a high-bandwidth brain-machine interface, I think we can go along for the ride and effectively have the option of merging with AI.”First published July 16 at 8:41 p.m. PT.Update at 11:13 p.m. PT: Adds details, images and background. Update, July 17: Adds new graphics. Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice Elon Musk Elon Musk’s Neuralink wants to hook your brain to a computer… Tags Controlling electronics with your mind! But the long-term goal is to build a “digital superintelligence layer” to link humans with artificial intelligence, a technology he views as an existential threat to humanity.”Ultimately, we can do a full brain-machine interfaces where we can achieve a sort of symbiosis with AI,” Musk said. One goal along the way will be letting people type 40 words per minute just by thinking.Neuralink has the potential to dramatically reshape both computing and humanity — if it and like-minded researchers can persuade regulators and society at large that we should be directly wired to machines. That’s a big if. The challenges are immense when it comes to developing the technology, making it practical and affordable, and convincing people it’s safe and desirable.The startup uses sewing machine-like technology this year to drill small holes into brains and insert super-slender electrodes called threads, steering clear of blood vessels as they go.Neuralink envisions brain-connected chips and accompanying communication wires placed under the skin. A data transfer system would then link to a wearable, removable pod behind the ear that communicates wirelessly with external devices like a phone or computer. Neuralink; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET “We hope to have this, aspirationally, in a human patient by the end of this year. So it’s not far,” Musk said. He acknowledged, though, that approval from the US Food and Drug Administration “is quite difficult.”Brain-machine interface (BMI) technology is active research at competitors and other laboratories. But some worry that Neuralink’s invasive method is risky.Today, some epilepsy patients have dozens of wires inserted to monitor brain activity, said Bin He, head of biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and a researcher who favors noninvasive methods. “In the general population, I could not see how many of such inserted wires into a human’s brain would not cause risks or potentially impair the working of the brain,” He said.Noninvasive methods not only can read brain activity but also stimulate it. That’s easier at the surface, but new breakthroughs show promise for communications with neurons deeper in the brain, He said.Even if Neuralink’s approach works, don’t expect to download the ability to speak French anytime soon. The company’s first goals are dauntingly ambitious, and training the brain to understand the Neuralink signals won’t be easy, either, said Max Hodak, Neuralink’s president and co-founder. “It’s a long process. It’s like learning to touch-type or play piano,” he said.In a research paper — authored by “Elon Musk and Neuralink” but not published in a peer-reviewed journal — Neuralink described progress using its technology with rats. In one case, it laced electrodes into a rat’s brain and fitted it with a USB-C port so the sensor data can be monitored. “This system serves as a state-of-the-art research platform and a first prototype towards a fully implantable human BMI,” the paper says.Thousands of electrodes implanted by robotWith Neuralink’s approach, a robot inserts tiny threads a quarter the width of a human hair. “The threads are about the same size as a neuron,” Musk said. “If you’re going to stick something in your brain, you want it to be tiny — approximately on par with the things that are already there.”Enlarge ImageOn this rat, Neuralink’s sensor chip connects to the outside world with a USB-C port. On humans, the plan is to communicate wirelessly so there won’t be a cable plugged into your skull. Neuralink A “wisp” of 1,024 threads attach to a small chip, up to 10 of which will be embedded under your skin. Each will connect wirelessly to a wearable, detachable, upgradable “pod” behind your ear that communicates wirelessly with a phone. “The interface to the chip is wireless so you have no wires poking out of your head. It basically Bluetooths to your phone,” Musk said.The installation takes place through holes 2mm wide, temporarily expanded to 8mm, then glued shut, Musk said. Among the company’s challenges are developing electrodes that will last “many decades,” but “getting the right coatings is a tough materials science problem.” The human brain is not a hospitable environment.Electrodes read and write brain dataNeuralink is designing its electrodes not just to “read” from neurons what’s going on in the brain, but also to “write” signals into the brain. “You can use this technology in the brain to restore a sense of touch or vision,” said Neuralink scientist Philip Sabes.Connections to the motor control parts of the brain also could help people with brain disorders, Sabes said.Neuralink’s N1 sensor chip, measuring 4x5mm in its present incarnation, can detect spikes of neural activity and send signals back to the brain. Neuralink; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET “A person could imagine running, dancing or even kung fu,” Sabes said, with the Neuralink connection controlling their 3D avatar in a digital realm. “Ultimately, if and when technology for spinal cord nerve or muscle stimulation gets far enough, it could be used to restore that individual’s control over their own body.”Neuralink hopes its procedure will be safe and easy enough that people will choose to undergo it. “This should be safe enough that it can be an elective procedure,” said company neurosurgeon Matthew MacDougall.In tests so far, “we’ve been able to rapidly place thousands of electrodes into the brain without any bleeding,” MacDougall said. That’s because the electrodes are small — far smaller than the deep-brain stimulation electrodes that currently come with about a 1-in-100 risk of causing bleeding in the brain, he said.In an era dominated by tech giants that have succeeded through computing hardware, software and services, Musk stands out as an entrepreneur who’s got a knack for other parts of the physical world — things like electricity, rocks and gravity. Musk is pretty busy. He’s got Tesla, which makes electric cars and trucks, massive electric power storage batteries and solar roofs. He’s got SpaceX, which is launching satellites — including its own set for providing internet service — and is working on rockets to get people to orbit, Mars and the other side of Earth. Then there’s the Boring Company, which is trying to create tunnels to relieve automobile congestion on ordinary roads. Neuralink plans to test its brain machine interface technology with four of its N1 chips installed under patients’ skin. Neuralink; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET Neuralink, Elon Musk’s startup that’s trying to directly link brains and computers, has developed a system to feed thousands of electrical probes into a brain and hopes to start testing the technology on humans in in 2020, Chief Executive Elon Musk revealed Tuesday. And it’s working already in animal tests. “A monkey has been able to control a computer with his brain,” Musk said at a San Francisco livestreaming the presentation on YouTube Tuesday, revealing even more research results than the company’s scientists expected.Neuralink’s initial goal is to help people deal with brain and spinal cord injuries or congenital defects, Musk said. The technology could help paraplegics who have lost the ability to move or sense because of spinal cord injury — a medical treatment that’s a lot less shocking than radical sci-fi ideas like “consensual telepathy.” Now playing: Watch this: 23 Photos Every Elon Musk project right now 6
Oil prices were steady on Friday after a run up on supply disruptions, especially in the Americas, where wildfires continue to rage near Canada’s huge oil sand fields, tightening a market suffering global oversupply.The disruptions helped offset the impact of a stronger dollar this week .DXY, which potentially reduces demand for crude as it makes dollar-traded imports more expensive for countries using other currencies.International benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading at $44.95 per barrel at 0203 GMT, 6 cents below their last settlement but flat with its first close this week.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $44.17, down 15 cents but over 1 percent above this week’s first close.”Supply disruptions and closures helped push crude oil prices higher, despite the stronger U.S.-dollar,” ANZ bank said on Friday.A massive fire around the Canadian oil city of Fort McMurray has forced the evacuation of all its residents and the closure of 690,000 barrels per day (bpd) worth of production out of Canada’s total oil sands output of 2.2 million bpd.Adding to the production outage in Canada is an ongoing decline in U.S. output.”While the wildfire in the oil-sands regions of Canada is still wreaking havoc with many producers, U.S. oil output continues to feel the impact of low prices,” ANZ said.Data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that U.S. crude oil output has fallen by 410,000 bpd this year, and by 800,000 bpd since mid-2015, as many producers succumb to a rout that saw prices tumble 70 percent between mid-2014 and early-2016.Analysts said that the hits to North American output, combined with disruptions in Latin America, were contributing to a fast erosion of global oversupply that peaked as high as 2 million barrels bpd last year.”Unplanned oil supply disruptions have been a key element so far this year that have contributed to a tighter oil market than was otherwise expected,” said analyst Guy Baber of Simmons & Co.
A 10-year-old rape victim whose plea for an abortion was rejected by India’s Supreme Court has given birth to a baby girl, a doctor said Thursday.The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was raped several times allegedly by an uncle who has since been arrested.Last month her parents asked the country’s top court to allow her to have a late-term abortion but the request was turned down.Indian law does not allow medical terminations after 20 weeks unless there is a threat to either the life of the mother or her child.“She gave birth through C-section today (Thursday). Both the girl and her baby are doing fine,” doctor Dasari Harish told AFP by phone from the northern Indian city of Chandigarh.“The surgery was uneventful. There were no complications whatsoever. The baby weighed 2.2 kilos (4.8 pounds) and is in the neonatal ICU for now.”The Press Trust of India news agency said the girl was unaware that she had delivered a child and the parents had decided to put the baby up for adoption.Her parents have told her that she had a stone in her stomach and had undergone surgery to remove it, PTI said.India has a grim record of sexual assaults on minors with 20,000 cases of rape or sexual assaults reported in 2015, according to government data.
Kolkata: As many as 10 idols that have attracted pandal-hoppers during Durga Puja this year, will find their place at the refurbished art gallery beside Rabindra Sarobar. This will not only provide an opportunity to those who could not make it to the pandals but also the art lovers, as they will be able to witness the same throughout the year.The outside of the main hall within the boundary walls of the gallery that has space for accommodating three idols, has already been occupied. The idols of Bhowanipore 75 Palli and Dum Dum Park have already made their way to their second address, while last year’s idol of Chetla Agrani has also been placed. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSeven other idols will be placed on separate concrete structures inside the main hall. The idol of Behala Friends Club will reach on Monday and the idol of Bakulbagan in Bhowanipore will also find its place there. “The five other idols will be decided after the Pujo Carnival on Tuesday. It will take some more time to arrange the idols in a systematic manner. The gallery is expected to be thrown open for the public soon after Kali Puja,” a senior KMDA official said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIt may be mentioned that KMDA has given a major facelift to the gallery that was created in 2012 for preserving the best Durga idols. The gallery, a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, preserves around 10 idols every year, which are replaced by new ones the following year. Some issues over maintenance had cropped up after 2016, following which the decision of facelifting it was taken. The work that involved around Rs 2 crore, was supervised by KMDA executive engineer Sudhin Nandy.