A new method of travel

first_imgIFRANE, Morocco – While studying abroad last semester, I was introduced to a new form of transportation: camels. My classmates and I traveled to the town of Erfoud in the Tafilalt Oasis on Nov. 16. We went on historical tours, visited a fossil museum, attended Quran recitations and, my favorite part of the weekend, took a sunrise camel ride into the Sahara Desert. Although we had to wake up at 3 a.m. to catch the caravans into the dunes, the experience of riding a camel into the desert as the sun rose in the distance was unforgettable. There are few words that can describe the beauty of the desert. The landscape looked artificial, but I was quickly shaken into reality when I hopped onto the shaky, two-humped camel. Camels are definitely an interesting form of transportation, but they are not the most comfortable. I think I’ll stick with trains, buses, planes and cars. The Tafilalt Oasis is the second largest oasis in North Africa, behind the Nile Valley. It is manmade and said to date back to the Paleolithic Age. Because of its age, it is considered the best place to buy fossils in Morocco. In fact, the owner of the local fossil museum, Ibrahim Tahiri, is the main exporter of fossils from the Moroccan desert to Europe and North America. The fossil museum was not the only history Erfoud had to offer. Our professor, who organized the trip, arranged a tour of the Qasr al-Fada, a palace complex built by prince Moulay Abd al-Rahman in the early 19th century. Today, curators and descendants of the prince’s slaves still live in the parts of the complex that are not open for public viewing. The weekend reminded me how true and genuine Moroccan hospitality can be. We traveled to many small villages within the Oasis. Each time we walked through the gates of a new town, we were welcomed with Moroccan mint tea and an array of nuts. Our group consisted of approximately 25 people, but Moroccan men and women welcomed us into their homes as if we were old friends. This hospitality continued throughout the weekend when we were received at two different Zawiyahs, places of prayer and retreat. Not only did the people there welcome us as honorary guests, but they also provided us with entertainment, Quran recitations and tasty Moroccan tagine, a type of stew. My favorite part of the evening was the Quran recitations. Although I don’t know Arabic, listening to the men sing the verses was surreal. The verses became more upbeat as the evening progressed, and the musicians even broke out some drums. Islam is sometimes perceived negatively in the Western world, but I was able to witness a side of the religion that is rarely shared with the wider public. Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at krabac01@saintmarys.edulast_img read more

ASCE awards Ph.D. candidate

first_imgNotre Dame Ph.D. candidate Maria Gibbs was recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as one of the 2015 New Faces in Civil Engineering on Dec. 2.According to an ASCE press release, the award “promotes the bold and humanitarian future of civil engineering by highlighting the achievements of young civil engineers, their contributions to and impact on society.”One-of-10 recipients of the award, Gibbs said she researches the effects of wind on suspension footbridges, specifically those built in developing countries by the nonprofit organization Bridges to Prosperity.The press release said ASCE will officially recognize Gibbs for her work with Bridges to Prosperity at the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Gala in March.Gibbs said she is honored by the award and by the opportunity to “spread the work of the team of Bridges to Prosperity.”“The civil engineering profession is recognizing that this is really important work and hopefully spreading the word that you don’t have to choose between a career in international development and a career in civil engineering,” she said. “There are ways to figure out how to mold your passion into a more traditional, conventional civil engineering career path.”Gibbs said she first became involved with Bridges to Prosperity, an organization that builds footbridges to provide safe transportation to people living in isolated regions, during her undergraduate studies at Duke University.Now a board member of Bridges to Prosperity, Gibbs said the “main focus” of her doctoral studies is determining the structural soundness of the footbridges built by the organization.“Before I leave here, I will have an answer about if Bridges to Prosperity’s bridges are susceptible to wind, and if they are, a solution to making them safer,” she said.Gibbs’ doctoral advisor, Notre Dame’s Robert M. Moran Professor of Engineering Ahsan Kareem, said Gibbs’ newfound way to utilize smartphones, a relatively cheap technology, in bridge-testing distinguishes her research.“I think her real recognition by ASCE … is primarily for this innovation which she has implemented in looking at the performance of these bridges,” he said.Smartphones have the two-fold benefit of providing a cost-effective way to test bridges and of allowing testing by non-experts, Gibbs said.“What I’ve been doing with smartphone apps and these little miniature computers called Raspberry Pis is just figuring out a portable, low cost way to go test these bridges, because the way we do it here in the U.S. is you send a team of engineers and it’s very expensive,” she said. “It requires a lot of expertise.”Gibbs said she came to the University to work alongside Dr. Kareem, who researches the susceptibility of tall buildings and long-span bridges to wind and earthquakes.Kareem said he enjoys working with Gibbs inside the laboratory and in the field. Kareem accompanied Gibbs on a trip to Nicaragua with Bridges to Prosperity last summer where he witnessed firsthand the impact of her research, he said.“After going to Nicaragua I could see the difference,” Kareem said. “I couldn’t tell that from here—how important those bridges are for those people. It’s not typical engineering. I think it’s more like Notre Dame engineering, where you have a service-oriented contribution to science and technology.”Tags: American Society of Civil Engineers, ASCE, Bridges to Prosperity, New Faces in Civil Engineering, Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Galalast_img read more

NAFCU wants CUs protected as House passes bill targeting robocalls

first_img continue reading » Lawmakers in the House Wednesday, in a 417-3 vote, passed legislation that would expand the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) enforcement authority over violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and require voice services providers to authenticate and block illegal robocalls.The Senate passed a version of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act in May, but had to work out differences with a House-passed robocall bill. During Wednesday’s debate of that compromise package, lawmakers cited instances where themselves and constituents had been the target of robocalls. The measure now goes back to the Senate for final action.Commenting on the bill’s passage, NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler shared the association’s support of Congress’s efforts to eliminate illegal robocalls; however, he stressed the importance of ensuring legitimate callers, such as credit unions, are protected.“In the event of potential fraud, a data breach or other important updates to existing accounts, credit unions proactively work to alert their members of any questionable activity,” said Thaler. “Public policy should clearly distinguish between legitimate communications and illegal robocalls and provide avenues for credit unions to share important information with their members. We thank Congress for their efforts and encourage policymakers to protect consumers’ access to the information they need.” ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Fears that Leeds could miss out as office space dwindles

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Three hospitals in Riau Islands to welcome Indonesians from Wuhan as locals stage protest

first_img“We are making preparations now. I will visit the hospitals to welcome them [Indonesians from Wuhan]. The final say will be in the hands of the governor and the Batam mayor,” Tjetjep told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.He added that Health Minister Terawan had been in Natuna since Friday as part of the preparations to make the province a transit point for Indonesians returning from Wuhan.“Basically, we need an isolation zine for them until they are declared free from the coronavirus. We don’t want them to be in society before we know they are healthy,” Tjetjep added.In addition, Tjetjep said Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi and Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi were scheduled to visit Batam on Saturday, when they will greet the returnees. As of Friday, the virus had killed 213 people and infected nearly 10,000 in mainland China.Meanwhile, Batam Indonesia Free Trade Zone Authority (BP Batam) spokesperson Dendi Gustinandar said there had been no discussions about whether the returnees would be isolated at the haj dormitory in Batam.“I have not heard about the plan. There has been no discussion about it within related offices” Dendi added.He said BP Batam had not issued any instructions to use the haj dormitory as an isolation spot.He statement counters reports the government’s plans to use the haj dormitory as an isolation zone, which has triggered protests and criticism from local people.Riau Islands Legislative Council (DPRD) member Yudi Kurnai said it was wrong for the government to designate Batam as an isolation zone for Indonesians returning from Wuhan given that Batam was a popular tourism destination.“The government should pick another island. It is not the right decision to place them in Batam,” Yudi said.Meanwhile, dozens of people in Natuna staged a rally on Saturday to protest the government’s plan. “Local people are worried about the plan to isolate them in Natuna. We are worried because the coronavirus spreads very quickly,” said a protester. Three hospitals in Riau Islands are making preparations for the arrival of Indonesians from Wuhan, China, who will be isolated for a number of days while they undergo medical checkups and monitoring before they will be allowed to return home.Riau Islands Health Agency head Tjeptjep Yudiana confirmed early Saturday that he had received a letter from the Health Ministry Health Services Directorate General directing his agency to make the preparations.The three hospitals mentioned in the letter are Badan Pengusahaan and Embung Fatimah Regional hospitals in Batam and Natuna Regional Hospital in Natuna.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Governor Tom Wolf Orders Commonwealth Flags at Half-Staff in Honor of Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Michael P. Stewart

first_img Flag Order,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf has order the Commonwealth Flag to be lowered to half-staff on the Capitol Complex, at Commonwealth facilities, and throughout the state in honor of fallen Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Michael P. Stewart.The Commonwealth Flag shall remain lowered until sunset on the date of interment.The United States Flag should remain at full-staff during this tribute.All Pennsylvanians are invited to participate in this tribute. Governor Tom Wolf Orders Commonwealth Flags at Half-Staff in Honor of Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Michael P. Stewart SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img July 14, 2017last_img read more

Governor’s Advisory Commissions Urge Reunification of Immigrant Families

first_img African American Affairs,  Asian Pacific American Affairs,  Latino Affairs,  National Issues,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Commission for Women, Commission on Latino Affairs, Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, and Commission on African American Affairs stand together in denouncing the Trump Administration’s policy that has resulted in the long-term separation of children from their families at the southern border. The commissions issued the following statement:“The use of children as political pawns is inhumane, intolerable, and morally wrong. By ripping children away from their families, the United States has created a level of trauma that is heightened further by language and cultural barriers, and that puts these children on a path of enduring physical and mental health problems.“This is not who we are. The United States is a compassionate nation that respects basic human rights and welcomes immigrants fleeing oppression — we proudly proclaim ‘[g]ive me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’“Our commissions urge Congress and the Trump Administration to find a path to return these children to their families as expeditiously as possible.“Please contact your members of Congress and demand that they oppose these practices and any immigration bills that would result in the separation of children from their families. Please also contact the Pennsylvania Immigrant Resource Center or HIAS Pennsylvania to learn more about how you can help. For more information about childhood trauma and victimization, contact the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence or the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.” June 26, 2018 SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img Governor’s Advisory Commissions Urge Reunification of Immigrant Familieslast_img read more

Bulgarian government does U-turn on second-pillar pensions law

first_imgBulgaria’s government is set to reverse some of the controversial changes to the second-pillar pension system rushed into law at the end of 2014 after the Finance Ministry published a series of amendments on 23 January.Pension fund members will still be able to switch to the first pillar, but crucially this decision will no longer be irreversible.Instead, workers with more than five years left to retirement will have the option, once a year, to change their preference.The funds transferred from the second pillar will no longer go to the PAYG system of the first pillar National Social Security Institute but to the Silver Fund, the stability vehicle set up in 2008 to cover future pension deficits. New entrants to the labour market will have, as was the case before the law was revised, three months to choose a second-pillar fund or be assigned to one.The 2015 law gave them a year from their first period of paid employment to make a decision or automatically default to the first pillar.According to the Finance Ministry’s website, “the amendments proposed will be used as the basis for conducting a useful discussion and a wide public debate aimed at reaching maximum consensus and long-term solution of the pension system issues … by March 31”.Ivaylo Kalfin, deputy prime minister and minister of Labour and Social Policy, will lead a task force to establish this consensus.The government’s about-turn follows wide-ranging objections, including from the Reformist Bloc, a junior member of the ruling coalition.The ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria, Konstantin Penchev, who had received numerous complaints from workers concerned about the “nationalisation” of their funds, warned that the pension changes should have followed extensive consultation, and that he would consider exercising his right to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court.Intensive lobbying from the Bulgarian Association of Supplementary Pension Security Companies (BASPSC) also appears to have paid off to some extent.The association sent an open letter to the Parliament, government, president and media refuting the 10 “untruths” being propagated about the second pillar.These included the assertion that, since their inception in 2002, the second-pillar funds have generated a negative real return.BASPSC states that, according to Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) data, between the start of April 2002 and the end of September 2014, the universal pension funds generated a real annual return of 0.464%.Miroslav Marinov, executive director at Pension Insurance Company Doverie, said: “We are the only financial institution to announce a real rate of return, while all the others report only nominal ones.”Marinov expressed disappointment that the new amendments did not cover many outstanding important issues in the second-pillar pensions regime, including returns, guarantees, fees, payouts, investment regulations and the introduction of multifunds.The BASPSC is likely to be pushing for these in the coming weeks.It still faces powerful opponents.Earlier in January, the Parliament’s budget and finance committee drafted its own amendments, including introducing guaranteed returns and slashing fees.The committee is exceptionally hostile to the second-pillar system, with chairwoman Menda Stoyanova recently accusing it of harbouring “bad apples,” a charge refuted by the FSC.For more on recent changes to Bulgaria’s pension system, see Barbara Ottawa’s article on Pensions in Central & Eastern Europe in the January issue of IPE magazinelast_img read more

Encore to provide the best of both worlds

first_imgEncore Broadbeach is a new $78 million boutique apartment building being launched in Broadbeach.ENCORE Broadbeach is a new $78 million boutique apartment building being launched in Broadbeach.The building, at Britannia Ave, is set to include 86 residences across 25 storeys. Andrews Projects sales manager Sarah Andrews said buyers would benefit from its convenient location while being only moments away from the city’s highlights. Encore Broadbeach is a new $78 million boutique apartment building being launched in Broadbeach.“People like to have access to restaurants and supermarkets but don’t necessarily want to live right on top of them,” she said.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa13 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days ago“Encore Broadbeach provides the best of both worlds — a residential location yet only a short walk to the best of Broadbeach and its beaches.“The area is really experiencing a renaissance and is set to continue its role as a substantial lifestyle and commercial centre of the city and Encore will stand out as a quality residential development among it.”Encore Broadbeach’s exterior features arches and curves with decorative facades and coloured blockwork framing the entry and lobby. MORE NEWS: Enjoy life on the waterfront Encore Broadbeach is a new $78 million boutique apartment building being launched in Broadbeach.The development features a mix of two and three-bedroom configurations and two penthouses on offer. Prices start from $599,000. Resident facilities include a 25m pool and spa, barbecue and Teppanyaki grill, gym, yoga areas, and residents’ lounge.The building will have body corporate fees between $52 and $90 per week and is expected to be completed late 2020. A sales centre is at 22 Albert Ave, Broadbeach.center_img MORE NEWS: Mega mansion includes basketball courtlast_img read more

HIA: Gold Coast housing affordability the best it has been since the 1990s

first_imgREIQ Gold Coast zone chairman Andrew Henderson agreed that the city was experiencing some of the best buying conditions in decades. “If you’re looking to purchase property, taking those indicators into account should give you a high confidence level that now is a good time to secure your home or investment,” he said. “With the interest rates at low levels it gives people the opportunity to purchase their dream property sooner. “Anyone waiting on the sidelines for property prices to drop, there’s no point waiting any longer.” Talking of 1999, here’s what the Gold Coast looked like then when the M1 motorway was under construction.“For a homebuyer with an average income purchasing a median priced dwelling (assuming a 10 per cent deposit), mortgage repayments will consume the smallest proportion of their earnings since 1999,” HIA senior economist Geordan Murray said. The interest rate, which hit an all-time low of 1 per cent recently, has had the biggest impact, according to Mr Murray. MORE NEWS: Business opportunity dished up with a side of history Buying on the Gold Coast is as affordable as 1999, according to a new report.PROPERTY on the coast is the most affordable it has been in two decades, almost as if you were buying in the 1990s, latest data shows. Property price falls, wage growth and record-low interest rates were combining to boost the Gold Coast market’s affordability back to 1999 standards, according to the Housing Industry Association’s June quarter affordability index. center_img MORE NEWS: House deposit could buy you this whole property More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa10 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day ago“The main reason the HIA affordability index today is comparable with the level in 1999, despite house prices rising significantly faster than incomes, is that (average mortgage) interest rates are 4.6 per cent today compared with 6.7 per cent in 1999,” he said. “Average earnings have increased by 113 per cent over the 20 years to 2019, while the median home price has increased by 228 per cent but the lower interest rates have kept the cost of servicing a loan the same.”Australia’s median dwelling price was just $190,978 in 1999 compared to $538,837 today and the average full time wage has increased from $39,703 to $84,611 today, according to the report. Mr Murray said the correction to the national housing market along with the positive buying conditions would mean the Gold Coast would continue to thrive. “The reduction in interest rates was a significant factor behind the improvements in affordability in Queensland,” he said. “The lower borrowing rates will benefit households on the Gold Coast just as they are in other parts of the country.” Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:25Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:25 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD576p576p432p432p288p288pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenDavid Koch puts property price falls in perspective01:26last_img read more