Has an intelligent design paper been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences?1 Read the abstract and decide whether this research supports Darwinism or design:Functional redundancies, generated by gene duplications, are highly widespread throughout all known genomes. One consequence of these redundancies is a tremendous increase to the robustness of organisms to mutations and other stresses. Yet, this very robustness also renders redundancy evolutionarily unstable, and it is, thus, predicted to have only a transient lifetime. In contrast, numerous reports describe instances of functional overlaps that have been conserved throughout extended evolutionary periods. More interestingly, many such backed-up genes were shown to be transcriptionally responsive to the intactness of their redundant partner and are up-regulated if the latter is mutationally inactivated. By manual inspection of the literature, we have compiled a list of such “responsive backup circuits” in a diverse list of species. Reviewing these responsive backup circuits, we extract recurring principles characterizing their regulation. We then apply modeling approaches to explore further their dynamic properties. Our results demonstrate that responsive backup circuits may function as ideal devices for filtering nongenetic noise from transcriptional pathways and obtaining regulatory precision. We thus challenge the view that such redundancies are simply leftovers of ancient duplications and suggest they are an additional component to the sophisticated machinery of cellular regulation. In this respect, we suggest that compensation for gene loss is merely a side effect of sophisticated design principles using functional redundancy.The three authors, all from the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, speak freely of the evolution of this phenomenon in their paper; they also, interestingly, refer to design and design principles just as often:In particular, we suggest the existence of regulatory designs that exploit redundancy to achieve functionalities such as control of noise in gene expression or extreme flexibility in gene regulation. In this respect, we suggest that compensation for gene loss is merely a side effect of sophisticated design principles using functional redundancy. Clues for regulatory designs controlling redundancy were obtained first in a recent study…They call these cases of functional redundancy responsive backup circuits (RBCs). Interestingly, they found some cases where one RBC is regulated by another RBC. Though often the two backup copies were differently regulated, they could become coregulated under certain environmental conditions. The team also found that some of these functionally redundant genes are found all the way from yeast to mammals; this is sometimes called “evolutionary conservation” but actually describes stasis, not evolution. The authors do not deny that these backup systems evolved somehow: “For a single cell, the ability to quickly and efficiently respond to fluctuating environments is crucial and offers an obvious evolutionary advantage,” they postulate, suggesting that accidental duplication of genes was co-opted for this purpose. They do not get into any details of how this might have happened, however, and their analysis seems more interested on the complexity and design benefit of the systems. Their criteria for functional backups were stated thus: “Two lines of evidence could indicate a function’s direct benefit from existing redundancy: first is the evolutionary conservation of the functional overlap, and second is a nontrivial regulatory design that utilizes it.” How many such systems exist in nature they could not say, because there have not been enough studies. Many functionally equivalent copies of enzymes (isozymes) are known. The genes that produce them are often regulated by different pathways. Under stress, however, some can become coregulated to provide robustness against environmental irregularities or damaging mutations.The model that emerges is that although many isozymes are specialized for different environmental regimes, alarm signals induced by particular stress stimuli may call for their synergistic coexpression. Here, RBCs provide functional specialization together with extreme flexibility in gene control that could be activated when sufficient stress has been applied. For example, in yeast, glucose serves as a regulatory input for alternating between aerobic and anaerobic growth. Its presence is detected by two separate and independent signaling pathways, one probing intracellular glucose concentrations and the other probing extracellular concentrations.They searched the literature and found several interesting ones that are described in detail in the paper. “In all these cases, the common denominator is that one of the two duplicates is under repression in wild type and that that repression is relieved upon its partner’s mutation.” This raises an interesting question – one that could have been asked by someone in the intelligent design movement. They even answer a possible objection with a design principle:The extent to which genomic functional redundancies have influenced the way we think about biology can be appreciated simply by inspecting the vast number of times the word “redundancy” is specifically referred to in the biomedical literature (Fig. 5, which is published as supporting information on the PNAS web site). Particularly interesting is the abundance with which it is addressed in studies of developmental biology (Fig. 5). In fact, it is here that concepts such as “genetic buffering” and “canalization” first had been suggested. Furthermore, the robustness of the developmental phenotypes such as body morphologies and patterning have been repeatedly demonstrated. So the question is, are these redundancies simply leftovers of ancient duplications, or are they an additional component to the sophisticated machinery of cellular regulation? In criticism, one may argue that many of the reported redundancies do not actually represent functionally equivalent genes but rather reflect only partial functional overlap. In fact, knockout phenotypes have been described for a number of developmental genes that have redundant partners. For these reasons, it has been suggested to define redundancy as a measure of correlated, rather than degenerate, gene functions. Although these facts may suggest that redundancies have not evolved for the sake of buffering mutations, it has, in our opinion, little relevance to the question of whether they serve a functional role. The interesting question is, then, can such a functional role for the duplicated state be inferred from the way the two genes are regulated?Along that line, they found that the amount of upregulation of one gene was often dependent on the regulation of the other. This suggested to them that the sum of the expression of the two copies is nearly constant as a buffer against noise in the system. When one line gets noisy, due to a mutation, the other responds with more signal. They call this “dosage-dependent linear response.” In some cases during development, the responsive overlap decreases as the organism grows. In short, “The abundance of redundancies occurring in genes related to developmental processes, and their functional role as master regulators (Fig. 5) may be taken to suggest their utilization in either the flexibility or robustness of regulatory control.” Some examples they give are even more complex. RBCs may also be implicated in the resistance of some organisms to multiple drugs. In some cases, each isoform can compensate equally for the other; in others, one of the forms is the main (the controller) and the other acts as the backup (the responder), only coming into play when the primary goes sour. “One of the most profound and insightful of these recurring regulatory themes,” they exclaim, “is that, although both genes are capable of some functional compensation, disruption of the responder produces a significantly less deleterious phenotype than disruption of the controller”. In evolutionary terms, why would the backup copy be better?A simple potential interpretation may suggest that although the controller is the key player performing some essential biological role, the responder is merely a less efficient substitute. Yet, accepting the notion that redundancy could not have evolved for the sake of buffering mutations, this interpretation still is severely lacking. A different, and more biologically reasonable, hypothesis accounting these asymmetries is that one of the functions of the responder is to buffer dosage fluctuations of the controller. This buffering capacity requires a functional overlap that also manifests itself in compensations against the more rare event of gene loss. Other models accounting for this assymetry are discussed further in this work, but our main point of argument is that this complex regulation of functionally redundant, yet evolutionarily conserved genes, strongly indicates utilization of redundancy.Their next subsection is called “Regulatory Designs.” What emerges from their discussion of how each gene can regulate its partner is a complex picture: in one case, “redundancy is embedded within a more complex interaction network that includes a unidirectional responsive circuit in which the controller (dlx3) also represses its own transcription, whereas the responder (dlx7) is a positive autoregulator.” More examples like this are described. They predicted, and found, that RBCs could also regulate “downstream processes from variation and fluctuations arising from nongenetic noise.” The net result is that by using these functional backup systems, the organism has more robustness against perturbations, yet more flexibility in a dynamic environment. What is the fruit of this research? Why should scientists look for these “regulatory designs” in the cell? They offer an intriguing example. It is known that one form of human muscular dystrophy occurs when a member of an RBC suffers a mutation. Studies of this pair in mice, however, shows that the other member can respond by upregulating its expression. It is thought a similar response might occur in humans. “Inspired by the compensatory effect demonstrated by this RBC in mice, its artificial induction in humans by means of gene therapy has been suggested. Although such modalities have not yet been realized, they suggest a fruitful possibility.”1Kafri, Levy and Pilpel, “The regulatory utilization of genetic redundancy through responsive backup circuits,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0604883103, published online before print July 21, 2006This is really a remarkable paper filled with inspiring possibilities. If we can just think design instead of years of mindless mutations, we might find cures for debilitating diseases. This paper has much of the obligatory evolutionspeak, but what does Darwinian thinking really contribute? Nothing. Although the researchers paid lip service to the evolutionary explanation that members of RBC pairs might have arisen through gene duplication, and that the coregulation might have provided a selectable fitness advantage, such language is really nothing more than the usual aftermarket sales pitch on the designed product. The real heart of their argument was that design exists, it is functional, and we can learn from it in ways that could help mankind. The future of design-theoretic science looks bright.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
OOL without designing intelligence is a fOOL’s errand. Watch smart chemists act like intellectually-fOOLfilled atheists.Scientific materialism has one ironclad rule: No mind. No God. No supernatural intervention. Stuff happens all by itself. Thus restricted, materialists who may know a lot about chemistry may exhibit utter lack of logic. Professing themselves to be wise, they have become fOOLs.Drawing by Brett Miller for CEH.Take Keith Cooper’s headline from Astrobiology Magazine: “Cleaning up the clutter: how proto-biology arose from the prebiotic clutter.” First, the protagonist in the story has to dispense with designing intelligence.Just like the mythical creation stories that depict the formation of the world as the story of order from chaos, the early Earth was home to a chaotic clutter of organic molecules from which, somehow, more complex biological structures such as RNA and DNA emerged.There was no guiding hand to dictate how the molecules within that prebiotic clutter should interact to form life. Yet, had those molecules just interacted randomly then, in all likelihood, that they would never have chanced upon the right interactions to ultimately lead to life.“The question is, out of all the random possibilities, are there any rules that govern these interactions?” asks Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, an organic chemist at the Scripps Research Institute in California.Notice several things. First, the people responsible for this story dismiss any “guiding hand” from square one. That’s an argument by assertion that merely reconfirms their commitment to atheism. Second, they know that the current orderly world could not have emerged by randomness (thus the need for “rules that govern” mindless molecules. They have their work cut out for them. No mind; no guidance; just laws of nature (rules).Could the complex molecules required for life emerge spontaneously by chance? Credit: Illustra Media, Origin.These rules would be selective, inevitably leading to the right interactions for assembling life’s building blocks. To unlock the secrets of these rules and how the prebiotic clutter transitioned to the biologically ordered world of life, Krishnamurthy utilizes a discipline called “systems chemistry,” and published a paper concerning the topic in the journal Accounts of Chemical Research that explores this relatively new way of understanding how life came from non-life.Nobel prize-winner and geneticist Jack Szostak of Harvard Medical School describes systems chemistry as: “one of the news ways of thinking about the problems of prebiotic chemistry.” To understand how systems chemistry works, think of a flask full of chemical A, to which another chemical, B, is added and which reacts with A to produce two more chemicals, C and D. Since no process is 100 percent efficient, the flask now contains chemicals A, B, C and D. “So now you have a system,” explains Krishnamurthy. Systems chemistry considers the system as a whole and explores the rules within that system that govern how each chemical interacts with the others, and in different conditions.All we have been told so far as that clutter added to clutter creates a system. Tell that to your teenager. He can justify his messy room by calling it a system, and start a new science of Systems Clutter to explain that he is doing ‘research’ on the origin of order from chaos.Szostak and RK are aware of the enormous improbability of useful molecules coming together by chance (see clip “The Amoeba’s Journey” from the Illustra Media film Origin). He calls systems chemistry a way of thinking. “It’s a matter of thinking about what chemicals or conditions are likely to be available and likely to be helpful.” Thought experiments have been productive sometimes in science, but experimentation is the acid test.Of course, unravelling the chemistry of the prebiotic clutter is a far cry from explaining the interactions of four chemicals in a flask. The computing and analytical power required to simulate such a complex system was beyond reach just a decade or two ago. Instead, the majority of research into the origin of life previously had focused on individual classes of biomolecules, the most promising being RNA (ribonucleic acid).Further reading shows major problems with the “RNA World” hypothesis these days, in spite of decades of hype about the insight it had provided. Krishnamurthry (lets call him RK) knocks Miller’s spark-discharge icon while he’s at it.The RNA world has, however, come in for much criticism lately, which Krishnamurthy believes is deserved. RNA is able to transfer genetic information in organisms and is made of chains of ribonucleotides. But there’s a catch.“Nucleotides don’t just pop up from chemical mixtures, they have to be made in a very defined manner,” he says. “There has to be a certain order to the reaction sequence. It’s not like Stanley Miller’s spark discharge experiment where he put all these gases together, pressed a switch and ‘Voila!‘”Young Stanley Miller with his iconic spark-discharge experiment.Miller, we recall, only could say ‘Voila!‘ about tiny amounts of four amino acids, all mixed-handed (see the Illustra Media film Origin). Amino acids are not rare. Life uses only twenty types, all left-handed, out of hundreds of amino acids. RNA and DNA are much more complicated molecules. Their formation goes against the natural laws of chemistry. Szostak, a leading past proponent of the RNA World hypothesis, knows that.Although Szostak agrees that systems chemistry has the power to support the RNA world theory, or at least explain the origin of RNA, he points out that a disproportionate amount of work has been put into understanding how nucleotides form, and not enough into what happens after that. “There are still missing steps in understanding how RNA could be made,” he says. So, the challenge now for systems chemistry is to show how and why each of these stages occur.“Just synthesizing a monomer of RNA like a nucleoside or a nucleotide isn’t enough to say you’ve found the origin of RNA,” says Krishnamurthy. “How do you put those monomers together in a meaningful manner that is self-sustainable?”Graphics here and at bottom by Brett Miller. Used by permission.Further pained reading of this doomed article shows RK struggling to find “selection” in prebiotic chemistry that might lead not to life, but to “proto-biochemistry”. He gives his ordered clutter a mouthful of a term: “homogeneous heterogeneity.” That’s opposed to “heterogeneous heterogeneity” (i.e., disordered clutter). We’re getting smarter every day. “In other words, it is the emergence from the prebiotic clutter of an orderly proto-biochemistry.” Then we learn that progress is all in futureware:There is a long way to go yet and Krishnamurthy recommends that progress will be best made with baby steps as scientists develop this bottom-up approach to the origin of life from the heterogeneous prebiotic clutter. By discovering reactions and catalysis that select the right interactions between organic compounds, the aim is to build up our understanding of how the basic building blocks assembled — how, for example, RNA emerged from the chaos.For reasons why materialism is unscientific, see this Illustra film.Baby steps are useless if the baby is blind, deaf, and has nowhere to go. That’s a random walk. You cannot impose a goal on mindless molecules, like Mom coaxing baby toward her loving hands. They’ll just do whatever the laws of chemistry tell them to do. There is no natural selection, either; all OOL storytellers admit that. Optimism is no substitute for experimentation.Ultimately the wish is to build an experimental simulation that includes the entire heterogeneous heterogeneity of the prebiotic clutter in a replica of Earth’s early environment, and then to run that simulation over and over again to see which selective interactions are most common and whether they can repeat the origin of life.“I’m optimistic that we will be able to work out reasonable pathways for making all the building blocks of biology, and for assembling these components into simple, primitive cells,” says Szostak. “However, there is a lot to be learned before we can accomplish this ambitious goal.”Order emerging from chaos: Is this not one of the very creation myths the article began dismissing in the first paragraph?The terms “baby steps” and “building blocks of life” use the power of suggestion to fool the unwary. They give the impression that molecules are striving to become alive. They create visions of progress, crying “Information, information” when there is no information. They are broken cisterns that can hold no water; clouds without rain; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.These intellectually fOOL-filled atheists are cheaters. They impose their own creative minds and goals on mindless molecules, coaxing them to do what they want. That’s unfair. Let them put all the cluttered molecules into a sealed tank, take their guiding hands off, and come back in a billion years to see what emerges. That would be scientific. Teasing people with the Building Blocks of Lie is not. (Visited 450 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Four men were killed and several injured in North 24 Paraganas district of West Bengal in clashes between BJP and Trinamool workers on Saturday night. Three of the dead were BJP workers, while the other was a Trinamool member. The deceased were identified as Sukanta Mandal, Pradip Mandal and Tapan Mandal of the BJP and Kayum Mollah of the Trinamool.The parties blamed each other for the violence at Bhangipara of Sandeshkhali block, about 80 kilometres south of Kolkata.According to a post by BJP, at least 18 of their supporters are missing. The BJP said Trinamool cadre attacked their activists following a scuffle over removal of saffron flags. “They opened fire indiscriminately killing three of our cadres. Kayum Mollah was shot by Trinamool activists only,” said Sayantan Basu, a BJP leader.However, Trinamool leaders said armed BJP activists had attacked their members and killed Mollah.“Kayum Mollah was hacked to death by BJP. He was shot too. BJP bringing outsiders to attack us,” said TMC leader Jyotipriya Mullick.Reportedly, TMC cadres attacked BJP activists in retaliation. However, police administration has not issued any statement.Trouble was brewing in Sandeshkhali, albeit in a different area, over last few days as a senior Government official was beaten up. Incidents of sporadic violence was reported.Leaders of both parties are expected to visit Sandeshkhali on Saturday which may trigger more commotion.
Liverpool boss Klopp: Home cheer for Leicester a shock!by Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admits home fans celebrating Manchester City’s defeat to Leicester City took him by surprise.Klopp joked that he thought that the Anfield fans’ wild reactions to Leicester City’s goal against Manchester City were for his Liverpool side’s win over Newcastle United.He said, “No, I thought it was because of us! I’m really naive, I thought that is really nice, thank you very much!”Then now I heard after the game it was about another result!“Obviously nobody told our crowd that Tottenham won 5-0.”It is fine, atmosphere for Boxing Day, people coming from all over, around the world to watch, the atmosphere was really good and exceptional in that moment. But I thought it was because of us.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Genk striker Samatta: Facing Liverpool a dream come trueby Paul Vegas3 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveRacingGenk striker Mbwana Ally Samatta admits facing Liverpool was a “dream come true”.Liverpool were comfortable 4-1 winners for Wednesday night’s Champions League encounter.And Tanzania international Samatta said: “As a child I was not a fan of Liverpool, but of the arch rival: Manchester United. “I’m not going to say that I get goose bumps, but it’s so special. “A game like this and to be allowed to play is like a dream, the dream of every boy watching football on television.”
Story Highlights The $86-million centre, located at 95 Hanover Street, downtown Kingston, was constructed by the Government through financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Dione Jennings, said the expansion of the centre is in keeping with the Government’s efforts to protect persons with disabilities and promote their rights. Director of the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP), Antonica Gunter-Gayle, could hardly contain her joy at the recent opening of the programme’s upgraded facility for special needs children. Director of the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP), Antonica Gunter-Gayle, could hardly contain her joy at the recent opening of the programme’s upgraded facility for special needs children.“I feel great, I am excited; the staff is overcome. It is a good feeling,” she says.The $86-million centre, located at 95 Hanover Street, downtown Kingston, was constructed by the Government through financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).It has a clinic, three assessment rooms with bathrooms, cubicles for early-childhood practitioners, sensory room and speech therapy room, and other units.Mrs. Gunter-Gayle said the upgraded centre will enable the ESP to improve assessment and intervention services for children with disabilities.“Our children with disabilities are children first, and I am really happy about this building,” she said.“We are giving them the opportunity to be the best that they can be to reach their highest potential,” she added.Operating under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the ESP caters to the developmental needs of children with disabilities up to six years, and currently provides early stimulation and interventions for more than 1,500 children across the island.Portfolio Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson, said with the upgrading of the facility, the ESP is equipped to do more for its clientele, as it is now positioned to engage a wider corps of specialised professionals, including developmental psychologists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists.Over the long term, she says, the intention is to establish regional centres to provide early intervention services, which, she said, “will help to reduce the institutionalisation of young children with developmental disabilities across the island”.Senior Social Protection Specialist with the IDB, Donna Harris, commends the Government and its partners for “embarking on this important journey for the benefit of our children with disability. This wonderful structure represents the future of many of our kids”.Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Dione Jennings, said the expansion of the centre is in keeping with the Government’s efforts to protect persons with disabilities and promote their rights.She says the Government is committed to promoting social protection and respect of all human beings, breaking down barriers of discrimination and building bridges of inclusion.She points out that approximately 60 per cent of ESP beneficiaries are on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), and have limited access to intervention services.Mrs. Jennings says measures aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of persons in situations of vulnerability will continue and “we are assured that the staff and beneficiaries of this facility will be even more energised in their commitment”.Omar Francis, who is the Assistant to Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the upgrading of the centre is a welcome development.Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson (left), interacts with children at the upgraded Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) facility located at 95 Hanover Street, downtown Kingston, at the recent official opening. Looking on is Omar Francis, who is the Assistant to Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.“Early intervention for disadvantaged kids has been proven to have dramatic long-term effects. When incorporated with early-childhood education, nutrition and health, the lasting effects are invaluable,” he states.He says studies have shown that children who receive early treatment are at significantly lower risk for serious cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, such as stroke and diabetes.“These findings demonstrate the great potential of coordinated birth to age five early-childhood programmes to prevent chronic disease, reduce healthcare costs and produce a flourishing society,” Mr. Francis points out.Opposition Spokesperson on Labour and Social Security, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, also welcomes the development, describing it as a “worthy response to our children with disabilities”.Technical management for the project was provided by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).The assessment centre is part of a Government of Jamaica Integrated Social Protection and Labour Programme, aimed at improving human capital and labour market outcomes for the poor by enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of key social protection programmes.Since 1975, the ESP has been serving the special needs community, and has reached some 30,000 children through various intervention services.In addition to assessment of children with disabilities, the ESP provides rehabilitative therapy, community-based intervention services within homes, schools, health centres, and day-care facilities, as well as counselling support for families and caregivers of special needs children.
Manila: Indian journalist Ravish Kumar on Friday was awarded this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award, regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize. Kumar, 44, who is NDTV India’s senior executive editor is one of India’s most influential TV journalists, the award citation said. He is among five individuals who were declared winners of the award. “Kumar’s “Prime Time” programme deals with “real-life, under-reported problems of ordinary people”, it added. “If you have become the voice of the people, you are a journalist,” the citation added. The four other winners of the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award are Ko Swe Win from Myanmar, Angkhana Neelapaijit from Thailand, Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab from Philippines and Kim Jong-Ki from South Korea. Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honour.
Washington: US President Donald Trump has issued a new executive order that would enhance the country’s ability to target terrorists and those who finance their activities, as well as identify, sanction and deter perpetrators of terrorism worldwide. Utilising the new order, issued on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary on Tuesday, the Treasury sanctioned over two dozen individuals and entities from 11 terrorist groups, including Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US It allows the US government to better target terror group leaders and provides new tools to pursue individuals who participate in terrorist training, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. The executive order also authorises secondary sanctions on foreign financial institutions that have knowingly conducted or facilitated significant transactions with sanctioned persons, Mnuchin said. He added that the order targets those actors for and behalf of specially-designated global terrorists. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “Specifically, we have leaders, operative and financiers from over 11 terrorist organisations, including Iran’s Quds Forces, Hamas, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and their affiliates,” Mnuchin told White House reporters at a joint news conference with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “The government has taken more action than we ever have before,” the treasury secretary said, asserting that his department was enhancing efforts to deny terrorist access to the financial system. Pompeo, meanwhile, described the executive order as the “most-significant update” to counterterrorism sanctions authority since September 2001. According to Pompeo, the new order amends the previous one by adding clauses that allow the departments of state and treasury to directly target leaders of terrorist groups and their associated entities without having to tie terrorist leaders to specific acts. “Second, it is more effectively and efficiently targets individuals and entities who participate in terrorist training and provides new authorities to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly do business with terrorists,” the secretary of state said. “As these actions show, today’s executive order by President Trump adds further muscle to the US counterterrorism efforts,” Pompeo said. “It will help us to ensure that the deadly attacks of September 11 that occurred 18 years ago this week are never repeated on American soil. Never.”
APTN National NewsTaking inspiration from the stories and emotions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg ballet has developed a story around the commission’s work. Aboriginal creative talent and artistry combined with a traditional ballet to create a work that honours the national and historical significance of the commission.APTN’s Ntawnis Piapot has more.
The economic recovery in Western Canadian oil-producing provinces contributed to the first decrease in the national apartment vacancy rate in three years, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said Tuesday.In its 2017 Rental Market Report, the federal agency said the vacancy rate for purpose-built rentals in Canadian cities with at least 10,000 people fell to three per cent in October, down from 3.7 per cent a year earlier.That returns the national vacancy rate to its 10-year average after a two-year spike.“We’re finding that demand is strong for rental in Canada, including in some of the oil-producing sectors that were not performing as well over the last couple of years,” said Gustavo Durango, senior market analyst at CMHC.In a sign that Alberta continues to adapt to the 2014 oil price shock, the province had Canada’s third-largest growth in occupied rentals after Ontario and Quebec.Michael Markidis of Desjardins Capital Markets said it’s a sign that “the bleeding has stopped in most of the major markets located in oil-producing provinces.”Alberta’s vacancy rate fell to 7.5 per cent in October from 8.1 per cent a year earlier, led by Lethbridge which was down 3.4 percentage points to 5.1 per cent.“It still has a high vacancy rate relative to Alberta’s history but it’s off the peak that we saw the last couple of years,” said Durango.Nationally, demand outpaced supply. The number of rental apartments increased by 1.2 per cent or 23,000 in the last year, about half the growth rate noted last year.Demand was helped by high levels of international migration, improving employment for young adults and the ongoing aging of the population.High home purchase prices also kept younger households in the rental market longer as they saved for down payments, said Durango. That’s particularly a factor in high-price markets like Vancouver and Toronto, where rental vacancy rates are very low.Despite low vacancy rates in Ontario and B.C. there is adequate access to rental housing in some form in almost all centres, said Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations president John Dickie.Between 22 and 38 per cent of all condos in Ontario and the West are rented and a “secondary market” of basements, suites and other units make up more than 40 per cent of total rental supply.“The secondary market provides a flexible housing supply, which is often lower priced than the primary market,” he said in a news release.Associations chairman David Hutniak called on the federal government to examine tax policy for rental buildings, while provinces and cities need to look hard at their development charges and planning approval delays.“Those are the factors holding back much-needed, purpose-built rental supply,” he stated.Vacancy rates were lowest in the B.C. cities of Kelowna and Abbotsford-Mission at 0.2 per cent and highest in Saskatoon at 9.6 per cent.Metropolitan Vancouver was at 0.9 per cent, Toronto one per cent, Montreal 2.8 per cent, Ottawa 1.7 per cent, Edmonton seven per cent and St. John’s 7.2 per cent.The average national monthly rent for a two-bedroom rental apartment rose 2.8 per cent to $989, outpacing inflation of around two per cent.Rent increases were greatest in Kelowna at 8.6 per cent and fell by 1.3 per cent in Saskatoon and Edmonton.Average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments were highest in Vancouver at $1,552, Toronto $1,404 and Calgary $1,247. They were lowest in Trois-Rivieres,Que., at $594.The average vacancy rate for condominium rentals declined to 1.6 per cent from 1.9 per cent a year earlier.Average two-bedroom condo rentals were highest in Toronto at $2,000 and lowest in London, Ont., at $996.