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Atop the Amazon rainforest

first_imgThis is third in a series of stories about Harvard’s engagement in Latin America.MANAUS, Brazil — Walking along a path in the Amazon rainforest, several overheated travelers come across a copper-colored brook rippling under a mossy wooden bridge. It’s an inviting sight. But the beckoning waters could well camouflage a deadly predator.“The huge snake the anaconda loves to stay in these small rivers,” said Bruno Takeshi, a tall, unflappable Brazilian, referring to the massive reptile that squeezes the life out of its prey.On this steamy afternoon in early August, Takeshi, who studies how changes in soil relate to climate science, and his collaborators, Harvard Professor Scot Martin and Martin’s Ph.D. student Suzane Simões de Sá, don’t linger by the river. Instead, they continue their twisting trek through the thick forest ringing with the songs of unseen insects and birds, until they reach their incongruous goal, a 177-foot aluminum tower.The tower is used in climate research, and resembles a number of such structures that will soon be part of a massive, coordinated campaign to track something that, over decades, could prove more deadly than the Amazon’s anacondas, something that floats invisibly, high above the pristine jungle: air pollution.A wooden bridge on the path through the Amazon rainforest that leads to a 177-foot aluminum tower used in climate research. Photos by Ned Brown/Harvard StaffThe research project is called GreenOceanAmazon2014 (GoAmazon2014), a collaboration among the U.S. Department of Energy and several Brazilian and other international partners. The program, for which Takeshi is project manager, studies the environmental impact of a growing pollution plume generated in Manaus, Brazil, a burgeoning industrial center carved from the dense forest.A busy city near an unbroken forestResearchers hope to ascertain how the city’s smog is affecting some of the cleanest air in the world, changing cloud formation and rainfall in the region, and influencing global climate change. For scientists, the busy city encircled by miles of unbroken forest is a perfect natural laboratory, a kind of controlled experiment.“Manaus is a great test bed. It’s an isolated urban region with 2,000 kilometers of forest around it,” said Martin, Harvard’s Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry, the principal investigator for the project. In “most places, there are so many possible pollution sources, it’s very difficult to dissect and interpret the data. Here, it’s a much more straightforward experiment, given there’s only one major pollution source.”On the hike to the tower, Martin pauses occasionally to wipe steam from his wire-rimmed glasses. In his checked shirt, khaki shorts, black sneakers, and bright yellow Brazilian national soccer team cap, he looks less like a jungle explorer than a casual tourist who took a wrong turn in the woods. But he is as comfortable and confident in this rugged environment as any whip-wielding Indiana Jones.Climbing the tower as it sways with the wind is not for the faint of heart. Slim aluminum scaffolding connects a series of equally thin platforms and ladders. For the first-time climber, the ground disappears at an alarming rate during the ascent as the green leaves of hundreds of species of trees quickly swallow the brown forest floor. Higher up, the incessant buzz of the jungle is replaced by a calm silence, the heat eased by a steady breeze. At the top, above the tree canopy, the view is of a “green ocean,” an endless expanse of emerald in every direction.Martin’s first Amazon climb took place in 2008 during a project called the Amazonian Aerosol Characterization Experiment (AMAZE08) that set the groundwork for the GoAmazon2014 campaign. Martin, whose research focuses on tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols and their impact on cloud formation, rainfall, and climate change, had spent years experimenting with the Harvard Environmental Chamber, a giant, flexible Teflon bag within which he could study how aerosols reacted with things like ozone and highly reactive hydroxyl radicals to affect cloud formation. He was taking his first sabbatical and looking to branch out from the confines of his Harvard lab.An Amazon tower similar to the one Martin used during his 2008 Amazonian Aerosol Characterization Experiment.Martin, who is married to a Brazilian, immediately thought of the Latin American country for his yearlong break. “I had never done any research outside of the laboratory before … and if you are going to go to Brazil, what captures the imagination most is Amazonia.” The isolated area was the perfect environment for studying atmospheric particles, a living lab with pristine air where he could explore the links between biological processes and climate.The influence of particles on climate shiftsMartin’s work is helping to illuminate a dark area in climate science. Though scientists have long understood the impact of carbon dioxide and methane gas on global warming, they know relatively little about the particles that Martin studies, or their possible influence on climate shifts and global warming trends.“The big uncertainties and controversy around climate change are really centered on these atmospheric particles,” which are difficult both to control and to characterize, said Martin. Such particles vary widely in size, from 10 to 1,000 nanometers. They also have different chemical compositions. (Sulfate particles reflect solar radiation, while black soot particles mean energy gets absorbed in the atmospheric column, which in turn can change circulation patterns.) The particles also interact with clouds and can change precipitation rates.For years, scientists theorized that the air above the rainforest contained organic molecules released by plants in the forest below. The question, however, was whether those molecules reacted with chemicals in the atmosphere — like ozone or a highly reactive molecule called hydroxyl radicals — to create aerosol particles, and if and how those particles affected rainfall.During his 2008 sabbatical, Martin used a new 112-foot tower, where a slender copper tube sucked clean air from above the trees into a small steel container crammed with instruments, including the delicate mass spectrometer, a fine-tuned machine that can provide a fingerprint of the atmosphere and distinguish between primary organic molecules and the secondary aerosol particles they form. The results showed Martin and his colleagues that the aerosols did indeed come from chemical reactions between the organic molecules released by plants and chemicals in the atmosphere. Further testing and studies revealed that those aerosols were directly influencing levels of rainfall.“That sets up the background for the GoAmazon2014 experiment,” Martin said, “because this means we can ask the question: ‘If emissions from the forest are controlling those aspects of climate, what does it mean when they couple to pollution?’ ”A similarly ideal condition for his current experiment — and his second sabbatical — is the proximity of Manaus. This busy industrial city, while bringing prosperity to many, has created a widening pollution plume.One hundred and fifty years ago, Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas, was awash in opulence, the result of a rubber boom that drew both workers and wealthy investors. But the city’s fortunes dwindled after British explorer Henry Wickham smuggled thousands of rubber seeds out of the country in 1876, thereby ending Manaus’ nearly exclusive control of the natural resource. After decades of poverty, Manaus slowly evolved again into an economic powerhouse, thanks to a decree making it a free-trade zone in the 1950s. Today, government tax exemptions and incentives have attracted a growing list of Fortune 500 companies and their manufacturing plants. In 1970, Manaus had 500,000 inhabitants. Now, it has close to 2 million.On Manaus’ crowded streets, cars and motorcycles battle in daily duels of wit and will. Development plans displayed along the road offer a glimpse of the city’s resurgence. A giant blue sign touts condos and ball fields. Nearby a massive shopping mall looms. On another busy stretch, large silver letters announce the industrial home of the electronics giant Pioneer. Farther on are a Coca-Cola plant and a brewery. High-rises, sprawling homes, and factories cover the ground, except for small sections of green where the Amazon simply refused to yield.One of the inevitable results of such size and growth — along with overcrowding and a distinct disparity in resources among the population — is the smog and soot that now plague the area.As Martin explains it, the city’s primary pollutants dramatically alter the formation of atmospheric particles. Those changes then affect rainfall.Pollution comes mainly from sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which can change important chemical pathways and cause formation of many more tiny particles in the atmosphere. When a cloud forms, water condenses on background particles to form water droplets. In a pristine environment, there are “about 300 particles per cubic centimeter. Imagine, under polluted conditions, you have 3,000 particles per cubic centimeter,” said Martin. The more particles there are per cubic centimeter, the smaller the water droplets are that form. And a cloud with smaller water droplets is more likely to evaporate than produce rain.“If you start changing the clouds and changing the hydrological cycle, it has big implications,” said Martin. One of them involves climate change. “All of these are the tough issues of climate. So, in that context, our ‘slice’ through it is to try to understand where the particles come from, what are the size of the particles, and how that links into cloud formation.”Tracking the air as it migratesOne of the many U.S. Department of Energy mobile labs that Martin and his collaborators will use during GoAmazon2014.To accomplish his task, Martin and his GoAmazon2014 partners will create four sites that allow them to track the air as it migrates from a clean environment through the city’s pollution and beyond. “We will have one site up-wind of Manaus to measure the air parcel when it’s clean, one in Manaus that captures the emissions, one just across the river from Manaus that gets the fresh pollution, and one an hour away from Manaus where we can get the aged pollution.”It’s that final site with which Martin is directly involved, an open pasture on a farm near the small city of Manacapuru. There, cordoned off in a field once reserved for grazing cattle, sits a 20-foot by 10-foot white container, a mobile lab containing sensitive scientific equipment owned by the Energy Department. In the coming months, 14 similar containers will arrive in advance of two intensive operating periods (IOPs) — February through March and September through October 2014 — when the site will host upward of 50 Harvard and Brazilian researchers and students, working from dawn until dusk.Six small Department of Energy labs will sample the air. Each container will have a tube on its roof, consisting of a small copper wire, protected by a screen to filter out insects, and insulated by polyurethane to keep the air temperature consistent as it flows into a dryer that sucks away any condensation. Before the air reaches the mass spectrometer’s container, another machine will filter out large dust particles that could damage the device.Other containers will house sensitive radar equipment that will measure the size of the clouds and the water they hold. Another batch of containers will monitor radiation levels and other phenomena. During the IOPs, an aircraft will regularly fly overhead, gathering more data on the clouds and the pollution plume.Still, this work is just the data-collecting phase for Martin, who along with his collaborators has submitted proposals for further funding that will, they hope, allow them to analyze the data they collect next year.“It’s a multi-headed hydra that will get us across the finish line,” said Martin, who is quick with a laugh and quick to focus on the positive. “If you were here two years ago, you would know today that we are making progress.”That progress could lead to key answers, as equatorial cities blossom in the coming decades.“Hopefully, we can provide a knowledge base, one that lets people consider transportation or energy systems that could have a significantly reduced effect on air quality and a reduced effect on climate change.”last_img read more

The Belle of Amherst, Starring Joely Richardson, Sets Early Closing Date

first_imgThe revival of William Luce’s The Belle of Amherst, starring stage and screen star Joely Richardson, will end its off-Broadway run early on November 23. Originally set to shutter on January 25, 2015, at time of closing the production, which opened on October 19, will have played 14 previews and 41 regular performances. In The Belle of Amherst, Emily Dickinson’s poems, diaries and letters are woven into an illuminating portrait of the prolific wordsmith. Dickinson’s encounters with close friends and family and her often-amusing observations come to life on stage. The play originally premiered on Broadway in 1976. View Commentscenter_img The one-woman-play is directed by Steve Cosson and is running at the Westside Theatre.last_img read more

Are you living under a rock?

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr August 1st is less than three months away. I hope you understand the significance of this date. If you don’t, you may have been living under a rock for awhile. The Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure (TRID) goes into effect on that day.TRID is the CFPB’s latest attempt to protect consumers from themselves. According to their small entity compliance guide, the CFPB says “The TILA-RESPA rule consolidates four existing disclosures required under TILA and RESPA for closed-end credit transactions secured by real property into two forms: a Loan Estimate that must be delivered or placed in the mail no later than the third business day after receiving the consumer’s application, and a Closing Disclosure that must be provided to the consumer at least three business days prior to consummation.”I’ve heard some who think this is a disclosure regulation. And it primarily is. It changes the TIL and RESPA forms and changes the closing process. Because of this, some are relying primarily on their software or forms provider to make sure they are in compliance. continue reading »last_img read more

Cooperatives transform Cuba

first_imgCUNA economist witnesses the power of cooperatives Bill MerrickBefore Mike Schenk ventured into Cuba for a tour of the country’s cooperatives, he envisioned experiencing extreme poverty, a heavy police/military presence—and a Spartan diet of rice and beans.While the island nation of 11.1 million certainly has its challenges—in addition to a long and complicated history—Schenk was happy to find many of his preconceptions were unfounded.“People are definitely poor by American standards, but the Cuban health care and educational systems are held in high regard. And the nation excels in many measures of societal welfare, including life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy, and educational attainment,” says Schenk, CUNA’s vice president of economics and statistics and board treasurer at $2 billion asset Summit Credit Union in Madison, Wis.His most surreal moment came when the group visited a remote farm—only to see a bus packed with Wisconsin tourists wearing Bucky Badger gear. “That was an eye-opener. It really drove home the point that things are changing quickly,” he says. continue reading » 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Westbury: The Center Of It All

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York For nearly four centuries, the Village of Westbury, nearby Old Westbury, and the surrounding areas have perpetually flourished, nurtured by a central location on prime Long Island real estate. Earlier still, the stretch of Jericho Turnpike that winds through Westbury was once a trail used by Massapequa Indians. The view may be different today, but the commute is the same.Back in the mid-1600s, when the first Europeans began settling the once-vast Long Island prairie known as the Hempstead Plains, an English Quaker named Edmond Titus built a homestead on a prime tract of grassland, amid 12,000 acres purchased purchased by Captain John Seaman in the 1640s from the Algonquian Tribe. Another Quaker settler, Henry Willis, christened the area “Westbury” in 1675, after his hometown of Westbury, Wiltshire, England. More Quaker families soon arrived, and by 1700 Westbury’s first Society of Friends meeting house was built.Today, much has changed since Westbury’s humble Quaker beginnings. Westbury now boasts one of the most racially and culturally diverse populations on the Island, while Old Westbury — long a Gold Coast stomping ground — is regularly ranked one of the wealthiest places in America. That’s also why it’s a truly vibrant region to visit, whether you’ve got shopping, dining, or fun and games on your agenda.The truth is, there are lots of reasons for visitors to spend time in Westbury, whether you’re from out of town, or just the next town over. Popular Westbury draws include:NYCB Theater at WestburyPASSION FOR THE ARTSLong Island’s live entertainment scene owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the NYCB Theater at Westbury (960 Brush Hollow Rd., 516-247-5200,, a.k.a. the Westbury Music Fair, consistently one of the area’s most enjoyable venues to catch a show at for generations. There’s really nothing quite like a performance on its ever-so-slowly rotating round stage, paired with the intimate feel of the room. What’s also great about the venue is the wide array of acts that come through; upcoming appearances include Los Lobos, Jay Leno, Styx, Dwight Yoakam, and John Cleese.Westbury is also home to The Space at Westbury Theater (250 Post Ave., 516-283-5575,, a vibrant and eclectic entertainment venue occupying the Tudor-styled former Westbury Movie Theater, first opened in 1927. Reborn in recent years, the Space is now an anchor of Post Avenue with its impressive façade, complemented by state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems within. Don’t miss upcoming performances by Carl Palmer, Phil Vassar and the ever-popular Pink Floyd tribute, the Machine.An artist’s rendering of the exterior of Lesso Home in Westbury.SHOP AND PLAYSometimes, a store is so popular, it ensures a steady stream of visitors to a neighborhood. That’s the case in Westbury with department store Century 21 (1085 Old Country Rd., 516-333-5200,, which beckons to fashion-savvy bargain hunters from all over the 516 and 631. The only thing more impressive than the selection are the prices.Another of Westbury’s main shopping hubs, the Mall at the Source (1504 Old Country Rd., 516-228-2110), is in the process of being reborn as the mega home goods store Lesso Home New York Market. In the meantime though, some of the key remaining anchors of the old Source mall still provide ample reasons to visit; stop in and enjoy a meal at P.F. Chang’s or The Cheesecake Factory while you still can. It’s also a good excuse to hit the arcade at Dave & Buster’s, if you really need an excuse at all.Better yet, find a few like-minded gamers and book a slot at Escape of a Lifetime (473 Old Country Rd., 516-780-4420,, where you can choose from three different themed escape rooms, with varying levels of difficulty. Break into Da Vinci’s Study to steal his manuscripts, or pretend you’re a bank robber and flee The Vault before the cops arrive. Or, if you’re really up for a challenge, escape from The Asylum, before you become a permanent resident. THE LOUNGE OF LIFEWhen the hustle and bustle of the Westbury area make you crave a little downtime, luckily there’s a long list of local watering holes and night spots where you can kick back and unwind in style. One neighborhood favorite is His & Hers Bar & Lounge (259 Post Ave., 516-385-3335), where the bartenders are friendly and you can order specialty martinis in flavors like mango, guava, tamarind, peach, and pineapple. Another popular hangout is Friar’s Tavern (231 Post Ave., 516-333-3893), located across from The Space, so it’s a slam-dunk choice for pre- or post-gaming a concert. You’ll also love the great drink prices and all-around good vibes.For a vibe of an entirely different color, try The Polo Lounge (1100 Jericho Tpke., 516-333-7117,, a swanky, old-school restaurant and lounge with 1940s flair, located inside the Westbury Manor catering hall. There are no tables — just booths — perfect for relaxing and enjoying the top-flight food and expertly crafted cocktails. Similarly unique is the Mystique Hookah Lounge (973 Old Country Rd., 516-385-2320,, the area’s preferred location for sharing some shisha with friends. It’s open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, which is perfect for late-night smokers.Old Westbury Gardens.GOING GATSBYWestbury’s fertile terrain wasn’t just prized in the past as farmland; in the 19th century it also attracted the New York elite, who came to hunt, ride, and play polo on the Hempstead Plains. This burgeoning new community of ultrawealthy landowners became the incorporated Village of Old Westbury in 1924, and today it’s still the home of one of the richest concentrations of Americans in the U.S. You may not be able to afford an Old Westbury address, but it sure is a nice place to visit.There’s really no better (or cheaper) way to live like Old Westbury gentry than to spend a leisurely afternoon at Old Westbury Gardens (71 Old Westbury Rd., 516-333-0048,, the former estate of steel magnate John Shaffer Phipps. Converted to a museum in 1959, it is now open to the public for tours from late April through October. The centerpiece is Westbury House, built in 1906 by designer George A. Crawley, channeling 17th and 18th century English architecture. It is surrounded by 216 acres of landscaped formal and informal gardens, plus fields and woodlands. There’s no better reminder of why the area’s first settlers — up through its residents of today — are happy to call Westbury home.WHERE TO STAYCourtyard by Marriott Westbury Long Island1800 Privado Rd., 516-542-1001, marriott.comHilton Garden Inn Westbury1575 Privado Rd., 516-683-8200, hilton.comHoliday Inn Westbury – Long Island369 Old Country Rd., 516-997-5000, holidayinn.comRed Roof PLUS+ Long Island – Garden City699 Dibblee Dr., 516-794-2555, redroof.comViana Hotel & Spa3998 Brush Hollow Rd., 516-338-7777, ‎WHERE TO DINEBlack Label Burgers683 Old Country Rd., 516-333-6059, blacklabelburgersny.comCafé Baci1636 Old Country Rd., 516-832-8888, cafebacirestaurant.comPollos El Paisa989 Old Country Rd., 516-338-5858, polloselpaisali.comSteve’s Piccola Bussola649 Old Country Rd., 516-333-1335, stevespiccolabussola.comTesoro’s Ristorante967 Old Country Rd., 516-334-0022, tesorosrestaurant.comlast_img read more

Altior on course for Betfair Tingle Creek | Racing News

first_img“He looked quite dreamy out there today, but I had to use him as a pacemaker. He enjoyed himself, but he is better aiming at something. He is miles better when he is aiming at a fence.“When you see him schooling, it’s frightening and you think you should be aiming at the King’s Stand not the Tingle Creek, he is so quick. Nico might enjoy it, but I certainly don’t. He is just brilliant, and that lights his fire.”Henderson has made no secret of his regret at running Altior in the 1965 Chase last term, with testing conditions and the step up to two miles and five furlongs taking its toll when tackling Cyrname – who is the highest-rated jumper in training.- Advertisement – The Seven Barrows handler added: “The start of last season was a complete disaster, and I’ve said ever since we shouldn’t have run. The ground was diabolical – and you didn’t need that head-to-head, with both having their first run of the season.“You would have had a prep race first, and we hadn’t had a racecourse gallop, and it bottomed him.”Last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Santini was also in action at Newbury, working with Ladbrokes Trophy entry Beware The Bear.De Boinville was seemingly hard at work aboard the eight-year-old in his spin, but Henderson was unconcerned as he reports Santini to be another who shines when presented with an obstacle, rather than working on the level.He said: “He had an entry in the Betfair Chase. When he came in, that is what we were aiming at.“But I never really thought that was his sort of track, and I don’t think Kempton is either – which makes life quite difficult because he is a horse that wants a big, galloping track and he wants some fences to light him up.“If you saw him schooling the other morning, he was electric, but he doesn’t do an awful lot in between.”Henderson is still planning to head to Aintree next month with Santini, before a possible defence of his Cotswold Chase crown in January and then the Denman Chase in February.The trainer added: “The Many Clouds is where I think we will aim for first, as there really is no three-mile galloping track for him. If he went to the Many Clouds, you have then got the Cotswold Chase and the Denman back here.” A splint issue derailed Altior’s Queen Mother Champion Chase defence at Cheltenham in March, but Henderson believes the brilliant two-miler is now back to his best.Altior worked with Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante on Tuesday morning – and while Nico de Boinville’s mount came off second best at the end of the gallop, Henderson described his role as that of a “pacemaker” for his fellow stable star.He said: “He is good and is heading for the Tingle Creek. He loves his jumping. If you would have seen him on Thursday, it was terrifying. He just jumped fences.- Advertisement – Altior is firmly on course for next month’s Betfair Tingle Creek Chase after satisfying trainer Nicky Henderson in his Newbury gallop.The 10-year-old is on something of a retrieval mission this term after relinquishing his unbeaten record over obstacles when beaten by Cyrname at Ascot last November, and then taking time to recover from those exertions before returning with victory in the Game Spirit Chase in February.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Fringe development

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

Hope Island lakeside gem on the market

first_img14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island.The waterfront estate facilities and residential area are centred around a 2.6ha private marina and boardwalk promenade.There is a residents’ recreational centre that includes a 25m lap pool, gym, barbecue facilities and function room.Body corporate fees are $52 a week.Bev Buckley of Harcourts Broadwater – Labrador is marketing 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island at offers over $820,000. 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island. 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island. 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island. 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island is on the market at offers over $820,000.THIS house combines contemporary style with a stunning lakeside location.Vendors Lorraine and Ron Mills bought the two-storey property in Hope Island’s Cova estate in April, 2015.“It is a lovely location and so central to everything,” Mrs Mills said.“We have a miniature schnauzer Bentley and we often walk around the marina and meet all of our friends.” 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island. 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island. 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island.There is also a media room, and a guest bedroom that could be used as an office on the ground level.“It’s got a wardrobe and would make a fabulous teenage retreat or home office.”Upstairs features a kingsize master bedroom with walk-in robe and ensuite, two other bedrooms and a bathroom.Other features include a security system, reverse-cycle airconditioning, water tank and porcelain tiles. 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island. 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island. 14 Spinnaker Way, Hope Island.The retirees had lived beside water before and knew of its benefits.“It’s just such a cool and refreshing house,” Mrs Mills said.“If you’re by the water you’ve always got a lovely cool house.”From the outside the house stands out with its modern clean lines and red feature wall.Inside the open-plan design on the ground level creates a welcoming and comfortable vibe throughout.“You can look out over the parklands and it’s just a lovely view,” Mrs Mills said.This level features the kitchen, dining and living areas that open out to the alfresco area and pool.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach Northless than 1 hour ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa20 hours ago“We have a lot of our meals out there,” Mrs Mills said.“Breakfast is always out there and we usually have dinner out there of an evening.”last_img read more

Dutch airline KLM wins case against pilot union over pensions indexation

first_imgAn Amsterdam court has ruled that Dutch airline KLM is under no obligation to plug a funding gap at its pension fund for pilots that would allow the scheme to grant full indexation.In summary proceedings brought by union VNV, the court decided that KLM’s expected additional contribution – estimated at €600m by the airline – was large enough for the company to cancel its agreement to meet a funding shortfall.The court also ruled that the agreement, terminated unilaterally by KLM, had not been covered by a binding collective labour agreement (CAO) between the employer and the pilots union.KLM had argued that it would have had to pay €600m by the end of this year as a consequence of the new financial assessment framework (nFTK), which increased the required funding level for full indexation from 105% to 122%. It said it could not afford to pay the additional premium, which the union estimated at €115m.The court said KLM  and the union could not have foreseen the financial effects of the nFTK when the pilot-scheme agreement was made in 2007.It also ruled that the four-month notice given by KLM had been sufficiently large, adding that VNV could have seen it coming.The court pointed out that planning for the nFTK had already begun in 2012, from which point the airline requested a new, more sustainable agreement.It did not, however, address the VNV’s argument that the pension fund reimbursed KLM €250m in the past.The union said it was now weighing its legal options.The €8.2bn Pensioenfonds Vliegend Personeel KLM, which also recently announced “legal steps” against the airline, declined to comment on its position.Last week, it said it would focus its case on KLM’s unilateral decision to cancel its contract for pension provision with the pension fund.It previously claimed that KLM lacked an important reason for terminating the contract and that the employer had given too short notice.It also argued that a premium reduction for KLM – agreed two years ago – could not be reconciled with the company’s decision to cancel its agreement.last_img read more

Dominican artist Colton T on the move in Jamaica

first_img 196 Views   no discussions Check here to Subscribe to notifications for new posts Colton TDominica’s youngest rising dancehall/reggae artist has been making a name for himself in Jamaica.Colton “Colton T” Thomas who is well known for his popular tunes “Can’t be Friends and “Everything & More” left stateside over one month ago to further promote his music in Jamaica and different parts of the world.While in Jamaica, the artist who hails from the goodwill community has been featured on various popular television shows including Hype Tv, and R.E TV.Colton T is also planning to re-release a hot new single “It’s Summer” on the streets of Jamaica.His hit single “Can’t be Friends has also been receiving tremendous airplay and support from several television stations not only in Jamaica but other Caribbean islands like Barbados’s Carib Vision.His homeland Dominica has also played its part. The local radio stations have been pushing his music.Colton T has also been representing Dominica in the streets of Kingston, holding studio talks with top Jamaican producers with the aim of re-introducing several of his popular renditions.“We local Artist often Release songs in Dominica however it rarely gets anywhere far,” Colton T says.According to him, while some artists complain about not being included on various shows, they make little or no effort at promoting themselves in the right way.“Proper marketing is essential to the development of any artist and this is what I am trying to achieve. I am just working hard to make myself that marketable product that can one day be known for the gift that i have been blessed with,” he explained.Meantime plans are in the pipeline for several major collaborations with renowned international reggae artists like Warrior King who is well known for hits like “Virtuous Woman”.The singer has also dropped “Karma”-one of his latest songs- on the amoure riddim with Jamaican producer “Shady” who is well known for his work with top artist in the business on the Donesome Records Project.Colton T is expected to back on island next week.Watch Colton T on Hype Tv’s “Up and Live”[youtube][/youtube]For bookings; contact [email protected] or contact 767 617 0585.Press Release Share Tweet EntertainmentLocalNews Dominican artist Colton T on the move in Jamaica by: – June 4, 2012center_img Share Sharing is caring! Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sharelast_img read more