Work to expand the Ian Fleming International Airport in Boscobel, St. Mary, to make it a regional hub, is expected to begin on March 12. Story Highlights “We already have two applications (from) airlines wanting to be based at Boscobel,” the Minister said. “We have to expand the terminal building and we have to widen the runway. Phase two includes lengthening the runway, and we will be going across the highway with a box culvert, so the planes will taxi across the highway,” he added. Work to expand the Ian Fleming International Airport in Boscobel, St. Mary, to make it a regional hub, is expected to begin on March 12.This was noted by National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, at the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a new police station by the National Housing Trust (NHT) in Port Maria, on March 7.“We already have two applications (from) airlines wanting to be based at Boscobel,” the Minister said.“We have to expand the terminal building and we have to widen the runway. Phase two includes lengthening the runway, and we will be going across the highway with a box culvert, so the planes will taxi across the highway,” he added.Mr. Montague, who is also Member of Parliament for St. Mary Western, where the airport is located, pointed out that motorists will drive under the highway.He indicated that there are plans by the Government to undertake a “massive road-improvement project in the parish”.The National Energy Solutions Limited (NESol) will also be moving to bring electricity to other communities that are without the utility.Communities such as Elliot, Epsom and sections of Gayle have already received electricity provided by NESol, with other communities, such as Three Hills and parts of Boscobel, slated to receive in short order.Meanwhile, Mr. Montague informed that he has interest in an agricultural project for the parish that involves the importation of a new set of lychee seedlings to replace the old trees that exist.Updating residents on developments in the parish, Mayor of Port Maria, Councillor Richard Creary, said residents and vendors are to benefit from a new two-storey market in the town.“Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has also committed that in the next financial year we will… be getting a new fire station in the town of Port Maria,” he said.Land that had previously been earmarked for the construction of the police station will now be used to expand the town.The new police station is being constructed at a cost of $60 million and will be a three-storey building.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The head of Puerto Rico’s power company said Sunday the agency is cancelling its $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings amid scrutiny of the tiny Montana company’s role in restoring the island’s power system.The announcement by Ricardo Ramos came hours after Gov. Ricardo Rossello urged the utility to scrap the deal for Whitefish’s help in rebuilding the electrical system from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Maria.“It’s an enormous distraction,” Ramos said of the controversy over the contract. “This was negatively impacting the work we’re already doing.”The current work by Whitefish teams will not be affected by the cancellation and that work will be completed in November, Ramos said. He said the cancellation will delay pending work by 10 to 12 weeks if no alternatives are found.Ramos said he had not talked with Whitefish executives about his announcement. “A lawsuit could be forthcoming,” he warned.Whitefish spokesman Chris Chiames told The Associated Press that the company was “very disappointed” in the governor’s decision, and said it would only delay efforts to restore power.He said Whitefish brought 350 workers to Puerto Rico in less than a month and it expected to have a total of 500 this week. Chiames said the company completed critical work, including a project that will soon lead to a half million people in San Juan getting power.“We will certainly finish any work that (the power company) wants us to complete and stand by our commitments,” he said.Roughly 70 per cent of the U.S. territory remains without power more than a month after Maria struck on Sept. 20 as a Category 4 storm with winds of up to 154 mph (245 kph). Ramos said Sunday that the total of cost of restoring the system would come to $1.2 billion.The cancellation is not official until approved by the utility’s board. Ramos said it would take effect 30 days after that.Ramos said the company already has paid Whitefish $10.9 million to bring its workers and heavy equipment to Puerto Rico and has a $9.8 million payment pending for work done so far.Ramos said cancellation of the contract will not lead to a penalty, but it’s likely the government will pay at least $11 million for the company to go home early, including all costs incurred in the month after the cancellation.Federal investigators have been looking into the contract awarded to the small company from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown and the deal is being audited at the local and federal level.Ramos said the company contacted Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority two days before the storm hit, at a time when it was becoming clear the hurricane could cause massive damage.Ramos earlier said he had spoken with at least five other companies that demanded rates similar to those of Whitefish, but also wanted a down payment the agency did not have.He said Sunday he hadn’t consulted with anyone else about signing the deal and didn’t notify the governor’s office for a week. He again praised Whitefish’s work.“They’re doing an excellent job,” he said.“There’s nothing illegal here … Of that, we’re sure,” he said, adding that he welcomes a federal investigation. “The process was done according to the law.”Ramos said his agency at first believed the Federal Emergency Management Agency pre-approved contracts, something the agency has denied.FEMA said it has not approved any reimbursement requests from the power company for money to cover repairs to the island’s electrical system. The contract said the utility would not pay costs unallowable under FEMA grants, but it also said, “The federal government is not a party to this contract.”FEMA has raised concerns about how Whitefish got the deal and whether the contracted prices were reasonable. The 2-year-old company had just two full-time employees when the storm hit, but it has since hired more than 300 workers.The White House had no comment Sunday. Last week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the federal government had no role in the process that led to awarding the contract.“This was something solely determined by the Puerto Rican government,” she said Friday.Rossello said he has requested that crews from New York and Florida come help restore power in Puerto Rico as he criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for not meeting its goals. The agency could not be immediately reached for comment.The governor also announced the appointment of an outside co-ordinator to oversee the power company’s purchase and contracting division.“If something illegal was done, once again, the officials involved in that process will feel the full weight of the law, and I will take administrative actions,” Rossello said.A Whitefish contract obtained by The Associated Press found that the deal included $20,277 an hour for a heavy lift Chinook helicopter, $650 an hour for a large crane truck, $322 an hour for a foreman of a power line crew, $319 an hour for a journeyman lineman and $286 an hour for a mechanic. Each worker also gets a daily allowance of $80 for food, $332 for a hotel room and $1,000 for each flight to or from the mainland.The company is based in Whitefish, Montana. Zinke, a former Montana congressman, knows Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski, and Zinke’s son also had a summer job at a Whitefish construction site.“I had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico,” Zinke recently said in a statement linked to a tweet. “Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding or influencing any contract involving Whitefish are completely baseless.”Democrats also have questioned the role of HBC Investments, a key financial backer of Whitefish. The Dallas-based company’s founder and general partner, Joe Colonnetta, has contributed thousands of dollars to President Donald Trump and other Republicans. Chiames, the Whitefish spokesman, has said that Colonnetta’s political donations were “irrelevant” and that the company would co-operate with any federal authorities.This week, Rep. Rob Bishop, the Utah Republican who heads the House Natural Resources Committee, sent the power company director a letter demanding documents, including those related to the contract with Whitefish and others that show what authority the agency has to deviate from normal contracting processes.“Transparent accountability at (the power company) is necessary for an effective and sustained recovery in Puerto Rico,” his office said in a statement.A federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances announced this week that retired Air Force Col. Noel Zamot will be in charge of power reconstruction efforts. Rossello and other officials have rejected the appointment, saying the local government is in charge of a power company that is $9 billion in debt and had struggled with outages before hurricanes Irma and Maria last month.
VANCOUVER — Pan American Silver Corp. has signed a deal to acquire Tahoe Resources Inc. in a stock-and-cash deal it valued at more than US$1 billion.Under the friendly agreement, Tahoe shareholders will receive US$3.40 in cash or 0.2403 Pan American shares for each Tahoe share. The maximum cash available under the offer is US$275 million and there are 56 million Pan American shares available.Tahoe shareholders will also receive contingent value rights that will be exchanged for 0.0497 Pan American shares for each Tahoe share, payable on the first commercial shipment of concentrate following the restart of operations at the Escobal mine in Guatemala.Tahoe shares closed C$2.90 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday, while Pan American shares closed at C$18.71.The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, requires approval by both the Tahoe and Pan American shareholders.Tahoe shareholders will hold about a 27 per cent stake in the combined company at the closing of the deal. The contingent value rights will increase that to 32 per cent, based on the number of Pan American shares outstanding following the closing of the deal. Companies in this story: (TSX:PAAS, TSX:THO)The Canadian Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District has suspended all temporary entry permits for residents of the Old Fort subdivision until further notice.The PRRD announced on Monday afternoon that it would be issuing temporary entry permits for residents who had been out of their homes on Sunday when the evacuation order was issued, allowing them to access their homes and grab essentials such as medications, pets, food, and other supplies.The PRRD said that based on information that was given to its Emergency Operations Centre by a geotechnical engineer, the decision was made to suspend the permits due to the instability of the landslide. Scott Maxwell, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s executive director for the Peace Region, says that Sunday’s evacuation order was issued after the initial slide that occurred on September 30th triggered several other inactive landslide areas on either side of it to reactivate, leading to increasing instability in the slopes above the community.Maxwell said that the Ministry is using a helicopter to conduct LIDAR surveys of the landslide on a daily basis to monitor the slide’s movement and direction.
New Delhi: Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh’s remarks supporting the return of Narendra Modi as prime minister are violative of model code of conduct, the Election Commission has concluded. Sources said since Singh holds a constitutional post, the EC will write to President Ram Nath Kovind, flagging the issue. The poll panel had examined the remarks made by the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister in the light of model code violation as holding a constitutional post makes him “apolitical”. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Addressing BJP workers at his Aligarh residence on March 23, Singh reportedly said, “All of us are BJP workers and we want the party to win. We want Modiji to become the prime minister. It is necessary that Modiji becomes the PM again.” The Governor made these remarks to placate some agitated BJP members who gathered outside his house over ticket distribution. In the 1990s, the EC had expressed displeasure to then Himachal Pradesh Governor Gulsher Ahmed for campaigning for his son. He later quit.
New Delhi: Several parts of north India continued to reel under scorching heat on Wednesday with Jammu recording its season’s hottest day at over 40 degrees Celsius, according to the Meteorological Department.Heat wave was observed at isolated places in west Rajasthan where Sri Ganganagar became the hottest place at a maximum of 45.6 degrees Celsius. Churu, known for its extreme weather conditions, recorded a maximum of 44.5 degrees Celsius, becoming the second hottest place in the state. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe weather remained dry in the desert state even as Met officials warned that heat wave conditions would likely occur at isolated places in west Rajasthan during the next 48 hours. Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, for the first time this season, crossed the 40 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature recorded in Jammu was 40.1 degrees Celsius — 3.3 notches above the normal during this time of the season, a Met Department official said. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadHe said the minimum temperature in the city also continued its upward trend and settled at 25.5 degrees Celsius, which is 2.5 degrees above the normal. Residents of the national capital continued to reel under sweltering conditions with the mercury crossing the 43-degrees mark in some parts of the city. The Safdarjung observatory, recording of which is considered the official figure for the city, recorded a maximum temperature of 41.8 degrees Celsius, three notches above the season’s average, said a Met department official, adding that the minimum temperature was recorded at 23.6 degrees Celsius, a notch below the normal. The Palam observatory registered a high of 43.6 degrees Celsius. Heat wave conditions persisted in Telangana where Nalgonda sizzled with the highest maximum temperature of 45 degrees Celsius. The India Meteorological Department said heat wave conditions are very likely to prevail over some parts of the state on May 9 and May 10. It also warned that thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds (40 to 50 kmph) and lightning are very likely to occur at isolated places over Telangana. Several parts of Himachal Pradesh reeled under scorching heat with Una recording a high of 41 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature in the Himalayan state. The maximum temperatures have increased by one to two degrees Celsius in the state during the last 24 hours, Shimla centre MeT director Manmohan Singh said. The maximum temperature was 37.7 degrees Celsius in Bilaspur, 36.4 degress Celsius in Hamirpur, 35.5 degrees Celsius in Chamba and 32.5 degrees Celsius in Solan.
Ohio State announced Ryan Day, along with Greg Schiano, will become the first million-dollar assistant coaches in Ohio State football history on Feb. 14. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorAfter paying $700,000 in base salary for its highest-paid assistant coach last season, Ohio State will pay two assistant coaches — associate head coach and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day — at least $1 million in 2018, the university announced Wednesday. Schiano earned more money than any other Buckeye assistant coach last season and will remain the highest-paid assistant, earning $1.5 million next season in base salary on a one-year deal. His $800,000 raise is a larger sum of money than his 2017 base salary of $700,000. Schiano had been pursued by teams in the NFL as an assistant coach and in the NCAA as a head coach.Day, who was promoted from co-offensive coordinator to offensive coordinator after the season, will earn a $1 million base salary next season. He signed a three-year deal, according to Ohio State.Ohio State co offensive coordinator Greg Schiano (middle, in red), leads into the air after the Buckeyes beat Penn State 39-38 on Oct. 28 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Station Manager“The reality is we have to compensate people consistent with the expectations and their performance,” Athletics Director Gene Smith said last week. Ohio State anticipates all 10 assistant coaches will be in the top-three in base salary in the Big Ten at their respective positions, according to a release.Every other returning assistant coach, except for linebackers coach Bill Davis, will receive raises. Davis, who earned $500,000 in his first season as an Ohio State coach, will be paid the same amount in 2018.Offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson earned a $150,000 raise and will make $800,000 next season. He will have the third-highest base salary of the program’s 10 assistant coaches. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson’s base salary will increase from $575,225 to $750,000 in 2018, making him the fourth-highest paid Ohio State assistant coach. Former Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was hired as a defensive assistant coach and will have an $800,000 base salary next year. His specific role as an assistant has not been announced. Taver Johnson was hired Tuesday as Ohio State’s cornerbacks coach and will make $345,000 in base salary.In 2018, running backs coach Tony Alford will make $525,000, which is $75,000 more than he made last season. Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa will receive a $90,000 pay bump to raise his base salary to $500,000.Wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith received a $40,000 raise, but will be the lowest-paid assistant coach, making $340,000. He is the only remaining member of Urban Meyer’s first staff at Ohio State.The Lantern requested contracts of each assistant coach, but has yet to receive the documents, which will include bonuses, supplemental income and other amenities.
WILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Board of Selectmen and Wilmington School Committee will hold a joint meeting on Monday, August 13, 2018 to fill the School Committee seat recently vacated by Peggy Kane. The meeting will take place within the Board of Selectmen’s Meeting scheduled for that evening.Per Massachusetts General Law Chapter 41, Section 11, the remaining six School Committee members and the five Selectmen are responsible in appointing a resident to fill Kane’s unexpired term, which is up in April 2019. The “winning” candidate would need a simple majority — affirmative votes from at least six of the eleven officials — to secure the appointment.Residents wishing to serve on the School Committee must send a letter of interest to the Town Manager’s Office (directed to Kevin A. Caira, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, 121 Glen Road, Wilmington, MA 01887) by Friday, July 27, 2018 at 4:30pm.At the Monday, July 9 Board of Selectmen Meeting, Town Manager Jeff Hull announced that ZERO letters of interest had been received since the announcement two weeks ago.“We have not received any applications to this point. I would encourage individuals with an interest in serving on the School Committee to please submit a letter of interest,” requested Hull.The Town Manager’s Office will distribute any received letters to each member of the Board of Selectmen and School Committee, giving them a couple of weeks to have conversations with candidates prior to the August 13 meeting.**UPDATE** What do you know? After telling Wilmington Apple several weeks ago he was interested in the seat, Jesse Fennelly — who was the runner up in April’s School Committee race — reports he did just send his letter of interest to Town Hall.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSELECTMEN NEWS: Selectmen To Discuss Senior Center, Palmer Park, WHS Gym Floor At September 9 MeetingIn “Government”SELECTMEN NOTEBOOK: 6 Things That Happened At This Month’s Selectmen’s MeetingIn “Government”SELECTMEN NOTEBOOK: 5 Things That Happened At Last Week’s Selectmen’s MeetingIn “Government”
WILMINGTON, MA — The Commerford Fun Fair returns to the Shriners Auditorium (99 Fordham Road) during February vacation.The Fair will be open on Saturday, February 16, 2019 (10am-7pm); Sunday, February 17, 2019 (10am-6pm); and Monday, February 18, 2019 (10am-6pm).These fairs, held year-round up and down the east coast, are a “fun, friendly, and safe place to bring your family.” The fair feature rides, games, and a unique chance to interact with animals.Children 12 and under are free with coupon. Price for adults online are $10. Price for adults at the event are $18. Free children coupons are available at local businesses or at front box office during the event.Rides and other vendors inside are an additional cost. For ride prices, visit www.commerfordzoo.com. Call 860-491-3421 with any questions.(NOTE: The above information was submitted by Commerford Fun Fair.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedFEBRUARY VACATION FUN: Petting Zoo At Shriners AuditoriumIn “Community”FEBRUARY VACATION FUN: Petting Zoo At Shriners AuditoriumIn “Community”5 Things You Need To Know In Wilmington Today (February 20, 2017)In “5 Things To Do Today”
Share Being deported to an El Salvador he hadn’t seen in more than three decades was a trauma Hugo Castro recalls clearly.The 51-year-old said Monday that his country must begin preparing now to receive the nearly 200,000 Salvadorans who may have to return following the Trump administration’s decision to lift their temporary protected status next year.“The main problem for deportees is that they’re made invisible. They’re rejected, there’s no work. They don’t help us,” said Castro, who was deported from the U.S. in 2015.The U.S. announcement brought fears that a major source of income for this poor Central American nation will be cut off and that families could be separated. But there was also a hint of optimism that Salvadorans with many years of experience in the U.S. could bring expertise and investment to spur the economy.Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Salvadorans who have stayed in the U.S. with temporary protected status — only a fraction of the estimated 2 million Salvadorans living there — would have to leave by Sept. 9, 2019, unless Congress came up with a solution allowing them to stay.Twitter via @MaryknollFrsBrsThe temporary protected status program has been offered to citizens from a number of countries fleeing natural disasters or other instability. The affected Salvadorans received the status after earthquakes in 2001 killed more than 1,000 people. Thousands more who arrived in the United States in recent years fleeing gang violence were not eligible.Castro went to the United States as a teenager to study at a college in Atlanta. During his junior year his family back home lost nearly everything when the bank seized their coffee operation. Dropping out, he worked at a country club and a book store and became manager of a Mexican restaurant. Then a run-in with police led to more than two years in immigration detention as he unsuccessfully fought deportation after living in the U.S. for three decades.His first three months back in El Salvador were the worst, he said. He suffered from depression and didn’t want to leave his mother’s home. People told him a 49-year-old man should not depend on his mother to support him, so he started looking for work.“I went everywhere, to restaurants. I told them I had a lot of experience and that I spoke English, but they rejected me,” he said.Eight months after arriving, Castro finally found work at the Salvadoran Immigrant Institute. The non-profit group recognized the value of Castro’s bilingualism and the experience he had gained through the deportation process and it put him to work helping other deportees reintegrate into society.Castro said programs like his are very limited and more needs to be done for returnees.“The government has to get ready, partner with businesses, with all of society, the nonprofits and create assistance programs,” he said.As an example, he noted that in 2016, the country received 52,000 deportees from the United States and Mexico. Meanwhile, a government program to give small cash grants to allow deportees to open their own businesses has only graduated 140 people, he said.The biggest worry among many Salvadorans is that their nation of 6.2 million people will see a big drop in the amount of cash sent home by countrymen working in the United States. Salvadorans transferred more than $4.5 billion from the U.S. in 2016, accounting for 17 percent of El Salvador’s economy, according to government figures.Luis Membreno, an economic analyst in El Salvador, said that fear may be overblown. He said Salvadorans who have protected status in the U.S. tend to be more long-standing migrants who have their families there and send less money home. Many more Salvadorans are not in the program, with growing numbers entering the U.S. illegally over the past decade fleeing violence and poverty.“I don’t think that family remittances are going to fall in the short term,” Membreno said.He also thinks some Salvadoran families in the U.S. could start sending more money back — something that started when Donald Trump was elected president — so remittance figures could rise.In addition, he said, many of those eventually returning could be skilled and have money to invest. “All of this could generate a certain dynamism in the economy,” he said.Cesar Rios, director of the nonprofit group where Castro works, is less optimistic. “Our country is not prepared to receive thousands of Salvadorans,” he said.Deportees are often targeted by gangs, because they believe they have money. Police also target them, because of the stigma that they are criminals.“There’s no work,” Rios said. “Between 200 and 300 Salvadorans continue leaving every day for the United States.”Ernesto Godoy, standing outside a Western Union money transfer office in San Salvador, said he receives money from relatives with protected status in the United States. He worried the decision could lead to bigger problems in El Salvador.“It’s going to affect us, not only me, but on a national level, because here in El Salvador we make ends meet with remittances from the United States,” Godoy said.
Share Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images/Via NPRA new report finds that 2017 was one of the hottest years ever recorded. Here, a man dives into the sea in Istanbul in July 2017 during a heat wave that caused record temperatures in much of Turkey.NOAA has released the latest State of the Climate report, its annual checkup on our planet.So, how did Earth fare in 2017?Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: record highs. Global surface temperature: near-record high. Sea surface temperature: near-record high. Global sea level: highest on record.Warm global temperatures have been a strong trend in recent years: the four warmest years on record all occurred since 2014, and last year was among them. In fact, 2017 was the warmest non-El Niño year ever recorded.The past three years were “substantially warmer than the previous — kind of establishing a new neighborhood in terms of global temperature,” said Deke Arndt, a climatologist at NOAA and the lead editor of the report. “And 2017 reinforced that.”Several countries reported record high annual temperatures: Argentina, Uruguay, Spain and Bulgaria. And Mexico had record high annual temperatures for the fourth year in a row.NOAA’s report, based on contributions from 500 scientists in 60 countries, was released today on the website of the American Meteorological Society.The findings show the extent to which humans have already changed key aspects of our climate as we’ve increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.The Arctic continued to warm, and preliminary data show that the world’s glaciers have continued to diminish, with the average glacier losing 72 feet off its top since 1980.A coral bleaching event from 2014 to 2017 was “the longest, most widespread, and almost certainly most destructive on record,” the report notes. Mass coral bleaching used to occur at a rate of once every 25–30 years in the 1980s. But now it happens about every six years, and it’s expected to accelerate as the oceans keep warming. Severe bleaching is now occurring faster than reefs can recover.The report shows a number of small shifts in our climate metrics – shifts that can drive extreme events like the heat waves, downpours and wildfires we’ve seen in recent weeks.“We’ve had something on the order of one degree [Celsius] or so of global warming,” says Radley Horton, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who wasn’t involved in the new report. “It doesn’t sound like much, but already it’s producing more frequent heat waves. We’ve had globally less than a foot of sea level rise in the last century. Again it doesn’t sound like much, but for certain regions it’s already causing a fourfold increase in the frequency of coastal flooding.”What’s most surprising in the report, he says, are the hints that we may be reaching tipping points where change accelerates or becomes irreversible.“The further we push the climate system by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, the greater the potential that we get a sudden surprise — something that climate models and their predictions aren’t able to prepare us for,” Horton says.Last year saw a new record low in the extent of Arctic sea ice in the winter. As sea ice melts, there is less of its white surface reflecting the sun’s rays, and more dark blue ocean absorbing the sunlight. That can create a positive feedback loop in which warmer oceans drive a faster decline of Arctic sea ice than climate models had predicted.Just a decade ago, Horton says, the models predicted that the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer by 2100, while more recent models suggested that could happen by 2050. “Scientists are now concerned it could happen in the next couple decades,” he says.However, not every aspect of climate was record-breaking last year. Tropical cyclones were only slightly above average. Only the North Atlantic basin had an above-normal season, with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria all causing huge destruction, in the basin’s seventh most active season in 164 years.And fire activity was at its lowest globally since at least 2003 – but the U.S. had by far its most expensive fire season ever, with more than $18 billion in damages.The report “highlights the urgency for us as a society to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Horton, “and prepare our most vulnerable communities for some of these climate changes that we’re locked into.”Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Kolkata: Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s Health department has directed all Puja committees to take up cleaning of its pandal premises at the earliest to prevent the outbreak of vector-borne diseases. The health officials of the Ward level have been instructed to keep a vigil on such places on a regular basis to ensure that they do not emerge as a breeding ground for vector-borne diseases.”The things used for making pandals may act as small pockets of stagnant water. The weather office has predicted rain early next week. Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes that cause dengue breed in clear water. So we want to ensure that water does not accumulate in the premises of such pandals and accordingly, Puja committees have been instructed to clear such spaces at their earliest,” a senior official of KMC’s Health department said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt may be mentioned that the KMC started awareness campaigns against dengue from the beginning of the year as a result of which the vector-borne disease has been very much under control in its areas. “Our novel initiative of involving Puja committees in dengue drives and awarding those conducting awareness activities in the best possible way has yielded excellent results. We will start this venture from August next year so that more Puja committees come forward,” said Atin Ghosh, Member Mayor in Council (Health). The Swastha Bandhab Sharad Samman for awarding Puja committees for dengue drive witnessed 1,605 applications.
AMSTERDAM — New research by Carlson Wagonlit Travel found that while more than one-third (37%) of European travellers are concerned about safety and security, their counterparts from other regions worry more: travellers from the Americas including Canada express that nearly half (47%) of the time they worry about safety and security, while Asia Pacific travellers worry the most (56%).“Despite recent terrorist attacks, business travellers say they’re more worried about other things – and that’s surprising,” said Simon Nowroz, Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s chief marketing officer. “We found that, yes, the world seems scarier at times – but travellers believe they have more tools at their disposal to keep them informed and safe.”Terrorism ranks fifth (35%) among safety concerns, despite the high visibility of terrorist attacks. “Forgetting something needed for work” ranked higher (40%), as did “losing something important” (38%), “being robbed or attacked” (37%) and even “weather conditions” (37%).More news: TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamThe CWT Connected Traveler survey of more than 1,900 individuals found that two-thirds (67%) of business travellers believe travel is safer today than in the past as they have more tools to mitigate safety concerns. Seven out of 10 travellers use at least one of their employer’s security protocols, such as traveler tracking or emergency contact profiles. And more than two-thirds (68%) buy travel insurance.One in five travellers said they have cancelled a trip due to concerns about their safety and security. And close to one-third (30%) say they’re worried about their health and wellbeing when it comes to travelling.Only 7% of Asia Pacific (APAC) travellers said they were “not concerned” about personal safety while traveling for business. That percentage rose to 12% for Americas travellers and 21% among Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) travellers. APAC travellers appear to be better prepared; according to the study, more than half (52%) of APAC travelers maintain an up-to-date emergency contact profile compared to 38% in the Americas and only 34% in EMEA.More news: Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongAPAC travellers are also more likely to sign up for notifications of real-time risks (41%). Only 33% do in the Americas, while only 29% do from EMEA.“Today’s travellers are sophisticated,” said Nowroz. “They’re signing up for alerts, they’re paying attention to the news and they use the available tools at their disposal. So while travel may seem risky, they’re taking steps to stay safe.” Share What scares travellers? CWT’s fear factor survey goes worldwide << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Trend Watch Tuesday, October 31, 2017 Travelweek Group
State Budget supports low-cost holidaying. Source = ETB News: P.T. The Western Australian State Government has committed more than AU$40 million into developing facilities and greater access for low-cost holidaying such as caravanning and camping. Over the next four years, AU$34.4 million in Royalties for Regions funding will go to the Caravan and Camping Action Plan, with an additional AU$6.3 million allocated to the Parks for People initiative. “We need to ensure facilities are continually expanded and upgraded so that West Australians can access affordable, high-quality holiday accommodation in our own backyard.” “We want to reconnect our children with nature and our national parks, we want to bring back the family camping trip by providing better facilities and more campgrounds to choose from – while also encouraging our interstate and overseas visitors to take advantage of our spectacular parks,” Ms Harvey said. Tourism Minister Liza Harvey said the Caravan and Camping Action Plan would ensure more West Australian families could get out and explore more of the State in an affordable way. “The number of visits to national and marine parks has increased by 55 percent in the past 10 years and we expect it to grow by another 80 percent over the next decade,” Environment Minister Albert Jacob said. “We also want to ensure that commercial caravan parks are supported to attract visitors and provide the best facilities possible.” The assigned funds stem from an election promise to make low-cost holidays more accessible to West Australians, both in WA’s national parks and in caravan/camping sites.
ALTNAGELVIN HOSPITALDerryobesityType 2 DiabetesWESTERN TRUSTWestern Trust staff Choose to Lose an incredible 111 stone! ShareTweet The latest NI Health Survey (2017/18) reports that 64% of adults are now overweight or obese; a figure that continues to rise. It says that it’s well documented that carrying excess body weight not only increases our risk of developing high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers, but also impacts negatively on our mental health, wellbeing and self-esteem.Zoe Fletcher, Western Trust Project Lead Dietitian with the Community Food and Nutrition Team commented: “Most staff members spend approximately half of their waking hours at work; therefore the workplace provides an ideal opportunity for educational and behavioural change, encouraging staff to look at their diet and health whilst being inspired and empowered by a network of friends and colleagues.” TWO hundred employees from all areas of the Western Trust, including Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry, recently completed the ‘Choose to Lose’ 12 week work-based weight loss and healthy lifestyle programme.Collectively they lost almost 111 stone (704kg) and 10 metres from their waist lines – that’s the height of two giraffes!The Trust says that obesity remains one of the most important public health challenges facing Northern Ireland today. Zoe added: “Positively, all staff that participated in the programme intend to continue the diet and lifestyle changes they made and all would recommend to their colleagues. “Following such positive feedback, Choose To Lose for Trust staff will run again later this year. “Details will be advertised via Trust Communications and TWIST West. “Congratulations and well done to all who took part!”Western Trust staff Choose to Lose an incredible 111 stone! was last modified: June 21st, 2019 by John2John2 Tags:
We’re beginning to approach oversold territory and, as you probably already know, how soon we get to those lows will depend on how quickly the powers-that-be take the remaining slices. A re-read of Ted’s quote above would be useful at this point. And as I type this paragraph, the London open is just under ten minutes away. Gold, platinum and palladium prices are unchanged—and silver is up a nickel. Gold’s net volume is very light at just under 11,500 contracts—virtually all of it of the HFT variety—and silver’s net volume is around 4,200 contracts, with decent roll-overs out of July already. And after rallying about 20 basis points in the early going in Hong Kong trading on their Friday morning, the dollar index is back to unchanged. Without doubt, all eyes will be on the job numbers this morning in New York—and what trading ‘action’ will accompany their release. Of course the job numbers should make no difference to the gold price at all, but a long history shows that JPMorgan et al use that as an excuse on many occasions to drive the precious metal prices into the dirt—and I’ll be amazed if that doesn’t happen this morning. Today we get the Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday—and I doubt if we’ll see much, if any, improvement in the Commercial net short positions in either gold or silver, as the reporting week was pretty flat from a price perspective. All the price action that mattered most didn’t start until the day after the cut-off—and it’s a very safe bet that it was no accident that it happened this way, as “da boyz” have used this trick for at least a decade when they want to hide their tracks for as long as possible. We also get the companion Bank Participation Report as well. This is data that’s extracted directly from the COT Report—and shows what the world’s banks have been up to during the month that was and, as I always say at this juncture, they’re usually up to quite a bit. I’ll have all that data in my Saturday column. And as I send the Friday edition of today’s column out the door at 5:25 a.m. EDT, I see that gold began to develop a slight negative bias starting at 2 p.m. Hong Kong time on their Friday afternoon. Ditto for silver. Gold is down a couple of bucks, but silver is still up a nickel. Platinum and palladium are trading flat. Gold’s net volume is now a bit over 22,000 contracts—and silver’s net volume is pretty decent as well at 6,500 contracts, but there’s been no increase in roll-over activity from over two hours ago. The dollar index was slowly heading south, but has recovered a bit in the last half hour—and is currently down only 3 basis points. As I said above, all eyes will be on the 8:30 a.m. EDT jobs report—and if you’re feeling a bit like that poor chap in the last cartoon posted above, I’ll certainly understand—as I feel that way myself at the moment. Enjoy your weekend, or what’s left of it if you live west of the International Date Line—and I’ll see you here tomorrow. Here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart courtesy of Brad Robertson. As you can tell by the volume spikes, “da boyz” stuck it to the Managed Money traders real good once again during the COMEX trading session. Midnight Wednesday is the vertical gray line—and you have to add two hours for EDT—and the ‘click to enlarge’ feature is a must. The silver chart was similar to gold’s, right up until 3:30 p.m. in the New York Access market. At that point a willing seller stepped in and ensured that silver closed on its absolute low tick of the day. The high and low ticks were reported by the CME Group as $16.50 and $16.065 in the July contract. Silver finished the Thursday session at $16.075 spot, down 40 cents on the day. Gross volume was very decent, as was net volume—46,000 contracts. Avrupa and Antofagasta intersect copper-rich VMS in Pyrite Belt, Portugal • First Greenfields discovery of massive sulfide mineralization in 20 years in the Iberian Pyrite Belt • 10.85 meters of massive and semi-massive/stockwork sulfide mineralization grading 1.81% Cu, 2.57% Pb, 4.38% Zn, 0.13% Sn, and 75.27 ppm Ag • Including 7.95 meters @ 2.21% Cu, 3.05% Pb, 4.82% Zn, 0.15% Sn, 89.8 ppm Ag • Followed by 2.90 meters @ 0.71% Cu, 1.27% Pb, 3.17% Zn, 0.092% Sn, 35.4 ppm Ag • Avrupa and Antofagasta sign an amended Joint Venture Agreement Please visit our website to learn more about the company and current exploration program. Platinum prices were a mini version of the gold price chart—and palladium was a mini version of the platinum chart. Platinum closed on Thursday at $1,098 spot, down three bucks, finally cracking the $1,100 spot price to the downside. Palladium also closed 3 dollars lower at $753 spot. Here are the charts. The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 5 of the June delivery month showed that zero gold and 9 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday. Nothing to see here. The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that gold open interest for June dropped another 282 contracts, leaving 1,262 still open. June o.i. in silver was up 7 contracts to 40. There was no reported change in GLD, but another deposit was made in SLV. This time it was 1,433,379 troy ounces. So far this week, there has been a bit over 2.5 million ounces deposited in SLV. Since the price action indicates that silver should be flowing out of that ETF, the deposits must have been used to cover an existing short position. We’ll have to wait until about June 23 when the next short position report comes out of the folks over at shortsqueeze.com in order to get a hint of what might be going on. Since yesterday was Thursday, Joshua Gibbons, the Guru of the SLV Bar List, updated his website with the goings-on over at the iShares.com Internet site at the close of trading on Wednesday—and this is what he had to report. “Analysis of the 03 June 2015 bar list, and comparison to the previous week’s list: 1,138,121.2 troy were added (all to Brinks London), 893,539.6 oz were removed (all from Brinks London), and 113 bars had serial number changes.” “The bars removed were from: Solar Applied Materials (0.3M oz, Krasnoyarsk (0.2M oz), and 10 others. The bars added were from: Krasnoyarsk (0.2M oz), Prioksky (0.1M oz), and 13 others. “As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 384.9 oz. All daily changes are reflected on the bar list.” Over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank for the week ending May 29—they reported tiny declines in both their gold and silver ETFs. Their gold ETF shed 1,804 troy ounces—and their silver ETF dropped only 7,123 troy ounces. After four straight day of sales, it should come as no surprise that there was no report from the U.S. Mint yesterday. Over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday, there was 50,092 troy ounces of gold transferred from Canada’s Scotiabank to HSBC USA. Other than that, there was no activity worth mentioning, but the link to what there was, is here. It was another huge in/out day in silver, as 411,788 troy ounces were received—all at JPMorgan’s vault—and 1,012,058 troy ounces were shipped out. All of the ‘out’ movement was from Canada’s Scotiabank, including the 411,788 troy ounces that JPMorgan received. The link to that action is here—and it’s worth a quick look. There wasn’t a lot of activity at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Wednesday, as only 775 kilobars were reported received—and another 475 were shipped out. All of the action was at Brink’s, Inc. as usual. The link to that activity is here. I have a fair number of stories for you today—and I’ll happily leave the final edit up to you. Since we penetrated for the first time to the downside the key 50-day moving average in silver on Wednesday, I suppose the official price take-down cycle is now in effect. Gold, you’ll remember, had penetrated its 50-day moving average a week or so ago, so the market structure there is more advanced than it is in silver. Therefore, in silver, it’s more a question of how many contracts the commercials can induce the managed money traders to sell than it is how low prices must fall. It’s more about contracts sold than prices, although successive lower prices (salami slicing) are necessary to effect the full contract count outcome. In other words, it’s not necessary that we drop dramatically in price, just enough—and in the manner necessary to accomplish whatever complete managed money selling results this go around. Of course, please dismiss any suggestion that I (or anyone else) know for sure the direction of prices in the short term. This is about probabilities based upon the same thing that those probabilities have always been based on – past and prospective COT patterns. And even though those probabilities suggest lower silver prices ahead, any such decline should prove minor compared to the eventual much higher prices that the actual fundamentals and facts point to. While I hope my COT analysis is beneficial, please understand it is not my intent to handicap silver prices in the short term, although many others do seem so engaged. Instead, my intent is to use my analysis of the COT market structure to show just how screwed up is the price discovery process on the COMEX and, after 30 years, it is encouraging to see that at least one silver miner may feel the same. In the unfortunate circumstance that the probabilities once again prove correct and we do witness further declines in the price of silver, perhaps that might aid in convincing other silver producers to step up to the plate and write to the CFTC. Trying to come up with rational explanations for why silver and gold prices behave as they do, while leaving out the COT market structure on the COMEX, is guaranteed to reduce one to the babbling idiot level. — Silver analyst Ted Butler: 05 June 2015 Another day—and more salami slicing in the all four precious metals, particularly gold and silver. There was decent volume associated with both metals, so it’s an absolute certainty that the Managed Money was puking longs and piling on the short side, while JPMorgan et al gobbled up everything on the opposite side of those trades for fun, profit and price management purposes. And it was a very profitable day for “da boyz” yesterday. Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals—and new lows were engineered in three of the four precious metals. The gold stocks opened down—and chopped more or less sideways for the remainder of the day, as the HUI closed down another 1.35 percent. It was more or less the same thing in the silver equities, although the trading day had more shape to it. The big drop because someone sold a boat load of shares in Peñoles right at the close, at least that’s what Nick said yesterday when I asked him. Because of that, Nick’s Silver Sentiment Index got hit for 2.26 percent. Without that share dump, the loss would have been about 0.5 percent. Without doubt, all eyes will be on the job numbers this morning The gold price chopped around, mostly lower, during the Far East trading session on their Thursday—and both the rally attempt in the Far East—and the one in early London trading, met with a resolute seller the moment that the price attempted to break above unchanged. JPMorgan et al, HFT algorithms in hand, did the dirty starting the moment that COMEX trading began—and by around 11:20 a.m. EDT, their work was done for the day, with another low for this move down. The gold price rallied quietly after that, before chopping sideways starting around 2:40 p.m. in electronic trading. The high and low tick were recorded as $1,186.60 and $1,172.40 in the August contract. The gold price closed in New York yesterday at $1,176.40 spot, down another $8.60 from Wednesday’s close. Net volume was very decent at 148,000 contracts. Here’s the 6-month U.S. Dollar chart as a reference. The dollar index finished the Wednesday trading session in New York at 95.37—and traded virtually ruler flat until about 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time. At that juncture it rallied 20 basis points, hitting 95.56 at 8:30 a.m. BST in London trading. It fell of a cliff at 9 a.m. right on the button, hitting its 94.72 low about thirty five minutes later. Then at noon BST it appeared that ‘gentle hands’ showed up—and the dollar rallied to a handful of basis points above unchanged minutes before trading began in the equity markets in New York. It rallied higher from there in a rather choppy manner—and closed yesterday at 95.58—up 21 basis points from Wednesday. It’s obvious to me that the dollar would crash if given the opportunity to do so—and it’s equally as obvious that the powers-that-be are at hand to prevent that from happening.
People with HIV have been failed by the government’s new disability benefit, according to new research.The research by the National AIDS Trust (NAT) found that only three-fifths of people living with HIV were found eligible for the new personal independence payment (PIP) after being reassessed.NAT says its research has confirmed long-standing fears that people with HIV would not receive the support they needed under PIP, which is supposed to help cover people’s extra disability-related costs.Its report shows that only three-fifths (63 per cent) of the 1,000 people with HIV who were previously receiving disability living allowance (DLA) and had been reassessed for PIP were awarded the new benefit.This compares with 73 per cent of all DLA claimants who had been reassessed and were awarded PIP, according to the figures, published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last December.One charity that works with NAT, River House, described yesterday (Wednesday) how a 57-year-old man who was diagnosed last October with HIV and also had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, had been awarded zero points after a PIP assessment in April.An appeal to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – the so-called mandatory reconsideration stage – was refused in late June.By this time, his health had deteriorated even further and he was admitted to hospital, where he was diagnosed with untreatable lung cancer.He was due to receive DWP’s decision on a fresh PIP application this week, but died on Monday morning.Another River House service-user with HIV has described how he had to start using foodbanks after his PIP was suddenly stopped because he missed a renewal deadline by just two days after he was diagnosed with cancer.DWP refused to reconsider removing his PIP and he had to wait more than 16 weeks to be assessed again.He said: “From the moment that my PIP stopped, I lost the uplift in my ESA [employment and support allowance] that I received because I was now not receiving PIP.“While I waited to be assessed for PIP and again for ESA, I had to borrow small amounts of money from friends [and] organisations that support people living with HIV and I was a regular visitor to local food banks.”The NAT analysis also shows that people with HIV who had been claiming DLA were more likely (43 per cent) than the average DLA claimant (30 per cent) to see their level of support cut if they were awarded PIP after a reassessment.According to last December’s figures, only about 1,000 of the 7,920 people living with HIV who were claiming DLA at the start of the PIP rollout in 2013 – which itself was about 10 per cent of all those with HIV in the UK – had been reassessed.The charity says that not everyone living with HIV in the UK has benefitted equally from modern treatments – for example, long-term survivors and people diagnosed late – and some will have life-long health problems as a result of HIV. One study found that two-thirds of people living with HIV in the UK have at least one other condition, in addition to HIV, and 38 per cent have more than one additional condition.Deborah Gold, NAT’s chief executive, said: “The evidence so far is that PIP is not working for people living with HIV who need extra support.“The assessment is not fit for its stated purpose, to identify the disability-related barriers to participation and independence experienced by people living with HIV. “The tick-box eligibility criteria describe only the most basic aspects of existence, such as physical capacity to consume food and bathe, without any understanding of the social context of life with a serious long-term condition.”Among the charity’s many concerns about the assessment process are that it fails to accurately capture: the risk of isolation due to HIV-related anxiety; the need for support with nutrition; and the importance of adhering to HIV medication.Sarah Radcliffe, NAT’s director of policy and campaigns, said that the research – the first to be carried out into the impact of PIP on people with HIV – shows that the concerns raised when the abolition of working-age DLA was announced in 2010 were not baseless.She said the way the assessment was devised “means people living with HIV will not have their support needs identified – or where they are picked up, this will not necessarily translate to support”.And she said the social model “rhetoric” used by DWP when it introduced the new benefit – focussing on how social factors create barriers to participation for disabled people – “has not translated to reality for PIP”.Instead, she said, the PIP assessment “looks a lot like the work capability assessment’s notorious ‘tick box’ medical approach”.She added: “The descriptors used are proxies for a basic existence and not for barriers to participation or the extra costs associated with an active, independent life.“It is not too late to improve PIP for people living with HIV. The vast majority are yet to be reassessed. “It is time to look again at PIP, from scratch, and make sure it lives up to its stated goals of promoting participation and independence.”A DWP spokeswoman said in a statement: “We introduced PIP to replace the outdated DLA system – it takes a much wider look at the way someone’s health condition or disability impacts them on a daily basis and is tailored to suit each individual’s needs.“Decisions are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.“Under PIP, 28 per cent of claimants are now receiving the highest rate of support, compared to 15 per cent under DLA, and anyone who disagrees with a PIP decision has the right to appeal.”But DWP figures from last December also showed that fewer than half (about 126,000) of the 254,000 people previously receiving the higher rate mobility component of DLA secured the same level of mobility support when reassessed for PIP.And unpublished DWP figures obtained by DNS in March showed nearly half of disabled people subject to “planned reviews” of their eligibility for PIP were having their existing award either cut or removed completely.NAT has produced free resources on PIP for people living with HIV and the services who support them
2019 Entrepreneur 360 List –shares Entrepreneur Staff Add to Queue The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Next Article Tesla But he’s been wrong before. Entrepreneur Staff Despite the name, Tesla’s Autopilot feature will not safely drive you home from work or anywhere else. Of course, that hasn’t stopped brazen Tesla owners from abusing the system (one was even allegedly drunk and asleep behind the wheel).But according to Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk, true self-driving Tesla vehicles will be available next year.Related: The Daily Schedules of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and Other Famous Business Billionaires“I think we will be ‘feature complete’ on full self-driving this year, meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, take you all the way to your destination without an intervention this year,” Musk said during a podcast interview, as reported by Wired. “I am certain of that. That is not a question mark.”Of course, Musk has been off with his predictions in the past — just look at the whole production debacle he landed his company in after promising Tesla would manufacture 20,000 Model 3 cars a month by December of 2017. Yet still, Musk was at it again yesterday.Meant to say annualized production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 20, 2019 Apply Now » 2 min read Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images February 20, 2019 Elon Musk Says True Self-Driving Teslas Could Be Ready in 2020
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal How to Clean Up an Online Reputation Add to Queue Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business If you own a small or medium business, a good reputation — online and offline — is clearly key to your success. The stakes are also high for individuals, who can win or lose jobs based upon how they appear in Web search results.The Internet can overwhelm users with information, so anything negative — especially if it appears high in search results — can have a drastically harmful effect on your success and how people see you.Among U.S. recruiters, 70 percent have rejected candidates based on their online reputation — and yet only 7 percent of Americans believe that their online reputation can affect their job search, according to a 2010 study by Microsoft and Cross-Tab Market Research. A potential customer who searches for your business online is a lot like a recruiter, trying to find the best company for the job.Ignoring how you or your company appears in search results and on ratings Websites has arguably never been more perilous.One significant figure in the recently altered relationship between businesses and search engines is Vitaly Borker, owner of retail eyewear Website DecorMyEyes.com, who told the New York Times in November that his unconventional search engine optimization (SEO) strategy worked like a charm: Borker harassed customers, directing them to vent on the Internet. His Website thus climbed higher in Google’s search results, bolstered by the many links from established review Websites.Google immediately reworked its code and buried DecorMyEyes along with other businesses it deemed “bad.” Now that Google no longer rewards bad customer service with top spots in searches, it’s a good time to examine how your business can get more positive attention in legitimate ways.Should You Pay for Online Reputation Management?Deciding to take control of your online reputation is a daunting task, and you may be tempted just to hire someone to do it for you. Online reputation management companies abound on the Internet — claiming everything from 100 percent success rate (or your money back) to a “special technology” that reorders search results.Such companies may be worth looking into, but there is no magical way to erase content from the Internet. Once something is uploaded to the Web, it’s impossible for you or a third party to remove it without help from the administrator of the Website where it appears.It’s even harder to remove content from search engines (like Google) that cache their results and enable surfers, with the click of the Cached link, to view content that has been “removed.” In addition, the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine stores records of Websites dating back to the 1990s.Organizations such as ReputationDefender, RemoveYourName, and Integrity Defenders offer business packages to help you take on your online reputation. Essentially, however, these services focus on two tasks: requesting that negative information about you or your company be taken down, and helping you create new content to displace the negative content.ReputationDefender, which is perhaps the best-known reputation-oriented service, charges between $3000 and $10,000 to monitor your reputation. RemoveYourName and Integrity Defenders are a bit cheaper; their packages start at $3000 and $630, respectively. Often the quoted prices are just a starting point. ReputationDefender charges extra, for example, for helping you get rid of unsavory remarks that they uncover.Here are some key points to remember if you decide to hire an online reputation management company:Weigh any negative reviews of the company more heavily than you normally would. Remember, these companies are in the business of defending and rehabilitating reputations; if 10 “bad” reviews of their own service get through, imagine how many others they may have buried.No company has the magical power to automatically remove negative reviews from the Internet.Consider the benefits of a service that charges monthly versus a flat-fee service. Monthly services, such as BrandsEye, will constantly monitor your reputation. Flat-fee services, such as RemoveYourName, will spend as much time as it takes to get results. If you’re looking to remove specific negative reviews, a flat-fee service might be best for you; but if you just want someone to monitor your reputation, a monthly service makes more sense.It’s entirely possible that a reputation-monitoring service won’t be able to help you, or that the service’s efforts may backfire. In the case of Ronnie Segev, ReputationDefender and a blog called The Consumerist ended up in a spitting match after ReputationDefender requested that an article about Segev be removed.If you don’t have room in your budget for professional reputation management — or if you’ve decided that the service doesn’t justify the price — you can take on tracking and managing your online reputation by yourself.Step 1: Track Your Online PresencePerform a search for your company name in a general search engine, such as Google or Bing. Be sure to search not only for your company’s name, but also for related keywords, possible misspellings, and phrases (utilizing quotation marks). Note any negative reviews and where your company’s Website appears in relation to them (higher or lower). Cross-check your search on other search engines. For tips on effective ways to perform more-detailed searches, see “28 Time-Saving Tricks for Google, Facebook, and More.”Run site-specific searches on relevant Websites, including social media Websites such as Facebook and Twitter, review Websites like Yelp and Kudzu, and consumer advocacy sites such as GetSatisfaction and Ripoff Report. To perform a site-specific search of reviews of cupcake makers on Yelp, for example, type the following into Google: cupcake site:yelp.comSearch for individuals if you want to track the information available about you or your colleagues on people search engines such as Spokeo. Though most of these sites simply grab information that’s publicly available from other sources, you can try contacting them directly to request that they not present all the data to the public.Sign up for alerts from search engines. Google Alerts allows you to track search terms by type. The service will send any new mentions of your search term to your inbox daily, weekly, or in real time.Consider using BrandsEye or a similar service. This is one part of the process where paying for a service can definitely be useful. BrandsEye, which costs about $100 per month, not only tracks your online presence, but analyzes it, too. BrandsEye weighs each mention of your company as coming from an important or unimportant source and gauges how much effect each mention has on your overall reputation (similar to the way the Google search algorithm supposedly works).Step 2: Address the IssuesRead the reviews, both negative and positive. People usually spend more time reviewing services they feel strongly about, whether that feeling is love or hate. You can thus use negative online reviews constructively, especially if reviewers bring up legitimate complaints.Contact Websites if you encounter any false or unnecessarily vindictive reviews, and request that they be removed.Respond to customer complaints by apologizing and offering your side of the story. Then if someone later sees the negative comment about your company, they’ll also see that you’re committed to fixing and fostering good relationships with your customers. No matter how tempting it is, never trade insults with the customer — it’s harder for potential customers to identify with you than with a fellow consumer.Step 3: Connect and Create ContentConnect with your customers via social networking Websites. It’s not enough to have a Facebook page or a Twitter account that you post dry, business-related updates to — you have to engage your customers and help them get to know you, your business, and your brand. Content should be interesting — now is not the time to pitch your business or products — and try to encourage feedback from your followers.Create original content for the search engines, to displace any negative content that is currently popping up. This may take the form of anything from blog posts to informative articles to contests.Never “astroturf” by posting fake reviews, no matter how Web-savvy you are. If you’re found out, you’ll lose the respect of your customers, and you could also face legal trouble.Online reputation management might seem like a full-time job, but that’s not necessarily the case. If you take the steps to gauge the general tone of your brand’s online presence and discover that you’re doing a pretty good job, retaining a professional reputation defense company to obliterate one or two bad reviews makes little sense.If, on the other hand, your brand has a less-than-stellar reputation on the Internet, be aware that there is no one-step route to a rehabilitated rep; slow and steady relationship building is the most effective way to gain the reputation you desire. In most instances, a small business’s marketing teams should be able to handle online reputation management, since much of the task involves basic social networking and Website upkeep, along with reaching out to the clientele.Unfortunately, bad things have a way of snowballing — or “going viral” — on the Internet, so it’s possible that a bad hit to your reputation can become a big deal if you handle it poorly or fail to handle it at all. In these situations, having someone — whether it be a professional company or a full-time staff member — dedicated to protecting your reputation can be very helpful. If your online reputation is getting too hot to handle, for whatever reason, bringing in professional help should remove some of the stress. But no matter how professional a company or individual dedicated to online reputation management may be, ultimately they can’t do anything that you couldn’t do yourself with enough time and persistence. 9 min read January 14, 2011 Marketing Controlling how you appear in search results and on social networking sites doesn’t have to be hard. Brought to you by PCWorld Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Next Article –shares Register Now »