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The thermophilic bryoflora of Deception Island: unique plant communities as a criterion for designating an Antarctic Specially Protected Area

first_imgDeception Island in the South Shetland Islands is one of the most volcanically active sites south of 60°S. Between 1967 and 1970 three major eruptions devastated large expanses of the landscape and its vegetation. Since 1970 extensive recolonization has occurred on the more stable surfaces. Unheated ground supports several bryophyte and lichen communities typical of much of the Maritime Antarctic, but geothermal habitats possess remarkable associations of bryophytes, many of which are unknown or very rare elsewhere in the Antarctic. Nine geothermal sites and their vegetation are described. Communities associated with more transient sites have disappeared when the geothermal activity ceased. Mosses and liverworts occur to within a few centimetres of the vents where temperatures reach 90–95°C, while temperatures within adjacent moss turf can reach 35–50°C or more and remain consistently between 25 and 45°C. Most of the bryoflora has a Patagonian–Fuegian provenance. It is presumed that, unlike most species, the thermophiles are not pre-adapted to the Antarctic environment, being able to colonize only where the warm and humid conditions prevail. The floristic and ecological importance of these thermophilic communities, and their sensitivity to perturbation by the rapidly increasing annual summer influx of tourists, as well as scientists, has resulted in these unique sites being proposed as components of a new Antarctic Specially Protected Area under the Antarctic Treaty.last_img read more

US Treasury hands Chevron three-month sanction reprieve in Venezuela

first_imgDespite oil riches, Venezuela’s crude production has been decliningDespite its vast endowment of oil riches – Venezuela is home to the world’s biggest-known oil deposits at around 300bn barrels — production of the resource has slowed considerably in recent years.Commentators cite under-investment and mismanagement of the industry as contributing factors, as well as the recent tightening of sanctions by the US.Oil production in the country has fallen from more than two million barrels per day in 2014 to around 600,000 b/d at present.Venezuela is now the only Latin American country to be member of Opec, following Ecuador’s decision earlier this month to end its association with the intergovernmental organisation of oil producing nations. Chevron has a long history in VenezuelaIt is the second time this year the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has renewed the waiver allowing firms to operate Venezuela – having initially granted a six-month indemnity in January when strict economic sanctions were imposed on the country, before granting an additional three-month extension in July.Chevron has operated in the oil-rich South American nation for close to a century, and currently has four ongoing partnerships with the state-owned PDVSA oil company – producing a combined total of about 200,000 barrels of crude per day (b/d), of which Chevron’s stake is around 34,000 b/d.A company spokesperson told Reuters news agency that executives in the country “remain focused on our base business operations and supporting the more than 8,800 people who work with us — and their families”, adding that Chevron is currently reviewing the terms of the latest licence.There have been contrasting views within the US government about how best to deal with Chevron’s business in Venezuela – with some arguments suggesting a continued presence will be beneficial in the long-term if President Maduro loses power, while others say the oil giant’s work in the country is providing an economic boost. Divesting assets from multinational oil and gas firms could cede greater influence to state-owned companies Chevron and four other US oil companies have been granted permission to continue their work in Venezuela for an additional three months, despite ongoing US sanctions against the South American nation.The US Treasury extended existing sanction exemptions for Chevron – along with Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International – enabling them to tap into Venezuela’s vast oil resources until January 22, amid ongoing geopolitical tensions between the two nations.US sanctions against Venezuela’s oil industry are part of an effort by the Trump administration to oust sitting President Nicolás Maduro from power by targeting its economy.These exemptions are contingent on the companies not exporting any Venezuelan crude oil to the US market, as well as prohibiting “any transactions or dealings related to the exportation or re-exportation of diluents, directly or indirectly, to Venezuela”.The ban on bringing diluents into the country is an effort to prevent Venezuela accessing the agents required to process stockpiles of its heavy crude oil.center_img It is the second time the US has extended an exemption allowing Chevron to operate in Venezuela amid ongoing economic sanctions designed to oust country’s leadershiplast_img read more

Purplebricks struggles in Oz as property market crashes after years of boom

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Purplebricks struggles in Oz as property market crashes after years of boom previous nextAgencies & PeoplePurplebricks struggles in Oz as property market crashes after years of boomNumber of LPEs drops 20% since March, local CEO admits only 80% of them are earning a ‘good income’ and valuation conversion rate is just 24%.Nigel Lewis21st June 201801,784 Views Purplebricks has lost nearly 20% of its local property experts in Australia over the past three months as the Oz property market shows down after years of booming prices and demand.In its March annual results the company said it had 105 local property experts but now lists just 88 on its local website.Interviews with local LPEs by The Australian Financial Review revealed that some were “struggling” to make a living and that the large salaries they had been told were achievable have been failing to materialise.Purplebricks Australia CEO Ryan Dinsdale claimed that only 16 agents had quit since March, and said that 80% of agents were earning a good income.Documents revealed during the investigation have also revealed the fee Australian LPEs earn, which is AUS$1,000 of the AUS$5,000-6,000 upfront fee vendors pay in Oz.In New South Wales, which is the weakest property market in Australia at the moment, it was revealed that LPEs on average win 189 instructions for every 768 valuations, or just 24%.Purplebricks has chosen a bad time to launch its business in Australia. After many years, and decades, of boom the Oz property market is showing signs of a meltdown.Crashing market?Prices in Sydney and Melbourne are predicted to fall by 10% this year, not helped by many Australians’ love of interest-free loans. Many of these are now due to roll over into interest and capital repayment mortgages, leaving home owners and investors with much higher monthly payments, but properties that are reducing in value.Overall prices in Australia dropped by 0.7% during the first three months of the year, including a 1.2% drop in Sydney and 1.1% fall in Darwin.The picture for Purplebricks in the UK is rosier. In March it had 650 LPEs, a figure which has now increased to 674. Purplebricks in the US is yet to reveal how many LPEs it has.Ryan dinsdale Oz Purplebricks UK Purplebricks Australia Austrlian property market June 21, 2018Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021last_img read more

Former estate agent launches new virtual viewings platform

first_imgA former London estate agent with a 20-year track record in the industry is spearheading the launch of a new virtual viewings platform that claims it will be the first to offer accompanied online property walk-throughs directly from portal listings.Called Property Jigsaw, soon house hunters will be able to click on a property listing, open the virtual viewing attached to it and then invite the agent to give them a guided tour.Kevin Pearcey, who until two years ago worked for Ellis & Co at its Willesden Green branch in NW London, has spent the time helping develop the platform.Pearcey admits his company is entering a crowded market and like its competitors, must overcome estate agency resistance to technology in order to succeed.“I think a lot of agency staff, and in particular negotiators, are wary of tech like ours which they think takes a part of their job away from them,” says Pearcey.“But the Coronavirus crisis has made both agents and consumers realise how useful a tool virtual viewings can be and how much time and effort it can save both parties.Pre-qualifies buyers“I guess systems like ours may reduce both the number of physical viewings needed to sell or rent a property and the opportunities to speak to people, but Jigsaw saves agents time and ultimately pre-qualifies buyers.“I know that there are a lot of high-tech systems out there but, using my experience as both a sales and lettings agent, we’re tried to simplify the process of making a virtual viewing – it’s the property on show not our technology.”Property Jigsaw can be a subscription-based model that requires agents to buy a 4k camera such as a Ricoh Z1 and, in return for doing “quite a bit of the work”, offers an affordable way to get the tech. It also has two other way agents can pay for the service.The system is currently being trialled at a branch of Winkworth. See one of its property’s Jigsaw virtual tours.Read more about virtual tours.Kevin Pearcey property jigsaw virtual viewings May 29, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » COVID-19 support » Former estate agent launches new virtual viewings platform previous nextProducts & ServicesFormer estate agent launches new virtual viewings platformProperty Jigsaw says it has designed the system to be the simplest in the market to use and has been several years in development.Nigel Lewis29th May 202001,730 Viewslast_img read more

Bakery invests £2m in sourdough crumpet line

first_imgThe Village Bakery (Coedpoeth) has invested £2m in a crumpet production line to produce what it calls the UK’s first sourdough crumpets.The new line can produce 15,000 products an hour, and is installed at the business’ Wrexham bakery.By spring next year, the bakery said it wants to ramp up the production, so the new line is running 24/7, making more than 12 million crumpets a year. The line will be manned in three shifts a day.The bakery has also created 36 new jobs off the back of the crumpet line installation, taking the total workforce to more than 350 staff.Managing director Robin Jones said: “The new crumpets sum up our approach. When we develop a new recipe, we’re looking at the past for our future and we’re just taking those old methods and producing them in high volume, using traditional methods allied to the best modern technology.“Sourdough is a mixture of flour and water and it’s fermented over a period of time. Over that period of time it produces lactic acid, which gives it a certain flavour and it doesn’t taste sour, it just tastes lovely and bready and how a crumpet should be and how crumpets tasted 80 years ago.”A successful yearJones continued: “This is the Rolls Royce of crumpet machines, and all credit to our engineering team for installing the production line in record time. They’ve moved mountains and I’m over the moon with what they’ve done.“We’ve had a fantastic year, some great, great highlights and it’s always nice to squeeze one extra thing in before the year ends and this is the rabbit out of the hat which we’ve turned around in record time.”The Village Bakery won British Baker’s Baking Industry Award this year for Bakery Manufacturer of the Year.last_img read more

New Subway at Southampton hospital

first_imgThe new Subway store at University Hospital Southampton offers patients and visitors freshly prepared subs, flatbreads and salads.The Southampton opening is the ninth store to open as part of the brand’s corporate partnership with Compass Group UK & Ireland.Eight stores are already in operation in Compass Group UK & Ireland managed hospitals and universities throughout the UK, including Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, Middlesex University and The University of Derby.Subway has more than 2,300 stores in the UK and Ireland, and there are currently more than 650 Subway stores open in non-traditional locations, such as within convenience stores, forecourt sites, hospitals, universities or transport hubs.Student from Leeds have won a competition which will see their design for a Subway sandwich sold to the public.last_img read more

Putting their faith into action

first_img Related Halah Ahmad ’17 was born into an acute awareness of religious difference.“My dad is a Palestinian immigrant and Muslim, and my mom is Polish-American and was raised Catholic before converting to Islam,” explains Ahmad, who grew up in Milwaukee. “So I was familiar with interacting with different faiths, and saw how we were similar.”Julian Nunally ’17, in contrast, grew up as a Christian in the Bible Belt city of Chattanooga, Tenn. He, too, found political and social relevance in the study of comparative religion.“Religion as a tool for social change is pivotal to my studies of Christianity,” said Nunally. “Throughout history, religion has been the cornerstone of social progress. If you want people to act, it has to flow from their core values and the deeply held truths they have about life.”The two seniors are hoping to use their studies and faiths for positive change. Ahmad’s senior thesis explores active faith, focusing on the moral inclination to give and the empathy she saw in volunteers when she worked at refugee camps in Greece this past summer. Nunally’s thesis will focus on the church’s role in addressing mass incarceration.“Throughout history, religion has been the cornerstone of social progress,” said Nunally. “If you want people to act, it has to flow from their core values and the deeply held truths they have about life.” Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerGrowing up, Ahmad took every chance to speak up about issues of belief, and she quickly saw the effects such engagement could have. “Especially in terms of civil rights, urban renewal projects, and inequality in Milwaukee, religious groups had taken the lead to advocate for people’s rights and for alleviation of poverty,” Ahmad said.In high school, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, she spoke at several interfaith events, reflecting on the lessons that could be learned from the aftermath and the dehumanization of a faith group that followed the tragedy. And a few weeks after the August 2012 shooting at a nearby Sikh temple, Ahmad was invited to speak at the Sikh service, alongside Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Native American community leaders, in a collective response to the violence.Ahmad was struck by the way “faith groups were ready to be inspired and to work with people based on what they believed in, which was very different from economic or other strategic approaches I had seen.” She spent a gap year working with an artists’ collective in the Middle East, then came to Harvard uncertain of a field of study. She explored government, Near Eastern languages and civilizations, and sociology, but “I knew I wanted to be in a department that looked at religion not just as historical phenomenon and the particularities of theology, but at what its impact on people is, how people use it daily.” Islamic studies scholar addresses myths and mores behind the veil Celene Ibrahim shares insight on the stereotypes at ‘Muslim Feminism’ discussion In the study of Islam, with a thematic focus on religion and society and a secondary concentration in sociology, Ahmad found what she was looking for — a dedication to joining the ranks of what she calls “compassionate intellectuals.”For her, the study of religion tied theory to humanity: “The sociology of religion was where I felt comfortable in my studies because it was a place where I could unite peoples’ personal convictions and the study of how people work in groups with how people solve social problems, both in their own lives and for each other.”Nunally’s path to his field of study was more direct. He found himself called to be in ministry after performing spoken-word poetry about his Christian identity in his high school talent show, and as a College freshman he decided to focus on Christianity and the philosophy of religion to gain the skills that would enable him to give back to his home community.After graduation, he plans to open a nonprofit with a Christian focus on love that will employ at-risk youth and ex-convicts and help them regain control of their lives. Nunally draws particular inspiration for these goals from the theology of Martin Luther King Jr., and his legacy of mobilizing religious communities to act.Nunally said his experiences as an African-American man in the South have significantly shaped his career trajectory.“We’re attacking a whole new monster now,” he said. “If I had lived a few neighborhoods over, it could easily have been me that graduated from high school at a sixth-grade reading level, messed up, and entered the prison system at a young age,”Nunally said the role of religion in the Civil Rights Movement set a precedent for his current pursuit of justice. “It’s time to use religion not to say ‘There’s no difference between black and white,’ but to say ‘There is no place for oppression in this world.’”Ahmad is similarly adamant about the need to recognize religion in activism. “No one can deny the role of religion, especially in this country, in motivating social change and advocacy for Civil Rights. It’s Martin Luther King Jr., it’s Malcolm X, it’s Jane Addams, it’s all of these people who have been motivated by religion to serve the needs of others.”Ahmad worked for Professor Diana Eck’s Pluralism Project after freshmen year, but it was her research for Albania’s Ministry for Urban Development on displaced Roma and Egyptian populations, and the cultural and religious environments they occupied, that solidified her interest in social policy. She sees entering local government in Milwaukee as a good starting point, but wants to keep her trajectory tied to scholarship, with room for flexibility.“Maybe politics, maybe education, maybe getting my Ph.D. and writing a lot,” she said.Whatever the future holds, Ahmad and Nunally both cherish their religious studies at Harvard, as well as the faith groups and other clubs they found on campus. Ahmad is president of the Harvard Islamic Society (HIS) and the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, broadcasts for the Harvard radio station WHRB, and is involved in the Cabot House art studio, Third Space. As captain of the track and field team, Nunally has less time to spare, but is still able to work as business manager of the Ichthus, Harvard’s magazine of Christian thought, and serve on the board of Harvard College Faith and Action, a non-denominational Christian student group.Both see life lessons in their extracurricular involvement.With HIS, Ahmad organizes social and educational programming for the Muslim community across the University. “If religion is where people draw values like compassion and the dignity of human life from, then it plays a crucial role in activism,” she said, explaining how this dimension of activism is often dismissed. “If you ignore that, you’re ignoring a huge capacity for people to be more active citizens, to be more aware of themselves and others.”Nunally said the most valuable skill he has learned is productive dialogue. “If you go into it saying I’m 100 percent right, we’re not going anywhere,” he explained. “But if you go into it saying I could be wrong on some things, they could be wrong on some things, but let’s have a conversation about it, then that gets us somewhere. Whether you’re talking across religious, racial, or socioeconomic lines, I think having some epistemic humility can really move us forward.”Amanda Beattie is a Harvard College senior with a concentration in the comparative study of religion, focusing on religion and society, with a secondary in ethnicity, migration, and rights.last_img read more

Rocheleau, Rose win in single-ticket race

first_imgJuniors Brett Rocheleau and Katie Rose won Wednesday’s election for student body president and vice president with 57.3 percent of the 2,382 votes, vice president of elections for Judicial Council Caitlin Ogren said. Rocheleau and Rose ran unopposed in the first single-ticket election in student government records. Ogren said 42.7 percent of students who participated in the election abstained from voting for the Rocheleau-Rose ticket. “Fewer students voted than in last year’s election,” she said. “More students abstained than in last year’s election.” In last year’s primary election, 163 voters abstained, representing 4.04 percent of the total vote. Despite this decrease in voter turnout, Rocheleau said he looks forward to hearing students’ opinions about campus issues. “It’s exciting to see what people think about our vision, how they want to add to it, the different goals and things they’d like to work on,” he said. “And being able to communicate with them and seeing how they take our vision and how they help us grow is going to be the most exciting time for me.” Rose said she expects to enjoy working on the initiatives she and Rocheleau developed for their platform. “I’m pretty excited to see some noticeable changes in student life and for students to be excited about those changes and to keep being engaged in working with us on those,” she said. The incoming administration hopes to advocate for the student body in matters of consequence and convenience, Rocheleau said. “We want to hear the pulse of the students as well as act on it,” he said. “We want to hear what drives them, what’s really important to them, and we want to advocate on those issues.” Student body president Pat McCormick extended his congratulations to Rocheleau and Rose. “I think that Brett and Katie are uniquely capable of advancing the vision of the kind of student government that we’ve built this year, and I’m excited to see how they build it even bigger in the year to come,” he said. Before handing over the reins to Rocheleau and Rose on April 1, McCormick said he will take advantage of the upcoming transition to culminate the work of his administration. “I think that there are a number of different ways that we’re hoping to do that, and I’m really looking forward to the coming weeks and to doing our best to support Brett and Katie as well as they transition to these roles,” McCormick said. Rocheleau acknowledged that some aspects of his time as student body president would likely be difficult. “I would say any administration faces challenges along the road, but that’s why we want to build a strong team behind us — so when we do face any difficulties that lie ahead of us, that we as a team can come together and work on trying to overcome the obstacles that we face and in the end overcome them and accomplish our goals,” he said. Rocheleau said he wanted to thank his supporters as well as everyone who participated in the election. “From everyone who voted for us … even for those who abstained, just to still vote, I think that’s important,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting the next administration started, keeping what Pat and I laid out last year and hoping to advance the vision.”last_img read more

Culturalist Challenge! Which Role Should Lady Gaga Play on Broadway? is crazy about Culturalist, the fun site that lets you choose and rank your own top 10 lists. Every week, we’re challenging you with a new Broadway-themed topic to rank—we’ll announce the most popular choices on the new episode of The Show every Wednesday. View Comments Last week, we asked you to rank your favorite gender-bending Broadway roles of all time. It was a close one, but Hedwig from Hedwig and the Angry Inch came out on top (sorry Yitzhak). This week, after getting wowed by Lady Gaga’s tribute to The Sound of Music on the Academy Awards, we’ve dreamed up a list of roles we’d love to see her play on Broadway. We’re challenging you to rank your top 10 favorites! Site Producer Joanne Villani posted her list of top 10 picks here! STEP 1—SELECT: Visit Culturalist to see all of your options. Highlight your 10 favorites and click the “continue” button. STEP 3—PREVIEW: You will now see your complete top 10 list. If you like it, click the “publish” button. (If you don’t have a Culturalist account yet, you will be asked to create one at this point.)center_img Once your list is published, you can see the overall rankings of everyone on the aggregate list. STEP 2—RANK: Reorder your 10 choices by dragging them into the correct spot on your list. Click the “continue” button. Pick your favorites, then tune in for the results on the next episode of The Show!last_img read more

Peanut Update

first_imgA week before Georgia’s annual Peanut Tour, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension peanut agronomist Scott Monfort is optimistic about the state’s peanut crop.“I think the majority of the crop is above average. I think we’re going to yield very well in the irrigated crop, which is more than 50 percent of the crop, as well as areas that got rain,” Monfort said.Monfort did add, however, that certain areas of the state have received little to no rainfall in the last two months. This lack of rain will impact the state’s overall yield.“Four weeks ago, I said we had good potential to make 4,500 pounds based upon what we were seeing at that time. I think it’s going to be a couple of hundred pounds lower because of the fact that we haven’t received that much rain in the last several weeks,” Monfort said. “You go into certain parts of the state, and we’ve been pretty stressed. Some of those areas haven’t had any rain in six weeks.”Georgia planted 780,000 acres of peanuts this year, almost 200,000 more than last year. One reason for the large increase in production is the low prices in other row crops, specifically cotton and corn. Farmers planted more peanuts than they would have normally in order to compensate for the low commodity prices. However, not sticking with crop rotations has cost some Georgia farmers who have planted peanuts in the same fields for consecutive years. Doing so increases the opportunity for disease pressure to become problematic, which has been the case this year with white mold, a disease that’s been a nuisance for Georgia farmers this year and in the past.“Where this is hitting us worse is where farmers are planting peanuts behind peanuts for multiple years, and they’re trying to reduce their fungicide applications,” Monfort said. “They either only put out so many applications or they put out the cheapest thing they could, thinking they could ease by this year. White mold is teaching us that it’s not going to work.”Monfort said farmers have already begun digging their peanuts for harvest. Due to the large amount of acres and bulk that were planted after the middle of May, harvesting peanuts could last into mid-November, said Monfort.Farmers and industry personnel will learn more about the crop from UGA Peanut Team members during the annual Georgia Peanut Tour, to be held Sept. 15-17 in southwest Georgia. The tour will be based out of Thomasville, Georgia, but will include stops in Grady and Decatur counties as well.last_img read more