Month: July 2019

July 31, 2019

The roll out of the governments muchcriticised u

first_imgThe roll out of the government’s much-criticised universal credit benefit system has not been delayed and will proceed as planned, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed.Reports at the weekend suggested that new work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd had decided on a significant overhaul and planned to delay the process of moving about three million claimants of existing “legacy” benefits, including hundreds of thousands of people on employment and support allowance (ESA), onto universal credit.Some commentators and politicians subsequently praised Rudd for listening to critics of the new regime, which has been blamed for driving many claimants into poverty.But DWP confirmed this week that the timetable had not changed, and that the “managed migration” of those on legacy benefits like ESA and income support onto universal credit would begin in July with a small pilot programme of about 10,000 claimants, as previously announced.Next year, DWP will begin migrating the remaining three million of those on legacy benefits, with the aim of completing the roll out by the end of 2023.All that has changed is that, instead of seeking parliamentary approval for regulations that would allow the entire managed migration process to be given the go-ahead, ministers will first ask MPs to approve only regulations covering the pilot scheme.They will then come back to parliament at a later stage for approval of regulations covering the rest of the managed migration process.A DWP spokesperson told Disability News Service this week: “There is no change to the roll out timetable.“We will begin migration this year with a maximum of 10,000 people to make sure the system is working well for claimants and to make any necessary adaptions as we go.“We are clear this will have no impact on our timelines for universal credit to be fully rolled out by 2023.”Rudd told MPs this week (pictured) during the first work and pensions questions of 2019 that she was still considering when to ask MPs to vote on the main migration of the three million claimants.She also confirmed that there were already 1.4 million people on universal credit, with another 1.6 million expected to move on to it during the next 12 months as part of so-called “natural migration”, through new claims by people not already on legacy benefits and from those moved onto universal credit because of a change in their circumstances, such as moving to a new home.She said she would take on board a suggestion from Labour MP Ruth George that DWP should publish a “conclusive list of all the reasons for people having a change of circumstances and being moved on to universal credit”.DNS has been trying since last January, through freedom of information requests, to persuade DWP to release such a list, and other information about the universal credit reforms.Later in work and pensions questions, the shadow minister for disabled people, Labour’s Marsha de Cordova, was scathing about DWP’s decision to launch a seventh review of disabled people who had been wrongly denied social security payments, as revealed by DNS last week.She said it was “yet another example of the devastating impact of the chaotic shambles at the heart of the DWP”.And she asked Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, if the latest review was “the result of institutional indifference to the suffering of disabled people” or simply “the result of a department in utter chaos”.Newton told de Cordova that she would “not even dignify those comments by repeating the allegations”.She said: “We are utterly determined to make sure we have a benefits system that is compassionate, fair and fit for purpose.“We are proceeding at pace to review the PIP claimant cases to make sure that people get all the benefits to which they are entitled.”But Newton was also told, by fellow Tory MP Maria Caulfield, of a constituent with cystic fibrosis who has “lung function of less than 30 per cent” but has lost his entitlement to personal independence payment and now faces a 47-week wait for a tribunal to hear his appeal.Newton told her: “Many more people are benefiting from PIP than they were under the legacy system, but one mistake is one too many and I will of course work with her.” A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

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Sign up to LabourLists morning email for everythi

first_imgSign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Ahead of the latest amendable neutral Brexit motion coming to the Commons on Thursday, Labour has tabled its official amendment. The proposal aims to “stop the government from running down the clock” by giving it a deadline: pass a deal by February 26th, or hold another meaningful vote. Or let parliament take control of the process. This would disrupt their plan to leave the next proper vote on Theresa May’s deal until the last week of March, just days before the exit date.We suspected this to be the Prime Minister’s strategy for some time, and it was all but confirmed in the chamber yesterday. May revealed that if there is insufficient time to pass the withdrawal bill itself (remember it’s not just the meaningful vote that must pass, but actual legislation too), it will be fast-tracked through parliament against the 21-day CRAG rule (more on that here).But further proof is now provided in the shape of the big scoop everyone in Westminster is talking about: ITV’s Angus Walker overheard negotiator Olly Robbins spill the beans on the PM’s strategy in a Paris bar last night. According to the eavesdrop, MPs will be given a choice in March – back May’s deal or significantly delay Brexit. This would put Leave-seat representatives, not wanting to appear to frustrate Brexit, in a tricky position. Also significant in the Robbins leak are his comments on the backstop, which he says was intended as a “bridge” rather than a “safety net”. It suggests that May could easily have pitched a much softer future relationship, closer to Labour’s alternative Brexit.These tactics will appall MPs from all sides, yet Labour’s amendment is unlikely to pass this week. The real action is widely expected to be not on Valentine’s Day, but at the end of the month. Keir Starmer confirmed this morning that Labour will support Yvette Cooper’s move then, which will again see her table an amendment to make parliamentary time for a bill. This bill – different to the last one and already attracting broader support – would give the PM a mid-March deadline to get her deal approved. If that is not met, May would be forced to seek approval for ‘no deal’ (which she wouldn’t get) or delay Brexit.At this point, Corbyn’s critics will no doubt claim, as usual, that Yvette Cooper looks more like the leader of the opposition than he does. Her efforts are certainly admired for good reason, but bear in mind that it is obviously easier for a backbencher to gain cross-party support than a party leader. (Just as May has to rely on backbenchers to table helpful amendments.) Jeremy Corbyn isn’t there to make friends with Tories, as Labour’s latest party political broadcast will show tonight.The new film, not yet released but previewed on LabourList, will directly link Conservative austerity to 120,000 excess deaths. It’s a hard-hitting look at how the NHS has been affected by their spending decisions, and a reminder to all those on the left who admire Anna Soubry for her anti-Brexit views that such Tory MPs nonetheless voted through these disastrous policies.I’m following the lead of Olly Robbins and taking a trip to Paris today, so I’ll be leaving you in the safe hands of Left Foot Forward reporter Joe and editor Josiah for the rest of the week. With the release of the new broadcast, PMQs and a fresh round of Brexit amendment votes, there’s lots to look forward to…Sienna @siennamarlaSign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Tags:Yvette Cooper /Labour /Brexit /Brexit amendments /Olly Robbins /last_img read more

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Weed Dispensary Finds Refuge in a Former Gun Store

first_img Tags: guns • medical marijuana Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0% Killen plans to move the cooperative’s operations into the former High Bridge Arms gun shop, and said that finding the storefront was a life-saver for the cooperative, which has been caught in a contentious eviction legal battle with the new owner of the 29th Street building that has housed the pot club for nearly a decade.“We are being evicted by a real estate developer who has a track record of buying buildings with dispensary permits,” said Killen, referring to Oakland businessman Marty Higgins. “He put his sights on cannabis in San Francisco and bought our building last year knowing that lease was about to expire. He’s trying to start up a chain of dispensaries.”Higgins could not be reached for comment. Killen hopes to open at the new location as early as July, although the permitting process can stretch over months. The city’s stringent regulations and a lengthy review process by various city departments serve to cap medicinal marijuana operations.While dispensary permits are administered through the city’s Health Department, proposed clubs require approval through a hearing by the Planning Commission to allow community input, said Candace Soohoo, a spokesperson for the Planning Department.Killen argues that city law prohibiting the transfer of dispensary permits to different locations has sparked a trend of pot entrepreneurs buying buildings with existing permits “grandfathered-in.” This tactic allows wealthy would-be dispensary owners to bypass bureaucratic hoops, but also threatens the existence of smaller pot clubs such as the cooperative.“These grandfathered permits are essentially being stolen from us,” said Killen. Regardless, the new space at 3185 Mission St. comes with “higher ceilings and more natural light,” and is a welcomed twist of fate for the cooperative’s owners.“It’s literally a block away from our current location. We are a community establishment and it’s important that we stay in our neighborhood,” said Killen.Another dispensary, The Cookie Co. 415, operates just a block down from High Bridge.“What we offer is very different,” said Sean Devries, a legal clerk and cofounder of the Bernal Heights Cooperative. Once turned into a dispensary, High Bridge will sell “vitamins and supplements, along with cannabis, and maybe some light groceries in the near future,” he said. “We’re really focused on health and wellness and making the community stronger, and I feel like other dispensaries are a little more focused on the fun side of pot and on what’s going to happen when recreational use becomes legal,” he said.A  manager for the Cookie Co. refused to comment.The irony of the shop’s history as a more than half-century old firearm distributor and recent rebirth as a distributor for the controversial crop is not lost among the space’s new tenants.“We are thankful and respectful of the forces that have allowed us to get here,” said Killen, adding that the move was made possible by the willingness of 3185 Mission St.’s longtime landlord to support the pot endeavor by investing in the proper permitting. “We have community support and the landlord on our side,” said Killen, who plans to retain the gun shop’s name as homage to its longstanding roots in the community. “We also felt that the name ‘High Bridge’ represents exactly what we are about — a partnership between people in the community working together,” said Devries.He said some 5,000 patients depend on the cooperative’s services, which include deliveries of cannabis and edibles, a smoke lounge, and a “compassionate and safe cannabis” program that provides “affordable access for all.”  While the permit for indoor smoking will not transfer to the new location, Killen hopes that members will follow as the cooperative transitions into its new space. “We are known as the home of the five dollar joint,” said Killen, adding that the cooperative’s mission is to remain affordable despite an increasingly profitable market with building momentum as the state’s growing weed industry moves towards recreational legalization. “We really make an effort to find good deals to pass on to our people.” center_img For some 63 years, 3185 Mission St. was home to San Francisco’s last remaining gun shop but pending approval by San Francisco’s Planning Commission, the empty space will reopen as a medical marijuana dispensary in the coming months.  The gun shop closed in October 2015 after its owner refused to comply with increasingly tough city regulations. “It seems pretty fateful that this space just kind of landed in our laps,” said former tech CEO-turned-cannabis distributor Sean Killen. In 2013, Killen founded a medical marijuana delivery startup which he merged with the Bernal Heights Cooperative, a pot dispensary at 33 29th St. that he currently manages. last_img read more

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TICKETS are now on sale for Fridays Super League

first_imgTICKETS are now on sale for Friday’s Super League match with Huddersfield Giants.Saints will be aiming to topple their Yorkshire rivals for the first time this season and cement a top three spot for the Play-Offs.It’s sure to be a real cracker as two of the league’s most entertaining teams take to the Stobart Stadium turf.And, Paul Wellens will celebrate his 400th appearance for the club too.You can secure your seat from the Saints Ticket Office in St Helens Town Centre, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on to www.saintssuperstore.comlast_img

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StHelens Praise New TV Deal And Reiterate Their C

first_imgSt.Helens Praise New TV Deal And Reiterate Their Confidence In The Future Strength And Stability Of Super League And Rugby League.THE RFL and Super League, hot on the heels of announcing a major restructuring of the league system and a new title sponsorship for Super League, today announced a new and significantly improved TV deal for Super League and for the sport of rugby league.Saints Chairman Eamonn McManus stated:“This is a triumph for our sport and in particular for its premier competition – Super League. It is certainly a total endorsement of the new league structure adopted for 2015 onwards. The new system will improve the competitiveness and quality of competition throughout the season and the new media valuation clearly recognises and reflects that unequivocally.“At a stroke this ensures solvency for all Super League clubs for the foreseeable future and provides confidence to fans and sponsors in equal measure. They have a lot to look forward to as long as clubs take a disciplined and realistic approach to their cost bases.“We at St.Helens have invested some £45 million in permanent equity investment over the last decade to cover operational deficits and the construction of our fantastic new stadium, Langtree Park, free of debt. It is therefore of great comfort to us that Sky have recognised the value of our sport and consequently the investment of its leading clubs.“It has been very clear to me over this year that the senior executive of the RFL and of Super League have recognised the need for a new strategic and commercial direction for the benefit of all. That process and new focus has now been evidenced very clearly and leaves me confident that our game will continue to be an increasingly attractive proposition to players, spectators, sponsors and investors alike. The RFL are to be congratulated on a job very well done. Every level of rugby league and its supporter base will benefit greatly from the great strides forward that are being made.“We have much indeed to look forward to.”last_img read more

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THEO Fages and Adam Swift have been named in Saint

first_imgTHEO Fages and Adam Swift have been named in Saints’ 19-man squad for Friday’s Betfred Super League Round Eight clash with Huddersfield Giants.They return after recovering from head and arm injuries respectively.Head Coach Keiron Cunningham will choose his 17 from:1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith, 8. Alex Walmsley, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Adam Walker, 17. Tommy Lee, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 19. Greg Richards, 20. Morgan Knowles, 22. Matty Fleming, 36. Zeb Taia.Rick Stone will choose his 19 from:2. Jermaine McGillvary, 3. Leroy Cudjoe, 4. Lee Gaskell, 5. Aaron Murphy, 6. Danny Brough, 8. Sam Rapira, 9. Ryan Hinchcliffe, 10. Shannon Wakeman, 12. Dale Ferguson, 14. Kruise Leeming, 15. Sebastine Ikahihifo, 16. Oliver Roberts, 17. Ukuma Ta’ai, 18. Paul Clough, 19. Nathan Mason, 22. Tyler Dickinson, 23. Sam Wood, 24. Darnell McIntosh, 30. Alex Mellor.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee will be C Campbell.Tickets for the clash are now on sale from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.The game will kick off at 8pm.last_img read more

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He also previews our derby with Wigan on Thursday

first_imgHe also previews our derby with Wigan on Thursday. Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.last_img

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July 30, 2019

Wilmington Bypass I140 project on schedule according to NCDOT

first_img00:00 00:00 html5: Video file not found spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) – The I-140/Wilmington Bypass Project is scheduled to open for traffic in late December, 2017.Officials with the North Carolina DOT say the department is currently finishing the last four of the 19 bridges on the I-140/Wilmington Bypass Project.  Two structures in New Hanover and two structures in Brunswick County.- Advertisement – The roadway portion of the project is 90% complete, the DOT reports, adding that they are beginning the final layer of asphalt surface in New Hanover County this week. Although travel lanes will be opening soon, drivers will likely see construction crews performing work on secondary roads: Mt. Misery Road and Cedar Hill Road, until summer, 2018.This will include completing bridge and roadway construction on Cedar Hill Road, south of the new I-140 interchange and installing a concrete box culvert and completing roadway construction on Mt. Misery Road south of the new I-140 interchange.last_img read more

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Complete autopsy released goes in depth on how Paitin Fields died

first_imgPENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) – For months we’ve worked to get answers in who killed five-year-old Paitin Fields.The Pender County Sheriff’s Office tells us she was raped and strangled to death in late 2017. Tuesday the state medical examiners office released its full report on Paitin Fields’ body.- Advertisement – It took more than six months since she died. The results confirming what investigators initially believed. The medical examiners office found that Paitin died because she was strangled.Fields died November 16th. That was three days after her family took the unresponsive five-year-old to Pender Memorial Hospital. The initial reports said the family alerted the staff that Paitin had been fighting a respiratory issue for days.The medical examiner noted something else: a healing ligature mark around her neck. That could mean an object had been wrapped around it. In fact the ME went further to note the mark was around a 1/4 inch thick. In their summary, the office also pointed out some reports said Paitin was doing well a day before she was brought to the hospital.Related Article: One arrested, one injured after shooting in Pender CountyA majority of the autopsy findings show the side affects of strangulation. The ME’s office said Paitin’s face, neck, head as well as eyes were blood-shot with multiple popped blood vessels. The examiner found her lungs also had sustained hemorrhaging. The results showed her brain showed a “patchy duskiness” possibly due to a lack of oxygen.The report, now in our hands, sits also in the hands of the Pender County Sheriff’s Office. Captian James Rowell with the Office confirmed to our Andrew James that the detective had the autopsy. The completed autopsy was marked finished last Friday prior to the holiday weekend. The Sheriff for months told us they needed this report as well as the rape kit findings to move forward in this case.Those rape kit results came in January. The autopsy report showed there are signs of “sexual trauma” to Paitin’s body.The PCSO told us the detective will move forward with the information in the autopsy, however, no persons of interest or suspects have been named.last_img read more

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Solar operation could be coming to Wilmingtons Front Street

first_imgCape Fear Solar Systems has proposed building a five-story office building and warehouse on vacant land along South Front Street. (Photo: Tim Buckland/StarNews) WILMINGTON, NC (StarNews) — A Wilmington solar systems company has proposed building a 75-foot-tall office building and 14,994-square foot warehouse along Front Street just south of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.Cape Fear Solar Systems, in asking for a special-use permit, has said it would build the five-story, 30,965-square-foot office building and adjacent warehouse “where solar system kits will be stored and placed on trailers for deliveries,” according to its application to the city of Wilmington.- Advertisement – The company currently operates in space at 901 Martin St., according to its website. Cassandra Barba, sales and marketing manager for the company, said the new space “will allow us to expand to serve more customers in the area.”She said the company plans to “be very green with a carbon-neutral footprint” while constructing the new space at 901 S. Front St.Read more here.last_img read more

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Make European funds more accessible – Zammit Dimech

first_imgPN Candidates for the European Elections Francis Zammit Dimech and Roselyn Borg Knight said that PN will be working to ensure that European funds are made more accessible. This was said during a news conference at Dar Ċentrali of Partit Nazzjonalista.This was said following the announcement that Malta will not be able to make use of the European Union’s Solidarity Fund to support the damages dealt during last February’s storm.Francis Zammit Dimech reminded the public that PN had worked hard to lighten the storm’s burden on those affected, and had asked for the payments to be made on time without any bureaucracy included.Roselyn Borg said that PN will see that Malta’s size will be considered, and that therefore Malta would be able to benefit. Therefore, Partit Nazzjonalista will be appealing the European Commission to address these anomalies.“PL cast aside the farmers” – Peter Agius PN candidate for the European Elections Peter Agius said that farmers have just discovered that no EU aid is coming their way. He added that Aaron Farrugia’s & Miriam Dalli’s posturing right after the storm did not help much.Agius wishes the Government to note that Malta can use the de minimis state aid for immediate aid (4 months have already passed since the storm with devastating effects on farmers). This was confirmed by the Agriculture European Commissioner Phil Hogan on 22nd February 2019.The candidate added that €25,000 per farm may be distributed without any European Commission approval.Assessing the situation, Agius said that farmers need this assistance immediately; as the four months delay to act has already sent a good number of farmers close to bankruptcy.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more

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Updated Vote will be unfair and not based on promises of transparency

first_img SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Miguela XuerebMiguela Xuereb Updated with PN’s reactionMembers behind the petition seeking a vote of confidence in Partit Nazzjonalista’s leader Adrian Delia are concerned that the vote scheduled for 27 July will not be fair as expected. However in a statement late on Wednesday evening, Partit Nazzjonalista denied the claims.In a letter to newly elected Executive Committee President Alex Perici Calascione, signed by former PN candidate Ivan Bartolo, former Executive Committee President Mark Anthony Sammut, MŻPN Secretary General Emma Portelli Bonnici, vice-president of PN’s Forum for Professionals Martin Musumeci and district representative and local councillor Emvin Bartolo, the group expressed its concerns ahead of the general council meeting.Perici Calascione was asked to convene an urgent executive meeting in order to discuss and remedy their outlined concerns, adding that “all of this is unacceptable and runs counter to the fundamental principles which Partit Nazzjonalista is supposed to hold dear”.READ: ‘No invalid signatures’ – BartoloIt was explained that the conclusions of the executive committee held on 4 July were not reflected in the plan for the general council meeting scheduled for the end of the month. This emerged during a meeting the group held with the Electoral Commission, for which the Secretary General of the Party, Clyde Puli was present.The group observed in its letter that the party had “completely changed” the wording of the original question petitioners wanted general councillors to vote on.The petition which kicked off the discussion for a general council to be convened, asked for a secret vote on the question, “After the results obtained by the PN in the European and local elections of 25 May 2019, should the party leader take political responsibility and resign? Yes/No”.READ: Updated: Delia expected to face vote of confidenceREAD: Watch: Petition with 200 signatures calling for a vote on Delia’s leadership presented to PNThe group added that the change was done despite PN leader Adrian Delia insisted during the said executive committee meeting for it to remain the same.No access to councillors In their letter, the group observed that they do not have direct access to the councillors who can vote at the general council so that they can explain their position. According to the group led by Bartolo, Secretary General Clyde Puli is insisting that any communication with the councillors should be done either through the Electoral Commission or through the Party.List of eligible voters was not frozen when the petition was submittedThe group calling for the secret vote to be taken on whether Delia should assume responsibility, decried internal maneuvers which will see certain people who can vote at the general council replaced. It was explained that the list of eligible voters had been frozen on 4 July when Delia called the council meeting and not 25 June, when the petition was submitted.In their letter they said that they are informed that during that period there were internal maneuvers which instructed sectional committee to replace certain people who would have the right to vote.Partit Nazzjonalista denies claimsIn a statement the party denied the claims made in the letter sent to PN’s executive committee president Alex Perici Calascione which was also sent to the media.Partit Nazzjonalista claimed that the general council is being convened in line with the party’s statute and the decisions that were taken in the Executive Committee meeting. PN added that the “process is transparent and fair” saying that this was assured when the electoral commission with an independent chairperson was set up. PN added that the chairperson was unanimously approved during the meeting, saying that this is a sign of transparency and accountability.Partit Nazzjonalista further stated that the clause cited to convene the general council was a different one to the one which is associated with councillors petitioning the party, saying that it is PN’s leader Adrian Delia asking for the general council to convene under article 31. Thus the eligible voters list was frozen on 4 July.Read more:PN Petition: “Process for General Council kicks off” – Kristy DebonoWatch: PN MPs meeting: “Constructive”; “inconclusive”Watch: Will you resign Mr Delia? No ‘The person with more responsibility than me should do the same’ – resigning Exec PresidentGalea’s attempt at the Gordian KnotCrackdown on fake profilesI will not be a stop-gap leader – Louis GaleaWhatsApplast_img read more

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MTN files complaint against Ugandan magistrate

first_imgAdvertisement MTN is one of Africa’s largest telecommunications companiesIt appears MTN’s controversy isn’t going away any time soon as the South African telecoms group has now lodged a complaint with the Uganda judicial service against one of the country’s chief magistrates, after MTN’s senior executives were summoned to face tax fraud charges.According to Reuters, MTN accuses the magistrate of unprofessional conduct after MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa and 12 officials including the chairman and CEO of MTN Uganda were summoned to court on Dec. 12 to face charges of tax evasion, conspiracy to make false customs declarations and conspiracy to evade taxes.Reportedly, MTN said it had not been aware of the summons and heard of them through media reports. – Advertisement – “A perusal of the summons shows that, although the order to issue them was made on the 19th November 2012, they were dated 7th November 2012,” which was also a day after the magistrate who issued them transferred the case to the director of public prosecutions, the company said in a statement on Thursday.“There was no charge sheet on the record nor was there a record of proceedings before (the magistrate) between 6th November, when she pronounced her ruling in an open court with counsel for all parties present, and 19th November, when the order was supposedly issued.”The company has previously denied the charges and says they were initiated by a former employee who himself is accused of defrauding MTN of millions of dollars.MTN has sued the employee for embezzlement. He had initiated the case against MTN as a private prosecution last month but a court ruled on Nov. 6 the public prosecutor should take it over.The magistrate’s court was not immediately available to comment.last_img read more

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Interview with MTN Ugandas CEO Mazen Mroue

first_imgMTN’s CEO Mazen Mroue Advertisement MTN Uganda CEO, Mazen Mroue (FILE PHOTO)MTN Uganda’s CEO spoke to PC Tech Magazine about his job and plans the company has for the short-term future. This interview was first published in Issue 24 (Print). Q: What is your take on the increasing volume of unsolicited text messages and Robocalls? What measures is MTN Uganda putting in place to prevent them?A: MTN Uganda has implemented all possible measures to prevent unsolicited messages and continues working with the regulator and all content providers to monitor the performance and take necessary actions accordingly. – Advertisement – Q: You’re a very big social media user. Can we expect to see MTN Uganda’s marketing strategies leaning more towards supporting online publishers?A: In 2011 MTN Uganda took a new and dedicated focus on social media by launching our official pages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with the intention of developing critical mass and loyalty from a specific segment of the market. A large majority of the followers of social media are the youth who comprise more than 60% of Uganda’s population. This segment of the population tends to be early adopters of technology as well as being trendsetters to their peers. The social networking statistics show that Facebook penetration in Uganda is 1.68% compared to the country’s population and 13.40% in relation to number of Internet users. The total number of FB users in Uganda is reaching 560,000 and grew by more than 145,000 in the last 6 months. The uptake of social media as a lifestyle in the last 2 to 3 years has been incredible, especially among the youth, having been significantly affected by the evolution of Internet Options.MTN Uganda (MTN UG) Facebook page is the Top in Uganda in terms of number of Fans number and growth; has attractevd to date more than 80,000 Facebook users with around 20,000 PTA (People Talking about). QN: With over 16 years of experience, and coming from West Africa, what unique challenges do you foresee about your new task in Uganda?The future of Uganda is bright and very promising, especially with the very young generation being over 60% of the population relying more and more on access to communication and digital services, MTN is confident that together with all partners we will drive Uganda to the next level and ensure that jointly we will deliver the ICT agenda. The significant growth of Mobile Money Financial Services and increased demand on Internet access are the key areas that MTN Uganda will focus on as well as a dedicated focus and continuous investment during the coming years.Q: What are the key achievements that you achieved in your previous job in Liberia that you would like to share?As management team in Liberia, we were able within a short period, to launch new exciting and customized products and services including Mobile Money and data services resulted increase in MTN Market Share, overall subscriber base and Mobile Penetration.Q: MTN has been leading in the introduction of new technology in Uganda. But nothing has been said of the 4G network. Should we hold our breath? Does MTN plan to launch this soon?A: MTN is committed to continue leading the innovation and rollout of new strategic services in Uganda, our current Network infrastructure and Internal human skilled capital give us an important competitive advantage to bring next generation of Mobile Telecommunication and Digital Services to Uganda in the coming months.Q: So what is your strategic focus for the next 5-year period?A: In the next 5 years we will see the Ugandan telecommunications industry evolving with a focus on digital services and data network solutions. MTN will continue investing in converged communications solutions maintaining the telecom industry as a key driver of government revenue and transformation of lives – both in the business and personal space and with no doubt the telecommunications industry will continue to be a catalyst for economic development. The expansion of Mobile Money as well as data and digital services will be the primary focus areas for MTN in Uganda during the coming years. Our strategic objectives are dynamic and provide a comprehensive roadmap to maintain MTN as a clear Number ONE for Customer Experience, Superior Quality and the Employer of Choice proposition with improved long-term Shareholder returns.Q: Looking at your social media pages – Facebook, and Twitter – there is so much feedback, mostly negative. Do you sometimes feel like there’s so much pressure on the job? What do you perceive from such comments? Do you get the feeling of dissatisfaction among your loyal customers, especially looking at the volume of comments, and the tone with which they’re posted?A: That the social network of MTN Uganda has exceeded 100% growth during the last 6 months – is an important indicator about the strong customer relationship and Brand strengths.Like all successful brands, MTN recognizes the power of communities in influencing personal choices, behaviours and trends. It goes without saying that social media today has an unstoppable, magnetic and limitless power as a new channel to drive whatever message one wishes. With an unquestionable focus on customer engagement MTN looks at this medium as a crucial one.Social media provides a platform for 360° engvagement with customers as it provides an opportunity for two way feedback. It is for this reason that MTN Uganda has a dedicated team that focuses on ensuring that this important segment of its customer base is provided with real time responses to their concerns and queries. The MTN Facebook and Twitter pages in particular provide an alternative channel for customer support.Q: Are you able to share statistics on the growth of MTN Uganda subscribers during the 2012 year?A: The telecommunications sector continues to drive development of the country’s economic growth. At MTN, innovation is one of our brand values and in our daily business activities we strive to ensure that all our products and services are relevant to our customers. MTN Mobile Money for example has been revolutionary service. It’s important to note that MTN Group is a pioneer of Mobile Money on the African continent. MTN Mobile Money is Uganda’s fastest growing service and 3rd world wide as per GSMA Research concluded recently. The major reason for this is the significant number of unbanked people in Uganda.Over the last 14 years since the first mobile call was made in Uganda, we have seen number of subscribers to mobile phone services rise to over 14 million. This means that 14 million people in Uganda have access today to the mobile money service by default. Of the more than 7.5 million customers MTN Uganda has today, more than 3.5 million are registered on MTN Mobile Money and this year alone we have recorded around 200 million transactions using MTN Mobile Money Platform.Q: While MTN mobile money has been immensely successful, there’s still no support for direct bank transfers? Is this something MTN is working on?A: Currently the MTN Mobile Money service provides access to perform the most popular financial transactions that the ordinary Ugandan requires. This includes purchase of airtime, school fees payment, TV subscriptions, purchase of goods and services, payment of water and electricity bills, payment of salaries and secure money transfer from one account to another, just to mention a few. Through our partnership with Western Union, MTN subscribers registered for Mobile Money can send and receive Western Union Money Transfer transactions in their mobile accounts from 450,000 locations in 20 countries around the world- this is another first from MTN Uganda.MTN Uganda is now working on how to integrate more financial services onto our platform and in a few months we hope to announce new, revolutionary financial services on our MTN Mobile Money platform.[wpdm_file id=1]last_img read more

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Pivot East 2013 launched

first_imgAdvertisement Pivot East is an annual mobile startups pitching competition and conference in East Africa. It is organized by m:lab East Africa with the support of iHub and other partners. The event  was held in 2011 and 2012 as Pivot 25 and Pivot East respectively.After organizing two successful editions of the mobile startups pitching competition and conference in 2011 and 2012 in Kenya, m:lab East Africa and its partners are planning a third edition of the same in 2013.Objectives of Pivot East in 2013 are :-To consolidate recent gains of the regional mobile ecosystem and help direct the thinking from mobile applications to mobile entrepreneurship.To facilitate discovery of the next wave of high potential mobile startupsTo sustain the push towards having mobile innovations high in the agenda of regional governments, corporates and development agencies.To raise the quality of mobile startups in the region and their investability – Advertisement – The competition began in February 2013 with a workshop on Intellectual Property, other workshops activities will be in march as we gear up to the event that will culminate in a pitching conference for 25 regional finalists in Kampala on June 25th and 26th 2013.The categories in this year’s conference will be: Financial Services, Business and Resource Management, Entertainment , Mobile Society and Utilities  Categories.Call for application for this year’s competition will be opened on Monday, 25th February 2013. Eligible participants should companies or individuals with a registered business names domiciled in East African countries (Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia and South Sudan).last_img read more

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Viber launches games platform

first_imgAdvertisement Social messaging app Viber is adding social gaming to its platform in order to keep up with the competition and to keep people on their platform.Gaming is quickly becoming part and parcel of messaging apps that are big in Japan, Korea and China — such as Line and WeChat.So, while Viber is by no means in uncharted territory, it is the first app with a large Western world user base to plug into the trend for smartphone gaming.“We have been focusing on broadening the functionality of Viber and are really excited to unveil Viber Games,” said Talmon Marco, Viber CEO. – Advertisement – “This major expansion of our platform gives people another completely new way to connect with Viber. It’s an important step for us and we are looking forward to the response from our users.”By hosting games within the app, Viber can bring a host of social, interactive, connected elements that are missing from standalone titles. Users can compete with their contacts and gift each other in-game purchases for example.The feature goes live on Monday in five initial test regions — Belarus, Malaysia, Israel, Singapore and the Ukraine. Players will only have a choice of three games, and all of the titles has been developed specifically for Viber and even feature characters that are based on the app’s growing choice of customizable stickers.The three games are Viber Candy Mania — a platform/puzzle game featuring Violet and Legat (two popular Viber sticker characters); Viber Pop — a bubble puzzle game; and Wild Luck Casino, which features virtual slot machines.Viber plans to roll the games out globally some time in 2015.Via The New Agelast_img read more

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July 29, 2019

International runners too good at Newmarket

first_imgJuly CupNewmarketTIME: 3.50pm, C4 and RUKLANTERN TURNED OFFAs much as I wanted Sky Lantern to win yesterday, even I would have said it would have been harsh on Elusive Kate if she’d have lost the Falmouth Stakes in the stewards room.In the end it was disappointing that she wasn’t good enough to win it, fair and square, and unfortunately it looks as though the three-year-old fillies, like the colts, are not an exceptional bunch.All eyes are still on Newmarket today for their feature race of the week – the Darley July Cup worth £283,550 to the winner and the race has attracted a superb international line up from Australia, America, South Africa and Ireland.You’d fancy the international runners coupled. It’s just trying to sort out the right one that is the problem.The Mike De Kock trained Shea Shea looks the one for me. He was unfortunate in the King’s Stand Stakes when pipped by Sole Power and can gain his revenge over the extra furlong. Whilst five furlongs is acknowledged as his best trip – he does have winning form over seven so the six furlonmg trip here should prove fine.Gale Force Ten was a game winner at Royal Ascot but steps back in distance and tries blinkers for the first time. He is rated the biggest danger.STAR FORECAST(stake between 0.5 and 10 points)5 point win SHEA SHEA (3.50 Newmarket)2 point win GALE FORCE TEN (3.50 Newmarket)(-10 points Friday)GET YOUR TYPEWRITERS OUT THE LOFTThe Kremlin’s security agency is buying up typewriters to avoid damaging leaks in a move said to be motivated by recent US surveillance scandals.Russia’s Federal Protective Service, the KGB’s successor in charge of protecting President Vladimir Putin and his officials, placed an order for 20 typewriters, according to the state procurement websiteThe agency, known by its Russian acronym FSO, is ready to pay £500 each for them, the Kremlin-connected newspaper Izvestia reported.It said the FSO believed it was necessary to expand the use of typewriters after American Edward Snowden reportedly used a simple flash drive to reveal the extent of the US government’s phone and internet surveillance programmes.last_img read more

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SIMON NOTT Betting and Racing at Exeter Sunday

first_imgEXETER SUNDAY: SIMON NOTT reports from Exeter – ‘Gentleman’s Raceday’ and a best turned out award for racegoers which our intrepid reporter went all out trying to win.  On the track it was another good day for David Pipe but how did the on course bookies get on?There were plenty of Gents that made the effort for ‘Gentleman’s Raceday’ on a glorious afternoon at Exeter. There were roving photographers taking photos of chaps done up in their finest clobber with excellent prizes on offer. Winners to be notified, I wore my favourite salmon corduroys but at the time of writing no congratulations message have arrived. As is often the case with the course their advertising for the meeting had been extensive and had been rewarded. The day was in support of the armed forces, plenty of whom were in evidence.Also, in evidence was one bookmaker that is a rare visitor this far south, our old mate ‘Pinno’, he’d also made the effort looking resplendent in a jumper not for the bashful.2:10 Rifleman’s Novices’ Selling HurdleThe betting on the opener took place with the betting ring bathed in warm sunshine. Punters that took heed of David Pipe’s purple patch, even brighter than Pinno’s pullover, were rewarded, albeit modestly when the yard’s 5/6 favourite Malangen made short work of the opposition and started the day badly for the bookies.2:40 GG Tips Novices’ Handicap HurdleI spotted Stephen Little in the betting ring prior to the next, he told me that as it was a concessions day for one of the plethora of metal badges dangling from his bins, he thought he might as well come along. I didn’t see him diving in to back anything in what was a steady market. A couple of decades ago he’d have been stood in the ring dressed in a mink coat taking on all-comers. There were a couple of moves in the betting market, one was for Telson Barley backed from 16/1 into 8/1 and another for Eur Gone West supported from 9/1 into 7/1. Those who latched on to the latter and David Pipe’s rich run of form copped. The unusual colours donned by Tom Scudamore aboard the gelding passed the winning post 10 lengths clear of the rest, landing a double for David Pipe and getting some back for the bookies.3:15 Follow ggcouk On Twitter Handicap HurdleDavid Pipe didn’t have a runner in the next so it was left for someone else to win the race. A well-known Westcountry bookie told me that he’d heard Rod Millman’s Champagne Champ was fancied, the gelding was backed from 9/2 into 4/1. Never take tips off bookies is a lesson worth learning. Whoever told Joe might have been passing on the info in good faith, but the horse never looked like getting involved. Racegoers were treated to a cracking finish though, Lucy Gardner getting her Susan Gardner trained mount, 8/1 Trans Express, home by half a length from 20/1 shot Sir Ivan. Lucy lost her claim in the process so congratulations to her.3:45 GG Fast Results Chase (Novices’ Limited Handicap)Only six went to post for the next. As the bookies got to work taking the punters on, I heard a heart-warming story from the betting ring. Ian of Jack Bevan and Co (Est 1897) got wind that well-respected betting ring manager Andrew Collins was going on holiday to warmer climes. Whilst perusing the bargains at his local car boot sale Ian spotted a pair of second-hand flip-flops. After some haggling the footwear was secured for the princely price of 37p (knocked down from 50p). Andrew appeared overwhelmed by the gift, ‘It’s the thought not the price that matters’ was the comment from the evidently touched misty-eyed official. The race itself was no less exciting, Harry Cobden on 7/2 Saintemilion looked to have the measure of Lizzie Kelly on 2/1 favourite Diable De Sivola, then the tables appeared to turn only for Harry Cobden’s mount to forge a length clear on the run-in. Another jolly beaten for the bookies.4:20 GG Racing Podcast Handicap ChaseIn what was arguably the trickiest looking race on the card things didn’t go well for joint-favourite backers. Richard Johnson and mount For Good Measure came down at the first then other 4/1 shot Fortunate George ran no sort of race and was pulled up. It wasn’t all bad news for the punters though, Coningsby had been well-backed from 7/1 into 5/1 and sloshed in under Stan Sheppard.4:55 Grand National Tips Handicap ChaseThe betting ring looked noticeably thinner prior to the penultimate. Muttley of the Jim Clarke firm was already packing up to go home. Apparently, business in the second row had been slow. He pointed to the big screen and bemoaned the fact that there had been continuous adverts on it for BHA on-line ‘Betting Partners’ but none for the on-course bookies who shell out a marketing fee. Passed on as requested Muttley who also added that he had to be back for the milking too. Back to the bookies that had continued to bet rather than prioritise providing the nation’s diary products the punters wanted to be on the favourite Ericas Lad 13/8 into 5/4. Bob on the Simon James rails pitch was keen to lay James Best’s mount suggesting that he’d be able to hedge in running pointing out that the gelding had been 50/1 during the race before winning last time out. All academic as it turned out, proving no match for 7/2 winner Tudors Treasure.5:25 Armed Forces Ten Tors Standard Open NH Flat RaceI was quietly gutted when the top 5 best-dressed men were lined up prior to the lucky last, I wasn’t included, pinkish strides tweed and tie combo evidently not to the taste of the judges. Oh well, you can’t win them all, but you can win most of them. David Pipe was on a treble if Story Of Friends won the last. It wasn’t an easy ask though with Philip Hobbs’ Pileon and Paul Nicholls’ Southfield Harvest jostling at the head of the market. Commentator Ian Bartlett was seen parking his car in pole position for a quick getaway prior to the race so must have been mortified when Gastara got lose and started charging the wrong way around Haldon Hill. The escapee was withdrawn and off they set. Sadly, for those hoping of a Pipe treble Richard Johnson and Pileon spoilt the party. The winner was returned the 2/1 favourite so not a shock to most backers though. That’s your lot. Next stop Aintree.Simon Nott Simon Nott is author of:Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting RingCLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILSlast_img read more

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July 28, 2019

Rice University to Honor 1997 Distinguished Alums

first_imgShareCONTACT: Michael Cinelli PHONE:(713) 831-4794 EMAIL: RICE UNIVERSITY TO HONOR 1997 DISTINGUISHED ALUMS J. Evans Attwell to Receive Association’s Gold Medal Award at Annual Dinner The Association of Rice Alumni will hold its annualawards dinner, paying tribute to a group of alumni whose professional orvolunteer activities reflect and forward the ideals of the university, onSaturday, May 10, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Post Oak Hotel.For 1997, J. Evans Attwell ’53 was selected to receive the association’s GoldMedal award, while Nancy Stooksberry Cole ’64, Robert F. Curl ’54, L. John Doerr’73, and William S. Mackey Jr. ’43 have been named Rice Distinguished Alumni.During the last dozen years, Attwell helped Rice choose a president and steera course for the 21st century. He served on the university’s board of governorsfrom 1982 to 1996. He was a member of the search committee that selected MalcolmGillis as university president after former Rice president George Rupp acceptedthe president’s post at Columbia University. Attwell, former managing partner ofHouston law firm Vinson and Elkins, also was awarded the coveted Owl Club Awardin 1990. The award, established in 1984, is given every other year and thepresentation ceremony has raised more than $1.25 million for Rice athletics.Attwell, who lived in Baker College while a student, is a member of theWilliam Marsh Rice Society and was a major individual donor during Rice’srecord-breaking 1989-90 private-giving campaign. Individual gifts exceeded $13million that year, a record for the school.This year’s Rice Distinguished Alumni include a Nobel Prize recipient, thepresident of the country’s largest educational testing system, a venturecapitalist in the high tech industry, and a retired businessman and universityprofessor.Robert F. Curl was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in October 1996 forhis work discovering fullerenes, a new class of carbon molecules, including“buckyballs.” Curl, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1954,shared the honor with fellow Rice chemist Richard E. Smalley and Harold W. Krotoof the University of Sussex, England.Nancy Stooksberry Cole’s personal crusade is to battle bias in standardizedtests and to help improve the country’s educational system. As president of thelargest private educational testing company in the world, she’s in an uncommonlygood position to do battle. Cole, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychologyin 1964, took over the top spot at Educational Testing Service, or ETS, in 1994.The ETS is perhaps best known for administering the Scholastic Assessment Test,or SAT, to more than 1.8 million high school students each year.Think of L. John Doerr as venture capital’s Bill Gates. It’s how his peersdescribe the Rice grad, one of the country’s most successful AddThislast_img read more

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Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

first_img transport through pillared graphene could be made faster by manipulating the junctions between sheets of graphene and the nanotubes that connect them, according to Rice University researchers. (Credit: Illustration by Lei Tao/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to Heat transport through pillared graphene could be made faster by manipulating the junctions between sheets of graphene and the nanotubes that connect them, according to Rice University researchers. Heat transport through pillared graphene could be made faster by manipulating the junctions between sheets of graphene and the nanotubes that connect them, according to Rice University researchers. Return to article. Long DescriptionHeat transport through pillared graphene could be made faster by manipulating the junctions between sheets of graphene and the nanotubes that connect them, according to Rice University researchers. Illustration by Lei TaoResearchers who study or are working to make pillared graphene have primarily viewed two characteristics of the theoretical material: the length of the pillars and their distance from each other. The new study suggests that a third parameter — the nature of the junction between the graphene and nanotubes — should also be considered.A seamless connection between flat graphene, the atom-thick form of carbon, and round nanotubes requires adjustments to their characteristic six-member carbon rings. The simplest way is to give half the rings at the junction an extra atom. Six seven-member rings alternating with six six-member rings allow the sheet to make a 90-degree turn to become the tube.But that’s not the optimal configuration for heat transport, according to the Rice team. It found that replacing six heptagons with three octagons would facilitate the turn while slightly stressing the graphene. That would wrinkle the graphene sheets’ top and bottom while not significantly changing transport at the junctions.The researchers intuitively expected the wrinkles to lower thermal transport and were surprised to find that thermal transport across the “in-plane” graphene became faster with wrinkles. They determined that having fewer rings in the junctions between nanotubes and graphene meant less scattering of heat-carrying phonons, which kept them onboard for the bumpy ride.Measured along the longest plane, models with the octagons were nearly 20 percent better at transporting phonons than those without.“Our results show that subtle features such as this junction configuration have a significant impact on thermal transport,” said Shahsavari, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and of materials science and nanoengineering. “Given the current needs in thermal management and device miniaturization in many nano- and microelectronics, this study provides a new degree of freedom to play and improve thermal transport.”The researchers thought phonon transport through the nanotubes, which they already knew was slower than in graphene, might be slower still under the influence of the octagons, but the altered interface didn’t appear to have a significant effect.“The reason lies in the geometry,” Shahsavari said. “The lower the number of non-hexagonal rings in the junction (for example three octagons versus six heptagons), the lower the number of undesirable rings and thus lower phonon scattering and improved thermal transport.”Because the junctions can adopt many different geometries depending on the radius and chirality of the nanotube, there are many more potential configurations to be modeled, he said.Rice University and the National Science Foundation (NSF) supported the research. Computing resources were supplied by Rice’s NSF-supported DAVinCI supercomputer administered by Rice’s Center for Research Computing and procured in partnership with Rice’s Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology and resources supported by the National Institutes of Health, an IBM Shared University Research Award, Cisco, Qlogic and Adaptive Computing.-30-Read the abstract at Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated materials:Pillared graphene gains strength: Materials Laboratory home page: R. Brown School of Engineering: http://engineering.rice.eduRice Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering: www.ceve.rice.eduRice Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering: https://msne.rice.eduImage for download: AddThis Return to article. Long Description ShareEditor’s note: A link to a high-resolution image for download appears at the end of this release.Jeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.eduJade Boyd713-348-6778jadeboyd@rice.eduWrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures’ thermal transport abilitiesHOUSTON – (Nov. 2, 2017) – Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University engineers.Rice materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari and alumnus Navid Sakhavand first built atom-level computer models of pillared graphene — sheets of graphene connected by covalently bonded carbon nanotubes — to discover their strength and electrical properties as well as their thermal conductivity.In a new study, they found that manipulating the joints between the nanotubes and graphene has a significant impact on the material’s ability to direct heat. That could be important as electronic devices shrink and require more sophisticated heat sinks.The research appears in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.last_img read more

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