Animal rescue charity Bideawee will welcome 300 guests at Gotham Hall in NYC tonight as Adrian Grenier hosts the 2012 Bideawee Ball.Sonja Tremont-Morgan of The Real Housewives of New York City is among the guests expected to attend this year, as well as Prince Lorenzo Borghese and Tinsley Mortimer. Last year saw vegan and animal rights activist Loretta Swit act as host.Having opened its doors in 1903, Bideawee is one of the oldest humane organizations in the United States, offering one facility in New York City and two in Long Island, all devoted to rescuing dogs and cats, caring for their needs and finding loving homes for them.To learn more about how you can support their work, visit the Bideawee website.Copyright ©2012Look to the Stars
Established in 1967, the Théâtre français de Toronto is one of the city’s most venerable theatre organizations, founded before Theatre Passe Muraille, Tarragon and Factory theatres, and the two companies that in 1987 merged to become Canadian Stage.But many non-French-speaking Torontonians may not think to attend its shows, because they don’t think they’ll be able to understand them.Think again. Joel Beddows, artistic director of Theatre francais de Toronto, says he is “shaking things up a bit” by including a lot of new work and by expanding its roster of established playwrights. (MANUEL VERREYDT) Login/Register With: Twitter Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Facebook It’s a not well known enough fact that, in 2005, TfT pioneered the use of English-language surtitles at selected performances, a practice that’s since been adopted at numerous other theatres across the country.“It’s always been central to TfT that there’s a place at the table for anyone who wants to come,” explains artistic director Joël Beddows. “So how do we make that as easy as possible?”Beddows underlines that the surtitles are not complete translations of the plays but rather “adapted versions of the text, a little bit like cheat sheets. Enough information to make sure you follow the dialogue, you follow the story.”
MONTREAL — Several U.S. Republican members of Congress are urging the Trump administration to consider Bombardier’s economic impact south of the borders as it decides whether to impose duties on its CSeries plane.Three GOP senators and two representatives from Kansas and West Virginia, along with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, sent a letter last week to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.Without opposing the means to counter “unlawful activities” in international trade, the politicians said Bombardier and Boeing offer work to thousands of Americans.Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) is active in 17 states and has more than 2,000 workers in Kansas and West Virginia, the letter said.They added that over the past five years Bombardier has generated US$14 billion in economic spin-offs with U.S. suppliers.The elected officials urged Washington to work with Boeing and Bombardier and the Canadian government to find a “responsible solution that acknowledges the material economic benefit both parties generate for the United States and allows their long-term positive influence on our economy to continue.”The Commerce Department is expected to announce Sept. 25 whether to impose punitive duties on Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft.Boeing (NYSE:BA) filed a trade complaint against Bombardier, alleging that subsidies granted to the Quebec aircraft manufacturer had allowed it to sell its commercial aircraft at low prices.The Chicago giant is seeking a countervailing duty of at least 79.41 per cent and an anti-dumping duty of 79.82 per cent on sales of CSeries aircraft in the United States.
Experts point out that of the Indians who travelled for jihad to Syria and Afghanistan, majority joined al-Qaeda instead of ISIS, and many of them hailed from southern states. They are believed to be helping the al-Qaeda with the translation work. (Colombo Gazette) This is the first time that al-Qaeda has attempted to target youth from south India and Sri Lanka. With pages like Tamil Ansar and Olivin Charathu targeting regional youths, the al-Qaeda has reportedly upped their social media reach, with counter-jihadists and hackers noting a visible rise in their online activity.The Facebook page ‘Syria through Indian Eyes’ also regularly updates information on al-Qaeda and its activities in Syria in Tamil and Malayalam, while many pages also invite users for group chats in Telegram, an encrypted platform for having a secure conversation. According to reports, the terror group’s media outlet, the Global Islamic Media Front, earlier this month formed a new group to translate the group’s videos, messages and articles into the regional languages. Al-Qaeda is attempting to recruit youth from Sri Lanka and south India, the Asian Age reported.In a attempt to counter the propaganda drive by Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda is now translating its publications and propaganda materials into regional Indian languages such as Tamil and Malayalam.
The Ontario Provincial Police is investigating after a school bus and a horse drawn carriage collided in Arran-Elderslie. It happened shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday on Concession 10 and Sideroad 5.Police say all five passengers in the buggy were injured. One person was taken to hospital via air ambulance while another was transported by land ambulance. Both victims suffered life threatening injuries. The other three passengers were also taken to a nearby hospital with unknown injuries. Police say there were students on the school bus when the crash happened but they were not hurt. The bus driver was brought to hospital for a medical assessment. Members from the West Region OPP Technical Traffic Collision Investigation Team have been called in to assist with the investigation.No charges have been laid at this time. Anyone with information that could help police with the investigation is asked to contact OPP at 1-888-310-1122.
What seemed destined to be an ongoing holdout saga between Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys came to an abrupt end Wednesday when the two sides reached a deal for a five-year, $70 million contract with $32 million fully guaranteed (with up to $45 million sort of guaranteed). Right around the same time, the Broncos re-signed Demaryius Thomas for an eerily similar amount.While not quite as precedent-shattering as the $100-million-plus with $50 million(ish) guaranteed that Calvin Johnson — perhaps the premier wide receiver of our time — got in 2012, these are still staggering numbers. This isn’t receiver money, it’s quarterback money. The contract’s $14 million per year average is right around the median for starting quarterbacks, and the guaranteed money is approaching the top 10. In March, two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger signed a new deal with the Steelers, with $31 million guaranteed. Can this possibly be worth it?Let me preface by saying that Bryant and Thomas have elite-level production. If we look slightly beyond the headline stats such as yards and touchdowns, we can see that their teams lean on them substantially and are rewarded with good results. Below is a chart of the average yards receivers gained each time they were targeted, plotted against how often they were targeted (for all qualifying receivers from the 2014-15 season). Keep in mind that teams typically throw at their better receivers more often, but they’re also likely giving those receivers worse opportunities on average (sort of like how high-volume shooters in basketball have to take more bad shots). So the better a receiver is, the more passes he gets, but the harder it is to consistently make catches and put up big gains.In that chart, the closer a receiver is to the upper right, the better he is. You can imagine a boundary connecting DeSean Jackson and A.J. Green, and anyone falling along or close to that boundary has a strong case for being top tier. Call it the “presumptively good” zone. Thomas has one of the largest target rates, yet is well above average in yards gained per target. That’s impressive given the more-passes-means-worse-passes dynamic I mentioned earlier. Bryant’s offense ran through him a little less than Thomas’s last year, but he gained more yards on average and is in the upper tier for both.But this is where the NFL gets hard (and/or fun, depending on your perspective). In baseball, statistical production is pretty much the same as actual production — either a player has high WAR or he doesn’t. In basketball, things are a little trickier: Good stats correlate strongly with good value — that is, take away a productive and efficient player, and a team is likely worse off, but we’re still just modeling value with statistical proxies. In football, however, individual statistics pretty much don’t exist. The statistical results for players are so hopelessly entangled with each other that it is often impossible to accurately assign credit (at least at the current level of granularity).Bryant and Thomas are particularly hard to decipher: First, they’re receivers, and trying to make sense of a QB/WR pairing can be frustrating at best, futile at worst. It can take a virtually unprecedented data set to conclude anything with much certainty. That they both play with amazing quarterbacks only furthers the difficulty. Tony Romo was an award-winning MVP candidate last year and had the highest passer rating and Total QBR in football. And having Peyton Manning throw to you is pretty much steroids for receivers (possibly even affecting legacies the same way suspicion of PED usage does). But more importantly, both quarterbacks were doing fine without them:Net yards per attempt doesn’t capture everything about an offense, but it captures about as much as any other metric. Manning has seen an improvement since playing with Thomas, but of course Manning has also been playing with an entirely new team. Romo’s 2014-15 season was the best he has had in a while, but Bryant has been producing at his current level for three or four years now, and Romo has been no better in those years on average than in years previous.Which brings us back to those big contracts. In general, my reflex is to think that most huge contracts given to non-QBs are too large. In addition to worrying about injury, aging, etc., a general manager also has to worry that he might be wrong about someone because of some other factor on the team. A seemingly great player may really be only kind of good, or worse (and you may never even know).The 2015 salary cap is set at $143 million, which means the yearly salaries for Bryant and Thomas will be close to 10 percent of the cap (and their guarantees are somewhere between 22 percent and 32 percent of the cap, depending on which guarantee you use). Filling out a 53-man roster with “replacement” players already costs $30-million-plus, and a good quarterback costs another $15-20 million.1And the great quarterbacks like Manning or Romo are likely woefully underpaid. That means these teams are choosing to exhaust somewhere north of 15 percent of their available cap space for one player on one side of the ball who will be one option in the passing game.A lot has to go right to make this strategy work. Even if a GM is right, and a player actually is that good, and the player doesn’t get injured, and he performs up to standard for the length of his contract, and he has enough impact to justify the cost, a team still doesn’t contend for championships by paying players what they’re worth. It does it by paying them less than they’re worth. Here’s a blueprint: top quarterback (because top QBs are underpaid), rookie contracts, veterans that everyone else undervalues, spare parts that work well together, and coaches that can make the most of it all. Sound like any team you know?Perhaps the Broncos and Cowboys are good enough elsewhere that their best shot of winning a championship is to let a significant amount of their cap space tread water (best case) for a few years. For 2015-16, all that matters is putting the best team they can on the field. But impatience has rarely been a successful strategy in the NFL.
Senior guard Aaron Craft (4) defends and Iowa player during a game Jan. 12 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 84-74.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorNo matter how you slice it, something just seems off with the Ohio State men’s basketball team.The mystery continued against Minnesota Thursday, as the No. 11 Buckeyes fell to the Golden Gophers, 63-53, for their third straight loss.It is the first time since February 2009 that the Buckeyes have lost three straight games.OSU (15-3, 2-3) never could get anything going on the offensive end, shooting just 11-29 from the field in the first half.Despite the shooting woes, the game was tied at 29 at halftime thanks to a basket by OSU junior forward LaQuinton Ross just before the buzzer sounded. The Buckeyes were unable to take advantage of 10 turnovers by the Golden Gophers in the opening 20 minutes.The cold shooting for OSU continued early in the second half, as Minnesota (14-4, 3-2) built a lead early. The Buckeyes had five straight possessions that ended in a turnover, until Ross hit a three to cut the lead to 36-35.Minnesota extended its lead to 57-46 after a turnover by senior guard Aaron Craft led to a wide-open layup by Minnesota senior guard Austin Hollins.A free throw by junior center Amir Williams cut the lead to 10, but OSU would never get within double digits before the clock ran out as the Buckeyes could simply not find the shooting stroke.OSU shot a dismal 18-51 from the floor, and were outrebounded by the Golden Gophers, 37-25.Ross, who finished the game with a game-high 22 points, did not have much help from his teammates, as the only other Buckeye to score in double figures was junior forward Sam Thompson with 12.Up next, the Buckeyes are scheduled to travel to Nebraska (8-8, 0-4) Monday. Tipoff against the Cornhuskers is set for 7 p.m.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedAlleged mastermind wanted for CJIA cocaine bust remandedSeptember 29, 2017In “Court”Ranks ‘infamous for negligence’ being investigated for missing cocaine- RamjattanSeptember 28, 2017In “Crime”Head of Police Narcotics branch transferredSeptember 30, 2017In “Crime” Several members of the Police Narcotics Branch are now under close arrest following the disappearance of close to two kilograms of cocaine from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Police Headquarters, Eve Leary.Acting Police Commissioner David RamnarineThe cocaine was tendered as evidence against 31-year-old Travis Mendonca who was sentenced to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to a trafficking in narcotics charge.Acting police commissioner, David Ramnarine has confirmed that an investigation was launched by the Office of Professional Responsibility.He also told media operatives that the cocaine was discovered missing on Tuesday evening. The acting top cop however, was reluctant to divulge any additional information, other than an investigation is underway.Meanwhile, following the bust two Mondays ago, police had issued a wanted bulletin for 27-year-old Delvor Bunbury of Lot 37 Victoria Road, Plaisance. His name was given to the police during the investigation.
Prepay meters must become available to all customers should they wish to use them. This would help families to better manage their electricity and gas bills.Today’s CER report on the retail energy market shows a significant increase in the number of bill-related electricity cut-offs since the peak of the boom.There were almost 4,000 fewer disconnections in 2008, compared to last year’s figure.Read: €20 million seismic survey hopes to reveal Ireland’s true oil and gas wealth >Read: Risk that Ireland won’t meet its EU emissions targets > MORE THAN 7,000 households had their gas cut off last year for non payment, according to the latest figures from the Commission for Energy Regulation.The figure represents an 82 per cent increase on 2011.Around 14,650 homes had their electricity disconnected for not paying bills – a marginal increase on last year.The CER says there are now strict obligations in place on suppliers to make sure people are only cut off as a ‘last resort’, and that all providers now offer pay-as-you-go meters to households at risk of disconnection.According to the Commission, there’s anecdotal evidence to suggest that ‘a significant number of disconnected properties are in fact vacant’.Sinn Féin has described the level of cut-offs as ‘worrying’, with the party’s energy spokesperson Michael Colreavy calling the large increase in gas disconnections a ‘startling number’.The Sligo-North Leitrim TD is calling for prepay metering to be made more widely available, saying the current system means only customers in significant arrears can avail of it.According to the deputy “customers who are not in arrears must use private companies to install prepay meters on which they pay a charge, resulting in higher energy costs”.
They were forced into defaulting. They wanted to reach a settlement, but they faced a negotiating brick wall, and were pushed towards repaying everything. FOR THE SECOND time in 13 years, Argentina defaulted on its debts this week, after the collapse of 11th hour talks with so-called holdout bondholders in New York.“We’re not going to sign an agreement that jeopardizes the future of all Argentines,” said Finance Minister Axel Kicillof, after meeting on Wednesday with US hedge fund creditors he had dubbed “vultures.” Fightin’ talk: Argentina’s Finance Minister Axel Kicillof addresses the media after negotiations in New York this week. Source: Craig Rutle/AP/Press Association ImagesThe holdouts, who were led by US billionaire Paul Singer’s NML Capital, had spent the years since Argentina’s 2002 debt crisis pushing for full repayment of their bonds, with interest – amounting to roughly $1.5 billion.The aggressive posture taken by Kicillof, and the spectre of “reputational damage” have conjured memories of our own crisis, and the decisions facing Irish politicians in that period.So TheJournal.ie has enlisted the help of two experts to answer these questions:Could we have burned the bondholders too? And what makes Argentina now different from Ireland then? Whereas the debate in Ireland was largely over the debts of Anglo-Irish Bank.And if the Irish banks had defaulted on their debts, that would have been one thing. The markets could have viewed this as just one or two institutions acting alone. Default in Our Stars“The first point to make is that this Argentinian case has to do with sovereign debt,” says Philip Lane, Professor of International Macroeconomics at Trinity College Dublin. The ECB [European Central Bank] wouldn’t have kicked us out of the Eurozone for it.Read: Argentina burns bondholders for the second time in 13 years>Motion to ‘burn the bondholders’ defeated in Dáil vote> The Eurozone is not a suicide pact. If we had, for example, decided we wanted to repay the Anglo debt over the course of 1,000 years, as opposed to 30, it wouldn’t have brought down the Euro. A protest outside the Dáil in September 2011. Source: Sam Boal/Photocall IrelandA debt-defying leap?Philip Lane, for one, is doubtful that Argentina’s decision this week should serve as an example for Ireland. The message from this week is that a default is not a clean break. Argentina defaulted 13 years ago, and they’re still dealing with the consequences now. But we have to be careful not to conflate the two cases. Nobody was ever talking about Ireland defaulting on our national debt. What was suggested was that we revisit a bank debt that had been covered by the government. What this case reflects is the ability of investors to keep pursuing a defaulting country. Defaulting isn’t as easy as you might think.“When Argentina defaulted on its debts in 2002, they did it chaotically,” says Brian Lucey. “And there have been long-lasting, ongoing effects from that.” Source: Photocall Ireland…I’m part of the unionAnother major distinction between the Argentinian and Irish cases is that, as Lucey points out, the South Americans are not part of any monetary union.Not that being a member of the Eurozone should have automatically ruled out some sort of renegotiation of our debt. But once the government guaranteed the banks, it ensured the Irish government itself would be liable for any defaulted debt.Argentina, by contrast, most definitely owned the debt they defaulted on this week, says Brian Lucey, Professor of Finance in the School of Business at TCD and editor of the book What if Ireland Defaults?
If you’re looking to draw the ire of environmentalists, there’s no better place to do it than in San Francisco–and really, there are few more immediately visible ways to do so than releasing 10,000 brightly-colored balloons into the sky. It was all part of a promotion stunt for THQ’s upcoming Homefront game.THQ released the balloons yesterday, during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, immediately landing itself on the s-list of pretty much every environmentalist in the Bay Area. Here’s a quote from Rod Fujita, an oceans scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, that about sums it up, “When I looked out the window and saw thousands of balloons dropping straight into the bay, I was flabbergasted. I never expected to see something like this in San Francisco, where there’s such concern about the bay and pollution.”THQ released the 10,000 read “messages of hope” to “simulate a method used by South Korea to send messages of hope to the North.” The balloons rose and the dropped almost immediately into the bay, thanks to rainy weather.Complaints quickly put the game company on the defensive. THQ insisted that the balloons, “were made from a 100 percent organic product and are 100 percent biodegradable.”
Office work can be extremely rewarding if you follow your passion, but it can also be terrible for you. Let’s face it: Sitting all day is just about as bad for you as downing a whole 12-pack of sodas in one sitting. It’s becoming an epidemic, as we succumb to back problems, sciatica, and all of the other issues that come with a sedentary work lifestyle. Luckily, there are companies out there looking to combat the side effects of planting our derrieres in our chairs and staring at a screen all day.LifeSpan is one of them, taking a stand against the “plant your butt in your chair” lifestyle and fighting back with products of their own meant to offer functionality and options for professionals to lean on. This particular company has combined the genius of a standing desk with a treadmill, for example, to ensure workers are able to enhance their own personal productivity and get in shape while doing it. We spoke with LifeSpan President Peter Schenk about the company’s lifestyle brand and products meant to make “upstanding” citizens in the office.To understand LifeSpan, you’ve first got to understand the benefits the company’s products offer, especially when it comes to sedentary workers who aren’t sure how treadmill desks can aid them as part of a healthy lifestyle change in the first place.“LifeSpan replaces time spent sitting with time spent moving,” explained Peter Schenk. “If walking, standing or pedaling while working isn’t something you’re used to, we’ve found it takes a few weeks to adjust. The benefits are numerous, and studies have shown increased focus and energy, and a decrease in the risk of ailments caused by sedentary behavior.”It can be a massive change. For many workers, including those who have a less-than-optimal setup as home such as myself, it can be difficult to get used to standing and walking during an 8 or 10-hour shift, especially when Charley horses and sore calf muscles are a thing.”Switching to the kind of products LifeSpan provides (they’ve even got special bike desks if that’s more your speed) isn’t an instantaneous thing, but it can be a very real boon for your productivity and your body. How long can the adjustment period from sitting stationary at a desk to walking at a treadmill desk actually take, though?“Some of our users adjust immediately, while others can take up to two weeks or more,” confirmed Schenk in our interview. “Studies have shown that a learning curve does exist in adjusting to being active while working, but over a short period of time work efficiencies return to normal.”“In a number of instances employees will actually see their productivity increase past their prior capabilities. The trick is keeping it personal, though. Move in a way that is physically comfortable and suits the professional tasks you’re completing.”Of course, not everyone commutes to an office every day. Some workers can work from their home in supposedly comfy desk chairs and optimal office setups. But just because a desk is comfortable, and a chair is plush, that doesn’t mean it’s great for your body. All that sitting takes a toll. There are still things you can do, Schenk says, with LifeSpan’s products, to make your home office less of a deathtrap and more of a place for productivity and standing tall, sometimes quite literally.“We’ve seen our products utilized in home settings since our onset. We’ve actually enhanced our dedication to the home user, recently, shifting to not only include at-home professionals but school-age children as well. LifeSpan just introduced a bike desk designed for at-home use, called the LifeSpan Unity. It adds light exercise to common home office activities. And it aesthetically blends into the home, with a modest footprint and zero electricity requirements,” offered Schenk.You’ll need quite a bit of space for some of these products, as I learned myself, but if you’ve got a home office and an area for the product that works best for you, you should look into changing up potentially harmful habits. I’m sitting on a couch, for example, writing this piece, and my legs are cramped up beneath me. I could be getting my exercise on and staving off potential bodily issues that might crop up, but I guess I’m not one to listen very well. Luckily, LifeSpan attests that it’s still fine to sit — sometimes.“We absolutely support occasional sitting as long as it’s part of a healthy spectrum of daily postures. In the best environments, employees are given the freedom to sit, stand, pedal, or walk as they work, alternating their movements to fit their current task, environment and physical comfort. Employees without access to these benefits can still improve their wellbeing by stepping away from their work for a few moments every hour to stand or walk. Unfortunately, though, that kind of activity commonly requires them to disrupt whatever productivity they were currently engaged in.”So if you’re someone who finds themselves hunched over a desk most of your day and you need something to change up that cycle (perhaps literally) you might do well to look into LifeSpan’s product line.Disclaimer: I was offered the TR1200-DT7 Treadmill Desk for testing, but unfortunately I was not able to test it myself as my living space was not large enough. I have returned the treadmill desk. However, these opinions are my own, and I have not been paid for them or compensated for them.
Medical problems may have contributed to the loss of control in a March 2016 small plane crash that killed two Vancouver residents, including pilot and Clark County luminary John McKibbin, according to investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board.McKibbin likely lost control during a low-altitude maneuver to spread a passenger’s husband’s ashes. Investigators determined that the most probable cause of the crash was McKibbin’s medical issues — which included an insufficiently treated sleep disorder, severe heart disease, depression and possible lingering concussion damage.McKibbin, 69, and his passenger, Irene Mustain, 63, were killed when McKibbin’s WWII-era plane crashed into the Columbia River near Astoria, Ore., on March 23, 2016.The two took off from Pearson Airfield in McKibbin’s plane, a 1941 North American AT-6A military trainer, with the intent to spread Mustain’s husband’s ashes over the Columbia River near Astoria, Ore. Their plane went down around 4 p.m.According to the final report on the crash, the maneuver to spread the ashes required the pilot to slow down and make a banking turn. The move allows a passenger to open the canopy and hold out and open a bag carrying the ashes, so they can disperse in the wind. John McKibbin
Share Charlie Riedel/APHomes are surrounded by water from the flooded Brazos River in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, in Freeport, Texas. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)As Houston confronts the immediate and long-term crisis created by Hurricane Harvey, it’s turning once again to an oilman.The choice of former Shell president Marvin Odum to advise the mayor on storm recovery efforts reflects Houston’s history as a Texas oil town, long before it became the nation’s fourth-largest city with a sprawling mix of skyscrapers and multiethnic strip malls on the Gulf of Mexico.Several oil companies are headquartered in Houston, and oil money helped build its downtown, its priciest neighborhoods and its cultural centers.One of the biggest challenges facing Odum, a native Houstonian, in his job as recovery officer will be pushing Houston away from its roots as a city that’s long chosen development over conservation, paving over critical wetlands to make way for new buildings. Some advocates working on those causes wonder whether someone from the city’s most powerful interest can get leaders to make better choices for the future.“The decisions that Houston makes about how it develops in the future are going to be decisions that affect businesses, and I hope that a businessman can make those tough calls,” said Brian Zabcik, an advocate at the group Environment Texas.Houston has flooded each of the last three years, and while Harvey caused unprecedented damage in many neighborhoods, storms in 2015 and 2016 also displaced people and destroyed hundreds of homes. And Houston’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, combined with the effects of climate change, make it a certainty that life-threatening weather will remain a threat.The problem has worsened because Houston lost a third of its wetlands in the last three decades, reducing places for rainwater to settle before flooding.Courtesy PBS NewsHourHouston Mayor Sylvester Turner talking about Harvey with PBS Newshour on Sept. 5th, 2017.In announcing Odum’s appointment, Mayor Sylvester Turner acknowledged the city has to change how it develops and that it has to invest in mitigation projects that could cost billions of dollars. He said he hoped Odum would help create change and not just produce “a report” telling him what to do.“There will be another storm. That is very, very clear,” Turner said. “The question will be whether or not we will take advantage of this moment to put us in a better position for the next storm that certainly will come.”Turner cited Odum’s experience at Shell, where he worked more than 30 years and rose to president of the Dutch conglomerate’s North American operations.Odum led Shell through a disaster of similar magnitude, the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, when an offshore rig owned by BP exploded and killed 11 people. Millions of gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf for 87 days, destroying wildlife and disrupting the lives of thousands of people along the coast. The U.S. government ordered a moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf for six months, shutting down a major element of Shell’s business.Under Odum’s leadership, Shell sent its experts and equipment to help respond to the spill, said Bill Tanner, the company’s former head of media relations. Shell was among the first companies to be allowed to resume deep-water drilling almost a year after the spill.Tanner said he watched Odum meeting with several executives of rival oil companies before they testified before Congress about the spill, in a hearing carried on national television. He said he saw Odum’s efforts to “bring down tensions” between the executives with a low voice.“He brings a calming influence to otherwise chaotic situations, and he does so with a great deal of decorum and tact,” Tanner said.Turner said Odum was preparing to start a new business venture when he called asking for help, and that Odum put aside that venture. Odum will not receive a salary in his new position. He has an office at City Hall and is already taking meetings with city departments and officials from other agencies, including John Sharp, who was appointed the state’s recovery czar.At the news conference announcing his appointment, Odum stood to Turner’s side and deferred to the mayor on most questions. He declined an interview request from The Associated Press, but in written responses to questions sent by email, said he was working “nearly around the clock” already.He says that while the city already has “very strong capabilities,” Harvey has presented challenges on a “vastly different scale.”Odum said Houston’s most immediate challenge include removing debris piled on neighborhood lawns across the city, repairing infrastructure and making sure recovery money goes to “building a more resilient Houston that can better weather future natural disasters.”He did not specify how the city would accomplish that. But people who have studied Houston’s flood control system — a network of bayous and reservoirs that are meant to drain a city built on flat terrain — say much of it is decades old and in dire need of expansion. City and county officials have also talked about buying out homeowners in areas that are especially prone to flooding.“These are not easy choices and it will be critical to include a broad spectrum of interests,” Odum said.Houston and the rest of the Texas Gulf Coast are expected to receive tens of billions of dollars in federal disaster funding, with more help coming from state government and nonprofit groups.But how that money is spent and whether city officials can affect change remains to be seen.“He knows what it takes,” said Kara Cook, toxics program director at the Texas Public Interest Research Group. “Is he going to hold his former colleagues accountable to new regulations, and to better prepare Houston for disasters?”___Follow Merchant on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nomaanmerchant.
There’s nothing like a $7 a bottle beer to take you back to the simple days when you were so poor you had to eat ramen and drink Natty Ice. Texas-based brewer, The Collective Brewing Project, has tapped into that never-ending cash river of ironic nostalgia to make the Cup O’ Beer which is made using ramen noodles.The sour beer is brewed with 55 pounds of Ramen Noodles, and is said to be “light and tart.” Since ramen noodle beer would taste absolutely horrible, the brewing company threw in a ton of ginger, lime, lemongrass, and sea salt. Stay on target Fiber-Based Six-Pack Can Rings Offer Eco-Friendly Alternative to PlasticEven More Kellogg’s Cereal Gets Re-Born as Craft Beer For those of you who don’t want to travel to Texas for this strange brew, you can probably make your own Ramen beer by filling a trash can full of noodles, sugar, yeast, and water and letting it sit for about a week in the sun. Remember to stir twice daily with a boat oar. Also, don’t use the flavor packets, big mistake.If you do happen to be in Texas, the Collective Brewing Project is selling bottles at select locations. They’re also distributing the brew in their Fort Worth draft room, so get it in while the getting is good.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global A new wave is breaking in the business security ocean. Radio frequency identification chips are already used to track everything from packages to lost pets. Now, an Ohio company has become the first to adopt RFID technology for its employees.CityWatcher.com, a company that provides surveillance security services in Cincinnati, deals with highly sensitive information and therefore needs a high level of access control, says founder Sean Darks, 34. Implanting tiny RFID chips into the arms of himself and two willing employees (two other employees opted for RFID key chains instead) has allowed Darks to tightly control access to secure areas. “We were looking for a unique solution,” says Darks, “something that was different and fairly simple as far as operation.”The issue of implanting an employee with an RFID chip is a controversial one. Critics raise questions about employee privacy and civil liberty. “The question is, What is the problem I’m trying to solve with the technology? Does the technology do a good job of solving that problem?” says Martin Abrams, executive director of the Center for Information Policy Leadership at law firm Hunton & Williams in Washington, DC. “[Will RFID] allow me to get in the door? In that case, why do we need to embed it in the person? Can’t we embed it in a badge?”Arguably, implanting a chip is more secure and poses no risk of being lost or stolen, like a key chain might. “I would agree with the HR and labor relations folks that this may be a hurdle that will take quite some time to get over,” says Ray O’Hara, senior vice president at Vance International Inc., a security consulting company based in Oakton, Virginia. “I think it’s going to be a big sell to get it [widely adopted] in the workplace.” 2 min read This story appears in the July 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » July 1, 2006 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »
The soccer team played Cruzeiro on Sunday (16 September), when fans from the club – which hails from Minas Gerais – started chanting at opposition fans.They said: ‘Cruzeiro fans, be careful, Bolsonaro will kill the queers.’The club later apologized on Twitter: ‘The CAM deeply regrets the homophobic displays ont he part of the fans in the game this Sunday in Mineirao. We reiterate our rejection of any gestures or incitement to violence.A maior torcida de Minas é composta por pessoas de todas as classes sociais, raças e gêneros, não cabendo qualquer tipo de discriminação. Isso não faz parte da nossa gloriosa história!#TimeDeTodos— Atlético (@atletico) September 17, 2018‘The biggest crowd in Minar Gerais is made up of people from all social classes, races and genders, without any kind of discrimination. This is not part of our glorious history!’Tensions are often high during matches between Atletico and Cruzeiro. Police arrested 12 fans this weekend after attempting to bring iron bars, sticks and fireworks into the ground. Brazilian soccer club Atlético Mineiro apologized after its fans chanted that right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro will ‘kill the queers’. GAYSTARNEWS- Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Photo: Fábio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil, Wikimedia Commons Bolsonaro’s homophobic commentsJair Bolsonaro is the front-runner of the Brazilian presidential election and has been heavily criticized by his homophobic views.In a 2011 interview with Playboy, he claimed he would be ‘incapable of loving a gay son’ and would prefer they ‘die in an accident’ than come out to him.Also, he stated in a 2013 interview with Stephen Fry that ‘no father is proud of having a gay son’. Bolsonaro then went on to claim ‘there is no homophobic behavior in Brazil’, adding most homosexual deaths resulted from ‘drug related situations, prostitution, or being killed by their own partner’.Earlier this month, a reportedly ‘left-wing’ activist stabbed the preisdnetial candidate in the abdomen.More from Gay Star News: One year after homophobes forced it to close, Brazil’s queer museum reopensA photo of a gay couple kissing is sparking outrage at a Brazilian tourist spotTrans woman who works as a scavenger has dream wedding in BrazilGot a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . Read the full article on Gaystarnews: :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/atletico-mineiro-kill-the-queers-bolsonaro/
There are many times that we wish to access a site but it is blocked. The world has come up with a solution to this problem; VPNs. VPNs may be useful but many times they are unable to protect us while we are online and expose us to various threats. We wish to do browsing without getting disturbed from pointless advertisements as well but VPNs don’t help much. This is where Windscribe VPN Lifetime Pro Subscription comes in.Windscribe VPN Lifetime Pro Subscription featuresWindscribe VPN is not just a VPN, it is a desktop application and browser extension that works together to protect your online privacy, unblock websites and remove ads and trackers from your browsing. Another advantage of th9is VPN is that you will never have to bother with settings and options menus again. Just turn it on, on your desktop and it will work forever.With the Windscribe VPN Lifetime Pro Subscription you will be able to: Mask your physical location from 3rd parties with an encrypted tunnelAccess geo-locked content from anywhere Avoid most ads while you’re browsing Torrent securely and share files without worrying about your ISP snooping on you Use on all your devices simultaneously Get protected by the top-notch firewall that protects you in case of connectivity loss Leave no trace or logs while you browseDetails and RequirementsThe deal offers Version 1.58 of Windscribe VPN Lifetime Pro Subscription. It can cover unlimited devices and comes with updates. It is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 10, OS X 10.8 or later, Linux and iOS. Another great thing about the Windscribe VPN Lifetime Pro Subscription is that the company will introduce an Android app very soon as well.You can purchase the Windscribe VPN Lifetime Pro Subscription at this site. After purchase you will get lifetime access to Windscribe features. So what are you waiting for? Get the deal now before it expires. Share Tweet Submit
The article, “Urologists’ Use of Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer,” corroborates the increased IMRT treatment rates among self-referrers reported in the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) August 2013 report, “Medicare: Higher Use of Costly Prostate Cancer Treatment by Providers Who Self-Refer Warrants Scrutiny.” “PIMA closes the self-referral loophole in a conscientious and strategic manner that abolishes abuse while allowing truly integrated multi-specialty groups and high-performing health systems to continue to provide high-quality and efficient care,” Lawton concluded. “This blatant abuse of our patients’ trust and our country’s limited financial resources endangers our ability to work with health policy leaders in developing a new quality- and value-based payment system for Medicare. Closing the self-referral loophole will protect patients, restore trust, reduce costs and strengthen Medicare.” Kapoor claims Mitchell’s data shows that less than one-third of newly-diagnosed prostate cancer patients who sought treatment from an integrated urology group received IMRT. He said this figure is fully in line with data from academic literature that predates the development of integrated groups. Kapoor also said Mitchell did not match her control group for practice size, patient demographics or severity of indeed, her selection bias is evidenced by her own bizarre results. For example, there has been a clear national trend trends toward less invasive IMRT and away from brachytherapy seen nationally across all sites of service. October 24, 2013 — A comprehensive review of Medicare claims for more than 45,000 patients from 2005 through 2010 found that nearly all of the 146 percent increase in intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for prostate cancer among urologists with an ownership interest in the treatment was due to self-referral. This new research was published in the The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Oct. 24, 2013 issue. However, one association of urologists says the data is flawed. Data Reinforces Need to Close Loopholes News | Brachytherapy Systems | August 14, 2019 Efficacy of Isoray’s Cesium Blu Showcased in Recent Studies August 14, 2019 — Isoray announced a trio of studies recently reported at scientific meetings and published in medica read more Reps. Speier’s and McDermott’s PIMA legislation would enact the recommendations of influential bipartisan groups who have examined self-referral abuse. In September 2012, a New England Journal of Medicine article, authored by leading health policy experts including former CMS administrator Donald Berwick, M.D., MPP, called for closing the self-referral loophole for radiation therapy and other so-called “ancillary services.” The Center for American Progress agreed with narrowing the IOAS exception, as well as several notable bipartisan groups, including theBipartisan Policy Center, under the leadership of former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), and the Moment of Truth Project, headed by Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.). President Obama’s proposed FY 2014 Budget also recommended closing the self-referral loophole and estimated savings of more than $6 billion during the standard 10-year budget window for Medicare. ?• In addition to increased IMRT utilization, the data demonstrate decreases in utilization of other effective, less expensive treatment options by self-referring urologists. For example, brachytherapy decreased by 14.9 percentage points to just 2.7 percent of patients receiving this treatment in self-referring urology practices. These results are in stark contrast to non-self-referring urologists, for whom the study reports “virtually no change in practice patterns.” The NEJM study was approved by the institutional review board of Georgetown University and funded by an unrestricted educational research contract between ASTRO and Georgetown University. No potential conflict of interest relevant to the study is reported. ?• IMRT utilization among self-referring groups increased from 13.1 percent to 32.3 percent once they became self-referrers, an increase of 19.2 percentage points (146 percent). In contrast, IMRT utilization by non-self-referring urologists who were peers practicing in the same community-based setting was virtually unchanged — with a modest increase of 1.3 percentage points. Therefore, the difference-in-differences analysis reveals that self-referral accounts for 93 percent of the growth in IMRT. News | Proton Therapy | August 08, 2019 MD Anderson to Expand Proton Therapy Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center unveiled plans to expand its Proton Therapy Center during a… read more The Alliance for Integrity in Medicare (AIM), a broad coalition of medical specialty, laboratory, radiation oncology and medical imaging groups committed to ending the practice of inappropriate physician self-referral, added its support and applauds the findings of the NEJM article. Technology | Interventional Radiology | August 16, 2019 Profound Medical Receives U.S. FDA 510(k) Clearance for Tulsa-Pro Profound Medical Corp. announced it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to… read more “We are concerned unanimously by the prostate cancer treatment patterns identified in today’s article,” Mohler said. “We are disappointed to learn that urologists who self-refer for IMRT services use this expensive technology more than urologists who don’t self-refer and more than NCCN member Institutions. Prostate cancer treatment recommendations should be based on the best available clinical evidence and not influenced by business or personal interests of the care provider.” However, this view was not shared by all urologists. The Large Urology Group Practice Association (LUGPA), an organization advocating for integrated and coordinated urological care with more than 2,000 physicians, said it carefully reviewed the study and finds it to be methodologically flawed and factually inaccurate. In a statement, the association said the article does not contribute to the useful interchange of ideas needed to improve healthcare or increase value. AIM believes the findings in this article add significantly to the existing extensive body of evidence that the IOAS loophole to the federal Ethics in Patient Referrals Act, also known as the self-referral law, results in mistreated patients and billions of wasted Medicare dollars. Catalyst PT image courtesy of C-RAD News | Artificial Intelligence | August 13, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Could Yield More Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnoses University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that… read more To-date, the GAO has issued three reports in a four-part series on physician self-referral, the most recent one, from August 2013, also details abuse in radiation therapy treatment for prostate cancer. The report found a 356 percent increase in IMRT utilization by self-referrers, compared to a 5 percent decrease by non-self-referrers, and that the number of treatments rose by 509 percent compared to a 3.8 percent decrease at non-self-referring multi-specialty groups. In July 2013, the GAO report, “Action Needed to Address Higher Use of Anatomic Pathology Services by Providers Who Self-Refer,” found that self-referring providers likely referred nearly 1 million more unnecessary anatomic pathology services than non-self-referring providers, costing Medicare approximately $69 million. “Higher Use of Advanced Imaging Services by Providers Who Self-Refer Costing Medicare Millions,” the first GAO report in November 2012 on self-referral in advanced diagnostic imaging, found that “providers who self-referred likely made 400,000 more referrals for advanced imaging services than they would have if they were not self-referring” — at a cost of more than $100 million in 2010. The final report, expected by the end of this year, will detail self-referral for physical therapy services. Authored by Jean M. Mitchell, Ph.D., healthcare economist and professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, the NEJM manuscript provides an intricate analysis of treatment patterns by urologists before and after they acquired ownership of IMRT services, compared to the treatment patterns of non-self-referring urologists and urologists who practice at National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)-designated cancer centers (also non-self-referrers). A November 2012 Bloomberg News investigative report scrutinized questionable IMRT treatment for prostate cancer by a self-referring urology clinic in California and concluded that physician self-referral resulted in mistreated patients and higher health care costs. The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun have published similarly critical reports since 2009 to call attention to the mounting evidence that limited specialty [urology] groups who own radiation therapy equipment have utilization rates that rise rapidly and are well above the national norms for radiation treatment of prostate cancer. Feature | October 24, 2013 NEJM Exposes Overuse of Radiation Therapy Services When Urologists Profit Through Self-Referral IMRT use is two and a half times greater when self-referral financial incentives are involved Related Content Images of regions of interest (colored lines) in the white matter skeleton representation. Data from left and right anterior thalamic radiation (ATR) were averaged. Image courtesy of C. Bouziane et al. ?• IMRT utilization among the subset of 11 self-referring urology practices near NCCN centers increased from 9 percent to 42 percent, an increase of 33 percentage points (367 percent), from the pre-ownership to the ownership period, compared to an insignificant increase of 0.4 percentage points at the NCCN centers. ASTRO is urging Congress to promptly pass the “Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act of 2013” (PIMA), introduced Aug. 1, 2013, by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.). PIMA will close the self-referral loophole for radiation therapy, advanced imaging, anatomic pathology and physical therapy services, which Lawton believes will result in better care for patients and billions of Medicare dollars saved that could offset the costs of repealing the Medicare physician payment formula (sustainable growth rate — SGR). The NEJM report concludes that “men treated by self-referring urologists, as compared with men treated by non-self-referring urologists, are much more likely to undergo IMRT, a treatment with a high reimbursement rate, rather than less expensive options, despite evidence that all treatments yield similar outcomes.” “Unfortunately, when you look at the numbers in this report, you start to wonder where healthcare stops and where profiteering begins,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), in a statement about the GAO’s August 2013 report on radiation therapy self-referral. “Enough is enough. Congress needs to close this loophole and fix the problem.” FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 For more information: www.astro.org, lugpa.org “The Mitchell study was commissioned and funded by ASTRO in an attempt to persuade lawmakers to legislate a monopoly for its members in the use of radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer — an economically-driven agenda that has been rejected by Congress, MedPAC and the GAO,” said Deepak A. Kapoor, M.D., president of LUGPA and chairman and CEO of Integrated Medical Professionals PLLC in Melville, N.Y. “Instead of furthering our understanding of the complicated health policy issues around prostate cancer care, Dr. Mitchell’s work appears to be specifically designed to produce talking points for the sponsor’s political agenda, which is primarily to restore their virtual monopoly on the provision of pathology laboratory services.” News | Pediatric Imaging | August 14, 2019 Ultrasound Guidance Improves First-attempt Success in IV Access in Children August 14, 2019 – Children’s veins read more “Dr. Mitchell’s study provides clear, indisputable evidence that many men are receiving unnecessary radiation therapy for their prostate cancer due to self-referral,” said American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Chairman Colleen A.F. Lawton, M.D., FASTRO. She voiced the society’s grave concerns regarding this study’s results. “While I am a prostate cancer specialist impassioned to eradicating the disease, I am equally dedicated to utilizing these powerful technologies prudently and in the best interest of each individual patient. We must end physician self-referral for radiation therapy and protect patients from this type of abuse.” The two cohorts for the NEJM study data, obtained through Medicare claims from Jan. 1, 2005 through Dec. 31, 2010, include Medicare patients in 26 geographically dispersed states who were: 1. treated at 35 self-referring urology groups in private practice matched to a control group of 35 non-self-referring urology groups in private practice, for a total of 38,765 patients; and 2. treated by 11 self-referring urology groups in private practice within close proximity to and matched directly to non-self-referring urologists at 11 NCCN centers, for a total of 6,713 patients. Patient records were followed for a period of six months from the initial prostate cancer diagnosis to track treatment choices. Sixty percent of the self-referring urologists established their IMRT services during the period from Jan. 1, 2008 through Jan. 15, 2010. Following radiation, the bone marrow shows nearly complete loss of blood cells in mice (left). Mice treated with the PTP-sigma inhibitor displayed rapid recovery of blood cells (purple, right). Credit: UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center/Nature Communications Response from UrologistsAt a press conference unveiling the study Oct. 25, one of the nation’s leading urologists, James L. Mohler, M.D., of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., will release a joint statement on the overtreatment of prostate cancer and physician self-referral from the expert members of the NCCN Prostate Cancer Guidelines Panel, which he chairs. News | Radiation Therapy | August 16, 2019 Drug Accelerates Blood System’s Recovery After Radiation, Chemotherapy A drug developed by UCLA physician-scientists and chemists speeds up the regeneration of mouse and human blood stem… read more Government ActionThe federal “Ethics in Patient Referrals Act,” also known as the self-referral law, prohibits physicians from referring a patient to a medical facility in which he or she has a financial interest in order to ensure that medical decisions are made in the best interest of the patient without consideration of any financial gain that could be realized by the treating physician. However, the law includes an exception that allows physicians to self-refer for so-called “ancillary services,” including radiation therapy. Over the years, abuse of the in-office ancillary services (IOAS) exception has weakened the self-referral law and diminished its policy objectives, making it simple for physicians to avoid the law’s prohibitions by structuring arrangements that meet the technical requirements of the law, thereby circumventing the intent of the law. Numerous studies have shown that physician self-referral leads to increased utilization of services that may not be medically necessary, poses a potential risk of harm to patients and costs the healthcare system millions of dollars each year. News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 Mevion and C-RAD Release Integration for Improved Proton Therapy Treatment Quality Mevion Medical Systems and C-RAD announced the integration between the C-RAD Catalyst PT and the Mevion S250i proton… read more A difference-in-differences analysis was used to isolate the impact of self-referral on changes of IMRT utilization over time, according to self-referral status. This approach controls for initial differences in practice patterns during the pre-ownership period as well as secular trends that affect the use of IMRT and are unrelated to ownership status. The analysis found that: News | Neuro Imaging | August 16, 2019 ADHD Medication May Affect Brain Development in Children A drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears to affect development of the brain’s… read more News | Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 First Patient Enrolled in World’s Largest Brain Cancer Clinical Trial Henry Ford Cancer Institute is first-in-the-world to enroll a glioblastoma patient in the GBM AGILE Trial (Adaptive… read more “We urge Congress to pass legislation to close the physician self-referral loophole immediately by removing these services, as well as advanced diagnostic imaging, anatomic pathology and physical therapy, from the in-office ancillary services exception (IOAS), AIM released in a statement. News | Mammography | August 14, 2019 Imago Systems Announces Collaboration With Mayo Clinic for Breast Imaging Image visualization company Imago Systems announced it has signed a know-how license with Mayo Clinic. The multi-year… read more Image courtesy of Imago Systems The MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center expansion is expected to be completed in 2023. Rendering courtesy of Stantec. “This study confirms that permitting physicians to self-refer, particularly urologists to self-refer for IMRT, leads to unnecessary treatment and added healthcare costs to Medicare and beneficiaries,” Lawton added. “Prostate cancer is a complicated disease that needs input from multiple specialists, not just one, to determine the best treatment for the individual patient. There are many different treatments available, and in many cases, no treatment at all is the right thing to do, particularly among the elderly. For many men with early stage prostate cancer, active surveillance, or watchful waiting, is the best option. Unfortunately, the continuous stream of data indicates that patient choice is being restricted — patients are being steered to the treatment that provides the most profit for the urologist. As a result, patients are subjected to unnecessary treatment and side effects, and millions of dollars are wasted.”
TORONTO — Air Canada is waving flight change fees for almost half a dozen cities in three states as Hurricane Michael beelines for the Florida Panhandle coastline as a Category 4 storm.Air Canada passengers due to fly in or out of Atlanta, Savannah, Charlotte, Raleigh Durham and Jacksonville today can change their bookings with no change fees as a result of Hurricane Michael.Major U.S. carriers are waiving change fees for a long list of destinations as well, and cancelling flights.Hurricane Michael gained strength overnight, with potentially catastrophic winds this morning clocked at 145 mph, making it the most powerful storm on record ever to hit this stretch of Florida coastline, according to reports.With more than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast warned to clear out, the hurricane’s leading edge began lashing the white-sand shoreline with tropical storm-force winds, rain and rising seas before daybreak, hours before Michael’s centre was expected to blow ashore.More news: Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoMichael quickly sprang from a weekend tropical depression, reaching Category 4 early this morning as it drew energy from the Gulf of Mexico’s 84 degree waters. That was up from a Category 2 on Tuesday afternoon.“The time to evacuate has come and gone … SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted, while the sheriff in Panama City’s Bay County issued a shelter-in-place order before dawn.As of 8 a.m. this morning Michael was centred about 145 kilometres from Panama City and Apalachicola, moving fast at 21 kph. Tropical storm winds extended 295 kilometres from the centre, and hurricane-force winds reached out 75 kilometres.Rainfall could reach up to a foot (30 centimetres), and the life-threatening storm surge could swell to 14 feet (4 metres).The storm appeared to be so powerful – with a central pressure dropping to 933 millibars – that it is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves over Georgia early Thursday. Forecasters said it will unleash damaging winds and rain all the way into the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence’s flooding.More news: Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJThe historical record, going back to 1851, finds no Category 4 hurricane ever hitting the Florida panhandle.With files from The Associated Press Posted by Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, October 10, 2018 Share Tags: Florida, Hurricane, Hurricane Michael “The time to evacuate has come and gone”: Hurricane Michael closes in