Keep open mind, but weigh facts on climate

first_imgMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Two similar letters to the editor by Bob Lindinger in The Gazette seem to claim that humans have no responsibility for modern global warming. He argued that such a conclusion is unwarranted because “science is never settled.” It seems that, if we don’t know everything about global climate, we don’t know anything. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinioncenter_img Well, sure, nothing in science is known with absolute certainty. For example, modern research indicates that fire is a rapid, heat-releasing chemical reaction between fuel and oxygen in air. But that’s not settled. Maybe fire is called into mortal existence by Lucifer or Hephaestus, after we ritually strike a sacred match, or form a specially consecrated spark.Hmm. Where do we draw the line between accepting an idea that is overwhelmingly supported by evidence, or believing any number of ideas that are poorly supported by the evidence, unsupported or down-right crazy? That’s really the choice.The overwhelming weight of evidence shows that modern global warming is happening, caused mostly by burning fossil fuels. Sure, the computer models change a little bit every year, as does the growing pile of data behind them. But the results don’t change much. Modern supercomputer models, early models in the 1970s, and hand calculations done over 100 years ago. All give similar results.Accepting the science behind modern global warming is a matter of evaluating the available evidence. It’s a good idea to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out.Kurt HollocherNiskayunalast_img read more

Joseph Mariathasan: China’s financial Big Bang

first_imgInstitutions lacking a China strategy should ask themselves when they intend to develop one, Joseph Mariathasan writesI was sitting next to a senior Scottish lawyer and his wife over lunch near Glasgow a couple of years ago, and they were moaning that their 20-year-old son had decided to be a photographer but was now staying at home, doing little to fulfil his aspirations. It was wonderful to see their expressions when I suggested the answer was quite simple: they should buy themselves return tickets to Beijing and their son a single.I was joking, of course, but only half joking. In 1996, when I first went to Beijing, and the foreign community was small enough everyone seemed to know each other, I met quite a few people in their 20s who had done exactly that. Indeed, one person I met last year is now the COO of a major insurance company based in Asia.China still represents a tremendous opportunity. The inclusion of the yuan renminbi in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights marks another and significant step in China’s path towards full capital account liberalisation. A mature and functional finance industry, including functional capital markets, is a pre-requisite for successful currency and capital account liberalisation. The better financial markets work, the greater the benefits of liberalisation. A freely floated currency requires meaningful price signals to be reflected in a benchmark interest-rate curve, credit spreads and foreign-exchange crosses, both spot and forward, as well as in stocks and traded commodities. Of course, this all assumes mature financial-institution balance sheets, intermediation mechanisms and traded capital markets, with investors and issuers managing their balance sheets though this system.There is still some way to go, but China’s financial Big Bang has already commenced, and its pace is accelerating. There are numerous important new sectors sporting annual growth rates from 20-30% up to 100-500% where there was no business as recently as 3-6 years ago in the absence of a licensing and regulatory framework. The scale of this development is unprecedented. What China has already accomplished in terms of its exports, urbanisation and real estate development will now occur in finance.For the world’s investors and fund managers, China’s Big Bang will provide a cornucopia of opportunities. China’s non-SOE corporates will become the largest credit-issuer base in the world. On a purchasing-power-parity-adjusted basis, the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector is larger than that of Europe or the US but underdeveloped in credit-issuance terms. The ratio of total liabilities to assets in the private SME sector is still only about 31%, and fully half currently carry no debt on their balance sheets.Liberalisation appears self-perpetuating. The success of renminbi (RMB) liberalisation since 2009, combined with achievements in domestic finance liberalisation, together require – and would allow for – the liberalisation of the exchange rate. This can be expected to continue, in fits and starts and at varying speeds. In time, a free-floating RMB and global activities of China’s larger financial institutions will require significant opening of the capital account. The flow of China’s domestic retail savings into overseas assets has barely begun, but it will become a major source of capital, particularly into higher-yielding assets. The US Federal Reserve’s rate rise and the potential for the US dollar to strengthen on the back of further increases will act as added stimulus for those flows.The historical impact of China’s financial Big Bang is often lost in the rhetoric of speculation and hysteria about short-term market moves. Yet these are of little consequence and to be expected in any developing economy. The financial centres of the world are already competing to establish themselves as offshore centres for Chinese finance. It also is another reason why investors and financial institutions should consider looking at China as a separate investment proposition, as opposed to merely a component in a heterogeneous emerging market asset class.The opportunities are vast, the changes are swift, but the experience of many institutions in China is still low or non-existent. As we enter 2016, those institutions that haven’t yet developed a China strategy should certainly start asking themselves when they intend to develop one.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPElast_img read more

Criminal Lawyer Jason Doe Solves: The Case of the Angry Candidate (3)

first_imgCharacters in the StoryJason Doe—The lawyer who was excited to know much about the defendantEphraim Sackor—The angry candidate who became the defendant who did not want to be arrestedJanet Lovebird—The beautiful secretary of Counselor Jason Doe.Judge Martina Yuo—The judge who wanted fairness in her courtroomCecelia Sackor—wife of the defendant who felt her husband was not having a nervous breakdownLt. Samson Swen—The prosecutor who wanted nothing but the defendant to hangTolbert Wolo—MU Propaganda specialist, whose testimony the prosecution hung its case.Colonel Jackson Payne—The officer who led the investigationThe tension that concluded the morning session was discernible when the afternoon session began. Judge Martina Yuo leaned forward on her bench and said, “Counselor Doe will begin his cross-examination of Officer Jackson Payne,” and then relaxed in her chair. She followed it up by dropping her glasses in front of her and it made a slight echo.Jason Doe, tall and agile, shifted himself and strolled leisurely towards Officer Payne in the witness stand. The lawyer smiled momentarily like a boxer about to pounce on his enemy. There was a nagging sense of confidence discernible in his demeanor.“Col. Payne,” Counselor Doe said, “Ephraim Sackor was one of the candidates for the president in the recent Media Union elections?”“Yes.”“And he lost his bid for the presidency and reports indicated that he was meanwhile referred to as the angry candidate by his colleagues who did not live up to his expectation?”“Yes.”The lawyer made a swift retreat to his table and in that moment met the eyes of defendant Ephraim Sackor, whose gaze filled him with uncertainty.The lawyer shrugged his shoulders and marched towards the witness. In his unusual baritone, Cllr. Doe said, “Ephraim Sackor, your investigations concluded, and this was from his wife that he had a mental breakdown?”“Yes.”“Did you verify that statement from a professional psychologist?”“No.”“Mrs. Sackor is not a professional psychologist?”“That’s true.”The lawyer frowned thoughtfully.“How then could not agree with her ‘opinion’ that Ephraim Sackor suffered a mental breakdown after he lost the Media Elections?”The witness gave a deep breath and said, “Mrs. Sackor knows her husband better than anybody else. She did not demonstrate any hatred towards him and therefore her observation seemed probable.“Additionally, she was keenly involved in the Media Elections and after her husband’s loss she spent considerable time with him and was in the best position to make an opinion of fact. It therefore seemed right to believe her.”Jason Doe frowned again, and turning to Judge Martina Yuo, said, “It is true she is the wife of the defendant but at the same time she is not a professional in the field of psychology to accurately diagnose the mental state of a man who is facing murder charges and you accepted her opinion as a fact, Col. Payne?”Col. Payne readjusted himself in the witness stand, for it seemed the question had jolted him. He shrugged his shoulders in an attempt to rise above the shock and was said, “Mrs. Sackor, I must admit, is not a psychologist and neither is she with the authority to point out her husband’s mental state, but her closeness with him, as a husband. She did not have any ulterior motive and that gave us the assurance that she was speaking of fact.”“So then,” Jason Doe said, “you were investigating a case, involving the death of a citizen of much influence, and you surprisingly based a statement of fact which a man’s life hangs, on the opinion of an unprofessional.” Suddenly, Prosecutor Samson Swen was on his feet.“The opinion of the defendant’s wife is one aspect to develop the case, Counselor.”“You’re right,” Jason Doe retorted, “but in a case that demands without reasonable doubt, it makes a whole lot of sense to base the conclusion on a professional psychologist after a thorough examination?”Judge Yuo weighed in the case and responded, “The Court does not expect the prosecutor to intervene in the defense counsel’s trend of cross examination, bringing out an apparent source that is not an authority on a man whose life hangs in a balance, as to whether he contributed to the death of the decedent.“The Court is much interested in professional sources that could bear much on the case and hence Counselor Doe has the Court’s support to bring out an apparent error of assigning an authority to an opinion of a spouse who in a greater measure should be siding with her husband.”“Thank you, Your Honor,” Prosecutor Swen said, “I was trying to point out that the woman’s honest opinion should not unnecessarily delay the case, though she is not an expert.”“Very well,” Judge Yuo said, and glaring at the prosecutor noted. “Since the prosecutor agrees with the defense’s position, it is therefore not necessary for any intervention.”“Thank you, Your Honor,” the prosecutor conceded, and the negative blow of his position could not be lost on the spectators, but Jason Doe, in a triumphant response, said, “Ephraim Sackor visited the decedent two hours before he died?”“Yes.”“And the toxicologist report indicated that his death came two hours after the defendant’s visit?”“Yes.”“Referring to the Promissory Note, which you testified in Court; when was the defendant expected to pay his loan?”“It was on October 15.”“Was a specific time of the day specified in the Promissory Note?”“No.”“Therefore,” Jason Doe said, “the defendant was supposed to visit the decedent on October 15?”“Yes,” Officer Payne said, “and his visit was to be accompanied with the money.”“Did the Promissory Note make any specific indication about his visit without the money?”“It did not state the way you put it but his visit evidently should have been accompanied with the money,” Officer Payne retorted, a bit irritably.“But,” the lawyer said with an amount of interest, “it did not state that he must not visit the lender unless he had the money.”“It did not state in that clear terms but it was obvious.”A mild laughter swept through the courtroom and Jason Doe allowed the echo to fill the air.“The decedent, Clinton Dahn was an elderly man?”“Yes.”“How elderly, Officer Payne?”“He was in his 50s.”“And how did you know that he was in poor health? Did you have any idea what medications he was prescribed for?”Suddenly, all attention swept towards the corner of the Courtroom where the widow, Comfort Dahn and other family members sat, displaying a suppressed emotion but the voice of the witness responded:“The decedent suffered from high blood pressure.”“Was he under any strict instructions regarding the use of medicines prescribed for him?”“It’s obvious. His prescribed medications were Thiazide Diuretics and Beta Blockers.”“Thiazide Diuretics,” the lawyer said, and after some hesitation said, “yes these kinds of drugs are sometimes called ‘water pills’ and they act on kidneys to help the body eliminate sodium and water, reducing blood volume. During your investigations did it occur to you that the efficient administration of these drugs required a family member or a nurse?”The officer strained his eyes and pretended he was recollecting what had transpired and said, “We were assured that dosage was administered by his widow Comfort Dahn.”“Who gave the assurance, officer?”“His widow, Comfort Dahn.”“Therefore,” Jason Doe said, “when you returned to the house on October 27th did you observe anything that raised your suspicion about the cause of death?”Col. Payne seemed confused and after hesitating briefly, said, “It did not seem anything much at the time but now that you are asking about it, let me explain she violated police instructions by cleaning up the house.”The lawyer returned to the defense table and looked through papers and returning to the witness said, “What was her reaction when one of the officers confronted her?”“She mumbled that she did not mean to kill her husband and we thought her reaction was due to the shock of his death.”“And did that move you to investigate that angle, officer?” Officer Payne was considering the question when an echo of tears broke out at the corner where the widow Comfort Dahn was mumbling to herself.The courtroom was taken aback as her hysteria increased. Bailiffs and several police officers rushed to the scene.Meanwhile, the widow informed the officers that she wanted to make some issues clear about the death of her husband. The information was communicated to Judge Yuo, who advised and warned her that she did not have to increase her discomfort by making any incriminating statements.Her insistence was so strong that she was sworn in, and positioned herself to clear the air, as a witness for the prosecution. Her face was that of a woman whose world had come to the end with an action she did not mean to execute. In the dock she straightened up, squeezed her lips and stared in the air, as if she was seeking some intervention.Her hands trembled and she grabbed the edges of the witness stand. When she began to speak, it was in a well-modulated tone which took the courtroom by surprise.“Clinton’s death,” she said, fighting back tears, “was not by that man, for it was an accident.A hush swept through the courtroom, and seconds later, she resumed, and kept her composure intact.“I did not mean to have caused his death,” her voice echoed the meaning across the courtroom, as spectators strained their ears.“When I learnt that Clinton had given such huge amount to someone, I thought the recipient was a woman.“So I went to him after I had collected all his medications and threatened that either he confessed the name of the woman who he had given the money to, otherwise I would not give them to him.”The silence in the courtroom was deafening and even a drop of a pin could have been heard. Judge Yuo sat, relaxed in her bench as her ears received the shocking revelations.Jason Doe, who did not seem at all surprise, was already seated at the defense table, with his ears straining, his eyes glinted with a frown on his face.After a couple of seconds, the widow continued, solemnly, “I did not mean to cause his death but when I realized what I had done, it was apparently too late to save him.”As the witness, once again, hesitated, Judge Martina Yuo signaled the defense and the prosecution to a whispered conference.Few seconds later, Judge Yuo announced the release of defendant Ephraim Sackor from further police custody and ordered the widow Comfort Dahn held for the murder of her husband, businessman Clinton Dahn.The EndShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgDanske Bank Rannafast Cup Quarter Final, Wed Oct 24th at 4pmColaisti Inis Eoghain v St Eunans College, At Hibernian Park, Burt.The arrival of one Sam Maguire and the eagerly awaited meeting of Colaisti Inis Eoghain and St Eunans has generated a lot of interest among GAA supporters in Inishowen this week, as the two rivals go head to head in Hibernian Park Burt on Wednesday afternoon, throw in time 4.00 pm for a semi final place in the Danske Bank sponsored Rannafast Cup. Gary Duffy’s Inis Eoghain team, are relative newcomers to Ulster Colleges competitions compared to the Letterkenny School and the current squad are the first to come through the process of developing schools football in Inishowen, but they are beginning to make an impact. They had sensational start back in 2010 when they shocked St Pat’s Maghera in their opening Corn na nOg game, and also defeated St Mary’s Magherafelt but they did suffer a heavy defeat at the hands of St Eunans in O’Donnell Park and some would say that result still hurts. Lat year they had a good run in the Brock Cup with a couple of good victories also, making it to the Shield quarterfinal, where they lost to Abbey CBS. This season they started well in the Rannafast Cup with good victories over Our Lady’s Castleblaney and St Colman’s Newry, before losing to an impressive Omagh CBS in their final group game, played in Buncrana and qualified for the quarter final as runners up in a tough group. In defence Peter Doherty, Stephen O Donnell and Darren Gallagher all look impressive, while Georgie Kelly, Tony McClenagahan, Sean McHugh, Caolan Mailey and John Campbell are certain to be key players in midfield and attack. Some of the players have benefited greatly from their involvement with Donegal U15 and U16 teams during the year, but the aim now as a team is to progress even further and reaching the semi final of this prestigious competition would be one way of doing just that.St Eunans, who have qualified for the quarterfinals for the first time in almost three decades, will start as favourites for the game. In their first year together they won the Ulster Colleges Corn Colmcille Cup, although that was a “B” competition and after moving up to the “A” grade the following year they reached the semi final of the Corn na nOg Cup, inflicting that heavy defeat on Colaisti Inis Eoghain on the way, before losing to eventual winners St Pat’s Cavan. Last season they reached the quarterfinals of the Brock Cup, but again fell to the Cavan outfit. They topped Group D in the qualifying stages of a three-team group in the Rannafast, with impressive victories over St Mary’s Magherafelt and St Patrick’s Armagh thanks to a late goal from Michael Miller and six points from D Tyrell (five from frees). Managed by Glenswilly man Gary McDaid, they have a large panel to choose from with players such as Darragh McWalters and Sean McDonagh strong at the back, while Christopher Flanagan, Michael Miller, C Morrisson and the reliable D Tyrell sure to play a key part in attackQuite a number of players on both sides have already been selected at U15 and U16 County Development teams and it is fair to say that several of those will be pushing hard for places on the Donegal minor team in two years time. Ulster Colleges competitions are a great way of developing such players, so a good game is envisaged on Wednesday afternoon with the result hanging very much in the balance.Colaisti Inis Eoghain:  Jamie Barr, Tommy Byrne, Peter Doherty, Stephen O Donnell, Ultan Doherty, Darren Gallagher, Darragh Browne, Georgie Kelly, Tony McCleneghan, Mark Coyle, Sean McHugh, Christopher McLaughlin, Caolan Mailey, John Campbell, Joshua Lafferty, Christopher McCormick, Ronan Hartin, Ryan Doherty, Danny McCarron, John Collins, Jonathan McDaid, Ryan McLaughlin, Phil Brennan. St Eunans:  S Dafflan, M Friel, D McWalters, S McDonagh, O Shiels, M Patton, C O Boyle, P Diver, D Tyrell, N O Donnell, M Miller, R Toner, C Morrisson, R Carr, C Flanagan, C McDaid, O Hilley, Ciaran Maloney, Kieran McPherson, Jason Quinn, Cormac Callaghan, Ryan Rainey, Caolan O Donnell, Ronan Dorrian, Cormac Cannon, Owen McFadden, Chris Carr, Kevin Grant, Caolan Toye.Referee Jim McCallion (Tyrone)SAM MAGUIRE TO ATTEND DONEGAL DERBY IN RANNAFAST CUP QUARTER FINAL was last modified: October 23rd, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:inishowen collegesSAM MAGUIRE TO ATTEND DONEGAL DERBY IN RANNAFAST CUP QUARTER FINALSt.Eunan’s Collegelast_img read more