Property sales market ‘not come to a complete standstill yet’

first_imgHome » News » Housing Market » Property sales market ‘not come to a complete standstill yet’ previous nextHousing MarketProperty sales market ‘not come to a complete standstill yet’Zoopla says its latest cities index shows activity down by only 15% week-on-week but paints a gloomy picture for the coming months as sales agreed dip by nearly two thirds, it predicts.Nigel Lewis26th March 202001,090 Views The housing market has not come to a complete standstill yet, Zoopla has claimed, revealing that ‘sales agreed’ have only dipped by 15% week-on-week, and are only 4% down on the same time last year.But this is not likely to last, the figures from Zoopla’s UK Cities House Price Index reveal. It predicts that next month and beyond sales agreed are likely to be reduce by 80%.The index also predicts that, overall, housing transactions are due to dip by nearly two thirds over the next three months as the Coronavirus-induced economic deep freeze takes hold.Zoopla says buyer demand for properties dipped last week by 40% compared to the week before.This takes demand back to where it was a year ago and sadly wipes out the gains the gains enjoyed by the property market following the General Election.People have also been abandoning sales in greater numbers, and the number of fall-through increased by 60% last week compared to the week before, while the number of new buyers in the market has slumped.“The initial impact of external shocks is to reduce consumer confidence and put a brake on housing demand and the number of people moving home, which we can see in our latest figures,” says Richard Donnell (left), Director of Research and Insight at Zoopla.“We do not expect any immediate impact on prices. Beyond this, the outlook for house prices largely depends upon how the Government’s major package of support for business and households reduces the scale of the economic impact.”Read more about Coronavirus. UK Cities House Price Index sales agreed housing market Richard Donnell Zoopla March 26, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

Fitch affirms NLV Financial Corp IDR at ‘A-‘, outlook revised to negative

first_imgFitch Ratings today affirmed the ‘A-‘ Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and ‘BBB+’ senior debt ratings of NLV Financial Corp. (NLVF), and the ‘A+’ Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) ratings of National Life Insurance Company (Vermont)(NLIC) and Life Insurance Company of the Southwest (LSW) – collectively known as the National Life Group (NLGroup). A complete list of ratings follows at the end of this release. The Rating Outlook for all ratings is revised to Negative from Stable.The rating affirmation reflects an updated review of NLGroup’s credit related investment losses, which continued to decline in 2010 and through the first nine months of 2011. The investment portfolio as a whole was in a net unrealized gain position of approximately $300 million at Sep. 30, 2011.Fitch views NLV Corp.’s leverage as moderate, and notes that it has been very stable over the past few years. The financial leverage ratio was 22% at Sep. 30, 2011 compared with 23% at year-end 2010. The group’s total financing and commitments (TFC) ratio is lower than average at 0.3 times (x).The Outlook revision is based on Fitch’s view that earnings and interest coverage will be pressured by the continued low interest rate environment. NLGroup’s reported GAAP pretax operating earnings decreased to $103 million in the first nine months of 2011 versus $109 million for the previous year’s period as a decline in investment income from derivative mark to market changes was not fully offset by reduced credited interest. The company continues to meet target interest margins on its overall book of business, although margins on smaller older blocks of business are under pressure. GAAP interest coverage remains relatively low for the rating category, 4.3x through the first nine months of 2011, and prospects for material improvement are somewhat limited in the current low rate environment.Fitch believes that NLGroup has good liquidity and reasonable financial flexibility. The company holds cash of approximately four times annual pre-tax interest expense at the holding company. No debt is due to mature over the next 10 years. NLG has additional flexibility in its ability to adjust policyholder dividends. The company discontinued its securities lending program in 2010.NLGroup’s statutory capitalization is sound. The combined NAIC risk-based capital (RBC) ratio was approximately 400% as of Sept. 30, 2011 compared to 393% at the end of 2010. The combined RBC is expected to remain near current levels for the full year 2011 and beyond.Fitch continues to be concerned about the group’s underfunded pension plan and its potential impact on financial results over the longer term. In the near term, Fitch expects the lower interest environment to lead to a decline in the funding status. Fitch believes, however, that the group’s funding obligations related to the pension plans are manageable over the next few years.NLGroup had approximately $20 billion in consolidated GAAP assets and $2 billion in shareholders equity at Sept. 30, 2011.Key rating triggers that could lead to a downgrade are:–GAAP and statutory earnings levels remaining near current levels or declining.–Lack of improvement in GAAP EBIT coverage from the current level of 4.3X. (Based on operating earnings)–Financial leverage above 30%.–Combined RBC below 350% on a sustained basis.Key rating triggers that could lead to a return to a Stable Outlook:–Improved GAAP and statutory earnings from current levels.–GAAP EBIT coverage improving to 5x or higher. (Based on operating earnings)–Combined RBC maintained at current levels.–Financial leverage maintained at current levels.–TFC maintained at current levels.The following ratings are affirmed with a Negative Outlook by Fitch:NLV Financial Corp.–IDR at ‘A-‘;–$199 million 7.5% senior notes due Aug. 15, 2033 at ‘BBB+’;–$68 million 6.5% senior notes due March 15, 2035 at ‘BBB+’.National Life Insurance Company (Vermont)–IFS at ‘A+’.–IDR at ‘A’–$200 million of 10.5% surplus notes due Sept. 15, 2039 at ‘A-‘Life Insurance Company of the Southwest–IFS at ‘A+’.Additional information available at ‘ is external)’. The ratings above were unsolicited and have been provided by Fitch as a service to investors.Applicable Criteria and Related Research:–‘Insurance Rating Methodology’ (Sept. 22, 2011).Applicable Criteria and Related Research:Insurance Rating Methodology…(link is external)ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY’S PUBLIC WEBSITE ‘WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM’. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH’S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE ‘CODE OF CONDUCT’ SECTION OF THIS SITE. NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–last_img read more

Novel Baswedan’s attackers found guilty, sentenced to two years, 18 months in prison

first_imgThe attack, which occurred in 2017, completely blinded Novel in the left eye and left him with 50 percent vision in his right eye.After the attack, the police were criticized for their sluggish handling of the case as a string of investigations and a fact-finding team formed by then-National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian — who now serves as home minister — was unable to identify the attackers. The police finally managed to arrest both suspects in December 2019, two and a half years after the attack.Novel previously told the courtroom that he believed the acid attack was related to his work on certain high-profile corruption cases, including a bribery case that implicated former Constitutional Court justice Patrialis Akbar and the e-ID corruption case that involved former House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto.The light sentence demands from the prosecutors had sparked public outcry, with many questioning the prosecutors’ arguments that the defendants “accidentally” threw the acid into Novel’s face. Novel himself called the demands outrageous and urged the court to acquit the defendants because of the trial’s many perceived irregularities.Despite the legal proceedings concerns remain that the two policemen are merely scapegoats and activists have demanded the government set up a new investigation team to reveal the mastermind behind the attack.Topics : Rahmat was given a longer sentence as judges deemed that he was the one who prepared and threw a mixture of battery acid and water on Novel. The judges said that Ronny drove Rahmat on a motorcycle for the attack.Both were found guilty of violating Article 353 of the Criminal Code on persecution causing serious injury or death, which carries a maximum sentence of nine years’ imprisonment upon conviction.The sentence was higher than the one year initially demanded by prosecutors. Both Ronny and Rahmat said they accepted the ruling while the prosecutors said they were considering an appeal.Read also: ‘Far from facts’: Novel Baswedan questions burden of proof ahead of Thursday’s verdict After more than three years of investigations and legal proceedings, the North Jakarta District Court has found two police officers guilty of attacking senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan.”[The panel of judges hereby] declares the defendants guilty of committing a criminal act of planned persecution, which resulted in serious injuries,” presiding judge Djuyamto said in the court on Tuesday night.The court sentenced the two officers, Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulet and Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis, to two years’ and 18 months’ imprisonment, respectively.last_img read more

Count Basie Theatre Names Interim CEO

first_imgBy Mary Ann BourbeauJustine Robertson has been named interim CEO of the Count Basie Theatre and the Count Basie Foundation, Inc.RED BANK – Justine Robertson spent many years commuting three hours to work. Her new commute is 10 minutes, and she couldn’t be happier. But it’s not just the commute making the Connecticut native happy – it’s the job itself. Robertson, who lives in Rumson, has been named interim CEO of the Count Basie Theatre and its fundraising arm, the Count Basie Foundation, Inc.“The Count Basie Theatre is a beautiful, historic building and, coupled with the restaurants in Red Bank, is the mainstay of arts and entertainment in the Two River area,” she said.Ray Moser, chairman of the Count Basie Theatre’s Board of Trustees, and Russ Lucas, chairman of the Count Basie Theatre Foundation’s Board of Directors, announced a realignment of the two organizations and named Robertson interim CEO of both. She began her new position on July 2. The Count Basie Theatre, Inc. is the nonprofit corporation that owns, manages and programs the Red Bank theater. The Count Basie Theatre Foundation is the nonprofit corporation dedicated to fundraising for the theater’s renovation, as well as its cultural and educational programming. Up until now, each organization had its own chief executive.“We believe that this will improve our ability to seamlessly integrate our programming, operations and fundraising,” said Moser.Robertson agrees. 
“I’m thrilled by this structure, bringing the two entities together as one,” she said. “Each has its function but they are also integrated. Hiring one CEO makes the integration much easier.”Mark Hodges, a former board member who has served as the interim CEO of the foundation since July 2011, left to take a permanent position as executive director of the Joseph Fund, a nonprofit multi-ministry foundation in Camden. Numa Saisselin, who has served as CEO of the Count Basie Theatre since 2002, remains as chief operating officer with continued responsibility for the operation, programming and restoration of the theater.While growing up in Hartford, Conn., Robertson’s family owned a chain of movie theaters and she fondly remembers visiting them to watch cartoons as a child. After earning a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Rutgers University, Robertson married and moved to Monmouth County. Her family eventually sold all but one of the theaters. In the early 1990s, her father suggested renovating the last one, the 1937 art deco-style Webster Theatre that her grandfather had built, and using it to host live shows.
“I was a tax director at the time and that was not fun,” she said. “This was the kind of business I could get excited about. It was a very special opportunity my father gave me.”She commuted between her homes in Monmouth County and Connecticut to serve as executive director of the Webster Theatre from 1994 to 2010, where she was in charge of booking, promotions, production and all theater operations. She formed a public/private partnership with the city of Hartford, enabling her to turn the theater into a 1,350-seat performance venue.“I completely immersed myself in the business,” she said. “I sold the theater a few years ago, and I’m very excited to be back in this business.”In the fall of 2011, Robertson’s husband, Lewis, heard that the Basie was looking to hire a new CEO to oversee both arms of the theater. He urged Robertson to apply for the job but she never did. He died unexpectedly a few months ago, and in dealing with her grief, Robertson, who has two grown children, decided to go after the job. 
“I think my husband would be really happy if he knew I was given this opportunity,” she said. “Every time I went back and forth to Connecticut, I would drive by the Count Basie and say I wish my job was here. Now I have that, and I would certainly be open to having this position become a permanent one.”Robertson envisions an expansion of programming, possibly skewing from a 30- and 40-year-old audience toward 25-year-olds.“Although we are very successful with what we have here, I think we can expand on that,” she said.“Younger people have a tendency to go to the theater more often and they will keep going to concerts when they are 35. I also want to concentrate on fundraising and expand our donor base.” Though the Count Basie Theatre has undergone a tremendous aesthetic facelift in recent years, Robertson will oversee the final stages of the $21.5 million renovation as the building’s infrastructure is updated, with renovations to include restrooms, sound equipment and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).“In Justine, we have found a leader with both corporate and theater world experience,” said Lucas. “But more importantly, fundraising is the priority.” Half of the nonprofit theater’s annual $8 million budget is earned from ticket sales; 25 percent comes from theater rentals and other services, and another 25 percent is raised  through charitable contributions from its more than 1,800 members, donors and sponsors.“Justine is a longtime and very well-known member of our community and we’re thrilled we will be spending some time working with her to make the Basie even better,” Lucas said.last_img read more

Thunder hold on to beat Spurs and even series 1-1

first_imgSAN ANTONIO (AP): The Oklahoma City Thunder nearly gave the game away in a wild final sequence that referees acknowledge should have been blown dead before it started. All that matters to the Thunder is that they’re all even with the San Antonio Spurs. Russell Westbrook had 29 points and 10 assists, and the Thunder held on to beat San Antonio 98-97 on Monday night, evening the series at one game apiece when the Spurs failed to score in the final seconds. Kevin Durant added 28 points as the Thunder handed the Spurs just their second home loss of the season, rebounding from a 32-point beating in Game One. With San Antonio trailing 98-97 with 13.5 seconds remaining and Oklahoma City out of time outs, Thunder guard Dion Waiters elbowed Manu Ginobili to get the space needed to inbound the ball. “On the floor, we did not see a foul on the play,” referee Ken Mauer told a pool reporter. “However, upon review, we realised, and we agree that we should have had an offensive foul on the play. It’s a play that we have never seen before, ever, but we feel we should have had an offensive foul on Waiters.” “No, I’m in the game, man, I don’t really know what’s really going on,” Waiters said. “My whole mindset is get the ball inbounds and hopefully we get a foul once the ball the ball gets inbounds, but it was a crazy sequence the last 13 seconds. So we pulled it out, that’s all I care about.” Waiters inbounded to Durant, who was immediately stripped by Danny Green. Patty Mills missed an open three-pointer, LaMarcus Aldridge lost the ball after grabbing the airball and Kawhi Leonard was unable to gather the ball before the buzzer sounded. “I don’t know what it is, to tell you the truth, what type of violation it is,” Ginobili said of Waiters’ elbow. “It’s got to be something. But again, it’s not that play that decided anything. We got the steal, we got the shot, we got an offensive rebound.” Game Three is Friday at Oklahoma City.last_img read more

Darwinism Breeds Bigotry, Arrogance, and Hate

first_imgHow to start a mud volcano: say something that hints at some disagreement with Darwinian evolution.There’s a puzzling sociological phenomenon going on in the world today. These are supposed to be days of tolerance. If you dare to say something derogatory about any politically-correct protected class, you can be hounded out of your job and lose your reputation, even if you said it decades ago. Some internet giants and NGO’s monitor “hate speech” regularly. Without any warning they can scrub accounts they feel step over the line. Other organizations will post lists of ‘hate groups’ to shame them and deny them business. We are all taught to be “tolerant” and to engage in “civil” dialogue, with dire consequences for those who engage in defamatory rhetoric. We recall one unfortunate soul who used the word “niggardly” (a legitimate word meaning “stingy”) and lost his job, because somebody thought he used the “N-word.”There is one group that remains unprotected from the most blatant hate speech found anywhere. That group is Darwin doubters, or Darwin skeptics. It includes creationists and advocates of intelligent design (ID), but is broad enough to include anyone who is not 100% convinced that Darwinian evolution is absolute fact. Darwin skeptics are not necessarily theists or members of any creation group or advocates of intelligent design. If they voice any disagreement with pure materialistic evolution, here is the kind of treatment they can expect. (Note: these are some of the milder examples.)Creation-Evolution Headlines uses Twitter to announce new articles. Many times, people of good will who agree with our positions will “like” or “retweet” our posts. Sometimes, though, a report on something that challenges evolution brings out the pro-Darwin attack dogs in force. We try to respond to honest questions, but we demand civility, and enforce a three-strikes rule for ad hominems and profanity. Occasionally, that rule leads to a thoughtful exchange. Often, though, other atheists and pro-Darwinists get word of the conversation and jump in, interjecting filth and hate. When warned, they pour on more hate! A dogpile ensues, and trying to carry on a rational discussion is like trying to talk to a blowtorch.Many atheists and Darwin attack dogs are actually proud of their hate speech. When called on it or given “Strike one” for violating the rules, they treat this like a badge of honor. If their words were spoken against any protected class, they would be bounced off Twitter faster than you can say “No!” But they not only get away with it, they pass around their favorite profanities to all their friends, none of whom ever call them on it. They add us to their ‘lists’ like “Liars for Jesus” and “Creatards.” We cannot post the worst tweets due to their vulgarity, but here’s a taste:It’s very clear that many of the atheist/Darwinist tweeters do not even read the articles they complain about. Just hearing about something that lumps a person in with “them” (creationists), or seeing something that questions the Darwinian consensus is enough to set them off. They don’t see the irony in their words, because they commit many of the same faults they attack in their enemies:They will lie, and then call you a liar.They will display bigotry, but call you a bigoted creationist who refuses to look at evidence.They don’t understand their own theory, but will call you ignorant.They accuse you of trusting a holy book, but will rely on authority of the scientific consensus.They will make fallacious statements, but accuse you of logical fallacies.They will rush to judgment, then say you don’t use the scientific method.They will say you don’t have any scientific evidence, then ignore the evidence you give them.They demand specific answers, but speak in broad generalities.They will say you don’t understand science, but then use religious arguments.They will call you irrational, but then engage in mockery.They will threaten you, then call you a threat to society.What is it about Darwinism that does this to people? In a sense, you could say that they are acting in accordance with their beliefs. They need to prove survival of the fittest so they can spread their genes. Just like rams butting heads, they go after rivals with vengeance. That would make sense, because they truly believe they are evolved mammals who arose without purpose or mind. One of their best evolutionary strategies, therefore, is to attack and charge. Ironically, though, they don’t see themselves doing this on purpose. They have actually convinced themselves that they are defenders of truth and evidence, and so they feel righteously obligated to stop Darwin skeptics, envisioning them as threats to truth. But when evidence and logic is presented to them, they attack with even more vitriol. This makes sense if they are mere mammals, because Darwinian survival of the fittest is not concerned with truth. The chief value is fitness, which involves removing rivals by any and all means possible. The irony is lost on them.Many will attack the Bible specifically, calling it “tribal superstitions” or worse (so much for religious toleration). Their favorite attack, though, is to call Darwin skeptics “ignorant.” They do this to any Darwin skeptic, even to ones with multiple PhDs like Dembski, Wells and Meyer, categorically denying them a fair hearing just for the crime of doubting Darwin. Intelligent design scientists get the same filth-arrows as young-earth creationists, because they feel their idol, Charles Darwin, has been blasphemed (or might have been; it makes no difference).Social media platforms, with their anonymity, may have made these attitudes more visible and easier to spread, but it’s important to recognize that this attitude of hate and intolerance has gone on for a long time by Darwinians. The vicious attacks against Darwin doubters began soon after The Origin, when Darwin used his X-Club to promote his views (12 Sept 2004). Initially, they pleaded for fairness and freedom of inquiry. Once power was in their sights at the Scopes Trial, their hate really took off. The Discovery Institute writes,It’s one of the most powerful stereotypes out there:Supporters of Darwin’s theory are open-minded champions of free inquiry, while critics of Darwin are intolerant bigots who want to replace the teaching of evolution with religious dogma.Ever wonder where this awful stereotype came from?Look no further than an event that took place 93 years ago this Saturday. That’s when high school teacher John Scopes was convicted of teaching human evolution in Dayton, Tennessee.Indeed, some modern Twitter atheists seem to have taken lessons from Darwinians in that hot summer of 1925:Darrow to Bryan at the Scopes trial: “You insult every man of science and learning in the world because he does not believe in your fool religion.”[a newspaper reporter]: “he [William Jennings Bryan] is still engaged in battling earnestly for organized ignorance, superstition, and tyranny . . . He has illuminated vividly for the rest of us the essentially bigoted position of himself and his followers, and the degree of religious intolerance which they will undoubtedly enforce upon the country if they ever get the chance.”Dudley Field Malone at the Scopes Trial: “We do not fear all the truth they can present as facts. We are ready. We stand with progress. We stand with science. We stand with intelligence. We feel that we stand with the fundamental freedoms in America. We are not afraid. Where is fear? We defy it!” Turning and pointing a finger at William Jennings Bryan, he cried, “There is fear!” According to a report, “the crowd went out of control – cheering, stamping, pounding on desks – until it was necessary to adjourn for fifteen minutes to restore order.”Anti-creationist vituperation became a virtual art form for decades afterward. Some of it is so over-the-top, it would make good comedy, but the haters are really serious:Horatio Hockett Newman, 1932: “There is no rival hypothesis except the outworn and completely refuted idea of special creation, now retained only by the ignorant, the dogmatic, and the prejudiced.”“…to require teachers to give serious consideration to creationism is as unjustified as requiring them to teach other doctrines – such as astrology, alchemy and phrenology…” (Stephen G. Brush, The Science Teacher 4/1981, p. 33)Isaac Asimov, in a fund-raiser letter for the ACLU: “These religious zealots neither know nor understand the actual arguments for – or even against – the theory of evolution. But they are marching like an army of the night into our public schools with their Bibles held high.”Densely-packed loaded words from Michael Ruse (July 2002): “Why should science journals give space to intelligent design (ID) or any other crackpot pseudo-theory, manufactured to cover the nakedness of biblical literalism in scientific dress to get around the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state?”Some well-known atheistic Darwinians like Richard Dawkins have actually encouraged their followers to use mockery and ridicule (see article in World Magazine). In that particular “Reason Rally” in 2012, Dawkins targeted Catholics, but to him and many atheistic Darwinists, there’s little difference: being a non-atheist of any stripe is enough to make one a target of Darwinist hate. Christian, Jew, creationist, ID advocate, theistic evolutionist, Darwin skeptic, even a well-meaning reporter who doesn’t know any better and uses the wrong terminology – it makes little difference. Merely doubting Darwin earns what we might call “The Darwin Sneer.” At best, the target gets a look of disdain, and is treated differently from then on. At worst, the hateful rhetoric and mudslinging comes with a vengeance that nearly incites violence.No worries. He hasn’t replied to me & the FACT is he’s wrong so it doesn’t matter if he does reply or lies more. He can’t suddenly become “not wrong”. I was done in November of 2016 with these imbeciles. They hate women, POC and the LGBTQ community because of an imaginary deity. That’s basically the end of the discussion. Morons made up a god thousands of years ago in order to control other people who know it’s all bulls***. They’ve never been content minding their own business. They want smart people to be forced to live by their idiotic myth. And I’m done with that. I assume he’s American because half of them are dumber than dirt. They have a crappy education system and allow con artists to run around telling people that magic and superstition are true things. And then they use a COMPUTER to spread their nonsense.The Darwinist hatemongers also jump to the conclusion that anybody who doubts Darwin must also be anti-gay, anti-transgender, anti-abortion, racist, homophobic,  – in short, a person representing everything the Left despises. That’s because Darwinism is a key foundation to all that the Left believes. It’s a package deal. Few are the atheistic Darwinians who are politically conservative. Read their Twitter pages and you will see many of them trashing Ken Ham one moment and mocking Donald Trump the next.Dr Bergman has published 3 books of true stories of careers ruined by Darwin bigotsIn chapter 2 of Silencing the Darwin Skeptics (volume II of the Slaughter of the Dissidents series), Dr Jerry Bergman addresses “The Name-Calling Problem.” He points out that name-calling is the first stage in marginalizing a group before persecuting them. The Holocaust was preceded by years of hate speech against Jews, but there have been other cases.In fact, one of the tell-tale signs of discrimination in action is when any group is broadly described in all-inclusive terms, i.e., all are ignoramuses, religious nuts, pseudo-science advocates, etc. This is no different than claiming all African Americans are lazy, shiftless bums. Most Americans know this is inaccurate and will not tolerate such stereotyping when it is directed towards a protected class of citizens. Where no allowance for differences within any group exists, and when all members of a group are referred to disparagingly, discrimination is usually afoot.Bergman supplies many examples of the name-calling tactic used against Darwin skeptics in the media, in blogs, in periodicals, book reviews and academia. Having a PhD or being a renowned expert is no protection against the Darwin Sneer: doubt Darwin, and expect humiliating attacks. At the beginning of the chapter, Bergman conducted a non-scientific poll to see what would turn up in Google searches about Darwin skeptics. His list of 48 frequently-found terms included incompetent, ignoramus, stupid, liars, inept, IDiots, mentally retarded, creatard, dolts, dummies, simpletons, nitwits, silly, senseless, ludicrous and other terms of derision. He tabulated search results that included fear-mongering terms like dangerous, a threat, and bigots, Others committed the association fallacy, lumping Darwin skeptics with “Flat Earthers.” Needless to say, anybody so smeared loses respect or the right to be heard in the minds of many. So who are the real bigots?Good read on the damaging consequences of Darwinism on human behaviorWe can predict some atheists responding to this article, calling it the work of “crybabies” whimpering about not getting any respect, adding that nobody who “denies science” deserves any respect. Thus, they will demonstrate further that they not only have no shame or conscience, but have no substantive arguments to make in defense of Darwin. Victimhood has nothing to do with it. We don’t take it personally anyway, because the haters don’t even know the person they’re talking to; it’s their Pavlovian response to any and all Darwin doubters. They hear the dog whistle that a creationist is on the line. They come running over, and dogpile on with boilerplate hate.Why does Darwinism do this to people? Why can’t they do better than engage in hate speech? Why can’t they defend their idol with reason and logic? Their behavior reflects badly on them, not their targets. The irony of “survival of the fittest” is lost on them. Rightly do we point out that according to their own worldview, their behavior amounts to glorified head-butting. Rightly do we point out, too, that Darwinism breeds hate and violence. A doctrine that glorifies selfishness, with no foundation for morality— what would you expect? You get what you pay for: pride, selfishness and hate. Christians will envision Satan clapping his hands at his most successful scheme for deluding God’s creatures and turning them against their Maker, fooling them into thinking they have gained knowledge of good and evil. In my experience (and I have observed the creation-evolution debate for decades), the Darwinians are the worst at name-calling. There may be a few creationists who have engaged in it here or there, but for the most part, creationists are the ones calling for a fair-sided, civil discussion about evidence. Those creationists who are Christians are taught by the Bible to be gentle toward all and to love their enemies. None of the major creation groups or ID organizations I know endorse hate speech or name-calling. They may go after bad ideas strongly, but do not attack individuals. At CEH, we use cartoons and use the Darwin dictionary for rhetorical purposes to make a point. Darwin—now long dead—has long ago morphed into an icon for his ideas, so portraying him in a cartoon image makes a point about Darwinism rather than about his personal life. That’s very different from smearing a particular living creationist as a “creatard” or attacking all creationists as “liars” and “nincompoops.” We laugh at the latest just-so stories, but do not disparage the human worth of the storytellers. Jesus mocked behaviors, too: he called the Pharisees “blind guides” who “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel,” but he warned against calling someone “Thou fool.” Certainly none on the creation side should ever use profanity and vulgar expletives. If they do, they deserve to be admonished. We’ve seen atheists and Darwinians on Twitter, however, take great pleasure in trying to outdo one another applying obscene terms and four-letter words to creationists.Jesus also warned, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6). In that picturesque analogy he did not call Mr. Pharisee X a pig. The analogy was generic; the audience knew what he meant; you can waste your time on some opponents, just like swine will have no appreciation for pearls when their intent is to attack you in the mud. Wisdom demands seeking out those willing to listen even a little bit, but recognizing the point when it does more harm than good. Our hope with Twitter debates is not to persuade the attackers, but to show followers watching quietly on the sidelines who has the best arguments, and who is acting civil. Atheists: if you are listening, we have some advice to help you. Stop making our point for us. You’re only hurting your case. Make our debate challenging by acting respectable, respectful, being good listeners, sticking with the topic at hand, and focusing on the evidence and logic. We would love to hear you explain—using Darwinian mechanisms alone—how logic evolved. Achieve that, and we may act dumbfounded! 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A toast to software freedom

first_img11 October 2005Getting your hands on free – and legal – software is now as easy as toast.Thanks to the Shuttleworth Foundation, free software is available at centres throughout South Africa via a remarkable device known as the Freedom Toaster. An innovative self-contained “bring ‘n burn” facility, the Toaster allows people to bring their own blank CDs and DVDs to make copies of the software they want. The programmes available on the Toaster are all open source – software that has been built by a global community of volunteers who make the source code freely available. This is in contrast to proprietary software, which is owned by a single company and requires users to pay license fees.Through most of the history of computing, software was developed and freely passed around as source code – open source. But the last two decades have seen the rise of closed source software, which is owned and sold like a commodity, and cannot be altered by the user.This has been compared to welding the bonnets of cars shut so people can’t perform their own car maintenance.Open source software can perform any imaginable computing task and is widely available on the internet, mostly free of any cost. And with open source, piracy is not a problem. In fact, people are encouraged to share and spread the software as much as they like.The open source licence states that you may copy and redistribute the software even after modifying it. This gives users a freedom they can’t get from proprietary software, and allows businesses and entrepreneurs around the world – particularly those in developing countries – to take advantage of the digital revolution. Enter the ToasterThe Freedom Toaster project began as a means of overcoming the difficulty in obtaining Linux and open source software in South Africa, where the easy downloading of large pieces of software is just not possible.It’s also designed to make open source less scary and more accessible to all. Before, people were nervous to use the software because it seemed too complicated, obscure and confusing. It was also notoriously difficult to get reliable and complete distributions that were easy to install and upgrade.The Freedom Toaster does away with all these problems.And it’s easy to use. Using a touch screen, users choose what software they want from the Toaster. The screen displays more information on the specific programme, including how many CDs will be needed to copy it. The Freedom Toaster also provides a host of on-screen information to teach people a little more about the world of free and open software.The softwareSoftware available on the Freedom Toaster includes numerous Linux and FreeBSD operating systems for Intel-based computers, which include large selections of open source programmes.For those with a Windows operating system there are three great CDs: Open Office version 1.1.4, an alternative to MS Office; the Open CD, which has a number of Windows programmes; and the Fire Monger CD, with the Firefox web browser and Thunderbird e-mail client.Freedom Toasters can be found in Grahamstown, East London and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape; Bloemfontein in the Free State; Johannesburg, Kempton Park, Diepkloof and Pretoria in Gauteng; Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal; Potchefstroom in North West; Knysna, Cape Town and Stellenbosch in the Western Cape; as well as in Namibia.For more information, visit the Freedom Toaster reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Local Sporting Champions Grant

first_img27 January 2011 Apply now for a Local Sporting Champions Grant Do you know a Local Sporting Champion?Are you, or do you know, a dedicated young athlete, coach or official participating in a state or national sporting championships? Are you aged 12-18 years old travelling further than 250km return for a state or national championships?If yes, then you or your team could be eligible for a Local Sporting Champions grant to help meet costs such as uniforms, travel, accommodation and equipment.Grants of $500 per individual and $3,000 per team are available for young people participating in a nominated National Sporting Organisation-endorsed state or national sporting championships or a School Sport Australia national championship.This program is an Australian Government initiative managed by the Australian Sports Commission and supports 7,000 young people each year.The grants are designed to help athletes, coaches and officials achieve their sporting goals and are distributed across all 150 federal electorates of the national parliament.Applications are open, so apply now!Applications must be submitted prior to the commencement of the nominated championships.For further information, including application forms and eligibility criteria, go to: read more

Spotted Terntank Welcomes Second Chemical Tanker

first_imgImage Courtesy: TerntankOn September 12, 2016, Swedish tanker owner Terntank took delivery of M/T Ternfjord – the second in a series of four 15,000 dwt chemical tankers with a dual-fuel two-stroke engine being built by China’s Avic Dingheng Shipbuilding. M/T Ternfjord left the shipyard one day later to load cargo destined for Europe.Terntank earlier said the vessel will be chartered to ExxonMobil, Norway, distributing refined oil products from ExxonMobil’s refinery in Slagentangen, Norway to customers along Norway’s coastline.The 11,374 gross ton vessel features a length of 147 meters and a width of 22 meters.M/T Ternfjord was named on March 26, 2016, together with its sister vessel, M/T Ternsund.On June 28, the company took delivery of M/T Ternsund, intended for distributing refined oil products from NEOT’s refinery in Gothenburg, Sweden.The remaining two newbuilds will be delivered at the end of this year and beginning of 2017, respectively.last_img read more

New federal food guide may be out of reach for most Canadians

first_imgThe fruit-and-vegetable-heavy fare touted in the new federal food guide may be too expensive — or perhaps just not enticing enough — to easily form the basis of most Canadians’ diets, a new report suggests.Researchers at Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph found over 52 per cent of consumers surveyed said they face barriers in adopting the guide’s recommendations.More than 26 per cent of people cited affordability, with others blaming taste preferences, lack of free time, dietary and cultural restrictions and a lack of availability in their area.The survey generally found a lack of reliance on Canada’s Food Guide for advice, though 74 per cent of respondents were aware of its 2019 upgrade.The guide ranked as the sixth most popular source of nutrition information among respondents, following friends and family, social media, magazines and cookbooks.“I would say that many Canadians are struggling with the concept of how the food guide, the plate they see on the pamphlet, connects with their own reality and frankly, Canadian agriculture,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a food researcher at Dalhousie and lead author on the report.“It’s great to celebrate this ideal but if it’s out of reach, if many Canadians feel it’s out of reach, how good is it?”Using a series of test plates, researchers found that switching from the 2007 food guide to the 2019 upgrade would save an average Canadian family of four 6.8 per cent on annual food costs.But that number is not predicted to stay stable.The report cautioned that Canadians’ rapidly changing diets, fluctuating food costs and availability of produce could make the new recommendations less affordable over the next few years.The number of vegans, vegetarians and “flexitarians” — people consciously eating less meat — is on the rise in Canada, now totalling at around 6.5 million people, a group roughly the same size as the population of the Greater Toronto Area.The report detailed how fruit and vegetable prices are increasing faster than the price of meats.If the trend continues as more people cut meat from their diets and turn to plant-based proteins, demand for and price of fruits and vegetables could increase further. That could price people out of the food guide’s suggested diet.While a lot can change in the world economy over two years, Charlebois said the projections spell trouble for future food security in Canada, where most produce is imported and prices fluctuate.“Over time, we do believe that there’s going to be an increasing number of Canadian households that will become food insecure, if they are to follow the new food guide,” Charlebois said.Health Canada said the department welcomes the researchers’ study and is currently reviewing it.It said Canadians had complained they had trouble following the recommended servings and sizes in the previous guide, and that the cost of food was considered in the revision.“This is why the new Food Guide is less prescriptive — talking about proportions rather than portions — and its recommendations can be adapted to different dietary preferences,” it said in a statement.It also noted the guide is just one of many components of approaching healthy eating.“The findings of the study could potentially help inform our efforts to promote broad awareness and use of the Food Guide among Canadians,” it said.Charlebois said the science-based guide should be reviewed more frequently, drawing from the expertise of economists, sociologists and historians to better reflect the realities people face when building their diets.Working with the agriculture sector is also important, Charlebois said, in order to assess whether Canada’s production capacity lines up with what the food guide recommends people eat.last_img read more