31 Jul
2019

A series of offensive remarks made by a disabled M

first_imgA series of offensive remarks made by a disabled MP about other minority groups and women should end his political career, according to members of a disabled women’s collective.Sisters of Frida was among disabled groups and activists who spoke to Disability News Service (DNS) this week following revelations that Labour’s Jared O’Mara, now aged 35, had posted a string of homophobic, misogynist and racist comments on websites when he was in his 20s.The disabled MP was forced to resign from the Commons women and equalities committee after he apologised and admitted posting the comments, which had emerged through the political blog Guido Fawkes.But new concerns then emerged about further offensive comments O’Mara (pictured) was alleged to have made to a woman in a nightclub just seven months ago, comments he is reported to have denied making.Labour subsequently suspended him from the party and launched an inquiry into that incident, which is also likely to investigate the historic online comments.There has been little sympathy for O’Mara from prominent disabled campaigners this week.Eleanor Lisney, one of the founders of the disabled women’s collective Sisters of Frida, said they believed that O’Mara’s political career should now be over, although it was “up to his constituents” to decide on his future.But she added: “We don’t think he should be an MP if he has those kind of views.“He should know from lived experience how it feels like to have those kind of remarks said about you.”She said Sisters of Frida had ruled out any engagement with O’Mara, and added: “We don’t want to have anything to do with him.”She said members of Sisters of Frida were “disappointed” and “really surprised” that O’Mara managed to become an MP after previously making such misogynist, racist and homophobic comments.She said: “We can’t accept that kind of attitude. It’s not whether he said it 15 years ago or whether he said it now. It’s just not acceptable.”Lisney said Sisters of Frida believed the claims made by the woman who said O’Mara had directed offensive remarks at her in a nightclub earlier this year.And she said O’Mara had compounded the seriousness of those remarks by then calling the woman a liar.Stephen Brookes, a coordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, supported Labour’s decision to suspend O’Mara.He said that, as a disabled person, O’Mara should have been more aware of other equality issues.He said: “We must all remember that it wasn’t just a single throwaway remark or misguided joke.“If negative comments had been made about him or disability by one of the groups he has demeaned there would have been an outcry from all of us.“Seems we have someone who is only really sorry because they have been caught out. His suspension is absolutely justified.”Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, said: “Jared O’Mara is entitled to due process and a fair hearing.“We will know after that whether he can be an important voice for disabled people in parliament.”She added: “Diversity and inclusion should be part of all politicians’ core values. Politicians need to be sensitive to all groups in society. The key words are dignity and respect.“All MPs need to get some good quality training which involves role play and self-assessment, not just a lecture.”Rebecca Boot, a disabled Labour party member, told DNS: “Jared O’Mara said some inexcusable things, which no one should be defending.“He says he no longer holds those views, but he needs to follow that up with substantive action.“All minority communities have experienced people just paying lip service to ‘change’ and are rightly sceptical of that.“O’Mara has been a good advocate for disabled people in parliament, highlighting the barriers in getting to elected office, issues with the practices of the House of Commons and the damage that austerity policies are inflicting on disabled people.“If he can prove that he has changed, that he no longer holds the homophobic and misogynist views that he did as a 21-year-old, and if the latest allegations are false, then I would welcome his continued involvement in disability politics.“However, we cannot throw women and LGBT+ people under the bus by allowing him to speak for disabled people if the pattern of his behaviour does not hold with his words.”Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, told DNS on Tuesday: “Anybody that makes any derogatory and discriminatory remarks must be held to account.”She said Labour was launching an investigation into the comments, but she added: “We must allow due process.”The following day, a Labour party spokeswoman confirmed that the investigation had been prompted by the allegations concerning the remarks made seven months ago.But she said it was likely that the investigation would also examine the historic comments he made on social media.She confirmed that O’Mara had been suspended from the party but would still be expected to vote on party lines.Earlier in the week, women and equalities minister Justine Greening said, in a letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn: “Violent, sexist and homophobic language must have no place in our society, and parliamentarians of all parties have a duty to stamp out this sort of behaviour wherever we encounter it, and condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”She said the comments showed “the deep and persistent stain on Labour’s ability to represent women, the LGBT community and wider society”.Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable had called on Labour to withdraw the whip from O’Mara for his “completely unacceptable behaviour”.He said: “People must have confidence that MPs will stand up against prejudice. As MPs we cannot let ourselves fall short of those standards, particularly in our dealings with the public.”After the first – misogynistic – comments emerged, and he was forced to resign from the committee, O’Mara had released a statement saying that he was “deeply ashamed of the comments I made online” and that he understood “why they are offensive and sincerely apologise for my use of such unacceptable language”.He said: “I made the comments as a young man, at a particularly difficult time in my life, but that is no excuse.”He added: “Misogyny is a deep problem in our society. Since making those comments 15 years ago, I have learned about inequalities of power and how violent language perpetuates them.”The allegations have emerged only months after O’Mara won a shock election victory over former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg in the Sheffield Hallam seat.There were hopes after his election that he would provide a strong new voice in parliament for disabled people.He said he wanted to highlight the impact of austerity on disabled people, and said Tory ministers had “completely torn up the welfare system” which had supported disabled people.He also accused the government of introducing policies inspired by “eugenics” in the hope that disabled people would “suffer and die”.O’Mara later told DNS that he wanted to see the House of Commons draw up a policy on bullying and harassment by MPs to prevent the kind of behaviour he had witnessed since joining parliament.And he said he wanted to “get some decorum and professionalism in the chamber and get it into the 21st century” and try to “make it a comfortable environment and make it an inclusive environment”.*The idea that different forms of oppression can combine and overlap, for example with the discrimination experienced by black women, or by gay disabled menlast_img read more

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31 Jul
2019

Voters can track millions flowing into local races Do they give a

first_imgIt still feels sadly accurate. And yet, progress has been made. Unfortunately, it’s largely limited to the technical side; now you can skip the public records room or registrar’s office and just log in from your living room, like Bush. And yet, few voters are exposed to this information and, arguably, even fewer care. Bush has spent decades leading this horse to water, but he can’t make it drink.Well, hell. That’s unfortunate. You could make a credible argument that unchecked money in politics is the No. 1 issue that should dominate both media coverage and inform voters’ political opinions — much more so than endorsements, which are mere tokens of political advocacy and back-scratching. A candidate’s record of action — and, don’t forget, inaction — is important, but must be matched against his or her donor profile. A candidate’s professed priorities are interesting, but have to be weighed against the professed priorities of his or her major donors. Very few people give tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars for altruistic reasons. That’s an investment. And investors are looking for a return. In this city, they’ve gotten it. Didyou hear? Another poll has been leaked to the media. You’re not going to believe this, but the candidate supported by the group that sponsored this poll is the candidate who comes out on top (this seems to be a pattern, whether the groups favor London Breed or Mark Leno). Your humble narrator wrote before about how the media could stand to undergo bit of introspection on how to handle partisan polls. And the one salient detail across every last publicly released poll is the one detail the media fails to properly highlight: No one is cracking 31 percent, if that — meaning the eventual winning candidate has a hell of a lot of second- and third-place votes to pick up under ranked-choice voting. Yes, these polls purport to tally such votes for a ranked-choice winner — but that’s a predictive double bank shot. What these polls seem to indicate is that it’s an open race. Which, frankly, only figures to goose big donors into making more of those big donations. This most recent poll was undertaken by the pro-Breed firefighters union, and placed their chosen candidate atop by a seven-point margin. Fair enough. But who paid for this poll? It’s difficult to know.    And that’s because everybody loves firefighters. Police envy the unabashed public adulation they receive. Call the firefighters and, very rarely, do they burn down your house. But call the cops and people end up getting ticketed or arrested — or so much worse. The firefighters’ glow extends to those who simply funnel them funds. Voters might not be thrilled if a tech baron mailed them materials or knocked on their doors telling them who he thought they should vote for. But firefighters? Everyone loves firefighters. To wit, Evan Williams, the former CEO of Twitter and boss at Medium, dropped $50,000 on the firefighters in support of Breed. (An aside: Williams has been active in this cycle. He also gave $50,000 to It’s Our Time, a pro-Breed Political Action Committee, and dropped another $50,000 on the Edwin M. Lee Democratic club to boost Breed — and, yes, the name of our departed tech- and business-friendly former mayor is now affixed to an outfit that exists largely to serve as a conduit for tech and business money. Of note, tech honchos from Zendesk and Automattic have ponied up $150,000 for the Rose Pak Democratic Club, named for Lee’s deceased frenemy, to support her preferred candidate, Jane Kim. This town.)Chris Larsen, the CEO of Ripple and, per Forbes, “The Richest Person in Cryptocurrency,” donated $49,000 to the firefighters to back Breed. The city’s association of Realtors kicked in $20,000. The chief product officer of Facebook and his wife kicked in $18,000. Here’s $25,000 from Verizon; do you hear me now?  But, as you can see here, the firefighters’ No. 1 donor, with $150,000 (so far), is “Progress San Francisco.” This is the Ron Conway-affiliated committee the “Godfather of Silicon Valley” recently sent out an e-mail blast on behalf of, noting that it “accepts unlimited personal & corporate contributions” and “will contribute to the other 100 percent positive independent expenditure committees in support of London Breed for Mayor.” (That e-mail ended up in the Chronicle; Chronicle columnist Willie Brown was on to something when he noted that the “e” in “e-mail” stands for “evidence”). Perusingthe donors to Progress San Francisco, we find Benchmark Capital general partner Matthew Cohler ($80,000); Twitch Interactive CEO Emmett Shear ($20,000), Instagram CEO Kevin York Systrom ($20,000) and others. Progress San Francisco sent $60,000 the firefighters’ way on May 7 — and, for that matter, on May 10 pushed $80,000 toward the “Affordable Housing for All Yes on D” committee. But thanks to reporting rules, the source of those funds won’t have to be disclosed until May 24. And much more money may flow by then. That means a flurry of activity from this and other Independent Expenditure committees late in the election will effectively cloak donors’ identities until the last vote has very nearly been cast. Back in Larry Bush’s living room, he can find all of this information in a matter of moments (and so can you; if you do nothing else prior to casting a vote, visit the Ethics Commission’s website and see who’s paying for what. Did you know R.J. Reynolds has already pumped some $12 million into fighting this city’s proposed ban of flavored tobacco? Now you do.) When a visitor stands to leave Bush’s Castro abode, Izabel the dog barks and growls: A watchdog for the watchdog. Bush laughs, but, like this dog, the bodies he fostered to rein in campaign finance in this town have proven to be glassy-eyed and nearly toothless. Still, he’ll keep on following the money. “And now the only one who can fire me,” says the 72-year-old retiree, “is me.”    Tags: Elections • mayor’s race • politics Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Retirement, for Larry Bush, looks a lot like work did. The former journalist, politico, fixer and government apparatchik is seated on a recliner in his Castro district living room, his feet up; his tiny dog, Izabel, sitting across his legs; and a Macbook in his lap. He’s following the money. Well, someone has to. “His watchdoggery is unrelenting … No one else is doing the job,” reads a profile of Bush. “What of the fourth estate? Well, most reporters have become inured to the pervasive influence of political money. For them, lucre is as much part of City Hall as the mortar and the marble. That leaves Larry Bush, rooting around all alone in the musty public records room at the Registrar of Voters Office, poring over campaign finance records.”That passage was written 23 years ago. center_img 0%last_img read more

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31 Jul
2019

LEE Gaskell has joined Salford City Reds on loan u

first_imgLEE Gaskell has joined Salford City Reds on loan until the end of the season.The 22-year-old half back has made 43 appearances for the Club since making his debut in 2010 but has found chances limited in 2013.Coming the other way is Stuart Howarth, 23, who is a hooker / loose forward.He was the only Reds player to feature in every one of the club’s 29 matches last season, mostly as a hooker but as scrum half towards the latter end of the campaign.Saints Head Coach Nathan Brown said: “At this stage of his career Lee needs to be playing more regularly and with chances limited at present it made sense for him to go out on loan.“We’re looking forward to watching him develop and I’m sure he will do a good job for Salford.“Stuart has shown in his time at Salford that he is a capable and experienced player and will prove more than adequate cover for a multitude of positions.“He will be put straight into the Good Friday squad and we are confident he will do well.”last_img read more

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31 Jul
2019

ITS Saints v Hull FC this evening in Round 9 of t

first_imgIT’S Saints v Hull FC this evening in Round 9 of the First Utility Super League XXI season.As with all our home games this year, we have a host of entertainment both on and off the field to bring you the ultimate matchnight experience.Game Schedule:Red Vee Cafe Bar – Open at 5pm.Tackling Machine – Try your hand at Trojan’s tackle machine opposite the Red Vee Café Bar.Turnstiles – Open 6.30pm.Club Face Painters – These will be operating in the Typhoo and the Hattons Solicitors Family Stands, as well as the Totally Wicked North Stand from 6.30pm … come along and get your face painted in Saints colours for free!Inflatables – We have a range of inflatables in the South West concourse close to the Karalius’ Bar kiosk and in the North Stand concourse for our Junior fans to enjoy!Frankfurters! – The new range continue to be on sale in several kiosks around the concourse.Matchday Pies – A new tasty range will be on sale in several kiosks around the concourse. These include Steak and Pepper, Tikka, Peri Peri and Pulled Pork.Kiosk 5 – Now has Saints Gold and Fosters on tap.Boots – Your favourite furry mascot Boots will be in attendance in all the concourse areas from 6.30pm onwards so look out for him and say hello!Players – We will have two members of the first-team squad who will be down in the concourses to meet fans and sign autographs – these will be in the South-West concourse area at around 7pm, North Stand concourse 7:15pm and the South East concourse 7:30pm. Look out for the life-size players cut-outs in the South West & North Stand to mark the spot where they will be!Cheerleaders – Will be performing at 7.40pm.Steve Prescott Foundation – Kobi and Taylor Prescott will lead the teams out at kick off to celebrate this years Steve Prescott MBE Cup.Isaac Haggerty – there will be a minute’s applause for young Isaac just before kick-off.Half Time – Crossbar Challenge in association with ODs Designer Clothing.Friday’s match is sponsored by Trojan Workwear with the match ball supported by the Steve Prescott Foundation.Team NewsKeiron Cunningham has named his 19-man squad for the match. You can find out more here – and a statistical preview is here.TicketsTickets for the game are available from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park or by calling 01744 455 052. Price details are here.There will be cash turnstiles on the Hattons Solicitors West, McLoughlin and Harvey East and Totally Wicked North Stands.If you require a Solarking South Stand ticket then you need to head to the Ticket Office.Saints SuperstoreThe Saints Superstore is open from 9am until kick off and for half an hour after full time. The eighth edition of our fantastic match programme ‘Strength in Numbers’ will be on sale.It features an exclusive interview with Shannon McDonnell as well we a look back at recent events at Langtree Park. There’s also the latest news and views from around the club, our Academy and community teams. Today’s programme is available on the concourse as well as in the Saints Superstore and is sponsored by Warrington Audi.TravelIf you haven’t planned your trip to Langtree Park, then take a look at our Travel Section for the best ways of getting to the stadium.Matchday Car Parking details are here.OD’s Crossbar ChallengeThe half time crossbar game returns with participants having the chance to win £100 in ODs vouchers.If you want to take part email the club at keepmeupdated@saintsrlfc.comlast_img read more

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31 Jul
2019

Collectively close to £8000 has been raised by

first_imgCollectively, close to £8,000 has been raised by ‘bids’ alone for St Helens Autism Support and Andy Reid’s Warrior Challenge.And that figure is set to increase when proceeds from the sales of the special Autism shirt, worn at the Magic Weekend, and the red ‘warm-up’ tops for the Warrior Challenge, are announced.Saints Chief Executive Mike Rush said: “We’re really glad to have such a generous community of people who want to show their support for the charities. That means a lot to the club.“Autism is a cause close to my heart and we are well on track to match the figure we raised last year.“I’m also delighted that the Warrior Challenge auction has gone so well. Andy is an inspiration to all.”The players’ Magic Weekend shirts were all sold in aid of St Helens Autism Support; a charity who offers free support to the families of people on the autistic spectrum.And the first team’s ‘warm up’ tops worn before their win over Widnes were auctioned for the Warrior Challenge in honour of the memory of six men who lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan.last_img read more

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30 Jul
2019

Wilmington police investigating officerinvolved shooting on N Front St

first_img It happened around 1:30 p.m. on N. Front Street near the post office by Chop’s Deli.Wilmington Police spokeswoman Linda Thompson says someone told a police officer that a man was walking around the area with a gun.A short time later, witnesses told police they heard gunshots and saw the suspect running towards the New Hanover County Library.Related Article: Fight over brownie leaves 14-year-old boy deadA sheriff’s deputy at the library spotted the suspect and saw him bleeding from the face with a gun in his hand. The deputy took him into custody. Law enforcement interviewed several people at the scene.EMS took the suspect to the hospital. No one else got hurt.The State Bureau of Investigations has been called in to investigate the officer involved shooting. WPD says they will release more information as it becomes available. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police are investigating after a man was hospitalized with a gunshot wound after an encounter with a Wilmington police officer in downtown Wilmington.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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30 Jul
2019

Historic Wilmington Foundation executive director retiring

first_img President of the Board of Trustees Walker Abney and fellow board members all expressed praise for Edwards for his work and dedication the Foundation, and the historic preservation movement in Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region.Abney said Edwards has been the face of the Foundation and preservation in the community for years and he will be missed.  Edwards, who celebrates thirteen years as director in November, is the longest serving executive in the organization’s 51 history. Historic Wilmington Foundation has been the voice and advocate for historic preservation in Wilmington and the region since 1966. In fact, during Edwards’ tenure the mission was redefined and the service area broadened to include Brunswick and Pender Counties.The Foundation instituted the first revolving fund to save historic properties in North Carolina and has utilized the fund and preservation easements to save one hundred and one properties since 1967.  The Foundation has also been an aggressive advocate for good preservation practices for local government and property owners, and has offered an extensive array of educational programs.Related Article: ALE operation leads to 18 arrests, 2 Wilmington bars issued violationsAbney stated that “the Foundation is in its strongest financial position in many years and the organization has built an impressive array of programs to educate the public about the advantages of preservation.”   New initiatives begun by Edwards include the partnership with the New Hanover County Schools to implement the award winning Tar Heels Go Walking guide program, the annual Most Threatened Historic Places announcement and the effective traveling exhibit, used to educate the region’s citizens about the value of our historic built environment. The Foundation also has reopened its architectural salvage operation after a ten-year hiatus and it has achieved incredible results in just two short years.Edwards moved to Wilmington from Richmond, Virginia, and is now in his thirty second year in the preservation field. He has worked for local and statewide non-profit preservation organizations, as well as seven years in the Main Street downtown redevelopment field.  He completed his master’s degree in heritage preservation at Georgia State University in 1986. Before moving into historic preservation he had worked in higher education for almost eleven years and was in college textbook sales and publishing for two years.Abney stated that “the board will move to form a search committee to fill the director’s position.  George has strengthened the organization and is leaving us in a very good position to attract a highly qualified candidate who can build on our accomplishments and move us to new heights.  The board is grateful to George for his years of service.” WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The executive director of the Historic Wilmington Foundation for more than 10 years has decided to step down.George Edwards has been with HWF since 2004 and plans to retire in December.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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30 Jul
2019

Insurance company sets up in town helps residents with claims

first_imgAllstate Insurance has a team set up at Home Depot in Wilmington to help residents file claims for damage from Florence. (Photo: Kylie Jones/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Allstate Insurance is trying to make the claim process easier on residents with damage from Florence. Teams are stationed throughout North Carolina to help residents get help as soon as possible.The insurance company is set up at the Home Depot on Eastwood Road. They can file claims, write insurance checks and help customers set up home inspections. Allstate says they want to make the process quick. They have even brought therapy dogs out to different sites to keep customers calm during this crazy time.- Advertisement – “Depending on the person’s policy, and specific coverage, and specifics of the claim, for some things we might be able to instantly deposit money for additional living expenses, if that is someone that is on the policy and covered by the claim,” said Allstate spokesman Adam Polak.Polak says they want to be easily accessible for residents once they get home. He says they will stay here until all their customers are taken care of.last_img read more

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30 Jul
2019

Free school lunches continue for Pender County students

first_img Food and nutrition services has extended the program for students in certain counties including Pender, Duplin and Onslow.Students there can eat at no cost until November 30. School lunch (Photo: USDA) SOUTHEASTERN NC (WWAY) — While students in some areas impacted by Hurricane Florence are no longer receiving a free school lunch, that’s not the case in Pender County.After the storm, the USDA National School Lunch Program provided free meals for students.- Advertisement – last_img

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30 Jul
2019

Airtel Rwanda staff offers handson training to RTUC students

first_imgAdvertisement In line with the company’s social responsibility mission of education empowerment and unlocking potential, Airtel Rwanda staff have offered a hands-on training to Business Information Technology students from Rwanda Tourism University College (RTUC) during a visit to the telecom headquarters and Network centers.Apart from gaining practical experience out of the classroom, hands-on trainings have been seen to aid students narrow their professional focus; a step towards career shaping.Commenting on the training, Airtel Rwanda Managing Director, Mr. Teddy Bhullar said, “Classroom education blended with hands-on training are key in producing all round graduates who will fill the future workforce of Rwanda.” – Advertisement – He added, “We hope that the tour and hands-on training you have received today will widen your understanding of Information Technology. The Airtel family is also delighted to be the preferred company of choice to facilitate this training.”Also speaking on behalf of the students, Lecturer and Webmaster, Mr. Kudan Kumar said, “It is a lot of added value to have our students receive a hands-on experience and see for themselves what they study in class. This will help them have a more rounded experience and elevate their understanding of the theoretical concepts.This training now becomes the second after Airtel recently hosted another for students from Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center South (IPRC-South). The team focused on Networks and Information Technology.“We want to empower the young generation with skills that will help shape their career. Our primary focus is in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education,” Bhullar concluded.last_img read more

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29 Jul
2019

Huawei P9 Flagship Set to Launch on March 9

first_imgHuawei P9. At the back two cameras are visible on the top corner along with autofocus sensors and dual-LED flash. Image Credit: VentureBeat Advertisement The Huawei P9 is the upcoming development P-series to the Huawei P8 that was launched last year in April, which was a great success. We hope that the P9 will provide the same high quality and affordability.According to Android Pit, Huawei teased a launch event taking place in Berlin, Germany, on March 9. The post shows a glass of beer being poured, with text below the image reading “Beer”. It seems that alongside the launch, we can expect some beer.The poster shows beer being poured in a glass with a text below it reading “Beer.” Image Credit: Huawei Inc.As per the latest rumours and leaks around the internet, the new P-series is said to come in Three Variants of P9: the P9, P9 Lite and P9 Max. – Advertisement – The new P-Series are rumoured to feature a Full HD display resolution, a dual rear camera setup featuring 12-megapixel sensor, 32GB storage space, 3900mAh battery, USB Type-C port connectivity, 3.5mm jack, Kirin 955 processor a chip that Huawei itself is developing, leaked benchmarks suggest that this is even faster than Samsung’s powerful Exynos 7420. Question is, could the Huawei P9 be one of the fastest phones on Android?Of most interest is the suggestion that the devices will pack in a whopping 6GB of RAM. This, alongside the company’s native Kirin 950 processor would make the range a daunting entry onto the 2016 market for Huawei, Android Pit reports.The dual-camera setup has been corroborated by the newly leaked images said to be showing the Huawei P9. At the back two cameras are visible on the top corner along with autofocus sensors and dual-LED flash, although the purpose of the second camera is not yet known, it might likely be used for wide angle capture.At the back two cameras are visible on the top corner along with autofocus sensors and dual-LED flash. Image Credit: VentureBeatAccording to Venture Beat, Huawei first employed a dual-camera, dual lens arrangement in the Honor 6 Plus; in that handset, the additional sensor-lens combo enabled a few neat tricks like post-capture refocus, simulated aperture adjustment, and filter application and now the second generation of that technology will be one of the highlights of this P-series family, we’re told.last_img read more

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29 Jul
2019

Yahoo Mail App Gets New Features to Help Users Identify Callers

first_img(Image Credit: Android Central) Advertisement Sunnyvale-based internet firm, Yahoo Inc. has launched Caller ID and photo upload features for its ‘Yahoo Mail app’ that will help users identify a caller from their email contact list and also access their phone camera roll on a desktop.The new Caller ID feature will show a user who is calling even if the number is not saved in your phonebook because Yahoo Mail uses contact information from emails, the company said in a statement.As soon as a user contacts you, the contact’s name will surface with the call and Yahoo Mail will update names in your call history or when you dial. – Advertisement – To enable this feature, simply go to Settings, then Phone, forward to “Call Blocking and Identification”, toggle the switch for Yahoo Mail and save the settings.Once the new photo upload feature is enabled, your recent camera roll photos will be instantly available when accessing your Yahoo Mail account on desktop.To enable this feature user’s need to open the Yahoo Mail app on iOS or Android, go to Settings, then, Photo upload and tap the “Upload photos” toggle.The new features are now available and users can update Yahoo Mail app in the App Store (iOS 4.13) and Google Play (Android 5.13).Source: Gadgets Nowlast_img read more

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29 Jul
2019

PREVIEW Man City v Spurs

first_img[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hankfully, the Euro 2016 Qualifiers are out of the way, at least for the foreseeable future – they certainly weren’t kind to the column’s P&L.Mind you it’s the first time a match has been abandoned due to a drone. Hopefully, that’s one element of the game that won’t catch on. Vanishing spray YES, drones NO.For the time being though it’s me droning on….. the Premier League is back on Saturday and I thought I’d take an early look today given that I am going to be looking at the racing on Friday and Saturday in the daily column with Future Champions Day at Newmarket on Friday and Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.It’s to the Etihad first though and the Saturday lunchtime kick off between Man City and Spurs.Man City v SpursPremier League12.45pm, LIVE ON BT SPORTHEAD TO HEAD(Maximum 10 matches)Jan 2014 Premier Tottenham 1-5 Man CityNov 2013 Premier Man City 6-0 TottenhamApr 2013 Premier Tottenham 3-1 Man CityNov 2012 Premier Man City 2-1 TottenhamJan 2012 Premier Man City 3-2 TottenhamAug 2011 Premier Tottenham 1-5 Man CityMay 2011 Premier Man City 1-0 TottenhamAug 2010 Premier Tottenham 0-0 Man CityMay 2010 Premier Man City 0-1 TottenhamDec 2009 Premier Tottenham 3-0 Man CityLast season this fixture resulted in a 6-0 demolition job by City who were a goal up after just 14 seconds.Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is adamant that result will have no bearing on Saturday: “It’s history and it’s a different game, different players. It’s not important now to think in the past. It’s important to look forward. I don’t have any concerns about these results.”It’s hard though to see a result other than City winning again and current league positions of 2nd and 6th to be confirmed.City have actually made a really solid start to the season in their attempt to defend their title but it’s been slightly overshadowed by Chelsea’s near perfect start.City have drawn matches with both Chelsea and Arsenal and inexplicably lost at home to Stoke but since then the ship has been steadied and before the break for the internationals they won their last two games – both away games against Hull and Aston Villa.Spurs come into this on the back of a 1-0 win against Southampton who themselves are in good form but the win, courtesy of a goal from Christian Eriksen, ended a sequence of four games without victory for Spurs.With home advantage I’m taking City to see off Spurs and be leading at both HT and FT – that permutation can be backed at around 6/5.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-50 points)BACK MAN CITY HT/FT at around 6/5 for 12 points with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: LOSS 8.86 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

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29 Jul
2019

PREVIEW Burnley v Man City

first_img[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter four days of Cheltenham excess – not to mention a small loss – it’s back to business in the Premier League for today’s recommendation.With Chelsea playing on Sunday against Southampton, there’s a chance for Man City to put a modicum of pressure on the league leaders if they can beat Burnley in the tea-time kick off.A win would put Man City within two points of the lead – but crucially Chelsea will have two games in hand.So, in other words, nothing other than a win will keep City’s hopes alive in a season where their main problem has been in defence. They have now conceded in eight of their last 10 league games and also conceded two against Burnley in the reverse fixture at the Etihad in which Burnley emerged with a well earned point.Burnley are right in the thick of the relegation battle and would surely welcome another point against City, especially as Manuel Pellegrini has the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from.Burnley v Man CityPremier League5.30pm LIVE ON SKYHEAD TO HEAD(Maximum 10 matches)Dec 2014 Premier Man City 2-2 BurnleyApr 2010 Premier League Burnley 1-6 Man CityNov 2009 Premier League Man City 3-3 BurnleyDec 2001 League Div 1 Man City 5-1 BurnleyAug 2001 League Div 1 Burnley 2-4 Man CityAug 1999 League Cup Burnley 0-1 Man CityAug 1999 League Cup Man City 5-0 BurnleyMar 1999 League Div 2 Burnley 0-6 Man CityOct 1988 League Div 2 Man City 2-2 BurnleyJan 1991 FA Cup Burnley 0-1 Man CityI’m looking at a ‘steadier’ after Cheltenham so ‘over 2.5 goals’ at around 4/6 with Star Sports will hopefully do the job nicely – to a 12 point stake.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-50 points)BACK OVER 2.5 GOALS for 12 points at around 4/6 with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: PROFIT 105.92 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

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29 Jul
2019

STARTERS ORDERS Sunday

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Sunday 5 March HORSE RACINGCLICK HERE FOR OUR CHELTENHAM 2017 ANTEPOST PRICES2.20 SedgefieldJac The Legend 3/1 > 9/42.40 LeopardstownYoucannotbeserious 3/1 > 2/13.00 HuntingdonWeststreet 4/1 > 11/43.30 HuntingdonAntartica De Thaix 7/2 > 2/13.40 LeopardstownGreat Field 5/2 > 13/8 Don’t Touch It 11/4 > 9/44.20 SedgefieldWolf Sword 6/1 > 7/2LIVE FOOTBALLPremier League13:30 Sky Sports 1 / Sky Sports 1 HD / Sky Sports Ultra HD8/13 Tottenham Hotspur 9/2 Everton 3/1 DRAWScottish FA Cup Quarter-Final15:00 BBC One Scotland / BBC One Scotland HD8/13 Aberdeen 9/2 Partick Thistle 3/1 DRAWPremier League16:00 Sky Sports 1 / Sky Sports 1 HD / Sky Sports Ultra HD9/1 Sunderland 2/7 Man City 5/1 DRAWBET WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

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29 Jul
2019

STARTERS ORDERS Weds Movers Specials

first_imgWelcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Wednesday 2 MayDAILY SPECIALS HORSE RACING3.35 WolverhamptonGoing Native 14/1 > 8/13.45 AscotEirene 11/2 > 100/305.30 DundalkNing Bay 16/1 > 7/17.10 BrightonRainbow Jazz 10/1 > 11/2CHAMPIONS LEAGUEUEFA Champions League Semi-Final 2nd Leg19:45 BT Sport 26/4 Roma 8/5 Liverpool 31/10 DRAWBET NOW starsports.bet or 08000 521 321last_img

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28 Jul
2019

Rices CNST awards SmalleyCurl Funds for Innovation

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: Jade Boyd PHONE: (713) 348-6778 E-MAIL: jadeboyd@rice.edu Rice’s CNST awards Smalley/Curl Funds for Innovation Inaugural awards fund new studies in medical diagnostics, drug delivery Rice University’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) today awarded its first grants from the Smalley/Curl Fund for Innovation to faculty members Michael S. Wong, Rebekah Drezek and Jason Hafner. The one-year, $15,000 grants are designed to provide faculty with the seed funds they need to develop novel ideas that have the potential of impacting all areas of nanotechnology. CNST’s innovation fund was established in 2003 in honor of Richard Smalley, University Professor, the Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics; and Robert Curl, University Professor, the Kenneth S. Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor of Natural Sciences and professor of chemistry. Professors Smalley and Curl won the 1996 Noble Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of fullerenes, the third major form of carbon after diamond and graphite. ”Seed funding is absolutely pivotal in generating the preliminary data required to secure large federal grants,” said Drezek, the Stanley C. Moore Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. ”Jason Hafner and I tremendously appreciate the support provided by the Smalley/Curl Fund for Innovation in helping us get our new project off the ground.” Jason Hafner, assistant professor of physics and astronomy and assistant professor of chemistry, and Drezek are studying the synthesis, functionalization, and optical properties of gold nanorods so that they may be used in biomedical applications. They aim to develop bright, biocompatible contrast agents that can ”light up” cells that are expressing specific molecular markers indicative of early precancerous changes. With the seed money from the Smalley/Curl Fund for Innovation, Drezek and Hafner will evaluate targeted nanorods as molecular probes for reflectance confocal microscopy and optical coherence tomography—two real-time, high-resolution optical imaging techniques. ”These funds are very helpful, especially when one is starting a new research group and developing new approaches to current problems,” said Hafner. Wong, assistant professor of chemical engineering and assistant professor of chemistry, is developing methods for the self-assembly of hollow microcapsules by mixing inert nanoparticles and polymers at room temperature. Wong’s lab has learned to make these hollow capsules with ”patchy” surfaces, and they can attach molecules to specific locations on those surfaces. Placing molecules on flat surface in a desired pattern is difficult, and it is even more difficult to do so on a curved surface. Wong’s method will make it easier to pattern molecular coatings on the capsule material. Ultimately, he hopes to engineer these patchy capsules for targeted drug delivery and other advanced encapsulation applications. ”I am thrilled to receive this honor in the first year of its inception, and I look forward to carrying out research with my students to achieve the vision set out by Rick Smalley and Bob Curl for their award,” said Wong. CNST officials say Rice, the Houston business community and the general public all stand to benefit from the innovation funding provided by the Smalley/Curl Fund for Innovation. ”These small grants are designed to bridge the gap between ideas and proof of concept,” said CNST Director Wade Adams. ”In so doing, they allow our faculty to compete for more substantial external funding, and that, in turn, will lead to major new technologies for Houston’s economic growth. ”Nanotechnology will create entirely new industries in much the same way that developments in information technology did 30 years ago,” said Adams. ”Who knows which of these bright ideas will turn into Houston’s next Compaq or Texas Instruments? To ensure that Houston doesn’t miss out on future opportunities, CNST continues to build its endowment for the Smalley/Curl Fund and to search for new ideas that have a high probability of impacting the local economy.” ### last_img read more

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28 Jul
2019

Cheap asphalt provides green carbon capture

first_imghttp://news.rice.edu/files/2015/01/0112_ASPHALT-4-WEB.jpgRice University researchers, from left, Gedeng Ruan, chemist James Tour and Yilun Li, show the raw asphalt, held by Ruan, and the powder, held by Jalilov, that has the ability to capture carbon dioxide from natural gas streams. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just over 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is highly ranked for best quality of life by the Princeton Review and for best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here. http://news.rice.edu/files/2015/01/0112_ASPHALT-1-WEB.jpgA scanning electron microscope image shows the fine pores in a carbon material created at Rice University to capture carbon dioxide from production streams at natural gas wellheads. The material sequesters carbon dioxide molecules at normal wellhead pressures and lets them go when the pressure is released. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice University) Share1Editor’s note: Links to images for download appear at the end of this release.David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduCheap asphalt provides ‘green’ carbon capture Rice University chemists’ product aims to enhance natural gas production at sea HOUSTON – (Jan. 7, 2015) – The best material to keep carbon dioxide from natural gas wells from fouling the atmosphere may be a derivative of asphalt, according to Rice University scientists.The Rice laboratory of chemist James Tour followed up on last year’s discovery of a “green” carbon capture material for wellhead sequestration with the news that an even better compound could be made cheaply in a few steps from asphalt, the black, petroleum-based substance primarily used to build roads.The research appears in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.The best version of several made by the Tour lab is a powder that holds 114 percent of its weight in carbon dioxide. Like last year’s material, these new porous carbon materials capture carbon dioxide molecules at room temperature while letting the desired methane natural gas flow through.The basic compound known as asphalt-porous carbon (A-PC) captures carbon dioxide as it leaves a wellhead under pressure supplied by the rising gas itself (about 30 atmospheres, or 30 times atmospheric pressure at sea level). When the pressure is relieved, A-PC spontaneously releases the carbon dioxide, which can be piped off to storage, pumped back downhole or repurposed for such uses as enhanced oil recovery.“This provides an ultra-inexpensive route to a high-value material for the capture of carbon dioxide from natural gas streams,” Tour said. “Not only did we increase its capacity, we lowered the price substantially.” He said they tried many grades of asphalt, some costing as little as 30 cents per pound.Tour’s goal is to simplify the process of capturing carbon from wellheads at sea, where there’s limited room for bulky equipment. The ability of A-PC to capture and release carbon over many cycles without degrading makes it practical, he said.The paper’s lead authors, postdoctoral associate Almaz Jalilov and graduate student Gedeng Ruan, and their Rice colleagues made A-PC by mixing asphalt with potassium hydroxide at high temperature; they turned it into a porous carbon with a lot of surface area: 2,780 square meters per gram. That material captured 93 percent of its weight in carbon dioxide. Further experiments showed processing A-PC with ammonia and then hydrogen increased its capacity to 114 percent.Tour said the lab is continuing to tweak the material but noted that it’s already better for carbon capture than other materials in current use. Amine-based materials now used by industrial facilities like power plants to absorb carbon dioxide are expensive and corrosive and can only capture about 13 percent carbon dioxide by weight. Materials in development based on metal organic frameworks are far more expensive to produce and don’t show as great a selectivity for carbon dioxide over methane, he said.The paper’s co-authors are graduate students Chih-Chau Hwang, Desmond Schipper, Yilun Li, Huilong Fei and Errol Samuel and lab assistant Josiah Tour, all of Rice. Tour is the T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of materials science and nanoengineering and of computer science and a member of the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.The Apache Corp. funded the research. MI SWACO-Schlumberger and Prince Energy provided asphalt samples.-30-Read the abstract at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/am508858xFollow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated Materials:Tour Group: http://www.jmtour.comRichard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology: http://cnst.rice.eduImages for download: http://news.rice.edu/files/2015/01/0112_ASPHALT-3-WEB.jpgRice University researchers Gedeng Ruan, center, with chemist James Tour, right, and Yilun Li, in the background at left, prepare to test a sample of their carbon dioxide-capturing powder. The material drawn from inexpensive asphalt at Tour’s Rice lab holds carbon dioxide under pressure and releases it for storage or other uses when the pressure is relieved. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)center_img http://news.rice.edu/files/2015/01/0112_ASPHALT-2-WEB.jpgEach grain of a powder drawn from asphalt has the ability to capture more than its own weight in carbon dioxide under pressure. The material invented at Rice University is intended to separate carbon dioxide from streams at natural gas wellheads. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University) AddThislast_img read more

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28 Jul
2019

Flat boron is a superconductor

first_imgShareEditor’s note: Links to images for download appear at the end of this release.David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduFlat boron is a superconductorRice University scientists predict 2-D material – no longer theoretical – has unique properties HOUSTON – (March 30, 2016) – Rice University scientists have determined that two-dimensional boron is a natural low-temperature superconductor. In fact, it may be the only 2-D material with such potential.Rice theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson and his co-workers published their calculations that show atomically flat boron is metallic and will transmit electrons with no resistance. The work appears this month in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.The hitch, as with most superconducting materials, is that it loses its resistivity only when very cold, in this case between 10 and 20 kelvins (roughly, minus-430 degrees Fahrenheit). But for making very small superconducting circuits, it might be the only game in town.The basic phenomenon of superconductivity has been known for more than 100 years, said Evgeni Penev, a research scientist in the Yakobson group, but had not been tested for its presence in atomically flat boron.“It’s well-known that the material is pretty light because the atomic mass is small,” Penev said. “If it’s metallic too, these are two major prerequisites for superconductivity. That means at low temperatures, electrons can pair up in a kind of dance in the crystal.”“Lower dimensionality is also helpful,” Yakobson said. “It may be the only, or one of very few, two-dimensional metals. So there are three factors that gave the initial motivation for us to pursue the research. Then we just got more and more excited as we got into it.”Electrons with opposite momenta and spins effectively become Cooper pairs; they attract each other at low temperatures with the help of lattice vibrations, the so-called “phonons,” and give the material its superconducting properties, Penev said. “Superconductivity becomes a manifestation of the macroscopic wave function that describes the whole sample. It’s an amazing phenomenon,” he said.It wasn’t entirely by chance that the first theoretical paper establishing conductivity in a 2-D material appeared at roughly the same time the first samples of the material were made by laboratories in the United States and China. In fact, an earlier paper by the Yakobson group had offered a road map for doing so.That 2-D boron has now been produced is a good thing, according to Yakobson and lead authors Penev and Alex Kutana, a postdoctoral researcher at Rice. “We’ve been working to characterize boron for years, from cage clusters to nanotubes to planer sheets, but the fact that these papers appeared so close together means these labs can now test our theories,” Yakobson said.“In principle, this work could have been done three years ago as well,” he said. “So why didn’t we? Because the material remained hypothetical; okay, theoretically possible, but we didn’t have a good reason to carry it too far.“But then last fall it became clear from professional meetings and interactions that it can be made. Now those papers are published. When you think it’s coming for real, the next level of exploration becomes more justifiable,” Yakobson said.Boron atoms can make more than one pattern when coming together as a 2-D material, another characteristic predicted by Yakobson and his team that has now come to fruition. These patterns, known as polymorphs, may allow researchers to tune the material’s conductivity “just by picking a selective arrangement of the hexagonal holes,” Penev said.He also noted boron’s qualities were hinted at when researchers discovered more than a decade ago that magnesium diborite is a high-temperature electron-phonon superconductor. “People realized a long time ago the superconductivity is due to the boron layer,” Penev said. “The magnesium acts to dope the material by spilling some electrons into the boron layer. In this case, we don’t need them because the 2-D boron is already metallic.”Penev suggested that isolating 2-D boron between layers of inert hexagonal boron nitride (aka “white graphene”) might help stabilize its superconducting nature.Without the availability of a block of time on several large government supercomputers, the study would have taken a lot longer, Yakobson said. “Alex did the heavy lifting on the computational work,” he said. “To turn it from a lunchtime discussion into a real quantitative research result took a very big effort.”The paper is the first by Yakobson’s group on the topic of superconductivity, though Penev is a published author on the subject. “I started working on superconductivity in 1993, but it was always kind of a hobby, and I hadn’t done anything on the topic in 10 years,” Penev said. “So this paper brings it full circle.”The work was supported by the Office of Naval Research and by the Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The researchers utilized the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center supported by the Department of Energy Office of Science, and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Supercomputing Resource Center supported by the Department of Defense.-30-Read the abstract at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b00070Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related Materials:Yakobson Research Group: http://biygroup.blogs.rice.eduGeorge R. Brown School of Engineering: http://engr.rice.eduImages for download: http://news.rice.edu/files/2016/03/0402_SUPER-2-web-1sjicvt.jpgRice University scientists have determined that two-dimensional boron is a natural low-temperature superconductor. It may be the only 2-D material with such potential. From left: Evgeni Penev, Alex Kutana and Boris Yakobson. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for best quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/AboutRiceUniversity. AddThiscenter_img http://news.rice.edu/files/2016/03/0402_SUPER-1-web-1ysmuqe.jpgElectrons with opposite momenta and spins pair up via lattice vibrations at low temperatures in two-dimensional boron and give it superconducting properties, according to new research by theoretical physicists at Rice University. (Credit: Evgeni Penev/Rice University)last_img read more

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28 Jul
2019

Federal student loan program doesnt need more regulations Baker Institute expert says

first_imgShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.eduFederal student loan program doesn’t need more regulations, Baker Institute expert says HOUSTON – (Dec. 20, 2018) – More regulations would only make the existing federal student loan programs more complicated, according to an expert in the Center for Public Finance at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.Credit: 123RF.com/Rice UniversityJoyce Beebe, a fellow in public finance, said the federal government and Congress should focus on simplifying and consolidating existing programs. She outlined her insights in a new report, “The Current Student Loan Landscape and Recent Developments.”At the end of 2017, 44 million Americans collectively owed $1.4 trillion on student loans, according to Beebe’s report.“Although the statistics vary slightly across different data sources based on student loan providers, the vast majority are federal student loans,” she wrote. “Most of the $1.4 trillion balance was accumulated within the last decade; according to a study by the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Education, the student loan balance was $687 billion at the end of fiscal year 2009, which means the outstanding loan balance has essentially doubled since the financial crisis.”Around the last quarter of 2009, student loans also surpassed auto loans and credit card debt as the second-largest household debt for American families, exceeded only by home mortgages, Beebe said. In the 2015-2016 academic year, 37 percent of undergraduate students used federal student loan programs to borrow an average of $19,000, a Congressional Budget Office study concluded. Graduate students amassed much more debt, the CBO reported, with 40 percent of grad students borrowing an average of $63,000 (including what they borrowed during their undergraduate years).But a Federal Reserve Board study expanded beyond federal student loans to include other borrowing channels used to finance college expenses, including credit cards, home equity lines of credit, auto loans and borrowing from relatives. The study found that in 2017, more than half of young adults under 30 who attended college borrowed to finance their tuition, with average debt between $20,000 and $25,000.There is no shortage of proposals to change the current federal student loan program.“The Trump administration proposed an overhaul of the Income-Driven Repayment programs system in the FY 2019 budget,” Beebe wrote. “The administration’s plan calls for the consolidation of the various repayment plans into one that has different repayment terms (15 years for undergraduate students and 30 years for graduate students for loan forgiveness), while capping monthly payments at 12.5 percent of discretionary income. In addition, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) will be eliminated.”Congress has also taken different approaches to improving the system. In 2016, several representatives introduced the Relief for Underwater Student Borrowers Act (H.R. 5617) and Student Loan Tax Debt Relief Act (H.R. 2429), which would essentially exclude discharged student loan debt from taxed income so that borrowers would not have to pay taxes on these forgiven loans, Beebe said. Neither of these proposals have gone anywhere on Capitol Hill.On the other hand, the PROSPER Act (H.R. 4508, also known as the House Republican plan) proposed ending loan forgiveness and imposing a cap on total payments. This 542-page proposal called for a standard 10-year repayment plan and one income-based plan, discontinuing the PSLF program for new borrowers; it emphasized empowering families and students to make informed decisions about student loans. This plan was never voted on, but a portion of it became the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (H.R. 1635), which passed the House in early September. That bill would require student loan recipients to receive counseling every year, as opposed to the current system requiring counseling only once when students take out their loans. It would also mandate counseling for Pell Grant recipients and parents borrowing money to finance their children’s education.The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 also made an important change to the tax law on canceled student loan balances, Beebe said. Prior to the TCJA, if a borrower died or became permanently disabled, the Department of Education would forgive the student loan but the family was required to report the forgiven amount as income. The TCJA changed the rules to allow discharged student loans to be excluded from taxable income under these circumstances. To prevent abuse, a doctor must certify disability, and approval is subject to a three-year monitoring period.“We do not need more regulations to make the existing federal student loan programs more complicated, Beebe concluded. “Instead, the effort should focus on simplifying and consolidating existing programs. Overly generous programs such as the PSLF need to be tightened to avoid disproportionally benefiting higher income groups. Furthermore, students and their families are more likely to make good decisions if they are better informed about the costs and benefits of college education, including options for financial aid, employment prospects, risks, potential debts and repayment responsibilities.”From the government’s perspective, because borrowers with certain characteristics may have higher risks of default, there may be a need for policies that focus on addressing obstacles these borrowers encounter or difficulties that prevent them from making informed decisions, Beebe said. “These policies will lead to positive outcomes in terms of increased government revenue, manageable amounts of loans and ideal levels of students’ education investment,” she wrote.For more information or to schedule an interview with Beebe, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.-30-Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute.Follow the Baker Institute’s Center for Public Finance via Twitter @Baker_CPF.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Report: https://www.bakerinstitute.org/media/files/files/f34ecd01/bi-report-121418-cpf-studentloans.pdfBeebe biography: www.bakerinstitute.org/experts/joyce-beebeBaker Institute Center for Public Finance: www.bakerinstitute.org/center-for-public-finance.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.  AddThislast_img read more

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