Ireland ready to legislate to overcome the bullies

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts: Ireland ready to legislate to overcome the bulliesOn 28 Sep 2004 in Ireland, Personnel Today Seven engagement survey myths and how to bust themMonitoring employee sentiment will be vital in helping organisations chart their recovery from the coronavirus crisis, but this needs to… The Irish Government has indicated it will bring in stronger legislation tocombat workplace bullying if a new body set up to examine the problemrecommends it.Frank Fahey, minister for labour affairs, announced the establishment of an expertadvisory group on bullying in the workplace earlier this month.Fahey has described bullying as a definite workplace hazard, but acceptedthat there were no scientific statistics on the incidence of workplacebullying.“For some time, I have been concerned at the loss of work days,ill-health effects, including stress, the workplace difficulties and generaldysfunctional work cultures caused by bullying and the resulting stress.“I want the experts to make recommendations to identify effective responsesto bullying so as to produce tangible improvements in workplaces,” Faheysaid.The Health and Safety Authority in Irelandcurrently operates an anti-bullying unit that co-ordinates the state’s responseto allegations of workplace bullying by referring complainants to theappropriate agencies. However, that has been met withlimited success.Fahey said the Government needed “to take stock” of where it wason its strategy and “consider introducing preventative practices andprocedures” to address the challenges arising from bullying.The expert group is due to report back its findings to the minister withinthe next three months.By Mike Berry Immigration minister: Get your sponsor licence applications in nowThe minister for future borders and immigration has advised employers wishing to continue to recruit skilled workers from abroad next…last_img read more

Foraging behaviour of King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) in relation to predictable mesoscale oceanographic features in the Polar Front Zone to the north of South Georgia

first_imgMarine predators are thought to utilise oceanic features adjusting their foraging strategy in a scale-dependent manner. Thus, they are thought to dynamically alter their foraging behaviour in response to environmental conditions encountered. In this study, we examined the foraging behaviour of King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) breeding at South Georgia in relation to predictable and stable oceanographic features. We studied penguins during their long post-laying foraging trips during December 2005 and January 2006. For this investigation, we undertook a simultaneous analysis of ARGOS satellite-tracking data and Mk 7 Wild Life Computers Time Depth Recorder (TDR) dive data. To investigate correlations between foraging behaviour and oceanographic conditions, we used SST data from January 2006 from MODIS satellite AQUA. To determine changes in search effort, first passage time (FPT) was calculated; for analysis of dive behaviour, we used several dive parameters that are thought to be reliable indicators of changes in foraging behaviour. King Penguins appeared to target predictable mesoscale features in the Polar Front Zone (PFZ), either a warm-core eddy in the PFZ or regions of strong temperature gradients at oceanic fronts. Two different trip types could be distinguished: direct trips with a straight path to one foraging area at the edge of an eddy or at a thermal front, and circular trips where birds foraged along strong thermal gradients at the northern limit of the PFZ. It is likely that both trip types were a direct consequence of prey encounter rates and distributions, both of which are likely to be associated with these oceanographic features. Circular trips often included passages across the centre of an eddy where birds made deep foraging dives, but remained only a short time in the eddy, possibly because prey were too deep. All birds showed Area Restricted Search (ARS) at scales of <10 km. The two trip types had different ARS patterns, with clear ARS hotspots for direct trips and several ARS hotspots over the whole duration of the trip for circular trips. Dive behaviour had clear relationships with the changing water temperature and the time of day, presumably in response to different prey distribution. Especially for direct trips, dive behaviour showed significant differences within and outside of ARS hotspots. Thus, King Penguins appear to target predictable mesoscale features in the PFZ. They use ARS in different patterns to exploit the environment and adjust their foraging strategy and diving behaviour depending upon conditions they encountered. Diving behaviour showed correlations to ARS patterns, especially for direct trips, which may represent a favourable foraging strategy. The presence of predictable oceanic features allows King Penguins to focus their foraging effort, presumably allowing them to increase their foraging success and decrease their diving effort. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Macronutrient supply, uptake and recycling in the coastal ocean of the west Antarctic Peninsula

first_imgNutrient supply, uptake and cycling underpin high primary productivity over the continental shelf of the west Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). Here we use a suite of biogeochemical and isotopic data collected over five years in northern Marguerite Bay to examine these macronutrient dynamics and their controlling biological and physical processes in the WAP coastal ocean. We show pronounced nutrient drawdown over the summer months by primary production which drives a net seasonal nitrate uptake of 1.83 mol N m-2 yr-1, equivalent to net carbon uptake of 146 g C m-2 yr-1. High primary production fuelled primarily by deep-sourced macronutrients is diatom-dominated, but non-siliceous phytoplankton also play a role. Strong nutrient drawdown in the uppermost surface ocean has the potential to cause transient nitrogen limitation before nutrient resupply and/or regeneration. Interannual variability in nutrient utilisation corresponds to winter sea ice duration and the degree of upper ocean mixing, implying susceptibility to physical climate change. The nitrogen isotope composition of nitrate (δ15NNO3) shows a utilisation signal during the growing seasons with a community-level net isotope effect of 4.19 ± 0.29‰. We also observe significant deviation of our data from modelled and observed utilisation trends, and argue that this is driven primarily by water column nitrification and meltwater dilution of surface nitrate. This study is important because it provides a detailed description of the nutrient biogeochemistry underlying high primary productivity at the WAP, and shows that surface ocean nutrient inventories in the Antarctic sea ice zone can be affected by intense recycling in the water column, meltwater dilution and sea ice processes, in addition to utilisation in the upper ocean.last_img read more

Oxford Charity Asylum Welcome fights Home Office’s proposed New Plan for Immigration

first_imgOrganisations working with asylum seekers and refugees have reacted with concern and alarm. Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, has condemned the Plan as “unjustly differentiat[ing] between the deserving and undeserving refugee”.  Asylum Welcome has held four Zoom meetings with refugees and asylum seekers and one with supporters and volunteers to explain the proposals, listen to concerns, and encourage possible proposal response ideas. Goldring states that the charity will “seek primarily to give voice to people with lived experience of the asylum system”. He also promises further action against the plan, vowing to respond “through a range of channels, directly and through networks, alliances and media” before the end of the consultation period on 6th May.  For the first time ever, an asylum seeker in the UK will be branded “legal” or “illegal” based on their route of arrival. Asylum seekers entering the country via “illegal means” – having passed through a “safe country” before reaching the UK – will face the Home Office’s “every effort” at removal. Even those “illegal arrivals” who successfully claim refugee status will be “regularly assessed for removal” and find their access to benefits and family reunion rights limited.  Described by Home Secretary Priti Patel as “the most significant overhaul of the asylum system ‘in decades“, the New Plan for Immigration vows to launch tougher measures against “illegal immigration” while rewarding “legal immigration” achieved through resettlement schemes.  To challenge the Home Office’s proposed New Plan for Immigration, Oxford-based charity Asylum Welcome is providing Zoom consultation sessions, encouraging people to write to MPs, and soliciting ideas for collaborative action against the proposed policy changes. The plan, published on 24th March, is undergoing an open consultation until 6th May.  These “fair but firm” measures, claims Patel, will deter people smuggling and human trafficking and relieve the current pressure on the UK’s asylum processing system. However, Patel’s definition of asylum seeker legality based on means of entry has been refuted by a UNHCR spokesperson, who has noted that the 1951 UNHCR Refugee Convention does not “oblige asylum seekers to apply in the first safe country they encounter”.  In Oxford, local charity Asylum Welcome is taking measures to challenge the plan and encouraging other members of the public to do likewise. The largely volunteer-run organisation provides a range of practical services including immigration and asylum advice, educational, language, and IT support, a food bank, and a gardening project. A volunteer at Asylum Welcome working together with client during an employment advice session. Image credit: Asylum Welcome Asylum seekers’ claims of persecution and their age will undergo closer scrutiny, and people smugglers will face harsher sentences. The plan also promises to streamline the process of asylum appeals and fast-track deportations.  In response to the Plan’s punitive measures against “‘illegal immigration’”, Asylum Welcome has underlined its rejection of “the two-tier system for people being treated as legal and illegal”, pointing out that refugees often have no choices apart from “‘illegal’” means of entry to the UK in the face of harm or persecution.  Members of the public interested in participating in Asylum Welcome’s efforts to respond to the Plan are invited to email [email protected] Asylum Welcome also encourages those concerned about the Plan to write to their MPs or contribute to the consultation on the UK Government’s website, and provides guidelines for both.  Mark Goldring, Director of Asylum Welcome, acknowledges the need to reform the UK asylum system, but says he is “shocked” at the Government’s approach and describes it as “designed to stop people coming to the UK for sanctuary”.  Top Image Credit: Asylum Welcomelast_img read more

Vectren Celebrates Energy Efficiency Day With Jacobsville Jamboree Energy Savings Block Party

first_img In recognition of the fourth annual national Energy Efficiency Day, Vectren, a CenterPoint Energy Company, is joining regional and national organizations, businesses, utilities, universities and individuals in promoting energy efficiency – the easy, quickest way to meet energy needs, cut utility bills and reduce pollution.The company is celebrating Energy Efficiency Day in partnership with The Dream Center of Evansville, the Jacobsville Area Community Corporation and Habitat for Humanity of Evansville during the Jacobsville Jamboree energy savings block party, which is taking place Wednesday afternoon on N. Lafayette Ave in Evansville from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mayor Lloyd Winnecke will be in attendance to deliver a proclamation.What: Jacobsville Jamboree energy savings block party When: Oct. 2, 2019 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Where: N. Lafayette Ave between E. Delaware Street and E. Iowa Street Why: Vectren is joining organizations nationwide in recognizing Oct. 2 as the fourth annual Energy Efficiency Day. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Innovating to train medical pros on using mechanical ventilators

first_img Administrators, professors detail many and varied ways Harvard is trying to help, including offering use of hotel by Cambridge first-responders, health care workers GAZETTE:  How long do most patients need to be on them?WILCOX:  We are recognizing that it takes a really long time to defeat COVID-19; that the patients who are on the ventilators are requiring 10 to 14 days. Every disease is different, but we usually think of four to five days on ventilators as being a common length for many of the conditions that we see.GAZETTE:  Is that part of the reason why many communities seem to be experiencing a shortage of equipment during this pandemic?WILCOX:  I’m very confident in the care that we can provide at MGH. We are lucky in that we still have the resources to be able to serve the growing number of patients we see with this virus every day, and this number is definitely growing, day to day. And yes, what we need as a health care community is time. This is exactly the concept behind the flatten-the-curve initiative. Even if we have the same number of patients over the course of the entire pandemic, as long as we can prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed at various points throughout, I’m optimistic we can get many patients through this.GAZETTE:  Who is normally trained to use these machines, and who is using them now?WILCOX:  Normally, the people who manage mechanically ventilated patients are predominantly intensivists, or physicians who have done additional specific training in critical-care medicine. These doctors work in close collaboration with respiratory therapists, who are highly trained medical professionals who focus very specifically on taking care of patients with respiratory disorders. Traditionally, an intensivist and a respiratory therapist will collaborate on providing care to mechanically ventilated patients. And while a lot of doctors may get exposure to taking care of ventilated patients during their residencies, these experiences are usually fairly brief. If they don’t go on to specialize in critical care or anesthesiology, they’re unlikely to have seen a mechanically ventilated patient in quite some time. Even in the Emergency Department, while emergency physicians frequently intubate patients and put them on the ventilator, the in-depth management of the ventilator has not traditionally been a large focus of Emergency Medicine practice.GAZETTE:  How are things changing in emergency rooms and intensive-care units across the country with regard to who is providing care with ventilators?WILCOX:  The rising numbers of individuals we’re seeing with COVID-19 means that we now must bring in nurses and physicians who are highly trained in other areas to take care of ventilated patients. We’re fortunate that at MGH, we’re still able to, for now, have these nurses and physicians collaborate with those medical professionals who provide care through mechanical ventilation on a frequent basis. Of course, it certainly behooves these medical professionals to have some working understanding of mechanical ventilation going in, and that is part of the impetus behind creating this course.GAZETTE:  Tell us more about the course itself.WILCOX:  It’s important to say that first off that it’s not going to turn anyone into an intensivist or a respiratory therapist; it’s rather to give people foundational knowledge to be able to collaborate with one of these medical professionals who regularly works with mechanical ventilation. The course is made up of 10 different sections. It begins with the basics — an intro to the physiology of mechanically ventilated patients and to the ventilator in and of itself. It then moves into more advanced topics that go into in-depth rationale of what we do with the ventilator, while providing particular scenarios that could occur. We cover topics like management of acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, which is the major pathophysiology behind COVID-19. And we have a specific COVID-19 module, which covers mostly mechanical ventilation, but also other medical management of the condition. Each course is made up of 12 to 20 minutes of video depending on content, along with more in-depth readings. The video is fairly dynamic, with lots of illustrations and graphics to drive home points and to emphasize clinical decision-making. The writings get more into theory and in-depth background for learners who want to more fully understand the concepts.GAZETTE:  You said that you hope to continue to improve the course as you move forward. Can you explain more about your vision for doing this? Expects to have 1,000 face shields by end of week This week, Harvard and EdX, the virtual learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT, announced the launch of a free online course designed to train frontline medical professionals to operate the mechanical ventilators needed to treat COVID-19 patients. The class was developed by Susan Wilcox, the division chief of critical care at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and an associate professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Thomas Piraino, clinical specialist for mechanical ventilation for the Centre of Excellence in Mechanical Ventilation at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. The Gazette spoke with Wilcox about the genesis of her project and how it will work. Q&ASusan WilcoxGAZETTE:  Clearly there’s a need for this kind of course now, as more and more medical professionals are called to help battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Is that what motivated you to put this course together?WILCOX:  I’ve been interested in teaching mechanical ventilation to groups that historically have not managed it for years. The principles are relatively straightforward, but mechanical ventilation is actually one of the most important things that we do when we’re taking care of critically ill patients. I’ve long thought that if we could encourage people to be more invested in managing ventilated patients, we could improve outcomes. I wrote a textbook about mechanical ventilation with a couple of colleagues from the Emergency Department a couple of years ago now, and with COVID-19 becoming a ventilator crisis, I distributed a version of that text widely on the internet. I was approached then by [the philanthropic organization] Schmidt Futures, which was looking to create a course on mechanical ventilation education for the masses, and they wanted to know if I wanted to collaborate. So, I can’t take credit for having the idea of creating the course: They came to me.GAZETTE:  How were you able to create this so quickly?WILCOX:  Normally, we’d spend three to six months putting together a course like this, but obviously, with the rapid spread of COVID-19, we don’t have that kind of time. As we move forward, we look forward to continuing to improve the course based on feedback from participants, and also as we learn more about this novel coronavirus.GAZETTE:  We’ve heard a lot about the need for ventilators to treat many of those individuals who are hospitalized with COVID-19. Why are these machines so important in battling this pandemic?WILCOX:  The predominant pathology of COVID-19 really seems to be profound respiratory failure. Patients are coming in with extremely low oxygen levels, and it’s clear that either the virus or the immune response to the virus is causing significant damage to portions of the lung and causing the little blood vessels inside the lung to be damaged. To treat that, we have to make sure that we give people sufficient support until their bodies are able to heal and fight the virus off. The good news about this is that, as is the case with most other critically ill patients who come to us with respiratory failure, low tidal volume, low-pressure ventilation does seem to be the best way to protect these patients’ lungs and give them the time they need to fight the virus off. “While a lot of doctors may get exposure to taking care of ventilated patients during their residencies, these experiences are usually fairly brief.” Design School turns 3D printers into PPE producers Related WILCOX:  Normally, when we talk about research and studying medical conditions, it’s a many-months-to-many-years process. We will do studies that go through peer review, and we make sure we have all of our facts straight before anything gets published. Clearly with the rapid pace of this pandemic, that’s just not practical. We need to get information to people as quickly as we can. Some of the controversies right now with regard to mechanical ventilation and COVID-19 involve exactly when we should be putting people on the ventilators, as well as some of the details on how we should be optimizing these machines for patients. Since we’ve only seen patients with COVID-19 for about three weeks now in earnest at the time of this interview, we only have three weeks of data. In terms of the medical literature that’s nothing, so we’re doing the very best we can for all of these patients. With time we are going to better understand how we can improve their care, and we want to be able to communicate these learnings to those individuals who are taking this class.GAZETTE:  What have your days been like over the past few weeks?WILCOX:  I’m in a similar position to so many of my colleagues. We go to the hospital and see the hospital full of critically ill patients, and we work really hard to resuscitate all of them and give them the best care that we can. Then we all come home and then we go right back to work trying to read what our colleagues are publishing about this condition, or trying to write new protocols so we can stay up to date with the best literature. Many of us are finding we have extremely long workdays just trying to keep up with everything that’s going on. I’m not complaining; I’m very glad to be able to help. It’s just the reality of these times. We’re lucky to have so many people working really hard to battle this pandemic on every front.Interview was edited for clarity and length. University community rallies to deal with COVID-19 crisis The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

Pesticide Risks.

first_imgFor years, Paul Guillebeau has taught pest-control companiesand farmers how to reduce pesticide risks. Now he’s turning hisattention to Georgia schools.”There has been an increasedeffort to reduce children’s pesticide risks nationwide,”said Guillebeau, Integrated Pest Management coordinator for theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences. “Other states have IPM programs with their schoolsystems. We thought it was time Georgia joined them.”With a $40,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program, Guillebeauand his staff developed an IPM program for Georgia schools.It Started Witha SurveyThe first step was writing a pesticide usage survey, whichwas distributed to all Georgia schools, public and private. Thiswas done with the help of the Georgia School Superintendents Associationand Georgia Association of Educational Leaders.”We needed to find out what the schools’ major pests are,”he said.The survey fingered rodents, roaches, ants and head lice asthe biggest pests. It also found that a few Georgia schools tryto control pests themselves, but most rely on pest control companies.Working Together to Reduce PesticideRisksWhen a school system expresses interest in the program, Guillebeauand the county agent schedule a site visit. “We sitdown with the school and their pest control company and discussthe school’s program,” he said.”A lot of schools had the idea that if they were payinga company $5,000, it’s their job to control the pests,” hesaid. “They don’t realize the role the school’s sanitationand maintenance staff plays in their pest problems.”At the same time, many companies were not aware of alternativesto spraying pesticides. “Pest control companies can stillmake the same amount of money, do a good job and reduce the amountof pesticides they use,” Guillebeau said.The pest control companies support the program. UGA is partneredwith the Georgia Pest Control Association, and Guillebeau is nowa member of their “IPM in Schools” committee.Killing Roaches and Spraying LessJust updating school roach control programs has greatly reducedpesticide usage. Five years ago, Guillebeau said, the standardprogram was to spray the whole school once a month.”They did this whether or not there were signs of roaches,”he said. “Excellent roach baits are now available that havemuch, much lower toxicity levels and are just as effective assprays. And schools are realizing that just because they haveroaches in the lunchroom, doesn’t mean the whole school needsto be treated.”Guillebeau said the worst incident he uncovered involved roachesand chewing gum in an elementary school cafeteria.”The school was performing their own pest control andhaving roach problems in their lunchroom eating areas,” hesaid. “They studied the area and found large amounts of chewinggum stuck to the bottoms of the tables. This was attracting theroaches.”Instead of scraping the gum off of the tables, the staff sprayedthe bottoms of the tables with a pesticide. “It’s not a farstretch of the imagination that an elementary school kid couldget some of that gum off there and pop it back in his mouth,”Guillebeau said.This horror story is one of the reasons Guillebeau is fightingto see UGA’s “IPM for Schools” program implemented inall Georgia schools.Spreading the Word Across GeorgiaSo far, Guillebeau has worked with schools in 23 Georgia counties.But he hopes schools will jump on the bandwagon as they hear aboutthe program. The next phase is to begin working with Georgia daycare centers.”I have no doubt that we’re going to be successful,”he said. “It’s just going to take some time. It’s not thatthere are a lot of new discoveries or that we’ve had a suddenvision. We’re just getting schools and pest control companiesto work together to do the right things.”last_img read more

Pecan Pruning

first_imgPruning young pecan trees is a necessity and, if done properly, can save farmers the hassle of pruning older, much larger trees, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells.Pruning should be done in the first three or four years of a tree’s life to train the tree to grow with one central “leader,” or trunk. If farmers don’t prune early, it can prove to be “a mess” later, Wells said.Growers want pecan trees to have a central leader, one main trunk going up the tree from which the lateral limbs or main branches grow. A lot of trees naturally develop two or more main trunks. Pruning allows growers to prevent or correct that, he said.“By training the tree, you’re keeping that tree more vigorous and keeping the tree’s growth more vigorous. You’re also getting rid of limbs that will be in your way if you try to come by with tractors and equipment in the next few years,” Wells said.Young trees try to put on multiple shoots, which grow from buds on the trunk or branches. Many of these may develop at poor angles. If the angles are too narrow, those limbs would most likely break off during storms, so they would need to be cut off, Wells said.The tip of the developing trunk should be pruned so the bud will continue growing the central leader. Farmers should remove buds that are spaced out as opposed to those clustered close together. Wells advises farmers to cut about an inch or so above the bud.If a grower waits eight to 10 years to prune their trees, limbs that are producing nuts will need to be pruned off, he said.Pruning is meant to remove excess growth that may not be needed or may be in the way of normal operations. It also removes limbs that are growing the wrong way on the tree.Pruning can be done at any time of year, but most pecan farmers prune in the winter because fewer tasks need to be accomplished in the orchard this time of year. Pruning should begin when trees enter their second year in the field.This practice benefits the tree by bringing it back to what the root system can support.For trees entering their third year of production, remove limbs that are below head high or approximately 6 feet tall. If they aren’t pruned away, those limbs will be in the way of equipment passing through the orchard in a few years.Wells said it’s not too late to prune older trees, it just takes a lot more work. Growers are more likely to encounter big and small limbs protruding out from older, nonpruned trees. Those limbs need to be cut off. Low limbs, and those that create narrow angles on trees, also need to be removed. Depending on how large the limbs are, removal will likely have to be done with a chainsaw.The goal of pruning pecan trees, no matter when the pruning is done, is to create a tree with one central leader and strong lateral branches or main limbs, Wells said.For more information about pruning pecan trees from UGA Extension, go to read more

Comcast expands service, including Grand Isle, Brookline

first_imgComcast, a leading provider of entertainment, information and communications, today announced that it has completed a 300-mile network expansion in Vermont, bringing more than 6,000 additional homes and businesses in 25 communities access to the cost savings, innovative features and reliability of Comcast’s digital TV, high-speed Internet and voice services.  Four of the communities – South Hero, Grand Isle, North Hero and Brookline – had not previously had access to Comcast’s advanced broadband services prior to the extension of the company’s fiber-optic network.  With the recent additions, Comcast has extended its fiber-optic network by more than 1,200 miles since arriving in Vermont in 2006.“Ensuring that all Vermonters have access to reliable, high-speed internet connections is a top priority of mine and an economic imperative for our state,” said Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.  “That’s why I proposed the e-State initiative in 2007 and have worked with the Legislature to expand broadband across our state.  Comcast is an important partner in this effort and I am delighted that they are moving forward with plans to provide their services to more Vermont communities.”“We are so proud to deliver on our promise to expand our advanced fiber-optic network to areas of Vermont that previously had no access to broadband,” said Pam Mackenzie, Area Vice President for Comcast in Vermont.  “This extension of our network allows more and more residents and businesses to take advantage of our cutting-edge products and services and further expands our community commitment to bring broadband access to Vermont schools, libraries and Boys & Girls Clubs.”In September 2009, Comcast began a massive 170-mile extension of its advanced fiber-optic network in the Lake Champlain Islands, marking the introduction of broadband for over 3,700 consumers and local businesses in South Hero, Grand Isle and North Hero.  Additionally, Comcast has built out its network by approximately 20 miles in Brookline, offering service to approximately 275 residents and businesses that previously did not have access to the company’s products and services.  Comcast also extended its network by 110 more miles within 21 other towns that the company previously served.  Those towns include Berlin, Colchester, Derby, Fairfax, Huntington, Hyde Park, Jericho, Manchester, Milton, Moretown, Morgan, Norwich, Pownal, Rockingham, Underhill, Waterbury, West Rutland, Westford, Westminster, Windsor and Woodford.Until recently, many residents and businesses in the communities benefiting from these network extensions depended solely on copper-wire phone service, dial-up Internet and one-way satellite TV service, which cannot compete with Comcast’s Internet speeds, match the clarity of Comcast’s High Definition picture or deliver Comcast’s unique On Demand programming.  Consumers in these communities can now take advantage of the convenience and monthly savings of Comcast’s bundled packages, featuring Comcast Digital Cable, Comcast High-Speed Internet and Comcast Digital Voice.  And, for the first time, local businesses now have access to Comcast’s fiber-optic network and its Business Class services that feature cutting-edge communications technologies, including Business Class Internet, Business Class Voice and Business Class TV.Because Comcast provides complimentary broadband services to schools, libraries and Boys & Girls Clubs in Vermont, its investments in education and youth development will also increase in Vermont with this significant network expansion.For more information about Comcast’s products and services, residents can call 1-800-COMCAST or visit is external).  Small and medium-sized businesses interested in Comcast Business Class products and services can visit is external) or call 1-888-737-8361.About Comcast in VermontSince entering Vermont in November 2006, Comcast has aggressively expanded its services across the state, investing in its advanced fiber-optic network to bring broadband services to previously unserved homes and businesses and partnering with local communities.  The company has launched a number of its advanced services in this time, including Digital Cable with On Demand, High-Definition Television Service, Digital Video Recorders, Comcast High-Speed Internet service, Digital Voice, and the company’s Business Class suite of voice, Internet and cable television services for small and medium-sized businesses.  In addition, Comcast has offered programming of special interest to Vermonters.  Comcast also assists local non-profit organizations in Vermont with financial, in-kind and employee volunteer support.About Comcast CorporationComcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) ( is external)) is one of the nation’s leading providers of entertainment, information and communication products and services.  With 23.6 million cable customers, 15.9 million high-speed Internet customers, and 7.6 million Comcast Digital Voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.Comcast’s content networks and investments include E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, Golf Channel, VERSUS, G4, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One, 11 regional sports networks operated by Comcast Sports Group and Comcast Interactive Media, which develops and operates Comcast’s Internet businesses, including ( is external)).  Comcast also has a majority ownership in Comcast-Spectacor, which owns two professional sports teams, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, and a large, multipurpose arena in Philadelphia, the Wachovia Center, and manages other facilities for sporting events, concerts and other events.Source: Comcast. SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT – (March 30, 2010) –# # #last_img read more

Ecuador: Drug enforcement efforts strengthened at airports

first_img Drug enforcement police also have located major drug processing facilities. During the last week of November, police uncovered a modern drug processing lab hidden among several hills in the canton of Pedro Carbo, in the province of Guayas. Law enforcement agents confiscated 12 tons of narcotics in the province in 2011 after seizing seven tons a year earlier, said Freddy Ramos, chief of the Drug Enforcement Police in Guayas. The lab, which would have been operated by children and adults, was on the verge of opening. The drug traffickers abandoned it after another lab run by the network was dismantled in Cumandá, in the province of Chimborazo. Drug enforcement agents were surprised by what they found at the lab, which had generators, underground storage areas, bunk beds, refrigerators, microwaves and other structures for storing chemicals and packing drugs. The lab, which was capable of producing two tons of narcotics monthly, was the fifth drug processing facility dismantled nationwide in 2011. By Dialogo January 25, 2012 GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador – The South American nations’ major airports have become focal points in the fight against drug trafficking. “We often deal with passengers who are attempting to transport cocaine to Europe and heroin to the United States,” said Abraham Cheing, coordinating director of the Public Prosecutor’s Office at Guayaquil’s José Joaquín de Olmedo Airport. From August to November 2011, the most recent months for which statistics are available, the Guayaquil airport registered 104 cases involving possession of narcotic and psychotropic substances, resulting in 67 arrests, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the airport. “The latest modus operandi we’ve uncovered is the most picturesque,” Cheing said. “They use condoms filled with liquid drugs, which are attached to their bodies.” In the country’s other major airport, Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International, drug confiscation rates are even higher. During the last 10 days of November, drug enforcement agents confiscated 19 kilograms (41.8 pounds) of cocaine. Seven Ecuadorans and three foreigners were arrested. The crackdown by police in Ecuador’s airports has forced drug-trafficking networks to resort to sending drugs through private couriers and the mail, Chieng said. “It’s an indirect manner of transporting the drugs, and it’s nearly impossible to determine who is responsible,” he added. “During a single week, from November 21 to Nov. 27, we confiscated approximately three kilograms (6.6 pounds) of cocaine from these alternative modes of transportation.” In total, counter-narcotics enforcement agents carried out 1,790 operations throughout Ecuador during the first half of 2011, which led to the confiscation of 11.3 tons of hallucinogens and the arrest of 2,082 suspects accused of producing, marketing and shipping drugs. Of that total, 789 were arrested in Guayaquil, the country’s second-largest city after the capital city of Quito. In March, counter-narcotics agents arrested four Ecuadorans, three Mexicans and two Colombians suspected of being members of a cell linked to the Mexico-based Sinaloa cartel, which is headed by drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. The cartel has extended its operations to Colombia and Ecuador, officials said. In September, the police’s Drug Enforcement Intelligence Service (SIAN) discovered that a criminal group, led by a Mexican, was using an aid agency in Esmeraldas, known as the Fundación de Asistencia Social y Apadrinamiento en el Ecuador (Foundation for social assistance and sponsorship in Ecuador —FASAE), as a front for trafficking narcotics to Africa and Europe. center_img Hidden laboratorieslast_img read more