Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bombay Natural History Society's zoological collection set to go online

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PUNE: With the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) planning to digitise its zoological collection, accredited as a national heritage collection by the Union government, it will soon be available online for researchers and nature lovers across the world.

There are about 1.2 lakh specimens - most of them collected in the pre-Independence era - of mammals, birds, amphibians, insects and reptiles from across the Indian sub-continent. By digitising the collection, the Society hopes that it will be able to provide easy access to all those interested in viewing them, said Rahul Khot, in charge of BNHS's natural history collection department.

"The project is still in the planning stage but the technical details have been worked out. At present we are tapping various funding resources for the project," Khot said, adding that the estimated cost for the project is Rs. 1.5 crore.

The Society's collections include rare species like the Jerdon's Courser, which was rediscovered and collected in 1986 (the earlier record was from 1900). The Pink-headed Duck, now extinct, is a prized possession in the collections of the Society. There are also many specimens of rare mammals, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, beetles and other insects of the sub-continent. Of the 1,500 species of butterflies found in India, 730 specimens are preserved in the collection.

The collection also includes over 500 type-specimens - the particular specimen to which the scientific name of the species is attached.

"While mammals and birds are no longer added to the collection since there are prohibitions on hunting, the society has sought special permissions to continue to collect insects, reptiles and amphibians," Khot said.

And the importance of continuing the collection is evident in the feat that researchers have identified 22 new species of insects from the BNHS collections over the last five years, he added.

Apart from the wider access to the collection, the authorities also hope that the digitisation will improve the management of these specimens.

Some of the specimens were collected more than a hundred years ago. The specimens are in good condition and are frequently handled for research and education purposes, but it affects their cabinet-life. Digitisation would make images and related data easily available and reduce their frequent handling, Khot said.

He said that the collection is accessed by various users - members of the scientific community, teachers and others who use the specimens as a teaching tool as well as general users. The database will have filters as there may be some who are only interested in the picture, the name of the specimen and the locality where it was found. But some researches may be interested in actual measurements of the specimens and the database is going to be made available to suit the diverse requirements. Details such as the date of collection, place of collection, name of collector and other necessary notes will be available, he added.BOX:

The collection began in 1883 with eight persons who exchanged notes on natural history and deposited specimens

Details of the collection

Section SpecimensType-specimen (used to describe a particular species)

Insects& invertebrates over 60,000245

Amphibians &reptiles over 15,000190

Birdsover 29,00065

Mammals over 18,5006

Source: Indiatimes

Boston Book Festival a treat

With fall, authors return from various rejuvenation activities — vacations, seminars, universities and summer writing retreats — and re-enter the broader book world fueled by experiences, cooler weather and new opportunities. So must we all. There are opportunities for book groups and other readers right around the corner these days.

Witness: Salmon Rushdie and Tomie dePaola are keynote speakers for the Oct. 17-19 Boston Book Festival. This is the fifth year for the mostly free Copley Square festival, and it has been expanded to three days, with new events added, including spontaneous outbreaks of dramatic scenes at various Boston hots pots in the week before the festival.

Rushdie will speak at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18, with children's author/illustrator dePaola speaking on Oct. 19. Rushdie — famously targeted for assassination by Muslim extremists for his novel, "The Satanic Verses" — is a novelist and essayist. Tickets for this event are available on the website, This event does have a cost, $10, which helps support the weekend.

DePaola created a favorite character in children's literature, Strega Nona. In fact, "Grandmother halloween costumes witch adult" herself may make an appearance at this free daytime event.

Be spontaneous; get there, look around, sit in on a few events. The burgeoning festival can't be beat, really, among literary events in New England. It includes author presentations and panels, programming for all ages, music and a Copley Square booth fair, writing workshops and competitions, music and poetry performances. There's a crowd, so arrive early to find a seat at the sites — Boston Public Library, Trinity and Old South churches, and in other buildings surrounding the square.

Featured guests include award winners, best-selling authors, renowned scholars, children's writers, and writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. In other words, something for every kind of reader. You can attend, wander from one event to another and simply listen. It's a great deal of fun. An award-winning story is available at public sites around Boston for discussion at one of the day's events, One City One Story.

This is a chance to observe dozens of writers and speakers, to name just a few: Steve Almond, Tom Ashbrook, Mike Barnicle, Lisa Borders, Christopher Castellani, Wes Craven (sharing pointers on terror writing), Callie Crossley, Kevin Cullen, Alan Dershowitz, Andre Dubus III, Chuck Klosterman, Lois Lowry, Dennis McFarland, Claire Messud and Tom Perrotta.

The Concord Festival

Spread across October and ending Nov. 2 is the Concord Festival of Authors. It includes sessions with almost 40 authors, some newcomers and others well-known, well-published fiction, nonfiction and poetry writers. In panel sessions and talks, they discuss writing and their own works in venues such as Verrill Farm (books about healthy cooking), Fowler Library, the Concord Museum and the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods.

Guests include Barbara Delinsky, Alice Hoffman, poet Charles Coe, Sue Halpern ("A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home"), B.B. Oak (the Thoreau mysteries), Kate Flora (the Thea Kozak mysteries) and Chris Castellani (Boston's Grub Street director and author of "All This Talk of Love" who is also participating in Worcester Public Library's "A Celebration of Authors" Oct. 10 in Worcester). That's a small sampling. Topics range from readings to book promotion, several book launches and new literary voices. Once upon a time, I hosted the "Breakfast with the Authors" segment, and it was a great deal of fun to share breakfast with readers and listen to authors. If you enjoy books, get a few club members together, and obtain the schedule at

Area book groups

New Earth Book Club meets at Shrewsbury Public Library at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30, to discuss "Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development" by George E. Vaillant. Find more info at

The C.S. Lewis Society of Massachusetts has slated two meetings in October at the Auburn Public Library. From 9 to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 5, there will be a set of thematic readings. On Oct. 19 — finishing Nov. 2 at the same time — the group considers "Five Children and It" by Edith Nesbit. For details, see

Roxane Anderson, a member says the 5-year-old group generally meets twice a month, with one meeting in May. "We have also started movie nights for the summer months and the book club break period December through January," she said. "In January, we plan to feature the works of three artists who have connected to the Society. The Society was founded to encourage Lewis fans in Central Massachusetts to meet together in informal settings to discuss Lewis' books and other literature of interest. We also strive to be a forum where Christians from a wide variety of denominations and non-Christians feel welcome and comfortable in discussing topics related to Christianity, science, the arts, and everyday life. C.S. Lewis and his works provide an interesting bond or glue for carrying out this enterprise."

In Dudley, the Pearl L. Crawford Memorial Library is off to a good start with its new book group. Karen Wall, library director, says the group will discuss "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson at 6 p.m. Oct. 3. Coming up for Nov. 7 is Jenna Blum's "Those Who Save Us."

Books, Brews & Banter — another group encouraging both male and female members with books selected for appeal to both genders — will discuss Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" on Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in O'Connor's Restaurant.

Reading, Sharing & Laughing, which meets at Chaibo coffeehouse in Fitchburg, is reading Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at the End of the Lane," a choice in keeping with the supernatural Halloween season.

Joan Killough-Miller of the Worcester area NOW book group says the Oct. 14 discussion will consider the classic "Summer," by Edith Wharton. The group meets at Barnes & Noble on Lincoln Street at 7 p.m., second Monday of the month. All are welcome.

The group's August meeting was enriched by members bringing maps to trace the action of B. A. Shapiro's novel "The Art Forger." Says Joan Killough-Miller: "Having a street map of Boston and the floor plan of the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, where much of the action takes place, brought the discussion to life. (One might also add MBTA maps to that discussion, since public transportation plays a role in the story.) The maps concept went over well, and we vowed to do it again. Some members were able to visit the museum with Shapiro's enticing description of the museum fresh in mind."

Ann Connery Frantz is a freelance writer and editor who blogs at (reeap is correct) on books and book clubs.

Source: Telegram

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hawaii can't fit woman's last name on license

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - A Hawaii woman's last name is a real mouthful, containing 36 characters and 19 syllables in all. And it's so long that she couldn't get a driver's license with her correct name.

Janice "Lokelani" Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele is in the midst of a fight with state and local officials to ensure that her full name gets listed on a license or ID card. Her name is pronounced: KAY'-ee-hah-nah-EE'-coo-COW'-ah-KAH'-hee-HOO'-lee-heh-eh-KAH'-how-NAH-eh-leh.

The documents only have room for 35 characters. Her name has 35 letters plus a mark used in the Hawaiian alphabet, called an okina.

So Hawaii County instead issued her driver's license and her state ID with the last letter of her name chopped off. And it omitted her first name.

The 54-year-old Big Island resident wrote her mayor and city councilwoman for help, but the county said the state of Hawaii computer system they used wouldn't allow names longer than 35 characters.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele got the name when she married her Hawaiian husband in 1992.

He used only the one name, which his grandfather gave him. The name came to his grandfather in a dream that also told him he would have a grandson.

Her husband died in 2008, but he had similar problems when he was alive, she told The Associated Press.

The name has layers of meanings. One, she said, is "When there is chaos and confusion, you are one that will stand up and get people to focus in one direction and come out of the chaos." It also references the origins of her and her husband's family.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele was compelled to bring attention to the issue after a policeman last month gave her a hard time about her driver's license when he pulled her over for a traffic stop. She wrote Honolulu television station KHON for help, and her story started getting more attention.

"I said wait a minute, this is not my fault. This is the county's fault that I don't have an ID that has my name correctly," she said.

The police officer suggested she could use her maiden name.

"I said, how disrespectful to the Hawaiian people because there's a lot of meaning behind this name. I've had this name for over 20 years. I had to grow into this name. It's very deep spiritual path," she said.

Caroline Sluyter, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said Thursday the state is working to increase space for names on driver's licenses and ID cards.

By the end of the year, the cards will allow 40 characters for first and last names and 35 characters for middle names, she said.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele, who practices shoreline fishing in the Hawaiian tradition as a profession, said she's happy the publicity about her situation has prompted many people to have badly needed discussions.

"If you're going to require people to have picture IDs to identify them, they have to be correct," she said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Ksla

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Underground silos for missile defense could bring jobs to Portage County

PARIS TWP.: Where some see controversy or even fear, Jim Thompson sees prosperity and opportunity with each missile.

Sitting outside his Rootstown home, Thompson, didn't hesitate to lend his support to a domestic ground-based interceptor missile site proposed for the nearby Camp Ravenna Joint Training Center.

His reasoning is simple.

"We need jobs here," the 67-year-old retiree said.

Earlier this month, military officials said the Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center is among five locations being considered for an anti-ballistic missile launch site. Formerly known as the Ravenna Arsenal, the 21,000-acre site in eastern Portage County is under control of the Ohio Army National Guard.

The prospects of a defense missile site rising up inside the military base are far off. First, military officials and Congress need to agree that such a project is needed and worthy of multi-billion dollar investment.

For now, there is no timetable for a decision, let alone construction.

But what would happen if, as Thompson and others wish, this "Star Wars" defense system comes to life down the road? What would we see? Who will build it? Who will work there?

And finally, what will be housed there inside those silos?

For answers, one need only look at the nation's two existing ballistic missile defense system sites at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

These missile facilities, under the auspices of the Military Defense Agency, a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense, were built, expanded and armed at a cost of billions of dollars, all to fend off attack from countries such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

'Star Wars'

The idea of defending against a missile attack dates back to the 1940s. But it wasn't until President Ronald Reagan in 1983 unveiled his so-called "Star Wars" strategic defense initiative that space-based missile defense systems became part of the American lexicon.

Americans watched from their living room years later as American Patriot missiles, designed to intercept medium-range ballistic missiles, were used - without much success - during the Gulf War. Afterward, the missile defense system only grew.

In July 2004, the first ground-based missile interceptor was installed at Fort Greely, Alaska. Five months later, the first underground silo became operational in Vandenberg.

If a third missile site is built, MDA is likely to follow the design of their two existing sites.

The infrastructure is hardly classified military secrets.

Essentially, the new site would have a yet-untold number of underground silos armed with missiles that can be launched in the event of a foreign attack.

The missiles are supposed to target, track and intercept enemy projectiles above the Earth's atmosphere, well before reaching U.S. soil.

"Supposed to," is the operative phrase in the defense system debate. Opponents of the system say it's costly and the missiles are largely unreliable. Supporters say the defense missiles can be an effective tool against attacks.

Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the MDA, said any future missile sites would likely imitate the designs already in service and include underground silos and missiles to defend the East Coast.

"You have to assume for sure it's going to consist of underground silos," Lehner said.

The interceptor missiles are about 54 feet long, about 4 feet in diameter and weigh about 25 tons a piece. Each costs about $50 million.

The missiles are stored and launched from the steel and concrete silos. Fort Greely holds 34 silos in two missile fields contained over 800 acres. Plans call for six more to bring the total to 40. Vandenberg has four.

The missiles do not contain any explosives or nuclear war heads. They are fuel powered, but the silos are equipped to be a shield or container in the event of a fire.

Environmental impact

Before any silos are dug, environmental impact studies would be conducted. Construction plans would include security fencing and several buildings. Fort Greely, for example, has a visitor control area, radar facilities, a power plant and, naturally, a launch control center.

"That's basically it. It's pretty austere," Lehner said.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the MDA has spent about $90 billion on missile defense systems since 2002. Plans call for another $8 billion to be spent per year through 2017.

Lehner said the missile defense sites employ military, government and civilian workers. Construction, he said, would likely be performed by local and out-of-town contract workers.

He cautioned, however, that any decision to build, if it even comes, is a ways off.

"No one's even done an artist concept," he said.

That's OK with Thompson. His family came to Northeast Ohio in the late '50s and early '60s, when manufacturing jobs were plentiful. He worked one of those jobs for 35 years before retiring.

Too many people he knows have lost their jobs in recent years, he said. Any boost, especially one that goes toward defending America, can only help the area's economy.

"I think it's great that it might come here," he said. "It will help Ravenna and the rest of the area. Some people are afraid of the unknown. But I know the United States has the best defense system in the world. Some people don't seem to know that."

Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or He can be followed on Twitter at

Source: Ohio

Sep 15, 2013

Kenya Airways announced the appointment of Willem Alexander Hondius as the Chief Executive of Jambo Jet, the low-cost addition to the Kenya Airways Group, which is thought to take off within months now to take over a number of domestic, and perhaps even regional, routes from parent company Kenya Airways.

At the same time Kenya Airways confirmed that Mr. Ayisi Makatiani will be chairing the board of directors of the subsidiary company.

Dr. Titus Naikuni, CEO and Group Managing Director of Kenya Airways, had this to say when making the announcement: "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Willem Hondius as Chief Executive Officer of Jambo Jet Ltd., reporting into the Jambo Jet Board which is chaired by Mr. Ayisi Makatiani. Willem brings to the airline a wealth of experience in the aviation industry especially in the low-cost airline area and will be instrumental in steering the operations of the new carrier. There is still a lot of work to be done before operations start and this appointment is a major milestone in that process."

Before his appointment, William was the General Manager of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for Eastern Africa based in Nairobi since 2012 but also served as project manager for Jambo Jet Limited. Between 2005 and 2012, he was executive vice-president and chief commercial officer of Transavia Airlines a wholly-owned subsidiary of KLM. Welcome to William and best of success in handling the final run up to the long awaited launch of Jambo Jet.

Source: Eturbonews

Five minutes of post-game Jim Harbaugh, answering questions for the first time after his 49ers team had lost back-to-back games, and discussing the decision to let Aldon Smith play today...

--JIM HARBAUGH partial presser transcript/

-Q: Did you sense your team was distracted at all after the events of the last few days?

-HARBAUGH: I think our team was ready to play. I thought our team was ready to play 100%.

-Q: The struggles on offense, was it similar to what happened in Seattle? Can you say what you think happened today?

-HARBAUGH: Yeah, we didn't make the plays. There wasn't enough opportunities to make plays. It was a combination of that.

Players not having the opportunity to make 'em and then not making them.

-Q: You ran the ball very well on the first drive. Did you get away from it consciously? Should you have stayed with the run more?

-HARBAUGH: I thought we tried to continue to stay balanced after that drive. And did not have the success moving the ball today. On third down... didn't make plays. Didn't find enough plays.

-Q: Is part of that just not having open receivers?

-HARBAUGH: I'm just saying that, as coaches, what we give them, the opportunity to make the play... and then make the play when it is there.

That's what I was referring to.

-Q: This team hadn't lost two in a row in your tenure. Are you disappointed by the inability to bounce back from a loss like you'd shown in the past?

-HARBAUGH: This game, not winning this game, not being in position to make plays, make it competitive, that's disappointing to all of us. We've got to look at how...

We've got to be real-how we can improve.

-Q: Last week you mentioned coaching. Do you think the coaching was poor this week? Was your coaching poor?

-HARBAUGH: I put us all in the same group. We all look at ourselves to find out where we can get better.

-Q: Why did Aldon Smith play?

-HARBAUGH: It's a decision we made.

-Q: Is he playing Thursday?

-HARBAUGH: We'll address that in time. Rather not address that right now.

-Q: Is there something technically wrong with Colin Kaepernick right now? What's going on?

-HARBAUGH: I don't think that there is something technically wrong that I see.

-Q: Why is he struggling?

-HARBAUGH: I put it really on all of us.

-Q: How serious is Patrick Willis' groin injury?

-HARBAUGH: Don't know how serious right now.

-Q: Do you think the team's energy level was there today?

-HARBAUGH: You can question just about everything right now. We didn't play well enough to win in enough areas, on enough downs, did not win the down enough. Not even close to enough.

They did and they made the plays, offensively, defensively, and we did not.

-Q: What'd you think of the way Andrew Luck played?

-HARBAUGH: Very good, very efficient. They did make the plays. They did make the plays when they had to.

-Q: No excuses, but you're missing Vernon Davis and other guys. Is that an issue?

-HARBAUGH: No excuses means no excuses of any kind.

-Q: How did you think Aldon played?

-HARBAUGH: From what I could see, seemed solid.

-Q: Are you confident your team can re-find it's way?

-HARBAUGH: Yes. We've got no choice, no choice but to find our way.

-Q: There are reports that the 49ers will send Aldon to a rehab facility. Can you confirm that?

-HARBAUGH: There's a process there that we'll apprise you at the appropriate time.

-Q: Did Aldon play because he made practice on Friday?

-HARBAUGH: It was a decision we made as an organization, as a team, that we felt was in the best interests of our team and for Aldon long-term.

Source: Mercurynews
YOU may be familiar with the idea that readers are gravitating towards short forms of fiction, easily downloadable and quickly digested on tiny digital devices.

But is it true readers - and writers - are turning away from long forms? This year's Man Booker Prize judges certainly are not. The 2013 longlist included two huge novels: Richard House's 912-page The Kills (which expands further with multimedia components) and Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries, almost slim in comparison at 832 pages.

While House did not make the cut when the shortlist was announced on September 10, Catton did. At 27, she is the youngest writer shortlisted for a Booker, and the only antipodean on this year's list. (Born in Canada, she grew up in New Zealand, where she lives.)

Catton's first novel, The Rehearsal, a wry, formally experimental story of a high school sex scandal, won multiple international awards when it was published in 2008. The Luminaries, her second book, is a self-consciously long, convoluted, historical epic. It is so large and unwieldy that it almost demands to be read while stretched out on a sofa in the favoured reading position of one of its characters, the villainous Mrs Lydia Wells, who holds a novel "quite as if the book were an accessory to a faint".

The story takes place in NZ's 19th-century goldfields, where men and women from all classes, backgrounds and nationalities mingle, and fortunes can be transformed in an instant. Many of the familiar elements of sensationalist Victorian literature come into play: secrets of illegitimacy, cases of mistaken and stolen identity, forged signatures, opium dens, murder, blackmail, conspiracy and scandal, innocence corrupted, virtue rewarded, reputations ruined and redeemed.

Catton claims to have read only writing published before 1866, the year in which The Luminaries is set, for a year while she was writing the novel, to immerse herself in the style of the period. Yet she has not aimed to create a strict historical replica, and more pedantic readers will be annoyed by various anachronisms of diction and reference.

The result is a distinctive, archaic voice that makes use of some old-fashioned stylistic conventions: "damn" is never spelled out but rendered with a dash, and each chapter is prefaced with a summary of the action, "In which a stranger arrives" and so on.

But Catton signals her playful and ironic relationship to these conventions: the relation between these summaries and the text they preface, for instance, becomes gradually less straightforward until the final chapter, comprising just 95 words of dialogue, is preceded by a note more than twice as long, describing a complex array of peripheral events.

At the story's centre is a set of mysteries concerning the events of a fateful evening, including one man's death, another man's disappearance, a woman's unexplained collapse and the true source of a disputed fortune in gold. The novel returns again and again to these events, offering gradual explication.

The name of the town where the story is set, Hokitika, is a Maori word that evokes similar ideas of circularity; when Te Rau Tauwhare, the one significant Maori character, tries to explain it to Englishman Tom Balfour, he first draws a circle in the air, then says: "Around. And then back again, beginning." The story is replete with images of returns and repeating cycles, the spinning wheel of fortune, twins and mirrors, all reflected in the vast turning wheel of the sky.

The Luminaries is lengthy in part because of the complex mystery it presents and unravels. But its length results in practical terms from Catton's choice of a 12-part structure that unfolds according to the mathematical laws of the Fibonacci sequence, or the golden ratio, in which each part is half the length of the one preceding it, like the spiral of a coiled fern leaf.

The first part alone is about 360 pages, the size of a respectable novel, and the following sections diminish sequentially to a final part of little more than a page. In addition to this constraint, the novel is organised around astrological principles: each character corresponds to a star sign or other astrological element, each part is preceded by a star chart, and each chapter's title expresses a stellar relation. The plot is as intricate as a galaxy of constellations, and the moments when, finally, we are able to draw lines of connection and consequence between characters and events feel a little like it does when a figure in the sky satisfyingly coheres from a random smattering of stars.

The narrative invites comparison between the author's patterning of events and the "clockwork orchestration" of stellar and planetary motion, but it is an uneasy parallel.

When Scottish Walter Moody first arrives in Hokitika he struggles to orient himself under the unfamiliar sky with its inverted constellations, and eventually finds Canis Major "hanging like a dead dog from a butcher's hook". "There was something very sad about it, Moody thought. It was as if the ancient patterns had no meaning here."

The Luminaries may be an attempt to reassert the relevance of these "ancient patterns" - or at least to revel in their poetic possibilities - but in many ways this mathematical structure feels arbitrary and imposed, however cleverly conceived and pleasingly executed.

This is especially and uncomfortably the case when we consider the novel's explicitly colonial context. There is another, Maori, cosmology native to the place, which the narrative invokes only occasionally - enough to show some awareness of a different understanding of the stars but presenting no real challenge to the dominant pattern.

Catton has a talent for drawing characters swiftly, with sharply observed action. There is Charlie Frost the bank clerk, for instance, who resentfully supports his financially ruined parents back in England:

He shredded their letters into spills for lighting his cigars, cutting the pages lengthwise so as to occlude their import absolutely; the spills he burned with great indifference.

Joe Pritchard is one of the least convincing characters, yet the description of his thirst for "the underlying truth" of things sparkles:

Whenever the subterranean waters of his mind were disturbed, he plunged inward, and struggled downward - kicking strongly, purposefully, as if he wished to touch the mineral depths of his own dark fantasies, as if he wished to drown.

At its best, The Luminaries invites us to dive with him into the alchemical, unpredictable waters of imagination.

The Luminaries
By Eleanor Catton
Granta, 832pp, $29.99

Kirsten Tranter's most recent novel is A Common Loss.

Source: Theaustralian

A 10-year economic development strategy is recommended to assist economic growth and create employment in the Southeast region, according to a new report by the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

A sense of shared purpose to create real regional cohesion will help the region to revive its economy, promote and sustain business, develop enterprise, create jobs and deal with unemployment, the report says. This will involve inter-county and inter-agency collaboration to eliminate needless layers of bureaucracy and deliver effective change.

Report author and committee member Senator David Cullinane said: "The Southeast region faces many challenges including high unemployment, low educational attainment levels and social disadvantage. However, it has many strengths, including an improved road infrastructure, water and waste water treatment plants, the Rosslare and Waterford Ports and the Institutes of Technology. The region is well placed in the areas of health, life sciences & medical devices, financial & internationally traded services, tourism, culture & the arts, agri-business, food production & technology, engineering, mobile technologies, software development & digital media and bio-technology & the green economy.

The Southeast can focus on its key strengths in tourism, agri-business and food production, developing a critical mass of expertise through improved educational attainment, delivery of a Technological University and strong research and development. The region must maximise the potential of existing key assets such as the two ports of national significance - Rosslare and Waterford - the regional airport and improvements to the road and rail network."

Among the other key priorits that the report identifies for the Southeast are:

- The establishment of a southeast regional office and a southeast regional director of the IDA based in Waterford City.

- To ensure that the South east has at least the same IDA Investment Aid as the BMW region as part of the Regional Aid Guidelines for 2014 - 2020.

- The establishment of a Technological University and the building of competitive advantage through a strong research and development hub and support for innovation and creativity.

- A strategy to improve educational attainment and skills provision in the region.

- The development of a regional Transport Hub that aligns road, rail and port infrastructure, maximises use of both ports (Rosslare and Waterford), ensures completion of the Enniscorthy and New Ross Bypass and improve- ments to the N24 to greatly improve the Limerick to Waterford road corridor.

- Investment in the roll-out of dark fibre network (Broadband) in the region.

- Investment in the Regional Airport to allow for expansion of the runway and the opening of opportunities to access new markets and supporting growth in tourism.

- Supporting tourism as a key driver of economic growth through a co-ordinated and integrated regional strategy and the development of a strategic tourism vision.

- The Development of the Southeast as a world leader in food including production, processing, ingredients and technolgy. This should involve maximising the potential of Harvest 2020 and the abolition of the milk quota in 2015.

"The proposed ten-year Economic Development Strategy would allow time for new structures to bed in and facilitate long-term planning in terms of R&D, allocation of resources and industry development that is necessary to achieve sustainable economic expansion," said Senator Cullinane.

Access the report here:

Source: Waterford-today

American amanda Knox says she will not travel to Italy for an appeals trial over the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

"I was already imprisoned as innocent person in Italy," Ms Knox said told NBC. "I just can't relive that."

Ms Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were found guilty in 2009, but acquitted on appeal in 2011.

In March, Italy's highest court overturned both acquittals, ordering a fresh appeals process.

Ms Knox spent four years in prison before her acquittal.

She said she expected to win another acquittal, but that "common sense" told her not to return to Italy.

"I thought about what it would be like to live my entire life in prison and to lose everything, to lose what I've been able to come back to and rebuild,'' she said.

"I think about it all the time. It's so scary. Everything is at stake.''

Ms Knox is not required to be present in Italy for the new appeal, due to start in Florence on 30 September.

However, if her previous conviction is confirmed, Italy would be expected to request her extradition.

Meredith Kercher, from Coulsdon, south London, was found dead in a flat she shared in Perugia with Ms Knox, a fellow exchange student.

Prosecutors said Kercher, who had been repeatedly stabbed, died in a sex game that went wrong.

Both Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito maintain their innocence.

Ms Knox insists that on the night of Kercher's death she was at Mr Sollecito's flat, smoking marijuana and watching a film.

Another man - Rudy Guede from Ivory Coast - was convicted in a separate trial and sentenced to 16 years for the killing.

Source: Bbc

Rooney was heavily linked with the Blues, with Jose Mourinho having at least two bids turned down for the 27-year-old and only ending his interest a week before the transfer window closed.

Since then, Rooney has become only the fourth United player to reach 200 goals for the club and has spoken warmly about the reception he has received from supporters and his hope he would get the chance to score many more.

Although he is still to pledge his future to United, it was taken as the most positive sign yet Rooney would be happy to stay if successful negotiations can be concluded on an extension to a contract that expires in 2015.

But Gill, now a United director after standing down from his post to take up a role on UEFA's executive committee, has revealed the Chelsea option was a non-starter anyway.

"We are not in the business of strengthening our key competitors in England," Gill told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"You have to see our response when Gabriel Heinze wanted to join Liverpool (in 2007).

"We went to a Premier League arbitration panel to show that we didn't commit to him moving within England for a certain sum of money.

"We wanted to keep (Rooney) in any event and not sell him overseas.

"You don't win football matches with money in the bank.

"You want players on the pitch. Wayne Rooney has been, and will continue to be I am sure, a great player for Manchester United."

The situation is slightly complicated in the sense Rooney could buy himself out of the remaining year of his contract at the end of the season and pursue an apparent desire to work under Mourinho.

Much is likely to hinge on discussions between United and Rooney's camp about an extension to the estimated £250,000-a-week deal he signed after his previous stand-off in 2010.

It has been suggested in the past United may demand a reduction in those terms, which would be unacceptable to the England frontman.

Gill is slightly detached from such proceedings now but he does feels talks are bound to start at some point.

"Yes, I am sure they will look at it," said Gill.

"We have an approach to dealing with players' contracts at Manchester United that has stood us in good stead for many years.

"I am sure (executive vice-chairman) Ed (Woodward), (manager) David (Moyes) and the owners will continue with that policy."

Source: London24