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FBI Returns Stolen Painting to North Shore Group

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York FBI agents recently recovered and returned one of four precious works of art that were stolen from the Oysterponds Historical Society on the North Fork more than 14 years ago, authorities said.An individual who paid several hundred dollars for one of the paintings at an antiques shop shortly after it was stolen in 2001 later checked the FBI’s Stolen Art Database, discovered the work was stolen, and called federal agents, who returned it to the rightful owners on Sept. 29, authorities said.“The FBI told us this past spring they believed the Bark Washington had been located and asked if we wanted it back,” recalled Amy Folk, collections manager for the Orient-based historical society. “Of course we want it back!”The Bark Washington, an 1860 painting by an unknown artist, depicts an entire whale hunting scene, including the whales and other smaller ships, which is unusual given that marine art generally depicts just a single ship.That painting and another, the Jennie French Potter, plus two whale busks were stolen while the historical society’s building was undergoing renovations. They were estimated to be worth $32,000 in 2001, according to FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser. When adjusted for inflation, their value today is $43,000.Langmesser said that she could not disclose the identity of the person who turned in the stolen art. She noted neither the purchaser, nor the since-closed antiques shop in East Marion—not far from the historical society—would be charged with possessing stolen art. The FBI is treating the customer and the shop as “innocent third parties,” she said.“When art theft occurs, it’s common for the thief to sell it right away to someone else who is going to sell it right away, creating distance between the thief and the piece,” said Langmesser, who described the theft as a crime of opportunity.Both the returned painting and the one that has yet to be found are artistically unique and have ties to the community. They were both local ships captained by local families. The Jennie French Potter, a painting of a five-mast schooner by Samual F. Badger, is also unusual because most schooners have three masts.Folk, the curator, hopes that the Jennie French Potter and the whale busks are also found. She described the whale busks as whalebones shaped like “giant tongue depressors with designs or writing on them” that were commonly used in corsets in the 19th century. Unfortunately, locating the stolen busks will be harder because there are no known photographs of them.With no leads or suspects, the case was closed in 2002, Langmesser said. But with the recent discovery of at least one of the stolen paintings, the investigation is now continuing, although the thief has yet to be identified.The FBI asks anyone with information on this case or any other stolen art works to call them 212-384-1000. Tipsters may remain anonymous.The FBI is still looking for the stolen Jennie French Potter.last_img read more

Allianz expands climate strategy to align with 2°C target

first_imgAllianz has announced an expanded climate strategy phasing out all proprietary investments in coal-based business by 2040 and divesting from a wider range of companies that fail to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to a level in line with a low-carbon economy. The insurer also announced it would halt all insurance coverage of coal-based business by that time.The stated aim of its expanded policy was to ensure the 2°C target of the Paris Agreement was integrated in all of group’s relevant business activities, it said. Allianz’s expanded climate strategy involves a tightening of criteria for exclusion of coal-based businesses, as well as pushing companies in carbon-intensive sectors to cut their greenhouse gas emissions so they are aligned with the 2°C target. Companies that do not succeed in doing so over the coming decades would be gradually removed from Allianz’s portfolio, the insurer said.“This will be implemented for example by active dialogue with the companies and by requests for long-term climate protection targets, similar to the ESG scoring approach, which is already applied to companies with high ESG risks,” it added.A spokeswoman for Allianz said the company had committed to the Science-Based Target Initiative, which meant decarbonising its corporate operations as well as the proprietary investment portfolio by 2050.She said this meant expecting decarbonisation in line with science from the corporate issuers the insurer was invested in, but that it could not be more specific about details and sector-specific targets at this point in time. The insurer has also sharpened the criteria for exclusion of coal-based business models, for which a divestment policy was announced in 2015.Currently, Allianz will not invest in a mining or energy company that derives 30% or more of its revenue or energy generation from coal. The insurer today announced it would be reducing this threshold in five-percentage-point steps to 0% by 2040.The company also announced that it would no longer invest in energy companies that “put the two-degree target at risk by extensively building coal-fired power plants”.Climate strategy breakthrough?Climate think tank The 2° Investing Initiative said Allianz’s decision, along with the move to exit the coal insurance business, “marks a breakthrough in integrating climate criteria into investment and capital stewardship [and] engagement decisions that go beyond backwards-looking metrics to forward-looking indicators”.According to the think tank, Allianz had become “one of the first, if not the first, major investor to publicly announce a forward-looking climate strategy that explicitly integrates the capital expenditure plans of companies”.A spokeswoman said divestment volumes would depend on how companies would change their business models to phase out coal.“Given that we pursue a strong ESG integration approach across our whole portfolio and already followed an ambitious coal policy since 2015, we think that measuring success on divestment volumes might be a bit misleading,” she added.She said the company estimated foregoing around €50m in premiums per year as a result of the decision to stop insuring single coal-fired power plants and coal mines, whether they were operational or planned.Allianz will work with the non-profit organisation Science-Based Target Initiative on the methods and targets that should underpin its climate strategy. The policy applies to the proprietary assets of Allianz Group, which amount to around €690bn, not to assets of third party clients managed by Pimco or Allianz Global Investors.last_img read more

Freshman admission rate the lowest in USC history

first_imgAs USC continues its ascent in the world of higher education, more students are competing for the same number of coveted spots. This year’s admission rate, 17.8 percent, is the lowest in USC’s 134-year history.In the past several years, freshman admission has become far more selective. Last year, USC admitted 19.7 percent of applicants, the lowest at that time. Timothy Brunold, USC’s dean of admission, called the class of 2018 the most accomplished group of first-year students in university history.“Our admission committee enjoyed getting to know the largest, most interesting group of students it has ever had the privilege of reading,” Brunold said in a press release.  “USC’s distinctive academic programs, incredible diversity, vibrant campus life, global perspective and location in the heart of Los Angeles make it a very attractive option for the best and brightest students, not just from across the U.S., but from around the world.”This fall, USC received more than 51,800 applications from high school seniors competing for an estimated 2,750 places in this fall’s entering class. The university admitted 9,225 students hailing from all 50 U.S. states and 80 other countries.This year, 26 percent of incoming freshman will study in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The Marshall School of Business and USC’s arts schools (Architecture, Cinematic Arts, Dramatic Arts, Roski School of Fine Arts and Thornton School of Music) will host 21 and 14 percent of the incoming freshman, respectively.Several incoming freshmen echoed Brunold’s statements, citing USC’s variety of strengths as their reason for enrolling. Joy Ofodu, an incoming freshman majoring in communication, said that USC offers a comprehensive experience for students.“Prospective students and families are quickly realizing that USC is the total package: career preparation, a thriving social scene, excellent athletics, incredible faculty, gorgeous campus, good food and amazing alumni networking,” Ofodu said. “There are now Trojans planted in every area of the world, and all of them are proudly talking up the university.”Exposure from college ranking websites such as US News and World Report might play a part in drawing more applicants, along with other extensive recruiting measures.“I believe [USC] has good marketing strategies that highlight the academics, sports, Trojan family and other opportunities,” said Natalie MacKraz, an incoming freshman majoring in computer science. “The explanations of the advantages of the Trojan family are especially appealing.”This year, the admissions committee organized more than 50 on- and off-campus events such as SCend Offs, receptions for incoming students and families. These human connections are what resonated with Zachary Guo, an incoming freshman majoring in computer science (games), when he was considering which college to attend.“The most effective recruiting tactic for me was staying with a current student at Explore USC,” Guo said. “Being able to ask [my host] all the questions related to my major and life at USC.”This year’s group of incoming students is also more ethnically diverse than in years past. Overall, 21 percent of the class of 2018 includes students from under represented minority populations, and 13 percent of students will be the first in their family to attend college. According to an annual report released by the Institute of International Education, USC has enrolled more international students than any other American college or university.John Lazzeroni Jr., an incoming freshman double majoring in electrical engineering and choral music, thinks USC’s diverse student body is one of the university’s biggest assets.“Everyone comes from a different place and the cultural diversity is outstanding,” said Lazzeroni, who is attending on an NROTC scholarship.  “USC has a phenomenal reputation internationally, and I see people ‘fighting on’ everywhere. Nationally it is highly esteemed in many programs, especially the Thornton School of Music, and locally I get a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ when I say I am going.”last_img read more

Jim Johannson, US Hockey General Manager and former Badger dies at 53

first_imgThe outpouring of grief from the hockey world evidences the impact Johannson had on the game and the many players and people he worked with.Johannson was 53-years-old. Early Sunday morning former Wisconsin hockey player and General Manager of the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team Jim Johannson died at his home in Colorado, according to USA Hockey.Johannson played for the Badgers from 1982 to 1986 and was a member of the 1983 NCAA Championship team. Over his collegiate career Johannson recorded 63 goals and 67 assists.Johannson competed for Team USA in the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics and later went on to work as an executive with USA Hockey.Johannson was faced with a unique challenge for this upcoming Olympics, as the NHL has decided not to send their players to the games this year. Johannson, a respected hockey mind, built this year’s team out of talented young college players and professionals in the other top leagues in the world, namely the KHL and the SHL.Wisconsin and U.S. Olympic Hockey Coach Tony Granato was a former teammate of Johannson and had been working closely with him preparing for the upcoming Olympics.“We lost a true friend in Jim Johannson today,” Granato said on Twitter. “He was so compassionate and as loyal a friend as you could have. He was the ultimate teammate. I am deeply saddened and shocked and sorry that he is no longer with us. He was a special human being.”last_img read more

Stem-Cell Advocates Try to Shield Ethical Concerns

first_imgWould an embryonic stem cell by another name cease being human?  Several recent articles on embryonic stem cells are going beyond just touting the potential cures from the controversial research, which involves creating and destroying a human embryo.  Some are blurring the line between embryonic and adult stem cells (cf. 12/02/2006) and attempting to avoid ethically-charged language.  Here are some ways that reporters are trying to make ES cells more palatable to the public:ES joins the army:  An article on Science Daily claims that embryonic stem cells are being recruited in the war on terror.  A University of Georgia research claims that neural cells induced to multiply from stem cells can detect toxins in the environment, like on a battlefield.  The article fails to mention, however, why embryonic stem cells are needed, and whether adult stem cells could do the job just as well (cf. 07/19/2007).  It also begins with this misleading clause that suggests that embryonic stem cells have already produced cures: “For more than a decade, Steve Stice has dedicated his research using embryonic stem cells to improving the lives of people with degenerative diseases and debilitating injuries.”  The record shows, however, that only adult stem cells have produced therapies that can improve the lives of people, while embryonic stem cells arouse fears of a new era of eugenics (12/16/2006, 11/29/2006 08/13/2006).Get over it:  The Editorial in Nature 9/27 urged Germans to get over their ethical qualms about embryonic stem cells and get with the international stem cell gold rush (cf. 12/16/2005).  Some German ethicists have pointed to the success of adult stem cells to show that embryonic stem cells are unnecessary.  In urging a change, Nature used only bandwagon arguments (cf. 07/31/2006): “The majority of scientists agree that work on both adult and embryonic sources of stem cells should run in parallel until much more is understood about their biology,” the editorial said.  “But Germany is out of step with most European countries in permitting research only on human embryonic stem-cell lines that were created before January 2002, when regulations were first laid down.”  The article admitted that the creation of new ES cell lines “involves destroying human embryos,” but urged scientists to step up their campaigns against the opponents of the controversial research – many of whom are still smarting from the bad reputation Germany inherited from human medical research atrocities of the Nazis (04/07/2005, 02/28/2006, 12/16/2006).Kahuna:  In the same issue, Nature published an interview with Alan Trounson, newly appointed head of California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) – the $3 billion stem-cell center approved by California voters.  The differences in success between adult and embryonic cells were blurred in his statement, “Mesenchymal [multipotent] stem cells are already in clinical trials.  Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are coming of age….”  His ending statement was even more telling: “Adult stem cells are happening.  Embryonic stem cells will come into use, and they won’t be immediate cures for everything.  You need drugs and protocols as well as the cells, and you’ve got to work with the immune system.”  Yet California voters had been swayed by tear-jerking stories of invalids who would be cured by embryonic stem cells.  The problems from subjects’ immune systems rejecting embryonic stem cells have so far rendered them medically useless.  On top of that, Trounson made it clear that no cures are forthcoming any time soon (cf. 10/13/2006).Loaded words:  Because the words “embryonic” and “cloning” are touchy with the public, the US Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry is changing its name to the Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry.  Monya Baker reported in Nature 9/27 that this was intended to downplay ethically-charged words.  Baker quoted a professor of rhetoric who called this “linguistic deflation of public anxiety.”  The center was reacting to an executive order from President Bush that stem cell lines be expanded “in ethically responsible ways.” The same issue of Nature pointed to a promising avenue of research that might solve the ethical problems.  “For practical and ethical reasons, researchers are on the lookout for ways to reprogramme one mature cell type into another,” said Huafeng Xie and Stuart H. Orkin in News and Views.  “In one case, this might be as easy as switching off a single gene.”  They highlighted research that showed it may be possible to turn one kind of cell into another kind through a process of “cellular reprogramming.”  They pointed to a paper in the same issue by Cobaleda et al who found that “mature B cells can be converted to functional T cells, and reprogramming is achieved by B cells taking a step backwards to assume a more immature state.”  If so, it might become possible to take adult cells from a person and convert them back into an embryonic state – no ethical qualms involved.  “Such insights will, in turn, make the alteration of cell fates using modulation of gene expression and the generation of a specific cell population possible, which is a primary goal of regenerative medicine.”  See also the 06/06/2007 and 08/25/2006 entries.As we have shown repeatedly before, ES stem-cell advocates are pushing their agenda past the ethical gatekeepers on selfish, pragmatic grounds, yet have no results to show for it.  The appeals are always for Nobel Prizes and staying ahead in the international sweepstakes.  Whenever an ethicist calls them on the questionable reasoning of taking one life to help another (07/11/2005), they hum and guffaw and dodge the issue.  Now they are trying to blur the language with euphemisms to pull the wool over our eyes.  Don’t let them get away with it (07/19/2007).(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Ottawa school board looks to connect to Aboriginal culture

first_imgAPTN National NewsA positive learning environment and a sense of belonging are important to all students.But if you’re First Nation, Inuit or Metis in an urban environment it could be tough to feel connected in place without culture.That’s why the Ottawa District School Board and Aboriginal community are making changes in local schools.APTN’s Annette Francis has that story.last_img

What the frack group demands answers around Canadian Premium Sands proposed mine

first_imgAshley BrandsonAPTN NewsA group of environmentalists from the Hollow Water First Nation who call themselves “What the Frack” are demanding answers as to how a silica sand project, run by Canadian Premier Sand, was approved.The group was at the Manitoba legislature chasing down the minister of Sustainable Development.They want to know if a work permit was granted to Canadian Premier Sand to begin construction.“We’ve never received a straight answer,” said Don Sullivan. “it’s either yes, or no we haven’t.”Canadian Premium Sand is spearheading a project called Winipigow Sand.The company is in discussions with chief and council about plans to build an industrial plant to extract silica sand from Hollow Water and nearby communities of Seymourville, and Manigotagan.“I live there, this is my home,” said Hollow Water members Reg Simard. “I don’t want my home be… to be bulldozed.”Simard said the proposed mine is five to six kilometres from his house and he has concerns about the company’s proposal.“They come in and tell us all the great things about this,” he said. “All the positives, now granted there is a lot of positives uh – to the project but at what cost?”His main concern is about the air quality around the area once the project is approved.APTN News requested an interview with the Rochelle Squires, the minister of Sustainable Development.Her office said she was not available but in an email statement, the minister said that, “The company has submitted an Environmental act proposal which the province is currently reviewing. Crown-Indigenous consultation has begun.“Environmental safety, including health and safety, is a component of the company’s Environment Act proposal, which is currently under review.”[email protected]@ashleybrandsonlast_img read more

Underside of terror

first_imgThe world was taken by surprise when an utterly defenceless and unsuspecting lot of people gathered to offer prayers at New Zealand’s Christchurch mosques and were gunned down simply for the names they bore. The immediate reason for this terror attack is the gun laws that make it easy for civilians to possess firearms. This grave public concern seems to have been addressed rather promptly with the Prime Minister’s announcement to alter gun laws in the country and that there isn’t a better time to do it than now – remarkably a very distinct stand to take compared to the world’s bulldozing superpower, the USA. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern advocated a wider public health approach that seeks to reduce deaths from gun violence; instead of focusing on the unrealistic change in human behavior of possible murders, she assertively talks about creating an environment where people are less likely to fall victim to gun violence. Without the rhetorics of labeling perpetrators of gun violence as good or bad or unwell, she acknowledged the seriousness of the hazard of civilians possessing weapons and that it is an inherently dangerous thing and that guns must be made much harder to get. As much as the menace of gun violence keeps the discussions going, the underlying but still much too obvious matter of white supremacy is brought to highlight by none other than Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern herself. The popular rant of ‘terrorism does not have a religion’ was empty noise until now. Ms. Ardern’s compassion and leadership have directed attentions to the underside of terrorism: just intense intolerance for the ‘other’, without any labels of religion or ethnicity. Her empathy and solidarity with the targeted community have a set a formidable example of good leadership on the global platform. Her sensitivity to the bereaved and firmness against the perpetrator of the attacks who deserves no sympathy or attention, is for world leaders to appreciate and emulate.last_img read more

Akhilesh Mayawati attack BJP govt

first_imgGhaizbad/GB Nagar: With just a couple of days left for Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar districts to go polling, the star campaigners and big names of various political parties are leaving no stone unturned and are conducting massive rallies to attract voters in their own ways.A massive gathering of crowd was witnessed at Ramleela Maidaan in Kavi Nagar area of Ghaziabad, where thousands of people thronged the rally organised by Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav campaigning for their candidate, Suresh Bansal, for Ghaziabad Lok Sabha seat. Addressing public on the occasion, Yadav lashed out at BJP government on employment, farmer’s issues and spreading falsehood among people. “The leaders of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) are only busy in spreading false achievements while none of the promises of their manifesto turned a reality. All the major infrastructure projects in Ghaziabad district, including the single pillar elevated road, metro line extension from Dilshad Garden to New Bus stand in Ghaziabad, were completed in the rein of Samajwadi Party. However, the present Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath is just cutting ribbons and taking credit. There are no new development works started by the BJP government in past couple of years while those which were incomplete in our rein are still incomplete,” said Yadav. Yadav added that the leaders of BJP party may talk about Smart City Ghaizbad but don’t know the condition of slum and backward areas in Ghaziabad where people are still facing a havoc in their day to day life. Another rally was conducted by BSP supremo Mayawati in Knowledge park area of Greater Noida on Monday afternoon. Over 25,000 people gathered in the ground to hear the campaign speech. Addressing a packed ground, Mayawati slammed the BJP’s “Chowkidar” campaign, calling it a gimmick from a government. “The BJP government used to come up with something new as they came up as chaiwala and asked youths to to start the business of frying pakoras and now they have come as chowkidar. Instead of creating job opportunities, which they had promised in previous elections, they are motivating youths to become chowkidars or fry pakoras,” said Mayawati. She further lambasted the government for their decision such as Demonetisation and GST which she claimed to have broken the back bone of businessman and middle class people. In yet another effort to attract voters, BJP candidate Gen (retd) VK Singh also conducted a road show in Ghaziabad’s old City area along with Uttrakhand Chief Minister Trivender Singh Rawat. The political rally of Congress leader Sachin Pilot’s in Ghaziabad was cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances at the last moment on Monday and is expected to take place on Tuesday.last_img read more

During Slow Offseasons The Brewers Keep Finding Deals

The Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of an ice-cold hot-stove season last winter to become the rare team to win in the offseason and in the regular season. By agreeing Wednesday night with free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal on a one-year, $18.25 million deal, the Brewers again took advantage of an opportunity to find tremendous value. As most teams zig in another slow offseason, the Brewers, again, zag.While Grandal didn’t have a great postseason with the Dodgers last fall, he was one of the best players available on the free-agent market. According to the Baseball Prospectus version of wins above replacement, which includes a catcher’s pitch-framing ability, Grandal was the 14th most valuable position player in baseball last season (5.0 WAR) and the eighth most valuable player per plate appearance (5.8 WAR per 600 plate appearances) among qualified hitters.That was not a fluke.In terms of total value, Grandal was the No. 1 position player by WAR per plate appearance in 2016 (8.7 WAR per 600 plate appearances), and he ranked seventh in 2017. Over the past four seasons, he was worth 21.2 total WAR. That’s star-level production. He turned 30 in November, so he’s not ancient in baseball terms. But despite all this going for him, Grandal settled for a one-year deal.The switch-hitter offers rare power and patience at the catcher position. Over the past four seasons, his walk rate of 12.8 percent ranks 19th among all MLB batters. His .453 slugging mark ranks third among all qualified catchers, and his 116 weighted runs created plus, a measure of offensive ability that adjusts for park and run-scoring environments,1100 is league average. trails only Gary Sanchez and Buster Posey.Not only is Grandal’s offense rare at his position, but his ability to frame pitches — to get more borderline pitches called favorably — gives him tremendous value at the plate and behind it.Grandal led all catchers in framing runs last season (15.7 runs saved above average). He ranked fourth in 2017 and second in 2016. Even as catchers as a group have improved their ability to receive or frame pitches, raising the floor of the skill, Grandal has maintained his edge. By runs saved, framing is more valuable than blocking balls in the dirt, an area in which Grandal is not as adept.Consider the following visual evidence of Grandal’s magic behind the plate last season. As a Clayton Kershaw slider darted slightly outside the strike zone, Grandal’s glove moved it back to within the confines of the zone. A pitch that should have been called a ball then appeared to be a strike.Grandal managed to softly absorb this high-and-away Kershaw fastball and make it appear to finish as a strike. It’s a subtle but valuable skill.Grandal was attached to a qualifying offer, meaning that the team signing him would have to surrender draft-pick compensation. As a revenue-sharing recipient, the Brewers will surrender their third-highest pick in the draft. The qualifying offer slightly diminished Grandal’s value, but qualifying offers are far from the only — and far from the greatest — issue conspiring against free agents. Even after last winter’s lack of free-agent activity, Grandal likely expected that he would be able to do much better than the deal he got. He not only turned down the Los Angeles Dodgers’ qualifying offer earlier in the offseason, but he also reportedly rejected a four-year, $60 million offer from the New York Mets.Instead, Grandal becomes the latest free agent to receive far fewer dollars and years than he had initially sought.The average salary in baseball declined last year for just the fourth time in the past 50 years and the first time since 2004, according to the Associated Press.Through Wednesday, the 73rd day of this offseason, 10.2 percent of available free agents2Our pool of available free agents includes any player with major league experience who was granted free agency or released in October and November of each season. That excludes players signed internationally or those waived by a club before the season ended or later in the offseason. had signed for a total of $856.2 million, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of data from The Baseball Cube. While that’s an improvement over the same point of last offseason, when only 6.5 percent of free agents had signed for $550.5 million, the total dollars spent to date are still down from 2016-17 ($1.017 billion through Day 73), 2015-16 ($1.697 billion), 2014-15 ($1.308 billion) and 2013-14 ($1.452 billion).And the share of free agents signed is trending above the past two offseasons, but it’s still trailing the previous three: As the free agency landscape changes, some teams seem to be looking for openings to give them an edge. Grandal has been the Brewers’ only guaranteed free-agent signing so far,3They have also reportedly agreed to a split deal with pitcher Jake Petricka, meaning that the contract would depend on whether he makes the big-league club. but it’s a significant addition in their quest to repeat as National League Central champs.Sara Ziegler contributed research. read more