The Hard Truth about Horses

first_imgHorses are animals deeply entwined with human history, and they have earned a prominent spot in our hearts. One aspect of this human-horse relationship is our tendency to project onto these beloved creatures our love for freedom, picturing them living an idyllic life “running free.” This image comes with an assumption that horses “set free” will adapt to their new conditions, thrive, and be happy. We assume they will have a better life. But few of us see the actual hardships in the life of a feral horse in unfamiliar terrain.yard 1Aug2014Modern horses are grassland animals. They’re not built to thrive on islands. As a result, their carcasses are piling up in greater numbers on Cumberland Island, a national seashore along the Georgia coast.Visitors imagine that the animals are enjoying happier lives living free on a forested island, but most island visitors see only a glimpse of the life of island horses. They do not observe the struggles of equine life in this hostile island environment, nor the outcomes, since the National Park Service quickly removes dead or injured animals from sight. Turning loose the horses on Cumberland is similar to turning one’s pet dog loose in a forest and expecting it to fare well.E.O. Oct 04On Cumberland, feral mares are often impregnated at age one, long before they are fully mature. Their health quickly deteriorates, especially when food supplies are sparse, which they frequently are on barrier islands.In addition, foal mortality is high, and environmental hazards are many. Flowing manes and long-haired tails are potentially deadly in vine-tangled forests, where the horses are often snared and held until death. The open, level expanses of salt marsh are inviting to equines, but the weight of a horse is distributed on four small points, which offer little support in soft mud. Once a horse sinks belly-deep in mud, escape is unlikely, but the tide is inevitable. Many have drowned, held fast by the mud.Turning loose the horses on Cumberland is similar to turning loose one’s pet dog in the forest and expecting it to fare well.And there are predators. Island horses are killed by alligators, as well as venomous snakes, and encephalitis-bearing mosquitoes. In reality, life is hard and survival is a challenge for the horses living on Cumberland Island.Not only are the horses living a hard life, but many animals native to Cumberland suffer from the presence of feral livestock, as do the natural island ecosystems. Much of the island horse’s diet is composed of Spanish moss, which would otherwise hang to the ground, providing food and habitat for native animals. One look at the amount of horse manure on the island gives an idea of the enormity of their impact on the vegetation and water quality, and thus the ecosystems.BO foal MayPreferring open areas to hazardous forest habitat, and always in search of food, horses frequent the beach and dunes to forage and escape biting flies. There they graze and trample grasses necessary to stabilize the dunes, such as sea oats. Sea oats help hold the sand dunes in place, with their deep network of roots and ability to continue growing if buried. Grazing compromises this natural protection of the shoreline and also violates state law.It is time for us to thoughtfully address the presence of feral horses on Cumberland Island, taking into account their welfare and that of the island ecosystems. Local businesses see the horses as attracting tourist dollars. Others still have an emotional attachment to having horses on the island, without understanding the situation. Are we guilty of simply projecting our romantic notions onto suffering animals?Recently, the National Park Service expressed an interest in non-lethally eliminating feral horses on the island. Using contraception, it is both possible and feasible through non-lethal methods, to allow the present horses to live out their lives on the island, without reproduction, thereby preventing future suffering and ecosystem degradation. In the long-term, using contraception to reduce the number of horses on Cumberland is what’s best for the horses and the island.The National Park Service is seeking comments as part of their upcoming Visitor use Management Plan. Now is an important time to share your thoughts. Ideally, the feral horses should be completely removed, for the health of the suffering horses and the island. At the very least, the National Park Service needs to reduce the number of horses to a small herd on the south end of the island. Submit your comments—even just a sentence or two—at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CUISlast_img read more

Homicide Rate Falls About 10 Percent in Colombia

first_imgBy Dialogo May 16, 2012 Joint actions by the Armed Forces, with the support of law enforcement, have made it possible for arrests of members of irregular organizations to increase by about 20 percent so far this year, compared to the previous year. The demobilization of 392 people is another notable figure. Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón acknowledged that the new strategic plans and the deployment of combined actions by the Military and the National Police have made possible an increase in the number of arrests of members of criminal organizations, which have outpaced those made in 2011 by 20 percent. According to the high-ranking official, arrests of FARC members have increased about 72 percent, of ELN members about 82 percent, and of members of criminal gangs about 23 percent. “The new strategic plans are demonstrating effectiveness, and due to the fact that they are only in the process of being implemented, we can expect increasing results, and they indicate an appropriate roadmap and a significant sign of clear progress in the area of results and of concrete strengthening of the activities of government forces,” the Defense Minister declared. Pinzón also highlighted the figure for individuals demobilized from criminal organizations this year, according to which 392 people have laid down their arms and returned to civilian and productive life so far in 2012. He also highlighted the fact that “offensive actions by the Armed Forces have increased about 41 percent with respect to last year, and as a result of the combat that has occurred during those operations, neutralizations of members of criminal organizations are up by 41 percent.” Pinzón also announced that homicides have fallen about 10 percent compared to 2011, which saw the fewest homicides in the country in 28 years, and if this trend continues, this year could have the fewest in three decades. In Minister Pinzon’s remarks on the social network Twitter, it was noted that all indicators for various types of theft have gone down as well. He highlighted the fact that theft from residences has fallen 22 percent, automobile theft 18 percent, and theft from financial institutions 15 percent.last_img read more

Big data is credit unions’ best defense against the zombie apocalypse

first_img 19SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The ability to mine data for insights can pay dividends on both the revenue and cost sides of the equation.Thanks to “The Walking Dead” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” we’ve learned more about self-defense against zombies than we’ll (hopefully) ever need.Less understood, however, is the threat to your credit union from various forces conspiring to suck the lifeblood from your business and leave you wandering aimlessly.Lest anyone needs a grisly reminder of the death by 6,000 cuts credit unions are facing, including:Continuing interchange price compression.Merchant steering to lower-cost payment alternatives.A persistent low net interest margin environment.Nonbank entrants aiming to disintermediate the credit union-member relationship. continue reading »last_img read more

Health Department issues statement on possible COVID exposure on Greyhound bus

first_imgBROOME COUNTY (WBNG) — The Health Department of Broome County has issued a public health statement alerting passengers on a bus traveling to Binghamton may have been exposed to the coronavirus. The health department reminded residents testing is available at Binghamton University’s NYS drive-through site. To make an appointment, call 1-888-364-3065. The Health Department says the bus ran on September 6, departing around 2:30 P.M. and arrived at Binghamton at around 5 P.M. The health department is asking the passengers on the bus to self-quarantine until September 21 and to contact their local health department for more information and further assessment. The passengers were traveling from Port Authority on a Greyhound bus to Binghamton. last_img read more

NEWS SCAN: Avian flu developments in Egypt, Army probes Ft. Detrick samples, dengue drug targets

first_imgApr 22, 2009Egypt reports two H5N1 infections, one fatalEgypt’s health ministry said yesterday that a 6-year-old boy has died of an H5N1 avian influenza infection and that a 4-year-old boy from a different governorate has been hospitalized with an H5N1 infection, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported today. The 6-year-old, from Qalyubiya governorate, about 25 miles north of Cairo, was hospitalized on Mar 28 and died yesterday. His death marks Egypt’s first fatal H5N1 case this year. Meanwhile, the Egypt-based Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR) reported that the 4-year-old, from Sohag governorate, about 240 miles south of Cairo, started experiencing a fever and runny nose on Apr 18; he was hospitalized and treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu) the same day and is in good condition. The boy’s mother said he had close contact with sick or dead poultry. If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the two cases, the H5N1 count for Egypt will increase to 68 cases, of which 24 have been fatal.[Apr 22 Xinhua story]Egypt H5N1 outbreak linked to recent caseAnimal health officials in Egypt reported an H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in backyard birds in Kafr el-Sheikh governorate and linked the findings to a recently announced human case, an 18-month-old girl from Kellin district whose H5N1 infection was confirmed by the WHO yesterday as Egypt’s 66th case-patient, SAIDR reported today. The outbreak involved 30 chickens for which vaccination status wasn’t known. In a separate report today SAIDR said the girl remains hospitalized in good condition.Experts point out Egyptian H5N1 gapsA WHO official in Egypt said recently that the country’s medical system has responded well to the rash of H5N1 infections in humans, a possible reason the fatality rate from the disease this year is so low, but he said the country needs “a more holistic approach” to control the spread of the virus, according to an Apr 16-22 report from Al-Ahram Weekly, the foreign-language edition of a Cairo-based daily newspaper. Ahmed Abdel-Latif said more disease awareness campaigns targeting children, who play with poultry in the streets, are needed in rural areas. He said education campaigns should be directed through mosques and churches, because people are more likely to respond if instructed by religious leaders. In addition, Hamed Samaha, head of Egypt’s veterinary authority, said the country needs more H5N1 vaccine stocks for poultry, because existing supplies only cover 30% of the population. He also said the country’s veterinary workforce is aging, seriously understaffed, and unable to keep up with the demand for H5N1 vaccinations.[Apr 16-22 Al-Ahram Weekly story]Army probes potentially missing virus samples at Ft. DetrickOfficials from the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) are working to determine if any virus samples are missing from the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Ft. Detrick, Md., the Frederick News-Post reported today. On Feb 6 the Army said it was suspending nearly all select-agent work at the lab so it could conduct an inventory of all its laboratory samples. The review of security measures was prompted by events surrounding the death of former lab employee Bruce E. Ivins, whom federal officials believe played a role in the 2001 anthrax attacks. Though CID’s investigation reportedly began near the same time the inventory was announced, it’s not clear if the two probes are related. Two former lab employees told the News-Post that the CID investigators asked specifically about samples of Venezuelan equine encephalitis. A USAMRIID spokeswoman told the paper that the inventory is nearly complete, though the end date is not yet known.[Apr 22 News-Post story]Scientists identify potential targets for dengue drugsResearchers have identified cellular components in mosquitoes and humans that the dengue virus uses to multiply after infecting both hosts, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which funded the study. By studying fruit flies, which are closely related to mosquitoes, the scientists identified 116 dengue virus host factors, the NIAID reported in a press release. They determined that 42 of these host factors have counterparts in humans, and these may serve as targets for new drugs to treat dengue infections. Currently there are no specific drug treatments for dengue, which sickens 50 million to 100 million people each year. The research report was published in Nature.[NIAID news release][Nature abstract]last_img read more

Swiss pension fund liabilities increase by 4% over first quarter

first_imgSwiss pension funds’ liabilities grew by 4% over the first quarter due to a sustained drop in discount rates, according to Towers Watson’s Global Pension Finance Watch. At the same time, investment returns have come under pressure in recent months, according to UBS. The Towers Watson report, which covers defined benefit plans, found that the Swiss benchmark discount rate fell by 23 basis points to 0.72% over the first three months of the year.Over the last 12 months, Swiss funds have seen the rate fall by 100bps. This is mirrored in the steep and steady decline of long-term interest rates in Switzerland, where the 30-year government bond yield fell from 1.52% to 0.42% over the last 12 months, while the 10-year yield fell from 0.96% to -0.05%.As a result, Towers Watson’s pension finance index for Switzerland fell by 1.8% over the period.This is despite positive investment returns for Swiss pension funds.The benchmark portfolio grew by 2.1% over the same period and by 10.7% over the past 12 months.According to the report, Swiss pension funds’ domestic equity portfolios grew by 3.2% and fixed income portfolios 2% over the first quarter.However, data from UBS shows returns for Swiss pensionskassen are coming under increasing pressure.According to the UBS Pensionskassen Barometer, returns in June fell by 1.6%, bringing the overall return for the first half into negative territory.UBS noted how the negative returns recorded in June were almost equivalent to the levels seen in January, when Swiss pensionskassen were caught in a storm caused by the Swiss National Bank’s decision to abandon the peg with the euro.In February, the monetary authority also introduced a negative rate of 0.75% on Swiss banks’ deposit account balances, which meant pension funds were being charged to hold cash deposits.The UBS Pensionskassen Barometer also found that return differentials between institutions of different sizes were negligible.In June, all asset classes held by Swiss pensionskassen performed negatively, particularly Swiss equities and foreign government bonds, which fell by 4.92% and 1.66%.Swiss government bond portfolios fell by 0.83%.The data may signal that a positive trend for Swiss pension funds, which have grown assets steadily over the past three years, might be reversing.During the first quarter, the Credit Suisse Pension Fund Index reached an all-time high, although the pace of growth had been slowing steadily from February.The index grew by 1.51% in the first quarter, reaching a record high of 154.53 due to a 2.74% performance in February.However, Credit Suisse reported that the index had grown by just 0.64% in March.The annualised return since January 2000 is 2.89% compared to the annualised mandatory minimum rate for pension funds of 2.55%.This is set by BVG, the Swiss pension regulator.For the first quarter, Credit Suisse found pension funds decreased their cash allocations to all-time lows, while allocations to domestic fixed income increased from the previous quarter.Equity allocations remained stable.last_img read more

Iconic house gets a modern makeover

first_img“I absolutely love that house, but we are selling to make a sea change,’’ Mrs Mulder said.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus15 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market15 hours ago“Once we moved in it exceeded my expectation of how nice it would be to live in, through every beautiful big window you can left fresh air come through the house and you also have a view of the big beautiful tree out near the garage.’’ Mrs Mulder said the house was quiet and her favourite room was her bedroom.“My bedroom is so peaceful it is divine to sleep in, it is so peaceful and just being able to look out the windows at the street, the trees with pink blossoms and different colours, it is just stunning.“Also, I love the library downstairs, it is so cozy and peaceful there, it is very, very nice.’’Not long after they moved in the family installed a swimming pool after clearing a large tree which took up most of the backyard.“I tried to make it (the yard space) as large as possible so it is good for a family,’’ Mrs Mulder said. 44 Moreton St, New Farm.Janelle Mulder knew as soon as she saw their 1896 New Farm home that it would make the perfect house for her, husband Paul and their four sons.Known as Doon, 44 Moreton St, New Farm, appealed to Mrs Mulder because it reminded her of the solid brick homes she was used to from Perth. This house at 44 Moreton St, New Farm, is listed for sale.“I just loved its style, the Victoria style and I loved the solidness of it,” she said.While the style was appealing there was work to be done as there wasn’t a single wardrobe and the bathrooms needed renovating.The family lived out of boxes for a while but eventually renovations turned in to their perfect family home — including wardrobes.The house was repainted, new light switches installed, and both bathrooms were redone with the inclusion of a laundry chute.center_img The pool has glass fencing around it and there is a hot and cold shower in the backyard as well.Mrs Mulder said she loved that the house was close to shops and that they could just walk to local restaurants.“Whoever gets it is lucky,’’ she said, “It is one of the most beautiful houses in New Farm.’’The home which is on 723sq m of land, has a large front veranda with intricate wrought-iron fretwork. Inside the home are high ceilings, archways, polished timber floors and elaborate architraves. The living spaces are at the rear of the home and the bedrooms at the front.It is on the market for offers over $3.35 million and is listed with Brandon Wortley of ray White New Farm.last_img read more

GLDD Once Again Pumping Sand in Surfside Beach

first_imgAfter almost two weeks of setbacks, the contractor – Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company (GLDD) – is once again pumping sand in Surfside Beach, SC.GLDD is currently busy nourishing the beach between 16th and 17th Avenues North (in front of the Holiday Inn), reported the Town of Surfside Beach. The town also added that beaches between 14th and 17th Avenues North are closed at the moment.According to the contractor, GLDD will now be working 24/7 to complete the project as quickly as possible and minimize impact to visitors, residents and businesses.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, recently awarded this $26.3 million contract for the Myrtle Beach Storm Damage Reduction Project to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, LLC.GLDD will under the contract place approximately 1.2 million cubic yards of material on North Myrtle Beach and Garden City and Surfside Beaches.This project is funded through federal emergency beach rehabilitation funding from Hurricane Matthew, along with cost-shared construction funding appropriated through Congress.[mappress mapid=”24327″]last_img read more

OAS to launch firearms marking project in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Panama

first_imgNewsRegional OAS to launch firearms marking project in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Panama by: – February 8, 2012 OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza. Photo credit: Oas.orgWASHINGTON, USA — The Organization of American States (OAS) will launch its program “Promoting Firearms Marking in Latin America and the Caribbean” in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Panama and Peru according to a cooperation agreement signed on Monday, which establishes that the four countries will receive the necessary equipment to identify weapons and process registration information.OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza stated that, with the signing of this agreement, “the countries will not only acquire the technical capacity to develop specific actions to prevent and combat illegal arms trafficking but will also show their willingness and commitment to address the challenges of criminal activity for the security and welfare of citizens.”With this agreement, he added, “The states of our region send an unequivocal message of their will to reinforce our democratic capacity, enhance the concept of citizenship and the rights of people.”“When security is at stake, as it is in our region, it affects the integrity and the role of the state and the democratic institutions. That is what we want to protect,” he said.The head of the OAS thanked the government of the United States for its support for the program through which today “20 countries of the Hemisphere have strengthened their capacities to protect the lives of their citizens.” The secretary general also stressed that the Organization will “unequivocally continue to support the efforts to reduce, combat and thwart trafficking of weapons, which makes it so difficult today in our region to combat organized crime.”The permanent representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the OAS, Ambassador Deborah-Mae Lovell, said the signing of this agreement is “a significant step in the fight against crime, and we are very pleased to join the global effects of marking of firearms.”The permanent representative of Panama, Ambassador Guillermo Cochez, said the agreement is a “positive step necessary to ensure the safety of our citizens,” because it allows countries to “strengthen cooperation and promote information sharing among government authorities responsible nationally, regionally and internationally.”The permanent representative of Dominica, Ambassador Hubert Charles, said his government “is pleased to be part of this important agreement, which is one of the key mechanisms for the prevention and trafficking of firearms,” and expressed support for the program “extends to the Caribbean.”On behalf of the donor country, the United States permanent representative to the OAS, Ambassador Carmen Lomellín, expressed her government’s commitment “to help all OAS member states in preventing and eradicating the illicit trafficking of arms in the region.”The signing of these cooperation agreements is part of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), and seeks to strengthen national capacities in terms of marking firearms.Caribbean News Now Sharing is caring! Tweet 9 Views   no discussionscenter_img Share Share Sharelast_img read more

Ag vandalism leads to multiple arrests, drug charges

first_imgFranklin County, In. — A report of vandalism in farm fields led to four arrests and a drug seizure.In the early evening of Tuesday, August 29 police began an investigation in the northeast portion of Franklin County. Police quickly identified a blue vehicle as the vehicle responsible in the Bath State Bank parking lot.During the investigation deputies determined Ralph Taylor, 34, of New Trenton, Chad Fenker, 18, of Batesville, and a 15-year old juvenile were taking turns driving their truck through the fields. Police suspected Taylor may have been under the influence of alcohol.As the investigation continued deputies learned the suspects were traveling West College Corner to allegedly purchase marijuana. Police obtained a search warrant for the address and found multiple drugs and paraphernalia. A 17-year-old juvenile, Alex Osborne and Crystal Osborne were arrested at that location.Ralph Taylor has been charged with operating while intoxicated over .15 BAC, driving while suspended and criminal mischief. Fenker has been charged with criminal mischief and driving without ever obtaining a license. The 15-year-old was charged with criminal mischief and was released to his parents. Alex Osborne has been charged with maintaining a common nuisance, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. Crystal Osborne has been charged with possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a common nuisance and possession of paraphernalia. A 17-year-old was charged with dealing in marijuana and released to his family.last_img read more