Alexa and Echo can now answer questions about State of Iowa

first_imgDES MOINES — Iowa has become the 6th state in the country to offer state government information through “smart speakers.”People may now reference the “State of Iowa” as they ask their Amazon “Alexa” or Google “Echo” some common questions, like how to get a birth certificate or replacement driver’s license.According to Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, nearly half of all the adults in the U.S. use voice assistants to interact with their mobile devices.“We talk a lot in our administration about connectivity, whether that’s broadband connectivity or otherwise,” Gregg said, “and starting today, our state government is that much more connected to its people.”Jeff Franklin, the chief information officer for the State of Iowa, said the state hired a private company called Webspec Design to develop the template for this project.“Because people look for information in different ways,” he said, “some chat, some search and some ask their smart speaker, this capability allows us to meet the needs of our citizens and the way they use technology every day.”State agencies identified more than 200 questions often asked by citizens. Those questions are now part of the “Ask the State of Iowa” database accessible by smart speaker. The governor hosted a demonstration Tuesday morning in her statehouse office.last_img read more

Buckingham’s Roberts lifts title at sodden Senior Series Final

first_img Tags: Golf Week, Senior Series 15 Aug 2019 Buckingham’s Roberts lifts title at sodden Senior Series Final David Roberts from Buckingham Golf Club emerged victorious out of a four-way tie at the top of a sodden Senior Series Final at Woodhall Spa.Roberts netted 33 points during tough conditions in Lincolnshire and took the trophy home ahead of his competitors thanks to a better countback on the back 9.His 16-point haul put him just ahead of Tom Mulvaney (Kings Lynn GC), Tim Hedin (Aldeburgh Golf Club) and John Clyburn (Thirsk & Northumberland GC) who all picked up 15 points coming home.On a day that was difficult for scoring he made the most of the par 3s at the Bracken Course recording 10 points, including two birdies, while his rivals managed just 6, 4 and 4 on the same holes.The Senior Series offers men and women over 50, six 18-hole stableford tournaments played off full handicap. Roberts was happy to look back on his campaign as a great opportunity and end to the season:“I just love the events I played in. I qualified in Sutton Coldfield and I still had an entry to Lincoln so went and played in that – they’re just great events.“It’s a great opportunity to play good courses with good company and it culminates in coming here – I love it here at Woodhall and it’s just been a great day. Great end to the season for me and this is the pinnacle.”Senior Series Final – Leaderboard:David Roberts (Buckingham GC) 33*Tom Mulvaney (Kings Lynn GC) 33Tim Hedin (Aldeburgh GC) 33John Clyburn (Thirsk & Northumberland GC) 33View the full leaderboard here*won by countbackImage copyright of Leaderboard Photographylast_img read more

Mallard’s Team of the Week — Nelson Road Kings Executive

first_img“Record-breaking year on Nelson Streets.”It’s just one of the ways to sum up the 2014 Nelson Road Kings Queen City Cruise held during September in the Heritage City.With Mother Nature providing a picture-postcard-like day, and more than 300 cars from the southern BC Interior, Washington, Idaho and southern Alberta arriving to fill the Heritage  City downtown, the 2014 Road Kings Queen City Cruise was an amazing event. Mallard’s Source for sports would like spotlight the core group of organizers of the 2014 Queen City Cruise, the Road Kings executive, with Team of the Week honours.The contingent includes Jack Chambers, Coling “Mode” Radcliffe, Rob “Woody” Wudkevich and Stan Brost, President, Frank Anderson, Joe Mann, Vice President, Pat Keegan, Secretary and Treasurer, Mike Keegan, Past President, Britt Darough, Ron Cutler, Marcello Piro, John Madelung, Bill Smith and Dave Sabo.last_img read more

MOE Pays ‘Untrained Teachers’ More Money

first_imgThe ongoing fight to improve Liberia’s educational system has experienced a setback following the revelation that authorities at the Ministry of Education were paying more money to teachers that are being classified as “untrained” than those who are “trained” to teach. The Director-General of the National Commission on Higher Education, Dr. Michael P, Slawon made the disclosure during a presentation Wednesday, April 23, at a one-day national symposium on higher education and early childhood development. The day-long symposium was hosted by the MOE under the theme, “Higher Education and Early Childhood Development—the Awakening.” Dr. Slawon presented a paper on the topic, “Higher Education in Liberia: A Destination for Early Childhood Development.” According to him, too few students graduating from the   nation’s high schools are prepared for tertiary education. This situation made Dr. Slawon question the role of educational authorities regarding the improvement of early childhood education in the country.He narrated his experience leading to the discovery of difficulties and expense of upgrading the credentials of teachers at the pre-primary and primary levels.He said the early grade reading assessment data has shown that too few students graduating from the nation’s high schools are prepared for tertiary education; with 100 percent of 25,000 high school graduates who took the University of Liberia’s (UL) last administered entrance exam failing. “No student who sat last year’s examination administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for Liberian high schools scored in Division 1, and only 100 achieved a Division two pass. In the other WAEC countries, only Division 1 and 2 students are considered prepared for tertiary education.” He noted that qualified and dedicated teachers are the most important elements in educating students.“In Liberia,” Dr. Slawon said, “the shortage of qualified teachers is a major impediment to reforming the nation’s education system.”He proposed that all teachers and school administrators become eligible to hold their positions through an itemized system. He said teachers should only be licensed to teach after meeting requirements such as a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Education or its equivalent and an A-Certificate; for Upper Basic Education (Junior Secondary) Teachers and Administrators.“At least an Associate’s Degree from a recognized teacher training institute and a B-Certificate from the authority established under the educational Act empowered to issue Teachers’ Certificates should be required,” he said.He continued, “For Lower Basic Education (Primary Schools) teachers and administrators,” Dr. Slawon said, “at least an Associate Degree for grades (4-6), and a high school diploma with a year of post-secondary teacher training at a recognized teacher training institution; the person must also possess a minimum B or C-Certificate, because the overwhelming number of students are in the pre-primary and primary grades.” Reading from 2012 Public School Census data, Dr. Slawon reported that there was a total of 1, 593 schools, with 9, 655 teachers assigned. Of those teachers, he said, 38.5 percent of them are “trained,” while 37.5 are untrained; leaving the rest in an unknown category.Of the “trained” teachers, 0.7 percent holds an A.A. Certificate; 2.6 percent B. Certificate; 36.2 C. Certificate; with only 0.2 percent holding University degrees, but the rest were placed in an unknown category. “Most teachers are under-educated. The overwhelming numbers of students in these primary grades are in classes with too many students to achieve optimum results,” he explained.Other individuals who presented papers included the president of the Stella Maris Polytecnic University, Sister Mary Laurine Brown, and deputy Education Minister for Planning, Research and Development, Dr. Kalipha Bility among others.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Green Paper proposing spending, investment of oil $$ approved

first_imgNatural Resources FundBy Jarryl BryanA Green Paper on the Natural Resources Fund has been presented to Cabinet by Finance Minister Winston Jordan; and it has been approved, with Government stating that a consultative process will be used to determine areas of spending for the fund.This is according to State Minister Joseph Harmon, who made the disclosure during a post-Cabinet press conference on Monday. Harmon spoke of the different proposals contained in the fund, including suggestions for allocation of the resources.“The intention basically is to ensure that the revenue which comes from oil goes into that fund. And it is that fund which will fund budget estimates, so that projects identified for budgetary support will get that support through the fund,” he explained.The next step, Harmon explained, is for the paper to be presented to the National Assembly.Asked to give details on exactly what areas of spending have been proposed, Harmon said it would be used to fund “budgetary programmes”.“So the proposal is that all revenue will not go directly to any particular sector, but it will go directly through the fund. And then the Ministry of Finance, in preparation for the budget, will call upon the fund projects that are being identified. So that’s the way it’s going to be,” Harmon pronounced.“Insofar as investments are concerned, right now we haven’t made any decisions as to the entity that will be managing that process, but the investments basically are intended to be safe investments; so that the money just (doesn’t) remain there, that it is invested in face investments that will allow the country to benefit from this fund.”According to Harmon, the money will go towards ‘safe’ investments. He assured, however, that prescribing the amount going towards investment and the amount going towards development will be determined during consultations.Finance Minister Winston Jordan had informed reporters last month that the Green Paper – a report on Government’s proposals – was presented to Cabinet to be reviewed. Jordan had noted that a second review would have been done at the next Cabinet meeting, on July 31.“We will revise the paper in time for presentation to the last Parliament, which is on or before August 10, 2018,” he explained, adding that the draft legislation for the Fund is with the Attorney General’s Chambers.“Once the AG’s Chambers are finished with that bill, it will get its review at Cabinet, and then we will put it out for consultations. We will take back whatever comments, and then we will revise the bill and make it ready for Parliament,” he had explained, adding that the bill would be laid in the National Assembly by the year’s end.Stabroek BlockThe Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited is the operator thereof, and holds a 45 per cent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd. holds a 30 per cent interest, and CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited holds a 25 per cent interest.A contract was inked on October 7, 2016 between the coalition Government, ExxonMobil and its partners in the Stabroek block. In the renegotiated contract, which has come in for some criticism, Guyana agreed to a two per cent royalty for every barrel of oil, a 50 per cent share of profit oil, and a US$18 million signing bonus.Out of the contract, Guyana also secured the company’s agreement to set up a fund for social and environment projects. Exxon has to contribute US$300,000 per year to this fund. The sums roll over, and the company, together with Government, will determine which projects to fund.The contract sets aside another US$300,000 per year to ensure Guyanese personnel are trained at local or overseas universities and conferences. There are also provisions for a continuous review of local content.Only in late February, ExxonMobil had announced its seventh oil discovery at its Pacora-1 well. The company had said it encountered approximately 65 feet (20 metres) of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoir. The well was safely drilled to 18,363 feet (5597 metres) depth in 6781 feet (2067 metres) of water.With all these discoveries, ExxonMobil has since increased its estimate of the discovered recoverable resource from a previous estimate of 3.2 billion oil-equivalent barrels to in excess of 4 billion.There is also talk of a third phase of development (the company has done evaluations and applied for permission to begin a second phase) and consideration of two additional phases.last_img read more

High On Ice this weekend

first_imgThursday is the first official day of another Fort St. John High on Ice Festival, although the bulk of the activities are scheduled for the weekend. The professional Ice Carvers Competition is set to begin at six o’clock Friday evening and, it runs throughout the weekend, with the judging scheduled, from two to four on Sunday afternoon. The Ice Fishing Derby runs Saturday from 8am to Dusk and, Sunday from 8am to 3pm…and in lieu of no registration fee, an optional donation of five dollars can be made, to the Child Development Centre. The Toboggan Hill, Tobbogaan Races, are scheduled for 10am to 2pm, both Saturday and Sunday…and the free, “pet-free”, sleigh rides, at the same location, will go from 11am to 3pm both days. – Advertisement -The Fort St. John Curling Club will be the site of another Mukluk Bonspiel, on Friday and Saturday and, for more information you can call the club at 250-785-2037. Byron Stewart is the contact for more information, on the 2nd Annual Over-The-Line Mixed Ball Tournament, at the Surerus Ball Complex and, the number to call is 250-787-7161. And, there’s a nineteen or over age limit, for the “Laugh Your Ice Off” comedy presentation, at the Lido Theatre Friday and Saturday nights, beginning at 8 O’clock. The doors open at seven and advance tickets…for a 25 percent reduced price of 15 dollars…are available at the Lido Box Office, Systems By Trail and, the Visitor Information Centre.last_img read more

Be a VIP at the 2009 Fort St. John International Air Show from Moose FM

first_imgStarting Saturday July 11th, Moose FM and the 2009 Fort St. John International Air Show wanna give you the chance to be a VIP.All you have to do is listen to Moose FM and listen for the sound of the jet.  When you hear it be caller number 3 at 250-787-2222 and you’ll qualify to be a VIP at the Sunday July 19th show.  Here is what you’ll get….The prize is a pair of VIP passes to the show (this pass includes food and drinks), two VIP passes to the Take Off Dinner the night before, a VIP Parking Pass and two chairs to enjoy the show with.- Advertisement -The Air Show is set for Sunday July 19th with the gates opening at 11am and the show starting at 1:30pm.  The Snowbirds will close the show at around 4pm.  The show will also feature an F-86 Sabre, F-18, Wing Walker Carole Pilon and so much more.  For more details on the show visit www.fsjairshow.comThe grand prize draw will be made Friday July 17th at 7:50am on Moose FM. Be a VIP at the 2009 Fort St. John International Air Show is brought to you by the 2009 Air Show and Moose FM.last_img read more

Enron stockholders suing banks ask SEC for its help

first_imgA number of people whose retirement savings or investments dissolved in Enron’s collapse – like 63-year-old company retiree Charles Prestwood, who lost $1.3 million – also spoke and urged the SEC to act. Prestwood said he was praying for justice, so “we can get our day in court.” The SEC has not yet filed supporting briefs on either side in the case, and agency spokesmen had no immediate comment on the matter Wednesday. Late last year, attorneys for Merrill Lynch asked the SEC to file a brief in the appeals court case in support of the investment firm’s position that on legal grounds, it should not be held equally liable. To the chagrin of investor advocates, the SEC intervened on the side of the Bush administration and corporations – against public pension funds and 32 states and territories – in a separate case heard by the Supreme Court in March that could make it harder for shareholders to get lawsuits against companies for alleged fraud put before juries. “Today we’re asking the SEC: `Whose side are you on?”‘ said Teamsters President James Hoffa. Enron, once the nation’s seventh-largest company, entered bankruptcy proceedings in December 2001 when accounting tricks could no longer hide billions of dollars in debt. The collapse wiped out thousands of jobs, more than $60 billion in market value and more than $2 billion in pension plans. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – Union officials, state regulators and people who lost retirement savings in the collapse of Enron Corp. urged the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday to support the position of shareholders suing Wall Street banks for damages in a case before the Supreme Court. The Enron shareholders’ $40 billion lawsuit contends that Merrill Lynch & Co., Credit Suisse Group and Barclays PLC should be held equally liable as Enron as participants in the energy company’s accounting fraud. Thirty states took the shareholders’ side. The shareholders appealed to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled in March that they cannot proceed with their class-action lawsuit. “The SEC must now stand firm and vigorously to protect the public,” Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, said at a news conference. Silence by the agency on the issue “would be both deafening and dangerous,” he said. last_img

Man Utd’s Young charged with violent conduct

first_img0Shares0000Manchester United midfielder Ashley Young’s displays have been sufficiently impressive to earn him a first England call-up since 2013LONDON, United Kingdom , Dec 31 – Manchester United wing-back Ashley Young was Sunday charged with violent conduct after he appeared to elbow Dusan Tadic during his side’s Premier League match against Southampton.The Football Association decided to take action after footage emerged of Young landing a blow on Tadic’s stomach area during Saturday’s goalless draw at Old Trafford. “Young’s charge follows an incident during Saturday’s game against Southampton which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video. He has until 5:00 pm today (1700 GMT) to respond,” an FA statement said.Young, who joined United from Aston Villa in 2011, returned to the England squad in November after a four-year international absence.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Zidane hails selfless Ronaldo after Benzema penalty gesture

first_imgRonaldo, whose first goal was created by a magnificent Benzema flick, stood aside in the 89th minute to allow the Frenchman to convert only his fourth league goal of the season.“The gesture of Cristiano is very important,” said Zidane. “After the game he played, Karim just needed to score a goal.“He (Ronaldo) had opportunities, he scored twice. After there is this gesture of Cristiano for Karim.“This proves that between them, there is a good atmosphere, a good relationship, and to win and continue what we’re doing, it’s super important.”The reigning champions’ title hopes are all but over, with Real 11 points adrift of leaders Barcelona in third, but a run of four straight wins has ended any worries of missing out on a Champions League spot.“Confidence returns from playing these kinds of matches,” added Zidane.“After our match against PSG (3-1 win in Champions League), we’ve been doing much better, maybe there was a missing part or something like that.”Zidane brought Bale back into the starting XI after dropping him to the bench for the midweek victory over Leganes, but ‘BBC’ were left frustrated for much of the first half.The deadlock was finally broken shortly before the interval, as Benzema’s delightful flick found Ronaldo, who duly drilled the ball into the corner.The Portuguese forward’s return to top form has been key to Real’s climb up the table, with the opening goal his 13th in the league this season.– Bale ends drought –Benzema was again the creator as Bale made it two less than a minute into the second period.The Frenchman powered forward and laid the ball off for Bale, with the 28-year-old winger finishing with aplomb to end a run of six games without scoring.Ronaldo has been having no such problems in front of goal, though, and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner wrapped up the points just after the hour mark.He ran onto Lucas Vazquez’s pass to slot home his 13th goal in his last seven games in all competitions, including the vital two in last week’s Champions League first-leg win over Paris Saint-Germain.Benzema was rewarded for his earlier assists with the chance for only a second league goal since November, which he took with little fuss.Barcelona can open up a 10-point lead over Atletico Madrid when they host Girona later on Saturday, with Diego Simeone’s capital club not playing until their Sunday visit to Sevilla.Elsewhere, Celta Vigo gave their hopes of qualifying for the Europa League a boost as Iago Aspas scored in a 2-0 win over Eibar.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Heads up: Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice as Real down Alaves 4-0 © AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOUMADRID, Spain, Feb 24 – Real coach Zinedine Zidane hailed Cristiano Ronaldo’s selflessness after the forward gave up the chance of a hat-trick by allowing Karim Benzema to take a late penalty in Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of Alaves.Zidane restored Gareth Bale to the starting XI to reunite the ‘BBC’ front line of the Welshman, Ronaldo and Benzema, and all three scored in a confident display at the Santiago Bernabeu.last_img read more