Claims to Guyana’s territory “expansionist ambition” – President Granger

first_imgThe statement further reveals that the Administration of President David Granger has committed to bringing an end to the decades-old border controversy between Guyana and neighbouring Venezuela through judicial intervention, since Venezuela is bent on seeking to prove that it owns part of Guyana, despite the decision handed down by the Arbitral Tribunal.REJECTEDThe Energy and Petroleum Commission of Venezuela has rejected the legality of oil operations ongoing in Guyana’s Essequibo region. Venezuela has, for several decades, been claiming Guyana’s territory, although the border issue has been settled since 1899.According to the El Nacional report, vice-president of the parliamentary body, Deputy for Zulia, Elías Matta, tabled the draft agreement, explaining that, “As stipulated in Article 5 of the Geneva Agreement, no resource can be exploited if there is no agreement between both nations”.“Deputy Matta said the Guyana Government carried out the expansion of oil prospecting operations in May 2015, in which Exxon-Mobil reported a discovery at the Liza-1 well of the Stabroek Block.“Likewise, on November 17, 2016, the commercialisation of the same was announced, estimating its recoverable resources (at) between 800 million and 1.4 billion barrels of high quality crude oil belonging to the coastal waters of the Essequibo”, the report noted.The Venezuelan Parliamentary Commission wants the Venezuelan Government to send this “agreement” to the new UN Good Officer for the Guyana/Venezuela conflict. The Commission also wants the UN official “to immediately suspend all operations carried out within the maritime area corresponding to the territory in claim until the dispute is resolved.” The UN Good Officer has no such powers, according to local officials familiar with the process.The border controversy, which was not on Venezuela’s front burner for several years – after being first officially mooted in 1962 – was reignited when US oil giant ExxonMobil began exploratory works in the Stabroek Block offshore the Essequibo. With Guyana on the verge of becoming a lucrative oil-producing nation, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro issued a decree in May 2015, purporting to claim the majority of Guyana’s waters off the Essequibo. The decree was a flagrant violation of international law, and was inconsistent with the principle that all states should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states.In an effort to defend its sovereignty, Guyana has made it clear to the Venezuelan Government that the Essequibo and the waters offshore belong to Guyana, and has strengthened its push for judicial settlement of the issue, as the Good Offices process had yielded little result.SETTLEDThe border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela was settled by an international tribunal in 1899 in an award the parties, including Venezuela, had agreed would be the final settlement. Since Venezuela began adopting a belligerent attitude towards Guyana, moves have been made by the international community, including the UN Secretary General, to push for a peaceful resolution of the issue.Fifty years ago, shortly before Guyana’s independence in 1966, the Geneva Agreement was signed with the aim of amicably resolving the controversy, which has arisen because Venezuela contends that the Arbitral Award of 1899 in regard to the frontier between Venezuela and what is now the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is null and void.The 1966 Geneva Agreement confers on the Secretary General of the United Nations the power to choose the means of settling this controversy from among those that are contemplated in Article 33 of the United Nations Charter. Guyana-Venezuela border controversy…Venezuela says Exxon oil operations in Guyana violate Geneva agreement Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional has published a report detailing that the Energy and Petroleum Commission of the National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is convinced that the oil exploration ongoing in Guyana violates the Geneva Agreement of 1966 and Article 10 of The Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, “which clearly establishes the Venezuelan territory”.But in a statement issued to the media on Thursday following publication of the El Nacional article, The Ministry of the Presidency maintains that Guyana has always respected the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal’s Award as being the final settlement of the border controversy, and that President Granger views Venezuela’s claims to Guyana’s territory as “expansionist ambition”.last_img read more

Paley’s Watch Found

first_img(Visited 679 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 There actually is a clock in the heath, and it’s in our bodies, too.What is a watch? It’s an instance of a clock. William Paley famously presented his famous “watchmaker argument” in Natural Theology in 1802, a book that influenced Darwin. Paley asked what one could deduce if he ran across a watch lying upon the ground in a heath. With cogent analysis, he anticipated the arguments of Michael Behe (Darwin’s Black Box) about irreducible complexity and arguments about functional wholes of Douglas Axe (Undeniable). Whether or not Paley took his argument too far, his “watchmaker argument” can stand on its own as a logical argument for intelligent design.Since a watch is a clock, but not all clocks are watches, we need to be sure that other instances of clocks support Paley’s argument. One might dispute Paley by saying the daily rotation of the earth is a ‘clock’ of sorts that is not irreducibly complex. The point of the argument is that a designed clock has a point. It’s organized in a way to tell time for a purpose. The earth’s diurnal cycle is oblivious to beings that might use it to tell time, but a watch was made for the purpose of monitoring the passage of time for human use. The Greeks had a water clock. Early medieval people had the hourglass. Christian Huygens invented the pendulum clock. As science progressed, clocks utilizing springs and gears, then quartz vibrations, and then atomic frequencies refined timekeeping to astonishing levels of accuracy. Timekeeping devices are so accurate now that scientists routinely have to consider adding a “leap second” every few years to keep instruments in sync with astronomical phenomena, and GPS satellites have to take very tiny relativistic effects into account.Critics of Paley might say that the early timekeeping devices, like the hourglass, are not irreducibly complex (IC), because any similar repetitive process in nature could be used by a person to infer time, even if it doesn’t happen for the purpose of providing timekeeping information to humans. Examples might be tides, the rising and falling of the Nile, or a regular geyser’s eruption. At some point, human clock devices certainly became IC, because nobody would assume nature could produce a modern atomic clock.One telltale sign of an IC clock mechanism would be if it contained switches that perform a function. Most of us have seen the mechanical trippers on certain clocks that flip lights on and off. Alarm clocks that turn on a buzzer or radio station are more examples. These days, the clocks in our smartphones can switch on all kinds of applications, and the “internet of things” is beginning to link whatever function one might desire to the passage of time, so that you can even reset your home lights in New York remotely from a Paris cafe. Hourglasses lacked these additional functions. Whenever we see a clock that can switch on another function that is independently useful, we’re getting close to IC. If it can switch on numerous functions, and simultaneously respond to external inputs to keep those functions regulated within tight constraints, then the case for IC becomes very convincing. If Paley’s 1805-era watch was IC, how much more would such a time-based, adapting, switching master regulator be?The Circadian ClockNow we are ready to announce the existence of such a clock: the circadian clock in all living things. Science Magazine published a collection of papers on biological clocks recently. In a leading Perspective article, Millius and Ueda discussed why organisms need circadian mechanisms, and how new knowledge is being gained about them:An internal biological rhythm, the circadian clock—which can be measured by changes in rhythmic gene expression, cellular activity, or physiological behavior—enables an organism to anticipate daily cyclic changes in the environment.Credit: Illustra MediaWe see in this quote that the clock mechanism comes from genes, which are sequences of information – not mere rhythms of natural objects subject to laws of nature (like the tides). We see also that these genes switch on functions such as cellular activity or behavior that are important for the organism. The genes can adjust to external inputs, such as sunlight, as when we adjust to jet lag. The functions that the circadian clock switch on are numerous, the article goes on to say. Effects occur at all scales, too, from the individual protein and organ to the whole organism. Even more interesting is the finding that timekeeping functions differ between tissues. This suggests that the regulation of circadian rhythms are customized for each tissue, for each organ, and for the whole organism (e.g., for diurnal and nocturnal animals). Here’s a sample of the complexity researchers found when they measured gene expression in the tissues of one species of primate, the olive wild baboon:Approximately 11,000 transcripts were expressed in all 64 sampled tissues, which the researchers called ubiquitously expressed genes, including many involved in basic cellular functions such as DNA repair, transcription, and protein homeostasis. Most of these ubiquitously expressed genes were rhythmic in at least one tissue, but there was little overlap in rhythmic genes between tissues, which suggests that tissue-specific mechanisms control oscillatory expression. For example, a gene that had rhythmic expression in the liver was constitutively expressed in the heart. Because ubiquitously expressed genes control fundamental biological processes, timing their expression can affect the overall function of a tissue. For example, diurnal regulation of exocytosis in the thyroid or adrenal glands may enable rhythmic release of endocrine factors, compared with other organs in which the timing of exocytosis is less important for function.The Whole-Genome ClockCredit: Illustra MediaIn another Perspective article by Carolina Diettrich Mallet de Lima and Anita Göndör in Science, we learn that the whole genome itself is organized to facilitate circadian homeostasis, that is, the maintenance of accurate timekeeping in spite of external perturbations.Maps of physical contact probabilities between distant regions have earlier revealed that the genome is organized into topologically associating domains (TADs) displaying high local, intradomain chromatin-fiber contact frequencies. Given that TADs constrain and thereby increase the specificity of enhancer-promoter (E-P) contacts, the mechanisms and dynamics of TAD formation are intensely investigated.This organization that regulates gene expression is highly specific, as would be expected for homeostasis. But it also exhibits flexibility. The Perspective article references a paper in Science by Kim et al. that shows that the circadian clock is not only reliable, it is able to adapt to changing conditions.Phenotypic plasticity, the potential for phenotypic change in response to external signals, drives adaptation to environmental fluctuations and requires flexible gene regulation. A seminal example of adaptive plasticity is represented by the circadian clock, which establishes 24-hour rhythmicity in physiology, metabolic activities, and behavior. As external time cues, such as light and food intake, can reset the phase of oscillations, circadian homeostasis enables light-sensitive organisms to both anticipate and adapt to daily environmental cycles. On page 1274 of this issue, Kim et al. provide a glimpse into the genome-wide complexity of transcriptional plasticity during the physiological circadian cycle in mice, with implications for our understanding of diseases linked with deregulation of the circadian clock.The Cell Cycle ClockAnother type of clock does not need to know the time of day so much as it needs to ensure processes occur in the proper sequence. Business project managers are familiar with Gantt charts or Pert charts that lay out the sequence of steps in a project, such as what steps need to complete before other steps can begin. A foreman on the project might establish checkpoints for go or no-go decisions based on upstream events. That’s what the cell does when its project is duplicating itself. Phys.org tells how proteins regulate the cell cycle:Credit: Illustra MediaCell division is the basis of all life. Even the smallest errors in this complex process can lead to grave diseases like cancer. Certain proteins have to be switched on or off at specific times for proper cell division. Biophysicists and medical biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have described the underlying mechanism of this process. They report how different signaling pathways in the cell change the structures of proteins, thereby driving the cell division cycle in the right direction at the right time. The researchers present their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Lest anyone doubt that the cell cycle is irreducibly complex, read on:The cell cycle is an extremely complex and precisely defined process. “The parent cell has to double its existing components and then divide into daughter cells. In order to do this, numerous genes have to be switched on and off at very specific times,” says biophysicist Professor Jochen Balbach from MLU. The cell cycle is sub-divided into phases. These are controlled by what are known as inhibitor proteins, also called CDK inhibitors. Like a red traffic light, these proteins block transition to the next phase until the cell gives the relevant start signal. ConclusionPaley’s watch has been found. It was inside him all the time, as well as inside the heather on the heath. The exciting thing is, it is far more complex than Paley could have imagined. If a relatively simple watch on the ground was sufficient to infer intelligent design, how much more the regulated, flexible, switching circadian clocks described above?Exercise: Darwinians will undoubtedly rush to argue that there is an evolutionary path to the human circadian clock with all its complexity. Some early microbe found it beneficial to regulate its activity by the diurnal cycle. Later organisms got better at it, and over millions of years, here we are. How would you respond to this claim? (comments are invited). We have more to say about natural selection in a future post, but start with our March 13 entry, ‘Natural Selection? No – Sheer Dumb Luck.” The evolutionary comeback hinges on what ‘fitness’ means, and whether natural selection is a creative process with functional innovation as an expected outcome. It’s not enough to imagine a path and tell just-so stories about it. The actual random mutations that were selected need to be specified.Extra Credit: Many skeptics feel that David Hume answered Paley’s argument from design and basically overturned the case of the natural theologians. Hume, however, wrote his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion in 1779, a full 23 years before Paley’s book came out. Imagine a debate between Hume and Paley. Who do you think would have succeeded in 1802? Who do you think would win in 2018, now that we know much more about life, genetics and the living cell?last_img read more

Zuma appoints new Public Protector

first_img19 October 2009President Jacob Zuma has appointed human rights lawyer Advocate Thulisile Madonsela as South Africa’s new Public Protector. Madonsela replaces Advocate Lawrence Mushwana, who left the position on Friday after serving out his non-renewable seven-year term.Madonsela was recommended for the position by a special parliamentary committee following a week of candidate interviews.The Public Protector is an independent institution established in terms of Chapter 9 of the country’s Constitution to strengthen democracy by investigating alleged improper conduct by state agencies or officials.‘Important responsibility’Zuma said Madonsela was taking on an important responsibility. “She will need to ensure that this office continues to be accessible to ordinary citizens and undertakes its work without fear or favour.”An advocate with extensive experience in constitutional, human rights and equality law, Madonsela was most recently a full-time member of the South African Law Reform Commission.As a member of a judicial transformation task team, Madonsela helped draft bills and a strategic plan for transforming the country’s justice system and state legal services as well as the Victims’ Charter and gender and employment equity policy.Zuma thanked Mushwana for the excellent service he had given to the country.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Key wins for UP, Adamson

first_imgLATEST STORIES ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Kaya punishes Green Archers PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war MOST READ University of the Philippines and the Adamson U bolstered their quarterfinal bids with hard-fought victories Saturday in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup held at the tournament’s namesake gym.The Maroons held off a late charge by the Centro Escolar University Scorpions to forge a 68-62 victory while Adamson held off tough Letran, 89-85.ADVERTISEMENT Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport View commentscenter_img Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST PLAY LIST 01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST01:29Attacks vs UP Visayas students a ‘natural reaction’ from Duterte supporters – Palace01:49Imee Marcos: Good for UP to teach martial law, but get our viewpoint too02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss CEU dropped to 2-2 and was led by Diouf’s 28 points.Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren lamented his team’s miscues that allowed Letran a chance to mount several comebacks.“This game showed that we need a lot of work,” said Pumaren, who watched the Knights chew off several double-digit spreads by the Falcons. “There were several instances where we could break the game [but we did not] and this is a sign that we are a very young team.”ADVERTISEMENT Will Gozum and Bright Akhuetie gave UP control of the match until CEU’s Maodo Diouf his a basket that capped a run that had the Scorpions within 63-62, 1:20 remaining.But James Spencer knocked down a huge triple with 25 seconds remaining to give UP a 66-62 lead en route to the win.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“Sometimes you have mixed feelings about these games,” said UP head coach Bo Perasol, whose wards upped their record to 3-2 in Group A and kept themselves in the hunt for a quarterfinals berth. “You don’t want it to be close, but sometimes, you develop character especially with the guys we have right now. They find a way to win with the changing complexion of the game.”Jun Manzo led UP with 17 points and six assists while Akhuetie added 13 and seven rebounds. Spencer chipped in 11 points and nine boards. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venuelast_img read more

Agri Ministry to Work with NEPA to Prevent Environmental Breaches

first_imgStory Highlights Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC) cited for environmental breaches Minister pleased with the progress of the Agro Parks that are up and running Minister apologised for the breach adding that the AIC will comply with orders of NEPA Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, says the Ministry will be working closely with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), to guard against environmental breaches as it carries out its various projects.Minister Clarke’s comments came on Friday, July 25, following a tour of the Amity Hall Agro Park in St. Catherine, where NEPA had served the Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC), with both a cessation order and an enforcement order.NEPA, on June 19, cited environmental breaches during a river cleaning exercise and ordered that immediate remedial steps be taken to mitigate the impact by July 26.The Minister said he is confident that the deadline will be met and also informed that he had made a commitment to NEPA for greater collaboration.“I said to NEPA that if we find ourselves in this sort of situation again, where a river must be cleaned to deal with the drainage, we would want them to guide us as to how you can clean the river without removing trees they do have the expertise to do so,” Minister Clarke said.He apologised for the breach and said that the AIC, which is the implementing agency for the nine Agro Parks to be developed across the island, is well on its way with complying with the orders of NEPA. He said that there is already re-growth in the area that the agency had cited.In the meantime, the Minister said he is pleased with the progress of the Agro Parks that are up and running.At Amity Hall, approximately 800 acres of land have been cleared of which Caribbean Broilers has already planted some 130 acres of sorghum. In the other areas, smaller farmers were planting onions, okras, peppers and a number of other crops.The Ministry, through the AIC, is engaging some 3,237 hectares (8,000 acres) of land in the production of a number of critical crops across nine Agro Parks. Another two parks are expected to come on stream by the end of the year.The parks are being developed through a partnership involving the Government, farmer/investors and the private sector. They are part of the Government’s strategic priorities aimed at reducing the high food import bill.In all instances, what is produced in the Agro Parks will be tied to a specific market.last_img read more