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Satellite technology unites Kenyans against bush fires

first_imgConservation Solutions, Dry Forests, early warning, Fires, Forests, Mapping, Monitoring, Remote Sensing, satellite data, Sensors, Technology, Wildtech The Eastern and Southern Africa Fire Information System (ESAFIS), an online application developed in Kenya, uses MODIS satellite information to detect bush fires in eastern Africa.The freely available app maps and categorizes bush fires in near-real time and shows details of each fire , including the time it was detected, its location with respect to towns and protected areas, and its relative intensity.By providing an early fire warning system, the system helps forest management authorities respond to fires in their early stages and prioritize limited resources to fire hotspots. NYERI, Kenya – It took nine hours for Margaret Wanjugu and neighbors to put out a fire that razed Gathorongai forest near her home in central Kenya, in 2016. She would not like to go through such an experience again, and for a good reason.Not only did the mother of two nearly lose her herd of goats, which were grazing in the forest, but elephants escaping the fire raided her field of potato plants, leaving her without a harvest.“No help came from forest officers working here,” Wanjugu said. “We improvised and used twigs to put out the fire.”Margaret Wanjugu leading her herd of goats home from Gathorongai forest in central Kenya, where they were grazing. The forest is prone to unexpected fire outbreaks that threaten farmers and wildlife alike. Image by David Njagi for Mongabay.Like thousands of farmers living near conservation areas in Kenya, Wanjugu lives in fear of Gathorongai forest catching fire. These communities lack an early warning system, relying on crude methods, like seeing smoke, to know of a fire outbreak.Recently, a technology developed by the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), a government agency based in Nairobi, has begun helping troubled Kenyans like Wanjugu with early detection of bush fires in conservation areas.RCMRD’s Eastern and Southern Africa Fire Information System (ESAFIS) web application is a free and open-source service used in all conservation and protected areas in Kenya and 10 other eastern African countries.Detecting fire intensityThe ESAFIS system senses fire outbreaks using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) satellite at RCMRD, according to Byron Anangwe, the business development officer there.“When we get high temperature values at any particular point, we estimate that as a fire,” Anangwe said. “We mostly target game reserves and forests.”The system then posts this information on its website for users, including Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and Kenya Forest Service (KFS), to access. These institutions can then engage communities to prevent its spread, says Anangwe. Any individual with internet access can also use the service by visiting the website.Screenshot of the ESAFIS home page map with icons designating fire hotspots across eastern Africa. Image by Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD).“We are experts at the science,” Anangwe said, “and so our role is to empower national governments, communities and the private sector to prevent fire outbreaks in national reserves and protected areas.”Anangwe says the ability of ESAFIS to show details of each fire point has helped foresters better contain bush fires. For instance, in January 2017, at the height of a prolonged drought, ESAFIS helped to detect and track fire outbreaks at the Aberdare Forest Reserve.The website opens with a map that shows recent fire hotspots detected by the system in eastern Africa, categorizing them from low to extreme intensity. At the time of filing this story, for instance, the app showed a fire outbreak around the Lake Turkana region in northwestern Kenya.Clicking on a fire icon on the map causes a pop-up to appear with the time the fire was detected, its temperature (in Kelvin, subtract 273 degrees to get Celsius!), and its location. It also identifies the nearest towns and protected areas, , in this case the South Turkana National Reserve and Nasolot National Reserve, as well as the towns of Lokichar and Kaputirr.A pop-up menu describing the fire in northwestern Kenya, near Lake Turkana, shows several characteristics of the fire obtained from MODIS satellite data. Image obtained from ESAFIS website.Anangwe says ESAFIS produces high-resolution images and has an accuracy range of about two kilometers in the areas under investigation. Users can subscribe to the ESAFIS web app and receive real-time alerts of fire outbreaks in their country or conservation area of interest as soon as the data is captured by satellite, he adds.“Everything about the system is informed by data gathered using satellite surveillance,” Anangwe said, adding that the service must work with communities for it to be effective in fighting bush fires. One limitation is the map-heavy app may overburden slower rural internet networks.Importance of early detectionWanjugu had not heard about ESAFIS. At her village, residents often rely on word of mouth to pass information about the safety of lands around Gathorongai forest, which often arrives too late to prevent the spread of fire within such marginalized communities.A wide angle view of the leeward side of the Mt. Kenya forest ecosystem. Fire outbreaks on this side of the mountain are common due to prolonged dry spells. Image by David Njagi for Mongabay.But David Mwanzia has. Mwanzia is the ecosystem conservation manager at KFS’s Nyeri Forest station in central Kenya. A no-smoking sign at the entrance to his office alerts a visitor of the danger reckless disposal of cigarette butts can pose to the fragile ecosystem there. But a fire engine truck parked at the compound assures visitors that his team of foresters are aware and ready to battle bush fires.“Fire outbreaks here are very common,” said Mwanzia. “They are very dangerous, but my team is always on alert to prevent their spread.”Mwanzia says the December to January season is the most prone to fire outbreaks there, but  ESAFIS’ early sensing is helping his teams respond more effectively.“Our staff do not go on leave at this time of the year,” Mwanzia said. “They are positioned to take immediate action when we receive a fire outbreak alert.”What causes the fires in the first place?Wanjugu said the Gathorongai forest fire ignited after a burning cigarette butt was recklessly thrown on the forest floor.Farmers burning farm waste in preparation of the planting season in central Kenya. When left unchecked such fires can spread into forests and raze acres of the natural ecosystem. Image by David Njagi for Mongabay.Stephen Korinko of the Kimana Conservancy in southern Kenya says local communities, and their slash and burn system of agriculture in particular, are to blame for most fire outbreaks. With this system, says Korinko, pastoralists set bushes on fire just before the rainy season to clear the aging vegetation so that when it rains, fresh fodder can sprout.For instance, he said, a fire that razed hundreds of acres along the wildebeest migratory corridor in the Serengeti in July 2018 was linked to the slash and burn system.Additional dangers of bush fires“The fires can spread to uncontrollable levels, especially when there are strong winds,” Korinko said. “Displaced wild animals often attack and kill people’s livestock, leading to a lot of tensions.”Wildfires also pump carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change, says David Ngugi, a retired professor based in Nairobi. According to Ngugi, fires destroy trees that absorb carbon from the atmosphere and lead to the extinction of some tree species which might not be able to grow back once they are burned.“Fires also cause landscapes and ecosystems to change from forests to grasslands and shrubs,” Ngugi said.Members of the Atiriri Bururi Ma Chuka community conservation group from central Kenya showing some of the indigenous tree species that are continuously threatened by fire outbreaks. Image by David Njagi.Not all bush fires are bad, however, especially those that do not burn too long, says Mbeo Ogeya, a researcher at the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI). Bush fires, Ogeya says, are a natural process – nature’s way of removing dying or dead material from habitats. This process allows valuable nutrients to return to the soil, enabling regeneration and a new beginning for plants and animals.Ogeya says that ESAFIS can assist conservation work because it can distinguish between less intense, potentially useful, bush fires and extremely intense bush fires that are more harmful. By sensing fires in their early stages, ESAFIS can help resource managers respond appropriately, according to KWS spokesman Paul Gathitu.It also reduces the cost of hiring personnel to scout for fire outbreaks, adds Mwanzia, the KFS officer. At the Aberdare Forest Reserve, Mwanzia has had to hire and deploy rangers to patrol the forest and report back immediately once they spot a suspicious fire threat. The skills of these rangers could otherwise be applied to reforestation, guarding the reserve against illegal logging, or other activities. But the continued threat of fire outbreaks pressures him to allocate more resources to these patrols because fires are more destructive than logging, he says.“The government and public are giving a lot of attention to logging and neglecting bush fires,” Mwanzia said. “Yet a single fire outbreak can clear hundreds of acres of forest and can take a week to put out.”no smoking sign at the ecosystem conservation offices in Nyeri central Kenya warns a visitor that the threat of fire outbreaks is real. The office serves as a deployment base to fight off fire outbreaks Aberdare Forest Reserve. Image by David Njagi for Mongabay.He adds the Aberdare region is on high alert from December 2018 to February 2019 because this is the peak period of fire outbreaks, but that ESAFIS is making these threats easier to manage.However, not all conservation staff are aware of ESAFIS. Julius Lokinyi, a ranger at the Samburu National Reserve, still relies on scouting and patrols to ensure the safety of that ecosystem. In 2013, Lokinyi stopped being a poacher in 2013 and has dedicated himself to conservation. He says bush fires are a big challenge there and are often ignited by poachers to distract rangers from their (poachers’) trail.Over time, Lokinyi and his team of community volunteers have learned to turn this diversion into an opportunity, enabling them to tackle the twin threats of fires and poaching with precision.“When the poachers light a fire at a particular location, we know they will be active at a site which is the opposite direction to our patrol sites,” Lokinyi said. “So we deploy two teams, one to put out the fire and the other to track the criminals.”He would like to make ESAFIS available to his team, adding that: “It can make our work easier and more fun.” Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Sue Palminterilast_img read more

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Picture special: Crowd braves the ice to see Donegal beat Meath

first_imgDonegal fans who braved the icy conditions last night saw their side dig deep to defeat Meath in Ballybofey.Donegal overcame the Royals 1-13 to 0-14 and continue their perfect start to the Division 2 campaign.Caolan McGonagle scored a 59th minute goal for Donegal, who kept Meath scoreless for 20 minutes at the end. Donegal were behind 0-8 to 0-7 at half-time and Meath led by four points for a period in the second half.It was a night for treading carefully given the underfoot conditions and Donegal were skating on thin ice at that point.But they came good and the late flurry warmed the spirits, to the delight of Declan Bonner, their manager. Pictures by Evan Logan … Donegal’s Conor Morrison keeps a close eye on Meath’s James McEntee during Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganMichael Murphy and Frank McGlynn watching on before Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganStephen Rochford before a Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganMichael Joe and Tracy Doherty from Clonmany before Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganCliona, Olivia, Frank and Mary braving the elements during Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganCaolan and Mark from Carrigans all set for Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganDonegal’s Hugh McFadden breaks the tackle during Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganDonegal management and players line up for a minutes silence in remembrance of those who lost their lives in last week’s road tragedy before Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganDonegal’s Ryan McHugh twists away from Meath’s Niall Kane during Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganSean Paul, Dylan and John Jordan all set for Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganMacCumhaill’s men Aidan, Ronan and Eugene await the teams before Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan LoganAoife, Ava and Kelly before Saturday’s Division 2 National League game in Ballybofey. Photo Evan Logan Picture special: Crowd braves the ice to see Donegal beat Meath was last modified: February 3rd, 2019 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:2019 Allianz Football LeagueCaolan McGonagleDeclan BonnerdonegalMeathlast_img read more

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Australia’s Victoria set to get long-awaited second international airport

first_imgThe Australian state of Victoria is getting a second international airport after AirAsia X Malaysia announced it would move its services from Melbourne Airport to a regional facility at Avalon later this year.The deal will see AirAsia X Malaysia fly more than 500,000 seats to and from Avalon, about 50kms from Melbourne, and its home base in Kuala Lumpur.It will operate twice daily flights from the airport, which currently hosts a handful of domestic services by Qantas low-cost offshoot Jetstar and is near the regional city of Geelong.  Avalon is also the site of  the Australian International Airshow every two years.The deal is the realization of a long-held international ambition at Avalon, which was bought by the Linfox Group in 1997. It comes after previously flagged agreements with HNA Group and the Philippines government failed to produce resultsThe AirAsia service is the subject of a 10-year agreement that Avalon Airport chief executive Justin Giddings said was structured to accommodate the carrier’s growth.“It is the first such deal in Australia,and provides a unique low-cost opportunity for people and businesses to access over 130 destinations throughout Asia,’’ he said.“Avalon Airport is easily accessible from Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and surrounds. Low-cost flights combined with an easy airport experience makes for the perfect partnership.”Those attending the announcement on Sunday included Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes, Linfox founder Lindsay Fox, AirAsia X Malaysia chief executive Benyamin Ismail as well as Victorian government and airport officials.“This is an exciting milestone for AirAsia X,’’ Fernandes said in a statement.“Since our inaugural flight in 2007, AirAsia X has flown over 30 million guests, including 6.1 million Australians – tourists wanting to experience amazing Australia, students from across the globe and Australians who wish to see the world.”Read: Our ratings for AirAsia X.Victorian Employment  Minister Ben Carroll said terminal construction would create  an additional 33 jobs and new facilities would be capable of exporting 14 tonnes of Victorian fresh produce daily.The freight aspect was a particularly exciting development, according to Linfox Airports executive chairman David Fox.“We have received great interest from exporters in the region and this now provides the perfect platform for fresh food access to Asia,” he said.In recent years, the AirAsia Group has attracted significant Australian media attention after a number of incidents involving its aircraft.last_img read more

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Three Takeaways From Web 2.0 Expo New York

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Analysis#Events Guide#Features#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts center_img bernard lunn This week I attended the Web 2.0 Expo New York, on behalf of ReadWriteWeb. Summing up 4 days of conference with all the amazing conversations is pretty hard. So before the conference, as I was walking to the Javits Center, I decided I wanted to come away with three things:– One big negative impact of the market mayhem on the start-up world.– One big positive impact of the market mayhem on the start-up world.– One trend that seemed to be everywhere.In other words, like Twitter and 37 Signals, I was deliberately reducing, cutting out, eliminating, restricting to ONE thing in each case. So here goes…One big negative impact of the market mayhem on the start-up world – angel investors run for the hills. It’s natural. They have had their personal wealth impacted. They are not diversified like a VC, it is their own money. They have no compulsion to “put money to work”. This is a superb opportunity for VC funds with the courage to step into the breach. But that may not happen, probably won’t happen, so this will almost certainly mean that many fewer start-ups will get funded in the next year or so.One big positive impact of the market mayhem on the start-up world – this is like the Boston area when DEC and Wang imploded. Thousands of really smart people were left without a paycheck. Many of them started great companies. You heard this vividly at the Conference. The phrase “refugee” was common as in “I am Bear Stearns refugee”. And then they went on to pitch their start-up. You cannot possibly say it feels good now, there were some bruised people walking around, but it may well be that we will look back on this moment as the genuine transformational moment in the New York start-up economy. Did I mention that I am an optimist?The one trend that seemed to be everywhere – a focus on near term revenue. There were exceptions, of two types: firstly, the fortunate entrepreneur who had closed a big enough “fund me through the downturn round” and, sadly, a few ostriches with their heads in the sand. The ones I enjoyed meeting were the “true grit entrepreneurs” who had hustled their way to profitability over many years. They will do great. In the last downturn in 2002, one VC remarked to me that they were only interested in two types of venture. One had been started well before the boom – that makes the ideal birth date today in the 2001 to 2003 era, perhaps 2004. The other was something starting up right now as everything was imploding. Everything in the middle was likely to be riddled with overoptimistic assumptions, expectations of instant wealth without effort. That means start-ups born from 2005 to 2007 had better either have enough capital to sustain their burn for a couple of years, or are profitable or very nearly so.Oh and one final takeaway. The food at Javits is awful and expensive. You have to walk a few blocks, but on the corner of 38th and Ninth is a really good Italian restaurant and it’s really not much more expensive than the Javits chow. Cannot remember the name but 3 blocks west on 38th and you are there. How is that for useful advice on ReadWriteWeb? A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

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Protecting the International Business Traveler

first_imgAlmost five years have passed since writing “Personal Safety While Traveling Abroad on Business” for the September-October 2003 issue of LP Magazine. Over this relatively short span of time, the world has become an even more dangerous place.The hundreds of thousands of business trips made each year subject travelers to a myriad of risks. Business men and women will be robbed, assaulted, raped, kidnapped, and sometimes even murdered. They will get sick from diseases they should have been able to avoid. They will lose sensitive data through carelessness or corporate espionage. Business travelers will be injured while driving abroad or in other types of accidents.The results are unfortunate and sometimes tragic. The greater tragedy is that in most cases these incidents could have been easily avoided by following some basic security guidelines that will be described herein.- Sponsor – Some of the recommendations suggested here may be second nature to loss prevention professionals, such as paying attention to your surroundings. However, remember that many of your company’s international travelers are not security professionals. Hopefully, this information will reinforce your LP skills and prove useful in your corporate training activities.Develop and Maintain an Increased Level of AwarenessFive years ago I began the discussion of safety with the importance of increasing your level of personal awareness. This is still the best place to start. Remember that personal security is, first and foremost, an individual responsibility. Avoiding a dangerous situation is always easier than getting out of one. It may come as a surprise to many people, but the most important thing that anyone can do to enhance their own personal safety is to simply learn to pay attention to their surroundings.Train yourself to make observations, and draw the appropriate conclusions from those observations. Look for something or someone that seems unusual or out of place. Take note of an unfamiliar car parked on your block or of someone who seems to be paying attention to you. Developing a posture of vigilance is the single most important thing you can do. Don’t be confused; paying attention is not paranoiavCounter-SurveillanceIn the 2003 article I only touched on counter-surveillance because it seemed to me at the time that teaching those in the business world how to detect the presence of surveillance might be a bit much for the corporate traveler. However, analysis of numerous case studies involving those in private industry has convinced me that the topic deserves greater attention.The Three-Times Rule. If you see the same person or vehicle three times, separated by time and distance, assume you are being followed. Sure, there are such things as coincidences in life. However, for purposes of personal security, don’t leave anything to chance.If you have learned to maintain an alert mindset, you will be paying attention to who and what is around you. Look at faces. Keep an eye in your rearview mirror. If you see the same car behind you for any length of time, especially if they are taking the same turns as you, you need to become suspicious. Similarly, a car or cars that keep reappearing behind you at intervals should also arouse suspicion. Try to surreptitiously take note of something unique about the vehicle. If you can’t quickly see and remember the plate numbers then look for something else. Perhaps the vehicle has some imperfection to the paint or body? Maybe there is a sticker or parking tag that is readily apparent? Notice something that makes the vehicle unique to you and remember it.What You Should Do. If you become aware that you are being followed, the general rule is to avoid making it obvious to those watching you that you are aware of their presence. If you appear to be an alert and cautious person, anyone trying to follow you may mark you as a difficult target and will hopefully pass you over for an easier subject.However, if you do detect surveillance, do not change your routine. Continue about your business and stay in well-lighted and populated areas only. Seek a safe haven such as the U.S. Embassy or the embassy of a friendly nation, police stations (most of the time), hospitals, shopping centers, or other populated place.Look for people and well-lighted areas. Do not stare at the persons following you nor should you attempt evasion unless you reasonably believe an attack is imminent. While abroad the U.S. Department of State recommends that you contact the embassy or consulate immediately if you suspect that you are being followed. The embassy Regional Security Officer (RSO) will provide you with the appropriate guidance.Avoid Routine PatternsTerrorists and criminals often select targets with regular and predictable schedules. This makes it very easy for them to plan a crime or attack. Most people leave the house for work at the same time every morning. They leave the office and return to their car at the sameYou need to train yourself to vary your route as well as the time you travel. This is also true even while traveling abroad on short business trips. If you leave the hotel for the local office at the same time each morning, even if you are only in country for a few days, you have settled into a pattern that makes it too easy for someone to select you as a target. Each day, simply leave at a different time and vary the route you take. You can turn this practice into something positive. Leave a bit early and get a cup of coffee or breakfast at a local place of interest. If you are taking a taxi, ask the driver to take you a different way so you can see the sights. Just don’t walk out of the hotel at the same time each morning and head to the same destination.If you use a company vehicle for transportation, it is a good idea to routinely and randomly exchange vehicles with your coworkers. This will prevent someone targeting you from ever being certain that you will be driving a particular car at a particular time.Vehicle Safety MeasuresIn my earlier article on travel safety, I covered vehicle safety from the standpoint of counter-surveillance and prevention of attack by criminals or terrorists. In that regard I made the following points:Remove rental identification that would clearly mark you as a foreign visitor.Request power locks and windows for greater access control and drive with the doors locked.Make sure the climate control systems work so you don’t have to drive with the windows down.Remove valuables from view so as not to tempt thieves.Recognize a setup, such as a person asking for assistance.While these concerns certainly remain, it is important to point out that the greatest single danger while traveling abroad is not from terrorism, pandemic, or even common crime. The fact is that more Americans will be killed in traffic accidents abroad than all other causes combined. If you drive make sure you select a vehicle with a good crash rating. Front and side airbags are preferred. Make sure the vehicle is in good repair and that all systems are functional. Look for a low mileage car that you feel comfortable driving.Pre-travel Research and PlanningThe old adage of “know before you go” is seldom applied to security issues. When we go on vacation or take a business trip, most of us learn a bit about our intended destination simply to allow for a more enjoyable trip. We may research hotels and their amenities, local sites of interest, and places to eat. But how many of us look into the issues that may affect our well-being? The list is a long one. Here are few examples.Are there any local health concerns or risks?What is the state of local medical care?What about the level of criminal or terrorist activity?Are there cultural mores or taboos that if ignored will work to our detriment?How are local driving conditions?Failing to conduct the proper pre-travel security research is the first serious mistake a traveler can make. This omission is a common factor that is seen while reviewing actual case studies involving the death or injury of travelers. Take the following important steps:Check the State Department web site at www.travel.state.gov for travel advisories.The Central Intelligence Agency has an excellent reference for general international information at www.cia.gov/library/publications/theworld-factbook/index.html.The Centers for Disease Control web site has a link for travel at wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx providing a list by country of health-related issues, necessary inoculations, and other precautionary measures.All of these directions and site links are in the travel checklist mentioned above.Travel to High-Risk LocationsThere have been documented incidents of companies sending their employees on assignments to areas where safety is a serious concern. In many of these cases, the purpose of the trip was in no way a critical one. In fact, in some cases employees were sent into harm’s way to perform tasks that could have waited until the security situation had improved.When travel to truly dangerous places is under consideration, the simple question to be asked is whether this trip is absolutely necessary at this time. If the answer is “Yes,” then appropriate measures need to be taken to address those concerns. Such measures may include a pre-travel security assessment by a competent consultant, a professional security detail to escort the traveler, and an appropriately armored vehicle and trained driver among other precautions.Making Travel ArrangementsWho generally makes your travel arrangements? Is it the task of your administrative assistant? Does your firm have a travel department performing this function, or do you take care of it yourself? Practices vary by company or agency. In any event the question that must be asked of the responsible person is “Have security concerns been made a priority during each step of the planning process?” Generally the answer is “No.”Hotel selection by most companies generally involves getting a comfortable and convenient location at a reasonably low price. These factors are understandable, but must be secondary to security and safety concerns. While it is easy to determine room rates and whether or not the hotel has a pool or gym, it is tougher for a lay person to evaluate the hotel’s level of security.Generally, large western-owned chains have adequate security that is comparable to what you would expect in the United States. However, that is often not enough in certain locations. Hotel security is frequently inadequate. Experience doing security assessments of buildings and hotels reveals that more often than not a person can walk right off the street and enter most hotels without hindrance. More disturbingly, once inside they can generally walk right into an elevator and take it onto the guest floors unchallenged.What steps should a traveler take to assess whether a hotel under consideration has an acceptable security program?First, find out whether the hotel has a security director and ask about his or her qualifications.Ask about the hotel’s access control measures.Are there security cameras and are they monitored at all times?Does the hotel have smoke detectors? Where are they located?What about a fire safety plan and a fire safety director?Do they have a public address system?What about a sprinkler system and standpipe?A fuller assessment may also be made, and in many parts of the world such an evaluation is necessary.Where is the nearest police station or fire house and what is the average response time for emergency personnel to reach the hotel?How about the closest hospital and what is the ambulance response time?Is the hotel located in an area that allows for multiple routes of travel to whatever location you must visit during your stay?This list goes on and on and, quite frankly, most travelers and companies will never be able to do justice to an assessment of this nature. In some cases large firms should consider having such an assessment done by a professional consultant. However, in most cases there is an easier way.If you are traveling overseas, the single best way to pick a place to stay is by calling the local embassy or consulate closest to your destination. Even if you are accustomed to staying in a particular hotel, call the embassy and ask to speak to the RSO or one of the other Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agents. They are the security professionals responsible for protecting the embassy, the Ambassador, and the expatriate and local staff. They will have thoroughly evaluated local hotels with respect to life safety and security issues. Simply ask them where State Department personnel and other government employees stay while in countryOther Hotel-Related IssuesMake sure there is a secure parking area adjacent to the hotel. It is better if the parking garage is physically on the premises and there is no need to walk back to the hotel from the garage if you happen to return late at night. The lot should be well-lighted, guarded, and have access limited to hotel staff and guests. In many cases the hotel itself is secure, but the garage is far less so.Inform the hotel not to release any information about you to anyone whenBe cautious answering the door. If someone unexpectedly knocks at your door, speak to them through a closed door. If they claim to be a member of the hotel staff, ask for their name and verify with the front desk. Do not open the door slightly relying on the privacy bar or chain to prevent someone from pushing their way in. It isn’t very common, but this happens frequently enough to warrant taking this precaution.Avoid meeting anyone in your room, including business contacts. Make it a point to treat your hotel room the same way you would consider your bedroom at home. It is your living space, and the place where you sleep.Note the location of the emergency exits and all stairwells. Make sure you know which direction you must take in order to get to an exit from your room. Make it a practice to physically count the number of doors between your room and the exit. First locate the nearest emergency exit. Then locate an alternate exit. Beginning from your room, count the number of doors between your room and the nearest exit. This will allow you to find your way out even if the power is out, and you are attempting to get out in darkness or heavy smoke. If you can’t see, you can still feel your way down the hall and get to safety by counting the doors you pass. Do the same thing for an alternate exit point if one exists. Never use the elevator in a fire or other emergency unless directed to do so by emergency personnel.Choose a safer room location. Try getting a room on the second floor. A room on the ground floor is too easy to break into. The seventh floor is within reach of most firefighting evacuation buckets and ladders, assuming the country you are in has a professional fire department. The better choice is to stay on the second floor and no higher than the third floor. In case of fire, this gives you the survivable option of jumping out the window. Protecting Intellectual and Proprietary PropertyOne of the fastest growing threats to business travelers is not actual physical danger, but is rather becoming the victim of corporate espionage. Travelers are easily compromised. They may be taken in by an apparently well-meaning stranger or even a local business contact. They may be compromised through blackmail. Their sensitive data may be copied or stolen and laptops disappear with alarming regularity.Bring only the information you need for the trip. Your laptop is probably loaded with every business and personal document you have. Why on earth would you want to risk losing it all while you travel?There are a few ways of handling sensitive information while you travel. The most practical is to only bring whatever information is necessary for the success of the trip. Minimize the information you travel with and you reduce the risk of harm in the event it is lost or stolen. This is the same theory as not going on vacation with your most expensive watch. It is sound practice.Another possible practice is to have a designated laptop for traveling only. Put the information you need on a disk or flash drive and save nothing to the laptop itself. Information may still be lost or stolen, but the loss and resultant damage will be limited.Practice a clean hotel desk policy.Many firms strictly enforce a clean desk policy in the office to prevent classified or important documents from being seen or taken by the wrong people. Make sure you do this in your hotel room as well. Don’t leave your documents or laptop lying out unsecured. Don’t drop important documents in the hotel trash basket and assume it has been safely destroyed. How difficult would it be for a competitor to pay someone from housekeeping to turn over your room trash? I can assure you this happens every day.Much of the information here, including links to important web sites, are available in a six-page summary of travel safety guidelines specifically for the executive or corporate business traveler called the “Travel Safety Checklist.” The checklist is available free of charge at www.globalsecuritygroup.com on the Downloads page. David S. Katz, a former senior special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the CEO of Global Security Group, a firm providing international security consulting & investigative services, security guards, executive protection, specialized training, emergency action plans, and counter-terrorism support. Katz has provided security and safety training to senior executives and the executive protection personnel of some of the world’s leading corporations. He is coauthor of the Executive’s Guide to Personal Security and is a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, and other nationally broadcast television and radio programs. Katz may be reached at dkatz@globalsecuritygroup.com. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

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10 months agoMan City midfielder Gundogan: Title-race on if we beat Liverpool

first_imgMan City midfielder Gundogan: Title-race on if we beat Liverpoolby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveIlkay Gundogan says Manchester City can win the Premier League title – if they can beat Liverpool tonight.City are seven points off the league leaders ahead of tonight’s highly anticipated clash at the Etihad.”Of course, the pressure is great for us,” Gundogan told Sport Buzzer. “I think it’s a game that’s at the absolute top level. It’s going to be tight, as you’ve seen in the first 0-0 draw.”We have a chance to reduce the gap to four points now, and then I think the season is long enough to make up for that in the rest of the games.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img

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20 days agoBrighton boss Graham Potter: Spurs win long time coming

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Brighton boss Graham Potter: Spurs win long time comingby Paul Vegas20 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBrighton boss Graham Potter says victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the Amex was just rewards for their recent work.Potter commented on how the mood remained upbeat within the squad despite the results not going his players’ way.“They’ve had the belief despite the results. That gives you strength if you feel that you’re doing things in the right way.“We know we’ll still improve because it’s only our eighth game together. But the performances have been good and the players understand what we’re trying to do.”Today we had a bit of luck and that helped to grow our belief and confidence. Saying that though, I felt we produced a performance that was worthy of a 3-0 victory today.” last_img read more

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Four held for theft

first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi Police on Fridays said that they have arrested four persons involved in several incidents of theft. The accused were identified as Yunus, Sunny, Neeraj Goyal and Neeraj. On the intervening night of August 25 and 26 incident of theft of six car ECMs was reported in the area of Moti Bagh. The police team collected inputs by scanning CCTV footage from CCTV cameras installed in the area. Deputy Commissioner of Police (south west) Devender Arya said during this process, a Wagon R Car was suspected to be involved in the crime. “Technical help was taken from IT experts for clarity of the footage, but no clear image of the offending vehicle could be obtained but it was noticed that a name of cab company in blur words was present on the suspected car,” said DCP South West. On the basis of information, the company was contacted and data was collected. On analysis of the data, the suspected car was found roaming in the area of Moti Bagh on the day of incident. After getting the vital information regarding the car, the team questioned the owner of the offending vehicle and it came to light that the said car was in possession of his driver, Neeraj (accused). The driver was nabbed and interrogated. He confessed that he alongwith his associates committed several crime in the area. DCP Arya further added that during the interrogation, accused persons disclosed that they had become liquor addict and due to which they started committing crimes such as theft of car ECM and car Batteries . “They have several incidents of theft at around Moti Bagh and other parts of Delhi. The driver of alleged offending vehicle disclosed that the car was used by them to commit the theft incidents,” police said. The team under the leadership of Inspector Paras Nath Verma, SHO (South Campus) made the arrest.last_img read more

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HOME CINEMA ROOMS INCREASINGLY POPULAR WITH EMPTY NESTER BABY BOOMERS

first_imgIn recent years, companies like Altronics in Corner Brook have been installing more elaborate home theatre rooms like this one. (Altronics) Login/Register With: With video streaming services like Netflix becoming more popular, and with the availability of media formats like Blu-ray and 4K, more folks in their retirement years are opting for a theatre-like experience at home.That’s according to Corner Brook, N.L., audio/visual company Altronics, which specializes in building custom home cinemas with projection screens, surround sound audio and whatever else people are willing to invest in to create an impressive home movie-watching experience.“Over the last five or 10 years or so it has increased,” owner John Alteen said in an interview.John Alteen is the owner of Altronics Ltd. in Corner Brook. (Geoff Bartlett) Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebookcenter_img Advertisement “We do projectors, we do screens, we do multi-speaker sound systems. It’s basically unlimited what we can put in these rooms, right from a basic system right up to an exotic home theatre system.” Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

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Northern Rockies RCMP searching for suspect in Thursday home invasion near Toad

first_imgFORT NELSON, B.C. — Mounties in in the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality are searching for the suspect in a home invasion near Toad River yesterday.On Thursday at 1:40 p.m., officers with the Northern Rockies RCMP were called to a home in the Toad River Area, roughly 200 kilometres west of Fort Nelson on the Alaska Highway. The resident reported that a man entered their home, acted in a threatening manner, then left on foot. No one was reportedly injured during the encounter.The homeowner describes the suspect as a First Nations man between 45 and 55 years old, standing 5’5” tall, with a “chubby” build. The man was last seen wearing a black jacket and grey gloves. Anyone with information on the identity of the suspect, is asked to contact the Northern Rockies RCMP at (250) 774-2700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.last_img read more

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