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Metabolism-First Origin of Life Won’t Work

first_imgEvolutionists believe it is necessary to get chemicals up to the point of replication before Darwinian evolution can come into play to build them into giraffes and eagles (given millions of years, of course).  But because it is difficult to imagine a chance formation of nucleic acids (the “genetics first” theory), it has become popular in certain camps to change approaches and imagine metabolism coming into existence first.  These “metabolism first” scenarios envision self-perpetuating cycles of chemical reactions as the first stages in the origin of life.  A team of scientists just showed it won’t work.    Three European scientists who published a paper in PNAS tried to give the concept a fair shake:1 A basic property of life is its capacity to experience Darwinian evolution.  The replicator concept is at the core of genetics-first theories of the origin of life, which suggest that self-replicating oligonucleotides or their similar ancestors may have been the first “living” systems and may have led to the evolution of an RNA world.  But problems with the nonenzymatic synthesis of biopolymers and the origin of template replication have spurred the alternative metabolism-first scenario, where self-reproducing and evolving proto-metabolic networks are assumed to have predated self-replicating genes.  Recent theoretical work shows that “compositional genomes” (i.e., the counts of different molecular species in an assembly) are able to propagate compositional information and can provide a setup on which natural selection acts.  Accordingly, if we stick to the notion of replicator as an entity that passes on its structure largely intact in successive replications, those macromolecular aggregates could be dubbed “ensemble replicators” (composomes) and quite different from the more familiar genes and memes.As they said, perhaps one could generalize the notion of a replicator up to a system or network of molecules instead of requiring a genetic code.  Trouble is, accurate replication is required or the system breaks down:In sharp contrast with template-dependent replication dynamics, we demonstrate here that replication of compositional information is so inaccurate that fitter compositional genomes cannot be maintained by selection and, therefore, the system lacks evolvability (i.e., it cannot substantially depart from the asymptotic steady-state solution already built-in in the dynamical equations).  We conclude that this fundamental limitation of ensemble replicators cautions against metabolism-first theories of the origin of life, although ancient metabolic systems could have provided a stable habitat within which polymer replicators later evolved.That last phrase tries to be courteous to the metabolism-first believers by giving them some role as stage hands in the play.  But these authors already stated in the first quote that the genetics-first scenario is plagued with problems of its own – among them, “problems with the nonenzymatic synthesis of biopolymers and the origin of template replication.”  They can’t get the required molecules to form on their own, and then there is the nasty problem of the origin of a genetic code that can copy itself.  The first paragraph in the paper elaborates:Both schools acknowledge that a critical requirement for primitive evolvable systems (in the Darwinian sense) is to solve the problems of information storage and reliable information transmission.  Disagreement starts, however, in the way information was first stored.  All present life is based on digitally encoded information in polynucleotide strings, but difficulties with the de novo appearance of oligonucleotides and clear-cut routes to an RNA world (but see ref. 6), wherein RNA molecules had the dual role of catalysts and information storage systems, have provided continuous fuel for objections to the genetics-first scenario.But having demonstrated in their paper the inadequacy of metabolism-first story, viz: “We now feel compelled to abandon compositional inheritance as a jumping board toward real units of evolution,” they could offer no hope on the other hand that the genetics-first scenario was more fit.  All they could supply was faith: “We do not know how the transition to digitally encoded information has happened in the originally inanimate world; that is, we do not know where the RNA world might have come from, but there are strong reasons to believe that it had existed.”  Why?  Because the metabolism-first scenario cannot work: “Template-free systems like composomes could only have had the limited role of accumulating prebiotic material and increasing environmental patchiness.”  There needs to be a storage mechanism for genetic information, and that requires at least RNA.  Storage-based inheritance, not merely attractor-based inheritance, is the minimum requirement for Darwinian evolution: “The essence of nucleic acids from the point of view of inheritance is exactly that they can store a lot of information at roughly equal energy/stability levels, exactly the property one requires from ‘storage.’”    Later in the paper, they disparaged the habit of applying Darwinian terms, like “selection values”, to prebiotic molecules.  Such terms are “devoid of meaning” in a chemical context, they said.  “The unfortunate usage of words with clear Darwinian connotations—such as adaptation, fitness landscape, and coevolution—in the realm of pre-Darwinian systems cannot be overemphasized.”Update 01/08/2010: Three days after our report, Science Daily reported about this paper, based on a press release from Free University of Barcelona.  Aside from getting the name of NASA wrong, they defined life as “self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution.”  Even within that questionable definition, the metabolism-first scenario will not work, the article said: “the basic property of life as a system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution began when genetic information was finally stored and transmitted such as occurs in nucleotide polymers (RNA and DNA).”  Since subsequent Darwinian evolution has nothing necessarily to do with the origin of genetic information, the statement lends more support to a definition of life made by astrobiologist Benton Clark (see 12/30/2002): “life reproduces, and life uses energy.  These functions follow a set of instructions embedded within the organism.”1.  Vasos, Szathmary and Santos, “Lack of evolvability in self-sustaining autocatalytic networks: A constraint on the metabolism-first path to the origin of life,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, January 4, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0912628107.We could have told them this.  They are just restating with additional rigor a common-sense principle, that you can’t get inheritance without accurate information storage and retrieval.  The threshold to avoid error catastrophe is too demanding.  Anyway, it’s nice to have their side prove it with eigenvalues and equations.  And it was nice for them to chastise their brethren for misapplying Darwinian terms to chemicals: “The unfortunate usage of words with clear Darwinian connotations—such as adaptation, fitness landscape, and coevolution—in the realm of pre-Darwinian systems cannot be overemphasized.”    This paper represents the latest in a series of devastating salvos in the battle between the two approaches in origin-of-life studies (see important entry 01/26/2008).  Both sides have both falsified each other and bombed each other’s fortresses to the ground.  Brush aside their false premise that life is defined by its ability to undergo Darwinian evolution; what they really mean is that a lack of accurate genetic replication forbids Darwinian evolution.  But the lack of accurate genetic replication forbids life itself, too, so they lose either way.    Notice that this team falsified the metabolism-first hypothesis but acknowledged serious shortcomings with the genetics-first hypothesis.  So did they give up and acknowledge that life was intelligently designed?  No: they resorted to what the NCSE would tell you is the antithesis of science: FAITH.  There are good reasons to BELIEVE in the RNA world, they said, simply because their trust in Darwinian evolution requires it, and the alternative, intelligent design, is so horrible to their tender little psyches, they will resort to chance miracles – anything – to avoid going that route.    Too bad, though.  Stephen Meyer showed in Signature in the Cell that the RNA World scenario, and all naturalistic theories for the origin of specified genetic information, are hopelessly inadequate.  The facts of nature have turned naturalism against itself.  You can’t get here from there.  The origin of life requires the input of information from an intelligent, purposeful source, and science proves it.  That being the case, Darwin becomes superfluous for anything beyond that point, except maybe for explaining minor changes between interfertile finches.(Visited 287 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

‘Shabba’ on Bafana, 2010 and now

first_img12 June 2013Tuesday marked the third anniversary of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, a day on which Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala wrote his name in the history books by becoming the first player to score in the first World Cup held in Africa. His memorable, scorching strike was a fitting opener for the occasion.Tshabalala is currently in camp with Bafana Bafana in Yaounde, Cameroon where the team is preparing for a crucial World Cup qualifying match against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Sunday, 16 June. He took time out to chat to the South African Football Association’s (Safa) media officer Matlhomola Morake about the 2010 Fifa World Cup.Safa Media: Special day today, what memories do you have about it?Tshabalala: It is a special day indeed as it marks exactly three years since I played my first World Cup tournament, the first ever World Cup tournament to be hosted in Africa. More significantly, I scored the opening goal of the tournament against quality opposition like Mexico.To this day, the move that led to the goal, the goal itself, the atmosphere and the celebrations thereafter still play in my head as though it happened yesterday. It is one of those memories etched in my mind and will not go away. I felt very privileged to be in the squad and will forever be grateful for that opportunity.I believe I left a huge legacy and trust that people will forever remember this day which I will always call “The Shabba Day”. I am truly blessed to have not only played on that day but also scored a goal. It remains the most special moment of my life.Safa Media: Please describe to us the atmosphere.Tshabalala: It was electrifying, and after the goal it was great to see so many South Africans brought together by a common purpose – sport, football in particular. It is an indescribable feeling, the kind where you had to be there to feel it.The tournament really united the country. I want to believe that all the players who took part in the tournament will forever cherish that moment.Safa Media: Has your life improved since the 2010 Fifa World Cup?Tshabalala: A lot of things have happened since then. I have won numerous individual awards, featured in various adverts, been invited to places and events I never in my wildest dreams thought I would go to. And I have to be grateful for that, largely thanks to the World Cup.People have shown a lot of respect towards me due to the goal and the way I played. Three years later, I am still in the national team, which indicates I am doing something right. Also, I am still playing for a big team in South Africa (Kaizer Chiefs) and recently won the league and a domestic cup (Nedbank Cup). I have played about 95 percent of the games for club, and haven’t missed out much except when I was injured. So I am happy with my progress so far.Safa Media: You are a fan favourite, wherever you go fans still shout your name, even here in Cameroon, how do you keep that balance of not letting fame go to your head?Tshabalala: It is humbling when you go to a foreign country and people acknowledge you and show you some respect. I feel blessed. I really appreciate the people’s feelings towards me. It is vital to keep my feet firmly on the ground though. Fame will come and go, but when one is humble, that is the important thing because humility makes one go far.Safa Media: 11 June 2013 came a few days after you scored a goal to keep SA’s chances of going to Brazil alive.Tshabalala: The goal I scored against the Central African Republic (CAR) is an important one as it helped the team to be in a better position, and also have a better goal difference. But it is all about teamwork and that is the main thing that has kept us going strong as a national team. We work with and for each other. Those not playing push those on the field to do better. There is a lot of camaraderie which is key because we do not have special players but are all equal.Safa Media: Ethiopia will be a lot different to CAR.Tshabalala: The win against CAR was vital as we now go to Ethiopia very motivated, but we know there is still a lot of work to be done. They are top of the group, which tells you they are a formidable side. Also, they are playing at home, which will make our mission even tougher. But we are professionals and I believe we are up to the challenge.We know what is at stake here. We must just work harder than in the first match to realise our goals. With the win against CAR, we are in the right frame of mind. We are confident but not over-confident.Safa Media: You are the most experienced player in the current squad with 78 caps, how much pressure does that put you under?Tshabalala: Fortunately, we are a group of players that are very experienced and do not look at caps but work as a team. We have been working very well together up to this point. There are several senior players in the team and we all encourage each other to better our game and take the responsibility when the need arises.Safa Media: More caps to follow?Tshabalala: I will continue to do the best I can for my club and country. I really appreciate the opportunity I have been given to be part of Bafana Bafana. It is the stuff that dreams are made of. I am on 78 caps and I will take it one game at a time and hopefully also reach the magical 100 caps.Safa Media: With Botswana and CAR eliminated, this game is must win for us.Tshabalala: Definitely, I am glad the first obstacle (CAR) is out of the way. Now there is a bigger hurdle that we should overcome. We know they might come at us to unsettle us from the first whistle. We need to be calm and not panic, but play our normal game of ball possession and close them down quickly when we lose the ball.This is a very important match for us as we all want to see ourselves playing in Brazil 2014. We have tasted how it feels to be there, representing our country on a bigger stage and would not want to miss out. This is one battle that we need to win and we will do our best to get a positive result.Safa Media: Dreams of playing abroad.Tshabalala: At the moment I am happy where I am and with how my career is going. I turned professional in 2004/05 in the colours of Free State Stars. We got relegated and I got my first call up while playing in the first division. Obviously my dream was to play abroad, but I always tell myself that I should not force matters. That will come when the time is right and if it does happen I will grab the opportunity with both hands. But if it does not happen, life goes on.I had offers from overseas, but I felt they were not right because I do not want to leave for the sake of leaving. Right now I am enjoying my football at Chiefs and at 29 I should start thinking about planning for my future – life after football.Safa Media: Message to the fans who have been with you.Tshabalala: I really appreciate and value their support. My journey has been long but very exciting. I have had obstacles that I had to overcome to get to where I am. When my form dropped, I got the stick because most fans knew my abilities. I have learned to be strong and take positives out of the whole situation and move on.So I am really grateful for the support from the fans and my family. Without them I would not have achieved as much as I have.Source: South African Football Associationlast_img read more

10 years of caring

first_imgThis YEAR, HI HOPES celebrates 10 years of supporting deaf infants and their families. In this time, over 1300 South African families have benefited from our services, allowing them to make informed choices for their deaf or hard of hearing children. Through the variety of communication options and amplification choices we promote, deaf children are given the gift of communication – thanks to the dedication of our staff and generous donations from caring people like you. As we celebrate our birthday, one of our youngest babies – little Kayde, who was born with a hole in his heart, impaired vision and hearing loss – underwent his Cochlear Implant surgery yesterday. Kayde has been a HI HOPES baby since he was two months old and our director, Prof Claudine Storbeck, was standing along side the ENT surgeon during his surgery. Watch this space for an update of Kayde’s progress.last_img read more

Facebook Tests Auto-Play Mobile Video, Softening You Up For Commercials

first_imgselena larson Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Facebook is testing a new way to push auto-playing video at its mobile users, a precursor to its all-but-inevitable introduction of video advertising. Videos embedded in Facebook NewsFeeds will now play automatically, but silently, as smartphone or tablet users scroll by. Clicking on the video will enlarge it and play audio. The test is currently limited to what Facebook calls a “small group of U.S. mobile users.”Only videos posted by individual Facebook users, including those from Instagram and similar applications, will play automatically. Links shared from YouTube, Vimeo and other outside services won’t play in line.Teeing Up AdvertisingThe initial test also won’t include advertisements. But Facebook notes in its blog post that “[o]ver time, we’ll continue to explore how to bring this to marketers in the future.”  In other words, auto-play mobile video does indeed look like a way to accustom users to auto-video so that when advertisements appear, people will be more inclined to watch them.See also: Instagram Video Spells A Billion Dollars Worth Of Magic For FacebookEarlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that mobile users spend one-fifth of their total time on mobile devices using Facebook, adding that Facebook derives more than 40 percent of its revenue from mobile. Mobile video advertising would be an obvious way to mint some additional coin from that trend.More Video, More DataUsers, however, might not be happy with the auto play feature. Auto-playing video will presumably drive up mobile data usage, which could be a problem for people on capped data plans. There’s a big difference between taking the data hit to watch a friend’s cat video and finding yourself subjected willy-nilly to a skateboard video shot an acquaintance’s son—much less eventual toothpaste or car commercials. Tags:#Facebook#mobile advertising#video center_img Related Posts Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Trump’s comments on anthem, Curry resonate across sports

first_imgFire hits houses in Mandaluyong City LATEST STORIES BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC ____“This is the supremacist attitude at its worst. Trump is dishonoring the country and the flag with such a bold threat.” — the Rev. Jesse Jackson in an interview with The Associated Press.____“I was in favor of the team visiting the White House and thought it was a rare opportunity for these players to share their views directly with the president. I am disappointed that that will not happen. More importantly, I am proud of our players for taking an active role in their communities and continuing to speak out on critically important issues.” — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.____“I support my son 100 percent. I know he respects the Office of the Presidency and I applaud him for standing up for what he believes in.” — former NBA player Dell Curry, Stephen Curry’s father.____“Comments like we heard last night from the president are inappropriate, offensive and divisive. We are proud of our players, the vast majority of whom use their NFL platform to make a positive difference in our society.” — New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch.____“The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!” — Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks. MOST READ ____“With everything that’s going on in our country, why are YOU focused on who’s kneeling and visiting the White House??? #StayInYoLane.” — Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets.___“Our country needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness. We need to seek to understand each other and have civil discourse instead of condemnation and sound bites. I know our players who kneeled for the anthem and these are smart young men of character who want to make our world a better place for everyone. They wanted to start a conversation and are making a difference in our community, including working with law enforcement to bring people together. We all can benefit from learning, listening and respecting each other.” — Stephen Ross, Miami Dolphins owner and founder of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality.____“Steph very well thought, and eloquently presented. Thank you for speaking for the majority. A Mr October tip of the cap.” — baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.____“The callous and offensive comments made by the president are contradictory to what this great country stands for. Our players have exercised their rights as United States citizens in order to spark conversation and action to address social injustice. We will continue to support them in their peaceful pursuit of positive change in our country and around the world. The San Francisco 49ers will continue to work toward bringing communities, and those who serve them, closer together.” — San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York.____“That’s why this is the best country in the world. And that’s why I want to be in this country for the rest of my life because you have freedom of speech and it shouldn’t go away.” — Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner, a Swede who wore a Trump sticker on the back of his goalie mask in November. “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players.” — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.____FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“The peaceful demonstrations by some of our players have generated a wide array of responses. Those opinions are protected speech and a freedom that has been paid for by the sacrifice of men and women throughout history.” — DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association.____ Ayo rues La Salle defense in loss to UP Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president “U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!” — LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers.____“In lieu of a visit to the White House, we have decided that we’ll constructively use our trip to the nation’s capital in February to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion — the values that we embrace as an organization.” — Statement by the Golden State Warriors.ADVERTISEMENT Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients center_img Screenshot of LeBron James’ tweetReactions to President Donald Trump’s comments about football players who kneel during the national anthem, and his decision to rescind a White House invitation to Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors:At a rally in Alabama on Friday night, Trump suggested that NFL owners fire players who kneel during the anthem, and fans should consider walking out in protest. On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted that he withdrew the invitation to Curry because the two-time NBA MVP hesitated to attend the traditional trip by the NBA champions. Hours later, the Warriors said they would skip the White House visit as a team.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary ____“Stick together, stand up for each other, ride with each other, because believe me we all we got. It has nothing to do with football or business. Y’all are our stars. You represent us. Y’all are our strong heroes. Let’s show that strength, please.” — music mogul Diddy.___“It’s unfortunate that the President decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL. We strongly believe that players are leaders in our communities and positive influences. They have achieved their positions through tremendous work and dedication and should be celebrated for their success and positive impact. We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely.” — Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy.RELATED VIDEOStephen Curry: Trump tweet ‘further cemented’ stance on White House1.9K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 “By acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to.” — Stephen Curry, on skipping the White House visit, during the Warriors’ media day on Friday.____Curry on Lebron’s tweet against Trump: Bold, Courageous1.7K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes PLAY LIST 01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss00:58Trump blames media, Democrats for impeachment during Kentucky rally01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  Read Next Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa View commentslast_img read more

4-Star Penn State Commit Shane Simmons Tweets Turtle Emoji, PSU Fans Freak Out

first_imgShane Simmons Tweets an image of a turtle.Shane Simmons TweetThe college football recruiting Twitter world is a place full of top-10 lists, little humility and cryptic emojis. Avoid it at all costs, if you can. There are times when you can’t avoid it, though. Like when a recruit committed to a school tweets something about another school, causing a semi-freakout among fan bases. That happened today. Shane Simmons, a four-star linebacker in the 2016 class committed to Penn State, tweeted a turtle emoji, something often used by Maryland players and fans.  — Shane Simmons (@Shizzeee_) May 17, 2015 He then retweeted the following tweet from four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., who committed to Maryland on Friday.#ShizzeeeToUMD  @Shizzeee_— Dwayne Haskins, Jr. (@dh_simba7) May 17, 2015 Then Penn State fans reacted. @Shizzeee_ Booooooo!!!— E (@We_Are_Penn_St) May 17, 2015 @Shizzeee_ what’s up with the turtle emoji— Justin Muffley (@muffley10) May 17, 2015 @Shizzeee_ PSU is where it’s at— Justin Muffley (@muffley10) May 17, 2015 @Shizzeee_ He’s making fun of them…they don’t even realize it.— Brian Richards (@fuzz3307) May 17, 2015 @We_Are_Penn_St @Shizzeee_ hes making fun of Maryland lol— David (@DFi5her) May 17, 2015 @Shizzeee_ #TheMovement pic.twitter.com/9pvCyGJfZD— SaulGoodman (@Linebacker_U) May 17, 2015 @dh_simba7 @Shizzeee_ Hells No! Let every man decide his path and do not judge or scorn him for it. #WeAre!!— R. Robert Garcia (@TexasTrinity) May 17, 2015 @dh_simba7 @Shizzeee_ why would he want to play for a bunch of losers. What has Maryland ever won. Oh yeah they win at disrespect— Andrew Ball (@PhileePhan) May 17, 2015 Simmons was considering Maryland at the time of his commitment to Penn State. Now that Haskins is on board with the Terps, many recruiting analysts believe other top in-state prospects will follow. Simmons, a Hyattsville, Md., native, could be one of them.last_img read more

Elton John Raises 6 Million For Charity At Oscar Viewing Party

first_imgThe 21st annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party hosted by Sir Elton John and David Furnish raised $6 million for the fight against HIV/AIDS.Sir Elton John speaks onstage during Chopard at 21st Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing PartyCredit/Copyright: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for ChopardThe gala, which took place on Sunday, February 24, at West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles, was co-sponsored by Chopard, Neuro Drinks, and Wells Fargo; American Airlines serves as the Foundation’s official sponsoring airline.Bono, actress Eve Hewson, Chairman and Founder of Neuro Diana Jenkins and singers Chris Brown and Asher Monroe attend Neuro at 21st Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing PartyCredit/Copyright: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for NeuroAttendees included Sir Elton John & David Furnish, Agnes Bruckner, Aisha Tyler, Andrew Rannells, Anna Paquin & Stephen Moyer, Ashley Fink, Benji Madden, Bernie Taupin, Billie Jean King, Bono, Britney Spears, Bryan Singer, Carmen Electra, Chace Crawford, Chad Michael Murray, Chelsea Handler, Chris Brown, Chris Colfer, Chris Cornell, Christa B. Allen, Colton Haynes, Dave Grohl, Dustin Lance Black, Emma Roberts, Emmy Rossum, Eric & Janet McCormack, Finola Hughes, George Takei, Heidi Klum, Ian Somerhalder, Jaime King, Jane Lynch, Jane Seymour, Jared Harris, JC Chasez, Academy Award winner Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jenna Elfman, Jennifer Coolidge, Jessica Lowndes, Jim Carrey, Joel Madden, John Ratzenberger, John Waters, Judy Greer, Karina Smirnoff, Katerina Graham, Kelly Osbourne, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kyle Maclachlan, Lucy Lawless, Lydia Hearst, Matthew Morrison, Mehcad Brooks, Melanie Brown, Mena Suvari, Michael Buble, Miley Cyrus, Molly Sims, Naomi Campbell, Natalie Imbruglia, Nia Vardalos, Nicki Minaj, Nicole Richie, Nina Dobrev, Nina Garcia, Paul Wesley, Paz Vega, Peter Facinelli, Petra Nemcova, Quincy Jones, Rachel Griffiths, Randy Jackson, Rose McGowan, Russell Simmons, Ryan Kwanten, Sandra Lee, Sharon Stone, Skylar Grey, Steven Tyler, Terry Crews, Tim Allen, Topher Grace, Wilmer Valderrama, among others.David Furnish and Sir Elton John attend Chopard at 21st Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing PartyCredit/Copyright: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for ChopardGuests arrived at the Academy Awards Viewing Party for cocktails followed by a gala dinner and viewing of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. This year, Chef Gordon Ramsay, British celebrity chef, television personality, restaurateur, and holder of 14 Michelin stars, prepared an exquisite 5-course meal for guests that included chilled dungeness crab, braised beef short rib and sticky toffee pudding.The dinner was followed by a lively auction. Auction items included an iconic photograph of Faye Dunaway the morning after she won her Best Actress Oscar for “Network” by famed photographer Terry O’Neill that sold for $120,000; two sets of tickets to join Sir Elton John and David Furnish at the legendary Vanity Fair party that sold for $150,000 each; five days at Steven Tyler’s Hawaiian retreat that sold for $250,000. Sir Elton John also auctioned off four private performances by himself that went for $250,000 each, totaling $1 million. Following the auction, soulful Scottish songstress Emeli Sandé took the stage to perform several songs including hit song “Next to Me,” much to the crowd’s delight.In his remarks for the evening, EJAF Founder Sir Elton John celebrated the Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague, praising the extraordinary work of the early AIDS activists portrayed in the film and calling for a renewed emphasis on AIDS advocacy.“How to Survive a Plague tells the story of AIDS activism in the earliest and most terrifying years of the AIDS epidemic. But you know what? Today, that activism is needed now more than ever if we are to achieve the promise of an AIDS-free generation,” said Sir Elton. “Our Foundation is clear on what is needed, we’re vocal in standing for what we believe, and we invest in the work that needs to be done. And I promise you that we’ll keep on fighting until the politics and bureaucracies yield to reason and justice. I don’t care how long it takes, we’re going to fight, and we’re going to win.”last_img read more

Canada promises youth centre after Indigenous Affairs Minister meets with Attawapiskat youth

first_img(Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett (4th from the left) met with leadership and community members in Attawapiskat Monday. Photo from Carolyn Bennett’s twitter feed)Annette Francis APTN National NewsATTAWAPISKAT — After getting off the flight from Timmins, Indigenous Affaris Minister Carolyn Bennett and NDP MP Charlie Angus headed to the centre of Attawapiskat to where a number of young people were waiting to have their say.The meeting began with an opening prayer and then went right into statements and questions from a number of young people like Robert Sutherland, 20, who was first to the podium.“Tell me why we First Nations live in third world conditions,” Sutherland asked.  “Why is it so easy for the government to welcome refugees and offer them first-class citizenship in our country? When will Canada wake up and open its eyes to First Nations communities?”Bennett is in the community to meet with officials and to hear from youth and families. The open door meeting took approximately two hours.So inspiring #Attawapiskat Youth-nd4 secure personal cultural identity,youth centre,land-based prog,healing #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/MfjB6ZpLc5— Carolyn Bennett (@Carolyn_Bennett) April 19, 2016In the end, the minister committed to a youth centre and programming. In addition, a youth delegation from across the region will be invited to Ottawa.“It is about us just deciding to work together. Listening to the youth. Listening to chief in council,” said Bennett. “What are their priorities and how do we make it happen across government departments and across jurisdictions.”Grinning ear to ear, Sutherland said he’s pleased with the first meeting.   In spite the hardships in the community, there’s hope.“When they said they’re gonna approve our youth centre, our youth site, that’s the main goal to bring in some programs to bring back self-identity, activities, I’m happy and a lot of youth are happy,” said Sutherland.”We know crisis that is happening won’t go away overnight. We will not give up” Attawapiskat youth today pic.twitter.com/NfzIfhrPZE— Irwin Elman (@OntarioAdvocate) April 18, 2016The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, Irwin Elman, was witness to the meeting. Elman spent the weekend in the community, talking with families, children and youth.Elman said he sensed the young people felt good about the meeting, but he remains cautiously optimist.“The proof is in the pudding and I think we have to see what come of it,” said Elman. “A youth centre is very important, but they need to begin to make that real and start planning.”He said there’s a real deficit in the community including housing, and mental health supports. If you rest that youth centre on the foundation of services that perhaps don’t exist, that youth centre could have a hard time being successful.We had profound meeting with Attawapiskat youth. Will build youth centre, support programming, healing plans and youth delegation to Ottawa— Charlie Angus NDP (@CharlieAngusNDP) April 19, 2016Charlie Angus, the NDP Indigenous Affairs critic, called it an important beginning in ending what he called this “cycle of despair.”“I’m pleased we have something deliverable for the young people,” Angus said. “Is this enough given the extent of the crisis that has faced Attawapiskat? No, it’s not enough yet, but we have to start with this first step.”Speaking briefly after her meeting with the chief, Bennett noted larger issues such as the acute shortage of housing, the desire for a healing lodge as well as the ongoing concerns of the youth.All levels of government and departments need to work together to “provide hope and a plan,” she said.“The chief is very clear: we need to work no longer Band-Aid and piecemeal.”Shisheesh said he’s happy with what had been achieved.“The meeting was good and we’re getting somewhere,” he said.But how quickly anything will change remains to be seen. The youth centre, for example, did not carry an immediate dollar figure.In the interim, the youth of Attawapiskat said they’re tired of waiting for an acknowledgement of their struggles.A huge part of the problem, they say, some of them tearfully, is that young people have lost a sense of who they are.“If we can restore the self-identity to our youth, it gives them something to stand on, it gives them something that’s theirs, it gives them something good to live for,” Sutherland said.“We don’t ask for much.”[email protected]— with files from the Canadian Presslast_img read more

Oil industry to return to profitability this year after three years of

first_imgCALGARY – Canada’s oil industry is expected to be back in the black this year thanks to higher oil prices and more production after registering three years of losses.But the Conference Board of Canada says the recovery will be modest and ongoing pipeline capacity problems will likely continue to result in Western Canada’s oil production selling for discount prices.Michael Burt, director of industrial economic trends, says the oil industry will register pre-tax profits of about $1.4 billion this year after a string of losses since prices crashed in 2014.He says the profits are partly the result of efficiencies in the use of labour that are expected to continue to limit hiring. The industry is expected to create just 2,150 new jobs over the next five years.Total crude production in Canada is forecast to rise by an average annual rate of 3.4 per cent between 2018 and 2022, with most of it coming from the Alberta oilsands.Industry revenues are forecast to increase by about eight per cent in 2018.last_img read more