Protests flare as pressure mounts on dam project in orangutan habitat

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Critically Endangered Species, Dams, Deforestation, Endangered, Endangered Species, Environment, Forests, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Orangutans, Rainforest Animals, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Tropical Forests Activists in Jakarta and cities around the world staged protests outside Bank of China branches and Chinese diplomatic missions on March 1.They called on state-owned BOC to end its funding for a hydroelectric project in Sumatra that threatens the only known habitat of the Tapanuli orangutan, the world’s rarest great ape.A lawsuit is pending in an Indonesian court, and a verdict due on March 4 could see the developer’s environmental permit rescinded, essentially halting the project.The protests come amid a revelation, first reported by Mongabay, that the signature of a scientist involved in the environmental impact analysis was forged to obtain the permit. JAKARTA — Activists in Indonesia and abroad staged a coordinated protest on March 1 to draw attention to a controversial hydroelectric project in Sumatra funded by China that threatens the world’s rarest great ape, the Tapanuli orangutan.The activists protested out Chinese diplomatic missions and branches of state-owned Bank of China, which is funding the planned dam through loans, in cities including Jakarta, New York, Hong Kong, Manila and Johannesburg.Ghana activists delivered an open letter to the Chinese Embassy in Ghana to protest against the Batang Toru hydropower project. Image by Walhi.In Indonesia, where the $1.6 billion project is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, activists from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) and other NGOs called on BOC to rescind its loans, saying that allowing the project to proceed would devastate the Batang Toru ecosystem, the only known habitat of the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis).Dwi Sawung, the chief campaigner for energy issues at Walhi, said BOC had acknowledged last May receiving an open letter from Walhi, which called on it to withdraw from the project, and said it would investigate on the matter.“But there hasn’t been any news from them since then,” Dwi told Mongabay at the demonstration in Jakarta.He said that prompted Walhi to stage the latest series of protests and send another open letter to BOC branches and Chinese embassies and consulates.“Despite many attempts to convey our concerns since May 2018, we still have not received a meaningful response from Bank of China,” the new letter says. “If built, the dam will likely doom the newly discovered Tapanuli orangutan species to extinction. Less than 800 of them are left.”Walhi also launched an online petition at to call BOC to stop funding the project.Activists from Walhi staged a protest outside the Bank of China office in Jakarta, Indonesia. Image by Hans Nicholas Jong/Mongabay.Forest fragmentationThe project to build the 510-megawatt hydropower plant has been controversial from the outset because of concerns about its environmental impact. Key among them is the fate of the Tapanuli orangutan, a species only described in 2017, yet already declared critically endangered and the world’s rarest great ape.Gabriella Fredriksson, a wildlife biologist with the Sumatran Orangutan Conversation Programme (SOCP), said there were so few Tapanuli orangutans that “this species can’t afford even an offtake of a few individuals.”But the project developer, PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy (NSHE), says the impact on the ape and its habitat will be minimal. It says building the reservoir for the power plant will flood just 90 hectares (220 acres) of its total 6,500-hectare (16,000-acre) concession in the Batang Toru ecosystem. The total area taken up by the project, once complete, will be 122 hectares (300 acres), says NHSE spokesman Firman Taufick.William F. Laurance, a professor at James Cook University in Australia who led a major study of the Tapanuli orangutan, said while the area occupied by the dam might not seem all that large, its supporting infrastructure, especially service roads, would still threaten the survival of the orangutans by splitting the already disjointed orangutan populations into smaller and smaller pieces.That would increase the chances of problems like inbreeding, accelerating the species’ slide toward extinction. The roads will also create openings into previously inaccessible parts of the forest that will be prone to exploitation by farmers and poachers.“Using NSHE’s logic, someone could cut off your head and there would be only minor damage, because far less than 1 percent of your tissue would be destroyed,” Laurance said. (Editor’s note: Laurance is a member of Mongabay’s advisory board.)Agus Djoko Ismanto, NSHE’s senior environmental adviser, said the company planned to minimize the fragmentation problem by building its service roads along riverbanks in Batang Toru. “So these roads won’t splice up the forest,” he said at a media briefing in Jakarta the day before the protests.An adult female Tapanuli orangutan. Image by Tim Laman/Wikimedia Commons.Questionable study, permitThe developer has also called into question the presence of orangutans in its project area, citing a study by a local government agency. The study says orangutans had largely left that part of the forest before construction of the project began because of the spread of farms and settlements in the area.Laurance has rebutted the study, saying that “field research by my colleagues in Sumatra has shown their findings to be woefully inaccurate.”Fredriksson of the SOCP said her team had carried out an extensive biodiversity study of the hydropower project area in 2015, under contracted by a consultancy, ERM.“The nest surveys showed that the lowland area along the Batang Toru River has the highest density of orangutans compared to any of the other locations in the Batang Toru Ecosystem that we have surveyed since 2003,” she told Mongabay.Laurance and Fredriksson have also questioned the credibility of Aek Nauli, the government agency that issued the study.Laurance said it was “notorious for producing unreliable research to aid industry,” while Fredriksson said “they have gone commercial on various fronts and are indeed hired by NSHE to counter any data from other sources on the importance of the area for orangutans or other wildlife.”NSHE’s Firman has rebutted the accusation, saying the company didn’t fund the study done by Aek Nauli.Even major development funders such as the World Bank have steered clear of the project because of the environmental concerns. Fredriksson said it might have been her team’s findings that spooked them. She said the findings were used by ERM for an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), a standard widely applied internationally to identify and mitigate impacts of major projects on biodiversity.“This report probably scared the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation [IFC] and the Asian Development Bank [ADB] away,” Fredriksson said.NSHE, though, said it had never approached the IFC or the ADB to seek funding for the project.WALHI’s Sawung said it was critically important, for a project in such a biodiverse area, to undergo a strict environmental impact assessment before construction. But that doesn’t appear to be the case for the locally conducted assessment, known as an Amdal, for which NHSE received its environmental permit to start building.Map of the Batang Toru ecosystem, home to the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) in Sumatra.Lawsuit verdict dueOne of the independent scientists employed to catalog the biodiversity of the ecosystem told Mongabay recently that his findings were omitted from the Amdal submitted to regulators, and that his signature on the document was forged.Onrizal Onrizal, a forestry researcher at North Sumatra University, said he worked on the Amdal in 2013, but that the final version was issued in 2016. He said he wasn’t even aware that the 2016 version existed until late last year.The revelation casts doubt on the integrity of the licensing process for a project already mired in controversy. Sawung said he hoped it would be the determining factor in Walhi’s lawsuit seeking to revoke the environmental permit for NSHE, which was issued by the North Sumatra provincial government based on the Amdal.Sawung said the only rational outcome would be for the court to rule in Walhi’s favor, given that a forged signature would render the Amdal, and by extension the environmental permit, invalid.The court is scheduled to deliver its verdict March 4.Besides the alleged forgery of Onrizal’s signature, environmentalists have also questioned the Amdal’s omission of eight endangered species from the list of wildlife found in the Batang Toru forest.The previous version compiled by Onrizal listed 23 species, while the final one has 15. Those missing include the Tapanuli orangutan, Sumatran tiger, sun bear, and Sumatran lar gibbon.NSHE’s Agus said the list was changed because the location of the project’s quarry was also changed in the revised Amdal. As a result, the new document only listed species found in the location of the new quarry. Agus said the company would ensure that no species, whether named on the list or not, would be harmed in the process of building the hydropower plant.Sawung rejected this explanation, saying all species from throughout the project site, and not just the quarry, should have been listed.“The whole project entails other infrastructure, not only the quarry,” he said. “Maybe they limited the scope to just the quarry, but we’re talking about a whole ecosystem here.” Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Banner image: Indonesian activists staged a protest outside the Bank of China office in Jakarta, Indonesia. Image by Hans Nicholas Jong/Mongabay. 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 overSponsoredlast_img read more

Dani’s Best Week Ever May 12, 2016: In Defense of Disney’s Hollywood Studios

first_imgAfter the show I strolled around Echo Lake again, contemplating what else I wanted to enjoy in the park. Time was running out, I had pet sitting duties to return to. I couldn’t resist venturing into One Man’s Dream. It is a must-visit walk through experience for any Disney fan, especially those with an appreciation for Walt Disney. This was the first visit to this attraction in a long time in which I did not take any pictures. I simply absorbed the history, nostalgia, and pixie dust. This is a meaningful exhibition and I hope it stays well into the future, or if not, it will be replaced on a grander scale.I had now been in the park for six hours and experienced four shows, two rides, two walk through attractions, a character meet and greet, and had relaxed and dined, I was feeling pretty satisfied. If I did not have pets to get back home to I easily could have stayed and enjoyed more shows (ok yeah, you do need to be a fan of live entertainment to really enjoy Hollywood Studios – especially in its present state).Having enjoyed myself so much, I wanted to savor it one last time before heading out. I knew exactly where to head to: Brown Derby Lounge. The final Galaxy Far, Far Away show for the day was about start, if I was lucky I’d get a table with a partial view. I love the Brown Derby Lounge because it is first come, first served. I’ve been visiting the Lounge since it opened nearly three years ago. It has been enhanced over the years as well as experienced a few menu changes, with a renewed focus on delicious small plates and specialty cocktails. The Summer heat and humidity are starting to make their presence known, so if you will be visiting Orlando soon make sure you mentally prepare for hot, steamy weather. Thankfully during my visit the weather was still bearable so I enjoyed my Electric Lemonade outside. A pleasant stroll near Echo Lake was in order. Then I felt it again, the call of the Force. The new Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple show has one of the most frequent show times I’ve ever seen at Walt Disney World.It does have a bit of an assembly line feel to it, but it allows so many younglings to become padawans, it’s hard to fault it. During the early days of the Jedi Training Academy there were many, many disappointed guests who wanted their children to be able to get on stage and be part of the show. Now, with such an increased capacity for participants there are hopefully less disappointed Jedi moms and dads. One addition made me giggle: a merchandise cart at the back of the crowd selling lightsabers. It’s funny to me to see the kids on stage wielding lightsabers only to have to give them back. This cart has one heck of a location!As I looked around, Disney’s Hollywood Studios exhibited a behavior I had previously encountered only in one other theme park destination: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Every fifth or sixth guest had some sort of Star Wars apparel, it seemed–and a similar ratio carried some sort of Star Wars merchandise in their hands. A line of about 30 people waited to build their own lightsaber inside Tatooine Traders. In fact, the store was packed! I had a hard time resisting temptation and not making like a Jawa, snatching up all kinds of galactic treasures.Inside Tatooine TradersMy friend arrived in the park and it was time to board a Starspeeder! Nervous and excited don’t seem to be strong enough words… I was borderline hyperactive. Each Star Tours cast member that saw my button smiled, though I am sure a few chuckled at my childlike behavior. It took about four minutes from the time we entered the FP+ touch point to the time we were assigned our row and ready to board.Before I knew it we were jumping into lightspeed and I lost it immediately! The pressure, the motion, the sound overwhelmed and I laughed a very uncomfortable laugh, immediately averting my eyes away from the screen. I instead focused on the vehicle itself. This helped until my friend, in hopes of helping me enjoy the ride, told me to look at the screen. There it was… Jakku! And Finn up on the screen?! I did my best to watch this scene, but I continued to alternate between looking at the screen and looking at the vehicle. It was intense and a feeling I will have to learn to manage it in order to ride again, because I definitely want to ride again.About to blast off, eeeeek!For those playing the at home game, I’ve only been in the park for an hour and a half, I’ve seen two Star Wars stage shows and rode Star Tours, plus enjoyed a beverage. My appetite to consume as much Star Wars stuff as possible was not yet quenched. With showings about every 10 minutes, Star Wars: Path of the Jedi is a quick and easy diversion. Non Star Wars fans will probably be confused by the short collection of important and thematic moments across all seven Star Wars films. I personally enjoyed the journey and found it a nice punctuation mark to cap off my achievement of finally going on Star Tours.Our FastPass+ window opened up for The Great Movie Ride. Normally I wouldn’t suggest using one of your initial FastPass+ picks for this ride, but seeing as I currently have no interest in Rock n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, and Toy Story Midway Mania was already booked up, it’s a decent choice. When we approached the theater the standby wait time was posted at 30 minutes; we boarded our ride vehicle at just about six minutes.This attraction is one of the main reasons this park was built. In an age in which we are seemingly bombarded with attractions that rely on projection screens and 3D effects, Great Movie Ride stands as a monument to the days of practical, physically effects and sets. It almost doesn’t feel like a proper trip to Hollywood Studios without going on The Great Movie Ride.We exited the attraction just after 2:00 PM, time to see Captain Phasma and the Stormtroopers march from the Launch Bay onto the main stage. This quick occurrence isn’t something I’d recommend setting in your schedule, but since it happens on the hour every hour, it is easy to catch if you’re anywhere in the Launch Bay or icon area. It makes for good photo opportunities, though I only managed to snag a short video for tweeting.The call of the Launch Bay could not be ignored. We opted to enter through the merchandise shop. Doing so saved us time by not waiting for the brief movie presentation, as well as by not becoming part of a group that enters the area at the same time. The biggest time saver of all is the special Disney Visa Cardholder meet and greet of Kylo Ren. We waited less than two minutes and suddenly we were face to face with the Master of the Knights of Ren himself. I enjoyed the interaction, he really is imposing, and don’t get me started on the voice (swoon!)I may look awkward by not posing, but what I’m really doing is resisting the Dark SideIt was bittersweet being inside The Launch Bay when it was once the Magic of Animation attraction, a place full of Disney magic and memories. But alas, the only constant thing in life is change. I am thankful I am a Star Wars fan, otherwise I’d resent the Launch Bay. Instead I found it to be a cool area to explore, especially the cantina-like room now that walk-around Jawas playfully trade treasures with guests.The amount of props, models, and memorabilia is pretty impressive. I would’ve liked to meet Chewbacca, but his posted wait time was 30 minutes. I’d probably pop back into Launch Bay to browse around again and try to meet Chewie, but there isn’t much to pull repeat visits. However, as progress is made on Star Wars Land we should begin to see some cool concept art and such on display here. Just as I slipped my button on the new Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away stage show began. As though the Force called to me I was immediately drawn to the stage and made my way up Hollywood Blvd to get a decent view. It didn’t take long for me to get goosebumps. This stage show is not overly impressive, it is merely a collection of montages shown on three large video screens with appearances of live Star Wars characters and a few pyrotechnics. Those that aren’t Star Wars fans will be nonplussed by this show. However, there was plenty of positive reactions from fellow fans all around me and that made the show even more impactful. It is also neat having the Mann’s Chinese Theater as the backdrop because Star Wars originally premiered at the actual theater in 1977. Feeling inspired and nearly ready for my first adventure in space travel thanks to the Galaxy Far, Far Away show, I anxiously awaited the arrival of my fellow space traveler as well as the arrival of our FastPass+ window. Perhaps a visit to Tune-In Lounge, would be a good way to spend some time. A Star Wars universe cantina isn’t ready yet, but the boisterous Tune-In Lounge is often noisy, bustling, and full of all manner of life forms so it works in the meantime.At 1:00 PM not a single bar stool was available at the lounge, not surprising. I ordered a Dad’s Electric Lemonade to go. This drink is listed as one of the cocktails that comes with a glow cube, an unnecessary decoration in my opinion. So I ordered it without the cube, which reduced the price by about $2.00 making it $9.32 with tax (before tip). So let’s see, I’ve been in the park three hours and have done three shows, two rides, a character meet and greet, and a walk through attraction. Not too shabby. The time had come for my friend to zip off to see Aerosmith aboard the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. I may have conquered Star Tours, but I’ve got a long ways to go before you’ll see me strapped into that coaster. While I waited I browsed the goods available for purchase in the courtyard.I noticed the temporary tattoo kiosk offers a selection of Guardians of the Galaxy tats, right under the shadow of the Tower of Terror. I don’t think this has anything to do with the rumors going around that this Marvel movie will take over the Twilight Zone theme, but found it amusing nonetheless.My friend had a FP+ for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and reported that she was seated in the “super stretch limo” ride vehicle about six minutes after her ticket was scanned. After her ride through Hollywood, it was time for some nourishment. She craved a carrot cake cookie, one of the most cravable snacks there is, while I wanted to check out the new snacks and beer and wine selections at The Writer’s Stop.This is one of my favorite places inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Surrounded by books and tucked into a corner of the park, The Writer’s Stop is a gem. One thing that was missing on this visit was any music inside the shop / cafe. There is a small couch and chair facing a small TV that usually plays clips from various movies and TV shows from the Walt Disney Company. On our visit however, the same two minute advertisements for two TV shows kept playing. The atmosphere was definitely off.However, the snacks and drinks did not disappoint. The carrot cake cookie is as good as ever, my friend was kind enough to share. It is such a rich and decadent treat, and at $3.99 is a decent price. We also indulged in two new savory options: a large soft pretzel served with warm cheese dip ($5.69) and a charcuterie board ($7.49).The charcuterie board won out over the pretzel. The pretzel isn’t a poor choice either, it was soft and tender, and the cheese dip was a nice enhancement, but for two dollars more I’d rather have the meat and cheese board. It is great to have some quick snack choices geared towards adults in a relaxed atmosphere.It became time for friend to head back to reality. We bid ado as I headed to visit royalty from Arendelle. I’ll admit it, it felt weird attending the For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration alone. The newly re-named Hyperion Theater and I have a small history. I was a trainer for the opening team of the American Idol Experience. I may not have been a huge fan of the concept, but the theater received some major high tech upgrades when Idol moved in, so it is great to see the theater put to good use.FastPass+ entranceOverall, I enjoyed the show for what it is, and really appreciated the Arendelle “historians.” Many longtime Disney entertainers fill these roles, including some performers from the glory days of Pleasure Island. I wouldn’t return to the show on my own though. With my nieces, given the chance, I’d be there with bells on! It is a great show for families, no doubt. Share This!It’s the park that everyone loves to hate on right now. Piece by piece we’ve seen change after change come to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Earffel Tower? Gone. Backlot Studio Tour? Long gone. Lights, Motor, Action Stunt Show? Outta here! In fact, the whole Streets of America area is a thing of the past. All these closures, without timely replacements, have made Disney’s Hollywood Studios an easy target for criticism. Admittedly, it has been my least favorite Walt Disney World theme park for quite some time.There is no question that Hollywood Studios is in a transition period. It is reminiscent of puberty. Or perhaps more poetically, like a caterpillar in a cocoon waiting to emerge as a butterfly. Nope, I’m sticking with puberty because Hollywood Studios is not wrapped up and in hiding waiting to emerge. It is still here, in its awkward phase, just trying to make it through and show the world that they were wrong to pick on it.I recently visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the purpose of enjoying as much of the park as possible, and to take a big step in my journey to overcome my fear of any and all thrill rides. I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed my time in the park. Granted, I am a big time Star Wars fan and there’s lots and lots of Star Wars stuff now added to the park. Still, there’s enough to enjoy even though the park’s best days seem to be on the horizon.Arriving at 12:00 PM I knew the park would be in full swing, but the action would have to wait a moment. Driving into the parks means the added process of parking your car and either boarding the parking tram or walking to the park entrance. With the added safety measures of the doors and the recorded departure spiel, it can take ten minutes or so just for the tram to depart once you’ve boarded it. This was the case on my visit, and I regretted not walking to the entrance.The glitz and glamour of the Mann’s Chinese Theater standing proud as the park’s main entrance “weenie” is still a sight I am getting reacquainted with, happily so. I feel as though I can enjoy Hollywood Blvd more, that it feels more of an actual place meant to be enjoyed and explored now that the big blue hat has been removed.One of the main reasons for my visit was to finally ride Star Tours… for the first time ever! I had never gone on Star Tours before, including the original version. I get motion sick just from being in the car when someone else is driving. It’s rough. That discomfort then leads to a fear of any ride that isn’t considered a “kiddie ride.” However, I am slowly trying out rides I previously ruled out, seeing if I can face my fears and become some sort of ride junkie. To celebrate the occasion I stopped inside one of the merchandise shops and asked for an “I’m Celebrating” button. I proceeded to unabashedly write “1st time on Star Tours” on my shiny new button. At 6:30 PM there were three tables available as I walked into the patio area. I selected a high top table for two and had an acceptable view of the show, right as it began. I ordered the new Grapefruit Cake Martini ($10.25) because it is a twist on the classic Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake, and I feel if I drink anything, but wine or a martini at the Brown Derby Lounge I am doing it wrong.This duo costs $20.25 (before tax and tip) – what a value!This martini would make for a great after dinner drink, though it is not nearly as sweet or creamy as I expected it to be. Naturally, I order the Brown Derby Cobb Salad ($10), staying in line with my classic Brown Derby flavors thing I had going. The service was fairly efficient, the weather was great, the Star Wars show pulled on my heartstrings… I was blissful.I enjoyed myself at Disney’s Hollywood Studios… and I didn’t even ride any of the three major E-ticket rides, and skipped out on Muppet Vision 3-D, and three other live shows! Yes, this park has yet to reach its full potential, but I argue that there is still plenty to enjoy during this transition phase. Of course, I’ve often been accused of being a hopeless optimist, but my recent afternoon at Hollywood Studios is one my best ever!last_img read more

Zuma gears for State of Nation address

first_img6 February 2012It’s going to be a busy week for President Jacob Zuma as he prepares for his State of the Nation address, to be presented in Parliament – and broadcast live on radio and television – at 7pm on Thursday.The State of the Nation Address provides the President with a platform to communicate with the joint National Assembly in Parliament – and, as importantly, an opportunity to communicate with the people of South Africa.The speech, which is largely informed by the annual Cabinet Lekgotla in January, takes stock of the previous year’s achievements and charts a common direction for the country for the coming year.The 2012 January Lekgotla also served as a mid-term government review, with the Cabinet assessing progress made on the six job drivers of the New Growth Path: infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy, and tourism.The Lekgotla also reported that government had made notable progress across its five key priority areas of education, health, rural development, safety and crime prevention, as well as job creation.Zuma’s office said this year’s State of the Nation address takes place against the background of the celebration of 100 years by South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, which is regarded as part of the celebration of the country’s rich political heritage.In addition, the President was at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos last month, where the threat to the world economy – emanating from the seemingly inadequate steps to resolve the Eurozone crisis – dominated the discussions.He also recently attended the African Union’s heads of state and government summit in Ethiopia, which was grappling with the challenge of making the AU a sharper instrument for the development of the continent.“In this context, the President is likely to focus on the critical need for our country to move decisively and systematically in the implementation of policies and programmes that so far have helped us withstand the impact of the externally generated impediments to our development agenda,” the Presidency said.There’ll be no let-off for the President following his speech, with a number of engagements booked for Friday, starting with The New Age SoNA breakfast briefing at Grand West Casino in Cape Town.This will be followed by the tee-off of the Presidential Address Golf Challenge at De Zalze Golf Course, Stellenbosch, and the Presidential Golf Challenge Dinner at Cape Town’s Westin Hotel.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

8 Ways YouTube Will Be Changing How You Create Videos

first_imgTags:#audience#conference#creator#Tools#vidcon#video#YouTube A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts YouTube may face some challenges as it moves toward the mainstream, but it isn’t standing still on the technological side. Here are eight new tools for video creators YouTube execs Matthew Glotzbach and Oliver Heckmann—the site’s director of product management and VP of engineering, respectively—previewed at the unofficial YouTube convention VidCon last week.A few are available now, but most are are still coming attractions. Keep your eyes peeled, YouTubers.1. Sound EffectsYouTube’s Audio Library already featured hundreds of free songs; now it also includes an array of royalty-free sound effects—perfect for the creator who needs a blood-curdling scream or machine gun fire. The company is also adding more music tracks, though it didn’t say how many.2. 60 FPS VideoMost YouTube videos play at the standard film-projection rate of 24 frames per second—typically just fast enough to trick a viewer’s brain into seeing motion instead of a succession of still images. YouTube will soon be supporting higher frame rates of 48 fps and 60 fps in order to better capture action from video-game footage shot at higher frame rates.YouTube has uploaded three videos that preview the new HFR (high frame rate) mode; you can check them out here. (Though be careful out there, creators; remember the grief director Peter Jackson took from some critics when he released the first Hobbit movie in 48 fps.)3. Creator Studio AppA new Creator Studio app gives creators mobile access to their analytics, which help them better understand the audience drawn by each video, as well as video-management functions. The app is available on Android and will be launching on iOS in “coming weeks.”4. PlaylistsAlthough the execs’ description was a little vague, creators are apparently going to get “new ways” to create video playlists designed to draw in fans.5. Creator CreditsLots of creators collaborate in making YouTube videos, but it’s not easy for viewers to track down the video history of individual collaborators in a video. Creator Credits aims to fix that by letting creators tag their collaborator friends on videos so that viewers can click through to discover new channels. Credits will also allow users to search for different creators based on their work and location. 6. Fan-Contributed Subtitles Viewers will soon be able to submit their own translations of video subtitles or captions for videos that use them.7. Info CardsInfo cards will help cleanly organize text in video, replacing YouTube’s older annotation format. Creators will be able to program Info cards once to work across desktops, phones, and tablets.8. Fan FundingYouTube is adding its own way for fans to support their favorite YouTube celebrities as an alternative to KickStarter, IndieGogo and Patreon. A “Support” button now being tested on channels such as The Young Turks will let viewers donate money directly to video creators via Google Wallet.YouTube—Now On Satellite RadioIn addition to these new features, the video site is also launching The YouTube 15, a weekly show on SiriusXM Hits 1. Hosted by creatorJenna Marbles, the show will feature YouTube’s rising music stars. center_img stephanie ellen chan Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Missouri works to settle lawsuit on medicine for foster kids

first_img(AP) – Missouri is working to settle a lawsuit alleging that the state overmedicated foster children with psychotropic drugs.A federal judge on Monday gave preliminary approval to a settlement agreement that calls for the state to make systemic changes to how it oversees prescriptions for children in foster care.Child advocates filed the class-action lawsuit against Missouri’s Social Services Department last year. The plaintiffs alleged that the state inappropriately provides psychotropic drugs to foster children and lacks adequate oversight of prescriptions.The settlement calls for foster children on psychotropic drugs to be checked on at least every three months. If the settlement is finalized, the state must also have copies of kids’ medical records on file. Staff would need to undergo training on the affect psychotropic drugs can have on children.last_img read more