“Considering what I have gathered from informal discussions and observations with those who should know, unless some serious efforts are made to beef-up our national security prior to the conclusion of the UNMIL drawdown, the security of this country could be at a risk.”Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, in a communication dated February 12, 2015, and addressed to the Senate Pro Tempore Armah Zolu Jallah, is requesting an urgent hearing on Executive.The Grand Bassa lawmaker said such a meeting would require the participation of the heads of all security agencies, including the Defense Minister, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, the Police Director and the Chief of Immigration. As UNMIL was “not likely to consent to participate in a public hearing, the Liberian Senate should request a closed door meeting with a representative of UNMIL to assist us in getting a better understanding of the status of the security situation in the country and the post-drawdown security challenges that we may expect.” Though she is aware that the Senate works through committees and the Defense Committee has the representation of all counties, “[yet] due to the urgency and seriousness of this matter, an executive hearing will get the full participation of the entire Senate, which I think is needed at this point,” the Senator advised.Senator Lawrence’s communication comes as UNMIL drawdown approaches its concluding stages in June, 2016 and questions are already being raised as to the readiness of the country’s security apparatus to fill the vacuum that may be created.Some of the issues that need to be addressed, according to Senator Lawrence are: whether the army is at optimal strength or does it require additional soldiers in order for it to become a viable army; are the Army, Police, and Immigration sufficiently equipped to be able to assume their respective mandates, capable of defending the country…?Senator Lawrence also expressed concern about the morale of the officers and members of the Army, Police and Immigration, and whether they are enjoying minimum benefits, such as accommodations for them and their families.The document was sent to the Committees on Defense, Intelligence and Veterans’ Affairs, and Judiciary, with the option to do further consultations and report to plenary within two weeks. InterpretationDaily Observer reporters around the country have frequently reported on the lack of logistical preparedness on the part of the Joint Security, which includes particularly the Police and Immigration.A case in point is a story carried last week and again in today’s edition about two gruesome murder cases in Nimba County. The first murder occurred in Beeplay, Buu-Yao Administrative District and the culprit fled to Buutuo on the Ivory Coast boarder where he reported himself to the police station, manned by only two officers. When friends of the victim from Beeplay descended on the Buutuo station with cutlasses and other weapons to revenge the killing of their friend, the two police officers fled the scene, leaving the prisoner at the mercy of the attackers. They chopped him up with their cutlasses and disemboweled him. These murderous avengers had a totally free hand because their numbers were too strong for the two police officers.There has also been grave concern about the lack of communication equipment, transportation and weapons, leaving the security apparatus at the country’s many border points practically defenseless. That is how Charles Taylor and his National Patriotic Front of Liberia were able to begin their invasion of the country on December 24, 1989, igniting the civil war that lasted 14 years.Senator Kanga Lawrence’s concerns are, therefore, indeed very legitimate and need to be carefully and urgently investigated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Share This!Welcome back to what has become a yearly tradition: predicting the least crowded Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party. We’ll look back at last year’s recommendations in a bit and give you the full 2016 list, but first make sure you check out our dedicated page for a complete list of dates as well as a thorough description of what the Halloween party is.In short, if you’re looking for the best 2016 Halloween Party to attend, we recommend Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Each of the past three years we recommended the equivalent party, September 17, 2013, September 16, 2014, and September 15, 2015. In 2013 it turned out to be the party with the lowest wait times by our calculation, while last year’s came in fourth. Last year’s didn’t do so great (as you can see in the chart below). The reason we still recommend that day is because the calendar of parties this year is much more like the ones in previous years. 2015 saw fewer parties and they began on September 15–later than in any other year that we’ve tracked. More on this below.The entire list of parties and how we rank them can be found below, but here are some general rules:September is less busy than October. There are exceptions, of course, but you are more likely to see crowds at the October parties.Tuesdays are generally less busy than other days. Sundays and Fridays are busier than other days. Sunday, September 18, 201613 Friday, October 7, 201626Sold out 1 day in advance in both 2013 and 2015, and 2 days in advance in 2014. Friday, October 28, 2016Highest Wait Times Thursday, September 8, 20164 Sunday, September 11, 20163 Tuesday, October 25, 20167Sold out 1 day in advance in 2013 and 7 days in advance in both 2014 and 2015. Sunday, October 30, 201612 Sunday, October 16, 201625Sold out 1 day in advance in 2014. Monday, October 31, 201624Sold out 27 days in advance in 2013, 71 (August 21) days in advance in 2014, and 89 (August 3!) days in 2015. Crowds will be heavy for character meets and parades. Oof, 2015 was a little rough on our predictions. On average we were off by 6 places, which is terrible by our standards (3.5 was our previous low), but we believe that we have identified the reasons for our missteps.Some of what happened was that 2015 parties were just plain busier than they have been in the 4 years we’ve been tracking. We track the wait times for several attractions that we find are good indicators for crowds. The average wait for all of these attractions during the Halloween parties was 10.8 minutes in 2012, 10.6 in 2013, and 9.3 in 2014. In 2015 the average wait was 12.3 minutes. Yes, averaging a 12 minute wait is not bad, but that represents a 20% increase over previous years.What also messed with us a little is that the range was much smaller, with only 4.7 minutes separating the average low and average high (that is normally a minute higher). The higher times and smaller range means that the margin of error was very thin: for instance, the 10th place party and 20th place party had average wait times less than minute apart.More than anything though, we didn’t take into account that the parties were just plain starting later in September. The first 2015 party was September 15–the latest the parties started from 2012-14 was September 11. That removed the early-September parties from 2014 that were lightly attended and packed all 25 parties into about 45 days. This particular problem is non-existent this year since the 2016 Halloween parties begin September 2. The increased crowds? That we’re not so sure of.Now let’s get on to this year’s rankings. Here are our predicted rankings of attraction wait times at each of the 2016 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties. One important note is that we rank these based on attraction wait times. You will see that some of the higher-ranked parties sold out well in advance meaning that they were crowded. There are some parties–especially the late-October ones–where a large percentage of visitors chooses to enjoy the parades, trick-or-treating, and character meets rather than the rides. We present the chart below in order to give you as much information as we have so that you can make an informed decision.[Please note that prices have not yet been released for the 2016 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party dates. This page will be updated once they are out.] Friday, September 2, 20162 Tuesday, October 6, 201548 Tuesday, September 22, 2015210 Friday, September 30, 20166 Sunday, October 2, 201616 Party DateAttraction Wait Times RankNotes Monday, October 10, 201617Sold out 1 day in advance in 2013 and 2014. Thursday, October 27, 20168Sold out 28 days in advance in 2014 and 14 days in advance in 2015. Before we get to the 2016 party rankings, let’s revisit our predictions from last year to see how accurate we were. Here were our top 5 recommended party days and how they turned out: Sunday, October 23, 201619 Tuesday, October 18, 201615Sold out 1 day in advance in 2015. Thursday, October 20, 201621 Thursday, September 29, 201611 Friday, September 16, 201614 Tuesday, September 13, 2016Lowest Wait Times 2015 Party DateProjected Wait Time RankActual Measured Wait Time Rank Thursday, October 6, 201618Sold out 1 day in advance in 2013. Tuesday, September 20, 20169Sold out 1 day in advance in 2015. Friday, September 23, 201620Sold out 1 day in advance in 2013 and 2 days in advance in 2015. Sunday, September 27, 2015316 Thursday, October 13, 201622Sold out 2 days in advance in 2013 and 1 day in advance in 2014. Friday, October 21, 201623Sold out 1 day in advance in 2014 and 2 days in advance in 2015. Friday, September 18, 2015512 Friday, October 14, 201627Sold out 1 day in advance in 2014. Tuesday, September 15, 2015Lowest Wait Times7 Tuesday, October 4, 20165 Tuesday, October 11, 201628 Sunday, September 25, 201610Sold out 1 day in advance in 2015. Our wait times only include attractions−not character meet and greets, special shows, or parades. The characters, in particular, often have long lines, especially for rare characters like the Seven Dwarfs. Regardless of which party you attend, some of the character lines will be long. If those are a must do, do them as early in the evening as possible.To determine all of the above, we looked at posted wait times from key attractions including Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, it’s a small world, and The Barnstormer. We narrowed it down to times between 7pm and midnight, which is when the park is limited to party guests.Remember that, in general, the wait times during the Halloween parties are quite low, averaging only about 12 minutes last year (and 10 before that). If there are any attractions that you have really been wanting to do, experiencing them during the Halloween party might just be the time.Looking for more information? Erin Foster wrote an amazing overview of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that will help you whether this is your first trip or your 100th (and if it’s your 100th, you might have a problem…being too awesome). You may also want to check out Derek Burgan’s Six Reasons why He Loves the Halloween Party for even more Halloweenieness (that made up word is even a stretch for me).If you consider yourself handy with the camera, or if you simply want better pictures, you can’t go wrong with Tom Bricker’s tips on photographing the Halloween party.Now that you are armed with the most powerful weapon…knowledge, you can plan your 2015 trip to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This blog post will help you find all of the party dates and prices.Hopefully this analysis will help you choose the best Halloween Party to attend. Make sure to check back here later, where we’ll soon be breaking down Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, as well.
25 October 2012 South Africa is ready to host a successful 2013 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament, President Jacob Zuma said at the final draw for the 29th edition of Africa’s biggest soccer festival at the International Convention Centre in Durban on Wednesday evening. From 19 January to 10 February 2013, the world’s eyes will once again be on South Africa as 16 of Africa’s best footballing nations battle it out for the continental crown. South Africa had a proud track record of hosting wonderful sporting events, Zuma said at Wednesday’s draw, adding that the 2013 Afcon finals would “be a timely reflection on the legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which we hosted successfully with the support of the African continent.” Zuma extended his special congratulations to Cape Verde, who will be appearing in the tournament for the first time after eliminating one of the giants of African football, Cameroon, in the qualifiers. Zuma said the tournament would be a special occasion for South Africa as Bafana would be making a return after a four-year absence from the continental competition. Zuma had earlier, during the draw, brought a sigh of relief to South Africans when he drew underdogs Cape Verde as Bafana’s opening match opponents. The host team was drawn in Group A with Cape Verde, Morocco and Angola. These four teams will be based in Durban. Group B, which will be based in Port Elizabeth, comprises Ghana, DRC, Niger and Mali. Defending champions Zambia are in group C with Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. These teams will based in Mbombela, Mpumalanga. The “group of death”, group D, comprises Ivory Coast, Togo, Algeria and Tunisia. Afcon local organising committee (LOC) chairman Mwelo Nonkonyane gave an assurance to the Confederation of African Football, the 16 participating national teams, South Africans and the entire African continent that they would not let them down. “We wish to assure the African football [fraternity] that we use football as a tool to uproot our people from the circles of poverty, war and diseases to promote peace in Africa. “We can assure you that as you go home to start preparing for this tournament and come back to battle for this coveted trophy, you will find the LOC ready to deliver a seamless tournament,” Nonkonyane said. “We’ve put in place plans around team transport, training venues, team hotels, including team security and escort mechanisms, and spectator experience that will ensure that every single stadium has an offering that is unique.” Source: SANews.gov.za
By Adrian ChoMay. 2, 2018 , 5:55 PM Jason Bye/Writer Pictures via AP Images In his last paper on cosmology, Stephen Hawking and a younger colleague attacked cosmic inflation and its discontents. So what’s eternal inflation?Here’s where the concept of inflation runs into problems of its own. Physicists deeply dislike the idea that inflation would stop suddenly, for no particular reason. They’d much rather have a mechanism that explains what drove inflation and then caused it to stop. That’s why they assume some sort of quantum field drove it, before petering out. The idea is that the field starts out in an only approximately stable, higher-energy “false vacuum” state in which space stretches exponentially. It then relaxes to its true lowest energy state, in which space expands much more slowly.The scenario works a little too well, however. The exponentially expanding false vacuum produces more and more of itself, so there’s ever more space expanding at an incredibly fast rate. Our universe is a patch that has undergone the transition to the low-energy true vacuum state. But such transitions should happen randomly, so there should be lot of other universes, too. In fact, the process should produce an ever-increasing amount of space that’s growing at an exponential rate, peppered with an infinite number “pocket universes” growing more slowly.Is that a problem?It depends on whom you ask. At the most basic level, the existence of all these other universes wouldn’t affect our universe. They’re just too far away to have any connection with ours. On the other hand, the notion of eternal inflation and a multiverse may thwart cosmologists’ entire enterprise of explaining why the universe is the way it is, Hertog says. Things like the values of certain key physical constants could vary randomly among the pocket universes, he says, which would render moot any effort to explain why they have the values they do in our universe. They would be set by random chance, Hertog says, and that’s not very satisfying.So how does Hawking’s and Hertog’s paper solve the problem?Hawking and Hertog argue that, in fact, eternal inflation does not occur. To do that, they borrow a concept from string theory that enables them to equate two different types of theories with different dimensionalities. In 1997, Argentine-American theorist Juan Maldacena considered a volume of space in which gravity was at work. Maldacena, who is now at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, then demonstrated that theory was equivalent to an easier-to-work-with quantum theory on the boundary of the space that didn’t include gravity. It’s like saying whatever goes on inside a can of soda can be captured by a theory describing only what’s happening on the can’s surface.Eternal inflation emerges because, in the very early universe, the quantum fluctuations in the field that drives inflation are as big as the field’s average value. But Hawking and Hertog argue that under those conditions one cannot simply carry on with Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, but instead must use a maneuver like Maldacena’s to view the entire situation in a space with one less dimension. In that alternative space, things are more tractable, they claim, and the physics does not lead to eternal inflation. Instead, a single, well-behaved universe merges.So what does this have to do with the beginning of the universe?That’s where things get interesting—and tricky. The concept of equating one theory to another in a space with one fewer dimension is known to theoretical physicists as holography. In his work, Maldacena equated one theory to another in a space with one less spatial dimension. But, Hertog argues, the principle of holography allows theorists to jettison the dimension of time, instead. So in Hawking’s and Hertog’s theory, through the principle of holography, the very early universe should be described by a theory with just three spatial dimensions and no time.But why would you want to get rid of time?Ever since it became clear that the universe had a beginning, the moment of its birth has been a headache for theorists. Roughly speaking, Einstein’s general theory of relativity does a fine job of explaining things after the moment of the big bang, but cannot handle the instant of creation itself. That moment forms a “singularity” in spacetime—like a mathematical function that explodes to infinity—that trips up the theory. So theorists have long sought a way of avoiding that singularity—and losing time would be one way to do that.It’s a problem that fascinated Hawking his entire career, Hertog says. Decades ago, he suggested an alternative fix by speculating that in the very beginning, time was, crudely speaking, dimensional, an idea that doesn’t mesh with the new work.So is this the end for eternal inflation and the big bang singularity?Probably not. Others will scrutinize Hawking’s and Hertog’s invocation of the dimension-changing relation. And even if other researchers find it to be sound, there’s still a major question to be answered, Hertog acknowledges. If theorists start with a theory with only spatial dimensions, how does time finally emerge from it? “We threw out a new paradigm,” Hertog, says, “but there’s a lot of work to be done.”*Correction, 3 May, 10 a.m.: This story has been updated to correct the name of the Institute for Advanced Study. Stephen Hawking’s (almost) last paper: putting an end to the beginning of the universe Cosmic inflation posits that the infant universe underwent a mind-boggling growth spurt, instantly stretching subatomic ripples to the cosmic scale. WMAP Science Team/NASA When Stephen Hawking died on 14 March, the famed theoretical physicist had a few papers still in the works. Today, the Journal of High Energy Physics published his last work in cosmology—the science of how the universe sprang into being and evolved. (Other papers on black holes are still being prepared.) In the new paper, Hawking and Thomas Hertog, a theoretical physicist at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU) in Belgium, attempt to stick a pin in a bizarre concept called eternal inflation, which implies—unavoidably, according to some physicists—that our universe is just one of infinitely many in a multiverse. Borrowing a concept from string theory, Hawking and Hertog argue that there is no eternal inflation and only one universe. But what they’re driving at is something even more basic: They’re claiming that our universe never had a singular moment of creation.How does the argument work? Follow its winding thread to the end of the beginning.Let’s start with the basics: What is cosmic inflation?Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Cosmic inflation is a monumental growth spurt that supposedly stretched the infant universe during the first tiniest fraction of a second. Dreamed up in 1979 by American theorist Alan Guth, inflation holds that just after the big bang, space stretched exponentially, doubling the size of the universe again and again at least 60 times over before slowing dramatically.Why would cosmologists believe in something so bizarre?Inflation solves a major puzzle: Why is the universe so uniform? For example, space is filled radiation lingering from the big bang, the cosmic microwave background (CMB). It has almost exactly the same temperature everywhere in the sky. That’s odd, as widely separated points seem at first glance to be too far apart for any influence to reach from one to the other over the 13.8 billion years the universe has been around. Inflation solves that puzzle by implying that all the points in the sky started out close enough to interact, and then were stretched far apart.Is that all inflation does?Ironically, inflation also does a great job of explaining why the universe isn’t completely uniform. Obviously, space is studded with galaxies. According to the theory, inflation stretched infinitesimal quantum fluctuations in those first moments to extragalactic size. The fluctuations then produced variations in the dense soup of fundamental particles that seeded the formation of the galaxies. Inflation predicts a particular spectrum of longer and shorter fluctuations. Strikingly, studies of the CMB and the galaxies confirm that distribution.
The crisis engulfing the national game was finally resolved on Monday when organisers of World Series Hockey (WSH) decided to postpone the league till after the Olympic Qualifier.The WSH, organised by Nimbus Sport on behalf of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), was scheduled to be held from December 17 to January 22, but with Hockey India (HI) scheduling a national camp during that period, a clash between the two federations was on the cards.The International Hockey Federation (FIH) recognises HI as the sole governing body for the game in the country and does not sanction the WSH.With HI making it clear that players missing the national camp will not be considered for selection, the Indian players were in a quandary as the WSH had offered them lucrative amounts.The Pakistan Hockey Federation had also asked its players to shun the WSH.However, with the league postponed till after the Qualifier, to be held in New Delhi from February 15-26, the players can now focus on ensuring that India does not miss out on the Olympics for the second consecutive edition.The WSH will now start on February 29, with the final on April 1. The decision was taken by the organisers on IHF’s request, but they claimed the players, coaches and match officials were committed to the event. IHF blamed HI for “intimidating” the players.”We are extremely saddened by the intimidation tactics adopted by HI to try and deprive Indian hockey players of an opportunity to earn a living from the sport of hockey,” IHF president RK Shetty said in a statement.advertisementHe alleged that HI changed its schedule to ensure that its camp clashed with WSH.”The original schedule for WSH was made on the basis that the national preparatory camp for the Olympic Qualifier was to start on January 24. This date was communicated by HI officials in writing to players in March.”Hi chose to reschedule the camp to December 11 with the obvious intention of disturbing the players and their preparation for WSH. This rescheduling was done after the announcement of WSH dates,” Shetty said.He said the postponement was done in the players’ interest.”With the express intent of protecting our national players from further harassment from Hockey India, IHF has requested WSH to take the high ground and adjust the dates.”For all their bravado, it is a big setback for the WSH just days before its beginning. Several international players had already landed in the country. Nimbus had said that preparations were in the final stages. It is a blow to Nimbus, especially with the Indian cricket board terminating their contract for matches in the country. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have also moved to probe alleged irregularities in their deals with the company.
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian has tweeted a super sexy photo of herself on micro-blogging site Twitter.The 31-year-old shared a new picture of her bikini body with her 14.8 million Twitter followers. In the photographs she sports wet hair and smiles at the camera.In the set of four snaps, she’s clad in only a red bikini and a damp halter top clinging suggestively to her curves, Kim appears as though she just hit the beach.When she posted the sexy photos, the reality TV queen tweeted:Thanks to all you 2 million sexy beasts out there for following me on Instagram! So heres a little present of http://t.co/9z0XXEFO