Foreigners in Sweden bring in more to the country’s economy than they take out, according to a new report from the OECD that measured the fiscal impact of immigration. …
Areas between the states of Georgia and Connecticut will experience massive swarms of the one-inch-long insects, all members of what is known as “Brood II,” one of seven species of the insect whose larvae (or nymphs) have spent nearly two decades feeding on roots. The peak of their arrival should come towards the end of May, at which point the red-eyed, noisy bugs will be well on their way to outnumbering the number of people living in the region from North Carolina to Connecticut by 600-to-1. The insects, though harmless, are considered a nuisance both for their size and sheer numbers, not to mention the noise pollution that has been measured at up to 94 decibels, loud enough to drown out the sound of overhead planes according to the Associated Press. The massive brood now preparing to make its debut went into the ground in 1996, one of eleven other broods that spend 13 or 17 years before reaching their mature form. Once the ground temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit, the cicadas are ready to burst out for a mating frenzy. The intense buzzing noise let off by the swarms is all part of an elaborate mating ritual that will last for six weeks before their deaths.Female cicadas will lay up to 600 eggs on tree branches after mating, and the offspring will fall to the ground and burrow to begin the 17-year cycle once more and return in 2030.Scientists are fascinated both by the mathematical accuracy of the cicada life cycle and emergence above ground, as well as the ecological impact of the massive broods, which both reproduce and die in vast numbers.The decomposing bodies of the adult cicadas will trap nutrients close to tree roots, which will act as a fertilizer for plant life. At the same time, those nutrients will feed the new generation of cicadas now developing underground, a process scientists say can slow tree growth by up to 30 per cent.Meanwhile, the small tunnels that cicadas bore on their way to the surface are thought to act as soil aerators, trapping rainfall during the summer season.Additional effects linked to the cicada mating swarms include higher yield for fruit trees, beneficial tree pruning, as well as an increase in bird populations.Despite the scientific mysteries that still delight the scientists that study them, most residents of the Eastern Seaboard will simply think of the hundreds of cicada husks they’ll be left to shovel off their properties. …
Azerbaijan – UN Member States must hold Azerbaijan to account for deteriorating human rights situation, failing to implement previous commitments
Geneva, 29 April 2013: The member states of the United Nations should hold Azerbaijan to account during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 30 April 2013 for its failure to protect basic human rights. The International Partnership Group on Azerbaijan, coordinated by ARTICLE 19, and local organisations urge the UN to take Azerbaijan to task for failing to implement the commitments it made after its first review in 2009. In its national report to the UPR, Azerbaijan stated that the right (…) …
After years of negotiating and planning the U.S. “six strikes” system finally went live in February.
The Copyright Alert System follows the example of French three-strikes law Hadopi, with the difference that Internet providers cooperate voluntarily and repeat infringers aren’t at risk of lengthy Internet disconnections.
The ultimate goal of these programs is to decrease P2P piracy but thus far very little is known about their effectiveness. About a year ago a study was released which showed that iTunes sales were positively impacted by Hadopi. An odd result, mainly because the effect seemingly occurred in 2009, before the law went into effect.
When the study was published we pointed out that there are alternative explanations for the findings. In addition, looking at overall digital revenues from 2008 to 2009, we see that there was actually a decrease in France, while digital revenue was up in nearly all of the comparison countries used in the study.
TorrentFreak contacted researcher Brett Danaher who conducted the Hadopi research and was also involved in the recent study which showed the Megaupload shutdown positively impacted movie sales. Danaher says that he stands behind the results but is open to exploring the effects of Hadopi on other products.
“I believe that the data demonstrates that HADOPI causally increased music sales on iTunes in France. But I’m interested in figuring out to what degree we can or cannot generalize this to other sales channels, music products, or forms of media, and I think careful research is needed to tease this out,” Danaher says.
Music group IFPI also believes that a decrease in overall sales says little about the effectiveness of the French three-strikes law. IFPI spokesman Alex Jacob told us that there are several indicators which show that P2P music piracy is negatively impacted in France.
“Regarding Hadopi, data shows that the legislation has had a significant impact in reducing P2P piracy levels in France. Looking at the period between the introduction of the law in 2010 and February 2013, the number of people engaging in unlicensed P2P file-sharing fell by 22 per cent,” IFPI says.
That does indeed sound convincing, but the figure is lacking a direct connection with Hadopi and the decrease is not unique to France. For example, earlier this year the research group NPD reported that P2P music sharing fell 17% in the U.S. from 2011 to 2012, long before the six-strikes program started.
While it makes sense that Hadopi and similar measures deter piracy to a certain degree, the overall impact on entertainment industry revenues remains guesswork. The issue is complicated by the fact that non-P2P piracy remains untargeted. According to IFPI these alternatives have increased in popularity.
“While Hadopi addressed P2P file-sharing, it did not tackle all forms of digital piracy, such as cyberlockers and stream-ripping services, which saw their audience numbers grow over the same period,” IFPI tells TorrentFreak.
This suggests that some P2P sharers may respond to “strikes” programs by switching to other means of sharing. In addition, we have seen a drastic rise in the use of VPN services through which P2P sharers can avoid being tracked.
Nonetheless, IFPI is positive about the effect Hadopi has on sales as shown in the iTunes study, as well as the decline in P2P usage. According to Jacob, music industry revenues in France have declined over the years, but not as far as in other European countries.
“We know from the indicators we have that Hadopi has helped reduce P2P file-sharing and helped boost download sales, even if this is not yet been reflected in overall growth for the French market,” he says.
“The logical conclusion is that the French market today, although not yet seeing growth, is in a better position than it would be in the absence of the Hadopi legislation.”
Right now all eyes are on the U.S. Copyright Alert System. Several researchers are gearing up to look at the effect it has on revenues and the prevalence of P2P use. If the evaluations are positive we can expect that the “strikes” measures will serve as a model for other countries, voluntarily or not.
Source: Do “Strikes” Programs Help to Reduce Piracy?
When the image you’re watching blows up, because somebody forces you to see something new, you start to wake up and effect a cure, even if you don’t want to. …
“This time it is a strike … with a massive impact, completely excessive, that has only one aim – to position itself as a union at Lufthansa against many other unions and groups,” Stefan Lauer, Lufthansa’s chief personnel officer, told ARD television.150,000 passengers are expected to be affected by the cancellations, according to Lauer.The airline grounded a total of 1,755 flights today, with only about 20 of 1,650 planned European flights and 12 of 70 planned long-haul services taking off, the airline said.The strike is Germany’s biggest air travel disruption since April 2010, when air travel in Europe was paralyzed by the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption, when 100,000 flights were grounded over six days.33,000 Lufthansa employees are demanding a 5.2% wage increase, compared to the 0.4-0.6% Lufthansa has offered. Their union, Verdi, is pushing for an agreement to exclude firings. Chief negotiator Christine Behle rejected Lufthansa’s offer.”For employees that is a sharp reduction in real pay and in no way acceptable,” said Behle.Lufthansa plans to restructure its employees to reach a higher efficiency. Europe’s second largest airline wants to lower costs and increase sales to 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) by 2015, a plan which includes laying off 3,500 workers.The company plans to use the extra revenue to update its aging fleet.Seasoned strikersThe airline preemptively cancelled 46 of Monday’s flights in anticipation of the walk out, and cancelled thousands more as technicians, service personnel, and ground crew walked off the job.Lufthansa has prioritized 6 flights to India, Dusseldorf, and the USA which will operate as scheduled.A half-day walkout on March 21 forced the airline to cancel more than 760 flights.A fourth round of talks is scheduled for April 29 and 30, and a fifth for the beginning of June. If the negotiations fail, Verdi will hold a vote on unlimited strikes, Behle said.Lufthansa-partner SAS canceled 56 flights today, expecting an abeyance in their scheduled flights as a result of the strike.Last September, a strike by cabin crew caused the airline to cancel 1,000 flights. On February 22, 2010, a pilot strike stopped two-thirds of Lufthansa’s Frankfurt connections.Customers travelling inside of Germany can exchange their air tickets for rail-travel vouchers. Germany’s rail authority said it will add extra train services today.Lufthansa hasn’t yet released damages figures as its unknown how many passengers will rebook, cancel, need hotel accommodation, and other stranded person expenses. When Qantas airline in Australia was grounded for an entire day in 2011, it cost more than $100 million.Lufthansa stock is up 2.12% in the Berlin exchange, trading at $14.24 a share at 15:52 GSTLos Angeles and New York City airports were also backed up after 15,000 air traffic controllers were made redundant due to government spending cuts. …