Metal group imports rise 4.41pc
The country imported the metal worth US$670.90 million during July-September 2011 against the import of US$642.53 million during July-September 2010, Federal Board of Statistics (FBS) reported.
Out of the metal group, the country imported iron and steel scrap of US$123.35 million during the period, showing decrease of 32.93 per cent over last year.
The import of aluminum wrought and worked decreased by 12.88 per cent from US$35.29 million to US$30.74 million whereas iron and steel imports increased 25.93 percent to US$331.93 as compared to the import of US$263.57 million last year.
The import of gold into the country stood at US$36.78 million against the import of US$19.77 million during the same period of the last year.
On the year-on-year basis, the imports of metal group in the country registered a decrease of 2.57 per cent during September 2011 over September 2010.
The country has imported commodity worth US$225.31 million as compared the import of US$231.24 million.
The import of iron and steel scrap was recorded at US$36.55 million against US$65.61 million, showing a decrease of 44.30 per cent.
The import of aluminum wrought and worked registered a decrease of 11.99 per cent as its imports declined from US$11.61 million in last September million to US$10.23 million in September 2011.
The country imported iron and steel worth US$119.64 million during the month of September of the current year against the import of US$101.27 million during the same month of the last year.
The import of gold stood at US$16.46 million in September 2011 against imports of US$3.39 million during the same month of last year.
On month-on-month basis, the import of metal group witnessed an increase of 2.17 per cent as metal worth US$225.31 was imported in September 2011 against US$220.52 million in August 2010.
The import of iron and steel scrap registered a decline of 10.09 per cent, decreasing from US$40.65 million to US$36.55 million.
The import of aluminum wrought and worked was recorded at US$10.23 million in September 2011 against US$9.28 million in August 2011.
The country imported iron and steel worth US$119.64 million during September against the import of US$113.52 million in August.
The import of gold stood at US$16.46 million in September 2011 against import of US$15.22 million in August 2011.
Join the club
Sarah and Jon Roche have bought Abram Labour Club, in Warrington Road, and are excited about their new plans to bring back some community spirit.
Under the new title – Maypole Community Club and Sports Bar Ltd, named after Abram’s Maypole Colliery disaster – the couple plan to boost sales and bring in entertainers.
The modern sports bar will also include Premiership football games to be shown on a large TV screen and more snooker and pool tables. They are also hosting a Christmas party on Saturday, December 10 from 7pm and a New Year’s Eve celebration.
Sarah and Jon, who have two children, also want to hold family nights with disco fun for youngsters.
Sarah, 36, said: “At one point the club was thriving, but over the last two years it has hit rock bottom. We have always lived in Abram and we used to go in the evenings after work and really enjoyed it.
“We saw an advert that it was for sale and decided to buy it as it has always been Jon’s dream to own a pub. We want to bring it back to what it used to be when people queued to get in.”
Jon, 39, who also runs Abram Wrought Iron, said: “We are under no illusions. We know it will be a long and hard battle to get the club back up and running, but we have a lot of people behind us.
“For Abram to lose such a big venue which is the heart of the community would be a shame. So we would like to see it back on its feet again.”
The venue also has a function room, which holds up to 250 people. Tickets for the Christmas and New Year parties are on sale at the club, in Warrington Road, priced at £4.50 for December 10 and £5 for New Year’s Eve.
Caswell big cat facility favors more animal control
By Tara Bozick
“It’s a truly appalling situation and I wish it could have been avoided,” said Mindy Stinner, executive director of the Conservators’ Center in Caswell County, N.C. The Conservators Center, founded by Stinner and Douglas Evans, is a wildlife preserve that rescues exotic animals, including lions and tigers.
Last week, Terry Thompson released more than 50 exotic animals from his Ohio farm before committing suicide. Muskingum County Sheriff’s deputies said they were forced to kill 48 of 56 exotic animals, including 18 Bengal tigers, according to The (Newark, Ohio) Advocate. The Columbus Zoo is housing a bear, two monkeys and three leopards.
“We believe that it’s very important that reasonable regulations be put in place in every state,” Stinner said.
Stinner doesn’t want fear to drive knee-jerk rules banning exotic animals in North Carolina, but she would like authorities to have better controls in place for protecting both humans and animals.
The Feline Conservation Federation and its affiliates, including the Conservators’ Center, had offered to work with placing Thompson’s animals at established wildlife facilities when problems arose in the past, according to a news release. Yet, law enforcement declined to assist.
Counties in North Carolina have the ability to step in to address potential risks using already established laws regarding all animals, Stinner said.
Yet, local animal control authorities could inspect private facilities not currently being inspected, she suggested. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects the private nonprofit Conservators’ Center, inspects only those places where commercial activities take place.
The Conservators’ Center would be happy to train inspectors on what to look for, as far as proper habitat and containment, she said. Additionally, Stinner would like exotic animal owners to be required to confidentially register their animals so emergency responders know where they are.
Stinner anticipates legislation coming up again on the issue in North Carolina, and she would like to ensure those facilities and owners operating safely and legally won’t be shut down or prevented from moving in.
Captive exotic animal populations, especially of tigers, prevents their extinction as wild habitat diminishes.
“I think the world is a better place for having tigers in it,” Stinner said. “I think they should be well kept and protected.”
The Danville Area Humane Society called the Ohio situation “horrible” and believes that wild animals should not be kept as pets, said Executive Director Paulette Dean. Large or dangerous exotic animals should be kept in facilities designed to handle them, like zoos or sanctuaries, she added.
“Once again, animals are the ultimate victims,” Dean said.
Dean said the Ohio deputies did what they had to do to protect the public, and that there was no way to have safely capturing and monitoring that many animals. Stinner agreed.
The local humane society shelter knows this, as it had to house a primate in the mid-1990s after local police confiscated it in a drug raid, Dean said. The primate was a challenge to handle each day, taking two people to lift its cage, and it killed a puppy through its cage. No veterinarian wanted to conduct tests on it. Eventually, a sanctuary took the monkey.
“It’s a shame,” said Billy Meyer, general manager of the World of Pets at Nor-Dan Shopping Center.
Meyer, an animal lover, would have liked more of the released animals to be recaptured rather than killed, but he does believe there should be better legislation or control of who is allowed to own such exotic animals.
If Meyer doesn’t feel confident in a person’s ability to take care of one of his pets, he won’t sell it. He regularly educates customers and the public at events on how to take care of different animals.
“I think it’s horrible,” he said about the Ohio animal deaths.
6 Simple Home Decor Tips
by Shubhra Krishan
Get An Instant Bedside Table : Pile up your favorite coffee table books by the side of your bed. Place a small tray or coasters on top to keep your coffee mug. Place a shapely earthen pot beside your stack, and you’ve created a beautiful nook.
Stone and Blossoms : Use a beautiful stone birdbath as a container for potting succulent plants and bright flowers!
A Glowing Idea : Need a centerpiece for your dining table? Just place a cluster of attractive candles in varying heights in a shallow tray. The resulting glow is guaranteed to look lovely and impress guests.
Wrap up the light : Wrap a beautiful ribbon on the stem of a tall wrought iron candle holder to give it a fresh, festive look.
Invite Nature Indoors : On your walks and travels, keep an eye out for lovely, natural tidbits: an autumn leaf, a pine cone, twisted twigs, pebbles, shells…pop them into pretty glass bowls. Beauty without spending a penny!
Rearrange Your Books : Turn a boring bookshelf display into stunning by simply arranging your books according to the colors of their spine. The reds together, blues bunched with blues, and so on…
Mobile Picks Up Speed
By Steve Kolowich
The proliferation of mobile apps is one of the more significant findings of the 2011 Campus Computing Survey, an annual study of technology officials at about 500 nonprofit colleges conducted by the Campus Computing Project.
Other key findings include the continuing rise of electronic texts and reading devices, the continuing decline of Blackboard’s share of the market for learning management platforms, and the continuing reluctance of administrators to cede certain data systems to the cloud. Kenneth C. Green, the director of the project, is slated to unveil this year’s survey today here at the Educause conference today. (Green also is a blogger for Inside Higher Ed, and conducts surveys for Inside Higher Ed.)
The rise of mobile has been a theme in higher-education technology for a while — not least at Educause, where several software companies last year told Inside Higher Ed they had shifted their development priorities to focus on mobile apps first, browser apps second.
But when Green released the 2010 survey data, the institutions that had already activated mobile apps for their learning management systems, or planned to do so within the academic year, were in the minority: 42 percent of private universities, 33 percent of public universities, 25 percent of private four-year colleges, 18 percent of public four-year colleges, and 12 percent of community colleges.
The proportion of institutions that either have gone live with mobile apps, or plan to do so by next summer, nearly doubled overall, climbing from 23 percent to 43 percent. Community colleges saw the sharpest rise, which the proportion of colleges with an institutional mobile presence more than tripling, to 41 percent.
This year, Green tweaked the question to encompass mobile apps for all “campus resources and services,” not just learning-management systems (LMS). But the gains are not merely attributable to the broader wording of the question, he contended, because LMS vendors were more or less “the only mobile providers” at this time last year.
So what is causing the rise in mobile? To keep up with their constituents, for one, says Green. The technology officers he surveyed estimated that about 56 percent of their students have smart phones and 15 percent have tablet devices. The estimates for faculty are not far behind.
“The question I ask folks when we talk about mobility is, ‘Why can I get off the plane in any major metropolitan area, take 45 seconds and download an app that will help me navigate that city,’” Green said in an interview. “I can’t do that for many campuses — at least, I couldn’t a year ago.”
The app culture around mobile devices only stands to grow and those gadgets become more commonplace, he said.
The most popular provider of mobile applications was Blackboard, which captured 28 percent of that market — good news for the company, which took the mobile capability in its LMS and spun it off as a separate product in 2009. The company is increasingly counting on the strength of its spinoff products, including Blackboard Mobile, to buoy the company as it continues to lose market share (though not revenue, company officials are quick to point out) in the LMS market.
This year was no exception: Blackboard Learn continued to lose LMS share in 2011, clocking in at just above 50 percent — a 6.5 percentage-point drop from last year’s survey. Its shares of public universities and private four-year colleges were hit especially hard. Blackboard and Moodle are now neck-in-neck among private four-year colleges, with each controlling about 38 percent of the market.
Moodle and another open-source provider, Sakai, continued gaining ground on Blackboard overall — Moodle moving from a 16.4 percent share to 19.2 percent; and Sakai creeping from 4.6 percent to 7.1 percent, mostly by making inroads with public and private four-year colleges. Desire2Learn, a proprietary vendor, held steady with about 10 percent of the market.
In past surveys, Green had gauged the respondents’ enthusiasm for migrating different data-rich campus services to “the cloud” (a.k.a. someone else’s servers) by inviting them to score how important they thought it was to do so, on a scale of 1 to 7.
The campus technologists responded tepidly last year, giving “Migrating administrative / ERP services to the Cloud” and “Migrating instructional computing resources to the Cloud” scores of 3.0 and 3.7, respectively.
The 2011 survey attempted to probe exactly what kinds data the respondents were moving to the cloud. It found that while a substantial proportion had already moved e-mail (47 percent) and calendars (34 percent) to hosted systems, many institutions have declined to embrace cloud computing for other, more sensitive data.
Only 4.4 percent of institutions have moved their back-office ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems to the cloud, and more than 80 percent have definitively elected not to; 11 percent are using the cloud for capital resource management, with 70 percent having decided not to; 2.4 percent are doing research and high-powered computing in the cloud, which 81 percent not even considering it; and 6.5 percent are storing and archiving data in the cloud — although 44 percent of institutions are at least reviewing that as an option.
Overall, the responses suggest that campus technology officers still do not trust cloud providers to keep sensitive data secure.
“There are challenges on both sides,” said Green. “One is that, unlike some of the things that are available on the corporate side, the ERP providers and others, as far as I’ve seen, have not brought their services out there [to the cloud].”
On the campus side, Green said, “There have been some very public examples of where the cloud has ‘rained,’ if you will, as far as issues around security or outages. Whatever the compelling financials might be … many campuses are still unwilling to give up that [control].”