2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door Coupe: A practical beauty 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value Mercedes-Benz Preview • 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe: Beautiful brutality Post a comment 0 Share your voice If the Mercedes-AMG GT excites you, but its two-door nature won’t fit into your life, rejoice — there’s a new four-door variant on the way. And while it’s expensive, it’s actually a bit of a bargain compared to the current coupe.The Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door Coupe will start at $136,500 (before a $995 destination charge) when it goes on sale in early 2019. While the GT 63 trim is technically the base model, it’s far from base. Its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 will put out 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, routed to the ground through all four wheels and a nine-speed automatic transmission. If that’s not enough for you, perhaps the GT 63 S will satisfy you. Output rises to 630 hp and 664 lb-ft, the top speed rises to an electronically limited 195 mph and the price jumps considerably to $159,000 (again, before destination).There’s still one more variant to talk about, but its pricing information isn’t yet available. The GT 53 will eventually slot beneath the V8 models, drawing 429 hp and 384 lb-ft from a 3.0-liter turbocharged I6, and its 48-volt mild hybrid system can add a bit more on top of that. But since that car doesn’t go on sale until a few months after the V8 models, Mercedes-Benz will likely announce its pricing closer to that time.While the current $24,100 gulf between the starting price of the AMG GT 4-door Coupe and the regular AMG GT seems vast, it will shrink after the GT 53’s pricing is announced. And for what you get, the price isn’t too bad. For example, the 577-hp four-door costs $136,500, but if you want that much power from the two-door, you have to spend $157,000 at the minimum for the GT R, and no two-door variant packs 630 horsepower. So, in that sense, the price is pretty solid, and from what we’ve experienced, that description also extends to its driving dynamics. 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better Mercedes-Benz Hatchbacks Luxury cars Performance Cars More From Roadshow 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous More about 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe Tags 68 Photos
Tags Comments Internet Services Tech Industry 7 British politicians accused Facebook of knowingly and intentionally violating data privacy and antitrust law in a damning report into fake news published late Sunday.The report (PDF) says tech and social media companies should be forced to comply with a compulsory code of ethics overseen by an independent regulator, which should have powers to take legal action against companies breaching the code.”Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law,” the report said.The UK call for an independent regulator comes as countries around the world grapple with proposals to rein in 15-year-old Facebook specifically and social media more broadly amid concerns about misinformation, hate speech and election interference. Earlier this month, Germany’s anti-trust regulator ordered the world’s largest social network to stop combining data from the Facebook accounts of its German users with information it collects about them from other sites unless they give their OK. In the US, the Government Accountability Office, the federal government’s chief auditor, recommended that Congress consider legislation along the lines of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation to protect the privacy of consumers internet data.The recommendation was included in a 56-page report (PDF) issued Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office,The report comes as a result of an inquiry conducted last year by Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee into fake news and the spread of disinformation. When the revelations about the data consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica gaining access to millions of Facebook users’ data came to light in March 2018, the committee looked closely at the social network’s role in the scandal. In the course of its investigations, the committee examined the ways in which Facebook might have impacted the outcome of elections, including possible Russian interference, ad targeting and access to user data that violated the privacy rights of users.The report concluded that current electoral law is not fit for purpose in the digital age, leaving democracy at risk from online threats and that regulating social media will help curb these risks. It also reiterated a previous recommendation from earlier in the inquiry that a new category of tech company is formulated, which tightens tech companies’ liabilities, and which is not necessarily either a platform or a publisher.”This approach would see the tech companies assume legal liability for content identified as harmful after it has been posted by users,” the report said.In the document the committee directly condemned some of Facebook’s policies and practices — in particular the way in which it prevented some smaller companies from accessing data, effectively killing their business.”Companies like Facebook exercise massive market power, which enables them to make money by bullying the smaller technology companies and developers who rely on this platform to reach their customers.” said Damian Collins, chair of the DCMS Committee in a statement. “The guiding principle of the ‘move fast and break things’ culture often seems to be that it is better to apologise than ask permission.”Facebook rejected the committee’s claims that it breached antitrust and data privacy laws and said it had found no evidence of coordinated foreign interference on Facebook during the Brexit referendum.Karim Palant, UK public policy manager at Facebook, pointed to changes that Facebook has made over the past 12 months, including new rules about how it authorizes political ads and the tripling in size of the team working to detect and protect users from bad content.”No other channel for political advertising is as transparent and offers the tools that we do,” he said. “While we still have more to do, we are not the same company we were a year ago.”Zuck’s ‘contempt’ for ParliamentOn multiple occasions throughout 2018, the committee invited company CEO Mark Zuckerberg to give evidence in person or via video link. But representatives for Zuckerberg rebuffed every invitation, including one from the International Grand Committee investigating fake news, made up of representatives from nine countries across the world, which met in Parliament last November.Instead, other Facebook executives, including CTO Mike Schroefper and VP of Public Policy for Europe Richard Allan (who also sits in Parliament’s House of Lords), appeared in his place.A protester wearing a model head of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg poses for media outside Parliament on Nov. 27, 2018 in London. Jack Taylor/Getty Images “We share the committee’s concerns about false news and election integrity and are pleased to have made a significant contribution to their investigation over the past 18 months, answering more than 700 questions and with four of our most senior executives giving evidence,” said Palant.But the politicians responsible for questioning the Facebook executives had a different view of the Facebook executives’ performances as witnesses in the inquiry. During questioning, they consistently expressed their dismay at Facebook’s inability to provide full, clear answers.”We believe that in its evidence to the committee, Facebook has often deliberately sought to frustrate our work, by giving incomplete, disingenuous and at times misleading answers to our questions,” said Collins in a statement. The committee members speculated in the report that the Facebook executives who appeared before Parliament may have deliberately not been briefed on certain issues.The report also described Zuckerberg as showing “contempt” towards the UK and the others legislators for his decision not to attend or respond to the invitations personally. Collins, who has led the calls for Zuckerberg to appear, was particularly outspoken on the CEO’s decision to duck questioning:”Even if Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t believe he is accountable to the UK Parliament, he is to the billions of Facebook users across the world. Evidence uncovered by my committee shows he still has questions to answer yet he’s continued to duck them, refusing to respond to our invitations directly or sending representatives who don’t have the right information. Mark Zuckerberg continually fails to show the levels of leadership and personal responsibility that should be expected from someone who sits at the top of one of the world’s biggest companies.”The committee has now officially concluded its inquiry, but Collins has made it clear on several occasions that he would still like to hear from Zuckerberg personally. If the CEO enters the UK, it’s possible Parliament could issue a formal summons that would compel him to appear for questioning.Facebook didn’t respond specifically to comments about Zuckerberg’s non-attendance at evidence sessions.First published Feb. 17, 4:01 p.m. PTUpdate, Feb. 18 at 10:11 a.m. PT: Adds background material. Share your voice Facebook
Tech Industry Share your voice 2 Comments California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at Stanford’s Human-Centered AI conference. Stephen Shankland/CNET The technology industry must realize that its marvelous advancements are also the source of profound anxiety and potentially disastrous societal changes, California Governor Gavin Newsom warned at a conference on AI at Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley.”There is an empathy gap in technology,” Newsom said at a conference run by the new Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. With technology comes transition and dislocation, he said, and now with AI and automation, “There’s an anxiety that is real.”The tech industry used to be an easier ally for politicians — companies with strong brands that were important in consumers’ lives. But relations have become strained with problems like Facebook enabling election interference, YouTube helping radicalize terrorists and company employees protesting military projects. No longer is it as easy to position new technology as an unalloyed boon for society.Newsom even mentioned the buzzword that encapsulates our newfound disenchantment: “techlash.”Newsom, elected as governor in 2018, had moments of optimism. He lauded the Stanford institute’s mission to advance AI technology in ways that help people, and boasted about his state. “The future happens here first. We’re America’s coming attraction.”But he devoted more time to tech harming large swaths of working-class people: Uber’s Otto self-driving trucks putting drivers out of work, Creator (formerly Momentum Machines) making fast-food workers obsolete, and Kightscope patrol robots replacing security guards.Uber, Creator and Knightscope didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.But complaints about disruption aren’t new as technology arrives. Some people lose jobs, but typically, new technology leads to better productivity, new jobs and economic growth, the argument goes.Newsom is also worried about the new jobs today’s technology is creating — mostly contractor positions short on benefits and security. That amplifies the rich-poor divide, he said. That trend line is dangerous for companies that need consumers who aren’t desperate to save every penny.”I’m passionate about enlightened capitalism, but businesses cannot thrive in a world that’s failing … We truly do rise and fall together,” he said. “We need your guidance, we need your counsel, but we need your empathy as well.” Artificial intelligence (AI) Tags
Yes Yes Mono; mic input Optical 820 shots (1,230 mAh) 3.2 in/8.2 cm Articulated touch screen 1.04m dots Best video Yes 24.2MP CMOS Sensor size Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 22.3 x 14.9mm Yes Body operating weight 1 – 20 EV Battery life (CIPA rating) Cameras Autofocus Yes Share your voice 0 Sensitivity range Yes H.264 MP4 4K UHD/24p, 1080/60p 3 in/7.5 cm Articulated touchscreen 1.04m dots Burst shooting Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.1, NFC Shutter speed 1 x SDXC 22.3 x 14.9mm 9-pt AF center cross-type (Dual Pixel AF in Live View only) $599.95 £579 AU$1,199 650 shots (VF); 260shots (LV) 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in 122 x 93 x 70 mm Canon EOS Rebel SL2 EOS 200D Hot Shoe -0.5 to 18 EV Yes Focal-length multiplier No 29m59s Maximum best-quality recording time Yes No Primary kit 5fps 10 raw/ unlimited JPEG 29m59s 1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 x-sync ISO 100 – ISO 25600/ISO 51200 (exp) 1.6x OLPF Optical 95% coverage 0.87x/0.54x 63-zone iFCL -0.5 to 18 EV 9-pt AF center cross-type (Dual Pixel AF in Live View only) Yes ISO 100 – ISO 25600/ISO 51200 (exp) Yes Memory slots H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/60p Canon EOS Rebel SL3 EOS 250D Wireless connection Mono; mic input 24.1MP Dual Pixel CMOS 1,630 shots (VF); 350 shots (LV) (1,040 mAh) -1 – 19 EV Yes $699.95 £679 AU$1,299 (with AF-P 18-55mm VR lens) 63-zone iFCL 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in 122 x 93 x 70 mm 2,016-pixel 3D color matrix metering II $599.99 Optical 95% coverage 0.87x/0.54x Clean HDMI out 1 x SDXC Comparative specifications 5fps 100 JPEG/raw n/a Mfr. price (body only) Audio ISO 100 – ISO 25600 1.6x Yes Flash Metering Wireless flash Dual Sensing IS (Optical with gyro data sent to body) 1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 sec x-sync January 2017 1 x SDXC 23.5 x 15.6 mm Optical 95% coverage 0.82x/0.55x Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.1 Yes 16 oz (est.) 453 g (est.) Viewfinder (mag/effective mag) 4.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 in 124 x 97 x 70 mm 20 minutes/29m59s AF sensitivity LCD Nikon D5600 H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/60p, 25p, 24p 16.8 oz 476 g Manual aperture and shutter in video 24.2MP Dual Pixel CMOS -1 to 19 EV No Tags Sensor effective resolution The only noticeable differences between the SL2 and SL3 are on the top: a simplified mode dial, no Wi-Fi button and some aesthetic changes to the buttons and switches. Canon Just in time for Mother’s Day gifting, Canon rolls out a refresh of its compact DSLR for newbies. The EOS Rebel SL3 follows the two-year-old SL2, aka the EOS 200D in the UK and Australia, bringing some of the perks bestowed by the latest version of Canon’s imaging processor, Digic 8. At the top of the list is 4K video, which makes its debut in the entry-level Canon DSLRs. The SL3 will ship by the end of April, at $600 for the body or $750 for the kit with the 18-55mm f4-5.6 IS STM lens. We don’t have pricing or availability for other regions, but the US prices directly convert to about £460/£575 and AU$840/AU$1,050. It still comes in black or silver variants. Given that it’s very much like its predecessor, the SL2 is looking like an attractive alternative to the new model. The comparable kit currently goes for $600 (£580, AU$900), and it will likely be one of Canon’s traditionally aggressive holiday sale offerings at the end of the year. In addition to 24p 4K video, the SL3 gains eye-detection autofocus, though only when you’re shooting via the back LCD, not the optical viewfinder. Since the sharpest spot in the photo of a person should be their eyes (unless you get artsy), eye AF improves the quality of portraits over simple face-detection AF. The SL3 also offers a smooth-skin mode so your people photos can look like they were shot on a phone. The AF system in Live View mode now covers a larger percentage of the frame. Unfortunately, when you use the optical viewfinder you’re stuck with the ancient, slow, please-kill-it-already 9-point phase-detection AF system. The body is pretty much the same as before. There are just a few design tweaks on the top: A simplified mode dial, no Wi-Fi button and some aesthetic changes to the buttons and switches. Canon did make it easier to connect to Wi-Fi and added automatic file transfers, so it’s possible we won’t miss the dedicated button. Yes Post a comment 15.8 oz (est.) 449 g (est.) Stereo, mic input IS £489.99 1.5x April 2019 1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 x-sync $599.99 £579.99 AU$899 (with 18-55mm f4-5.6 IS STM lens) $749.99 (with 18-55mm f4-5.6 IS STM lens) Size (WHD) Canon July 2017 3 in/7.5 cm Articulated touchscreen 1.04m dots Optical 5fps 6 raw/ unlimited JPEG 1 – 20 EV 39-pt AF 9 cross- type Metering sensitivity Yes Release date
34 Photos Comment Google I/O 2019 4:19 A key advantage to immersive spatial audio would be not having to stare at a screen, of course. While we’re already probably keeping earbuds in our ears too much, it’s less of a distraction issue than being heads-down in a device.Google’s current focus on assistive AR is extremely vision-based, and all the experiences I tried required looking at a phone screen. But that can become a problem for AR apps like Google Maps, which don’t want to distract. AR Maps UX Designer Rachel Inman also confirmed they’re interested in possibilities for audio to bridge the gap in future AR experiences. Maybe that interest could mean something in the works for next year’s Google I/O. Google is thinking about smarter audio. CNET Google runs a lot of key services through voice and sound: Assistant, in particular. But immersive audio, the type that the Bose Frames audio glasses have promised, hasn’t become integrated into Google’s AR plans yet. But the company’s thinking about it, as a conversation with CNET at Google’s I/O developer conference confirmed.”When we talk about immersion, we’re sometimes too focused on the camera,” Aparna Chennapragada, head of Google Lens and AR, says, bringing up some advantages audio already has. “I think the podcast is a very clear example… AirPods and podcasts.” Chennapragada also specifically brings up the immersive audio app Detour, acquired by Bose in 2018.”Ideas like that, a key part is location specific audio: you can think about museum tours, etc,” Chennapragada says, but suggests Google is still thinking it out: “Starting to figure out exactly how they intersect, there’s a lot of user experience problems and challenges we have to work through as well, along with content. But I think the premise is sound there.”Qualcomm’s reference design for a new range of Google Assistant-ready headphones isn’t incorporating any spatial or position-aware augmented audio possibilities yet, but the idea of smarter audio, particularly as a way to help with assistance and attention without distraction, seems like a key step. Spatial audio for assistance in apps like Microsoft Soundscape, or the immersive audio experiments Bose has been conducting with Frames point at a lot of amazing possibilities. Aug 26 • Android Q has a name: Android 10. Here’s how you’ll use it reading • Audio isn’t a key part of Google AR yet, but it should be • Google I/O 2019 Qualcomm Google Assistant Augmented reality (AR) Bose Google See All Tags Android 10 beta’s best new tricks from Google I/O 2019 Jul 24 • Nest Hub Max: Google’s 10-inch Assistant smart display costs $230, debuts Sept. 9 Now playing: Watch this: 1 Jul 10 • How to get Android 10 right now Share your voice Google Search gets AR, and Google Lens wants to be your… Wearable Tech Aug 12 • Google will ask you to migrate your Nest account soon: Here’s what you need to know
Tags OnePlus 7 has a ‘faster’ screen. Will you care? CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Mentioned Above OnePlus 7 Pro (256GB, Mirror Gray) Now playing: Watch this: OnePlus 7 up close 1:38 $787 See it null Phones Amazon Prime Amazon OnePlus OnePlus 7 Pro News • OnePlus 7 Pro camera upgrades reportedly coming Imagine this, in blue. Andrew Hoyle/CNET The OnePlus 7 is taking a Mirror Blue turn, at least in India. A banner on Amazon’s Indian site revealed the new color variant for the OnePlus 7 Pro’s budget sibling for India’s Prime Day on July 15.The phone is only available in Mirror Gray in the UK, and isn’t available at all in either the US or Australia currently. The OnePlus 7’s Mirror Blue is pretty much the same as the Pro’s Nebula Blue, 9to5Google notes. How To • OnePlus 7 Pro: 10 essential tips you need to know 0 Share your voice 10 Photos OnePlus confirmed via email that the Mirror Blue variant is only available in India, where it costs 32,999 rupees (roughly $480, £385 or AU$695). First published at 6:00 a.m. PT.Updated at 7:38 a.m. PT: Adds OnePlus confirmation that Mirror Blue is India-exclusive. Review • OnePlus 7 Pro is the best Android phone value of 2019
Apple Apple See it See at Amazon 15-20% off selected items at Amazon Note that resident Cheapskate Rick Broida is off today, but he’ll return tomorrow! CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter! See All 1:51 Bonus deal: Insignia 50-inch 4K Fire TV for $270 $144 See It See It Best Buy Apple AirPods 2019 Tags Share your voice Aug 31 • Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Sprint: Choose the best 5G carrier reading • Get 15% to 20% off select items with Amazon’s Prime Rewards credit card $159 Roku is our top choice for smart TV operating systems, but Amazon’s Fire TV is in the running — especially now that YouTube is fully supported. Yes, it’s a bit odd that Best Buy’s house brand, Insignia, is being sold by archrival Amazon, but today’s media and retail landscape makes for strange bedfellows. The important thing is that you can get $80 off a 50-inch 4K TV. CNET may get a commission from retail offers. $144 Save $80 $144 Amazon Mobile For Prime Rewards Visa cardholders Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Mentioned Above Apple AirPods 2019 (Charging Case) Review • AirPods 2019 review: King of truly wireless earphones crowned with small enhancements Comment Amazon Fire TV Edition TVs stream with some help from… Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? The Cheapskate 1 A lot of folks may have signed up for an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card in the run-up to Prime Day in order to get the usual perks. It can be used anywhere and earns Prime members 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases. There’s no annual fee and international travelers won’t be hit with any foreign transaction fees. If approved, you’ll get an $80 Amazon gift card.But, for the next few days, the Prime Rewards Visa Card can also earn you 15% or 20% back on a few select products for a limited time. You can earn 20% back on Jabra Elite headphones and 15% back on a wide range of Bose products, a Samsung sound bar and APC surge protectors. The Samsung offer ends on July 20, the Bose offer ends July 21 and the Jabra and APC offers end July 31. There are also nontech cash back offers: get 15% back on cycling, surf, snow and other outdoor gear. These offers end on Dec. 31.As always, be sure to check the fine print. Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors Amazon Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it See It Amazon’s Prime Rewards Visa Signature card. Amazon Yes, Prime Day has come and gone — though two days later, we’re still seeing a lot of hangover deals still available. We’ve pulled together some of the most notables ones here: Best post-Prime Day deals still at AmazonBest post-Prime Day deals still at WalmartBest Apple deals still available: AirPods, iPads, Apple Watch and MacBooks are all still on saleBest post-Prime Day laptop deals: Big price cuts on Chromebooks, MacBooks and moreBut those are mostly all older deals that are still hanging on. You’re here for new deals, right? So let’s jump to one that’s new — or, at least, new to us: a big ol’ cash-back offer at Amazon, and a nice discount on a 50-inch Fire TV. • $270 at Amazon Now playing: Watch this: Amazon Prime Amazon Bose Samsung Apple
Two top University of Alaska executives have tendered their resignations. The heads of Statewide finance and human resources have stepped down following meetings with UA’s new president. The resignations come even as the school faces big funding hurdles.Download AudioJim Johnsen at a meet and greet in Juneau, July 7, 2015. Johnsen is a candidate for University of Alaska president. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)Monday University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen sent word to UA staff that he had accepted the resignations of Chief Finance Officer Ashok Roy and Chief Human Resources Officer Erik Seastedt. Johnsen says both men consulted with him before resigning. Johnsen took over as the school’s President in September. UA Spokeswoman Robbie Graham says shake-ups are not uncommon in organizations with a new boss.“When a new leader comes in, or a new CEO, or a new president, it’s inevitable there’s going to be change. Change is normal, it’s part of the process.”Johnsen takes up the reins at a time when the state is in deficit mode and the school has seen three years of budget cuts by lawmakers. He has vowed to run a more efficient operation, even as the Board of Regents agreed to a roughly 1 billion dollar operation budget. Robbie Graham denies the loss of the two top executives will hamper Johnsen’s ability to sell UA’s budget in Juneau.“President Johnsen clearly understands the university’s needs, the budget considerations and all ideas for how to streamline these positions in both functional areas.”Ashok Roy joined the University in 2012, while Seastedt started in 2013. Both positions are currently being staffed by deputy officers until the positions are filled permanently.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday that most humpback whales will come off the endangered species list. And that means some whales that spend time in Alaska.Listen nowHumpback whale diving in Juneau. (Creative Commons photo by Tony Hisgett)But some sub-groups of humpbacks around the world will remain on the list.Three different humpback populations visit Alaska and now they all fall into different categories. The Hawaii population is delisted. The Mexico population is still labeled as threatened under the endangered species act. The Western North Pacific humpback — which feeds in the Bering Sea and Aleutian chain — is still listed as endangered.Marta Nammack, a NOAA endangered species act coordinator, said with the different types of humpbacks there are different approaches needed to determine which species are no longer endangered.“Our Alaska region is going to have to use a proportional approach to decide what populations is being affected by different things that happen like vessel strikes or fishing gear entanglements,” Nammack said.Nammack said fishing gear entanglement is a serious threat to the Western North Pacific humpbacks and that’s expected to increase. The Mexico population of humpbacks labeled as threatened feed in Southeast Alaska waters. NOAA said there wasn’t enough data to indicate a population increase.Angela Somma, chief of NOAA’s endangered species division, says the agency looked at the impact of climate change on humpbacks and whether that could affect the overall population down the line.“There certainly are issues to be concerned about but we found no basis to conclude that impacts of climate change contribute to extinction risks to these population now or even in the future,” Somma said.Commercial whaling in the 1800s and early 1900s significantly reduced the humpback population. It was listed under the Endangered Species Conservation act in 1970 and later the Endangered Species Act in 1973.
Prudhoe Bay at night. Gov. Bill Walker’s team hopes state leadership will mean North Slope gas can someday make it to market. (Photo by J Weston/Flickr Creative Commons)Last week, Alaska’s Supreme Court issued an opinion on a Prudhoe Bay tax law case that has been open for 10 years.Alaska’s Energy Desk reporter Rashah McChesney spoke with the former Department of Revenue tax division head Dan Dickinson.Dickinson’s decision to change the way the oil and gas division interpreted its production tax calculations led to a challenge and ultimately a lawsuit between state and Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Forest Oil.Listen NowInterview transcript:McChesney: We’re here today to talk about an ELF. But not the kind of ELF you typically hear about this time of year. This ELF is an economic limit factor. And it was a key part of the way the state calculated production tax rates in the Prudhoe Bay oil field from the 1970s to the mid-2000s. The Department of Revenue’s interpretation of that ELF led to the Prudhoe Bay producers’ lawsuit that went all the way up to the Supreme Court.Dickinson: So it was, really, it was a procedural question of how we came to that decision, and how we adopted it.McChesney: The foundation of this lawsuit was that the Department of Revenue had two different tax rates in Prudhoe Bay. You had these big fields that were taxed at one rate and then these smaller, satellite fields that were still technically in Prudhoe Bay, but they were taxed at another rate because, in theory, those fields required the same kind of infrastructure to operate but had fewer economies of scale. So the state taxed them at a lower rate to keep them profitable?Dickinson: What the state did is, it created a formula — a very complex formula. And what the effect of that formula was, is it made the taxes on very large fields higher and the taxes on smaller fields, very much lower. Size became very important.McChesney: The state formula ended up kind of incentivizing the development of these smaller, satellite fields that were taxed at a lower rate. Do you remember the difference in tax rate? I’m recalling something like 15% on the larger fields and 0.5% on the smaller fields.Dickinson: That’s on average. But yes, the smaller fields could very easily be driven to zero and some of them were slightly above zero.McChesney: So, producers and field operators started prioritizing oil that came from these satellite fields over oil that came from the big ones. But, it wasn’t just so that they could pay that lower rate. It was also because newer wells tended to produce more oil and less of the gas and water and sand that comes out of older wells.But, no matter which field the oil was coming from — old or new– the producers were the same. Companies were developing new, satellite fields and asking for them to be taxed separately from the old, larger fields. What were the discussions at the Department of Revenue at the time?Dickinson: The focus on the tax has always been…there’s a tension between two aspects of it. One of it is the state obviously wants to get the money from the tax. On the other hand, they clearly recognize that a poor tax regime will inhibit the kind of growth and the investment that it wants.McChesney: At some point, the Department of Revenue decides to change the way it’s interpreting the tax law and informs the companies that it’s going to combine most of those smaller satellite fields into the larger fields for calculating production taxes.Dickinson: The effect of that would have been the tax on Prudhoe Bay, on the main field, would have gone down just a hair. But the tax on all the other remaining fields would have gone up considerably. It would have increased taxes by more than $100 million a year. I know that.McChesney: Okay, so the Department of Revenue issues this decision and it’s estimated to increase taxes by $100 million a year. But then the next year, the legislature decides to toss out the ELF system and put something else in place, and then it decides to do it retroactively. So there’s like a four or five month period there where they were taxed under one system and then it switches to a new system. All told, this new interpretation of the ELF was in place for about a year, year and a half?Dickinson: Yes.McChesney: So the oil companies pay that $100 million dollars in production taxes. Then they sue. It has taken a decade for them to exhaust their legal remedies. Now, the state isn’t on the hook for paying the money back. So, what’s your takeaway from this whole process and the final resolution of the lawsuit?Dickinson: It would be nice if the statutes were nice and clear, the legislature set out exactly what they wanted and said it in such a way that it actually made sense when you actually had to deal with tax. That’s just not what happens in the real world. People sitting in Juneau come up with a very conceptual idea and, you know, applying it to actual returns and companies is a difficult task. I think it generally gives a clearer line as to when the department can act when it can’t.McChesney: The Supreme Court issued its final ruling on Dec. 16.
The tugboat Powhatan remains underwater, surrounded by booms to contain the oil spill. (Photo courtesy of SEAPRO)A tugboat with more than 300 gallons of oil aboard sank Wednesday night in Sitka.Listen nowThe tug – owned by Samson Tug & Barge – sank near its dock in Starrigavan Bay. According to divers from Hanson Maritime Company, the tug Powhatan had drifted offshore and was found around 10:15 p.m. The divers estimate the Powhatan was 60 feet below its resting location. On board was 325 gallons of lube oil, 12 gallons of diesel, and possible sledge. It’s not known how much oil was spilled into the water.The U.S. Coast Guard, Alaska Department Environmental Conservation, and the Southeast Petroleum Response Organization responded to the scene, surrounding the tug with booms to contain the oil.The response team is monitoring impacts to wildlife, but no incidents have been detected so far.According to the state’s situation report, an underwater camera may be used to confirm the tug’s location and monitor for fuel leakage.Update: This story’s headline has been updated to reflect that 300 gallons of oil were on the tugboat, not 300 pounds. The story has also been updated to reflect the boat had sunk on Wednesday night, not Thursday.
Gov. Bill Walker announced Friday that he appointed Leslie Ridle to be commissioner of the Department of Administration. Ridle said her focus will be on the bottom line.Gov. Bill Walker announced Friday that he appointed Leslie Ridle to be commissioner of the Department of Administration. Ridle said her focus will be on the bottom line.Listen now“Our priorities are to create as many efficiencies as we can for the state,” Ridle said. “We’ve been working really hard to provide service to the public and to our internal agencies, to save money and to reduce costs and do as much as we can to help with the state budget.”The Department of Administration serves other state agencies, including overseeing labor relations. It also provides indigent defense and children’s legal advocacy.Ridle has served as the acting commissioner for the past month, after serving as the deputy commissioner for more than two years.The department will negotiate contracts with seven labor bargaining units in the coming year. Ridle didn’t say whether the administration will pursue pay freezes supported by some lawmakers.“We’re just getting started on most of them this fall, so of course pay will be a topic of the negotiations,” Ridle said. “I don’t know for sure what all will come up at this point. I can’t negotiate here on the radio with you, but everything’s on the table in the beginning, of course.”Ridle is a Juneau resident. She has worked for Mark Begich when he was a U.S. senator and Anchorage mayor. She was also an eighth-grade social studies and English teacher in Eagle River.
In this 2011 photo, an exploration camp sits on top of the Pebble deposit, one of the largest undeveloped copper, gold and molybdenum deposits in the world. (Photo courtesy U.S. EPA)In a surprise announcement today, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the proposed Pebble Mine may pose an “unacceptable” risk to Bristol Bay.Listen nowEPA administrator Scott Pruitt said the agency is suspending its effort to reverse an Obama-era proposal to put restrictions on the mine — a potential blow to the controversial project, which had been gaining momentum in recent months.The decision isn’t final. EPA said Pebble Limited Partnership can still move forward with the permitting process for its gold and copper mine. Pebble submitted a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in December, after the company reached a settlement with the Trump administration last spring.But in a statement, Pruitt said the Bristol Bay fisheries deserve protection.“It is my judgement at this time that any mining projects in the region likely pose a risk to the abundant natural resources that exist there,” Pruitt said.Pebble opponent Alannah Hurley of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay called the announcement “huge.”“We are celebrating this decision in Bristol Bay today,” Hurley said. “This is confirmation that even the Pebble Mine is too toxic for the Trump administration.”Governor Bill Walker also praised EPA’s decision, saying in a statement he’s conveyed to Pruitt his concerns about the mine “many times.”Pebble spokesperson Mike Heatwole did not criticize Pruitt’s statement, saying only that EPA’s announcement doesn’t change the company’s plans to keep pushing ahead.“The EPA confirmed that we have the right to participate in the normal, lawful permitting process under the Clean Water Act, and today’s news doesn’t change our approach,” Heatwole said.EPA said it will continue gathering information on the mine’s potential impact on Bristol Bay, including more opportunity for public comment.
Washington: United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said China was home to one of the worst human rights crisis of the present times, slamming Beijing for violations against ethnic and religious minorities. In his keynote address at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom on Thursday, Pompeo said a shocking 83 per cent of the world’s population live in nations where religious freedom was either threatened or denied entirely. Also Read – Prominent Hong Kong activists targeted in wave of arrests Advertise With Us The secretary of state singled out China as he listed out many countries for violation of religious freedom. Since April 2017, Pompeo said, Beijing had detained more than a million Chinese Muslims and other minorities in camps in Xinjiang. “China is home to one of the worst human rights crisis of our time. It is truly the stain of the century,” Pompeo said at the event, which was attended by ministers from several countries. Also Read – Weak European inflation bolsters case for stimulus Advertise With Us “In China, the Chinese Communist Party demands control over the lives of the Chinese people and their souls.” “Is that consistent with the guarantee of ‘freedom of religious belief’ that is found directly in the Chinese constitution?” he asked. Pompeo cited a number of instances of human rights violations in China. “In September last year, Chen Huixia, a member of the Falun Gong, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison simply for practising his faith. “In May of 2018, authorities arrested Wang Yi, the pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church, a large unregistered church in Chengdu, for openly criticising the government’s controls on religious freedom. He’s still in jail today,” Pompeo said. Advertise With Us The secretary of state gave an account of Jewher Ilham, a woman who has fought for the release of her father. “He was given an unprecedented life sentence for his writings dedicated to bridging the gap between the Uyghur people and the Han Chinese, a noble undertaking,” Pompeo said. He alleged that Chinese government officials had even discouraged other countries from attending the event. The senior official thanked the countries that had “defied” the alleged Chinese pressure to come to the event. He said those countries that were not present at the event would reconsider their decision next time and find the “courage to stand up for freedom”. Pompeo underlined that governments alone cannot properly tackle the problem of violation of religious freedom, saying countries needed to support civil society groups. “Let’s harness the passion of these people of all faiths to defend it,” he said. “Look at how the fight against human trafficking has become a major humanitarian priority. Grassroots efforts made that happen. And I’m confident that we are replicating them,” Pompeo added.
Adilabad: Telangana Vidyarthi Parishad (TGVP) leader K Praveen said that they have deep respect for Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. TGVP leaders paid tributes to Sushma Swaraj at bus stand in Boath, Adilabad district on Wednesday.Praveen said that Sushma’s demise is a big loss to Telangana and India. TGVP leaders Av unoori Srinvas, Ashok Reddy, Rajender Goud, Jadav, Uddav Pawar, Niranjan, Rajkumar, Rathod, Bheem Sing, Chowhan, Sandeep and others were present.
Hyderabad: Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Commissioner M Dana Kishore on Tuesday informed that they would be conducting around 600 medical camps in Greater Hyderabad from August 16 to 26 as part of the initiative taken to prevent the infectious diseases. He added that there are already around 400 medical camps were conducted in the city. Also Read – With 61 feet high, Khairatabad Ganesh claimed to be tallest idol in India Advertise With Us The Commissioner stated that every Friday should be observed as dry day, which would be aimed at eliminating water storage in containers, mosquito laying eggs on overhead tanks on the house, useless bottles, crates, rubber tires and water coolers. Around 650 teams from the GHMC Entomology Department are participating in the drive. Special checks on pvt hospitals The Commissioner said that they received some complaints on several private hospitals that they were charging more for treating people with general fevers, by scaring them that they got dengue fever. Special teams had been set up at district hospitals to conduct inspections for dengue fever cases in corporate hospitals, he added.
Peddemul: Selection of zonal level volleyball players was held here on Wednesday. According to the physical director Radhakrishna, the selection for under 14 and 17 was held at ZP High School playground. The selected candidates would compete at district level, he said. As many as 250 students from 12 schools of Peddemul, Kotpalli and Tharur mandal participated in the selection. PETs Rajasekhar Reddy, Gopal Raju, Ambadas, Pramod, Mahipal, Gopika, Rajitha and others were present.
Shivamogga: A 35-year-old male tusker Naganna died at the Sakrebyle Elephant Camp in Shivamogga on Augsut 23. The death of the elephant has created a stir among the camp’s mahouts as authorities have not yet ascertained the cause of death.A detailed investigation by several teams of the wildlife expert is underway in this regard. Last week also, a 62-year-old female elephant named Indira died in Udupi district on Tuesday due to prolonged fever over the past 20 days. Also Read – Shah urges women to shun plastic bags Advertise With Us The elephant was living in the centuries-old Kollur Shree Mookambika Temple in Udupi district, which is situated in foothills of Kodachadri hills. According to the temple authorities, the elephant dedicated its life to the temple for 22 years after it was gifted to the temple by a timber merchant.
Hyderabad: Governor ESL Narasimhan, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and other leaders congratulated badminton star P V Sindhu for winning the Gold medal at BWF World Badminton Championship. Governor in a congratulatory message said, “the nation feels proud of her historic accomplishment.” Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao congratulated Sindhu and said that by winning the championship, Sindhu made the country proud. He desired that Sindhu should win many more such victories. Also Read – JIH organises Eid Milap for sanitary workers Advertise With Us TRS leaders including the Ministers lauded the Olympian Badminton star for her achievement. TRS working president KT Rama Rao said, “many many congratulations to PV Sindhu on winning gold at badminton world championship. What a fabulous performance. May your success inspire many more youngsters to dream big and bring glory to India.” Former Minister T Harish Rao said, “congratulations on becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal at the #BWFWorldChampionships we are proud of you.” Sports Minister V Srinivas Goud said that Sindhu has created history by winning the championship. TRS Floor leader in Lok Sabha Nama Nageswara Rao said that Sindhu won the title with fighting spirit and commitment. Youth should take inspiration from the Telugu sensation, he added. BJP senior leader Bandaru Dattatreya, BJP Chief K Laxman and others also congratulated Sindhu.
Google is reportedly set to introduce a new feature called ‘Email via Google+’ which allows anyone to send mails to any Google+ user, by simply typing his/her name in Gmail’s ‘To’ field.Search engine giant Google, which is on a quest to improve its online mailing service and its social network Google+, will reportedly start rolling out the new feature in the next few weeks to Gmail and Google+ users. And when it comes live, Google+ will let strangers send emails to anyone, without actually knowing their email address.Google claims the new feature will help those who have their friends in Google+ circle but have not exchanged their email addresses. However, the feature has raised privacy concerns as it makes users’ Gmail addresses public.Announcing the new feature, Gmail product manager David Nachum wrote on Google’s official blog: “Have you ever started typing an email to someone only to realize halfway through the draft that you haven’t actually exchanged email addresses?”adding, “You’re in luck, because now it’s easier for people using Gmail and Google+ to connect over email.”However, according to Google, if users do not wish to receive emails from unknown people, they can select the “No one” option from the table. And even if users accept the mails from strangers, their email addresses will not be visible unless they decide to respond or start a conversation with the sender. As per the new feature, if someone in the users’ Google+ circle sends a message, the message will automatically goes to the Primary category, and not the Social tab.”This feature is rolling out over the next couple of days to everyone that uses Gmail and Google+. You’ll get an email with information and a link to the setting when the feature is available,” the blog noted.