Radicals film showing

first_imgKostas Bakkas’ film Greek American Radicals: the untold story (2013) will be shown as a part of research seminar in Modern Greek studies in Sydney. The film tells the story of Greek American radicalism from the era of mass migration till the McCarthy period in the 50s. Focusing from the Great Depression to the demise of ethnic radicalism in the 50s the documentary challenges the preconceived notion that the story of Greek Americans was all about success. The movie will be introduced by Professor Vrasidas Karalis, and the documentary goes for one hour. The session is on Thursday, August 22, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm in the Refectory Room, Main quad of the University of Sydney. The event is free. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Boost for Greek startups

first_imgThe economic crisis has surprisingly played a very important role in the growth of the tech start-up sector, explains George Spanoudakis, whose Pinnatta app allows smartphone users to send each other unique, interactive and personalised greeting cards and messages.Have you ever thought of starting your own business? The crisis may be rumbling on for most of us, but the Greek startup scene is showing signs of life. A new survey by Endeavour Greece, a non-profit organisation supporting entrepreneurship, has revealed that the number of new startup companies in the country increased tenfold between 2010 and 2013, while the capital invested in them shot from €500,000 to €42 million.It’s the technology industry which seems to be driving the sector’s growth. Fully half of the new companies work on smartphone applications, or apps, and are looking to emulate the success of Taxibeat, a Greek taxi-booking app which has now expanded its operations across seven cities worldwide. Such is the interest in the growing tech industry that last autumn the government invited out Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, to discuss how it might harness the sector’s potential. Speaking at Athens’ Megaro concert hall, Schmidt expressed his hope that Athens might become a “high-tech Mecca”. And more recently, the SXSW Interactive Conference, which ran from March 7-11 in Austin, Texas, saw a turnout of 16 Greek high-tech startups – the first time so many newly-founded Greek companies have appeared abroad together.One of the companies appearing the Austin conference was Pinnatta, whose same-named app which hopes to transform mobile communication. Based in California and Greece, Pinnatta allows smartphone users to send each other unique, interactive and personalised greeting cards and messages. We asked their CEO George Spanoudakis for his thoughts on their app and on the growth of the Greek tech industry:There are now so many apps that let smartphone users communicate with one other. What is it that makes Pinnatta special?There’s obviously a huge demand out there for apps that let you communicate, whether by text, voice or video – in fact, there are more than 10 such platforms, with over 100 million users. What they have in common is that they’re free, quick and direct.Pinnatta isn’t trying to compete with any of them, but to work with them. We give you a way to add emotion to your communication, enhancing your messages, making them interactive and giving you predesigned templates to save you time. If you look at a Facebook wall, most users are struggling to create interesting content – instead, they’re just reposting what they find online. Pinnatta lets you create your own original content and unique messages. From a business perspective, the huge communication platforms (such as Skype or Facebook chat) are now looking for ways to monetise their service via premium, paid-for packages, with emoticons, mini-games and so on. That puts us in an ideal position and makes us a potential partner for all of them. Right now, it seems like momentum is building up behind the Greek start-up industry. What do you feel explains the growth of start-ups here since the crisis hit?The startups scene has really exploded here over the last couple of years, and it’s been a real pleasure to watch. Things were very different when we launched in 2010: there were no funds, almost no events, and only two or three other tech start-ups. It was quite a lonely business.It may seem odd, but we feel the crisis has played a very important role in the sector’s growth. A lot of very talented and skilful people were suddenly unable to find work, and the success of apps such as BugSense [which gives users detailed crash reports for their smartphone, allowing them to fix and improve their apps themselves] and Taxibeat in 2010-11, along with the establishment of the EU’s Jeremie fund to channel investment to small businesses, gave them to courage to take a chance. And once the initial difficulties of setting up a company had been overcome, the lack of competition and relatively low wages have made it very easy to attract talent.So something of an “ecosystem” for our industry developed. The truth is that we haven’t achieved that much yet. Bugsense is the only major success story, and while some of us seem to be on the right track it’s still early days. But we’ve taken some huge steps forwards, and it won’t be long before some serious successes come our way.It’s looking like the tech industry will be central to Greece’s economic recovery. What challenges do you face, and what could be done to make your work easier?The Greek economy has always been based around small family businesses, and it seems pretty clear to us that startups like ours will form the new backbone of the Greek economy in much the same way. We need a similar amount of capital and a similar amount of staff to old-style family businesses – the big difference is that we do business on a global rather than a local scale.It’s obviously a problem that Greece is a long way away from the major international tech hubs, like Silicon Valley, Berlin or Tel Aviv, but most of the Greek companies seem to be able to work around that. What’s more troubling are the constant changes to the country’s financial, legal and political framework. It’s extremely difficult to plan for the future in an unstable environment like this. The current framework may be very unfriendly to new start-ups, but a guarantee that it won’t be tinkered with for a few years would at least give us a chance to work around it. Source: enetenglish Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Runners best friend

first_imgFour-legged runners will join their two-legged counterparts to take part in the Penny Marathon, a run, cycle and roll event held in Athens and Sydney every year to raise awareness of stray, abused and neglected cats and dogs. Among the participants will be Marko, a former Greek stray dog and now seasoned marathoner, who will run 10 kilometres with his owner in support of all the animals still looking for the love and warmth of a forever home. “My partner found Marko when he was on a trail run on Mount Ymittou in Athens one morning,” says Julia Douni. “This three-month-old stray pup appears out of nowhere and runs the entire 12-kilometre course with him. It was as if he knew that this was his chance at a family and had to keep going to prove his worth.” An hour later, the pup is sprawled at the runner’s feet, dipping his head to take a sip of water. “He had a look of ‘Did I pass the test? Will you take me with you?’ and the next thing he’s on Niko’s motorbike, ears flapping in the wind, headed home.” That was the summer of 2009. Today, Marko is an integral part of the family. He regularly enters running races and competitions with his owners, has travelled to all of the mountains of Greece, has thrown himself into rivers, lakes and beaches, and has best friends to whom he is loyal and defends. He is one of the lucky ones. Some figures suggest there are half a million stray animals living in the city and rural streets of Greece, as Marko did as a pup. The reality for these animals is a far cry from the iconic images of cats set against potted flowers and white-washed buildings on Greek islands. If you scratch the surface, you will be instantly confronted with the brutal truth of puppies and kittens found dumped in garbage bins, mass poisonings in public parks, and other images of cruelty and neglect. Government support is next to non-existent and Greek laws governing animal abuse – fines of up to 30,000 euros for an incident of abuse – are mocked by authorities. The survival of these animals is left in the hands of desperate volunteer groups operating with no funding, and those compassionate enough to provide the occasional handful of food and water or to stop their car to help an animal writhing in pain by the side of the road. It is this reality and the need for change that drives participants to enter the Penny Marathon, especially those who have adopted a former stray and whose lives have been touched as a result. Sadly, for every Marko that is adopted in Greece there are hundreds of thousands that never will be. These animals are largely left to fend for themselves. Beyond the need to find food and shelter every day, there’s also navigating the pitfalls – not getting hit by a car, not falling victim to poison, not falling into the hands of violent and sadistic people. On Sunday, 13 July, Julia and Marko will be running alongside Marilia Politis and her dog, Bowie, in Athens, for the second consecutive Penny Marathon. In 2006, Marilia came to hear about the then one-year old Bowie through a friend. “He was in a terrible state when he was found. He had been badly hit, had severe infections and was very sick. I agreed to mind him for a few hours and, well, that was eight years ago and I haven’t looked back,” says Marilia. “Everything changed the day he entered my life. I have learnt many things about myself, about dogs and, unfortunately, about what human beings are capable of doing too,” she adds. For Julia and Marilia, the Penny Marathon is a way to join forces with like-minded people. “People who have certain sensibilities, people who hurt and cry without shame for all kinds of injustice and abuse (people or animals, there is no difference for me), and people who are willing to exhaust themselves physically and emotionally to get a message across,” explains Julia. “It’s for this reason that I choose to unite myself with this cause in the understanding that a collective voice delivers a louder message and one that it worthy of earning the respect of all. Miracles cannot happen overnight but I genuinely hope that, with time, we will succeed to make a change.”The Penny Marathon advocates for adoption, neutering and spaying of stray and unwanted companion animals in Greece and Australia. It also honours the work of volunteers who try to save the lives of these animals. More information is available at www.pennymarathon.com* Ellie Prodromou is a Greek Australian and a co-founder of the Penny Marathon. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Beware of Greeks building smart cars

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram An automobile revolution is under way, led by the Melbourne-based software company Connexion Media, which caters to what is emerging as the car industry’s most pressing demand: applications for smart cars. With the prediction that 90 per cent of cars (that is, approximately 250 million vehicles) will be connected to the internet by 2020, auto manufacturers are eager to embed new applications to their ‘smart cars’ sooner rather than later. Enter George Parthimos. His clients include some of the biggest car companies, such as Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz and Honda – not to mention General Motors and Ford, the first major companies to use the services of Connexion Media, listed onto the ASX in August 2014. The company’s claim to fame was the development of two applications designed for the interconnection of smart phones and cars: the miRoamer, which brings internet stations to car radio; and Flex, an application that not only helps users locate their car in real time, but also monitors diagnostics, such as engine performance, fuel consumption and driver behaviour. The latter is showing the way for the company’s future projects, especially as it aims to address concerns for security threats, given that internet-connected cars might become vulnerable to hackers, who could take control of them. Another issue of concern is that of distraction to the driver, as most of the smart car users’ demands lean towards infotainment, which will have the vehicles operate in a way similar to computer tablets, with their own app stores run by the car makers, from which the drivers would download upgrades and various applications. Among the ones most likely to be introduced in the near future is the Cheap Fuel Finder, an application that would have the car scan through all the petrol stations in a certain area in order to find the cheapest offer and use the GPS to navigate towards it. Another variation of the app would allow the car to locate parking stations, reserve a spot and automatically pay for it, as it will be linked with a credit card service. Similarly, as cars are already equipped with apps to monitor engine performance, they will be able to assess whether a service is needed, based on a series of data, not least of all the number of kilometres run, and automatically book for service, which will then have to be confirmed by the driver. Even more appealing to most drivers is the app which would introduce upgrades to reconfigure the way a car operates, such as an ‘economy mode’, a ‘green mode’, or even a ‘sports car mode’, which would increase the engine’s performance. “Australia is very highly regarded internationally for technology startup and for early stage development businesses. Where we fall over is that we don’t have capital support in order to proceed to commercialisation … We have great ideas, but we’re terrible at execution.”AN INNOVATION CENTRE FOR SMART CARS IN MELBOURNEGiven its status as an ASX-listed car software company and a leader in its field, Connexion Media has even more ambitious plans for its role as a factor of innovation in the Victorian economy environment, linking local startups with major industry players. For this purpose, George Parthimos plans an innovation centre for internet-connected cars to be established in Melbourne with a sister site in Detroit, home to major manufacturers Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. With this initiative, Connexion Media will use its experience and position in the market to function as a liaison between the Victorian government and the city of Detroit, but also between startups and investors, notably private equity and venture capital groups interested in innovative entrepreneurship. “We’ve met with the minister of industry of Victoria, Lily D’Ambrosio, in order to discuss the concept behind this innovation centre and the fact that her counterparts in Detroit are ready to work with Australia,” George Parthimos tells Neos Kosmos. “She was very interested and we have began planning the centre, with the help of the state. Its goal will be the commercialisation of the high-tech products developed by start-ups that don’t have access to the market at the moment. Australia is very highly regarded internationally for technology startup and for early stage development businesses. Where we fall over is that we don’t have capital support in order to proceed to commercialisation, so that these products will get abroad. There are a lot of startups that for whatever reason have to go offshore. We have great ideas, but we’re terrible at execution. Given our direct relationship with the big car manufacturers, we can facilitate this process. Every time I get in touch with our clients, they all ask the same question: ‘George, what else have you got?’ We can’t do everything, this is why we want to work with companies that have got ideas,” The total cost of this centre is estimated at $5 million. The state of Victoria has already promised a grant but there is also interest from investors and private fund groups. “We have been told that the federal government is also interested in getting involved but we are still looking into it.”last_img read more

Two teens killed in road trip crash

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Two Victorian teenagers have been killed during a road trip to Queensland. Brandon Christopoulos and Jesse Edwards, both 19, were driving through northwestern NSW on Saturday 26 December along with their three friends and plans to spend New Years Eve on the Gold Coast and relive their schoolies experience. But less than 12 hours into their trip on early Sunday morning, the footballers from local clubs in Hoppers Crossing and Werribee, came off the Newell Highway, their car hitting a tree near Narrabri just west of Tamworth. Along with the two tragic deaths, another passenger Damien McKenzie was airlifted to hospital in a critical condition, while the other two sustained injuries. Both Brandon and Jesse have had their lives tragically cut short too soon.Brandon, the youngest in a family of five and the only son, was a talented footballer and aspiring carpenter, successfully approved for an apprenticeship just before Christmas to follow his dream.Described as a kind-hearted and funny young man, in an interview with Fairfax Media his eldest sister Rhiannon Stephens recalled her brother’s positive nature.“He would not say a bad word about anybody. Regardless of what was going on, he just turned everything into a joke so people would laugh and smile with him,” she said.With the family naturally still in shock, she said “I think we still feel that he’s just away, and that any minute he’s just going to walk through the door.”According to NSW Police Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, the accident has partly been attributed to fatigue, as the boys had been taking turns to drive. “The fourth driver in the sequence had been driving for two hours, obviously fell asleep fatigued, rolled the vehicle and killed himself and the other passenger in the front seat,” said the commissioner. An impromptu memorial was held last Monday for the families of Brandon and Jesse, with hundreds turning out to leave tributes and flowers in memory of the young men.Source: The Age, Geelong Advertiserlast_img read more

Greek billionaire offers snippets of financial wisdom

first_imgHe may have built a property empire worth more than $1 billion dollars, but Con Makris still remains a regular, hard-working man who doesn’t forget his origins. In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, the billionaire expressed his distrust towards the share market, his disappointment in a large part of Australian youth, that he describes as “bludgers”, his agreement with Malcolm Turnbull’s views, while offering advice to prospective investors – which can be summed up in one phrase: work hard and stay away from “paper money”. The first Greek migrant to reach billionaire status in Australia, Con Makris expressed his sadness over the plight of Greek people, suffering from the ongoing financial crisis, predicting a long, painful road to recovery. “Greece is a magnificent place that needs a good, strong government,” he said, stating that focus on infrastructure and tourism is crucial for the country’s return to growth. Placed at No. 47 on the Business Review Weekly Rich 200 list, Makris – who arrived in Australia from Greece when he was 16 years old – built his wealth from very modest beginnings, running barbecue chicken shops. Early in his business career he developed a strong work ethic from which he has never deviated. He started off working seven days a week for up to 14 hours a day, expanding his business to property development and shopping centre ownership. Since his phenomenal rise in the 1980s, mostly in South Australia and Queensland, he has remained a firm believer in the fundamentals of investing in bricks and mortar in the right locations, and picking trends that will ensure the values of those commercial properties and shopping centres continue to rise.‘NOBODY LOSES ON LAND’As for his well-documented aversion to the share market, it is due to the volatile nature of shares. To him, the increasingly complex world of derivatives, hedge fund trading and short selling exacerbates the extreme fluctuations and can mean that vast amounts of share market wealth on paper can go up in smoke in a short space of time. “I never follow paper money”, he told the Australian Financial Review, adding: “Why buy shares? It’s crazy. Nobody loses on land.” An advocate of the security of bricks and mortar, Makris insists that location is still the single biggest factor that will add value over the long term, as it has been doing for the past five decades. According to him, this principle will survive even as the Australian economy continues to strive for the next couple of years. Asked to comment on the increases in interest rates, he told the AFR that there will inevitably be some fall-out among those who’ve borrowed too heavily to fund projects, but most business people and property owners enter transactions with long-term horizons. “The whole world is working on the basis that there won’t be inflation but things can change quickly,” he said.The richest man in South Australia also expressed his support for Malcolm Turnbull, who “is a businessman and he understands what needs to happen to get things moving”. The prime minister’s call for innovation is seen by the billionaire as a move towards building an entrepreneurial culture in Australia. However any effort to rebuild confidence after the decline of the mining industry is bound to meet a very specific obstacle: young Australians, who have lost their work ethic, nurtured by the state to being used to a “hand-out mentality”. “The country has been breeding bludgers,” he says bluntly. “Too many people are looking for a lifestyle. They want to go to Byron Bay and those sort of places and sit in the sun all day.”INVESTING IN NORTH ADELAIDEDespite being South Australia’s richest man, Makris won’t rest on his laurels. He is about to start work on a $200 million development which will include a 160-room Sheraton hotel along with residential apartments, retail space and offices. It’s all located on a prominent site in affluent North Adelaide which has been vacant since 1989. The billionaire believes that the suburb’s time has finally arrived and describes North Adelaide as the equivalent of Toorak in Melbourne, and similar to Woollahra in Sydney. It is a suburb just one kilometre from the central business district, but the catalyst for the development has been the $535 million redevelopment of the Adelaide Oval, which now hosts Australian Football League matches for the first time since 1974, and was the location for the first day/night cricket test with the infamous pink ball in late November when Australia played New Zealand.The oval is within walking distance of the new $200 million Sheraton development, with regular AFL crowds of 50,000 spilling into the nearby suburbs and the CBD, where dozens of new small bars have opened up as the state government relaxed liquor licensing laws. Makris is a firm supporter of such pro-business measures and points out a policy applied by South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis. He brought forward the first tranche of stamp duty cuts on commercial properties in early December, 2015 with immediate effect, switching from an original plan where those stamp duties would be shaved by one-third in mid-2016, with the next third sliced in mid-2017 followed by full abolishment in mid-2018. “I think it’s a very smart move,” Makris told the AFR.Source: Fairfax Media Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Panama Papers expose global greed

first_imgThe numbers alone are overwhelming: 11.5 million documents, 4.8 million emails, 3 million database files, 2.1 million PDFs, totalling 2.6 terrabytes of data, containing information about 210,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions, spanning almost 40 years (from 1977 to 2015). The greatest leak of internal data in history is bound to change the course of investigative journalism, exposing a widespread system of global tax evasion. From the first day of the massive-scale leak, it has been obvious that no country can claim to be unaffected.For the past week, more than a hundred media outlets around the world, coordinated by the Washington, DC-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), have been offering stories on the Panama Papers – leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, which specialises in creating shell companies for their clients to use their assets in tax havens around the world. That individuals and companies use entities in tax havens for various purposes has been known for a long time, but never before has so much light been shed into this shadowy practice, which may be unethical but is certainly not always illegal. The leak has caused significant international controversy, with high-profile names of politicians and businessmen, celebrities and FIFA officials being linked in some way to entities established in tax havens. Among those who have used the firm’s services and expertise are suspected financiers of terrorists and war criminals in the Middle East; drug kings and queens from Mexico, Guatemala and Eastern Europe; nuclear weapons proliferators in Iran and North Korea; arms dealers in southern Africa; and the chief negotiator for the Greek debt under Antonis Samaras.The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which had reported previously on a smaller leak of Mossack Fonseca files to German government regulators. A Süddeutsche Zeitung reporter named Bastian Obermayer says that he was contacted via encrypted chat by his source, offering some sort of data intended “to make these crimes public”. The German paper shared the documents with the ICIJ, which in turn shared them with a large network of international partners, including the ABC and the Australian Financial Review in Australia, The Guardian and the BBC in the UK, Le Monde in France and Protagon.gr in Greece. Each organisation is examining the documents, trying to reveal the extent to which corporations and individuals in each country have been using the services of the Panamanian Firm, which operates on a global scale with franchises around the world. Mossack Fonseca has 600 operatives working in 42 tax havens, including Switzerland, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands.From the first day of the massive-scale leak, it has been obvious that no country can claim to be unaffected. Major financial entities (such as HSBC and Société Générale) and individuals seem interconnected in the world of offshore banking, and at least 143 politicians and their families are deep into the practice – including 12 national leaders, not least among them Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is linked to $2 billion of hidden money through accounts held in the names of family members and his friend Sergei Roldugin, a celebrated cellist. UK Prime Minister David Cameron, came himself under scrutiny, after it was revealed that his late father, Ian Cameron, run an offshore investment fund that has paid no tax in the UK since it was founded in the 1980s. David Cameron, who has inherited 300,000 from his father admitted on Thursday that he did own shares of the Blairmore Investment Trust, established in Panama by Mossack Fonseca but he had sold them in 2010, before becoming PM.Other politicians include Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister; Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine (who was elected in May 2014 on a promise to clean up Ukraine’s corrupt politics and a couple of months later set up a secret offshore company in the British Virgin Islands, while his troops were fighting Russian troops and pro-Moscow rebels); Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president; and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. The latter has been the first prominent casualty from the leak, having resigned from office under public outrage after it was revealed that his family had sheltered money offshore. According to the Panama Papers, Gunnlaugsson and his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir, bought a British Virgin Islands-based offshore company, Wintris Inc, in December 2007. Although there is no evidence of tax avoidance, evasion or dishonesty on the part of the couple, the company in question had big claims on Icelandic banks, which implies a great conflict of interest in a country that saw its bank sector collapse as a result of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. Gunnlaugsson himself came to power defending the collapse of his country’s financial system against the demands of foreign creditors, whom he has repeatedly characterised as “vultures”. GREEK DEBT NEGOTIATOR IN THE FILES Greece has also been a country dealing with said “vultures”, being on the verge of default and financial catastrophe since 2010. One of the people who has been deeply involved in its plight has been Stavros Papastavrou, whose name appears among those of the key players of the Panama Papers. A lawyer and longtime Nea Dimokratia party operative, Papastavrou was appointed by the former prime minister, Antonis Samaras, as his deputy chief of staff for European and international affairs. As such, he quickly became chief negotiator with the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank ‘Troika’ of creditors over the Greek bailout, gaining the full trust of Samaras, who was quoted as saying: “If only Greece had ten Papastavrou!”The ICIJ mentions his name as being implicated in a tax-evasion probe about an undeclared bank deposit of about $6.9 million in an HSBC Swiss bank account. Papastavrou denied the money was his, but nonetheless agreed to pay a $3.6 million fine last February to settle charges of tax evasion and money laundering. As shown in the Panama Papers, even at the time when he was working for the Greek government, he has been involved in multiple offshore foundations. From 2005 to 2014 he was a member of the councils of the now defunct Green Shamrock Foundation and Diman Foundation, while in 2006 he became the deputy chairman of Aisios Foundation, which still exists today. Asked to comment, he claimed he had “no ownership interest in these entities of any kind” and “was under no obligation” to declare them to tax authorities. Even after this revelation, Nea Dimokratia insists on backing him; the party’s deputy leader, MP Adonis Georgiadis, in a radio interview on Tuesday, insisted that the Greek state should name a street after Papastavrou. Less prominent has been the late Vlassis Kabouroglou, whose name was involved in an investigation on bribery and corruption, regarding the purchase of the anti-missile system Tor-M1 by the Greek Ministry of Defence, in a high- profile legal case that has seen the former minister and leading member of the Greek socialist party PASOK, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, being incarcerated. Tsohatzopoulos’ right hand man, Nikolaos Zigras, in his court statement, had named Kabouroglou as the organiser of the illegal payments connected to the missile and submarine purchase deals; investigation on this has stopped since Kabouroglou’s death in Jakarta, Indonesia, in October 2012. According to the Panama Papers, Kabouroglou was the managing director of Drumilan International Hellas S.A., a company in charge of going through with the sale. Appointed to the position by the Syrian businessman Fouad Al-Zayat (who has been tried in absentia in Greece and sentenced to life for bribery and 17 years for money laundering), Kabouroglou was suspected of being responsible for transfers amounting to $25 million, to two of Al-Zayat’s offshore companies, Drumilan International Ltd and Drumilan Offset Program Ltd. The Panama Papers show Kabouroglou associated with a series of other offshores related to arms dealing, either as founder (often along with his wife and another woman), or as holder of bearer shares. Another Greek name appearing in the Panama Papers is related to a case of massive bank fraud in Ireland. Apparently, Mossack Fonseca had been used by Achilleas Kallakis and an associate, who took £740m from Allied Irish Banks in one of the biggest scams ever to befall an Irish corporation. Kallakis, who changed his name from Stefanos Michalis Kollakis, was jailed for 11 years after being found guilty by a London court in 2013 of defrauding AIB of £740 million using deception and forgery. During the trial Kallakis argued that the web of Virgin Island-based offshore companies that received the loans from AIB were owned by an entity called the Hermitage Syndicated Trust, of which he was just an advisor. The leaked Mossack Fonseca files show that it provided nominee directors to a Panama-based company called FTS Worldwide Corporation, which acted as trustee to the Hermitage Syndicated Trust. The leaks show Mossack Fonseca operatives acting as nominee directors, signing loan applications to Barclays Bank on behalf of FTS, and granting power of attorney over FTS to a man in Switzerland, who in turn signed documentation to be used for the Barclays loan application.The Kallakis property portfolio in London was built up using loans from AIB, Barclays, and Bristol & West, which became part of Bank of Ireland. During the trial it emerged that AIB had been expanding its loan book in England during the period of the scam, with more than 50 per cent of the expansion going to Kallakis and his associate. The wider AIB group was subsequently bailed out by the Irish state.Greek media are also interested in revelations regarding German entities, given the strenuous relations between the two countries – especially after the scandal that saw Siemens bribing Greek officials for the contracts of security systems during the Olympics. Siemens seems to occupy a prime position in the papers as high-ranking employees are shown to have deposited undeclared money in offshore companies. Apart from that, the papers show that Deutche Bank, the biggest German bank, had utilised “more than 400 offshore companies up to 2007” while adding that “many thousands of Germans used these Mossack Fonseca fronting companies”. (L) Stavros Papastavrou; (R) Achilleas Kallakis.HUNDREDS OF AUSTRALIAN CASES The Panama Papers database also features hundreds of Australian citizens as well as dozens of Australian law firms, banks, accountants and major companies including BHP and Wilson which use Mossack Fonseca to incorporate companies in tax havens. Documents also reveal there are 77 Australian intermediaries or clients of Mossack Fonseca that help the law firm incorporate companies in tax havens.So far, very few names have seen the light of day – among them former opal miner Maxwell John Reid, who moved $100 million through Mossack Fonseca weeks after completing a prison sentence for 66 fraud-related charges. The Australian media have singled out some other individuals; among them John Patrick Gillespie, a man with a long criminal history, who was convicted over his role in one of Australian racing’s most infamous scandals. In 1984 in Brisbane he was part of a plot that saw the horse Bold Personality painted and substituted for the long-priced Fine Cotton in a race it won at Eagle Farm. In 1992, he became a founding director of two companies, International Millionaire’s Club and International Horseowner’s Club. Both were incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas by Mossack Fonseca. The companies were deregistered in 1995.Another Australian name is that of Murray Priestley, former Lifestyle Trader chief executive, banned from providing financial services by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for engaging in deceptive conduct” and offered clients “misleading advice”. At the time, he was a director of a company registered by Mossack Fonseca. After the law firm became aware of Mr Priestley’s ban, it sought additional due diligence information but it appears requests went unanswered. Despite the ban, Mr Priestley and his company Alpha Holdings Management remain active, according to the leaked documents.Also of interest is Warren Black, a Perth-based accountant and former ATO employee who runs a company called Wealth Safe (on the website he advertises his ability to help people avoid taxation); he also appears in ICIJ data as a director and shareholder of a Mossack Fonseca-managed company called Wealth Grow International Limited, which was incorporated in the Seychelles in March 2015 (although there is no suggestion of any illegal activities related to him, or the company). Also of interest to Australia are the Chinese names revealed in the papers. At least eight current or former members of China’s top ruling body, the politburo standing committee, are mentioned, possessing offshore companies arranged through Mossack Fonseca. Those reportedly named in the leaked database from the firm include Deng Jiagui, the brother-in-law of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and Li Xiaolin, the daughter of former premier Li Peng, a Communist party hardliner who became known as the ‘Butcher of Beijing’ for his role in ordering the 1989 military crackdown on Tiananmen protesters. Another member of the ‘red elite’ is Jasmine Li, granddaughter of a powerful Chinese leader, who became the sole shareholder in two British Virgin Islands companies while still a teenager. Other prominent figures who have taken advantage of offshore companies include the brother-in-law of the president Xi Jinping, and the son-in-law of Zhang Gaoli, another member of China’s top political body, the politburo standing committee. Chinese news groups have been ordered to purge all mention of the Panama Papers from their websites and warned of harsh punishment if they are found to have published material “attacking China”.THE END OF CAPITALISM? This first course of events is just a foreshadowing of the effect that the full revelation of names implicated in the papers (scheduled to take place in May) will have. For the moment, the Panama Papers have managed to set the agenda of an international debate on tax avoidance and entitlement in a globalised economy. In an editorial, Time magazine even spoke of the end of capitalism as we know it, while Barack Obama made the highest profile intervention yet in favour of the global reform of tax avoidance. Addressing reporters at the White House, the US president said: “There is no doubt that the problem of global tax avoidance generally is a huge problem. The problem is that a lot of this stuff is legal, not illegal.”The US president added that the leak from Panama illustrated the scale of tax avoidance involving Fortune 500 companies, running into trillions of dollars worldwide.“We shouldn’t make it legal to engage in transactions just to avoid taxes,” he said, praising instead “the basic principle of making sure everyone pays their fair share”.HOW DID MOSSACK FONSECA REPLY “We cannot provide responses to questions that pertain to specific matters, as doing so would be a breach of our policies and legal obligation to maintain client confidentiality,” Mossack Fonseca stated to “The Guardian”, after the revelation of the leaked archives. “However, we can confirm the parties in many of the circumstances you cite are not and have never been clients of Mossack Fonseca.“It is legal and common for companies to establish commercial entities in different jurisdictions for a variety of legitimate reasons, including conducting cross-border mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, estate planning, personal safety, restructuring and pooling of investment capital from different jurisdictions in neutral legal and tax regimes that does not benefit or disadvantage any one investor.“In addition, we have always complied with international protocols … to assure as is reasonably possible, that the companies we incorporate are not being used for tax evasion, money laundering, terrorist finance or other illicit purposes. We regret any misuse of companies that we incorporate or the services we provide and take steps wherever possible to uncover and stop such use. If we detect suspicious activity or misconduct, we are quick to report it to the authorities. Similarly, when authorities approach us with evidence of possible misconduct, we always cooperate fully with them. “Most of the persons mentioned by you are not our clients nor do they appear in our database as persons related to the companies we formed. Due diligence procedures were carried out in accordance with the laws in place at the time the companies and cases you made reference to were incorporated and in existence”.Sources: ICIJ, Times, New York Times, The Guardian, The Irish Times, Protagon.gr Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Les parcs éoliens feraient monter la température de la planète

first_imgLes parcs éoliens feraient monter la température de la planèteUne étude menée par le Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) révèle que la multiplication des parcs éoliens terrestres pourrait faire augmenter la température de la planète. Une tendance qui s’inverse avec les éoliennes installées en mer.Des chercheurs du MIT ont réalisé unemodélisation climatique qui leur a permis d’analyser l’impact de millions d’éoliennes sur le climat. Leur découverte est surprenante : développés pour réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre et enrayer le réchauffement climatique, les parcs éoliens à grande échelle pourraient paradoxalement entraîner une augmentation de la température de la Terre.Alors que les experts du climat recommandent de limiter ce réchauffement à 2°C pour éviter les pires scénarios, la température globale de la planète pourrait augmenter d’environ 1°C lorsque les éoliennes terrestres permettront de fournir 10% de la demande énergétique mondiale. Dans les régions où seront installées de nombreuses éoliennes, c’est de 0,15°C que la température augmentera.Cet effet est inversé avec les éoliennes offshores. Les chercheurs estiment en effet qu’une même densité de turbines installées en mer engendrerait une baisse de la température de 1°C.Les scientifiques expliquent qu’un trop grand nombre d’éoliennes réduirait la turbulence du vent et l’évacuation de la chaleur hors de la zone environnante, entraînant ainsi des changements de température. Toutefois, le MIT insiste sur un point : cette découverte ne doit pas devenir un argument anti-éolien, d’autant plus que ces recherches n’en sont qu’à leurs premiers balbutiements. “Nous ne sommes pas pessimistes quant à la technologie éolienne”, assure Ron Prinn, professeur de sciences atmosphériques. Et d’ajouter : “Nous n’avons absolument pas prouvé cet effet, et nous préférons attendre que d’autres équipes réalisent des études plus poussées”.Le 27 mars 2010 à 20:04 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Don de gamètes les donneurs ne seront plus anonymes sils le souhaitent

first_imgDon de gamètes : les donneurs ne seront plus anonymes s’ils le souhaitentFrance – Sur décision du conseil des ministres, l’identité d’un donneur de gamètes sera désormais accessible, si ce dernier le permet.Dans le cadre de la révision des lois de bioéthique par le gouvernement, révision dirigée par la ministre de la Santé Roselyne Bachelot, il a été décidé que l’identité des donneurs de gamètes ne serait plus secrète, si ceux-ci consentent à ce que leur identité soit éventuellement révélée un jour.Ainsi, cette nouvelle mesure prévoit un “accès à l’identité du donneur pour les personnes issues d’un don de gamètes” et cela en partie pour “responsabiliser” chaque don, tout en considérant les questions futures de chaque enfant. Parmi les autres mesures proposées, l’AFP explique que désormais, le don croisé d’organes sera possible, ainsi que la congélation ovocytaire ultrarapide. Les couples pacsés pourront bientôt profiter également de l’Assistance médicale à la procréation, qui reste en revanche interdite d’accès aux homosexuels et aux mères célibataires.Le 21 octobre 2010 à 10:00 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Mozilla SeaMonkey le couteau suisse de linternet passe en version 25 et

first_imgMozilla SeaMonkey, le couteau suisse de l’internet, passe en version 2.5 et 2.6 bêtaLe tout-internet-en-un SeaMonkey fait à la fois navigateur, gestionnaire de courriers électroniques, client IRC et éditeur HTML, passe cette fois en 2,5.Bien que moins rythmé que celui de son frère Firefox, le développement de SeaMonkey continue chez Mozilla. Vingt-quatre traductions le rendent largement accessible, que ce soit sur Windows, Mac OS X ou Linux. À lire aussiLa version finale de Firefox 13 débarqueLa 2.5 apporte un meilleur contrôle des extensions, une amélioration de la prise en charge du HTML5 notamment sur le plan des lectures audio et vidéo. Des accélérations hardware et un JavaScript plus rapide sont aussi au menu. La 2.6 bêta est également disponible. L’éditeur HTML se voit doté d’une fonction d’aperçu avant impression, le navigateur d’un module Do Not Track pour bloquer les publicités ciblées. Il est loin le temps ou Internet Explorer et Netscape se battaient en duel ! Les navigateurs sont foisons, parfois l’air de rien comme Dolphin ou Opera, mais offrent de vraies solutions alternatives aux mastodontes du domaine. Le 26 novembre 2011 à 14:15 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Ion multiplie ses gammes

first_imgIon multiplie ses gammesC’est un programme chargé qui nous attend sur le stand de la société ION lors du prochain CES 2012.  En effet, avec ces accessoires très axés sur le jeu, ION chouchoute les utilisateurs de produits Apple.A commencer par l’iPad, qui aura le droit à son tout premier scanner, le Docs2Go. Ressemblant à un dock audio, il suffit de poser l’iPad dessus, de télécharger l’application adéquate. Ensuite, vous insérez votre document dans le scanner, qui l’avale, pour rendre la numérisation presque instantanément à l’écran de votre iPad. Très pratique lors de déplacement, le Docs2Go serait commercialisé à un prix entre 149 et 179 dollars, mais aucune date n’a été précisé par ION.À lire aussiAu zoo de Washington, les orangs-outans jouent et apprennent avec un iPadPour le côté plus ludique, la GuitarApprentice débarque. Un accessoire en forme de guitare, de taille réelle, où vient s’emboiter un iPad. Ce dernier, via un logiciel de guitare, affichera les cordes sur l’écran à l’instar du prototype Itar que nous avions déjà présenté. Seul hic, on ne joue qu’avec la main droite, donc l’apprentissage de la guitare (qui se joue à 2 mains n’est-ce pas…) n’est que partiel.  Quoi qu’il en soit, cet accessoire sera vendu au prix de 99 dollars (un peu moins de 80 euros).Enfin, la dernière nouveauté de l’américain ION, est l’iCade Mobile. On y fixe son iPhone ou iPod Touch et l’accessoire se transforme en véritable console portable, avec un pavé multidirectionnel et 4 boutons. L’iCade Mobile s’adapte même à la bascule de l’affichage (mode paysage à portrait) de votre terminal ! Le support sera vendu, quant à lui, pour 79,99 dollars (un peu plus de 60 euros).Le 9 janvier 2012 à 21:00 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Le jeu vidéo sest largement dématérialisé en 2011

first_imgLe jeu vidéo s’est largement dématérialisé en 2011En 2011, les ventes de jeux vidéos dématérialisés ont détrôné les ventes de jeux physiques qui se trouvent en perte de vitesse.Les téléchargements de jeux sont désormais plus importants que les achats de supports physiques. Selon une étude réalisée par un cabinet japonais, les logiciels de jeux vidéo vendus en boîte et sur un support physiques représentent à présent moitié moins que les nombreuses applications qui peuvent être téléchargées dur la Toile.À lire aussiDengue : symptômes, traitement, prévention, où en est-on ?D’après la société nippone Enterbrain, les jeux en ligne – qu’ils soient téléchargeables ou non -ont atteint une part de marché atteignant 58% des ventes totales, en 2011. Les jeux vendus sur des supports du type disque optique, carte-mémoire ou cartouche ne représentent donc que 42% du marché. Dans cette industrie, les ventes mondiales représentent un chiffre d’affaires de 50 milliards d’euros.L’essor des tablettes tactiles, smartphones, ainsi que les ventes de consoles portables équipés d’un accès à Internet ont fortement contribué à ces résultats. Enterbrain appelle “nouveau segment du divertissement” ce secteur en pleine effervescence qui est parvenu à détrôner les supports physiques pour la première fois. Et il ne faut pas non plus négliger les téléchargements gratuits d’applications qui visiblement ne sont pas comptabilisés. Ainsi nous constatons que le jeu vidéo dématérialisé s’est largement répandu ces dernières années.Le 24 mai 2012 à 19:00 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Asus présente des produits hybrides tabletteultrabook

first_imgAsus présente des produits hybrides tablette-ultrabookAsus a dévoilé plusieurs produits se présentant comme des hybrides entre ultrabook tablette tactile.Le fabricant Asus a dévoilé de nouveaux produits, détournant l’attention de la future tablette Google Nexus 7. Tout d’abord, la firme va lancer deux tablettes avec un dock clavier : Les Asus 600 et Asus 810 qui ressemblent aussi bien à la tablette Transformer qu’à un Ultrabook.L’Asus 600 sera équipé d’un processeur quadri-coeur Nvivia Tegra 3, de 2 GB de mémoire vive, d’un écran 10,1 pouces IPS affichant une définition de 1.366 x 768 pixels. À l’arrière, on trouve un capteur photo de 8 mégapixels avec flash LED et une caméra 2 mégapixels à l’avant. Les compatibilités Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS et NFC seront assurées. Cette tablette sera enfin pourvue de Windows RT.La tablette Asus 810, quant à elle, sera équipée d’un processeur Intel non connu, de 2 GB de RAM. Son écran sera lui aussi IPS mais d’une taille de 11,6 pouces. Contrairement à l’Asus 600, la tablette sera pourvue de Windows 8 ! À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Enfin, Asus a annoncé la sortie prochaine d’un produit deux en un, le Taichi, sidérant car l’affichage peut se faire des deux côtés de ce produit. Ce terminal peut être utilisé en mode notebook, avec clavier et trackpad et peut aussi se transformer en tablette, une fois que son couvercle est refermé.Cet appareil sera pourvu d’un processeur Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7, de 4 GB de RAM et d’un disque SSD pour le stockage. Le Taichi sera proposé en configuration 11,6 pouces et 13,3 pouces. Aussi fin qu’un Zenbook, ce produit pourra afficher en 1.900 x 1.280 pixels. Au niveau des avantages proposées, on retrouve du Wi-Fi bi-bande, deux caméras et deux ports USB 3.0. Il faudra attendre sa présentation au Computex pour avoir plus de renseignements.Le 4 juin 2012 à 14:40 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

LinkedIn le FBI enquête sur le piratage du réseau social

first_imgLinkedIn : le FBI enquête sur le piratage du réseau socialSuite au vol de quelque 6,5 millions de mots de passe chiffrés sur son serveur, le réseau social professionnel LindedIn se voit apporter l’aide du FBI, qui vient d’ouvrir une enquête. Le site a lui-même révélé cette information, au sujet de laquelle le service fédéral américain se refuse toutefois à tout commentaire.A l’instar du site de rencontre eHarmony, le réseau social professionnel LinkedIn a été victime d’un vaste piratage. Quelque 6,5 millions de passe ont été dérobés et circulent aujourd’hui sur Internet. Une affaire prise très au sérieux par le FBI, avec lequel LinkedIn a annoncé avoir entamé une collaboration.Si le service fédéral américain refuse d’évoquer cette enquête, un porte-parole du réseau social, cité par Reuters, affirme qu’aucun des millions de compte concernés par ce vol n’a pour l’heure été détourné, à sa connaissance du moins. L’enquête vient d’être lancée, et pour le moment, a précisé le porte-parole, on ignore si les adresses des boîtes mails liées aux mots de passe dérobés ont elles aussi été volées. Mais LinkedIn tente de rassurer ses utilisateurs – ils sont 161 millions à travers le monde – et s’est engagé à désactiver tous les mots de passe victimes de ce piratage. Les internautes sont alors invités à les changer en suivant une procédure qui leur a été envoyée par mail par le réseau social. À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Vivement critiqué quant à sa sécurité suite à ce vol massif – certains experts dénoncent des lacunes en matière de protection des données des membres de LinkedIn – le porte-parole de la société a promis que de nouvelles mesures avaient d’ores et déjà été prises pour y remédier. “La sécurité des données de nos membres est pour nous de la plus haute valeur” a-t-il assuré. L’enquête conjointement menée par LinkedIn et le FBI devrait en plus de déterminer l’ampleur exacte du piratage, permettre de savoir s’il est ou non lié à celui du site eHarmony, qui s’est vu voler 1,5 million de codes d’accès, comme à celui de Last.fm, également victime de la fuite de milliers de mots de passe. Pour l’heure, aucune preuve ne vient étayer l’hypothèse fort probable selon laquelle ces attaques puissent être le fait d’un seul et même pirate, ou groupe de hackers.Le 8 juin 2012 à 17:30 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

La douche est le meilleur endroit pour stimuler sa créativité

first_imgLa douche est le meilleur endroit pour stimuler sa créativitéSelon une étude menée sur les facteurs favorisant la créativité, le contexte serait bien plus important que les facultés personnelles dans ce domaine. Ainsi, la douche serait l’endroit idéal pour stimuler sa créativité.Vous êtes fatigué ? Manquez d’inspiration ? Alors il est grand temps de prendre une douche ! C’est du moins ce que suggère une étude menée par deux chercheurs, Allen Braun et Siyuan Liu et publiée dans la revue Scientific Reports de Nature. Selon eux, la douche serait l’endroit idéal pour stimuler sa créativité et ce, pour plusieurs raisons. En effet, contrairement aux idées reçues, la créativité ne serait pas le fruit des qualités propres à un individu, mais davantage une question de contexte. Pour arriver à de telles conclusions, les deux scientifiques se sont intéressés aux cerveaux de rappeurs en pleine improvisation. Ils ont ainsi constaté que la “relaxation des fonctions exécutives” qui permet un relâchement de l’attention, serait une des principales caractéristiques de la créativité. Or, il se trouve qu’au cours de la douche la relaxation des fonctions exécutives est justement complète ! Par ailleurs, “plus la quantité de dopamine libérée est élevée, plus nous sommes créatifs”, constatent les deux chercheurs cités par Slate.fr. Un autre argument qui va une nouvelle fois en faveur de la douche. En effet, cette neuro-hormone est libérée lorsque notre corps se sent bien et qu’il se détend, comme c’est précisément le cas avec une douche tiède ou chaude.Laisser aux idées le temps “d’incuber” À lire aussiLe mariage aiderait à prévenir les risques de démence, mais pourquoi ?Enfin, la distraction constitue le troisième critère de stimulation de la créativité. Lorsque le cerveau se concentre sur un point en particulier, une bonne douche, par exemple, la stérilité d’une réflexion se brise. Comme l’expliquent Allen Braun et Siyuan Liu, c’est ce qu’on appelle la “période d’incubation” : le temps passé sous la douche permet au subconscient de faire remonter les bonnes idées jusqu’au cerveau conscient.Néanmoins, ce n’est pas la première fois que des chercheurs placent la douche parmi les meilleurs moyens de stimuler sa créativité. D’après les spécialistes, garder un petit carnet pour noter tout ce qui nous passe par la tête serait également une bonne idée tout comme toute autre activité qui remplirait les mêmes trois caractéristiques qu’une bonne douche tiède.Le 6 mars 2013 à 09:55 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Les tortues grandes gagnantes de la dernière conférence de la Cites

first_imgLes tortues, grandes gagnantes de la dernière conférence de la CitesLors de la dernière conférence de la Convention sur le commerce des espèces menacées, à Bangkok, des mesures proposées conjointement par la Chine et par les États-Unis pour protéger de nombreuses espèces de tortues ont été entérinées.Aquatiques ou terrestres, de nombreuses espèces de tortues sont convoitées par les marchands d’animaux dits “de compagnie” ou par la médecine traditionnelle asiatique. Émus par leur sort, les gouvernements chinois et américain, en un élan commun très remarqué, ont proposé des mesures supplémentaires pour protéger ces animaux lors de la récente réunion de la Convention sur le commerce international des espèces de faune et de flore sauvages menacées d’extinction (Cites), à Bangkok.À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Les deux pays ont notamment présenté conjointement des propositions visant à accroître la protection d’un certain nombre de tortures asiatiques à carapace molle. Des mesures qui ont été acceptées avec succès par les délégués de la Cites. En tout, ce sont 44 espèces de tortues d’eau douce ou terrestres d’Asie et 3 espèces de tortues d’eau douce nord-américaines qui ont vu leur statut modifié, ce qui signifie que leur commerce sera plus rigoureusement réglementé. “C’est une victoire énorme pour la conservation. Beaucoup (…) sortira de cela”, a commenté le chef de la délégation américaine, Brian Arroyo cité par la BBC. “Ce sont des signaux [qui montrent] que le gouvernement chinois s’est engagé à être sérieux en ce qui concerne la conservation [des espèces]. C’est un bond en avant pour les deux pays en matière de conservation”, a-t-il ajouté. “La mode des animaux« de compagnie exotiques a un prix ; espérons que les gens vont commencer à se rendre compte que la place de ces créatures est dans la Nature et non dans un salon”, a conclu pour sa part l’ONG de protection des animaux Care for the Wild.Le 11 mars 2013 à 18:59 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Le koala pourrait disparaître victime de la chaleur due au réchauffement climatique

first_imgLe koala pourrait disparaître, victime de la chaleur due au réchauffement climatiqueSelon une nouvelle étude australienne, le koala australien pourrait disparaître prochainement, victime du réchauffement climatique. Les auteurs de l’étude appellent à réagir en urgence pour planter des arbres le protégeant de la canicule et des eucalyptus afin qu’il puisse se nourrir.Pendant trois ans, Mathew Crowther, de l’université de Sydney, a suivi 40 koalas par satellite. Il a ainsi étudié en détail leurs habitudes, leur habitat et leur alimentation. Un suivi minutieux mais nécessaire. Il faut dire que 25% des koalas australiens sont morts suite à la canicule de 2009, un chiffre alarmant pour les scientifiques “compte tenu de la fréquence grandissante des événements climatiques extrêmes”.D’ailleurs, cette année en Australie, le mois de septembre a battu des records de chaleur par rapport aux autres années avec des températures supérieures de 2,75°C à la moyenne. Il était donc important de mieux connaître les habitudes de ces animaux, emblèmes de l’Australie, afin de les protéger.Des arbres en guise de protectionGrâce à son étude, Mathew Crowther a pu constater qu’au cours de la journée, le koala australien se réfugie dans de grands arbres dont le feuillage le protège du soleil et des feux de brousse. “Notre recherche confirme que les koalas s’abritent pendant le jour dans différents types d’arbres, avant d’aller se nourrir dans les eucalyptus la nuit”, a expliqué le chercheur repris par l’AFP.”Ils se nourrissent principalement de feuilles d’eucalyptus, ils ont donc besoin de ces arbres, mais aussi d’arbres de la famille des belahs ou des brachychitons”, a t-il ajouté. Mais ce n’est pas tout. “Nous avons également montré que, plus il faisait chaud dans la journée, plus les koalas avaient tendance à rechercher des arbres dotés d’un feuillage dense pour échapper aux températures élevées”, ajoute-il.Or, avec le changement climatique et d’autres menaces, les arbres ont également tendance à se raréfier, offrant encore moins de protection à des koalas déjà fragilisés. C’est pourquoi les scientifiques et protecteurs de la nature appellent à réagir. Une espèce pas assez protégéeÀ lire aussiDengue : symptômes, traitement, prévention, où en est-on ?En juin 2012, le koala a été reconnu comme espèce à protéger par le gouvernement australien mais seulement dans certaines régions du pays. De plus, l’Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature (UICN) continue de le considérer comme une préoccupation mineure malgré les menaces qui pèse sur l’espèce. Selon les dernières estimations, moins de 100.000 individus vivraient encore à l’état sauvage, contre 10 millions avant l’arrivée des colons britanniques en 1788.  A l’heure actuelle, le koala est, non seulement menacé par le réchauffement climatique, mais également par le développement des villes, la circulation automobile, les chiens domestiques et les maladies.Le 4 octobre 2013 à 09:50 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Doctor Who Underrated Villain of the Week Time Beetle

first_imgYou know Daleks and Davros and Missy the Master, Angels, and Silence hell-bent on disaster. But do you recall the most underrated Doctor Who villains of all?Each week, I will dig into the depths of the Whoniverse to examine one rejected, misjudged, or altogether forgotten big bad. Entomophobics, beware.DailymotionTIME BEETLEFirst appearance: “Turn Left” (2008)—season 4, episode 11Home planet: N/ADoctor: TenthCompanion: Donna Noble, Rose TylerWhat if you could change the past? Turn right instead of left, and alter history?During a festive trip to the planet Shan Shen, Donna reluctantly agrees to have her fortune told. After all, the reading is “free for red hair.”Suspiciously interested not in Donna’s future but her past—specifically, the moments that led to her meeting the Doctor—the medium continues pressing for information as something crawls onto Donna’s back.That something is a Time Beetle.DailymotionAn unsettlingly huge insectoid capable of manipulating time, the creature is described as working for The Trickster, a recurring enemy in The Sarah Jane Adventures, whose M.O. is to alter history by changing pivotal moments.It turns out, without a drenched would-be-bride to talk some sense into a vengeful Doctor in a secret basement under the River Thames, the world would be a very different, much darker place.Donna is thrust into a parallel universe, where the Time Lord drowned in the flood he caused during an encounter with the Empress of the Racnoss in “The Runaway Bride.” Without the time traveler there to stop repeated alien raids (the Titanic’s descent into Buckingham Palace, the American populace being transformed into Adipose, the loss of the Torchwood team defeating the Sontaran invasion), England rapidly descends into a third-world country.One bright spot in this fading earth: the reappearance of Rose Tyler.DailymotionDropping in often to steer Donna and her family away from impending death, the former companion never reveals her identity: “Across too many different realities, trust me—the wrong word in the wrong place can change an entire causal nexus.”All the while, people—friends, co-workers, strangers on the street, even Rose—keep eyeing Donna’s back, constantly looking over her shoulder as if there’s something there that they can’t quite see.Eventually convinced of the coming “darkness” Rose warned her about, Donna agrees to join forces with the blonde time traveler and UNIT to remove the Time Beetle.DailymotionBish bash bosh, Donna finds herself back on Shan Shen, bereft of the beetle, and standing over a cowering fortune teller, stammering “What are you? What will you be?”The Time Beetle, as many Doctor Who villains turn out to be, is not the express bad guy. Rather, this was Davies’ way of introducing The Trickster, played by Paul Marc Davis on Sarah Jane’s spinoff, to Who audiences in what he called “the cheap episode.”Stream all of Doctor Who now for free with your Amazon Prime membership.last_img read more

Lazaretto 1 Leaves You at Its Mercy Wanting More

first_img“After a pandemic strikes, a dorm complex at a small American college is quarantined with all of the students trapped within. What first starts out as youthful freedom from authority soon devolves into a violent new society-it’s Lord of the Flies on a college campus.”If you’re ever looking for something that crosses between Lord of the Flies, 28 Days Later and Contagion, Lazaretto #1 is the comic you want to read, and you will not regret it.LAZARETTO #1 (W): Clay McLeod Chapman (I): Jey Levang (L): Aditya Bidikar (CA): Ignacio ValicentiClay McLeod Chapman’s new series from BOOM! Studios titled Lazaretto is by far one of the naturally unusual comics I’ve ever picked up. What do I mean by ‘naturally unusual?” I mean, it’s bizarrely realistic and relatable that you can’t help but sink yourself into the sickness and not look back.via BOOM! StudiosLazaretto #1 tells the story of Charles and Tamara, two starting first-year students at Yersin college. Both of the students are very different, and they take their first days as diverse as they are. Charles almost naturally blends into the background, and Tamara just wants to go home. Although their paths are different, the two quickly strike up a friendship to get by. In the mists of this, the “canine flu” aka H3N8 has been spreading with any knowledge of where it came from. As the kids try to keep themselves from infection, this flu comes with a bigger scale of consequences.Clay McLeod Chapman certainly knows how to make a pandemic even scarier. The build-up in the narrative is tremendous. As the story develops, the sickness grows. Chapman’s script leaves you holding your breath and gasping for air. But also you’ll want to see your nearest doctor as you watch all of these sick kids get sicker. You’re almost left to feel claustrophobic as the students share such close proximities with one another. Chapman brings the slow and steady pace of this script to give you the full punch in the gut right as the full-blown pandemic happens and leaves you at its mercy.Chapman also brings you into the story while the pandemic is already breaking out, which is utterly brilliant. He leaves you with questions after you read the first issue. How did the canine flu first come to pass? Will the kids be okay within the contagion hall? Will they start to turn on each other? How ‘Lord of the Flies’ will this story become? Chapman leaves you begging for more.via BOOM! StudiosJey Levang’s illustrations are positively sickening, and I love it. Their art brings a gruesome face to this pandemic. The slow progression of his build-up marches with Chapman’s script. Remember how I said the sickness grows, Levang’s captures it and makes it even more ghastly than words could describe. Levang’s colors create an even more vomitrocious look with their art. They lace the panels sick in greens and reds in the wake of the pandemic, which become even more apparent once its spread. Levang’s is somewhat of a newcomer, but they’ve been around for awhile. If you haven’t read their webcomic HeLL(P) co-created with C. Vinter, I highly suggest diving into that while you wait for Lazaretto #2.Lazaretto #1 is already shaping into something that you can’t put down. It’s not only a mystery of how this sickness has spread but becomes a survival tale. Not only on how to survive college, but how to survive the everything that the outside brings in. Lazaretto #1 is available now on Comixology and in print.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more