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Learn anywhere with spring term online courses

Brock University is offering online courses as part of its expanded spring term offerings. Turn the clock back 20 years and you’ll find Dale Bradley in awe of this thing called the Internet.The newly paved information superhighway was a place for ideas to be shared and come to life. It held the potential for activism by anyone in ways that had previously never existed and were even difficult to imagine.But it didn’t take long for the World Wide Web to become a tangled mess of mindless cyberstuff once mainstream media got its virtual hands in the online world.“For old guys like me, it was magic when (the Internet) happened and there was hype and hope that it would be a democratic utopia,” recalled Bradley, chair of the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film. “But then it turned into this world of YouTube videos of water skiing squirrels.”No offence to rodents who can hold their own behind a boat but Bradley wants to take the Internet back. He’ll be doing that by teaching students how to find their online voice and become content producers in a world that has been more about consumption than active participation.Enter COMM/FILM/PCUL 2F00, a new online course called New Media Literacy that Bradley will teach during the spring term.The full-credit context credit course is open to students in all faculties and given that work is done with a computer and Internet connection, the class can be taken sitting at a picnic table in the sun instead of in a lecture theatre. Students can also chip away at course work at any time of day – even in their pajamas before bed – because there’s no set lecture or seminar times.It’s one of a handful of online courses offered this summer as part of Brock’s expanded spring term course calendar. Other online courses available are: Introduction to Leisure in Canadian Society (RECL 1P03), London: Monster City (ENGL 4V37), Calculus with Applications (MATH 1P97), and Biology: A human perspective (BIOL 1F25).New Media Literacy, which has room for 100 students, will use social media, including blogging, podcasting, online video production and Twitter, to teach students how to produce content while tackling issues such as copyright and privacy.Blogging, in particular, will be the forum through which students can analyze class readings and interact with their fellow students through comments.“It tries to bring the skill and the critical learning element together,” Bradley explained.Students will also be encouraged to blog about a particular interest, such as the environment, find communities of like-minded people, and develop an online presence with relevance and staying power.“The hope is then, that afterward, they’ll keep doing this … and they’ll become part of an online conversation they’re interested in,” Bradley said. “Once you get connected to people with similar interests, you get sucked in. You can’t stop checking your Twitter feed.“I’m hoping (students) will see it as a beginning point for them to do something that has personal meaning and social relevance in the world.”Read ‘Super Spring’ will be bursting with new course offeringsRead Coaching theory one of several quick credits offered this spring Read Clown doctor in the house this summer at Brock read more

The UK is Getting a New Quidditch League

first_img Quidditch is a fictional sport, but that hasn’t stopped it from going international in the real world, and it’s only just beginning to expand.England is launching its own Quidditch Premier League with eight teams and hopes to have its inaugural season next year.Each team will represent a different region of the country. The names announced are The London Monarchs, The Southwest Broadside, The Southeast Knights, The Eastern Mermaids, The Northern Watch, The Yorkshire Roses, The East Midland Archers, and The West Midland Revolution.The website states that organizers were inspired by the popularity of the sport in the United States. The International Quidditch Association was founded in 2005 on the Middlebury College campus in Vermont and has since grown to over 96 teams as of 2011.The last World Cup was held this year in Germany, with Australia taking the title. The UK is usually represented internationally by QuidditchUK, and the Premier League hopes to partner with them to share resources.The UK league isn’t the first of its kind, but it is another way for Quidditch to gain some ground as an actual sport, just with modified rules. In our version, the “quaffle” is instead a semi-deflated volleyball thrown through hoops. The snitch is a small tennis ball put inside a sock and attached to the seeker’s shorts. Players still ride around on broomsticks, but obviously, they don’t fly. Bludgers exist, and when a player is hit by one, they must return to one of their goalposts before re-entering the game.“The Quidditch Premier League is such an exciting opportunity and development,” said director Jack Lennard. “It’s an opportunity for the sport to grow and gain prestige. It’s an opportunity for players to compete at the highest level. And, most importantly, it’s an opportunity for more people in more places to find out about this incredible sport.”Tryouts are expected to be held next year. You think you have what it takes? Catholic School Bans ‘Harry Potter’ Books Because SpellsToy Tuesday: The Best Animal Toys Stay on targetlast_img read more

4 hospitalized in serious condition after Mount Baker rescue

first_imgBELLINGHAM — Two Boy Scouts and two troop leaders were hospitalized in serious condition and undergoing treatment for hypothermia Monday after spending a night inside a cave high up Mount Baker in Washington state, officials said.Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said the four sought shelter in the cave on the 10,781-foot (3,286-meter) peak after they became separated from other members of their troop, KING-TV in Seattle reported.Mount Baker is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the Canadian border and is part of the Cascade Mountain range.The snow-capped peak can be a challenging climb. All summit routes feature glaciers.The 13-year-old boys and two adults were airlifted to a hospital and were being treated for hypothermia, the station said. Authorities did not identify them.A man, a woman and two boys were in serious condition Monday afternoon at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in the city of Bellingham near the peak, spokeswoman Hilary Andrade told The Associated Press.She said they will be transferred soon to another facility but declined to say where, citing patient privacy issues.The four had been reported missing Sunday and a search was started that afternoon.Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Jilk, who helps manage search and rescue operations, told the Herald earlier Monday that two adults and two 13-year-old boys were using a popular route on the peak’s north face.last_img read more

Biden makes Portland stop to campaign for senator

first_imgPORTLAND — The middle class isn’t sharing in the economic gains since the Great Recession, and wealthy taxpayers should be paying higher taxes, Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday.Biden stopped in Portland to help Sen. Jeff Merkley with his bid for a second term, a must-win race for Democrats trying to maintain control of the Senate. Biden is on a West Coast swing to promote a minimum-wage hike and boost Democratic campaigns.Economic growth has replaced the income that was lost during the recession, but the gains went primarily to taxpayers on the top, Biden said.“I think we should make them start to pay their fair share. Take the burden off the middle class,” Biden told a crowd of several hundred supporters at the Oregon Convention Center.Helped by a surge of new voters turning out to support Barack Obama’s presidential bid, Merkley narrowly defeated a Republican incumbent in 2008 to win his seat. He is now the front-runner against Republican Monica Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon from Portland.last_img read more

Governors announce Super Bowl food bank donations

first_imgOLYMPIA — The Seattle Seahawks-New England Patriots Super Bowl matchup is bringing cross-country donations into the food banks of each team’s home state. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan announced Thursday morning they’re each sending win-or-lose donations to food pantries to help celebrate the game. For Inslee, that means sending 1,000 cups of chowder donated by Seattle restaurant chain Ivar’s across the country to food pantries in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Washington food banks will get Boston cream pie cupcakes from the Koffee Kup Bakery in Springfield, Mass., and New Hampshire bacon. The lieutenant governors of each team’s home state have also announced a wager. If the Seahawks win, Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen will collect beer and cannoli from Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. If the Patriots win, Owen will send east a magnum of wine, smoked salmon, apples and Quinault Indian Nation souvenirs.last_img read more

Patriots Brady wont visit White House with team

first_imgTom Brady citing “personal family matters” as reason he will not be traveling to the White House today #7News https://t.co/61Yl8K9plN— WHDH Assignment Desk (@deskon7) April 19, 2017Brady cited “personal family matters” as the reason for him not attending.The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in overtime, 34-28, after overcoming a 25-point deficit at halftime.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. (WSVN) – The Super Bowl LI champion New England Patriots will visit the White House, Wednesday, but without their star quarterback.According to WHDH in Boston, Tom Brady will not be traveling to the White House with his teammates to commemorate their victory with President Donald Trump.last_img read more

Amazon shares plunge as record profit still misses estimates

first_imgAmazon.com Inc posted its most profitable quarter ever on Thursday but the world’s No. 1 online retailer still managed to disappoint Wall Street by badly missing estimates, sending its shares down more than 13% in after-hours trading.The results, as well as the company’s determination to invest more in new areas and its extremely low profit margins, brought back perennial questions for investors about the company’s ability to consistently earn money.”By comparative retail standards, Amazon’s level of profitability is still painfully weak,” said Neil Saunders, head of retail analyst firm Conlumino, who is still positive on Amazon’s prospects. “For every dollar the company takes, it makes just 0.75 of a cent in profit.”Amazon’s net profit for the fourth quarter, which includes the holiday shopping season, rose to $482 million, or $1.00 per share, in the quarter ended 31 December, up from $214 million, or 45 cents per share, a year earlier.That figure was held back by rising operating costs. It was well below analysts’ average forecast of $1.56 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.The company’s shares plunged 13% to $551.50 after hours on Thursday, following a 9% increase in regular trading. They are still up 80% over the past 12 months.Amazon notched its third consecutive profitable quarter for the first time since 2012, but it still left Wall Street wanting more.”The growth story that investors were looking for… clearly Amazon has not been able to live up to the hype,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital.Net sales rose 21.8% to $35.75 billion, but missed analysts’ expectations of $35.93 billion.Excluding a $1.2 billion unfavourable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 26% compared with the fourth quarter of 2014.Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky defended the company’s results on Thursday, adding that foreign exchange rates had an unexpectedly large impact, but overall the company had “a very strong quarter and a strong year.”Net sales from its cloud services business, Amazon Web Services, rose 69.4% to $2.41 billion, compared with a growth of more than 78% in the third quarter. AWS continues to be the fastest growing division within Amazon.The company’s total operating expenses rose more than 20% to $34.64 billion in the fourth quarter.Olsavsky reiterated Amazon’s expectation to make continued investments in its cloud division and expand its offering for Prime members with faster delivery and more original video content.”The investments will ebb and flow over time, but our focus on cost reductions and improvement on customer experience will be constant,” he said.Amazon has historically sacrificed profit, instead doubling down on investment in growth areas like Prime and AWS. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has called these “big bets” that are the cornerstone of the online retailer’s growth.As a sign of its underlying growth, the Seattle-based company now employs 230,800 staff, many of them in its warehouses, up 50% from 154,100 a year ago.Amazon’s net shipping costs surged 37% in the fourth quarter as it handles more deliveries for its third-party merchants. The company said the number of sellers using the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) programme grew by more than 50% last year.Amazon has been spending on rolling out several new services for members of its $99-a-year Prime loyalty programme, including one-hour delivery and original TV programming, to attract customers in a highly competitive online shopping market.The company said on Thursday worldwide paid Prime subscribers grew 51%. Amazon’s Prime programme is estimated by some analysts to have around 50 million members worldwide.Amazon forecast sales for the first quarter of between $26.5 billion and $29 billion, or up between 17% and 28% compared to the same quarter last year. It forecast operating income between $100 million and $700 million, compared to $255 million in the first quarter last year.Analysts had forecast $27.6 billion in sales and $400.3 million in profit.”The stock is getting killed because the Street is too high on next year,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.last_img read more

Honoring our Sheroes Those Who Have Served and Are Serving

first_imgThe Baltimore County Delta Foundation (BCDF) is hosting a one day Stand Down for homeless military females who have served and are serving in the military, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 14, at the Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville Campus Veterans Center. Stand down is a military term for “at ease” or rest. Brig. Gen. Linda Singh will be the keynote speaker.The Baltimore County Delta Foundation (BCDF) is dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless female veterans in Maryland. It is estimated in a report compiled by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans that there are 2,062 homeless veterans in Maryland. BCDF is  sponsoring a one-day Stand Down event to assist homeless female veterans attain meaningful civilian employment; address housing and healthcare needs and provide ancillary services aimed at meeting their personal needs. Stand Down provides a myriad of services which include shelter, food, clothing, hygiene kits, haircuts, medical care, legal assistance, homeless court, spiritual care and much more.  BCDF is targeting 75 homeless female veterans in Baltimore County and surrounding areas.Workshops will be provided on Intimate Partner Violence, Suited for Sheroes Success, Meaningful Eating and Financial Fitness. Exhibitors will provide information on job readiness, resume writing, scholarships and personal care services. The event will also provide a continental breakfast, box lunch, and snack for all participants.To register for the event: www.bcdeltafoundation.org/stand-down-registration;Additional Info: ejj@bcdeltafoundation.org (Web site) Telephone: 410-656-9866last_img read more

The iPhone 11 Will Use the Same Display As the Galaxy Note

first_imgWhile Samsung and Apple are major rivals, Samsung actually makes displays for both companies. Samsung SDI, the component manufacturing arm of the Korean tech giant, has made the screens for Apple since the iPhone X, although Apple has insisted on using a separate set of materials to the ones used on Samsung’s own displays.However, this may be changing. Korean site The Elec (via 9to5Mac) claims that the iPhone 11 series will use the ‘M9’ materials set for its OLED displays, the same set found on the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10.The old materials you can find on the iPhone X or iPhone XS, codenamed ‘LT2’, have been abandoned. This could potentially be because of the increased quality of the M9 set, a change of heart by Apple, or possibly because Samsung has forced the change because it’s less of a financial risk.MORE: Samsung May Adopt Graphene Batteries for Galaxy S11RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…logoCreated with Sketch. Tech This Out: New Nintendo Switch Battery, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, iPhone 11 LaunchMore VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpTCL 8-Series Lighting Test01:10OffAutomated Captions – en-USLive00:0003:1603:16 In June, it was reported that Apple had to pay Samsung a large fine because it didn’t order enough display panels due to slow phone sales, so it’s reasonable to assume that this had some influence in the decision.It should be noted that even if the components are the same, the final brightness, color accuracy and overall quality of the display can be different. For example, in our Galaxy Note 10 Plus benchmarks, we found that its 6.8-inch display had a brightness of 686 nits, compared to 625 nits for the Galaxy S10 Plus. And the Note 10 Plus’ panel covered a slightly larger percentage of the sRGB color gamut, reaching 212% to the S10 Plus’ 200%.We’re expecting the new Apple smartphone to appear at a Sept. 10 event, and then go on sale a few weeks later. We’ve gathered all the things we know about it in our iPhone 11 rumor round-up page, so check it out so you’re up to speed for the big launch.5 Key Features the iPhone 11 Pro Needs to WinWhy You Should Skip the iPhone 11 for iPhone 12Big iPhone 11 Leak Reveals Color-Changing Designlast_img read more

iPhone 11 Pro Case Shows Apple Pencil Holder

first_imgIf you’ve been clinging to the hope that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 11 will add support for the Apple Pencil, a newly leaked “iPhone 11 Pro” case may be just the pick-me-up you need today.Olixar’s iPhone 11 Pro case(Image credit: Mobile Fun)U.K.-based accessories retailer Mobile Fun typically jumps the gun on posting cases for phones before they’re released. And the retailer’s done that with the iPhone 11 Pro, showing off a case for that rumored model Olixar that includes a built-in Apple Pencil Holder.There are reasons not to dismiss this leaked image out of hand. For one thing, case makers often get the dimensions for new phone releases ahead of time so that they can rush out accessories that are ready at the same time when those phones finally debut.RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…logoCreated with Sketch. The 2019 Kindle OasisThe 2019 Kindle OasisMore VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpThe Google Pixel 4’s Secret Weapon Just Leaked01:15OffAutomated Captions – en-USAutomated Captions – en-USLive00:0001:2601:26 For another, compatibility with the Apple Pencil — which currently works with some Apple’s iPad models — has long been floated as a possibility for the iPhone. Earlier this month, rumors that two of the three phones Apple will release this fall will carry the iPhone Pro moniker have only increased speculation that Apple Pencil support is coming to the new models.Apple has famously turned up its nose at offering a stylus for its phones, with Steve Jobs pointedly suggesting that your fingertip should be the only stylus that you need. Still, that hasn’t stopped Samsung, Apple’s chief smartphone rival, from offering an S Pen stylus with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Galaxy Note 10. The latest Note phones offers several new S Pen features, including Air gestures, converting handwriting to text and AR Doodle. Mobile Fun’s listing for the Olixar case specifically says it’s for an iPhone 11 Pro model. In addition to the pencil holder attached to the case, you can also see a cutout housing the iPhone’s triple camera array — another popular rumor for Apple’s upcoming smartphone.Even with the images, don’t treat Olixar’s case as confirmation that Apple Pencil support is nailed on for the iPhone 11 Pro. The case maker could be hedging its bets that Apple will introduce stylus support for its new phone, and it’s easy enough to whip up a render that houses an Apple pencil. It’s also good publicity for both the case maker and the retailer, too.Still, Apple Pencil support for the next iPhone remains a persistent rumor, and this case, which is available for pre-order, is just another sign that there may be fire to this particular smoke.5 Key Features the iPhone 11 Pro Needs to WiniPhone 11 vs. iPhone 12: Why It Doesn’t Pay to WaitBest iOS Apps You’re Not Using (But Should Be)last_img read more

A study confirms that prebunk game reduces susceptibility to disinformation and increases

first_imgOn Tuesday, the University of Cambridge published a research performed on  thousands of online game players. The study shows how an online game can work like a “vaccine” and increase skepticism towards fake news. This was done by giving people a weak dose of the methods behind disinformation campaigns. Last year in February, University of Cambridge researchers helped in launching the browser game Bad News. In this game, you take on the role of fake news-monger. Drop all pretense of ethics and choose a path that builds your persona as an unscrupulous media magnate. But while playing the game you have to keep an eye on your ‘followers’ and ‘credibility’ meters. The task is to get as many followers as you can while slowly building up fake credibility as a news site. And you lose if you tell obvious lies or disappoint your supporters! Jon Roozenbeek, study co-author from Cambridge University, and Dr Sander van der Linden, Director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab worked with Dutch media collective DROG and design agency Gusmanson to develop Bad News. DROG develops programs and courses and also conducts research aimed at recognizing disinformation online. The game is primarily available in English, and many other languages like Czech, Dutch, German, Greek, Esperanto, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian and Swedish. They have also developed a special Junior version for children in the age group between 8 – 11. Jon Roozenbee, said: “We are shifting the target from ideas to tactics. By doing this, we are hoping to create what you might call a general ‘vaccine’ against fake news, rather than trying to counter each specific conspiracy or falsehood.” Hu further added, “We want to develop a simple and engaging way to establish media literacy at a relatively early age, then look at how long the effects last”. The study says that the game increased psychological resistance to fake news After the game was available to play, thousands of people spent fifteen minutes completing it, and many allowed the data to be used for the research. According to a study of 15000 participants, this game has shown to increase “psychological resistance” to fake news. Players stoke anger and fear by manipulating news and social media within the simulation: they deployed twitter bots, photo-shopped evidence, and incited conspiracy theories to attract followers. All of this was done while maintaining a “credibility score” for persuasiveness. “Research suggests that fake news spreads faster and deeper than the truth, so combating disinformation after-the-fact can be like fighting a losing battle,” said Dr Sander van der Linden. “We wanted to see if we could preemptively debunk, or ‘pre-bunk’, fake news by exposing people to a weak dose of the methods used to create and spread disinformation, so they have a better understanding of how they might be deceived. “This is a version of what psychologists call ‘inoculation theory’, with our game working like a psychological vaccination.” The study was performed by asking players to rate the reliability of content before and after gameplay To gauge the effects of the game, players were asked to rate the reliability of a series of different headlines and tweets before and after gameplay. They were randomly allocated a mixture of real and fake news. There were six “badges” to earn in the game, each reflecting a common strategy used by creators of fake news: impersonation; conspiracy; polarisation; discrediting sources; trolling; emotionally provocative content. There were in-game questions too that measured the effects of Bad News deployed for four of its featured fake news badges. As a result for the disinformation tactic of “impersonation”, which involves mimicking of trusted personalities on social media, the game reduced perceived reliability of the fake headlines and tweets by 24% from pre to post gameplay. Further it reduced perceived reliability of deliberately polarising headlines by about 10%, and “discrediting sources” that is attacking a legitimate source with accusations of bias – by 19%. For “conspiracy”, the spreading of false narratives blaming secretive groups for world events, perceived reliability was reduced by 20%. The researchers also found that those who registered as most susceptible to fake news headlines in the beginning benefited most from the “inoculation”. “We find that just fifteen minutes of gameplay has a moderate effect, but a practically meaningful one when scaled across thousands of people worldwide, if we think in terms of building societal resistance to fake news,” said van der Linden. The sample for the study was skewed towards younger male The sample was self-selecting those who came across the game online and opted to play, and as such was skewed toward younger, male, liberal, and more educated demographics. Hence, the first set of results from Bad News has its limitations, say researchers. However, the study found the game to be almost equally effective across age, education, gender, and political persuasion. But researchers did not mention if they plan to do a follow up study keeping in mind the limitations of this research. “Our platform offers early evidence of a way to start building blanket protection against deception, by training people to be more attuned to the techniques that underpin most fake news,” added Roozenbeek. Community discussion revolve around various fake news reporting techniques This news has attracted much attention on Hacker News, and users have commented about various news reporting techniques that journalists use to promote different stories. One of the user comments reads, “The “best” fake news these days is the stuff that doesn’t register even to people are read-in on the usual anti-patterns. Subtle framing, selective quotation, anonymous sources, “repeat the lie” techniques, and so on, are the ones that I see happening today that are hard to immunize yourself from. Ironically, the people who fall for these are more likely to self-identify as being aware and clued in on how to avoid fake news.” Another users says, “Second best. The best is selective reporting. Even if every story is reported 100% accurately and objectively, by choosing which stories are promoted, and which buried, you can set any agenda you want.” One of them also commented that the discussion diluted the term Fake news in influences and propaganda, it reads, “This discussion is falling into a trap where “Fake News” is diluted to synonym for all influencing news and propaganda. Fake News is propaganda that consists of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes. Nothing mentioned here falls into a category of Fake News. Fake News creates cognitive dissonance and distrust. More subtler methods work differently. But mainstream media also does Fake News” arguments are whataboutism.” To this another user responds, “I’ve upvoted you because you make a good point, but I disagree. IMO, Fake News, in your restrictive definition, is to modern propaganda what Bootstrap is to modern frontend dev. It’s an easy shortcut, widely known, and even talented operators are going to use it because it’s the easiest way to control a (domestic or foreign) population. But resources are there, funding is there, to build much more subtle/complex systems if needed. Cut away Bootstrap, and you don’t particularly dent the startup ecosystem. Cut away fake news, and you don’t particularly dent the ability of troll farms to get work done. We’re in a new era, fake news or not.” Read Next Game rivals, Microsoft and Sony, form a surprising cloud gaming and AI partnership DeepMind’s AI uses reinforcement learning to defeat humans in multiplayer games Introducing Minecraft Earth, Minecraft’s AR-based game for Android and iOS userslast_img read more

Choir school boy impresses in equestrian competition


As the FBAR deadline approaches heres what you need to know

first_imgRelated posts:Pioneer US economist uses data to take on homophobia Russia’s Putin in Cuba, Nicaragua to rekindle Latin America ties Snowdenfreude Colombia president supports allowing medical marijuana U.S. citizens and permanent residents with bank accounts abroad may have to report those accounts to the U.S. government by June 30, 2014. The report is on form FinCen 114, titled the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, sometimes called the FBAR. Many U.S. citizens and permanent residents have questions about their FBAR requirements. Hopefully, the answers below will help illustrate what is necessary.Who needs to file an FBAR?Answer: Any “U.S. person” with financial interest in or signature authority over bank or financial accounts located outside of the United States, if the value of the accounts exceeded $10,000.00 at any time during the year.That’s a bit of a mouthful. Can we break that down a bit? What is a “U.S. Person?”Answer: A U.S. person, for the purposes of the FBAR, means a U.S. citizen, a U.S. resident, or a domestic partnership, corporation, truest or estate.What is the difference between a “financial interest” in an account, or “signature authority” over an account?Answer: A financial interest in an account typically means ownership in the account. Your own personal bank account is an account you have financial interest in. If you own an account jointly with your spouse, you both have a financial interest in the account. A person with signature authority in an account can distribute money from the account, even if the person doesn’t own the account. An example of this would be someone who works for a business or charitable organization who is authorized to sign checks from the company bank account.The rules get more complicated if a title to an account is held by an agent, attorney, corporation, partnership or trust. If you fall into one of these situations, discuss things with an adviser.I have two accounts. None of them ever have $10,000.00 in them. Do I need to file an FBAR?Answer: Maybe. That’s where the “aggregate value” comes in. Aggregate value simply means we add the values of all your accounts together. Imagine that you have two accounts outside the United States, and each has $5,000.50 at the same time during the year. When these accounts are added together, they exceed $10,000.00, and an FBAR is required.I have accounts with Citibank in Costa Rica. Does this count as a foreign financial account even thought Citibank is a U.S. Bank?Answer: Yes, the law states that any financial account located outside of the U.S. must be reported, even if held at a branch of a U.S. institution, such as Citibank.What happens if I just decide not to do this?Answer: The IRS does not always impose the maximum penalty, but they are authorized by law to charge you a $10,000.00 penalty for each violation. If they decide it’s a willful violation, they can go after 50 percent of the value of the account for each year it is not reported. In some cases, this can get into the millions.Is this new? Did Obama do this?Answer: The FBAR comes from the Bank Secrecy Act, which was passed by congress in 1970 and signed into law by Richard Nixon. However, another confusing bank reporting law called FATCA was passed in 2010 and signed by the current president.Ross Lustman is an attorney and enrolled tax agent with U.S. Tax and Accounting, S.A. He lives in Costa Rica and offers tax services for expats. Reach him at ross@ustaxinternational.com.  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

President Solís meets with King Felipe VI in Spain

first_imgRecibimos a @NavasKeylor, invitado especial en el almuerzo oficial en el Palacio Real #GiraTrabajoEuropa pic.twitter.com/7rr31OqxH9— Luis Guillermo Solís (@luisguillermosr) May 8, 2017 Related posts:President Solís to discuss migration, green energy with US Vice President Joe Biden Presidents Obama, Solís sign historic security donation for Costa Rica Costa Rica, Panama ask neighbors to help with stranded migrants President Luis Guillermo Solís to meet with U.S. Vice President Michael Pence Facebook Commentscenter_img President Luis Guillermo Solís began his first official visit to Spain on Monday and met with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and with King Felipe VI.Solís and First Lady Mercedes Peñas — a Madrid native who is soon to become a Costa Rican citizen — joined King Felipe and Queen Letizia at the Royal Palace in Madrid for an official lunch.The president’s agenda for the two-day visit includes bilateral meetings on cooperation, exports and investment issues.President Solís spoke about the unrest in Venezuela and vowed to support a political solution to the conflict. He said that it would be a tragedy if the situation “drags Venezuela into a civil war.”The president also talked about Nicaragua and said “it lacks a democratic regime,” and that this situation is hurting the already difficult relationship between the two countries.On Tuesday, Solís will meet with business sector leaders in search for more investment from Spain, currently one of Costa Rica’s top investors.Special guestReal Madrid’s goalie, Costa Rica’s National Team star Keylor Navas, also attended the lunch as special guest.At his entrance to the Palace, Solís greeted Navas with an informal Tico greeting: “Diay Keylor!” while he stretched his hand.See a video of Keylor Navas entrance to the palace: last_img read more

Taxi rank Plaza raided by authorities

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite The taxi rank and Plaza shopping centre were raided yesterday afternoon (Friday) by police and Public Safety, as well as the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).The authorities raided the area in search of illegal items such as drugs, pirate CDs and DVDs, and unlicensed liquor.The operation was a success, with alcohol and many DVDs being found and confiscated.Police from out of town were also part of the raid, in an attempt to clamp down on crime in the area.last_img read more

Maha Shivarathri Poojay at Azalea Drive temple

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite The Hindu Thirukootam & Shree Ganaser Temple celebrated Maha Shivarathri Poojay at the Azalea Drive temple on Tuesday night. The prayer started at 6pm and continued until 6am the next morning. Devotees gathered at the temple to be blessed and observe this auspicious prayer.Maha Shivaratri Pooja has been given tremendous significance in Hindu mythology. It is said that the ritual worship of Lord Shiva on Shivaratri day pleases Him the most.Devotees further believe that by pleasing Lord Shankara on an auspicious Shivaratri day, a person is absolved of past sins and is blessed with Moksha or salvation. Fasting is usually observed on Maha Shivaratri. However, the way in which fasting is observed has changed over time. Most devotees observe a full day fast on a diet of fruit and milk.Following the method prescribed in Shiva Purana, priests perform a ritual Pooja of Shiva Linga (sacred symbol of Lord Shiva) every three hours all through the night of the Shivaratri Festival. During this Pooja, chants of “Om Namah Shivaya” and sounds of bells chiming reverberate through the temple.The Lingam (statue) is bathed in milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water, which helps to purify the soul, and then a vermilion paste is applied on the Lingam, representing virtue. Devotees offer milk, fruits and bay leaves to the Lord on this Holy occasion.last_img read more

Former cop arrested for impersonating a police officer

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite A former Ladysmith policeman was arrested for impersonating a police officer on Friday. Fahim Khan handed himself over to police on Friday afternoon after he realised that Ladysmith detectives were hunting for him in connection with a case of theft by false pretenses.“Fahim Khan is no longer a police officer and is not entitled to wear a police uniform. It is a criminal offence to impersonate a police officer in or out of police uniform,” stressed a policeman close to the investigation.It is believed that Khan may be linked to several alleged robberies and incidents in which he pretended to still be a policeman.He is expected to appear in court today (Monday).last_img read more

Matric pass rates for IEC and LasecMatric pass rates for IEC and

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite The Islamic Educational Centre (IEC) recorded a flawless 100% pass rate in the 2014 matric examinations.Ladysmith Secondary School (Lasec) also did extremely well, with their matriculants recording a 96.71% pass rate.last_img

Study shows 1 in 4 South Africans go hungry

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite World Food Day is not only about celebrating the consumption of food, but also remembering those who may not be able to partake in it. A report released by social justice group Oxfam shows that 26% of South Africans are not adequately fed on a regular basis. This finding is even more shocking when one considers that South Africa is one of the wealthiest African countries, and has no considerable shortage of food supply, but rather that people cannot afford to buy food. Informal rural communities are hardest hit by food insecurity, due to unemployment, underdeveloped infrastructure and exorbitant food costs. Thirty-eight percent of inhabitants in these areas do not know where they will get their next meal. The situation in urban areas is also dire, with 20% of residents facing daily hunger and a similar proportion at risk of going hungry.Twitter: Oxfam Southern Africa/ @OxfaminSAF Global food insecurityOn a global scale, the number of people suffering from food insecurity has decreased by 100 million over the past ten years, but progress in sub-Saharan Africa remains slow. Factors affecting food insecurity in this region include conflict and natural disasters. This stands in contrast to Asian, Latin American and Caribbean regions, where significant inroads have been made in fighting poverty and food insecurity. To continue fighting this scourge, the UN suggests the following interventions:Public and private investments to raise agricultural productivity;Better access to inputs, land, services, technologies and markets;Measures to promote rural development;Social protection for the most vulnerable, including strengthening their resilience to conflicts and natural disasters;Specific nutrition programmes, particularly to address micronutrient  deficiencies in mothers and children under five.center_img Nutritional choicesWhen quality food becomes too expensive, people often turn to cheaper, but nutritionally inferior alternatives. The Oxfam report makes a case of Elzetta from Joburg, who has a daily budget of R6 to feed herself and three dependants. With these limited funds, her main choices are starchy foods with a very low glycaemic index – foods such as potatoes, rice and bread. Transport costs also eat into funds which could have otherwise been used to feed families. These nutritional choices are also partly to blame for over half of the population over 15 years of age being obese, researchers have found.Oxfam concluded the study by suggesting that addressing food security was at the core of solving a host of societal problems, and that “food insecurity and hunger destroy human potential, strip away human dignity and foster inequality throughout society.”Do you encounter chronic hunger on a daily basis? Are you involved with feeding schemes in your community? Let us know.Read the Oxfam report titled Hidden Hunger in SA: The Faces of Hunger and Malnutrition in a Food Secure Nation.last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Last month Etihad Air

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterLast month, Etihad Airways opened a competition to engage four young Emirati fashion designers to create new onboard loungewear.The design themes had to involve Emirati and UAE influences, and designers were required to work with traditional patterns and accents, but make their work contemporary.Rawdha Al Shafar (A Friend of Mine by Xpose), Manaal Al Hammadi (Manaal Al Hammadi), Asma Al Matrooshi (Epiphany) and Aisha Al Marri (1981 Boutique) developed designs over a one week period for a chance to win the prize of having their design offered in Etihad Airways’ first class cabins and in The Residence on board the Airbus A380.Over the three day voting period, nearly 71,000 votes were submitted over Zahrat Al Khaleej’s Snapchat channel and website. The two finalists, Rawdha Al Shafar and Aisha Al Marri were chosen to develop a prototype design within a week for the final judging round, with Rawdha Al Shafar winning the final design.Rawdha Al Shafar said of the competition: “I am so honoured to have won this prestigious competition. The team at Zahrat Al Khaleej and Etihad Airways have been incredibly supportive. The other designers have certainly been tough opponents as they all showed much skill and talent. This was an extremely challenging competition – to turn around a design and a prototype in just a couple of weeks was testing but certainly rewarding. I can’t wait to see my design on board next year!”The team from A Friend of Mine by Xpose will work closely with Etihad Airways’ Guest Experience & Delivery and Product & Brand teams to monitor the production of the loungewear over the next few months before being introduced onboard by quarter one next year.Linda Celestino, Etihad Airways Vice President of Guest Experience and delivery, said: “This is the first time an airline has done something such as this. I absolutely loved working with these incredibly talented young Emirati women, who showed such passion and determination. This gives Etihad Airways an opportunity to showcase the talent that exists in the region. It was certainly a tough choice but A Friend of Mine deserves the win.”Go back to the e-newsletterHala Al Gergawi, Managing Editor of Zahrat Al Khaleej, Fatma Al Mudhareb, Rawdha Al Shafar, Bouthaina Al Marri and Linda Celestino, Vice President Guest Experience and DeliverySketches of the winning design by A Friend of Mine by Xposelast_img read more