The Auditor General must investigate the ministerial housing benefit

first_imgLike everything else the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) does, the housing benefits for Ministers is now shrouded in another mountain of lies. Everything about their housing allowance now has the unmistakable stench of corruption. Parliament has confirmed that they pay rent twenty times above the statutory housing allowance for two junior Ministers, Simona Broomes and Valarie Patterson. But other Ministers are also living in rented properties. Who is paying those rentals? What is APNU/AFC hiding?Whenever the APNU/AFC is exposed for wrong doings, they have a nasty proclivity to throw people under the bus. Recently, Minister Lawrence threw the now fired CEO of the GPHC “under the bus and ran him over” for the shameful 5 million sole-sourced procurement of medicines for which GPHC paid prices averaging three times the actual cost. She pulled herself out of the mess and left CEO Johnson to suffocate in the stench of one of the many ugly APNU/AFC corrupt transactions. Now they have thrown Sherlock Isaacs and Parliament office under the bus for the abuse of the housing allowance for Ministers. Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, claimed the payments of 0,000 each per month for rentals for two junior Ministers has nothing to do with APNU/AFC and the Cabinet. It is Isaacs and Parliament office that have gone rogue. I know that Isaacs will not exceed his authority.The Ministerial Housing Benefit is legal and is standard in all democracies around the world. There is nothing wrong with the Government providing housing for Ministers. However, Ministerial Housing Benefits have statutory limits. Governments must be accountable for how they implement a Ministerial Housing benefit. How governments treat the housing benefit is reflective of how prudent they are in spending taxpayers’ money. While Ministers must be offered decent housing, ministerial housing cannot be an extravagant affair.Some Ministers live in their own homes. Their electricity, water, telephone, Internet and security bills are paid for by the Government. These Ministers also receive a ,000 housing allowance. Some Ministers live in Government-owned properties, such as the Echilbar Villas. I lived there for over 15 years as a Minister. In such cases, there is no ,000 housing allowance. Some Ministers rent homes on their own and Government has a cap on what they can pay. I am aware that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government never paid rentals of 0,000 per month. But we now know after two years that Parliament pays rental of at least 0,000 per month for two Junior Ministers.How many Ministers are living in their own homes and how much are they paid as a housing allowance? How many Ministers are living in State-owned houses? How many Ministers are living in rented properties and what are the rents for these properties? These rentals and the housing allowances are part of the national budget estimates and cannot be treated as State secrets.Several APNU/AFC Ministers are living in rented properties, more than during the PPP terms of office. That more Ministers today live in rented properties is not an issue for quarrel. But the public should know how many Ministers are living in rented properties the State is paying for and how much the State is paying. APNU/AFC must come clean on this matter. This is even more critical in the milieu of suspicion that taxpayers are paying rentals that are extravagant. For example, I am informed that one Minister is paying more than million per month. Worse, this same Minister owns his own home and is renting it to the Government for one of the senior advisors. How many Ministers who own their homes are living in State-provided properties?The response cannot be that under the PPP some Ministers lived in rental properties too. That a Minister lives in a rental property is not being queried. What is being queried is that APNU/AFC is paying extravagant amounts. People want to know, they deserve to know and it is their right to know how taxpayers’ monies are being spent. Because it is taxpayers’ money, this cannot be treated as State secrets. If APNU/AFC is unwilling to tell us, then we want to know what is it they are hiding from us. This matter is now public and the Auditor General should investigate this matter urgently.Send comments to doc_ram@hotmail.comlast_img read more

SEA Games: Jocelyn Ninobla takes home 2nd poomsae gold for PH

first_img‘People evacuated on their own’ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:11SEA GAMES 2019: PH’s Nesthy Petecio boxing featherweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)08:07Athletes treated to a spectacle as SEA Games 2019 officially ends06:27SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold05:02SEA Games 2019: Philippines clinches historic gold in women’s basketball05:21Drama in karate: Tsukii ‘very sad’ over coach’s bullying, cold shoulder03:24PH’s James Palicte boxing light welterweight final (HIGHLIGHTS) Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Microsoft ends free Windows 7 security updates on Tuesday Taal Volcano’s lava fountain weakens, but Phivolcs says it’s not sign of slowing down Thailand reports case of coronavirus from China NFA assures ample rice supply in ashfall, eruption-affected areas MANILA, Philippines—Jocelyn Ninobla made it a golden double for the Philippines after a close win in women’s individual recognized poomsae in taekwondo in the 30th Southeast Asian Games Saturday at Rizal Memorial Complex.ADVERTISEMENT Lava gushes out of Taal Volcano as villagers flee Ninobla scored 8.433 for the gold medal, just .001 ahead of silver medalist Ornawee Srisahakit of Thailand who had 8.432. Vietnam’s Tran Kim Uyen Le rounded out the podium with her bronze performance garnering a score of 8.149.The jin from University of Santo Tomas joined Rodolfo Reyes Jr. as the first two Filipinos to win gold medals in taekwondo in the 2019 SEA Games.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4Ninobla, who is also competing another event later in the day, is a gold medal winner in the team category in the 2019 Korea Open. Leonardo DiCaprio, Taika Waititi, other stars react to Oscar nominations SEA Games: Cebuana gymnast Daniela Dela Pisa wins gold in hoops event No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist MOST READ LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Senate votes to revive immigration reform bill

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate voted Tuesday to jump-start a stalled immigration measure to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants. President Bush said the bill offered a “historic opportunity for Congress to act,” and appeared optimistic about its passage by week’s end. The pivotal test-vote was 64-35 to revive the divisive legislation. It still faces formidable obstacles in the Senate, including bitter opposition by GOP conservatives and attempts by some waverers in both parties to revise its key elements. Supporters needed 60 votes to scale procedural hurdles and return to the bill. A similar test-vote earlier this month found just 45 supporters, only seven of them Republicans. This time, 24 Republicans joined 39 Democrats and independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, to back moving ahead with the bill. Opposing the move were 25 Republicans, nine Democrats and independent Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., an architect of the bill, said he was proud of the vote, calling it “a major step forward for our national security, for our economy, and for our humanity.” “We did the right thing today because we know the American people sent us here to act on our most urgent problems. We know they will not stand for small political factions getting in the way,” Kennedy said in a statement following the vote. Tuesday’s outcome was far from conclusive, however. The measure still must overcome another make-or-break vote as early as Thursday that will also require the backing of 60 senators. And there is no guarantee that it will ultimately attract even the simple majority it needs to pass. The Senate was preparing to begin voting as early as Tuesday afternoon on some two dozen amendments that have the potential to either sap its support or draw new backers. Republicans and Democrats alike are deeply conflicted over the measure, which also creates a temporary worker program, strengthens border security and institutes a new system for weeding out illegal immigrants from workplaces. Bush has mounted an unusually personal effort to defuse Republican opposition to the bill, appearing at a Senate party lunch earlier this month and dispatching two Cabinet secretaries to take up near-constant residence on Capitol Hill to push the compromise. He called the measure a deal worthy of support. “In a good piece of legislation like this, and a difficult piece of legislation like this, one side doesn’t get everything they want,” he told business leaders and representatives of religious, Hispanic and agricultural communities earlier Tuesday. “It’s a careful compromise.” The vote suggested that key senators and White House officials had succeeded — at least for now — in bargaining with skeptical lawmakers for a second chance to pass the bill. Several senators who have been promised votes on their amendments, including Sens. Kit Bond, R-Mo., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Norm Coleman, R-Minn., Pete Domenici, R-N.M., John Ensign, R-Nev., and Jim Webb, D-Va., switched their votes to support moving ahead with the measure. Still, after a chaotic several weeks in which the legislation survived several near-death experiences, it remained buffeted by intraparty squabbles. As senators were preparing for the showdown vote Tuesday morning, House Republicans meeting privately on the other side of the Capitol were plotting to register their opposition through a party resolution. The measure never saw a vote for procedural reasons, but an attempt to kill it failed overwhelmingly, signaling deep GOP skepticism. “It’s clear there’s a large number of the House Republicans who have serious concerns with the Senate bill,” said Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, the minority leader. Several of the Republican amendments slated for upcoming Senate votes would make the bill tougher on unlawful immigrants, while those by Democrats would make it easier on those seeking to immigrate legally based solely on family ties. Particularly worrisome to supporters, including the Bush administration, is a bipartisan amendment by Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., that would change the bill’s new program for weeding out illegal employees from U.S. workplaces. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


first_imgDonegal entrepreneur and Finn Harps fanatic Ian Harkin disclosed the details of his incredible success with his company LOTTIE on TV3 last night.Donegal entrepreneur Ian Harkin made his TV debut last night as the incredible success of his toy company LOTTIE continues to gain recognition globally!The Ballybofey based businessman appeared on TV3 programme The Seven O’ Clock Show in which he discussed in-depth the success the business has generated over the last few years.Harkin disclosed how he and his business partner Lucie Follett boldly decided to take on the famous worldwide doll brand BARBIE. In a fascinating interview Harkin revealed that after extensive market research they realised there was a gap in the industry for a specific type of doll like LOTTIE that resonated with both parents and children.The success of his product has been evidenced by the fact LOTTIE is now being exported to over THIRTY countries from all over the world.Harkin said, “We launched LOTTIE just over two years ago, we spoke with a lot of parents when we conducted our research and also spoke to child psychologists, play experts and child nutritionists, we also done focus groups with kids and parents.“What we found was that kids were missing out on their childhood and were trying to be adults from a very young age, we found that they were already developing body image issues. “We based LOTTIE on a nine year-old, LOTTIE doesn’t wear make-up, doesn’t wear jewellery and she doesn’t wear high heels.“With LOTTIE were trying to let kids do everything they do in their own age group, and well never do an adult themed doll with LOTTIE.Harkin also discussed how he’d secured a deal with the European Space Agency to produce a LOTTIE doll that travels into space and this enables kids to learn about the solar system.Harkin told presenters Lucy Kennedy and Martin King that the risk of selling his home to invest in the business is now paying off.“We’ve really taken off and we’re now selling in THIRTY countries all over the world, this time last year there was just me and my business partner Lucie, but we now we’re employing eight people in Donegal. “I was living in London at the time we started the business, and I got support from Enterprise Ireland to move the company back here.“I sold my home, put everything into the business and Lucie re-mortgaged her home, so there was a lot at risk but thankfully it has paid off.“Our social media and PR has really brought us into the homes of many families right around the world.DONEGAL ENTREPRENEUR APPEARS ON TV3 SHOW AS HIS TOY COMPANY GOES GLOBAL! was last modified: June 16th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BusinessdollsFeaturesIan HarkinLottienewsToyTV3last_img read more

Free dental and eye exams for self-employed welcomed

first_imgSelf-employed people can now benefit from free dental and optical exams through the Treatment Benefit Scheme for the first time ever.Local Cllr. Jimmy Kavanagh has welcomed the move by Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar to extend these PRSI benefits to 450,000 self-employed people and their spouses across the State.“Thanks to our recovering economy, the Treatment Benefit Scheme covering free dental and optical exams has been restored to employees, and crucially is now also being extended to self-employed people for the first time ever. “This means that small business owners farmers, tradesmen, freelancers, contractors and professionals can now benefit from this Scheme for the first time.”People who work for themselves and pay PRSI at class S can now get the same regular dental and optical examinations, free of charge, that until now were only available to employees.They can also get a grant for hearing aids of 50% of the cost, to a maximum of €500 per aid, every four years.Cllr Kavanagh added “This move is just one element of Fine Gael’s overall plan to support self-employed people. “We have already made steps along the road to fully equalise tax credits between PAYE workers and the self-employed. We also reduced capital gains tax relief for entrepreneurs, reduced commercial motor tax for road hauliers and reduced the cost of accepting card payments to help retailers. “Many small business owners have spoken to me about the fact that they were not entitled to State supports, compared with PAYE employees. Fine Gael committed to changing that, in recognition of the fact that self- employed people must be supported and encouraged. Successful small businesses create jobs, thereby increasing the opportunities for job seekers in our local towns and villages. Supporting the self-employed is good news for the whole community.“That’s why we committed to restoring the Treatment Benefit Scheme to employees which had been cut by Fianna Fáil in the wake of their economic crash. We also committed to extending it to the self-employed and I am really pleased that small business owners will now benefit. I was also pleased to hear Minister Varadkar confirm that more benefits are to come and we will look to further strengthen supports for the self-employed.“This will include the restoration of scale and polish treatment under the dental scheme, and the option of free spectacles or a contribution towards a more expensive pair under the optical scheme. The past division between employees and self-employed people will be eradicated, as from now on, the restoration of benefits such as these will be available to both employees and the self-employed.”“Minister Varadkar will also make the invalidity pension available to self-employed contributors who cannot work due to long term illness or disability.The Fine Gael county councillor said this will be a really welcome move for self-employed people who, for the first time ever will have that security if they are unable to work.“Small and family businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and have played a crucial role in the recovery that is now well underway.” Cllr. Kavanagh concluded. Free dental and eye exams for self-employed welcomed was last modified: March 31st, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

#Nextchat: Romance, Lust and Litigation in the Workplace

first_imgThere was a time when it was quite common for individuals to find their spouses (or partners) in the workplace. Indeed, this still happens today, although perhaps less so.However, we know that there are risks if someone with power dates or attempts to date someone over whom he or she has direct or indirect supervisory or institutional power. There are risks everywhere you turn: Let’s just focus for a moment narrowly on a supervisor asking a subordinate for a date:Supervisor asks a subordinate for a date. Subordinate says “No.” Supervisor asks again. Problem.Supervisor asks a subordinate for a date. Subordinate says “I’m busy.” Subordinate means “I would rather die.” Supervisor hears “Ask me again.” Supervisor asks again. Problem.Supervisor asks a subordinate for a date. Subordinate says “No.” Supervisor does not ask again. However, the subordinate is subject to an adverse action by the supervisor, which is perceived as retaliation. Problem.Supervisor asks a subordinate for a date. Subordinate says “Yes.” They fall in love until they hate each other. Subordinate then claims pressure to get involved or retaliation after getting out. Problem.Supervisor asks a subordinate for a date. Subordinate says “Yes.” They fall in love. But all their loving is making others uncomfortable. Problem.We know from the #MeToo movement that more than a few men with power have abused their power in the pursuit of intimate relationships. So now is a good time for employers to revisit their policies—or to consider developing policies—to deal with intimate relationships where there is a power differential.Employers need to protect employees from harm (and, in doing so, minimize their legal risk). But employers also cannot ignore reality: Love happens in workplace settings.The problem is clear. What may be less clear is what employers should do in response. That’s why we need to chat!Please join @weknownext on March 7 at 3 p.m. ET for #Nextchat with special guest Jonathan A. Segal (@Jonathan_HR_Law). As a columnist for HR Magazine and an official SHRM Blogger, Jonathan has written extensively on the issue of workplace romance.In what we expect to be a lively and fun chat, we will discuss the following issues:Q1. What are the legal risks associated with romantic relationships in the workplace?Q2. How can workplace relationships where there is a power differential (such as supervisory-subordinate) affect other employees, teams and workplace culture?Q3. What are the perils of dating your peers in the workplace? Q4. What are the risks in romantic relationships between employees and clients/customers?Q5. Is it practical to prohibit workplace relationships where there is a power differential (such as supervisory-subordinate)? Why or why not?Q6. What are some of the potential risks of prohibiting intimate relationships where there is a power differential (such as supervisory-subordinate)?Q7. Are there alternatives to prohibitions that may minimize potential for harm and associated legal risks of work-related romantic relationships?Q8. What should an HR professional do if he or she becomes involved with an employee of the organization?last_img read more

Day Two at the SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference

first_imgHow do you top a lunch with Sean Spicer and Donna Brazile? You bring Gloria Borger on stage to kick off day two at the SHRM Law and Legislative Conference. Elegant, articulate, intelligent and insightful to the inner workings of Washington, D.C., Borger shared an incredible week’s news cycle to provide context for the environment we live in today. Transparent and open to multiple questions from the audience (I even got one in!), Gloria provided an engaging and enlightening open session. And of course, near the end it was announced that Secretary of State Tillerson was being replaced, which added to the Q&A.The Day included another great lunch-time session with Victoria Lipnic – Acting EEOC Chair and Jonathan Segal, Esq., a long-time friend and speaker for SHRM on pressing legal topics. Today was a frank discussion on sexual harassment and attitudes towards it in the workplace. Again, an audience participation poll was utilized, and Segal pointed out the need for leaders to be active participants in training and modeling behavior in the workplace for any true change to happen.Several great breakout sessions were had throughout the day. I caught part of Natasha Bowman’s discussion on high achievers and high deceivers, offering practical issues and actions to deal with bad behavior from rock star employees.I also did my Decisions – Decisions session discussing real life practical responses and actions for when your executive team goes rogue.  Tomorrow is Advocacy Day with approximately 200 HR advocates visiting their respective congressional offices to discuss relevant HR issues. The boot camp for first timers will be led by SHRM’s Meredith Nethercutt and Lisa Horn. I will be a first timer with this and look forward to visiting my congressman Tom Suozzi’s office along with Senator’s Gillibrand and Schumer. I will be back at the end of the week to give you a peak inside the offices of our legislators.last_img read more

YouTube Re-design in Beta

first_imgRelated Posts The other design changes are seen directly below the video. Here is the old version: Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Today I spotted a link on YouTube to “Try out the NEW (beta) version of this page!”. Clicking through, I saw a fresh design for their video pages – not a huge re-design, but there were some subtle improvements. The main navigation and theme is largely the same, but links have been re-ordered, usability had been improved, and there is a splash of Ajax in the beta. The first noticeable change is in the right sidebar, which has been cleaned up and segmented better. Here is the old version: And here is the new version: richard macmanus The new version has specific sections for ‘Related Videos’ and ‘Promoted Videos’ (a.k.a. popular ones). The ‘Director’ videos have been cut, perhaps reflecting that popular videos aren’t necessarily professionally made by a director. At first glance it seems odd to cut the ‘More from this user’ section, but I think this has been integrated into ‘Related Videos’ (as with ‘Playlists’). So YouTube has reduced the number of clickable options, by consolidating them into one section. Also the embed code has been moved to below the video (see below).Note the added use of Ajax, in the ‘more info/less info’ toggle: Once again, the links appear to have been consolidated and made bolder (with less words). The main change though is that the embed options have been added directly below the video – in the old version the embed options are in the sidebar.ConclusionSo this isn’t a major re-design, mostly small improvements to the usability and a touch of Ajax. YouTube could do a lot more – e.g. the comments could be threaded and other social networking features added. But still it is good to see YouTube try out new design improvements. Note that I tried to check the YouTube blog for more details, but as of writing it is experiencing a 500 Internal Server Error. But not to worry, “a team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation” according to the error message 🙂 And here is the new beta sidebar: Tags:#news#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Using Composer With WordPress

first_img Related postsInclusive Components: Book Reviews And Accessibility Resources13th December 2019Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?12th December 2019Building A CSS Layout: Live Stream With Rachel Andrew10th December 2019Struggling To Get A Handle On Traffic Surges10th December 2019How To Design Profitable Sales Funnels On Mobile6th December 2019How To Build A Real-Time Multiplayer Virtual Reality Game (Part 2)5th December 2019 Using Composer With WordPress Using Composer With WordPress Leonardo Losoviz 2019-03-04T14:00:33+01:00 2019-03-05T08:52:30+00:00WordPress is getting modernized. The recent inclusion of JavaScript-based Gutenberg as part of the core has added modern capabilities for building sites on the frontend, and the upcoming bump of PHP’s minimum version, from the current 5.2.4 to 5.6 in April 2019 and 7.0 in December 2019, will make available a myriad of new features to build powerful sites.In my previous article on Smashing in which I identified the PHP features newly available to WordPress, I argued that the time is ripe to make components the basic unit for building functionalities in WordPress. On one side, Gutenberg already makes the block (which is a high-level component) the basic unit to build the webpage on the frontend; on the other side, by bumping up the required minimum version of PHP, the WordPress backend has access to the whole collection of PHP’s Object-Oriented Programming features (such as classes and objects, interfaces, traits and namespaces), which are all part of the toolset to think/code in components.So, why components? What’s so great about them? A “component” is not an implementation (such as a React component), but instead, it’s a concept: It represents the act of encapsulating properties inside objects, and grouping objects together into a package which solves a specific problem. Components can be implemented for both the frontend (like those coded through JavaScript libraries such as React or Vue, or CSS component libraries such as Bootstrap) and the backend.We can use already-created components and customize them for our projects, so we will boost our productivity by not having to reinvent the wheel each single time, and because of their focus on solving a specific issue and being naturally decoupled from the application, they can be tested and bug-fixed very easily, thus making the application more maintainable in the long term.The concept of components can be employed for different uses, so we need to make sure we are talking about the same use case. In a previous article, I described how to componentize a website; the goal was to transform the webpage into a series of components, wrapping each other from a single topmost component all the way down to the most basic components (to render the layout). In that case, the use case for the component is for rendering — similar to a React component but coded in the backend. In this article, though, the use case for components is importing and managing functionality into the application.Getting workflow just right ain’t an easy task. So are proper estimates. Or alignment among different departments. That’s why we’ve set up “this-is-how-I-work”-sessions — with smart cookies sharing what works well for them. A part of the Smashing Membership, of course. Explore Smashing Membership ↬Introduction To Composer And PackagistTo import and manage own and third-party components into our PHP projects, we can rely on the PHP-dependency manager Composer which by default retrieves packages from the PHP package repository Packagist (where a package is essentially a directory containing PHP code). With their ease of use and exceptional features, Composer + Packagist have become key tools for establishing the foundations of PHP-based applications.Composer allows to declare the libraries the project depends on and it will manage (install/update) them. It works recursively: libraries depended-upon by dependencies will be imported to the project and managed too. Composer has a mechanism to resolve conflicts: If two different libraries depend on a different version of a same library, Composer will try to find a version that is compatible with both requirements, or raise an error if not possible.To use Composer, the project simply needs a composer.json file in its root folder. This file defines the dependencies of the project (each for a specific version constraint based on semantic versioning) and may contain other metadata as well. For instance, the following composer.json file makes a project require nesbot/carbon, a library providing an extension for DateTime, for the latest patch of its version 2.12:{ “require”: { “nesbot/carbon”: “2.12.*” }}We can edit this file manually, or it can be created/updated through commands. For the case above, we simply open a terminal window, head to the project’s root directory, and type:composer require “nesbot/carbon”This command will search for the required library in Packagist (which is found here) and add its latest version as a dependency on the existing composer.json file. (If this file doesn’t yet exist, it will first create it.) Then, we can import the dependencies into the project, which are by default added under the vendor/ folder, by simply executing:composer installWhenever a dependency is updated, for instance nesbot/carbon released version 2.12.1 and the currently installed one is 2.12.0, then Composer will take care of importing the corresponding library by executing:composer updateIf we are using Git, we only have to specify the vendor/ folder on the .gitignore file to not commit the project dependencies under version control, making it a breeze to keep our project’s code thoroughly decoupled from external libraries.Composer offers plenty of additional features, which are properly described in the documentation. However, already in its most basic use, Composer gives developers unlimited power for managing the project’s dependencies.Introduction To WPackagistSimilar to Packagist, WPackagist is a PHP package repository. However, it comes with one particularity: It contains all the themes and plugins hosted on the WordPress plugin and theme directories, making them available to be managed through Composer.To use WPackagist, our composer.json file must include the following information:{ “repositories”:[ { “type”:”composer”, “url”:”” } ]}Then, any theme and plugin can be imported to the project by using “wpackagist-theme” and “wpackagist-plugin” respectively as the vendor name, and the slug of the theme or plugin under the WordPress directory (such as “akismet” in as the package name. Because themes do not have a trunk version, then the theme’s version constraint is recommended to be “*”:{ “require”: { “wpackagist-plugin/akismet”:”^4.1″, “wpackagist-plugin/bbpress”:”>=2.5.12″, “wpackagist-theme/twentynineteen”:”*” }}Packages available in WPackagist have been given the type “wordpress-plugin” or “wordpress-theme”. As a consequence, after running composer update, instead of installing the corresponding themes and plugins under the default folder vendor/, these will be installed where WordPress expects them: under folders wp-content/themes/ and wp-content/plugins/ respectively.Possibilities And Limitations Of Using WordPress And Composer TogetherSo far, so good: Composer makes it a breeze to manage a PHP project’s dependencies. However, WordPress’ core hasn’t adopted it as its dependency management tool of choice, primarily because WordPress is a legacy application that was never designed to be used with Composer, and the community can’t agree if WordPress should be considered the site or a site’s dependency, and integrating these approaches requires hacks.In this concern, WordPress is outperformed by newer frameworks which could incorporate Composer as part of their architecture. For instance, Laravel underwent a major rewriting in 2013 to establish Composer as an application-level package manager. As a consequence, WordPress’ core still does not include the composer.json file required to manage WordPress as a Composer dependency.Knowing that WordPress can’t be natively managed through Composer, let’s explore the ways such support can be added, and what roadblocks we encounter in each case.There are three basic ways in which WordPress and Composer can work together:Manage dependencies when developing a theme or a plugin;Manage themes and plugins on a site;Manage the site completely (including its themes, plugins and WordPress’ core).And there are two basic situations concerning who will have access to the software (a theme or plugin, or the site):The developer can have absolute control of how the software will be updated, e.g. by managing the site for the client, or providing training on how to do it;The developer doesn’t have absolute control of the admin user experience, e.g. by releasing themes or plugins through the WordPress directory, which will be used by an unknown party.From the combination of these variables, we will have more or less freedom in how deep we can integrate WordPress and Composer together.From a philosophical aspect concerning the objective and target group of each tool, while Composer empowers developers, WordPress focuses primarily on the needs of the end users first, and only then on the needs of the developers. This situation is not self-contradictory: For instance, a developer can create and launch the website using Composer, and then hand the site over to the end user who (from that moment on) will use the standard procedures for installing themes and plugins — bypassing Composer. However, then the site and its composer.json file fall out of sync, and the project can’t be managed reliably through Composer any longer: Manually deleting all plugins from the wp-content/plugins/ folder and executing composer update will not re-download those plugins added by the end user.The alternative to keeping the project in sync would be to ask the user to install themes and plugins through Composer. However, this approach goes against WordPress’ philosophy: Asking the end user to execute a command such as composer install to install the dependencies from a theme or plugin adds friction, and WordPress can’t expect every user to be able to execute this task, as simple as it may be. So this approach can’t be the default; instead, it can be used only if we have absolute control of the user experience under wp-admin/, such as when building a site for our own client and providing training on how to update the site.The default approach, which handles the case when the party using the software is unknown, is to release themes and plugins with all of their dependencies bundled in. This implies that the dependencies must also be uploaded to WordPress’ plugin and theme subversion repositories, defeating the purpose of Composer. Following this approach, developers are still able to use Composer for development, however, not for releasing the software.This approach is not failsafe either: If two different plugins bundle different versions of a same library which are incompatible with each other, and these two plugins are installed on the same site, it could cause the site to malfunction. A solution to this issue is to modify the dependencies’ namespace to some custom namespace, which ensures that different versions of the same library, by having different namespaces, are treated as different libraries. This can be achieved through a custom script or through Mozart, a library which composes all dependencies as a package inside a WordPress plugin.For managing the site completely, Composer must install WordPress under a subdirectory as to be able to install and update WordPress’ core without affecting other libraries, hence the setup must consider WordPress as a site’s dependency and not the site itself. (Composer doesn’t take a stance: This decision is for the practical purpose of being able to use the tool; from a theoretical perspective, we can still consider WordPress to be the site.) Because WordPress can be installed in a subdirectory, this doesn’t represent a technical issue. However, WordPress is by default installed on the root folder, and installing it in a subdirectory involves a conscious decision taken by the user.To make it easier to completely manage WordPress with Composer, several projects have taken the stance of installing WordPress in a subfolder and providing an opinionated composer.json file with a setup that works well: core contributor John P. Bloch provides a mirror of WordPress’ core, and Roots provides a WordPress boilerplate called Bedrock. I will describe how to use each of these two projects in the sections below.Managing The Whole WordPress Site Through John P. Bloch’s Mirror Of WordPress CoreI have followed Andrey “Rarst” Savchenko’s recipe for creating the whole site’s Composer package, which makes use of John P. Bloch’s mirror of WordPress’ core. Following, I will reproduce his method, adding some extra information and mentioning the gotchas I found along the way.First, create a composer.json file with the following content in the root folder of your project:{ “type”: “project”, “config”: { “vendor-dir”: “content/vendor” }, “extra”: { “wordpress-install-dir”: “wp” }, “require”: { “johnpbloch/wordpress”: “>=5.1” }}Through this configuration, Composer will install WordPress 5.1 under folder “wp”, and dependencies will be installed under folder “content/vendor”. Then head to the project’s root folder in terminal and execute the following command for Composer to do its magic and install all dependencies, including WordPress:composer install –prefer-distLet’s next add a couple of plugins and the theme, for which we must also add WPackagist as a repository, and let’s configure these to be installed under “content/plugins” and “content/themes” respectively. Because these are not the default locations expected by WordPress, we will later on need to tell WordPress where to find them through constant WP_CONTENT_DIR.Note: WordPress’ core includes by default a few themes and plugins under folders “wp/wp-content/themes” and “wp/wp-content/plugins”, however, these will not be accessed.Add the following content to composer.json, in addition to the previous one:{ “repositories”: [ { “type”: “composer”, “url” : “” } ], “require”: { “wpackagist-plugin/wp-super-cache”: “1.6.*”, “wpackagist-plugin/bbpress”: “2.5.*”, “wpackagist-theme/twentynineteen”: “*” }, “extra”: { “installer-paths”: { “content/plugins/{$name}/”: [“type:wordpress-plugin”], “content/themes/{$name}/”: [“type:wordpress-theme”] } }}And then execute in terminal:composer update –prefer-distHallelujah! The theme and plugins have been installed! Since all dependencies are distributed across folders wp, content/vendors, content/plugins and content/themes, we can easily ignore these when committing our project under version control through Git. For this, create a .gitignore file with this content:wp/content/vendor/content/themes/content/plugins/Note: We could also directly ignore folder content/, which will already ignore all media files under content/uploads/ and files generated by plugins, which most likely must not go under version control.There are a few things left to do before we can access the site. First, duplicate the wp/wp-config-sample.php file into wp-config.php (and add a line with wp-config.php to the .gitignore file to avoid committing it, since this file contains environment information), and edit it with the usual information required by WordPress (database information and secret keys and salts). Then, add the following lines at the top of wp-config.php, which will load Composer’s autoloader and will set constant WP_CONTENT_DIR to folder content/:// Load Composer’s autoloaderrequire_once (__DIR__.’/content/vendor/autoload.php’);// Move the location of the content dirdefine(‘WP_CONTENT_DIR’, dirname(__FILE__).’/content’);By default, WordPress sets constant WP_CONSTANT_URL with value get_option(‘siteurl’).’/wp-content’. Because we have changed the content directory from the default “wp-content” to “content”, we must also set the new value for WP_CONSTANT_URL. To do this, we can’t reference function get_option since it hasn’t been defined yet, so we must either hardcode the domain or, possibly better, we can retrieve it from $_SERVER like this:$s = empty($_SERVER[“HTTPS”]) ? ” : ($_SERVER[“HTTPS”] == “on”) ? “s” : “”;$sp = strtolower($_SERVER[“SERVER_PROTOCOL”]);$protocol = substr($sp, 0, strpos($sp, “/”)) . $s;$port = ($_SERVER[“SERVER_PORT”] == “80”) ? “” : (“:”.$_SERVER[“SERVER_PORT”]);define(‘WP_CONTENT_URL’, $protocol.”://”.$_SERVER[‘SERVER_NAME’].$port.’/content’);We can now access the site on the browser under, and proceed to install WordPress. Once the installation is complete, we log into the Dashboard and activate the theme and plugins.Finally, because WordPress was installed under subdirectory wp, the URL will contain path “/wp” when accessing the site. Let’s remove that (not for the admin side though, which by being accessed under /wp/wp-admin/ adds an extra level of security to the site).The documentation proposes two methods to do this: with or without URL change. I followed both of them, and found the without URL change a bit unsatisfying because it requires specifying the domain in the .htaccess file, thus mixing application code and configuration information together. Hence, I’ll describe the method with URL change.First, head to “General Settings” which you’ll find under and remove the “/wp” bit from the “Site Address (URL)” value and save. After doing so, the site will be momentarily broken: browsing the homepage will list the contents of the directory, and browsing a blog post will return a 404. However, don’t panic, this will be fixed in the next step.Next, we copy the index.php file to the root folder, and edit this new file, adding “wp/” to the path of the required file, like this:/** Loads the WordPress Environment and Template */require( dirname( __FILE__ ) . ‘/wp/wp-blog-header.php’ );We are done! We can now access our site in the browser under WordPress site successfully installed through Composer (Large preview)Even though it has downloaded the whole WordPress core codebase and several libraries, our project itself involves only six files from which only five need to be committed to Git:.gitignorecomposer.jsoncomposer.lockThis file is generated automatically by Composer, containing the versions of all installed dependencies.index.phpThis file is created manually..htaccessThis file is automatically created by WordPress, so we could avoid committing it, however, we may soon customize it for the application, in which case it requires committing.The remaining sixth file is wp-config.php which must not be committed since it contains environment information.Not bad!The process went pretty smoothly, however, it could be improved if the following issues are dealt better:Some application code is not committed under version control.Since it contains environment information, the wp-config.php file must not be committed to Git, instead requiring to maintain a different version of this file for each environment. However, we also added a line of code to load Composer’s autoloader in this file, which will need to be replicated for all versions of this file across all environments.The installation process is not fully automated.After installing the dependencies through Composer, we must still install WordPress through its standard procedure, log-in to the Dashboard and change the site URL to not contain “wp/”. Hence, the installation process is slightly fragmented, involving both a script and a human operator.Let’s see next how Bedrock fares for the same task.Managing The Whole WordPress Site Through BedrockBedrock is a WordPress boilerplate with an improved folder structure, which looks like this:├── composer.json├── config│ ├── application.php│ └── environments│ ├── development.php│ ├── staging.php│ └── production.php├── vendor└── web ├── app │ ├── mu-plugins │ ├── plugins │ ├── themes │ └── uploads ├── wp-config.php ├── index.php └── wpThe people behind Roots chose this folder structure in order to make WordPress embrace the Twelve Factor App, and they elaborate how this is accomplished through a series of blog posts. This folder structure can be considered an improvement over the standard WordPress one on the following accounts:It adds support for Composer by moving WordPress’ core out of the root folder and into folder web/wp;It enhances security, because the configuration files containing the database information are not stored within folder web, which is set as the web server’s document root (the security threat is that, if the web server goes down, there would be no protection to block access to the configuration files);The folder wp-content has been renamed as “app”, which is a more standard name since it is used by other frameworks such as Symfony and Rails, and to better reflect the contents of this folder.Bedrock also introduces different config files for different environments (development, staging, production), and it cleanly decouples the configuration information from code through library PHP dotenv, which loads environment variables from a .env file which looks like this:DB_NAME=database_nameDB_USER=database_userDB_PASSWORD=database_password# Optionally, you can use a data source name (DSN)# When using a DSN, you can remove the DB_NAME, DB_USER, DB_PASSWORD, and DB_HOST variables# DATABASE_URL=mysql://database_user:database_password@database_host:database_port/database_name# Optional variables# DB_HOST=localhost# DB_PREFIX=wp_WP_ENV=developmentWP_HOME=http://example.comWP_SITEURL=${WP_HOME}/wp# Generate your keys here:’generateme’SECURE_AUTH_KEY=’generateme’LOGGED_IN_KEY=’generateme’NONCE_KEY=’generateme’AUTH_SALT=’generateme’SECURE_AUTH_SALT=’generateme’LOGGED_IN_SALT=’generateme’NONCE_SALT=’generateme’Let’s proceed to install Bedrock, following their instructions. First create a project like this:composer create-project “roots/bedrock”This command will bootstrap the Bedrock project into a new folder “bedrock”, setting up the folder structure, installing all the initial dependencies, and creating an .env file in the root folder which must contain the site’s configuration. We must then edit the .env file to add the database configuration and secret keys and salts, as would normally be required in wp-config.php file, and also to indicate which is the environment (development, staging, production) and the site’s domain.Next, we can already add themes and plugins. Bedrock comes with themes twentyten to twentynineteen shipped by default under folder web/wp/wp-content/themes, but when adding more themes through Composer these are installed under web/app/themes. This is not a problem, because WordPress can register more than one directory to store themes through function register_theme_directory.Bedrock includes the WPackagist information in the composer.json file, so we can already install themes and plugins from this repository. To do so, simply step on the root folder of the project and execute the composer require command for each theme and plugin to install (this command already installs the dependency, so there is no need to execute composer update):cd bedrootcomposer require “wpackagist-theme/zakra”composer require “wpackagist-plugin/akismet”:”^4.1″composer require “wpackagist-plugin/bbpress”:”>=2.5.12″The last step is to configure the web server, setting the document root to the full path for the web folder. After this is done, heading to in the browser we are happily greeted by WordPress installation screen. Once the installation is complete, we can access the WordPress admin under and activate the installed theme and plugins, and the site is accessible under Success!Installing Bedrock was pretty smooth. In addition, Bedrock does a better job at not mixing the application code with environment information in the same file, so the issue concerning application code not being committed under version control that we got with the previous method doesn’t happen here.ConclusionWith the launch of Gutenberg and the upcoming bumping up of PHP’s minimum required version, WordPress has entered an era of modernization which provides a wonderful opportunity to rethink how we build WordPress sites to make the most out of newer tools and technologies. Composer, Packagist, and WPackagist are such tools which can help us produce better WordPress code, with an emphasis on reusable components to produce modular applications which are easy to test and bugfix.First released in 2012, Composer is not precisely what we would call “new” software, however, it has not been incorporated to WordPress’ core due to a few incompatibilities between WordPress’ architecture and Composer’s requirements. This issue has been an ongoing source of frustration for many members of the WordPress development community, who assert that the integration of Composer into WordPress will enhance creating and releasing software for WordPress. Fortunately, we don’t need to wait until this issue is resolved since several actors took the matter into their own hands to provide a solution.In this article, we reviewed two projects which provide an integration between WordPress and Composer: manually setting our composer.json file depending on John P. Bloch’s mirror of WordPress’ core, and Bedrock by Roots. We saw how these two alternatives, which offer a different amount of freedom to shape the project’s folder structure, and which are more or less smooth during the installation process, can succeed at fulfilling our requirement of completely managing a WordPress site, including the installation of the core, themes, and plugins.If you have any experience using WordPress and Composer together, either through any of the described two projects or any other one, I would love to see your opinion in the comments below.I would like to thank Andrey “Rarst” Savchenko, who reviewed this article and provided invaluable feedback.Further Reading on SmashingMag:Improving WordPress Code With Modern PHPCaching Smartly In The Age Of GutenbergImplications Of Thinking In Blocks Instead Of BlobsWhat Can Be Learned From The Gutenberg Accessibility Situation? Using Composer With WordPressYou are here: (rb, ra, il)From our sponsors: Using Composer With WordPress HomeWeb DesignUsing Composer With WordPress Posted on 5th March 2019Web Design FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+sharelast_img read more

HPC and AI Converge Under a Common Architecture

first_img1 The solution was tested with TensorFlow/ ResNet50 for Inference (comparing INT8 and FP32 tests) and TensorFlow / ResNet50 for Training on March 28, 2019 with the following hardware and software configuration:Base configuration: 4 Nodes, 2x Intel® Xeon® Gold 6252; 1x Intel® Server Board S2600WFT; Total Memory 192 GB, 12 slots/16 GB/2666 MT/s DDR4 RDIMM; HyperThreading: Enable; Turbo: Enable; Storage(boot): Intel® 800GB SSD OS Drive, Storage(capacity): 2x 750GB Intel® Optane SSD DC P4800X PCIe; NIC: 1x Intel XC710, PCH: Intel C621; OS/Software: CentOS Linux release 7.6.1810 (Core) with Kernel 3.10.0-957.el7.x86_64; BIOS CPU microcode 0x400000aFramework version: TensorFlow 1.13.1,; Dataset: Synthetic from benchmark tool; Model topology: ResNet 50 v1; Batch Size: 128 High performance computing (HPC), once specialized to scientific and government supercomputers, has expanded to a range of workloads, including visualization, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI). With so many different types of highly-demanding tasks now open for enterprises to pursue, Intel has created a family of Intel® Select Solutions based on a common foundation of hardware and software to address today’s HPC workloads.All of the solutions share a common foundation, utilizing the Intel® HPC Platform Specification to deliver consistency and compatibly with a wide range of applications. Each solution adds capabilities that tailor the solution to a specified use case, without compromising compatibility.Foundational WorkloadsExisting HPC solutions are targeted at three foundational workloads:Simulation & Modeling—designed for scientists and engineers in a variety of fields who rely on HPC simulation and modeling to improve performance and productivity, Intel® Selection Solutions for Simulation & Modeling are compatible with industry standard software from leading vendors like ANSYS*, COMSOL*, and Dassault*. Organizations, from aerodynamics to manufacturing, can streamline deployment with the solution and start simulation and modeling workloads quickly.Professional Visualization—visualization is critical to analyzing and gaining insights from the modeling and simulation results. With Intel® Select Solutions for Professional Visualization, organizations can realize software defined visualization benefits faster than trying to construct their own systems. Utilizing the Intel® Rendering Framework (comprised of OpenSWR*, Embree*, and OSPRay*) to perform in-situ simulation and visualization, the solution provides organizations the convenience of using familiar analysis tools, like ParaView*, on top of trusted Intel infrastructure. The popular application VisIt* is also included in the refreshed solution, allows scientists and engineers to quickly generate visualizations, animate them through time, and save them for presentations. The solutions offer the ability to run larger datasets, achieve faster time-to-insight by avoiding data movement I/O bottlenecks, and reduce the costs of having to move simulation data to disk for post-processing.Genomics Analytics—Intel® Selection Solution for Genomics Analytics builds on the common infrastructure of the other HPC solutions and adds the specialization of BIGstack*, an integrated hardware and software stack designed to run the Broad Institute Genomic Analysis Toolkit (GATK) more quickly, at a larger scale, and with easier deployment.These three workload-optimized solutions take advantage of the newly released 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors and deliver generation over generation higher performance, improved price/performance, and enhanced security capabilities. We anticipate a number of companies offering these updated solutions, including Advantech, Atipa, Fujitsu, Megware, Nor-Tech, and RSC.Additional capabilities will be available in an upcoming v2 releases of Intel Select Solutions for Simulation & Modeling, Simulation & Visualization (an upgrade of the Professional Visualization solution), and Genomics Analytics including enhancements to take advantage of Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory, Intel® Deep Learning Boost (Intel® DL Boost), Intel® SSDs, Intel® Ethernet, software, accelerators.A New Era of ConvergenceThe new Intel® Select Solutions for HPC & AI Converged Clusters joins these three existing HPC solutions, expanding the scope of HPC workloads beyond simulation & modeling, to including both Analytics and AI workloads and integrated workflows. The new solutions leverage the low-latency, high-performance features of 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors to offer new capabilities and performance while minimizing data movement, delivering breakthrough capabilities via a converged platform that supports all three workloads.AI is having a huge impact on data analytics throughout the HPC ecosystem, with neural networks often being used to accelerate discovery and innovation. Organizations are quickly realizing the opportunity to converge both AI and traditional modeling and simulation workloads on a common infrastructure. As AI joins traditional simulation & modeling workloads on HPC systems, there’s a need for higher performance compute, memory, storage, and networking capabilities, along with optimized software tools and libraries.Building on the simulation and modeling foundation and adding analytic workloads like Apache Spark* and AI workloads like TensorFlow*, the newly launched Intel Select Solutions support integrated workflows that previously had to run on specialized systems. With Intel Select Solutions for HPC & AI Converged Clusters, organizations can use AI to accelerate better scientific results or add analytics to perform in-situ visualization at scale, all on a common, flexible system that minimizes storage repetition and data movement and maximizes infrastructure flexibility and utilization.Intel is releasing two solution architectures for the new Intel Select Solutions for HPC & AI Converged Clusters, both of which focus on augmenting resource managers to support broader workloads. The first is based on the community project Magpie*, which automates the process of generating interfaces between analytics frameworks like Spark and AI frameworks like TensorFlow, so that they can run seamlessly without any modifications to a traditional HPC resource manager such as Slurm*.The second is a more integrated solution that builds on the work of Univa Grid Engine* and their Universal Resource Broker, an engine that sits alongside a traditional HPC batch scheduler and can interface into resource manager plugins created with an Apache Mesos* framework. Both solutions allow workload coexistence and workflow convergence across simulation & modeling, analytics, and AI. We will be evaluating and updating additional features and workloads for the new Intel Select Solution for HPC & AI Converged Clusters in the coming months, specifically examining the benefits of Intel Optane Memory for large data setsAccelerated BenefitsWhen analytics and AI workloads are brought into HPC infrastructure designed to support simulation and modeling, additional speed benefits cascade through the stack. For example, Apache Spark* and TensorFlow can run faster when connected to a HPC fabric. The new 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors also deliver 4x faster images/second with inferencing solutions optimized using Intel DL Boost technology.1Advania Data Center is planning to offer the new Intel Select Solution for HPC & AI Converged Clusters later this year. Their customer Gimix wants to run mixed workloads in their HPC environment and is looking to this solution to meet their needs.Intel Select Solutions for HPC offer higher performance and enhanced capabilities in a single environment, eliminating the burden of data transfer between systems. A host of commercial applications in the Intel® HPC Application Catalog are verified and interoperable with all other Intel Select Solutions for HPC, ensuring even greater flexibility.A complete hardware and software recipe for advancing product innovation, Intel Select Solutions represent a proven set of configurations utilizing Intel architecture building blocks that the ecosystem can innovate on and take to market more quickly. For more information, and to see the full range of Intel Select Solutions, visit For more about Intel’s work in HPC, visit For more information on how to accelerate your data insights and building your infrastructure, visit read more