• Visit to the Town Hall of HE Mr. Pierre Dartout, new Minister of State

    Thursday September 17, 2020, Mayor Georges Marsan, surrounded by Camille Svara, 1st Deputy and Marjorie Crovetto, 2nd Deputy, received in Town Hall HE Mr. Pierre Dartout, new Minister of State, as part of his assumption of office. The Minister met at length with the Mayor and his Deputies in order to continue the full collaboration of the Prince's Government with the Communal Institution. At the end of the hearing, a visit to various services of the Town Hall was organized: Municipal Police, Social, then Civil Status and Nationality. Without forgetting the Marriage Room and the Council Room. Source: Mairie de Monaco

  • Urban mobility policy in the Principality: Electrical and digital innovations to improve service

    On Wednesday, September 16, as part of Public Transport Day (free on this occasion), part of European Mobility Week, the Prince's Government detailed to the press the next orientations of its urban mobility policy in link with the stated objectives of reducing carbon gas emissions. The time of a city tour in a 100% electric bus, currently being tested in the streets of the Principality, Severine Canis-Froidefond, Director of Prospective, Urbanism and Mobility, Roland de Rechniewski, Director from the Monaco Bus Company, Georges Gambarini, representing the Interministerial Delegation in charge of Digital Transition and Annabelle Jaeger-Seydoux, Director of the Energy Transition Mission, thus announced several new developments. In turn, the development of the CAM bus fleet was discussed, in particular towards electric vehicles, the provision of new digital services in terms of ticketing, with the launch of the Mona Pass mobile application in January. 2021, or the integration of the Monegasque bus network, from October, to the Sud Azur multi-modal Pass. For better fluidity of bus traffic, connected lights will be activated on certain arteries in the Principality. A first test phase will start in October. Finally, the MonaBike network, which today has 32 stations, will soon expand with 11 additional stations, to include up to 400 red and white electric bikes. At the conclusion of this presentation, Roland de Rechniewski officially signed the National Pact for the Energy Transition, thereby committing the CAM to work to further reduce the Principality's greenhouse gas emissions. Source: Gouvernement de Monaco

  • 10 Lustrous Facts About Gold

    Gold’s symbol on the periodic table, Au, comes from its Latin name aurum, which means “glowing dawn.” This metal’s tantalizing yellow color and shining exterior has made gold a prized element in jewelry and treasured objects for thousands of years—but, amazingly, all of the gold that has ever been refined could melt down into a single cube measuring 70 feet per side. Read on for more opulent facts. 1. GOLD WAS PROBABLY THE FIRST METAL USED BY HUMANS. Gold, number 79 on the periodic table, is almost twice as heavy as iron, but it’s incredibly malleable—and for that reason, it was probably the first metal humans ever wrought. The oldest known worked-gold artifacts, from the Thracian civilization in present-day Bulgaria, date back 4000 years; the death mask of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun contains about 220 pounds of gold. Despite its presence in world cultures for millennia, “more than 90 percent of all of the gold ever used has been mined since 1848,” according to the American Museum of Natural History. That year marked the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill, California, launching the California Gold Rush. 2. ALL OF THE GOLD IN THE UNIVERSE MAY HAVE COME FROM COLLIDING NEUTRON STARS. In 2017, astronomers from the University of California, Berkeley and other institutions observed two massive neutron stars spinning around one another at an accelerating rate. When the two stars—each with a mass up to twice that of our Sun—finally collided, gravitational waves rippled through the universe and clouds of neutron-rich material shot out. For the first time, researchers observed red light emanating from the collision, indicating the production of heavy metals like uranium, gold, and platinum. The finding supports the theory that all of the gold in the universe was formed this way—and that particles of that gold arrived on Earth in meteorites billions of years ago. 3. IT’S AN EXCELLENT CONDUCTOR OF ELECTRICITY. Gold efficiently transfers heat and electricity—though not as well as copper and silver. In general, some metals conduct electricity well because their atoms share electrons easily: As electrical current flows, electrons move along in the same direction with just a little voltage. (The opposite would be true of insulators like glass, in which electrons move only when compelled to do so by thousands of volts of electricity.) Because gold resists oxidation and corrosion, it continues to move electrons even if occasionally exposed to the atmosphere. That’s why electrical contact surfaces are plated with a microscopic gold coating in smart phones, airbag sensor modules, and other devices. 4. YOU CAN FIND SUNKEN TREASURE, BUT YOU MIGHT NOT GET TO KEEP IT. In 1985, Florida diver Mel Fisher located the Nuestra Señora de Atocha, a famed Spanish naval ship loaded with valuables that had sunk in a hurricane in 1622. Fisher’s motto was “finders, keepers”—and in the following decades, he retrieved gold, silver, emeralds, and pearls worth millions of dollars. Under admiralty law, Fisher was entitled to keep what he found, but archaeologists, historians, and conservationists protested. Two years after the discovery, Congress passed a law stating that riches found in wrecks within three miles of a U.S. coastline belong to the adjacent states. 5. GOLD CAN BE MEASURED WITH A UNIT FROM THE MIDDLE AGES … The gold standard is a monetary system that ties a currency’s value to gold itself, which theoretically keeps inflation in check. The United States adopted this standard in 1879, but began to abandon the system in 1933 to stimulate the economy at the height of the Great Depression. The U.S. got rid of the gold standard entirely in 1971. However, the U.S. Treasury still holds on to 261.5 million fine troy ounces of gold, using a unit of measurement that dates to the Middle Ages and is named after the city of Troyes, France. (A troy ounce is a few grams heavier than a regular ounce.) The goods are in the form of gold bullion (bulk gold shaped into bars), as well as coins and miscellaneous units, and stored in vaults at federal mints and reserve banks. As of September 2017, the government’s gold reserves total $335.5 billion in market value. 6. … OR IN BREAD. Gold’s value has remained surprisingly steady over time. “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, reigning in the 6th century BCE, bought 350 loaves of bread for an ounce of gold,” John Mulligan, head of member and market relations at the World Gold Council, tells Mental Floss. Roughly 2500 years later, with the current price of gold at about $1200 per ounce and a loaf of bread at $2.50, an ounce of gold would buy 480 loaves. “If we also then look at how gold compares with the historic purchasing power of the world’s major currencies over the last century or more,” Mulligan adds, “we see none of them has endured like gold.” 7. GOLD MIGHT HELP DESTROY CANCER. “Gold just sits there and shines when it’s [in a] large [mass]—it doesn’t do much,” Mostafa A. El-Sayed, a leading chemist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, tells Mental Floss. “But when you cut it smaller and smaller, all of the sudden, it has different properties.” In a 2017 paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, El-Sayed placed gold nanorods in mice with tumors and zapped the nanorods with a laser. The rods became hot enough to kill the adjacent cancer cells. Fifteen months later, the mice showed no long-term toxicity. In the paper on these findings, El-Sayed and his co-authors called this “a strong framework” for trying the technique in humans. 8. GOLD HAS BEEN USED IN DENTISTRY FOR AT LEAST 4000 YEARS. Gold’s combined properties of malleability and biocompatibility (i.e., it can be tolerated inside the body) have made it useful in dentistry. Archaeologists have found gold dental modifications in skulls from Southeast Asia dating back 4000 years. The Bolinao skull, an artifact from the 14th or 15th century, is one of 67 skulls featuring decorated teeth that have been excavated in the Philippines. Ten-millimeter-wide gold plates are fixed in place on the incisors and canines in an overlapping fish-scale pattern. Today, gold-alloy crowns are still used to cap worn-down teeth or to strengthen weakened teeth. 9. NASA USES GOLD IN SPACE TECHNOLOGY. The visors of astronauts’ space suits are coated with a layer of gold that’s just 0.000002 inches thick. The coating shields their eyes from the Sun’s harmful infrared light while allowing visible light in. That same ability to reflect infrared light will be put to work in the James Webb Space Telescope as it searches for light from the first stars and for potentially habitable exoplanets. The telescope will be equipped with 18 hexagonal mirrors in a honeycomb-like structure. Three grams of gold were vaporized in a vacuum chamber and then adhered to the telescope’s mirrors, which are made of beryllium. The layer of gold is just 100 nanometers thick—a tiny fraction of the thickness of a sheet of paper. 10. COLORADO’S CAPITOL BUILDING IS GILDED WITH PURE GOLD LEAF. At least 10 state capitol buildings have gold-topped domes: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Colorado’s dome was restored in 2013 using about 65 ounces of pure gold that was mined in the state and hammered into leaves between one-8000th and one-10,000th of an inch thick. Gilders applied 140,000 3-inch squares of gold leaf to sticky copper plates that were then laid on the building’s dome. “The work is as much an art as a science due to how thin and fragile the gold leaf really is,” Doug Platt, communications manager for the state’s Department of Personnel and Administration, tells Mental Floss.

  • Why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer

    There are both ethical and political reasons for wanting to address the growing gap between rich and poor, according to experts ranging from economists and political scientists to social workers and activists. The perception that a few people are getting rich at the expense of the rest of us is fuelling a backlash, from the Occupy movement that began in 2011 to the austerity protests in Europe, to the worker walkouts in support of a higher minimum wage last year in the U.S. The fear is that the world is developing what one expert calls a "Downton Abbey economy", with a small wealthy class – the 1 per cent – and a large class of poor workers. Meanwhile, the middle class is being squeezed with higher prices and stagnant wages, forcing many to go into personal debt to try to keep up. Opinion is divided over what has caused the change and even more controversy over what to do about. James Myles, a senior research fellow at the University of Toronto's school of public policy and governance, says there are there are economic costs to having people grow poorer, including a lack of spending power to fuel the economy. “Canadian inequality has not reached American peaks, but the real concern among people who’ve been studying this issue is about the long-term trend – that’s what has people upset and concerned,” Myles said in an interview with CBC’s The Lang & O’Leary Exchange. There are also political costs, such as the growing disaffection seen in protest movements. Many people fear a plutocracy, in which government policy is dictated by the wealthy, Myles said. When the rich get richer they get more powerful and that puts them in the position to lobby for policies that make them richer still - former Clinton advisor Larry Summers “One way of thinking about it is that in the ‘50s and ‘60s, we had huge economic growth but the benefits of growth were pretty evenly distributed among the population – you didn’t see rising income inequality,” he said. “Since 1980 or so, you also saw some economic growth – not as much as in the past – but most of those gains have been going to the top. In the middle and the bottom, income growth has been sluggish or stagnant,” he added. Having a large stable middle class is a sign of a wealthy country, says James Galbraith, author of Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis. Financial crisis heightened inequality He says the 2008 financial crisis helped bring income inequality into sharp relief. “At the high end, it’s a very small number of people who have been scoring very big. In the financial sector, the bankers, in the technology sector, in the energy sector,” he said. Those people seemed not to be affected by the economic downturn that resulted from the 2008 bank failures and subprime mortgage crisis, although it was poor banking decisions that triggered the global meltdown. But ordinary people were very affected, losing their homes because of the dodgy mortgage business and having their jobs threatened. The “mortgage debacle” should never have happened, Galbraith said. “At the bottom end for a very large number of people it’s the collapse of economic security. It’s the collapse of retirement security, of the value of their homes, of their job security, the decline in the services they rely on – public schools, health care, the amenities of life,” he said. Protect the social safety net Galbraith does not believe globalization is a big factor in growing inequality. He says people should turn their eyes close to home, demanding fair tax codes and a stronger social safety net. “We have good systems – they need to be protected and expanded, not cut – it’s under constant threat,” he said. Larry Summers, who was Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton and is now a Harvard professor, says he believes any solution has to be global. “There’s a concern that if you tax capital, capital will move out. That’s why this has to be done in a spirit of global cooperation,” he told CBC News, adding that there is a movement at the G8 and G20 to move toward more taxation of capital. He is critical of what he calls the "continuing sway of old bad ideas" including the perception that somehow money trickles down to the poor. "The idea that somehow it’s taxes and high capital costs that are holding back investment — that seems to me to be an absurdity in the era of zero interest rates," he said. Who is going to pay? Summers said he believes that in the U.S. the constant push for tax cuts and the erosion of union bargaining rights has led to greater income inequality. “In many countries especially in U.S., those with more money get one formal vote, but they’re able to get more through the influence they have in campaign finance and in other ways. When the rich get richer they get more powerful and that puts them in the position to lobby for policies that make them richer still,” Summers said. Myles agrees, adding that governments understand how to improve equality, through investment in income transfers and infrastructure such as health and education. The real trick is who will pay for those things, he said. “We have lots of ideas of what to do about it dating back to the 1990s,” Myles said. “Some of them involve income redistribution, many involve what’s called social investment, early childhood education, job training for young adults, but no one wants to pay for it.”

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Monaco city tour

Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco is a sovereign city-state, country, and microstate on the French Riviera in Western Europe. France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco is about 15 km from the state border with Italy. Monaco has an area of 2.020 km2 (0.780 sq mi), making it the second-smallest country in the world after the Vatican. Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power. The official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken a.... Read more

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