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first_imgLos Angeles: The Farewell is Awkwafina’s first major role but the rapper-actor believes hiring her is still a big gamble for Hollywood studios despite the massive success of Crazy Rich Asians. Directed by Lulu Wang, The Farewell premiered at Sundance this past January to critical acclaim. In the film, Awkwafina plays Billi whose family returns to China on the pretext of a wedding to say goodbye to their matriarch, who has just few weeks to live but does not know about her fate. “I think that if I am cast in a production, already that means that production is kind of forward-thinking. Hiring me is always a risk, a little bit,” Awkwafina told IndieWire The rapper, who does not follow the notions of what a big Hollywood star should look like, is a first generation American from Queens. The young actor has slowly build a memorable career, including a supporting role in Crazy Rich Asians.last_img read more


first_imgHALIFAX – One hundred years ago this week, tens of thousands of young soldiers from across Canada were preparing for a battle in western Belgium that would prove to be the bloodiest in Canadian military history.By the time the fight for the ridge near Passchendaele was over on Nov. 10, 1917, the carnage endured by the Canadian Corps. had reached a level that would leave a deep scar on this country’s collective psyche. Among the 15,000 casualties were 4,000 dead — most of them later buried in Flanders.“Canadian soldiers fought like hell for this country and for each other,” Ken Hynes, curator of The Army Museum in Halifax, said Monday during an unusual ceremony inside a business park warehouse. “The last 700 metres, from Crest farm to the final capture of Passchendaele, took them 10 long, terrifying days.”Hynes was among 30 people who gathered for a ceremonial send-off for a large, new monument that will soon be shipped to Belgium, where it will pay tribute to the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Passchendaele.The one-tonne monument, made from steel, is called “Canada Gate.”Its twin arches, which stand about four metres high, will be installed near Passchendaele in the days leading up to centennial events marking the end of the horrendous battle.Canada Gate is the second of two so-called “portals of remembrance.”The first monument, installed last year on the Halifax waterfront, is “The Last Steps Memorial Arch,” which marks the departure from Pier 2 of 350,000 soldiers who boarded ships bound for the killing fields of Belgium and France. That monument includes the dark prints of soldiers’ boots on a wooden gangway that points toward Halifax harbour.Like the Last Steps memorial, Canada Gate features the same boot prints, this time on a row of wooden duckboards, which were used to line the bottom of First World War trenches.“Over the past 100 years, the people of Belgium have not forgotten, and neither should we,” said Hynes, one of the project leaders responsible for the two monuments.The designer of both memorials, Nova Scotia artist Nancy Keating, said her creative process was influenced by the fact that both of her grandfathers fought in the First World War.At one point during the ceremony, Keating read from a war diary written by her grandfather on her mother’s side. The entries described his enlistment in 1915 and being sent to the front in Belgium, where he transferred to a heavy battery unit. Keating’s grandfather — she referred to him as “Poppy” — also told of suffering from a poison gas attack and the battlefield death of his 28-year-old brother.“While working on the Canada Gate, I had my own personal journey of discovery, as I believe all Canadians can if you look closer at your family’s history and the history we have as a nation,” she said.The memorial, which includes blooming metal poppies at the base of each arch, is so large it is easy to walk through.“This is not a monument, but a moment in time re-imagined,” Keating said. “It’s a portal from the past, where we can retrace the steps — not only of those who did not or could not return to Canada, but also of those who did return, their lives forever changed.”More than half a million Allied and German troops were killed or wounded in the battle for Passchendaele. British and Commonwealth forces fought from July to November 1917, and the Canadian victory there barely moved the front line against the Germans.last_img read more


first_imgLucknow: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is expected to kick-off her campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from the political hotbed of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Prayagraj and Varanasi, taking the river route to establish a direct contact with people. The Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, who was earlier scheduled to arrive at the state capital on Friday, was now expected to launch her campaign on March 18, a senior party leader said here. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Raj Babbar had said Wednesday that Priyanka would be arriving here on Friday but hours later, he had informed that the programme was postponed. According to a letter submitted to the Election Commission (EC), permission has been sought for the Congress leader’s visit from Prayagraj to Varanasi from March 18 to March 20. The letter also informs that Priyanka will use a motorboat, taking the river route to cover the distance of around 100 kms, and programmes to welcome her have been scheduled all along, for which permission was required in accordance with the Model Code of Conduct. According to Congress leaders, the party will attempt to reach out to the people living in the riparian areas that are not easily accessible by road. Priyanka is likely to arrive at the state capital on March 17 and proceed to Prayagraj to launch her campaign the next day. A senior leader said she would launch her campaign from Prayagraj, the birth place of the first PM of independent India and her great-grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru, from where she would take the river route till Varanasi.last_img read more


6 November 2009As the last negotiating session before next month’s United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen concluded today, a senior official with the world body called on countries to push ahead to deliver on a strong international agreement to tackle global warming. “Copenhagen can and must be the turning point in the international fight against climate change – nothing has changed my confidence in that,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).“A powerful combination of commitment and compromise can and must make this happen,” he told a news conference in Barcelona, the site of the final round of talks ahead of the 7 to 18 December meeting in the Danish capital. In Copenhagen, governments are expected to agree to a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 treaty – part of the overall UNFCCC – which has strong, legally binding measures committing 37 industrialized States to cutting emissions by an average of 5 per cent against 1990 levels over the period from 2008 to 2012.Over 4,500 participants from 181 countries participated in the five-day gathering, during which progress was made on the issues of adaptation, technology cooperation, reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries and mechanisms to disburse funds for developing countries.Little progress was made, however, on mid-term emission reduction targets of developed countries and finance, according to a news release issued by the UNFCCC. These are two key issues that would allow developing countries to limit their emissions growth and adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change.“Without these two pieces of the puzzle in place, we will not have a deal in Copenhagen,” said Mr. de Boer, adding that “leadership at the highest level is required to unlock the pieces.” At the high-level climate change summit held in New York in September, heads of State and government pledged to achieve a deal in Copenhagen that spells out ambitious emission reduction targets of industrialized countries, as well as nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries with the necessary support, and significantly scaled-up financial and technological resources.“I look to industrialised countries to raise their ambitions to meet the scale of the challenge we face,” said Mr. de Boer. “And I look to industrialized nations for clarity on the amount of short- and long-term finance they will commit.”Mr. de Boer said developed countries would need to provide at least $10 billion to enable developing countries to immediately develop low-emission growth and adaptation strategies and to build internal capacity.At the same time, developed countries will need to indicate how they intend to raise predictable and sustainable long-term financing and what there longer-term commitments will be.“Negotiators must deliver a final text at Copenhagen which presents a strong, functioning architecture to kick start rapid action in the developing world,” said the Executive Secretary.“And between now and Copenhagen, governments must deliver the clarity required to help the negotiators complete their work,” he added. read more


These are indicative wholesale rates for foreign currency provided by the Bank of Canada on Monday. Quotations in Canadian funds.Australia dollar 0.9964Brazil real 0.3992China renminbi 0.1856Euro 1.4719Hong Kong dollar 0.159844India rupee 0.01945Indonesia rupiah 0.0000940Japan yen 0.01131Malaysia ringgit 0.2916Mexico peso 0.07001N.Z. dollar 0.9354Norway krone 0.1579Peruvian new sol 0.3851Russia rouble 0.02079Saudi riyal 0.3329Singapore dollar 0.9204South Africa rand 0.09463South Korean won 0.001113Sweden krona 0.1541Switzerland franc 1.2906Taiwanese dollar 0.04130Thailand baht 0.03750Turkey lira 0.3543U.K. pound 1.6438U.S. dollar 1.2485Vietnam dong 0.000055


The Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) today questioned Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s daughter Onella.She was ordered to appear before the CID to make a statement over allegations she gave false evidence before the Commission investigating the treasury bond scam. Ravi Karunanayake was one of the main accused in the scam which took place when he was the Finance Minister. (Colombo Gazette)


Everybody likes to cheer for the underdog, but hardly anyone bets on the underdog to win. We tend to put our money on the favorite most of the time. In fact, we bet on the favorite far more frequently than we should. To understand why, you have to understand some of the basic functions and malfunctions of human decision-making.Filling out a winning March Madness bracket is difficult, but the process itself is simple. All you have to do is pick a winner for each game in your bracket. Most of the time, sports betting is more complicated than that. It’s easy enough to pick the favorite to win, but what if we were to say the favorite has to win by at least eight points? And what if that eight-point spread were carefully crafted to make the game a toss-up — who would you pick then? This is the type of decision sports bettors have to make all the time.In 2004, University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt identified the fact that point spreads aren’t set like typical market prices, by equating relative levels of supply and demand. Instead, bookmakers set the margin to make the chance of the favorite covering the spread to be roughly 50 percent. Levitt speculated that bookmakers substantially improve their profits by biasing the spread very slightly against the favorite. This approach is profitable for bookmakers in part because, despite facing virtually even odds, people are much more likely to bet on the favorite than the underdog.The question that Levitt’s research left unaddressed is why people show such a strong bias towards favorites. As digital editor of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, I come across many studies, and I found a compelling answer to this question in the research of Joseph Simmons, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Leif Nelson, associate professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Simmons and Nelson say that people’s confidence in their own intuitions — regardless of whether that confidence is justified — guides their decision-making.“When people decide how to bet on a game, first they identify who is going to win,” Nelson said. That decision is often fast and easy, particularly when teams are not evenly matched. “The faster and easier it is, the less concerned they are with correcting that intuition when answering the more difficult question of whether the favorite is going to beat the point spread.”For all but the most experienced bettor, determining whether the favorite will beat the spread is incredibly challenging. Keeping in mind that the spread is carefully calibrated to make the choice a virtual coin flip, people simply don’t have much to go on besides their intuition. And because their intuition strongly suggests that the favorite will win, in the absence of information to the contrary it also tells them that the favorite will beat the spread. In a game between two fairly evenly matched teams, people’s feelings of confidence in the favorite to win are diminished, and they’re much less likely to pick the favorite to cover the spread.Simmons and Nelson analyzed betting data on 1,008 regular season NFL games on Sportsbook.com from 2009 to 2012. They found the average share of money bet on the favorite was 65 percent. This confirmed their initial study in which they tracked data from thousands of predictions of 850 professional and college football games on Yahoo.com for the 2003 and 2004 seasons. There Simmons and Nelson found, just as Levitt did, that even though favorites were about 50 percent likely to beat the spread (413 favorites beat the spread, 415 did not, and 22 were ties), people bet on the favorite more than two-thirds of the time. In fact, the more people believed a certain team would win, the more likely they were to also choose that team to beat the spread. Put another way, the confidence bettors felt in picking the winner translated into an unrelated belief that the winner would beat the spread.Simmons and Nelson also ran a series of studies in a controlled laboratory setting. They made sure that people knew exactly what it meant to bet the spread. In addition to asking people who they thought would win the game and how confident they were in their choice, the researchers asked them to estimate the margin of victory. Remarkably, people continued to overwhelmingly bet that the favorite would cover the same spread they had just personally estimated. And, once again, the more confident people felt that a team would win, the more likely they were to bet that the team would beat the spread.Astute gamblers may have noticed that although the bias towards favorites is a persistent one, it doesn’t appear to cost people very much. If the point spread is calibrated to give favorites a 50 percent chance of beating it, then even if people bet on the favorite every time, they should win half their bets, just as they would if they always bet on the underdog or chose at random. In another paper, however, Simmons and Nelson, along with Jeff Galak of Carnegie Mellon University and Shane Frederick of Yale University, found that favoritism towards favorites persists even when the playing field is tilted in favor of the underdog. People continued to show a bias toward picking favorites to cover the spread even when points were added to the spread dropping the favorites’ odds below 50 percent. Even explicitly telling people that the spread was artificially inflated didn’t stop them from making the costly error.Luckily, as you scramble to fill out your March Madness bracket, you don’t have to pick against spreads. You just have to pick who will win each game, something your intuition is pretty good at doing. So, in this case, go right ahead: Follow your gut and pick the favorites. read more


Berths for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament aren’t won and lost in November, but teams can certainly make a case for higher seeding come March with early season success. The No. 3-ranked Ohio State basketball team will have its first chance to impress the nation and take a significant step toward a top spot in March Madness Tuesday when it hosts the No. 7-ranked Florida Gators at the Schottenstein Center. The Buckeyes opened the 2011-12 campaign with a 73-42 win against Wright State Friday in a game senior guard William Buford said the Buckeyes could have executed better. “I think we could have done better on the offensive end executing our plays,” Buford said. “We were kind of sluggish in the first half.” The Buckeyes shot just 32 percent in the game, but sophomore forward Jared Sullinger, who led all scorers in the game with 19 points on 4-of-7 shooting, helped turn a tight contest into a rout. “We got tired of it being a back-and-forth game,” Sullinger said. “We decided to put our foot on their throat and stop the back-and-forthness.” There was no “back-and-forthness” in the Gators’ opening-night win. Florida (1-0) also opened its season Friday, defeating Jackson State, 99-59. The Gators were led by junior guard Kenny Boynton’s 19 points and shot 51-percent from the field in the win. Florida coach Billy Donovan’s squad returns two starters — Boynton and senior guard Erving Walker — from last year’s team, which dropped a 93-75 decision to the Buckeyes at Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Nov. 16, 2010. “I know they didn’t forget what happened last time when we went (to Florida) and won by 20 at their home court,” Sullinger said. “They’ll be looking for some revenge.” The Gators might find themselves hard-pressed to avenge last year’s loss thanks to the Buckeyes’ stout defense. OSU forced 16 first-half turnovers against Wright State and limited the Raiders to 13-of-41 shooting from the field. OSU coach Thad Matta said that, similar to last year’s matchup with the Gators, defense will be key for his team. “We’ve got to defend. We’ve got to do a great job taking care of the basketball,” Matta said. “They’re one of the best team’s I’ve seen thus far.” In just the second game of the season for both teams, not even the Buckeyes are fully aware of their identity. Matta said one advantage of playing the No. 8 team in the country early in the season is that he’ll have a better understanding of his squad. “I like it from the standpoint that, by the conclusion (Tuesday’s) game, we’ll have a better feeling of where we are, good or bad,” Matt said. “I’m aware that we’ve got a long way to go, but you play a game like this and hope that you come out and you’re a better basketball team because of it.” Tuesday’s match with the Gators, Southeastern Conference East division winners and owners of a 29-8 overall record last season, is no dress rehearsal, though. “Florida is going to be a different breed, I know that much,” Sullinger said. Buford agreed, saying the Buckeyes will need to improve before Tuesday’s battle with the Gators. “We need to play much better, or it’s not going to be pretty,” he said. “We beat them on their home floor (last year), so they’re going to come in and give us their best.” Tuesday’s game against Florida is set to tip off at 8 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more


first_imgNinety-six men, women and children were killed in the disaster at the 1989 FA Cup semi-finalCredit:Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto Duckenfield was not at home at his bungalow in Ferndown, Dorset, when the charges were announced.But Ian Lewis, the partner at JMW Solicitors who is representing Duckenfield and Denton, said: “In light of the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to commence criminal proceedings against David Duckenfield and Donald Denton, it would be inappropriate for me as their solicitor or for my clients themselves to make any comment.” Speaking on behalf of some of the families, lawyer Marcia Willis-Stewart said: “The Hillsborough families have waited 28 years for justice.”Some of the truth was exposed by the independent panel and some by the inquest jury on April 26 2016. Now we await the results from the long overdue process of accountability – accountability being key and at the heart.”The families are sensitive to the issues of fairness and due process and no-one wishes to prejudice or to jeopardise it.”There are of course various legal options open to the families where decisions have been made not to prosecute, in the form of the victim and judicial review process. As I said, 28 years for justice, now is the time for accountability.” Prosecutor Ms Hemming said a further file from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) on the conduct of West Midlands Police still needs “additional investigative work”.She added: “Additionally, just this week, the IPCC has referred two further suspects which are unconnected to the matters sent to us in January; these subjects are subject to ongoing consideration by the CPS. We will announce our decisions in due course.”The suspects referred to the CPS included individuals and organisations. Following these thorough investigations and our careful review of the evidence in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, I have decided there is sufficient evidence to charge six individuals with criminal offences.” Mrs May said: “I know from working closely with the families when I was Home Secretary that this will be a day of mixed emotions for them. leaving Parr Hall, Warrington, where the Crown Prosecution Service  All the defendants, except Duckenfield who has not yet been formally charged, will appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on August 8. Stephen Watson, the current South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, said: “Given that criminal proceedings are now active, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further for fear of jeopardising this important process in any way.”In all of this however, our thoughts are with the Hillsborough families as we reflect on the appalling tragedy that is Hillsborough with the loss of so many innocent lives.” Operation Resolve, which investigated the causes of the disaster, and the (IPCC) had passed files of evidence relating to 23 suspects, including individuals and organisations, to the CPS earlier this year. Hillsborough Family Support Group chairwoman Margaret Aspinall has said it is the “beginning of the end”. She said: “Every time we have been knocked down we have been determined to come back stronger.” Barry Devonside punches the air after learning of the decision St George's Hall in Liverpool illuminated following a special commemorative service to mark the outcome of the Hillsborough inquest,  Families of Hillsborough victims leaving Parr Hall, Warrington, where the Crown Prosecution Service announced that charges will be broughtCredit:Peter Byrne/PA Family members of the 96 Hillsborough victims outside the Crown Prosecution Service headquarters in WarringtonCredit:NIGEL RODDIS/EPA Trevor Hicks, whose daughters Sarah and Vicki died in the disaster at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final, said: “This is a success for society at large, not just for us.”Mrs Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son, James, died in the tragedy, said: “No one should have to go through what the families have gone through for 28 years to try and get to the truth and to get accountability.”I think now what has been achieved today will change things for the good of this nation and I think that’s the legacy of our 96, that they will have left behind.” Hillsborough floral tributes St George’s Hall in Liverpool illuminated following a commemorative service to mark the outcome of the Hillsborough inquestsCredit:Peter Byrne/PA The Leppings Lane terrace at the Hillsborough StadiumCredit:EPA/HILLSBOROUGH INQUEST  Family members of the 96 Hillsborough victims show their feeling after a meeting with Sue Hemming, Head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, in Warrington Following the disaster on April 15 1989, it is alleged that officers from South Yorkshire Police conspired to blame the fans for the tragedy with statements being changed and evidence hidden.Police at the time briefed the media that the crush in the Leppings Lane end had been caused by drunken, ticketless fans forcing the gates open in order to gain access to the ground. A tearful family member leaves a briefing from the CPS in Warrington on WednesdayCredit:Peter Byrne/PA “There was a lack of co-ordination, command and control which delayed or prevented appropriate responses.” Floral tributes to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989Credit:Getty “I welcome the fact that charging decisions have been taken. I think that is an important step forward. But the House will understand that I cannot say anything further on matters that are now subject to a criminal prosecution.” The jury found that:Both the police and the ambulance service caused or contributed to the loss of lives in the disaster by an error or omission after the terrace crush had begun to develop;Policing of the match caused or contributed to a dangerous situation developing at the Leppings Lane turnstiles;Commanding officers caused or contributed to the crush on the terrace, as did those senior officers in the police control box when the order was given to open the exit gates at Leppings Lane;Features of the design, construction and layout of the stadium considered to be dangerous or defective caused or contributed to the disaster But those verdicts were quashed following the 2012 Hillsborough Independent Panel report, which concluded that a major cover-up had taken place in an effort by police and others to avoid the blame for what happened. Last year, new inquests found the 96 were unlawfully killed in the disaster, which happened at the match between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield, former chief constable Sir Norman Bettison and four other people are to be prosecuted over offences relating to the Hillsborough disaster.The Crown Prosecution Service announced that Duckenfield is to be charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 of the 96 Liverpool FC fans who died at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989 and Bettison has been charged with four counts of misconduct in public office.Sue Hemming, head of the CPS’s special crime division, said former South Yorkshire Police officers Donald Denton and Alan Foster, as well as force solicitor Peter Metcalf, are charged with doing acts with intent to pervert the course of justice. Former Sheffield Wednesday secretary Graham Mackrell is also charged with three offences relating to health and safety at sports grounds. The new jury concluded that blunders by the police and ambulance service on the day had “caused or contributed” to the disaster and that the victims had been unlawfully killed.After the verdict, South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton said his force “unequivocally” accepted the verdict of unlawful killing and the wider findings reached by the jury. Hillsborough  Barry Devonside punches the air after learning of the decisionCredit:Peter Byrne/PA What happened at the 2016 inquest?In April last year, an inquest jury ruled the victims had been unlawfully killed in the tragedy. The deaths were ruled accidental at the end of the original 1991 inquest.  Sir Norman Bettison, left, and David Duckenfield  A tearful family member leaves a briefing from the CPS in Warrington on Wednesday afternoon Evelyn McDonnell Mills, whose brother Peter McDonnell, 21, died in the disaster, said: “I’m really happy that we’ve finally got some charges after 28 years.”I’m just sad that my brother Gerard, who campaigned for years, died in the first year of the new inquests and never got to see justice.” The Leppings Lane terrace at the Hillsborough Stadium What did the jury find?The jurors were told they could only reach the unlawful killing determination if they were sure of four “essential” matters concerning the deaths at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.They concluded it was unlawful killing by a 7-2 majority. The jury also ruled that fan behaviour did not cause or contribute to the tragedy. On the question of the role of South Yorkshire Police in the emergency response, the jury said: “The police delayed calling a major incident so the appropriate emergency response was delayed. The IPCC, which has been investigation the alleged conspiracy, said it had identified 289 police accounts that had been amended.Last year, a jury concluded after fresh inquests that those who died had been unlawfully killed in a tragedy caused by a series of blunders. Families of the victims gathered in Warrington on Wednesday morning to hear the announcement, which was released to the public in a 3,780-word statement around 20 minutes later.In the House of Commons, Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the decision by the CPS and praised the “absolutely exemplary” campaign by the Hillsborough families and others. Sir Norman Bettison, left, and David Duckenfield Credit:Peter Byrne/PA/Dave Thompson/Getty Barry Devonside, whose 18-year-old son Christopher was killed in the disaster, pumped his fist as he emerged from the meeting with the lawyers and other relatives of the 96.He said: “Everybody applauded when it was announced that the most senior police officer on that particular day will have charges presented to him.” On the role of former South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (Symas), the jury said: “Symas officers at the scene failed to ascertain the nature of the problem at Leppings Lane.”The failure to recognise and call a major incident led to delays in the responses to the emergency.” The jury also identified errors in the police planning and response, the actions of commanding officers, the safety certification of the ground, the management of the stadium by Sheffield Wednesday FC and the response by the ambulance service. It also found there were dangerous features in the stadium design.The original inquest in 1991 ruled that the deaths were accidental, but those verdicts were quashed following an independent report that concluded a major cover-up had taken place to shift the blame for the disaster onto the victims.last_img read more


first_imgKILKENNY COUNTY COUNCIL will hold an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss the ongoing row over the city’s ring road extension.Groups against the proposed central access scheme yesterday addressed the council’s monthly meeting, describing the plan as “horrific”.Locals have been protesting against the plans for the central access scheme, claiming it will bring more traffic to the centre of the medieval city.They have been calling for the funding to be used to finish a ring road.Protesters have been stationed outside the gates every day for the past few weeks and have prevented construction vehicles from entering the site. Last week, gardaí cordoned off the streets in the city to facilitate machinery entering the site.Local TD John McGuinness said that he believes a review of the scheme is needed.“We just had a local election and serious concern was raised about the central access scheme.“We were told that a review was not possible because contracts were signed.“But I believe that a review should take place, because we need to know how communities in the area affected will be impacted.”Read: Protest over Kilkenny bridge grows from ‘a dozen to hundreds of people’>Read: Protest over Kilkenny bridge grows from ‘a dozen to hundreds of people’last_img read more


first_imgFukushima : des rats causent un nouvel incident dans les systèmes de la centraleTepco, la compagnie gérante de la centrale de Fukushima a indiqué lundi avoir remis en route le système de refroidissement de la piscine de combustible usé du réacteur 2. La découverte de rats morts avait imposé l’arrêt volontaire du système.Le mois dernier, les systèmes de refroidissement du site nucléaire accidenté de Fukushima avaient été paralysés pendant plus de 30 heures sans que Tepco, la compagnie gérante de la centrale, ne sache pourquoi. Après être intervenu dans les systèmes et mené son enquête, l’opérateur a depuis découvert que c’était un rat qui était à l’origine du court-circuit. Mais alors que les incidents se succèdent, les rongeurs ont semble t-il encore frappé.Lundi matin, à 10H13, une patrouille de contrôle a en effet découvert deux cadavres de rats près d’un transformateur extérieur lié au système de refroidissement de la piscine 2. Une trouvaille qui a poussé Tepco à suspendre le système afin que les corps des rats puissent être retirés et que le bon fonctionnement du transformateur soit vérifié. La température de la piscine se trouvait à 13,9°C au moment de l’arrêt. A priori, elle ne risquait pas d’atteindre avant la remise en route la limite de sûreté de 65°C fixée par les autorités, a précisé Tepco. Le dispositif de refroidissement a ensuite été relancé trois à quatre heures après la découverte et l’arrêt du système comme Tepco l’avait prévu. La température de la piscine atteignait alors 14°C. “Après retrait des rats, contrôle du transformateur et confirmation qu’il n’y avait pas d’anomalie, nous avons remis en service le système de refroidissement à 15H48 (06H48 GMT)”, a expliqué l’opérateur précisant qu’aucune autre anomalie n’avait été détectée.Des incidents qui se multiplient À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Le premier incident survenu à cause du rat était sans doute le plus grave depuis que la centrale a été déclarée en état stable dit “d’arrêt à froid” mi-décembre 2011. Toutefois, depuis les incidents se multiplient. Plusieurs fuites d’eau hautement radioactive se sont récemment produites dans des réservoirs d’eau creusés dans le sol, obligeant Tepco à transvaser tant bien que mal le liquide contaminé dans des cuves spéciales, encore en nombre insuffisant, rappelle l’AFP.  Autant de problèmes et de travaux supplémentaires imprévus qui ont montré la vulnérabilité du site, deux ans après le séisme et le tsunami du 11 mars 2011 qui ont causé une catastrophe sans précédent à la centrale de Fukushima.(crédits photo : Tepco) Le 23 avril 2013 à 12:57 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more


first_imgStay on target ‘Star Wars Pinball’ Has Your Favorite Brand in Ball Form‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Was Final Mission From Late Nintendo President Unlike with pretty much all other sports games, I’m cool with tennis video games even when they go the more realistic “sim” route. It’s probably because I played actual tennis in high school, but also the act of just swinging a racket I think is more accessible on a core level even when you begin to layer other stuff on top of it. Even the most nonsensical aspects of tennis, like the scoring system, make infinitely more sense than literally anything about football.Still, like any other sport, tennis becomes way better as an arcade-style video game. And arguably the best arcade tennis franchise is Mario Tennis, the birthplace of Waluigi. After the full-priced demo that was Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash on Wii U, Mario Tennis Aces is the second serve on Nintendo Switch. And it’s the most hype-inducing Mario sports game since Mario Strikers Charged over a decade ago.The beauty of Mario Tennis Aces really begins and ends with its masterful mechanics (and the characters’ new tennis outfits). In previous Mario tennis games that depth largely came from having different buttons represent different colorful shot types like fast flat purple shots, powerful red topspin, and curvy blue slices. You could get a bonus by charging a specific shot on a glowing star, but the meat-and-potatoes gameplay came from typical tennis tactics. Go up to the net and force the point. Lob it behind your opponent and pressure them to run back. Hit a drop shot they couldn’t possible reach in time.Mario Tennis Aces keeps all that, and if you so choose, you can play with just those “simple” rules. But the real joy of the game comes the whole host of added special techniques and their exciting strategic options. Depending on the situation, here are some things you can actually do in this tennis game. Leap up into the air and specifically aim a Zone Shot your opponent can’t reach. Slow down time and precisely parry a Zone Shot. Shatter your opponent’s racket with a cinematic Special Shot. Leap a set distance across the court to continue a rally with your Trick Shot. No one move is unbeatable. Everything can be countered. Everything is useful in the right circumstances. And it’s all balanced by a fighting game-esque power meter.The combination of quick thinking and fast reflexes Mario Tennis Aces demands gives it a moderately steep learning curve. Ignoring the deeper moves means you’ll lose points you didn’t have to. The most incredible comebacks typically come from clutch uses of these techniques. But misuse them and Waluigi may just moonwalk his out out of the championship. On a visceral level, winning a tennis match via “knock out” because you broke all your opponent’s rackets is the rawest thing. God, the sound effects! But it’s even more satisfying when it’s the result of a long-term strategy carried out over several games, sets, and matches. You really have to keep playing and practicing and exploring all the different ways the system allows you to express your playstyle.Fortunately, you can do all that by playing through the game’s variety of modes. You can compete in various tournaments, that coincidentally end with matches against Bowser. You can play online and locally with friends in either quick or extended play sessions. And you can even decide whether to play on standard grass and clay courts or wackier Mario courts with hazards like ball-spitting Piranha Plants or tricky ghost mirrors.But the biggest addition is the Adventure Mode, finally combining the RPG stories of Camelot’s portable Mario sports games with the visuals of a console Mario sports game. The mode isn’t as deep as those handheld classics, or games inspired by them like Golf Story, but it is fairly substantial. Travel across various islands leveling up Mario’s tennis stats and gaining new rackets to fight a mummy that possessed Luigi with the Infinity Stones. Really.These challenges, particularly the boss fights, can be very tough and involved. It’s like a whole game of Phantom Ganon rallies from Zelda. Without the right approach, it can almost feel impossible at times (like when a particular puzzle isn’t well communicated). But get through this and you’ll definitely be prepared for competitive play.Not everything here is as great. The unresponsive optional swing mode is disappointing even in casual play, a big bummer especially considering how good the motion controls felt in the Wii Sports tennis games years ago. You can challenge the line judge which is neat in concept but why would the computer ever call a shot wrong?Meanwhile, the highly technical gameplay leaves matches sensitive to online lag, snatching away tournament dreams. And although the game is much beefier than the the threadbare Ultra Smash, it could still use just a little more content, particularly more stages. I was glad to hear there’s free DLC, like playable Blooper, rolling out over the summer in the style of Arms and Splatoon.But as a whole Mario Tennis Aces regularly leaves me shaking with excitement. Matches get so intense and thrilling I’m wishing Nintendo made a metal Switch Elite Controller like Xbox to withstand the professional pressure. Put this game on the EVO main stage alongside Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Street Fighter V. It’s that good. It’s that hype.Buy it now!Mario Tennis AcesNintendo SwitchProtect Your Nintendo Switch With These Awesome CasesLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more


first_imgAccording to Sky Sports, the match between Chelsea and Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup will be the last for the Spaniard before he moves to Monaco.Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas has played for the world’s top teams: Arsenal, Barcelona, and Chelsea.The Arenys de Mar native played with the Gunners from 2003 to 2011, he then moved to Barcelona from 2011 to 2014.He has played with the Blues since 2014, but today’s match against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup Third Round seems to be his last game.At least according to Sky Sports, who have reported France Ligue 1 team Monaco is close to agreeing to a January transfer.Premier LeaguePremier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“In this position, we have only two players, Jorginho and Fabregas, so for me, it would be really a problem without Cesc,” Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri told Sky Sports recently.“I want him to stay, I don’t know the final decision of Cesc and the club of course.”“But for me, it’s very important and if Cesc will go I think that we need to buy another player, and it’s not easy because, technically, Cesc is a very important player,” Sarri explained.“And I think that in the market it’s very difficult to find a player with his characteristics.”last_img read more


first_imgMental Health Toll Of Hurricane Maria Still Palpable In… by NPR News Marisa Peñaloza, Greg Allen 8.22.19 5:00am On a muggy morning in Rio Piedras, a San Juan suburb, about three dozen volunteers dressed in parrot green polo t-shirts are gathered in a brightly lit conference room of El Retiro, a retirement community. The group is mostly women between 60 and 80 years old. “What is resiliency?” asks Miguel Marrero. He’s a psychologist and mental health program manager for Americares, a relief and development organization. He leads the discussion in his native Spanish. “We’ve been hearing this word over and over since Maria.”Maria, a deadly Category 4 hurricane, ravaged Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Dominica nearly two years ago, and recovery has been slow. It’s not just Puerto Rico’s infrastructure that was battered. Emotionally, many here are still fragile. After some nudging one of the women shares her thoughts about what it means to be resilient. “It’s something … that comes back to its original state,” says 61-year-old Carmen Chevere. She came to learn to handle her own fears about another hurricane. Chevere is also a volunteer caregiver with Esperanza para la Vejez, or Hope for the Elderly, a local organization that matches elderly in need of help such as cooking, taking medication, bathing or just in need of company.Chevere, a lively woman with bright red hair and purple-frame glasses, still has vivid memories of the devastation and anxiety felt during Hurricane Maria. One of her neighbors died because she couldn’t find insulin, she says. Chevere’s house was severely damaged by Maria. Her daughters left the island soon after the hurricane. “They just forgot about me,” she says, although her son remained. “He takes care of me,” she said as her eyes began to well up with tears. Through sobs, Chevere says, “Now I live in fear of another hurricane and we are not ready yet. We are not strong enough yet. Every time I hear about a hurricane, I feel pain and I lose my bearings.”Like Chevere, many in Puerto Rico are still having a hard time coping with everyday life and understanding that what the island went through during Maria wasn’t a small event. Across the island, more than three million people saw their communities devastated. Many lost their homes, their jobs, or families and friends.”Recovery,” psychologist Marrero says, “can take months even years.” “After Hurricane Maria many individuals were having difficulty dealing with emotions,” says Dr. Brenda Rivera-García, Puerto Rico director for Americares. “They could deal with their day to day logistics of where to go and get services but the emotional part was difficult for them.” The mental health toll of Maria on Puerto Ricans is still palpable, says Dr. Rivera-García. Months living without power, in damaged homes without enough food, clean running water and medicine left many here suffering from anxiety, stress and depression, and often unaware of what to call their feelings.With a new hurricane season and the second anniversary of Hurricane Maria approaching, across the island, emotions are resurfacing and Marrero says, “we know that this time of year depression, anxiety and stress symptoms get really high in people.” “We not only give them resources, but we want to hear from them,” Marrero says. “They are all survivors, they lost family members and livelihoods and property to Maria.” The volunteers in this class say they don’t know when or if another hurricane will hit the island. But they believe they are more resilient now, with the mental strength they’ll need to recover from another disaster.Chevere became a volunteer after Maria. Despite her own problems, she takes care of a 93-year-old man. “I check on him, I make him coffee, I clip his nails,” says Chevere. “I wash his clothes. I do everything you’d do for someone who’s your father.” “This job got me out of my funk,” she says. “When I wake up in the morning, I have hope because of ‘my viejito’ this elderly man I take care of,” she says. “If he’s standing up, I can stand up.”Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.last_img read more


first_imgNew Delhi: The Centre has not received any official confirmation from the Mamata Banerjee government regarding the withdrawal of the Ayushman Bharat scheme from West Bengal, CEO Indu Bhushan said on Thursday. “Out of 36 states, 33 states have signed MoUs and 29 states have implemented it as well. We are not aware of West Bengal, as they have not given an official confirmation on the withdrawal,” the health scheme chief said this at The Ayushman Bharat Conclave here. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose In January, Banerjee announced that her state has withdrawn from the Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY scheme. Three other states – Delhi, Telangana and Odisha – have also stayed away from implementing the central health scheme. The Central government, too, wrote to the state saying that around 60 lakh families would suffer due to the state’s decision. Banerjee’s decision came after the Prime Minister sent out letters to the beneficiaries with only his pictures on them. Banerjee claimed that her state was contributing 40 per cent to the scheme and hence should be properly represented.last_img read more


first_imgTPI goes for quality over quantity with invitation-only recruitment: “That strategy is paying dividends for us” Wednesday, February 15, 2017 TPI started off the year with single-digit growth and February is continuing the upward trend with double-digit growth. Commissions continue to outpace the growth of travel sales, says Tim Morgan, Vice President,
TPI – Travel Professionals International, in this edition of Sphere’s Insider Interview.Sphere: You’ll soon be a familiar face at Toronto and GTA area industry events with your relocation to Toronto this spring. Is your move an indication that TPI wants to grow its presence in Ontario and increase market share across Canada?Morgan: “TPI has always had a strong presence in Ontario – it accounts for over 37% of our existing travel sales – and we see it continuing to contribute strongly to our organization. We have had various managers, directors, and executives based in Southern Ontario over the years, including our incredibly capable current Ontario Regional Sales Manager, Rhonda LaFosse, and I’m very excited to be able to join Rhonda to contribute to TPI’s continued dominance in Ontario and across Canada with this move.“Between our Regional Sales Managers across Canada, our National Director of Sales and our President and CEO in Winnipeg, and me in Toronto, we will continue to increase our market share across the country.”Sphere: How many members does TPI have currently and what’s your goal for 2017?Morgan: “We’re not so concerned with membership numbers as we are with the quality of the members’ sales.“Two years ago we drastically paired down our recruitment efforts to focus specifically on highly-qualified individuals through an invitation-only approach.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growth“That strategy is paying dividends for us in terms of the quality of each travel sale, namely higher margin types of travel that our advisors are booking. This benefits all TPI travel advisors because we’re able to devote greater support services to a smaller cumulative group of advisors.“In addition this focus on highly-qualified recruitment produces higher commissions and service levels from our preferred partners which directly benefits all our travel advisors.”Sphere: TPI has some stand-out travel agents. What do members tell you they like best about TPI?Morgan: “TPI has incredible travel advisors – the best in the business. What our travel advisors say they like most about TPI is each other [laughs]. It’s true though – the best thing about TPI are the incredible travel advisors that are part of our network across Canada.“We constantly hear about the benefits of them networking with and learning from their peers – whether via social media, our regional meetings, our annual conference, or otherwise. Our travel advisors love to work together and they love that we encourage them to share and help each other because that is what we do corporately every day as we help them grow their business.“We are nothing without our dedicated head office team and our passionate advisors, and the best part is that everyone is working together toward the same goal – success for our travel advisors.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthSphere: How are sales volumes looking for 2017 for TPI members – what sort of feedback are you hearing from the front lines?Morgan: “We just finalized our mid-year results (for the six months ending 31 January 2017) and while the latter half of calendar 2016 was somewhat of a mixed bag when it came to sales, January started off the new year with single-digit growth and February is continuing the upward trend with double-digit growth.“Travel commissions continue to outpace the growth of travel sales which is fantastic news for our travel advisors – through higher margins, they’re putting more money in their pockets than ever before.“Our main corporate push with our travel advisors over the last two years has been to ‘work smarter, not harder’, specifically when we look at the type of travel they’re selling to boost their commission margin – and it’s working.“With a focus on higher margin product, we’re seeing strong increases particularly in cruise sales and in the service fees that travel advisors are charging for their valuable services across all travel types, including ITC groups.”Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO; Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises President; Tim Morgan, TPI Vice President at a recent Princess Cruises’eventMore than 250 travel advisors, guests, staff and travel partners are expected to attend TPI’s annual conference, taking place Nov. 11-18, 2017 at the new Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa. For details see tpi.ca. Share Travelweek Group center_img Posted by Tags: Sphere, TPI << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more


first_img Top Stories The economic conditions have helped spark small but growing protests in the West Bank. Last week demonstrators halted traffic in key Palestinian cities.There are some 154,000 Palestinian civil servants, and their salaries help keep their extended families out of poverty.Abbas spoke to reporters Saturday in the West Bank city of Ramallah.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Ramallah, WEST BANK (AP) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says that government employees will not receive full salaries this month because donor countries have not delivered promised aid.The U.S. and Arab countries have failed to come through this year with the aid money they have pledged, leaving the Palestinian Authority that governs much of the West Bank in a budgetary shortfall that has contributed to rising prices and delays in the payment of government salaries. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The vital role family plays in society Sponsored Stories Patients with chronic pain give advice 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologistlast_img read more


first_img First-time claims for unemployment jumped 15,000 to 382,000 for the week ended September 8, the “”Labor Department””:http://www.dol.gov/ reported Thursday. [IMAGE]Several states “”reported increases in initial claims, “”as a result of Tropical Storm Isaac,”” which increased the total by about 9,000. Economists had predicted a smaller increase, to 370,000.At the same time, the number of filings in the previous week was revised up to 367,000 from the originally reported 365,000. Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one-week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô dropped 49,000 to 3,283,000 from the prior week’s 3,332,000, revised from the originally reported 3,322,000.Coming at the beginning of the month, this week’s reports will not affect the Employment Situation report for September to be released at the beginning of October by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô tracking the nation’s unemployment rate and job creation ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô is compiled based on payroll and household surveys for the week of the month including the 12th calendar day. The weather factor makes comparisons with prior reports inconclusive. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, claims jumped 96,000 with virtually all of the increases attributable to the storm.[COLUMN_BREAK]Even without the estimated impact of Isaac in the current report, claims increased 6,000, the largest week-over-week increase since the end of July when claims rose 11,000. The upward adjustment to the prior week’s report was the 32nd time this year the preliminary data was revised higher. The four-week moving average of first time claims increased 3,250 to 375,000, the highest level in eight weeks, the fourth consecutive weekly increase. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell 7,500 to 3,316,500 from 3,324,000.The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on two week lag – for the week ending August 25 was 5,391,576, down 78,465 from the previous week. Most of the decline came in two categories: emergency claims which fell 40,543 and regular state benefits which dropped 30,101. State programs have been shaved due to state budget pressures and the depletion of state unemployment insurance trust funds while Congress imposed new restrictions on emergency claims. States have been borrowing from the federal government to cover shortfalls in those funds which will eventually have to be repaid ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô unless Congress intervenes ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô with higher assessments on employers. Since those assessments are a percentage of payrolls, they discourage employers from adding new workers. As of September 6, 20 states have and aggregate $25.6 billion in outstanding loans to cover shortfalls, led by California which has borrowed almost $9.6 billion.States reported 2,223,071 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending August 25, a decrease of 40,543 from the prior week the Labor Department said. There were 3,066,671 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2011.According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending September 1 were in Pennsylvania (+1,639), Nevada (+1,351), Michigan (+915), Texas (+804), and Iowa (+691), while the largest decreases were in Florida (-1,923), North Carolina (-1,566), Georgia (-1,199), Puerto Rico (-1,101), and New Jersey (-789). Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Payrolls Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2012-09-13 Mark Lieberman September 13, 2012 415 Views Isaac Pushes Up First-Time Unemployment Claimscenter_img in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing, Technology Sharelast_img read more


first_imgProfits Rise at Wells Fargo as Housing Perks Up Bank Earnings Credit Quality Quarterly Profits Wells Fargo 2014-07-11 Tory Barringer Wells Fargo reported strong financials for the second quarter, driven in part by an uptick in mortgage lending and ongoing improvements in credit quality.The megabank reported $5.7 billion in net income for the quarter, up 4 percent over $5.5 billion a year prior. For the year’s first half, Wells Fargo took in $11.6 billion in net income, up nearly $1 billion compared to the same period in 2013.”Our strong results in the second quarter reflected the benefit of our diversified business model and our long-term focus on meeting the financial needs of our customers,” said John Stumpf, chairman and CEO of the bank. “Our results also reflected strong credit quality driven by an improved economy, especially the housing market, and our continued risk discipline.”Coming from the nation’s biggest name in mortgages—and the first megabank to release Q2 results—Wells Fargo’s report serves as the first sign of how consumer lending fared throughout the quarter. Next on the schedule is Citigroup on July 14, followed by JPMorgan Chase on July 15.On the home lending side, Wells Fargo reported mortgage originations of $47 billion, up from $36 billion in the first quarter, with applications pulling up $12 billion to a total of $72 billion.The bank’s application pipeline also nudged up to $30 billion as of the end of June compared to $27 billion at the end of the first quarter.Though an improvement from a slow first quarter, those figures are all still less than half of where they were a year ago, demonstrating again how much housing has cooled.Meanwhile, the bank reported another $500 million reserve release, reflecting improvements in credit quality as a result of the housing recovery. Charge-offs on bad loans also declined from the first quarter, falling to $717 million from $825 million before.”Credit performance continued to improve in the second quarter as credit losses remained at historically low levels, nonperforming assets continued to decrease and we continued to originate high quality loans,” said Mike Loughlin, chief risk officer.Loughlin added that the bank continues to expect future reserve releases, though not as high “as the rate of credit improvement slows and the loan portfolio continues to grow.” July 11, 2014 446 Views center_img in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination Sharelast_img read more


first_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Associated Press Posted Jan 11, 2019 9:47 am PDT BERLIN — Theo Adam, a German opera singer renowned for his Wagner roles, has died. He was 92.German news agency dpa quoted Adam’s family Friday confirming that the bass-baritone died Thursday at a care home in his hometown of Dresden.Adam made his debut at the Staatsoper Dresden in 1949 before joining East Germany’s Berlin State Opera in 1952.Adam appeared regularly at the Bayreuth Festival, where he starred in “Lohengrin,” ”Parsifal,” ”Die Meistersinger” and other works by Richard Wagner.His guest appearances included Covent Garden in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna State Opera.The Associated Presscenter_img German opera singer Theo Adam dies at 92last_img read more