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first_imgBrussels: The European Union will sign a deal to remove virtually all customs duties on trade with Vietnam on Sunday, the EU Commission announced. The accord was negotiated back in December 2015, but EU member states only gave their approval on Wednesday at a ministerial meeting. EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom will travel to Hanoi at the weekend to sign the deal and the EU parliament is expected to ratify it later this year. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: London”I am very pleased to see that Member States have given a green light to our trade and investment agreements with Vietnam,” Malmstrom said. “Beyond the clear economic benefits, this deal also aims to strengthen respect for human rights as well as protecting the environment and workers’ rights.” EU-Vietnam trade represents 50 billion euros in goods and four billion inn services, and Europe is keen to secure access to 95 million consumers. But Brussels has expressed concern in the past about the former French colony’s human rights record.last_img read more


first_imgLucknow: Two policemen were killed Wednesday in Sambhal district as unidentified assailants opened fire at a jail van and helped three undertrials escape from the custody. Sambhal Superintendent of Police Yamuna Prasad said two constables, escorting some undertrial prisoners to Moradabad, were shot dead day by heavily armed criminals in an audacious attack on the police team. The incident took place at Dhannumal crossing near Banither village in the district when a police van returning with 24 undertrials prisoners to Moradabad after hearings in a Chandausi court was attacked by some persons, said Additional DG (Law and Order) P V Ramashastri. The deceased constables were identified as Harendra and Brijpal. Attempts are on to nab the culprits, Ramashastri said.last_img


first_imgOTTAWA — Canada Food Guide quick factsHealth Canada has updated its advice for Canadians to help them eat better and develop healthier food habits.What’s new:– Recommends eating plenty of veggies and fruits, whole grains and protein foods– Promotes choosing proteins that come from plants more often– Says water should be your drink of choice– Provides tips on what to avoid or limit: processed, prepared foods, added sodium and sugar– Emphasizes reading food labels and being aware of marketing influenceWhat’s out:– No more food groups or portion sizes– Dairy no longer its own category; healthy dairy options now included with proteins and unsweetened drinks– Daily intake of oils and fats no longer promoted and saturated fats discouraged– No more promotion of juice or sweetened milkNew healthy eating lifestyle tips include:– Cook more often rather than buying meals– Be mindful of eating habits– Take time to eat rather than eating while working or doing other things– Involve others in planning and preparing meals– Food traditions can be part of healthy eating; share them across generations and cultures– Eat with other peopleThe Canadian Presslast_img read more


first_imgAdvertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment COLLABORATIONYEAA strives to create a network, develop connections, and cultivate the next generation of film artists. Twitter CREATIONYEAA commits to fostering and encouraging the community of emerging artists in the development and creation of original work. Connect with us!Facebook: www.facebook.com/YEAAVancouverTwitter: @YEAAVancouverInstagram: @yeaavancouverhttp://www.ubcp.com/yeaa-vancouver/ Login/Register With: Co-ChairsJaslyn Collins, Emma Ross, Darby Steeves, and Alexandra Coburn Facebookcenter_img Advertisement We will workshop and produce new scripts pitched by a member as a committee project. Upon completion, we will host a screening of the project to showcase our work! Advertisement YEAA (The Young Emerging Artists Assembly) The mission of YEAA Vancouver is to establish a safe space for emerging union artists (who play 17-30) to build relationships and develop their craft. EDUCATIONThe YEAA committee will provide opportunities for professional development and introduce young emerging actors to existing organizations within the city. We are passionate about organizing workshops and panels which will advance the work the young film community wishes to create. Additionally, YEAA Vancouver strives to increase the knowledge-base for emerging artists in regards to what the union can provide for them; how to best utilize their membership. Part of our goal as a committee is to organize industry events and host fundraisers for our future endeavors. We are excited to work with existing groups to continue to build an inviting network for emerging union film artists.last_img read more


first_imgAPTN National NewsIt has been 40 years, but the remains of more than a dozen Inuit have finally been returned to their resting place in northern Labrador.In the 1970s, researchers at Memorial University in St. John’s removed the remains for study.APTN National News reporter Ossie Michelin was there.last_img


Washington – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should get Algeria and Polisario separatists to listen to the voice of reason, Robert Holley, former US diplomat and expert in the region underlined, stressing that they should embrace the virtues of the Sahara Autonomy Plan.Algeria and the Polisario should come “to understand and embrace the reality that a ‘mutually acceptable political solution’ means giving up the idea of creating yet another fragile micro-state in an already fragile and dangerous region,” Holley said in an article published on www.moroccoonthemove.com.He highlighted that Morocco has put on the table “a more than generous offer” to grant the Sahara an autonomous status, adding that Morocco’s proposal “has been repeatedly acknowledged as ‘serious, credible and realistic’ by both Washington and many others that matter.” “This problem has only one solution”, he underlined, adding that the United Nations will do peace in a huge favor if it “makes a serious effort at getting the recalcitrant in Algiers and Tindouf to understand that.”The Algerian regime and the leader of the separatists should “let the people in these gulags choose their own destiny” and allow “those in the camps (who) would like nothing better than the opportunity to go home to Morocco with their families and belongings” to do so, the American expert added.“It’s time for the Polisario to get out of the way and allow the UN High Commission for Refugees to launch a voluntary repatriation program to assist those in the camps to return home if they so choose,”  he added.He noted that the UN Secretary General has often warned in public the last few years that the dispute over Sahara has become “a time bomb that needs to be defused as security matters in the wider Sahara/Sahel region continue to threaten the peace and stability of the whole of both northern and sub-Saharan Africa.”MWN with MAP read more


The Canadian Press OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales climbed 1.0 per cent to $57.1 billion in January, boosted by higher sales in the food as well as the electrical equipment, appliance and component industries.The agency says it was the first move higher following three consecutive months of declines.Economists on average had expected an increase of 0.4 per cent for January, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Sales were up in 15 of 21 industries, representing 55.9 per cent of total manufacturing sales.Food manufacturing sales rose 2.8 per cent to $8.8 billion in January, following a 2.1 per cent drop in December, while the electrical equipment, appliance and component industry rose 13.0 per cent to $1.1 billion, following a 0.2 per cent move lower in December.Manufacturing sales in volume terms rose 1.4 per cent. read more


20 April 2009The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) today welcomed the release of nine men, members of a Senegalese AIDS awareness group, who had been imprisoned for their sexual orientation. The men were arrested last December and sentenced the following month by the Senegalese courts for “acts against nature and the creation of an association of criminals.”UNAIDS, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), civil society organizations, the French Embassy and the Swedish Embassy representing the European Union (EU) mounted a campaign to secure the release of the detainees, who work for an organization called AIDES Senegal.“Homophobia and criminalization based on a person’s sexual orientation is fueling the AIDS epidemic,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. “We urge Senegal to remove such laws that block the AIDS response.”The agency stressed that the rights of men who have sex with men must be protected, with laws prohibiting sexual acts between consenting adults in private being amended to curb stigma and discrimination.Further, UNAIDS called for the enforcement of anti-discrimination, the provision of legal aid services and the promotion of campaigns that address homophobia. read more


Toronto, U.S. stock markets mostly rise as Fed chair contender withdraws AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press Posted Sep 16, 2013 8:40 am MDT TORONTO – North American markets were mostly higher as investors bet that stimulus funding from the Fed will continue to flow for a little while longer following news that economist Larry Summers is out of the race for the top job at the U.S. central bank.The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 93.48 points to 12,816.88. The Canadian dollar lifted 0.20 of a cent to 96.93 cents US.Larry Summers has long been perceived as an opponent to the Fed’s aggressive $85 billion a month bond-buying program, which has helped push down interest rates to spur lending and jump-start economic growth. The program, dubbed quantitative easing, has also weakened the U.S. dollar and boosted stock markets.The Dow Jones industrials surged 118.72 points to 15,494.78 and the broader market measure, the S&P 500, added 9.61 points to 1,697.60.“Certainly, markets are interpreting Summers’ withdrawing from the race as Fed chairman implies that quantitative easing could persist for longer, that (higher) interest rates could be pushed further into the future,” said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at the Royal Bank of Canada.The departure of Summers, who was considered to be President Barack Obama’s first choice to succeed current Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, now puts vice-chair Janet Yellen in the lead for the position. Yellen is believed to be a supporter of the bank’s stimulus program.Obama is expected to make the nomination as early as this month.The development comes as the Fed is set to make a key announcement Wednesday on what it plans to do about the asset purchases. It’s widely expected that the central bank will announce that it’ll begin tapering anywhere between US$10 billion to US$15 billion a month on signs that the U.S. economic recovery is moving forward. What is still left up in the air is at what pace the money will be rolled back.Meanwhile, after being positive for most of the day, the Nasdaq fell 4.34 points to 3,717.85, pulled down by losses from tech giant Apple Inc., which unveiled two new iPhone models last week. Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) fell more than three per cent, or $14.78, to close at US$450.12.After weeks of uncertainty over Syria, United Nations inspectors confirmed Monday that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale in an attack last month in Syria that killed hundreds of people.The findings represent the first official confirmation by scientific experts that chemical weapons have been used in Syria’s civil war, but the report left the key question of who launched the attack unanswered.The rebels and their U.S. and western supporters have said the government of President Bashar Assad was behind the Aug. 21 attack, while Damascus and its closest ally, Russia, blame the rebels.Commodities were mixed as the October crude contract dipped $1.62 to US$106.59 a barrel. December gold bullion saw an uptick of $9.20 to US$1,317.80 an ounce. December copper was up two cents at US$3.22 a pound.Nearly all sectors on the Toronto Stock Exchange closed up with sizable gains, as the info tech sector led the charge with an uptick of 2.56 per cent. Shares in Wi-Lan Inc. (TSX:WIN) were up nearly seven per cent, or 23 cents, to $3.62 after the company and Alcatel Lucent USA Inc. agreed to settle their dispute over several patents and withdraw litigation before U.S. district courts in Florida and Texas.On the corporate front, Aimia Inc. announced it has reached an agreement with TD Bank Group and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce for its popular Aeroplan loyalty credit card programs. Under the deal, each bank would have the rights to half the portfolio of accounts.Shares in Aimia (TSX:AIM) gained more than seven per cent, or $1.22, to $17.85. TD (TSX:TD) shares were up 0.97 per cent, or 87 cents, at $90.79, while shares in CIBC (TSX:CM) jumped 0.75 per cent, or 61 cents, to $81.74.Meanwhile, Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) flew the first test flight of its CSeries commercial aircraft Monday. The flight sets off a year of testing, leading to delivery of the first aircraft, which seats 110 to 125 passengers and is slated to enter into service in about a year. The heavily anticipated first flight had been delayed three times over nearly nine months. Its share fell 0.6 per cent, or three cents, to $4.96.Air Canada shares also rose more than four per cent, or 15 cents, to $3.43 after Canada’s largest airline announced that the company’s stock was being added to the S&P/TSX Composite Index after the close of trading Sept. 20.In economic news, Statistics Canada said foreign investors resumed purchases of Canadian securities in July, adding $6.1 billion to their holdings. That followed a $15.4-billion divestment in June. Meanwhile, Canadian investment in foreign securities slowed to $900 million and focused on bonds.South of the border, U.S. factories boosted output 0.7 per cent in August, the best since December, mainly led by auto production. read more


WASHINGTON – U.S. home prices climbed at a solid pace in August as more home buyers competed for fewer available properties.The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.1 per cent in August, after a 5 per cent gain in July. Portland, Seattle and Denver reported the strongest year-over-year increases for the seventh month in a row, with gains of 11.7 per cent, 11.4 per cent and 8.8 per cent, respectively.Steady hiring, low mortgage rates and some early signs of rising pay have encouraged more Americans to buy homes. Sales of existing properties increased 3.2 per cent in September from August, the National Association of Realtors said last week.Yet the number of homes for sale has fallen nearly 7 per cent from a year ago, the NAR said. Just 2.04 million homes were for sale in September.“Demand is high and enthusiasm for homeownership remains strong, especially among all-important young, minority and would-be first-time buyers,” Svenja Gudell, chief economist at real estate data provider Zillow, said. “Still, the market can’t stay on this course forever, and continued inventory shortages are leading to intense competition, escalating prices and mounting buyer frustration, with the average home search over the past year taking more than four months.”The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The August figures are the latest available.Developers are building more new homes, but not quickly enough to restrain price increases. Builders broke ground on 783,000 single-family homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in September, up 5.4 per cent from a year earlier. Apartment construction fell sharply.Many institutional investors bought homes after prices fell sharply in the housing bust and are continuing to rent them out, rather than sell them.Home prices rose 8.1 per cent in Dallas from a year ago, 7.1 per cent in Miami, and 6.7 per cent in San Francisco. All 20 cities recorded price increased from a year earlier.Home prices plunged 35 per cent from their peak in July 2006 until they bottomed out in March 2012. They have since risen to just 7.2 per cent below the peak. by Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press Posted Oct 25, 2016 7:21 am MDT Last Updated Oct 25, 2016 at 10:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email In this Wednesday, April 20, 2016, photo, real estate agent Lauren Newman, left, shows client Steve Martin, a home for sale in Mount Pleasant, S.C. On Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index for August is released. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) US home prices rose in August, lifted by dwindling supply read more


PHILADELPHIA – A former director of the home shopping network QVC has been charged with defrauding the company out of more than $1 million that he used to pay for a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors said Thursday.James Falkowski, 42, duped the company into paying for hundreds of thousands of dollars in spa treatments, clothing, Botox treatments and restaurant meals, authorities said. He is also accused of engaging in kickback schemes with two vendors that ultimately paid him $240,000 for arranging insider deals with the company.Even though he was fired from the company in 2013, a court indictment states, Falkowski raked in money from QVC between 2008 and 2016, thanks to an agreement with the vendors that he be given a percentage of their royalties.In one scheme detailed by prosecutors, he disclosed internal QVC documents to representatives from a public relations firm so that the company could get more money in royalties from the West Chester, Pennsylvania-based retailer in exchange for a cut of their profits.He then laundered his own personal expenses, flights to vacation destinations such as Turks and Caicos, as well as swanky hotel stays, through the firm by charging them for the costs then instructing the firm to submit fraudulent invoices to QVC. In some cases, he himself wrote the falsified invoices to QVC.Falkowski, of Buffalo, New York, faces about 11 years in prison for the various fraud charges.No phone number was listed for Falkowski, and attempts to reach him on social media were unsuccessful. Feds: Ex-QVC exec stole over $1M to fund lavish lifestyle by The Associated Press Posted Aug 10, 2017 1:31 pm MDT Last Updated Aug 10, 2017 at 2:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more


Junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) carries the ball during the Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State Dec. 7 in Indianapolis. OSU lost, 34-24. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State junior quarterback Braxton Miller said he is going to wait until after the Buckeyes play in the Orange Bowl against Clemson to decide whether or not he will leave early for the NFL Draft.“I’m just focusing on getting better myself as an individual and getting the team ready and making sure I’m in the film room taking care of my business,” Miller said Wednesday.However, OSU’s signal caller feels he is prepared to play at the next level.“Oh, yeah. Of course, yeah. Definitely. Just like (when) I came from high school. (The) coaches (are) going to get you mentally ready for everything that you need to get ready for,” Miller said. “It’s another step in life.”OSU coach Urban Meyer said he will wait until after the season is complete before talking with players who could leave early about their future. He would not go into detail about what kind of advice he would give his star quarterback when that time comes though.“That’s between me and Braxton,” Meyer said Monday.Miller, who was named the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year for the second straight season Dec. 3, threw for 1,860 yards and 22 touchdowns with just five interceptions despite missing more than two games when he went down with a sprained MCL in his left knee against San Diego State Sept. 7. He also ran for 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013.No. 7 OSU (12-1, 8-1) is set to play No. 12 Clemson (10-2, 7-1) in the Discover Orange Bowl Jan. 3. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. read more


first_imgWhen they aren’t working on the latest Roomba vacuum, the team at iRobot make equipment for more aggressive use cases. iRobot actually manufactures quite a few things that aren’t vacuums, and in all shapes and sizes, too. One of those other robots is called the FirstLook, and it begs to be thrown.FirstLook is a five pound surveillance robot with tank treads and small mechanical flippers to help ensure it doesn’t get stuck. It’s waterproof up to one meter and can be used in up to 130 degree environments. The little robot is specifically designed to be thrown into an unsafe building or hostile location in order to evaluate the situation or see if anyone needs to be rescued. There’s heavy emphasis put on the ability to throw this robot through windows or down flights of stairs on to hard surfaces and still have it perform as intended.The remote control for the FirstLook resembles a ruggedized Wii U GamePad and is dominated by a 5-inch display. The resolution isn’t great at just 800 x 480, but it’s good enough to see through the eyes of the robot. In fact it has four eyes, with a camera positioned on each side, all of which have tilt and pan capabilities. Anyone piloting a FirstLook should be able to assess the robot’s location and surroundings easily before proceeding.The average consumer isn’t the target market here, like many of iRobot’s crazy projects. We certainly won’t be able to throw our Roomba’s around and use them like little tanks anytime soon, but it is undeniably cool that robotics are headed in this direction for those times where it is just too dangerous to send a person into a hostile situation.Read more about FirstLook at iRobot, via Fast Companylast_img read more


first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Hellenic Initiative (THI) Australia has moved on to fund the opening of the paediatric clinic of the Ioannina hospital after that of Kastoria, in an effort to help children all around the wider Epirus area, but also the Western Macedonia, Thessaly, Western Greece areas and even the Ionian islands receive the medical attention that they need.The funding reached around $48,000 in order to cover all the needs of the two clinics and is estimated to provide assistance to over 9,000 children.THI is an organisation that has helped upgrade over 45 paediatric wards in 39 hospitals and health care facilities all over Greece in the past eight years.last_img


first_imgiTunes franchit la barre des 10 milliards de chansons téléchargéesÉtats-Unis – Apple a annoncé mercredi avoir franchi la barre des 10 milliards de chansons téléchargées sur iTunes. La plate-forme a été lancée en 2003.Le compteur tournait depuis plusieurs jours sur iTunes : Apple se préparait en effet à passer le cap des 10 milliards de chansons téléchargées sur sa plate-forme. C’est chose faite depuis mercredi, l’événement faisant un heureux : l’internaute qui a downloadé la dix milliardième chanson a en effet reçu 10.000 dollars. Une consécration pour iTunes qui, en 2001, n’était qu’un programme de gestion musicale. Ce n’est qu’en 2003 que la désormais célèbre plate-forme d’Apple est devenue une boutique en ligne. Désormais, plus de 10.000 chansons sont proposées entre 69 cents et 1,29 dollars. Des films, des séries ou encore des programmes radio se sont également installés sur la plate-forme. Récemment, Apple a enlevé les sécurités limitant les chansons téléchargées à un utilisateur et a donné la liberté aux maisons de disque de choisir le prix de vente de leurs produits.Le 26 février 2010 à 11:53 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more


first_imgBy Saikou Suwareh JabaiSpeaking at the national launching of the Trans- Gambia Corridor Road Construction Project last week at the Baobab Holiday Resort in Bijilo, the Executive Director of the National Aids Secretariat (NAS), Mr. Ousman Badjie, said the latest surveys on HIV/ AIDS prevalence in The Gambia indicate that the Lower River Region (LRR), for the past few years, is the hardest hit region.He said they have not done any scientific assessment to ascertain the underlying factors responsible for this situation in the region but that evidence elsewhere can be extrapolated to conclude that the long distance truck drivers and other key populations may be a contributing factor.“We know from evidence that transportation and other mobile populations are regarded as key populations because they continue to drive the HIV epidemic around the world,” he said.The NAS director said this is the reason why the 52 million Euros Trans- Gambia Corridor Project is very significant in helping to address the issue. He expressed delight with the fact that there is a vibrant group of consultants for the project which even concludes a sociologist as sociology has a key role to play in the response to HIV globally.He said during the beginning of the pandemic, the way information was disseminated to the public relating to HIV & AIDS eventually had a very negative impact in their response to the disease.Mr. Badjie said people described it as deadly, incurable and associate it with homosexuals, female sex workers and drug users but that little did they know that even transportation and road construction, in particular, contributes immensely to the spread of HIV & AIDS around the world.The NAS director noted that having been fully conscious of this fact, major donors in the world have now taken it seriously to include a component of HIV & AIDS in any major road construction project.“We need to face the reality as far as HIV & AIDS is concern in The Gambia. Relatively, we are still described as a low prevalence country but if you look at the specifics, it is very worrisome,” said Mr. Badjie.He said according to the Demographic Health Survey conducted for the first time in the Gambia in 2013, HIV prevalence in The Gambia is 1.9% and the National Sentiment Surveillance indicates that it is 1.57%. He cited examples like Botswana with HIV prevalence of 35%, adding that Gambia is relatively low in terms of prevalence. ]]>last_img read more


first_img Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Allie Wagner, Elizabeth Alvarez, Ed Lenderman 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Thousands of San Diego County students walked out of classes Wednesday morning as part of a nationwide action to honor the 17 people killed in last month’s school shooting in Florida and urge federal action to curb gun violence.More than 2,500 walkouts planned across the nation got underway early Wednesday as students on the East Coast began to mark the one-month anniversary of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Most local demonstrations began at 10 a.m. and were expected to continue for 17 minutes — one for every person who died in Parkland. More than three dozen walkouts were planned in San Diego County.Some school districts, including San Diego Unified, worked with students ahead of time to support the events.The district promoted the “positive” demonstration planned at Patrick Henry High School in San Carlos, which was expected to include a moment of silence, speeches from student leaders and a reading of a poem penned by one of the Parkland shooting victims.In an open area at the high school, a memorial was set up featuring 17 white folding chairs placed in a circle, with a red rose lying across each chair. Taped to each chair back was a photograph with the name of a Parkland victim.Nearby the memorial, local television crews interviewed students, including one holding a handwritten sign that read, “We are Stoneman Strong and We Say #Enough.” Another student held a sign that read, “Protect Students, Not Guns.”At El Camino High School, students set up a memorial for the Parkland Victims on the grass outside a classroom. Seventeen stakes were driven into the ground, with the photos and names of each victim attached. Below the photos, students laid out 14 backpacks for the students, each one with a personalized touch, like soccer balls for the victims who played soccer, a basketball for a hoops star and pom poms for a Parkland cheerleader. A football and an apple was placed by the photo of Parkland football coach and educator Chris Hixon.Schools around the country designed memorials and remembered the Parkland victims in creative ways. At Cooper City High School in Broward County — the same county where Marjory Stoneman Douglas High is located — students set up a memorial with 14 desks and three lecterns to represent the 14 students and three educators killed in the shooting.At South High School in Columbus, Ohio, students stepped outside in frigid weather and called out the names of the 17 Parkland victims, releasing a balloon for each one, NPR reported.High schoolers weren’t the only students participating in the walkout. Southwestern College’s Associated Student Organization sent a Tweet asking for Southwestern students to take part in the walkout. In the message that was retweeted by Southwestern College’s official account, the organization asked that students wear orange and walk out for 17 minutes to honor the Parkland victims.Students at Patrick Henry High School planned to wear black and put their thumb prints on a poster as a sign they’ll take action to curb gun violence. They’ll also sign a banner that will be sent to students at the Florida school.The students also plan to make available during lunchtime this week a list of mental health resources, list of elected officials’ contact information and voter registration assistance.“All students (had) the choice to remain in class under supervision, go to the cafeteria where they may observe 17 minutes of silence, or participate,” the district said in a statement.Each school planned to offer a different take on the event.At Hoover High School in City Heights, students planned to read a list of the victims names. The Junior ROTC was also slated to make an appearance.“I decided that the best course of action was to start a dialogue with our students,” Hoover Principal Jason Babineau told The San Diego Union- Tribune. “Ultimately, I believe this is a great opportunity for our students to show the world and the community they have a voice.”Parents of local students and other residents will show their support of the movement at an after-school rally in San Elijo Town Square in San Marcos. There, local candidates are expected to speak and participants will call on the San Marcos School Board to pass a resolution against gun violence.San Diego County Sheriff’s Department officials said they were aware of the walkouts and supported the students’ right to express themselves in a peaceful and respectful manner.“We would ask that students and administrators communicate with their local law enforcement particularly if they will be leaving campus to ensure their safety navigating roadways and the well-being of drivers and pedestrians,” the department’s statement said. “For our students: Please respect the instructions of school officials and if you hear any threats of violence or even potential violence, we encourage you to talk to one of our Sheriff’s School Resource Deputies. The Sheriff’s Department takes every threat seriously.” Posted: March 14, 2018 March 14, 2018 Thousands of San Diego County students participate in walk out to honor Parkland shooting victims Allie Wagner, Elizabeth Alvarez, Ed Lenderman, last_img read more


first_imgMusheerabad: BC leaders led by National Backward Classes Welfare Association president R Krishnaiah met Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kishan Reddy here on Sunday and apprised him of the various problems being faced by the members of the Backward Classes.Speaking to media after the meeting, BC leader Krishnaiah said that they had appealed to the Union Minister to take appropriate steps and bring a constitutional amendment to increase the reservations for the Backward Classes in the forthcoming municipal elections. Also Read – With 61 feet high, Khairatabad Ganesh claimed to be tallest idol in India Advertise With Us The frequent intervention of courts on the reservation issue resulted in decline in BC reservations from 34 per cent to 22 per cent. Hence, there was a need to give constitutional status to BC reservations, he added. Krishnaiah said the BC leaders urged that measures be taken to increase the number of Assembly and Parliamentary seats and nominate BC members to the legislatures both at the Centre and in the States. They also demanded formulation of a BC sub-plan with a budget of Rs 1 lakh crore for the welfare of the Backward Classes. Among those who met the Union Minister were Gujja Krishna, Jillapalli Anji, Vemula Radhakrishna, Swami Goud, Bhoopesh Sagar, Ananthaiah and others.last_img read more


first_img IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPlayMute0:00/0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE0:00?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window.The media could not be loaded, either because the server or network failed or because the format is not supported.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … A self-portrait by NASA’s Curiosity rover taken on Sol 2082 (June 15, 2018). A Martian dust storm has reduced sunlight and visibility at the rover’s location in Gale Crater. A drill hole can be seen in the rock to the left of the rover at a target site called “Duluth.”NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSSThe latest Mars mission European–Russian Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) has surprisingly found no methane gas in the atmosphere of red planet, sending shockwave among the scientists who had earlier concluded emphatically about the detection of methane at Mar’s Gale crater by NASA’s Curiosity Rover.The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), sent in 2016, started sending reports since April 2018 unfolding the mystery of methane on Mars, which means life organisms were present on the red planet. Instead of confirming the presence of methane on Mars, TGO has reported virtually no presence of methane in Mars atmosphere, compounding the confusion over the sudden disappearance of methane in between.It indicates either no methane on Mars surface or that some unknown process is scrubbing it off soon after it appears. “It’s a huge surprise,” says Dorothy Oehler, a planetary geologist at the Planetary Science Institute in Houston, Texas, in a study published in Nature.Amid host of conspiracy theories surrounding the surface of Mars, finding methane by Curiosity had raised hopes of scientists to detect living organisms on the red planet who were hoping to pinpoint the location and source of methane being produced on Mars surface by the TGO. Instead of determining whether the gas comes from chemical reactions in rocks or has a more exciting origin — potentially, Martian life, the new mission has failed entirely to find any methane in atmosphere.The methane angle on Mars was not new. First, the telescopic views of a plume of methane in 2003 was reinforced with occasional detections by NASA’s Curiosity rover at Gale crater since its landing in 2012. Even the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft has spotted the gas at multiple sites — including a plume near Gale in 2013. NASA’s Curiosity rover has detected methane at Mars’s Gale crater (which is shown here in false colour).Credit: ASU/JPL-Caltech/NASAASU/JPL-Caltech/NASAThe latest ESA-Russian mission TGO reached the Mars in 2016 and started collecting atmospheric data since April 2018. From April to August 2018, it found no signs of methane, while some instruments detected the gas at negligible concentrations of below 50 parts per trillion. Curiosity, on the contrary, revealed 500 parts per trillion of methane in mid-June 2018 at 1 kilometer above the ground.The TGO spacecraft could not see any traces of methane while flying 5-km overhead, confirms Christopher Webster of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who is in-charge of the rover’s methane-measuring instrument.Usually, any methane plumes should drift upward and mix well into the planet’s atmosphere within a few months but why do they disappear so quickly? “There’s some piece of the puzzle we are missing,” says John Moores from York University in Toronto, Canada.The difference between the distance of Curiosity and TGO in sniffing methane is another angle that has kept researchers puzzled. Curiosity is able to sniff methane at one metre above Mars surface, while the TGO, which is above 5 kilometres is unable to do so. What could have destroyed the gas relatively close to Mars’s surface? Key methane measurement findings on Mars by TGO spacecraft (ESA)ESAOne theory is that methane seeping out of the ground is quickly removed by some kind of low-altitude chemical reaction or even dust before it can drift higher into the air, says Michael Mumma from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Sushil Atreya, a planetary scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, suggests that a series of methane-measuring drones, dirigibles or balloons floating over many areas of the Martian surface could determine the real issue.The contrarian view is equally puzzling. “I’ve never seen a convincing detection of indigenous methane on Mars, and I don’t believe I ever will,” says Kevin Zahnle from NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who has long argued that Martian methane is a false finding due to observational errors. The pertinent question is whether NASA’s Curiosity and the older findings are true or not. Is there life on Mars or not? Is it another conspiracy brewing for well over a decade?For now, the TGO will keep monitoring Mars’s atmosphere till 2022. “One thing about Mars is it’s never boring,” says Oehler. Closecenter_img It’s five years since Curiosity left for Mars – here’s what it foundlast_img read more


first_img I tried to show Nier: Automata to a colleague. I told him that it’s an example of how a game can be art, exploring philosophical questions with fantastic audio and visual presentation, coupled with mechanics that are both rock-solid on their own right and play with how we interact with games.Then he saw a blindfolded teenage boy walk out of a vending machine.Nier: Automata is a masterpiece, but one that’s still really weird in a really Japanese way. That’s because Yoko Taro is an auteur game designer in the vein of Suda 51, Swery65, and Hideo Kojima: a Japanese game developer with unique vision, and is also a huge weirdo. I don’t use that term lightly. The dude wears a skull-faced moon mask in public.Anyway, Nier: Automata. I’m going to warn you, the rest of this post will be full of spoilers for Nier: Automata, Nier, and Drakengard. If you’re remotely interested in taking the full Nier: Automata ride, you should stop reading right now, get the game, and play through it three times. Don’t worry, it won’t be repetitive. If you’re okay with spoilers, read on. It’s time to dissect exactly how Yoko Taro is incredible.What’s Up With NierNier is a spin-off of Drakengard (Drag-On Dragoon in Japan, which is a much cooler name). Specifically, it’s based on the joke E ending of Drakengard where the main characters and final boss fall through a portal and end up in Tokyo, where they’re shot down by JSDF fighters. Nier shows how that joke ending completely doomed humanity.The giant Queen Beast disintegrated over Tokyo and particles of her body spread throughout the world. They caused White Chlorination Syndrome, whose victims are given a choice by these particles: Make a pact with an evil god and become a violent zombie, or refuse and become salt. To fix White Chlorination Syndrome, humanity devised Project Gestalt. Their solution was to separate humans’ souls from their bodies and become shadelike Gestalts, wait until White Chlorination Syndrome dies off, then put their souls in new bodies called Replicans. This took a little longer than expected, and eventually, Replicants grew their own souls.Cue the events of Nier, where the monsters you’re fighting through the game are the souls of humanity itself, and you aren’t even made aware of this until the end. Then, on the second playthrough, you can hear the shades’ screams and realize that you’ve been literally killing babies and children in soul form. Welcome to the bleakest game you could possibly make based off of the equivalent of Silent Hill 2’s UFO ending.Robots Fighting RobotsNier: Automata takes place nearly 10,000 years in the future. Humanity has been forced from the Earth by invading aliens, who sent machine life forms down to take over. For thousands of years, the last remaining humans have been asleep on the moon while their army of YoRHa androids fight the machine life forms. There’s a twist in that premise you can already guess, but it doesn’t matter as much to the narrative as you would think. It does, however, tie heavily into the game’s philosophical themes.Like in the first Nier, you see that the hordes of enemies you’ve been fighting can be incredibly human. They’re thinking and feeling, and have conversations and try to build families. And you know from the beginning that, like in the first Nier, you’re basically playing what should be an empty doll. All of the characters are machines, either androids created by humans or machine life created by aliens, but they’re all artificial. They’re automata.The big question is, what does it mean that they’re automata? Those machines you fight scream for mercy when they aren’t going berserk themselves, and through the first two playthroughs, 9S tries to reassure 2B and the player that they’re just emulating human behaviors. They aren’t actually feeling pain, or fear, or grief, and are just going through the programmed motions.Question HumanityIn terms of video games, that’s what they undeniably are doing. They were programmed to scream and run and get angry by the developers. That is certain. But in the world of the game, that line isn’t nearly as clear. It is, however, still there. You see that before you first meet the brothers Adam and Eve, where a group of robots are seemingly holding some form of domestic orgy, clanking their parts together mechanically despite lacking any genitalia (Adam and Eve also lack genitalia, though they’re both the bishiest Sephiroth-looking boys you’ve ever seen in a video game). Before the robots go berserk from your presence, you can’t tell if they’re really engaging in weirdly executed human behavior or are just emulating it.The question continues throughout the game, as you meet Pascal and his village of pacifist machines, and the robotic kingdom of the Forest King, and the robotic cult in the factory (a sequence that has one of the best tracks out of the game’s entire, spectacular soundtrack). For every new character or group you meet, the question becomes that much harder to answer.The Forest King’s kingdom appears to be a castle and a forest where robots are zealously following the mysterious Forest King. The Forest King led his group of robots to the forest, where they decided to stop waging war against the androids and simply create their own kingdom. It seems to be a genuine act of independence. However, the Forest King died before the events of the game, and his knights have been simply protecting an undeveloped machine baby as the new Forest King, puzzled by why it won’t grow and lacking any idea of what to do with themselves.The robotic cult seemed to rise quickly after you beat Adam, and when you enter the factory, it appears to be an earnest group of religious machines with their own rituals. You’re led to the leader of the cult, who is an empty robot shell, whose head falls off as you approach. The chants of the cult become the constant drone of fanatical machinery as you have to fight your way out.Pascal is the most humanlike character in the game but is visually unmistakably a machine. He led his machines to stop fighting and start a village where they could build a community and raise families. He seems like more of a friendly, complex person than any android in the game, and the villagers appear to be following their own independent interests and pursuits. Then something happens in the third playthrough which raises both existential and ethical questions, and that is something I won’t spoil.If the actions of these three groups aren’t enough to cast doubt on whether or not they’re actually sentient in some form, the notes you can pick up starting in the second playthrough make the question even more confusing. One note, in particular, a research log about the robots, observes that when left alone the machine life with pursuing a variety of philosophical, scientific, literary, and political approaches. They’ll try anything. And when they fail at something, they try again. And they fail in the exact same way. Why are they trying? Why are they doing the same things? Are they going through the motions, or trying to grow as people?The androids, actually made by humanity, are in an even worse state. You can guess one of the game’s big twists based on how Nier ended: Humanity is long-extinct, and the moon only holds a server with some information about humanity and a set of preprogrammed transmissions to send to YoRHa regularly. That alone is rough, but the third playthrough shows that the situation is even more dire than that.Kill Em All 11,945YoRHa was designed to fail. It was intended for YoRHa to be destroyed once it reached a certain point so a new generation of androids could continue the cycle, preserving the war that gave the androids purpose. With humanity dead, with no war to fight the androids had no reason to continue existing. Meanwhile, the machines were building a cannon to either destroy the moon server or launch an ark with machine life on it to seed another world.And all through the game it’s never entirely answered exactly what truly controlled the androids or the machines. YoRHa was developed and clearly had orders to function in the name of self-preservation, but it isn’t explicitly shown who was making sure the cycle would repeat, or how YoRHa would be rebuilt each time. The machines were clearly controlled by a mysterious “terminal” intelligence, but it isn’t quite shown exactly how it developed along with, before, or after the network administrators Adam and Eve.The nature of humanity continues to be questioned without humans ever being part of it, because of the actions of the androids and machines. And the nature of god continues to be questioned without any divine being part of it, because of the nature of the forces that influence them.These are really interesting philosophical questions asked by an action RPG video game where you play a blindfolded gothic lolita woman with a huge katana, dodging bullet patterns from robots that look like rusty versions of the Android mascot. Also, there’s a skull-moon-faced boy who rides around on a cart and sells you things when you get his attention by shooting him.Yeah, Nier: Automata is weird in a Japanese way, but it uses that Japanese weirdness to explore really, really interesting philosophical questions, all with the satisfying responsiveness of Platinum Games gameplay and one of the best soundtracks of the console generation. Game of the year contender, even outside of our regular schtick with the title. Yoko Taro is a nihilistic psychotic skull-faced moon man, but he made some excellent art with this game.Purchase Nier: Automata here from Amazon for $49.99. Game of the Year: Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive PeopleThe Witcher 3 Game of the Year edition launches this month, Gwent beta d… Stay on targetlast_img read more