PM Modi dials Trump

first_imgNew Delhi: In the first highest-level interaction after India’s announcement on Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a telephonic conversation with US President Donald Trump, and conveyed that extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence by certain leaders in the region was not conducive to peace.Modi’s comments on extreme rhetoric by some regional leaders was an obvious reference to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been making provocative comments against Modi government and Indian action in the last few days. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsThe 30-minute conversation between Modi and Trump covered bilateral and regional matters, and was marked by the “warmth and cordiality which characterises the relations between the two leaders”, a Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) release said. The conversation between Modi and Trump took place two days after the US President asked Khan to resolve the Kashmir issue with India bilaterally during a telephonic conversation. In his telephonic conversation, Modi also highlighted the importance of creating an environment free from terror and violence and eschewing cross-border terrorism without exception, the statement added. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Earlier on Monday teachers reported to work in many schools in Kashmir as restrictions were eased further on Monday but not many students were seen Officials said the government has made necessary arrangements for the opening of 190 primary schools in Srinagar city as security forces remained deployed in most of the Valley But all private schools in the city remained shut for the 15th consecutive day as parents were apprehensive about the security situation because of violent protests over the past two days. Only Police Public School at Bemina and a few Kendriya Vidyalayas saw a handful of students turning up Most educational institutions in five sensitive border districts of Jammu reopened after a fortnight on Monday with “full attendance” as authorities lifted curbs in large parts of the region, officials said. Educational institutions reopened in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch and Chenab Valley districts of Ramban, Doda and parts of Kishtwar, the officials said. Earlier on Monday, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval briefed Home Minister Amit Shah on the prevailing security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where restrictions have been imposed since August 5, officials said. This was for the first time that Doval met Shah after his return from the Kashmir Valley, where he stayed for about 10 days and personally monitored the situation. The NSA apprised the Home minister the overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir, an official said. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other top officials also attended the meeting that reviewed the steps taken to maintain the law and order situation in the state. The issues related to restrictions imposed in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir were also figured in the meeting, the official said.last_img read more

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Respect for others a key for Supreme Court nominee Sheilah Martin

first_imgOTTAWA – Being a good listener and ensuring people know that they’ve been heard are keys to earning public confidence as a judge, Supreme Court nominee Sheilah Martin said Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with parliamentarians.Martin, who was named last week as the Trudeau government’s latest high court appointee, stressed the importance of thoughtfully considering all sides as an independent arbiter.“I think judges need to show respect to get respect,” she said. “And it has been my personal goal to be respectful in court, and to listen patiently and to let things unfold.”Martin said she hopes her written judgments make it clear that a losing party’s arguments have been fully understood. “I want to write that way, so that somebody would say, ‘Oh, OK, I was in good hands.’”Tuesday’s session included members of the House of Commons justice committee and the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee, as well as representatives of the Bloc Quebecois and the Green party.Martin was politely peppered with questions about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, jurors, victims, the environment, terrorism and sexual assault. She carefully phrased her answers to avoid any appearance of bias.University of Ottawa law professor Francois Larocque, moderator of the session, warned at the outset that Martin could not comment on matters that might come before the Supreme Court, nor cases she has already presided over as a provincial and territorial judge.Larocque billed it as a chance to get to know Martin better rather than a cross-examination — an opportunity for MPs and senators to ensure Martin “has the proverbial right stuff” to sit on Canada’s highest court.Martin displayed her comfort in both of Canada’s official languages, revealed an abiding love of teaching and showed flashes of wit.Asked about the legacy she wanted to leave, Martin replied, “I would hope that people said that I listened carefully, and that I was a deep thinker and that I had really nice hair.”Martin grew up in Montreal was trained in both civil and common law before moving to Alberta to pursue her career as an educator, lawyer and judge.From 1991 to 1996 she was acting dean and then dean of the University of Calgary’s faculty of law. Martin went on to practise criminal and constitutional law, and became a judge in 2005.She served on the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Calgary until June 2016 when she was appointed as a judge of the Courts of Appeal of Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.Martin is also mother to seven children — proof, she said, that she’s capable of multitasking and resolving disputes.Last year, the Liberal government brought in a new Supreme Court appointment process to encourage more openness and diversity, which also requires justices to be functionally bilingual.In making the appointment, the Prime Minister’s Office underscored Martin’s emphasis on education, equality rights and increasing the number of under-represented groups in the legal world.As a lawyer and academic, Martin was part of a team working on redress for harm experienced by tens of thousands of Indigenous children at residential schools. She said delving into the abuse, isolation and loneliness suffered by the pupils reinforced in her mind the responsibility to learn about the lives of others.Conservative MP Rob Nicholson sought Martin’s views on training for judges on the subject of sexual assault.Martin, who has given presentations on sexual assault laws, said she has “rarely heard a good argument in favour of less education.”But she cautioned that when dealing with the education of judges, it’s important to be mindful of judicial independence and who is chosen to lead a seminar.Martin’s answers revealed a deep thinker with humanity and a broad perspective, said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who attended the session.Martin’s nomination to the Supreme Court ensures the nine-member bench will remain at full strength after Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin retires Dec. 15 after 28 years on the court. The prime minister is expected to name a new chief justice soon.Wilson-Raybould said McLachlin exemplified the qualities a chief justice should have, citing her thorough understanding of the law, ability to foster collegiality among high court judges and leadership as a public representative of the court.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

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She brings the thunder

first_imgUnder Turtle Clan ProtectionDuring the trip from Decatur to Akwesasne, somewhere near Buffalo, NY, Darlene dreamed Sakoietah was arrested near Ogdensburg, NY, which sits across the St. Lawrence River from Prescott, Ont.“When she has these things, like my daughter, there is usually something to it,” said Sakoietah.He decided to stay with a friend in the area and planned to cross from there into Six Nations, an Iroquois community near Hamilton, Ont., and the most populous reserve in Canada.After three days he decided to go back to Akwesasne. It was getting close to Christmas and a friend drove him there. His friend, however, was stopped in Ogdensburg by U.S. Border Patrol on the drive back.It was sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Day 2013, after a snow storm, that Sakoietah passed through Canadian customs and headed to Tyendinaga for a prearranged meeting with a contact who would take him to Six Nations.There he met with representatives of the Turtle Clan who agreed to give him protection. They also found him work.Ieweras and her father SakoietahIeweras turned 15 that March and continued with the alternative therapy, with its focus on an organic food-only diet. The cost of organic food proved prohibitive and she missed pizza with her friends.Ieweras and her mother would often travel to Six Nations to see Sakoietah who was sending most of the money he made working back to his family. He would also meet up with his daughter during her routine check-ups with doctors in Ottawa.The Three Feathers Casino case continued its course through the U.S. federal court in fits and starts. One of the men indicted, Rarahkwisere, remained incarcerated because he refused to submit to the court’s authority. He was moved around from jail to jail. A lawyer for the Longhouse, Scott Michael Moore, was also booted from the case after it emerged he provided a legal opinion to the Longhouse on operating the Class 2 casino legally, putting him in a conflict because he was now a potential witness.Word also filtered out U.S. authorities discovered Sakoietah was in Six Nations.Sakoietah suspected Canadian authorities knew he was wanted across the border.His suspicions seemed grounded after a run-in between his wife and Surete du Quebec police following a week-long get-together in Montreal.He met up with his family at a truck stop across from the Hwy 401 exits near Cornwall. They drove to Montreal and after a week parted ways in Kahnawake, a Mohawk community just south of Montreal.A friend who was there selling crafts picked up Sakoietah for the return trip to Six Nations.On the way back to Akwesasne, as she passed Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que., two SQ cruisers stopped Darlene who was driving with Ieweras.Things, however, seemed brighter for Ieweras. It appeared the alternative therapy was working.She posted a YouTube video in August 2013 featuring her cousin dancing with a wig Ieweras wore after her hair fell out during previous chemo treatments. The wig tumbled off and the girl ran from the camera as Ieweras laughed and laughed.‘When I Get Older’On Oct. 12, 2013, Ieweras uploads a video to YouTube. The frame is tight on her face, she is lying on her side, a shroud of darkness around her.“Well, I found out I have cancer again for the third time,” she says. “The reason I am coping with this so easy is because I have been through it already and I know how it feels to go through it.”On Oct. 27 she posts a second video. She is in Ronald MacDonald House in Ottawa. She is sitting up and looking straight into the camera. She talks about the Drake concert she attended and the upcoming Halloween dance at her school.“I have a couple of rounds of chemo shots now, my hair hasn’t fallen out yet,” she says. “I really can’t eat, I keep puking every time. I eat it, it comes back up. I think I am going to stop eating, I am not sure…sorry for the bad lighting. Bye.”On Nov. 26, Ieweras posts a third video. She’s undergoing almost daily blood transfusions at this point. In this video, she is off camera, only a wisp of her hair and part of her shoulder are visible, the wavering of voice that betrays the emotions, how hard she tries to be strong. She explains how she was inspired to film and post the videos by Talia Castellano who drew millions of viewers by posting her own struggle with cancer. Ieweras says she was heartbroken when she heard Castellano died. She says she wants to raise awareness about organizations that help families affected by cancer.There is also another reason.“In case I do pass away so that my family and friends can come back to these videos and watch them,” she said.She still dreams of getting older.“I have a lot of goals, I guess. My goal is either to be a model when I get older, either a singer or an actress or maybe just a make-up artist,” she says. “I don’t know which one I am going to pick because I am still young, I still have all the time to do that, I guess. If nothing happens.”On Jan. 9, 2014, she posts a fourth video. She spent Christmas at Ronald MacDonald House and she talks about some of the presents she received. She also says she may undergo a bone marrow transplant, but it depends on whether cancer returns there. She says she’s gone through her fourth round of chemo shots.“I just have to wait for … probably a month, and they do the test to see if I have some in me still,” she says. “I haven’t seen any of my friends in school for a while or any of my friends back home. I really miss them, but I guess I have to live like this for now.”On March 6, 2014, she posts a fifth video.“I still have cancer. The hospital couldn’t do anything for me. They did the last round of shots for chemo, the new ones they put me on, and it didn’t knock down any of my cancer at all. I am not going for transplant. I am going all holistic, try to go all holistic,” she says. Ieweras and her mother DarleneAcross the RiverOn December 12, 2013, a jury in Albany, NY, returned a not guilty verdict in the Three Feathers Casino case. They found there was no law against the operation of the casino, but the indictment remained against Sakoietah, who was still considered a fugitive.One of Ieweras’ last wishes was to be taken on a last boat ride across the waters of the St. Lawrence River with her father.She was cremated, as was her request, in Ottawa and on June 6, 2014, her father took her across the river one last time. He carried her ashes in a wooden urn decorated with her name.Word surfaced no U.S. law enforcement agency would interfere with Sakoietah as he travelled with his daughter’s ashes for the funeral ceremony at the Longhouse, which is on the U.S. side of Akwesasne.One June 17 U.S. federal Judge Thomas McAvoy withdrew the indictment against Sakoietah. Now he could fulfill his daughter’s final wish without the looming threat of an arrest.Download (PDF, Unknown)Big SurIn 1961, Hunter S. Thompson wrote about Big Sur in California.“The highway alone is enough to give a man pause. It climbs and twists along the cliffs like a huge asphalt roller coaster; in some spots you can look eight-hundred feet straight down to the booming surf. The coast from Carmel to San Simeon, with the green slopes of the Santa Lucia Mountains plunging down to the sea, is nothing short of awesome,” wrote Thompson, for the October edition of Rogue magazine. “This place is a myth-maker’s paradise, so vast and so varied and so beautiful that the imagination of the visitor is tempted to run wild at the site of it…The geographical boundaries of Big Sur are so vague that Lillian Bos Ross, one of the first writers to live here, once described it as ‘not a place at all, but a state of mind.’ The Big Sur country is roughly eighty miles long and twenty wide…located a hundred and fifty miles south of San Francisco on California Highway One.”It is here, in Big Sur, where Ieweras wanted her ashes spread. So, her family drove 4,800 kilometres to the Pacific Coast, to a point overlooking the booming surf.Sakoietah released her ashes into the wind. (Ieweras Gray) Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsOn the drive back from a small city in Georgia, Ieweras Gray said her father should not surrender to U.S. authorities.Ieweras’ father, James Gray, was one of five names on a federal indictment on charges of operating an illegal casino in Akwesasne, a Mohawk community which straddles the Canada-U.S. frontier and the borders of Ontario, Quebec and New York State.Gray, whose Mohawk name is Sakoietah, found out about the indictment on Dec. 18, 2012, while Ieweras underwent alternative treatments for leukemia at the Centre for Holistic Health in Decatur, Ga.She had been fighting cancer since she was six years-old. Ieweras was now 14. The family turned to the centre for hope because chemotherapy burned out Ieweras’ bone marrow.That December morning Sakoietah received a phone call from his son Kahetiio who said U.S. federal authorities were raiding theThree Feathers Casino on US Hwy 37. The raid began at 5:15 a.m.The Kanienkehaka Longhouse, where Sakoietah sat on the Men’s Council as a Turtle Clan representative, operated the casino, but it was undergoing renovations at the time of the raid. The Men’s Council said it wanted to generate revenue so it could fund social services outside the federally-recognized tribal system.Now, U.S. Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs agents, along with New York State and St. Regis Mohawk police officers, were raiding the casino in culmination of a months-long probe. The agents walked out with 58 boxes of documents, 6 laptop computers and the casino’s closed circuit surveillance system.Men’s Council member Rarahkwisere, known as Thomas Square to U.S. authorities, was arrested after showing up at the casino to find out what was going on. Police were also searching for the other men named in the indictment.As the morning progressed, two other Men’s Council members whose name appeared on the indictment, Karenahtiio, known as Roger Jock to U.S. authorities, and Anthony Laughing arrived at the Longhouse, which sits across Hwy 37 from the St. Regis Mohawk police station.There was a stand-off.“I stood in front of the door and I told the chief of police he wasn’t taking anyone from here,” said Kahetiio, 28. “We had a stand-off…people started showing up and a couple of other guys started standing with us, right out in the parking lot of the Longhouse.”Kahetiio said he could hear police over the radio saying, “We’re surrounded.”The situation eventually deescalated after Laughing’s lawyer spoke with police. Karenahtiio and Laughing agreed to travel to Plattsburgh, NY, and turn themselves in. 11:24 a.m.On the morning of June 4, 2014, Ieweras, 16, asked her father to hold her. He tried to hold her in his lap, but the pain was too much and Ieweras called for a nurse. She was in a room at Roger’s House, a hospice located on the CHEO grounds. The nurse came in an administered a dose of morphine.Ieweras then told her father that the charges against him would be dropped, that he would soon go home again, but only with memories of her, Darlene said, remembering that day. Her father couldn’t stay in the room because he had to change the bandages on an injury to his foot.While he was away, Ieweras told her mother she wanted to go the hospital. She arrived there at about 10:30 a.m. The nurse “took one look at her and said, ‘Take her to room 12,’” said Darlene.In room 12, Ieweras sat on the edge of the bed, she was in pain and asked her mother to hold her tight, “like I used to when she was a little baby,” said Darlene.But the pain was too much. Ieweras laid down on the bed, the nurse disconnected the blood platelet bag and switched to morphine which was attached to the tube connected to the insertion in her arm. Ieweras started to gasp for breath and her mother tried to put a breathing mask over her face.“She grabbed my hand and gave me a look like she was saying, ‘Just let me go.’ She pushed my hand away,” said Darlene. “I glanced out the window and there in the sky was a big heart that opened up and I said to myself, ‘Wherever she is going, she will be so loved.’ Then the big heart drifted away and a small heart opened in the clouds. I turned to the nurse and said, ‘She is gone.’”It was 11:24 a.m. The nurse cried.“I had to tell her to please leave the room because my daughter had told me…she didn’t want them to cry in her room because where she was going is so beautiful and she will never feel all that pain again,” said Darlene. She Brings the ThunderThunder and lightning greeted Ieweras’ birth on March 26, 1998, at 3:45 p.m.“They wrapped her up in clean linens, they gave her back to me and I sat back in a rocking chair, and it was still thunder and lightning and it shook the hospital. It was a long time I sat there holding her, rocking her,” said Sakoietah.After the nurse came to take the baby back to her mother, Sakoietah went to the payphone at the hospital in Cornwall, Ont. They needed a name for the new baby girl who weighed 6lbs and 8oz. He fished out $2-worth of change from his pocket because he needed to phone a friend across the St. Lawrence River on the U.S. side of Akwesasne. The friend had developed a reputation for naming children in the community.“In our ways, the time you are born that is when a name is selected and given,” said Sakoietah. “He asked me, ‘What do you think is going on?’ And I told him there was a big thunder and lightning storm that hit Cornwall and the first thing he said was‘, Ieweras.’”Roughly translated into English from Mohawk, the name means, “She helps bring the thunder and lightning.”The phone call, which lasted for about 10 minutes, cost him about $5 in change.Ieweras was their fifth child and first girl. She was born 11 years after the fourth boy. Her mother Darlene saw her in a vision years before. She said she was looking out the window one day and saw the little girl.“I don’t really know about miracles, or believe in miracles, but it was something special that she came,” said Sakoietah.Father Sakoietah gazes at his new daughter Ieweras held by mother Darlene Gray. Photo courtesy of family.Her name, however, proved controversial. During Strawberry ceremony time at the Longhouse, Ieweras was brought in for her raising of the name ceremony. One of the clan mothers objected to the name, saying it wasn’t meant for a girl, that it was a warrior’s name meant for a boy. Sakoietah said he left the Longhouse upset and wouldn’t come back.The family went through with the raising of the name ceremony at the Longhouse in Ganienkeh, which is about 86 kilometres east from Akwesasne in New York State.Ganienkeh was established in 1977 in a land swap following a three-year armed occupation of an abandoned camp at Moss Lake, NY. Several Mohawk families from Tyendinaga, Kahnawake and Akwesasne were seeking to establish a more traditional lifestyle and took over the Moss Lake camp on grounds the land had been illegally taken by the state. New York State offered Genienkeh’s current lands in a swap to end the occupation.Sakoietah said the family knew from early on there was something different about Ieweras. She seemed to possess knowledge beyond her years.“She was always picking medicines, different medicines, and showing us and trying to tell us that this was a certain medicine,” he said. “She knew those medicines before anyone talked to her about them. She would go pick them.”Pain and suffering also met Ieweras early.Ieweras was five years-old when she began to complain about pains in her limbs. She would complain about feeling pain with every bump the school bus hit. Bruises would suddenly appear on her body for seemingly no reason. Sometimes, Ieweras would lie with her belly on the sofa’s armrest and shake her limbs.“It was like she was trying to relieve her own pain,” said Darlene. “I knew there was something wrong with her, that she had to do that to finally fall asleep to ease the pain.”They took her to a doctor in Cornwall who said there was nothing wrong with her, that it was just growing pains. The family demanded to see a specialist who also said there was nothing wrong. But Ieweras’ pain persisted and her mother took her to a clinic on the U.S. side of Akwesasne. A specialist there saw her and knew instantly there was something seriously wrong, said Darlene.Back across the Canada-U.S. border they went again to the hospital in Cornwall. The doctor finally agreed to do blood tests, which were followed by X-rays and a new reality began to dawn.Ieweras was now six.Sakoietah still remembers the words of the doctor after the tests.“He said, ‘You need to get her to Ottawa as soon as you can. I have everything set up there in Ottawa for your daughter, (the doctor) is expecting you to come there,” said Sakoietah. “He said, ‘You have a sick girl here and you have to get her to Ottawa right away.’ We took off right from there and went to Ottawa, to CHEO.”Sakoietah drove while Darlene held Ieweras in the back of the minivan.Ieweras had named the minivan ‘Ceravan’ after the girl triceratops in the cartoon movie, Land Before Time.When they arrived at the Children’s Hospital for Eastern Ontario (CHEO) they were told it was leukemia.“It was like somebody reached in and pulled out your whole insides,” said Sakoietah.Life had a new baseline of pain.The first round of chemotherapy lasted about two years before the cancer went into remission. But it came back a year later, and then it came back again.“To me, the doctors, they all like to use these kids as guinea pigs,” said Sakoietah. “They like to boost the level of chemo for study. They are using them as laboratory specimens.”Sakoietah and Darlene remember these moments in snap shots, scenes strung together by nights of shallow sleep, changing shifts; Sakoietah at night, relieved by Darlene in the morning and he’d be off back to Akwesasne for work.There were those moments when the blue lights came on in the room where they executed the procedures and the doctors and nurses would rush in and rush the parents out.And there was their daughter, most of her life now lived on the edge of her own existence. Her body invaded by death held at bay by poison administered as medicine.“She always used to say it was hell on earth,” said Darlene.Sometimes Ieweras would get angry at her parents for keeping her alive.“She kept saying, ‘Just let me go, you’re so selfish,’” said Darlene.Then Ieweras would brace for another round of treatment. Sakoietah was piecing together events over the phone from Decatur. He was eventually informed by a lawyer his name was also on the indictment.Sakoietah faced a dilemma.“During that time I did a lot of thinking down there because of my daughter and her sickness,” he said, in an interview with APTN National News. “What happens if I don’t turn myself in, they catch me on the road and I am in jail for a long time and I would not be able to get out for her (Ieweras)?”Sakoietah decided his best option was to also turn himself in after he returned from Georgia. He contacted a lawyer and spoke with one of the doctors treating Ieweras who wrote him a support letter in case he was arrested. The letter said he needed to be near his daughter.But the threat of imminent arrest weighed on him.“Every morning I was up at 5 a.m., because I knew they came in at five or six O’Clock in the morning. I was up at five waiting to hear that door, waiting for that door,” he said. “It didn’t happen.”On the highway back to Akwesasne, Sakoietah continued to discuss the issue with his wife Darlene Gray and Ieweras.“(Ieweras) said to me, ‘Why are you going to turn yourself in? All your life, and what you taught me and what you taught the boys…you believed …you were a separate nation of people and not American or Canadian…so why turn yourself in to that system?’” Sakoietah remembered her saying. “I said, ‘Well, I am not going to turn myself in.’”And, according to US court documents, Sakoietah became a “fugitive.” The Woman’s Warrior FlagWoman’s Warrior FlagThe flag was flown during protests against the construction of a 30 metre telescope on the sacred Mauna Kea Mountain in Hawaii. It flew during a murdered and missing Indigenous women march in Fargo, ND, and in Los Angeles. The flag has also appeared in photographs from Alaska, New Mexico, Connecticut and Secwepemc territory in British Columbia.Known as the Woman’s Warrior Flag, it uses the profile of a woman, with earrings of lightning, in place of the male warrior head in the now famous Warrior flag, which was originally designed by Mohawk artist Louis Karoniaktaje Hall.“The Woman’s Warrior Flag was developed to honour Ieweras Gray and to bring strength to all women of the world for their voices to be heard once again. For the women are the protectors of the lands, they will stand strong and proud,” Sakoietah.The flag is also the symbol for the Ieweras Gray Foundation which was created to help out families gripped by crisis. It was something Ieweras cared about, raising funds for those whose lives have been turned upside down by unexpected tragedy.Sakoietah said the Ieweras Gray Foundation is still in its infancy, but he is hoping it will grow large enough to have an impact on people’s lives.“It is not big, not right now, but I perceive it is going to be big and we are going to help as many people as we can,” he said.A music festival for the benefit of the foundation is scheduled for Aug. 22 in Akwesasne and the list of musical acts is continually growing.IewerasOn March 17, 2014, Ieweras posted her last YouTube video.jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

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Solar cookout aims to woo traditional chefs cut carbon

first_imgDEZHOU, China – The savory aromas of roasting hot dogs and chicken kebabs wafted out of metal and glass vacuum tubes heated by mirrors curved to capture the sun’s heat.Two dozen chefs with white aprons and hats prepared soups, baked “baozi” pork buns, and boiled rice porridge at a festival designed to demonstrate the potential of solar cookers that organizers claim can help reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.“We aim to enable half of the world’s population to use solar cooking within 10 years,” said Huang Ming, founder of Himin Solar Energy Group, the solar cookout’s main backer.As hundreds of people strolled by, chefs armed with oven mitts scaled ladders to uncover piping-hot cooking tubes arrayed on nearly 2-meter (6-foot)-tall industrial racks. Smaller-scale vendors used 1-meter (3-foot)-long solar cookers designed to fold up for picnics.Temperatures can top 400 C (750 F) inside the black “BBQ tubes” of metal and glass with turnip-tipped bottoms and sealable tops. On a bright day, they can boil water within 30 minutes and roast a fish in half that time, according to Himin.“It is clean and smoke-free . better than cooking with pots and other things,” said Yu Liqiu, 22, a chef, who just began cooking with solar two days earlier.Dezhou, a sprawling city of 5 million in eastern China, has spent millions since 2005 on transforming itself into an aspiring renewable energy hub called the “Solar Valley.”Public art displays at town bus stops and murals use solar panels. Stone statues of sun-related Chinese legends squat in parks.China is the world’s biggest consumer and producer of solar technologies. Many homes outside the largest cities are equipped with solar water heaters.But roughly 600 million of China’s 1.4 billion people still cook with coal, wood or other biomass despite decades of government-led initiatives to curtail soot from such burning, according to a 2016 report by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.Affordable yet durable solar cookers have long intrigued those seeking to cut emissions, said Frank Haugwitz, director of Asia Europe Clean Energy Solar Advisory Company.“There’s a certainly a need for a cleaner option,” he said.Eastern China is a “global hotspot” for black carbon emissions __ sooty particulates more damaging to health and the environment than typical greenhouses gases __ according to a 2007 report in the academic journal Nature. Half of China’s black carbon comes from residential kitchens and heaters.Sun Penglong, 27, worked in gas kitchens in Dezhou for years before switching to solar. He says new recipes must be invented and tested for solar cooking, but there is one unexpected perk: His wife doesn’t complain about the smell he used to bring home in his workclothes.“The first thing my wife used to ask me to do after returning home was to shower,” Sun said after roasting some beef skewers in a BBQ tube.“When I started as a solar chef, my wife asked me, ‘Where is your smell?’”But getting solar cookers to the masses has proven daunting.Solar cooker technology has not yet matured. While cheap types are available, more reliable ones are still too expensive for rural communities. “It’s kind of a chicken and egg thing,” Haugwitz said.Some experts fear solar is too big a break from traditional Chinese cooking.“It is good to have some innovation, but it’s impossible to change people’s dietary habits,” said Xu Qinhua, deputy director of National Academy of Development and Strategy under Renmin University of China.“People used to say China’s fire-fried dish culture would be replaced by induction cookers, but no, it was not.”Himin has yet to produce a retail version of the cooker or sell it outside of Dezhou but the company claims chefs in the city are already adapting cookers gifted to them to a variety of regional Chinese cuisines in new solar restaurants opening up across the city.In the solar-panel festooned Micro-E Hotel, next to the field where the festival was staged and down an air-conditioned hall past portraits of Al Gore and other climate advocates, Huang and other festival goers toasted the vacuum-tube solar cookers with glasses of fiery baiju, red wine and beer.Next came a marathon banquet of courses, including turtle soup and pancakes served on platters with foot-tall figurines of Chinese legends like the mythical archer Houyi. According to legend, he shot dead nine suns before harnessing fire for humanity’s benefit.Ren Yanbo, vice secretary general of the Efficient Stove Division of the China Association of Rural Energy Industry, appeared to be won over.“I was impressed by the taste of pig feet cooked by solar, it was soft and yummy, I could not believe it was cooked by solar,” she said.last_img read more

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YouTube goes down for more than an hour

first_imgYouTube’s video streaming service went out for more than an hour on Tuesday, apparently affecting locations around the world.YouTube acknowledged the outage in a tweet at 9:41 p.m. EDT, noting that it affected YouTube, YouTube Music and YouTube TV. The company said it was working on the issue and apologized for the inconvenience.Reporters for the AP found that YouTube’s main service was working again around 10:50 p.m. EDT. Ten minutes later, YouTube tweeted again to note that service was restored, but offered no details.In reply to a query from the AP, an unsigned message from Google’s press team stated, “We don’t have anything to add beyond the tweet.”last_img read more

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Gabon’s Top Government Officials Join President Ali Bongo in Rabat

Rabat – Gabonese Vice President Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou; Prime Minister Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet; and the head of the constitutional court, Marie Madeleine Mborantsuo; have all visited Bongo in Rabat’s military hospital on Tuesday.According to Agence France Presse (AFP), the government officials arrived on Monday.King Mohammed VI, a long-time friend of Bongo, visited the president on Monday and was pleased to see his improving health, said Maghreb Arab Press (MAP). Bongo arrived in Rabat on November 29 to pursue his recovery after he suffered a stroke in Saudi Arabia while attending a conference on October 24.Read Also: King Mohammed VI Visits Gabonese President Ali Bongo in HospitalThe King suggested the transfer of Bongo from Riyadh to Morocco instead of to London.Vice President Pierre Claver Maganga Moussavou had taken over official duties in Bongo’s absence. Since they were young, Ali Bongo and King Mohammed VI have shared a good friendship. In 2017, Bongo shared a picture of himself and King Mohammed VI as teenagers, demonstrating their long-standing friendship. read more

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EU Foreign Ministers Decide to Include Western Sahara in EU-Morocco Agriculture…

Rabat – The European Union Foreign Affairs Council has decided to include Western Sahara in the Association Agreement and the EU-Morocco agriculture deal.“This is a measure that is in line with the decision of the EU Court of Justice on the liberalization agreement of agricultural and other products issued on December 21, 2016, which is aimed at extending tariff presence” to the region, a source quoted by Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) said. The decision of the EU foreign ministers also enables the EU “to continue to boost its partnership with Morocco and lead the way on the fishing agreement between the two partners in the coming months, the source added. The EU foreign ministers also called on the EU Parliament to adopt the decision as soon as possible.Prior to this statement, a source from the EU told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) that products from Western Sahara will be included in the agreement without “any hindrance.”The EU Court of Justice (ECJ) decided on December 21, 2016, that the deal between EU and Morocco, signed in 2012, on the mutual liberalization of the trade of agricultural and fishing products did not apply to Western Sahara. Representatives of the EU and Morocco currently negotiating the new fisheries deal to include the region in the agreement. The fisheries deal between Morocco and EU expired on July 14, pending a possible renewal in the coming days.Both parties failed to reach a decision to renew the deal’s terms, with  Morocco requesting a financial compensation of EUR 80 million for allowing European fishing boats in the region.The North African country then said that it will not sign a renewal with financial compensation lower than EUR 80 million. read more

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Two more suspects arrested with Madush in Dubai deported

Two more suspects who were arrested in Dubai at a hotel with the notorious underworld leader Makandure Madush, were deported to Sri Lanka and were detained at the Katunayake airport by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).The Police said that Mohammad Siddik Mohommad Shiyam and Weerasinghage Lanka Sajitha Perera had been deported by the authorities in Dubai. Several suspects who were arrested at the party had been deported to Sri Lanka over the past several days.

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UN expert urges DPR Korea to take a range of measures on

Vitit Muntarbhorn, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Commission on the situation in the DPRK, made his comments in Seoul as he wrapped up a weeklong visit to the Republic of Korea aimed at assessing not only the situation in DPRK but also its effects on its southern neighbour.Mr. Muntarbhorn recalled that while he strongly wished to visit the DPRK and has sought access to the country several times, the Government has, to date, declined to invite him into the country.Pending a first-hand view of the situation in the DPRK, Mr. Muntarbhorn called upon the DPRK “to end the various discrepancies and transgressions concerning respect for human rights in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural fields in the country, and to implement effectively the human rights treaties to which it is a party.”For that purpose, he invited the country to engage in cooperative activities with the international community such as economic programmes with a human rights component and rule of law programmes involving training for law enforcement personnel in the interest of respecting civil liberties and reforming the prison system.In regard to the Republic of Korea, he commended the assistance given by that country to resettle refugees from the north, and encouraged it and the international community to continue humanitarian aid, including food aid, to the DPRK, which was urged to facilitate access to the assistance.Welcoming the warming of relations between the Republic of Korea and the DPRK in the spirit of Inter-Korean dialogue, he encouraged the two countries to maximize family reunion opportunities and urged the DPRK to resolve the longstanding problem of missing persons.Special Rapporteurs are unpaid experts serving in an independent personal capacity who receive their mandate from the UN Commission on Human Rights and report back to it. read more

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FEATURE United Nations breaks tradition to bring real diplomacy to Model UN

“Through our interactions with Model UN conferences around the world, we have learned that most traditional Model UNs do not mirror the way the United Nations actually functions. MUN simulations use different rules of procedure and do not typically adopt resolutions by consensus that is now the common trend at the UN,” said Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach in the UN Department of Public Information. In an effort to educate organizers of Model UN (MUN) about the differences, the Organization created the “UN Guide for MUN” and has been introducing it in UN workshops, like the one held this week for 80 participants from 36 countries at the New York headquarters. In a Model UN, students take on the roles of ambassadors in simulated sessions of the General Assembly or Security Council, and research and debate a wide range of topics drawn from the UN’s agenda.In that respect, MUN and the United Nations not so far apart; the differences really start to emerge in the details of how the discussions take place.“There is a huge gap between how the Model and the UN actually work. We work with parliamentary caucus style and the UN does not. So there are a million points of order that you do at Model UN that do not happen in the real UN,” said workshop participant Aura Maria Gualdron. A 15-year veteran of MUNs, Ms. Gualdron is working with the local government and the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in her native Colombia to organize a simulation that will include the ongoing peace process negotiations. Scheduled for next year, the Simulación del Modelo de las Naciones Unidas (SimONU) will include abut 1,600 first-time MUN student delegates from private and public schools. Since the 1940s, Model UN conferences have been held around the world. Some schools use Model UN as part of their curricula, others support their students in planning conferences as leadership opportunities.In Azerbaijan, preparations are now underway for an October 21-25 session of Model UN Security Council organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sport. The timing coincides with the rotating presidency of Azerbaijan at the real Security Council in New York, and will include young representatives from the same 15 countries that currently make up the Council.“We want to use the momentum to showcase to the world the membership of Azerbaijan,” said Vugar Allahverdiyev, Programme Adviser at UN Development Programme (UNDP) in that country. Mr. Allahverdiyev has been working with the Department of Public Information to align the simulation that is being organized in Azerbaijan with practices at the UN, one of the reasons he is at the workshop, as well as to get the word out about the debate. “This is a good networking opportunity. It is also a good opportunity for us to share different experiences and discuss what different countries are doing,” he added. Over the course of the four days, participants also heard from a variety of UN officials. An informal survey showed that students most enjoyed hearing from Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, who detailed the UN priorities to the students but also gave them a bit of a pep talk, and Stadler Trengove, Senior Legal Officer at the UN Office of Legal Affairs, who detailed the rules dealing with how representatives are accredited and how disputes regarding representation are resolved, among other topics.“In my presentation, I gave a couple of illustrations to the Workshop of how the rules of procedure come alive in the cut and thrust of General Assembly debate,” Mr. Trengove said. “I also discussed how the General Assembly and Security Council play different but equally important roles in the work of the Organization.” One of the participants also enjoyed hearing about budget and the financial dimensions of the UN. “At Model UN kids usually say – we’re going to create a program for this or a program for that. It could be interesting to have an option to make them aware of the fact that they do have to take into account the financial elements,” said Ms. Gualdron. During a break between workshop sessions, Anastasia Trubnikova, a 23-year-old Russian studying in Germany, stood with 19-year-old Finn Carlson from Leiden University in The Hague. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a former MUN member himself, had spoken this week at Leiden during an official visit to the Netherlands.“I’d like to think that we swapped roles,” Mr. Carlson joked. “My friends went and there are photos on Facebook. I cannot believe I missed it.” Ms. Trubnikova is organizing MUN conferences in Denmark and Germany; Mr. Carlson has taken part in 14 such conferences. Both share long-term diplomatic aspirations. “It has been a big dream for a while now. You hear often it’s hard to get here, but you might as well try,” said Mr. Carlson. “It’s pretty awesome to be here. Sad the workshop is over.” read more

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How FiveThirtyEight Is Forecasting The 2016 NCAA Tournament

CaliforniaSouth4187186.54.00.7 IndianaEast5193887.45.81.1 BaylorWest5183785.56.01.0 DaytonMidwest7178882.41.60.1 Florida Gulf CoastEast16154471.4<0.1<0.1 North CarolinaEast1207593.943.615.0 VirginiaMidwest1205292.530.49.8 Note, however, that Elo is still just one of six computer rankings that we use for the men’s tournament. The other five are ESPN’s BPI, Jeff Sagarin’s “predictor” ratings, Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, Joel Sokol’s LRMC ratings, and Sonny Moore’s computer power ratings. In addition, we use two human-generated rating systems: the selection committee’s 68-team “S-Curve”, and a composite of preseason ratings from coaches and media polls. The eight systems — six computer-generated and two human-generated — are weighted equally in coming up with a team’s overall rating.We’ve calculated Elo ratings for men’s teams only. For women’s ratings, we rely on the same composite of ratings systems that we used last year. You can find more about the methodology for our women’s forecasts here.As has been the case previously, our ratings are also adjusted for travel distance and (for men’s teams only) player injuries. Our injury adjustment has been slightly improved to account for the higher or lower caliber of replacement players on different teams: Stony Brook, for example, won’t be able to replace a star player as easily as Kentucky can.As a final reminder, these forecasts are probabilistic — something especially important to consider in the men’s tournament this year when there’s about as much parity among teams as we’ve ever seen. In some sense, every team but the UConn women should be thought of as underdogs to win the tournament this year.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 March Madness Predictions. Michigan StateMidwest2207891.833.98.9 VillanovaSouth2204591.322.46.4 Weber StateEast15162373.3<0.1<0.1 North Carolina-AshevilleSouth15155374.2<0.1<0.1 ConnecticutSouth9187285.32.10.3 Middle TennesseeMidwest15163875.0<0.1<0.1 SouthernWest16139268.0<0.1<0.1 DukeWest4191087.312.11.7 XavierEast2197387.79.91.8 IowaSouth7190485.93.20.6 Arkansas-Little RockMidwest12173478.90.2<0.1 Stephen F. AustinEast14182481.00.4<0.1 KentuckyEast4201490.715.94.4 OregonWest1203388.022.62.6 KansasSouth1209794.545.1%19.1% TexasWest6178884.75.90.9 UtahMidwest3188786.65.30.8 Miami (FL)South3193387.14.91.0 Holy CrossWest16142066.9<0.1<0.1 Texas A&MWest3191586.812.42.4 VanderbiltSouth11184685.62.40.5 MarylandSouth5187687.46.31.3 Fresno StateMidwest14170876.6<0.1<0.1 West VirginiaEast3195689.316.23.4 2016 NCAA Tournament team ratings Wichita StateSouth11189386.62.70.7 Stony BrookEast13166377.10.1<0.1 CincinnatiWest9179483.73.20.3 WisconsinEast7189684.82.90.4 OklahomaWest2197290.032.06.8 HawaiiSouth13173778.0<0.1<0.1 PittsburghEast10178782.31.20.1 Saint Joseph’sWest8181481.61.10.1 ColoradoSouth8175681.50.4<0.1 Northern IowaWest11175180.20.8<0.1 Welcome to FiveThirtyEight’s forecasts of the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments. We’ve been issuing probabilistic March Madness forecasts in some form since 2011, when FiveThirtyEight was just a couple of us writing for The New York Times. While the basics of the system remain the same, we unveil a couple of new wrinkles each year.Last season, we issued forecasts of the women’s tournament for the first time. Our big change for this year is that we won’t just be updating our forecasts at the end of each game — but also in real time. If a No. 2 seed is losing to a No. 15 seed, you’ll be able to see how that could affect the rest of the bracket, even before the game is over.Live win probabilitiesOur interactive graphic will include a dashboard that shows the score and time remaining in every game as it’s played, as well as the chance that each team will win that game. These probabilities are derived using logistic regression analysis, which lets us plug the current state of a game into a model to produce the probability that either team wins the game. Specifically, we used play-by-play data from the past five seasons of Division I NCAA basketball to fit a model that incorporates:Time remaining in the gameScore differencePre-game win probabilitiesWhich team has possession, with a special adjustment if the team is shooting free throws.These in-game win probabilities won’t account for everything. If a key player has fouled out of a game, for example, his or her team’s win probability is probably a bit lower than we’ve listed. There are also a few places where the model experiences momentary uncertainty: In the handful of seconds between the moment when a player is fouled and the free throws that follow, we use the team’s average free-throw percentage. Still, these probabilities ought to do a reasonably good job of showing which games are competitive and which are in the bag.We built a separate in-game probability model for the women’s tournament that works in exactly the same way but uses historical women’s data. Thus, we’ll be updating our forecasts live for both the men’s and women’s tournament.Excitement indexOur March Madness “excitement index” (loosely based on Brian Burke’s NFL work) is a measure of how much each team’s chances of winning changed over the course of the game and is a good reference for picking the best games to flip to.The calculation is simple: It’s the average change in win probability per basket scored, weighted by the amount of time remaining in the game. This means that a late-game basket has more influence on a game’s rating than a basket near the beginning of the game. We give additional weight to changes in win probability in overtime. Ratings range from 0 to 10, except in extreme cases where they can exceed 10.The index isn’t perfect — this year’s play-in game between Holy Cross and Southern was good, but perhaps not deserving of its 9.4 rating. But even if it doesn’t quite capture the difference between a closely contested slog and a Dunk City run to the Sweet 16, it does a nice job of quantifying how tight a game was and how many big shots were hit.Elo ratingsOtherwise, the methodology for our men’s forecasts is also largely the same as last year. But we’ve developed our own computer rating system — Elo — which we include along with the five computer rankings and two human rankings we used previously.If you’ve followed FiveThirtyEight, you’ll know that we’re big fans of Elo ratings, which we’ve introduced for the NBA, the NFL and other sports. We’ve now applied them for men’s college basketball teams dating back to the 1950s, using game data from ESPN, Sports-Reference.com and other sources.Our methodology for calculating these Elo ratings is highly similar to the one we use for NBA. They rely on relatively simple information — specifically, the final score, home-court advantage, and the location of each game. (College basketball teams perform significantly worse when they travel a long distance to play a game.) They also account for a team’s conference — at the beginning of each season, a team’s Elo rating is regressed toward the mean of other schools in its conference — and whether the game was an NCAA Tournament game. We’ve found that historically, there are actually fewer upsets in the NCAA Tournament than you’d expect from the difference in teams’ Elo ratings, perhaps because the games are played under better and fairer conditions in the tournament than in the regular season. Our Elo ratings account for this and also weight tournament games slightly higher than regular season ones.Elo ratings for the 68 teams to qualify for the men’s tournament follow below. North Carolina-WilmingtonWest13172277.70.2<0.1 YaleWest12179280.21.0<0.1 Cal State BakersfieldWest15163575.00.1<0.1 GonzagaMidwest11191686.03.20.5 TEAMREGIONSEEDELOCOMPOSITEFINAL 4CHAMPS Southern CaliforniaEast8173381.40.2<0.1 IonaMidwest13175978.20.1<0.1 Texas TechMidwest8177781.30.4<0.1 TempleSouth10173078.50.2<0.1 ArizonaSouth6195389.06.01.8 Oregon StateWest7174077.60.2<0.1 Seton HallMidwest6191484.51.80.2 Virginia CommonwealthWest10179883.12.20.2 Fairleigh DickinsonEast16141766.7<0.1<0.1 ChattanoogaEast12161076.6<0.1<0.1 South Dakota StateSouth12173578.60.2<0.1 ButlerMidwest9181584.22.50.3 MichiganEast11176879.60.3<0.1 BuffaloSouth14161375.7<0.1<0.1 PurdueMidwest5193888.713.02.7 Iowa StateMidwest4186786.56.41.0 Austin PeaySouth16147768.8<0.1<0.1 RATINGSPROBABILITY OF… HamptonMidwest16148868.6<0.1<0.1 SyracuseMidwest10177282.71.30.1 ProvidenceEast9182482.50.80.1 TulsaEast11169079.90.2<0.1 Notre DameEast6183284.42.60.3 Green BayWest14166776.20.1<0.1 UPDATE (6:30 p.m. March 18): We’ve updated this post to add information about the excitement index. read more

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British Airways Reports of delays and cancellations at Heathrow as airline reports

The delays yesterday came after an earlier fire alert at Heathrow’s air traffic control tower briefly forced flight to be diverted to other airports. It “impacted operation of the airfield for a short while” on Wednesday afternoon, according to the airport.Last May’s IT failure, which also came at the start of a busy holiday period, sparked intense criticism of the company and its management, as well as frustration over the lack of information handed out to customers by BA staff.It was blamed by the company on an electrical technician employed by an outside supplier for shutting down an “uninterruptible power supply” located in the plant room of the firm’s London data centre. British Airways said in a statement: “As with a number of airlines we are experiencing some disruption at Heathrow a result of an issue with a supplier IT system. “We are working with our supplier to resolve the matter and are sorry for the disruption to our customers’ travel plans.” British Airways passengers reported long delays and cancellations on Wednesday night after the airline reported an issue with its computer systems.Passengers said that planes operated by the airline were not taking off from Heathrow, amid reports on social media of delayed  aircraft across Europe.British Airways customers arriving at Heathrow Terminal Five were reportedly told that a computer system failure had halted all British Airways flights.They were reportedly advised to book overnight accommodation or seek alternative travel arrangements. There were also reports that the airline online-check in service had failed.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––“We are experiencing disruption to our flights as a result of an issue with some of our IT systems,” British Airways tweeted earlier last nightIt added: “We are working hard to urgently resolve the matter and are sorry for the disruption to some customers’ travel plans. A spokesperson for Heathrow, said: “We are aware that British Airways is currently experiencing an issue which is impacting their ability to provide boarding passes to some passengers. We will be working with the airline to support their efforts to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”The IT system failure comes just over a year after a computer meltdown saw the airline forced to cancel 726 flights over three days, leaving 75,000 passengers stranded and costing the company around £100m 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. read more

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Vladan Matic leads Tatabanya in the next two seasons

handballHungarykezilabdaTatabanya GrundfosVladan Matic Serbian head-coach Vladan Matic will lead Hungarian Tatabanya Grundfos in the next two seasons. Serbian coach will have dual-function due existing contract with Serbian “Eagles” until 2016 – the end of Olympic cycle. Matic used the chance from his contract in which he hadn’t obstacles to work in some team during his period on NT’s bench.He is the last coach who broke the domination of Veszprem in Hungary, in 2007 when Pick Szeged won the Championship with him on the bench. Matic also worked as assistant of Hungarian NT head-coach, FTC and Slovenian RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko. ← Previous Story AUSTRIA: HC Alpla Hard for third Championship title in a row! Next Story → ITALIAN FINAL: Junior Fasano and SSV Bozen for the trophy! read more

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Arab League readies to hand Syria seat to opposition

first_imgTHE ARAB LEAGUE said today that it is prepared to hand Syria’s seat in the organisation to the opposition battling to oust President Bashar al-Assad if it sets up an executive body.The League, in a resolution adopted at a meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo, called for the opposition National Coalition “to form an executive body to take up Syria’s seat” and attend its next summit, in Doha on March 26-27.The umbrella group would retain Syria’s seat in the 22-member organisation “until elections leading to the formation of a government to assume the responsibilities of power in Syria,” it said.The call was based on “the sacrifices of the Syrian people and the exceptional circumstances” in the country.Iraq and Algeria expressed reservations while Lebanon declined to be associated with the resolution, League chief Nabil al-Arabi told a news conference.Instead, Lebanon urged foreign ministers to allow the Syrian government to retake its seat at the League, from which it was suspended in late 2011, as the organisation had failed to resolve the two-year conflict in Syria.Last year, with the death toll escalating in the anti-Assad revolt, the League recognised the National Coalition led by Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib as the “legitimate representative and main interlocutor with the Arab League.”More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict since March 2011, according to the United Nations, which on Wednesday put the number of Syrian refugees at one million.- © AFP, 2013last_img read more

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Microsoft calls Googles WebM the esperanto of codecs

first_imgOn Tuesday, Google announced that they were dropping support for the royalty-encumbered video compression format H.264 from their Chrome browser, and would from now on only support their own (and, arguably, inferior) codec, WebM.It’s definitely a strong arm move, meant to force the industry to shift away from reliance upon a codec wholly owned by the MPEG LA consortium. The little guys like Firefox and Opera already support WebM in lieu of H.264, but the big two, Apple and Microsoft, aren’t budging… likely because they both get money from MPEG-LA for having contributed patents to the pool.AdChoices广告Today, Microsoft has spoken out about Google’s move through the mouthpiece of Tim Sneath, Senior Director of Windows and Web Evangelism. In a tongue-in-cheek piece, Sneath poses as the President of the United States of Google, and likens a shift to WebM as the equivalent of shifting the country’s official language from English to Esperanto, the failed “international” language created in 1887 to foster in a new era of world peace.Though English plays an important role in speech today, as our goal is to enable open innovation, its further use as a form of communication in this country will be prohibited and our resources directed towards languages that are untainted by real-world usage. It’s a fun, snarky piece, even if Sneath’s argument doesn’t hold water: maybe people would be more likely to shift to Esperanto (WebM) if, every time they used English in a commercial venture (H.264), the government sent them a bill.Read more at MSDNlast_img read more

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Weather Eye Forecast appears stuck on spring until further notice

first_imgPatrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at http://patricktimm.com. The calendar says it is summer, but the forecast implies springlike weather to continue until further notice. The clouds increase today and later this evening and Wednesday we will see varying amounts of rainfall. The most will be west and north of Clark County.I suspect we’ll get about a quarter-inch of rain locally and perhaps upward of 1 inch over the coastal mountains of Western Washington and a half-inch along the coast. Then again, amounts could be lighter; it depends where the heaviest band of moisture travels. It will feel humid the next few days as this is coming to us from the southwest.Nothing worse than moist sticky air to breathe, but that’s the forecast, folks. Temperatures, which should be close to 80 degrees, should reside in the 70s with humidities to match or higher. We had a brief taste of that really hot stuff and extremely low humidity about a month ago, so now we feel the difference.Rain chances decrease by Thursday and we are back to a marine influence with some clouds, some sunshine and highs in the 75- to 80-degree range. So, a lackluster summer forecast. Good news: It delays our wildfire season, which may turn out not so bad? Who knows?It seems like an odd summer so far to me. But still, no complaints as I take you in tow, waiting to see what comes our way beyond what the weather eye can presently reveal.last_img read more

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Chicharito cries after Germany win

first_imgChicharito has admitted that Mexico’s win over Germany in their FIFA World Cup opener on Sunday was deeply emotional for him as it caught him rolling out tears yet maintains Mexico are focused on ensuring it won’t be the high point of their campaign.Mexico’s win brought them three points and it meant Mexico got their World Cup off to the perfect start but the Hammers striker took a moment to reflect on Mexico’s win and says he cried the most.“After the final whistle I celebrated it the way I am, like someone emotional,” he said, according to club’s website.“In the locker room some laughed, others shouted, I celebrated it my way, I was the one who cried the most.“We have taken a very important step, and we have to go calmly, to enjoy it. We are very excited, we have started the World Cup on the right foot, but from tomorrow we will start working 100% towards the match against South Korea.“If we don’t win that match and the one against Sweden, beating Germany would have served no purpose at all.”Top 5 Bundesliga players to watch during the weekend Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 11, 2019 With the international activity cooling down for the next month, we go back to the Bundesliga’s Top 5 players to watch next weekend.The German…Chicharito was part of a front three alongside PSV Einhoven’s Lozano and Porto man Miguel Layun which caused Germany no end of problems on the counter-attack.He was delighted to play his part, especially in front of such a strong Mexican support.He added:“I tried to give everything, in the best way, I gave an assist. Lozano had a great match too, here there are no heroes, we all played great, from Memo (Ochoa) to Javier.“We feel like we were playing at home, the anthem ceremony was extremely exciting.”last_img read more

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Trump seriously looking to end birthright citizenship

first_imgWashington : President Donald Trump has threatened to end what he called the “ridiculous” US policy of birthright citizenship, which gives citizenship automatically to those born in America, as he sought ways to check illegal immigration. “We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship. It’s frankly ridiculous,” Trump said Wednesday outside the White House while responding to a question on the birthright citizenship, which grants automatic citizenship to those born in the US. Also Read – Pakistan test-fires 290-km range missile Advertise With Us His comments echo his administration’s previous vow to unilaterally end the process by which babies born in the country automatically become US citizens. “Birthright citizenship where you have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby, congratulations, the baby is now a US citizen. We’re looking at it very, very seriously,” Trump said. Also Read – Imran calls on Pakistanis to take part in ‘Kashmir Hour’ Advertise With Us During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had said that he will end the birthright citizenship. The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees birthright citizenship and states: “All persons born or naturalised in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Advertise With Us Indian-origin Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a Democratic senator from California, mocked Trump’s comments on Twitter Wednesday, stating the President “should ‘seriously’ consider reading the Constitution.” Trump’s statement came as the administration announced a proposal to detain undocumented families together indefinitely, replacing the agreement that set a 20-day limit for holding children, The Hill reported. His administration enacted and later reversed a “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation of thousands of migrant families. The White House last week unveiled a rule that would make it more difficult for some immigrants to obtain green cards, the report said.last_img read more

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Infosys invests in Stellaris Venture Partners

first_imgSecond largest software services firm Infosys Ltd will invest Rs 31.6 crore from its Innovation Fund in India-based early-stage venture fund Stellaris Venture Partners, which has invested in companies like BigBasket and erstwhile TaxiForSure.The company in a regulatory filing to Bombay Stock Exchange said, “Infosys has signed a definitive agreement to invest of Rs 31.6 crore from its Innovation Fund in Stellaris Venture Partners, an India-based early stage venture fund.” The investment is likely to be completed by December 15, 2016.According to the IT bellwether, this venture fund eyes backing entrepreneurs building applications for global businesses, domestic small and medium enterprises and consumers in financial services, retail, healthcare and education sectors.”Stellaris’ investment team has significant experience working in global technology companies and a strong track record in venture capital, with investments made in companies such as TaxisForSure and Bigbasket to name a few,” the company said.Commenting on the development, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Corporate Development and Ventures at Infosys, Ritika Suri said, “With this investment, we look forward to gaining early access to innovative new companies in India that are inventing the future of enterprises globally.”Co-founder of Stellaris, Alok Goyal said this association will help both the VC fund and its portfolio companies.With changing landscape, domestic IT companies are betting big on new age technologies to have a first mover advantage over competitors. From buying out niche tech firms to investing in such companies through venture capital funds are part of such initiatives.In past, Infosys had invested in Silicon Valley based early-stage venture capital firm Vertex Ventures from its $500 million Innovation Fund in December, 2015.last_img read more

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Is Shah Rukh Khans son Aryan Khan making south debut with Prabhas

first_imgAryan Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Prabhas, Rana DaggubatiInstagramShah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan made a stunning debut in the entertainment industry by dubbing for Simba’s voice in Hollywood’s animated flick The Lion King. Aryan garnered immense appreciation from all quarters for his confident voice over in the film and it looks like his stint may land him a meatier role against Baahubali stars Prabhas and Rana Daggubati.If the latest reports are to be believed, Aryan Khan is being considered for the role of Pralhad in director Gunasekhar’s mythological magnum opus Hiranyakashipu. The film is set to reunite Prabhas and Rana Daggubati after Baahubali where the two were pitted against each other and Hiranyakashipu is said to bring back the same rivalry once again onscreen.”He has been approached to play the important role of Pralhad. Rana plays the titular character of Hiranyakashipu in the film and will be seen as the villain of the movie. The team is hoping that all falls into place and the deal with Aryan gets cracked. Meanwhile, the movie also stars Baahubali heroines Tamannaah and Anushka Shetty,” a source was quoted as saying by in.com.However, when Gunasekhar was contacted for confirmation, the director wondered where the news was coming from and said that they “haven’t reached the casting stage yet.”last_img read more

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