Congress policy planning group on J&K to visit State on Nov 10

first_imgThe Manmohan Singh-led policy planning group of the Congress on Jammu and Kashmir is scheduled to arrive in the State on a four-day visit on November 10, the party said on Friday.“The policy planning group will visit Jammu and Kashmir next month. The group will arrive in Srinagar on November 10,” Jammu and Kashmir Congress president G.A. Mir told PTI. The group had visited the state twice last month and held interactions with dozens of groups, including representatives of political parties, traders and journalists, in Jammu and Srinagar, but the Ladakh visit of the group had not been finalised at that time, he added.“This time, the group members, to be led by former Union home minister P. Chidambaram, will visit Kargil and Leh also to hold interactions with various groups, political and social organisations, including trade bodies, to take stock of the overall socio-political scenario in the state,” Mr. Mir said.last_img read more

Assam gets ‘smart’ fence along border

first_imgA digital ‘barrier’ has finally filled a 61 km gap on the 4,096.7 km India-Bangladesh border fence three decades after the project kickstarted.Assam shares a 263 km border with Bangladesh. Much of the border was fenced, but a 61 km stretch in Dhubri district remained open owing to the terrain dictated by the Brahmaputra.On Tuesday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an electronic surveillance system that “is expected to diminish challenges faced by the Border Security Force in manning this stretch against cross-border crimes.” Comprising microwave communication, optical fibre cables, cameras, and an intrusion detection device, this system is called BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) and was established under the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System.“This appears to be a better system than fencing which takes a long time and undergoes wear and tear. This should make the work of the border sentinels easier and more effective,” Mr. Singh said.The Centre, he said, had taken the cue from Israel and in 2017 decided to go for a technological solution for fool-proof sealing of the border. “We are looking at implementing this system in other difficult stretches of this border as well as the one on the western sector (with Pakistan),” he said.Eyes and earsA senior BSF officer said that, despite their best efforts, they faced an uphill task of manning the 61 km stretch against cross-border criminals. “This stretch is where the vast Brahmaputra and its numerous channels with chars (sandbars) in between flow into Bangladesh. Infiltrators, cattle smugglers and others invariably took advantage of the difficulty in keeping vigil along this stretch, even on speedboats. This system has given us the eyes and ears where it is difficult for our men to see and hear,” he said, declining to be quoted.Fencing of the India-Bangladesh border, a long-time demand in Assam for checking illegal influx, started in the 1990s. Phase I, covering Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal, cost ₹854.35 crore. Phase II included Tripura and Mizoram, the last of the five States bordering Bangladesh, and cost ₹1,930.06 crore.The third phase entailed overhauling the fence erected during Phase I and merging the work under Phase II in 2012. The work is yet to be completed. After a pilot project in West Bengal, the government sanctioned a ₹1,327 crore project for floodlighting 2,840 km of the India-Bangladesh border.last_img read more

Indian Premier League 2016: No Chennai flavour this summer

first_imgWe are two days away from the start of yet another Indian Premier League season. The preparations for the lucrative league are on at breakneck speed. The opening ceremony, with big names from Bollywood Katrina Kaif, Ranveer Singh and Yo Yo Honey Singh, promises glitz and glamour. The organisers released a theme song for IPL 9 during the fag end of the ICC World Twenty20 – perfect timing. This time though the ‘catchy’ song that is doing the rounds on our television screens is in Tamil. Get the irony? There is no team from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu after its home team Chennai Super Kings was suspended for two years due to the spot-fixing scandal. (David Miller raring to go as Kings XI Punjab captain )The IPL seasons in the last eight years took Chennai by storm. It was fluttering in an otherwise calm city when Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Men in Yellow played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. The sea of yellow that thronged the gates of the stadium every match-day would tell us the story.The fans in Chennai (previously Madras) were known for their love of cricket. The fandom that the local team Jolly Rovers had enjoyed is unmatched.  “There can be little doubt that over the last half a century Jolly Rovers has been the dominant side in Tamil Nadu cricket. Think of Tamil Nadu cricket and inevitably the name that springs to mind is Jolly Rovers, the most feared and respected opponents in Chennai that was Madras,” veteran Indian sports journalist Partab Ramchand had said. (Full Indian Premier League 2016 coverage )advertisementLikewise, when the IPL generation in the city got their own club in Chennai Super Kings, they couldn’t resist, they gave it their all and made it one of the most followed clubs in the eight-year history of the league.  For Dhoni, Chennai’s adopted son, it has not been easy to move on, just like the way it has been for millions of CSK loyalists.  “After spending eight years at Chennai Super Kings, it feels very different. I have to give credit to the CSK and the people of Chennai for their love and affection over the last eight years. I would be lying if I say I have moved on. It’s not easy to turn away and forget those eight years. There is an obvious emotional connect,”he said during the jersey launch of his new IPL team Rising Pune Supergiants.Former CSK mainstay Suresh Raina, who is now the skipper of Gujarat Lions says the experience with his Chennai franchise was a different cult and that CSK had a religious fan following. (IPL no yardstick for Test, ODI selection, says Zaheer Khan )”We were superstars in Chennai and to understand what I’m saying, one had to be there to see it. It was almost like a different cult, a different religion and we were treated like gods,” he said.The Super Kings were the most consistent team in the eight seasons of the league. They had won the IPL title twice and the Champions League twice as well. Out of the eight seasons, they had reached the final six times. Dhoni and his men gave their fans millions of reasons to cheer. Not once, the team had a smooth sail into the last-four stages of the team. There were always involved in dramatic finishes which won more followers for the team. Fans became fanatics. However, on-field consistency was not the only reason for the huge fan following they enjoyed.Sudio Sudarsan, a professor of Marketing from Hult International Business School calls CSK ‘the most intimate team to its fans, the cricket brand of the common man.'”I’d award CSK full marks in every facet of the complex branding process, especially the potential to build equity by capitalizing on the emotional relationship it shares with CSK fans that derive strength and a sense of identity from their affiliation with their team,” Sudarsan was quoted as saying by huffingtonpost.com.True, the promotional activities of the team were largely based on the local flavor of the city. The official anthem of the team goes by the name ‘Whistle Podu’, a Tamil song based on folk genre. Dhoni himself was part of the theme song. Fans related to the yellow colour of the jersey.The club’s social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook had constantly come up with interactive videos to keep the fans hooked. The ‘Superlocal Challenge’ series on Youtube was an instant hit among the fans. In one episode, the then CSK players tried their hand at imitating Rajinikanth, the Superstar of Tamil cinema.advertisementNow with the suspension of the two teams, fans have nothing but memories. People returning from a long day at work no more have to curse the Men in Yellow for the traffic congestion on the roads leading to Chepauk. There will be no Super Kings at least for the next two years. The parody accounts on Twitter will no more be as active as they were when the Men in Yellow took the field.When India lost to West Indies in the semi-final of the recently concluded World T20,  all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who was playing for CSK, tweeted a photograph with Dhoni saying, “Win, lose or draw …always #macha #champion #respect.”‘Macha’ is a term any proud Chennai local can relate to. The fans back in the city would have been happy to see the ‘macha’ bond between their stars. All that they can do now is wait, wait with a heavy heart, for these two years to pass by.  The IPL, this season, will definitely not be the same without the Men in Yellow.last_img read more

WWE: Brock Lesnar returns to RAW, attacks Kurt Angle and Paul Heyman

first_imgBrock Lesnar finally made an appearance at Monday Night RAW after months and by the time he left, he made sure that the all hell was unleashed at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.Lesnar, who has been the WWE Universal champion for a record number of days, missed several nights of World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE)flagship show Monday Night RAW and was staring at being stripped off his title. However, his long-time friend and advocate Paul Heyman managed to convince RAW general manager Kurt Angle that he will return to WWE and defend his title at SummerSlam as well.Angle therefore put two-triple threat matches and the winner of the matches would have challenged Lesnar for the title. With Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns emerging the winners of the two matches. Last week, Reigns beat Lashley and emerged as the No. 1 contender for the title. Following that, Angle made it clear to Heyman that Lesnar has to make an appearance on RAW in Cincinnati or else his and Lesnar’s jobs could be in jeopardy. Heyman then promised Angle that he will get Lesnar to RAW on July 30.And, he did. But, all didnt’ go down to well. Lesnar was seen relaxing in his locker room as Heyman tried to convicne him to go to the ring. The saga was spread throughout the three hour show through various backstage segments. But, Lesnar refused to budge and said that he doesn’t care about anything and he won’t show up and even threatened Heyman by grabbing his colloar. Therefore, the advocate gave up and told Angle that he won’t come out. But, Angle made it clear to Heyman that if his client did not appear in the ring, it would cost the advocate his job with the WWE.advertisement”We’re not friends, Paul. YOU work for me. I DON’T work for you!”WHAT is happening?! #RAW @BrockLesnar @HeymanHustle pic.twitter.com/9i10a22MlAWWE (@WWE) July 31, 2018Heyman continued his struggle and tried to entice Lesnar of telling the WWE Universe of how his appearance will sell his UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) tickets as well. But he was not interested and in the end as the show almost drew to a close, Heyman informed Angle in the ring that his client will not come out and that forced Angle to fire Heyman, after which he pleaded to Angle to not do this and that’s when Lesnar’s music hit.Lesnar appeared, walked down to the ring to much of Heyman’s relief and confronted Angle and constable Baron Corbin. After a few verbal exchanges, he lost it and F5’ed Angle and tried to do the same with Corbin but the latter left the ring.Following that, Lesnar and Heyman continued their sadistic laugh at the condition of Angle before the Universal Champion snapped and grabbed Heyman by the jaw and wrestled him down to the mat. In an epic and surprising moment, Lesnar clasped on to Heyman’s mouth and let him know who he was messing with before leaving the ring as the show drew to a close.Lesnar’s actions could open up a whole new angle for the WWE leading up to SummerSlam, which will be held at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn on August 19.last_img read more

Sheikh Salman becomes president of Asian Football Confederation for third time

first_imgSheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa was re-elected unopposed to the position as president of the Asian Football Confederation on Saturday after the regional body’s congress confirmed a new four-year term for the Bahraini by acclamation.The 53-year-old, who was not present at the meeting due to the death of his mother earlier in the week, was handed a third term at the helm after his rivals, Mohammed Al Romaithi from the United Arab Emirates and Qatari Saoud Al Mohannadi, withdrew.Sheikh Salman will extend his reign as president until at least 2023, by which time he will have completed a 10-year spell in charge of the 47-member body after initially completing the truncated term of former president Mohammed bin Hammam.My condolences to Sheikh Salman on the passing of his mother. My thoughts remain with him and his famiIy during this time. I offer my congratulations on his re-election this morning at AFC Congress and looking forward to working together to deliver Asia’s next World Cup in 2022. pic.twitter.com/4FcoTiBiaSHassan Al Thawadi (@HAlThawadi) April 6, 2019He took over for the last two years of Bin Hammam’s stint as AFC president after the Qatari was banned for life by governing body FIFA from all football activities for his involvement in a corruption scandal.A member of the Bahrian royal family, Sheikh Salman first came to prominence in footballing circles in 2009 when he faced off against Bin Hammam for a seat on FIFA’s decision making body, a ballot he lost by a single vote.advertisementHowever, he won the presidential election in 2013 and was returned unopposed in 2015 before running unsuccessfully against Gianni Infantino for the position of FIFA president the following year.Initially elected on a platform of accountability, he has becoming increasingly distant during his presidency, rarely taking questions from the media since winning his second term of office.Congratulations brother Sheikh Salman for unanimously being re-elected as the President of @theafcdotcom until 2023.#AFCCongress2019 pic.twitter.com/Wfq5Z7h8ShAhmed Mahloof (@AhmedMahloof) April 6, 2019The former Bahrain Football Association president has denied accusations that he was involved in human rights abuses by the Gulf state’s ruling family during a crackdown on democracy protesters in 2011.The issue resurfaced in January when Sheikh Salman’s position in world football was questioned by campaigners seeking the release of former Bahrain international Hakeem Al Araibi from a Thai detention centre under threat of extradition to the Gulf state.Sheikh Salman did not comment publicly on the matter and the AFC later claimed to have recused him 18 months earlier from involvement in matters involving nations in the west of the continent due to a potential conflict of interests.Those matters, though, have done little to dampen enthusiasm for him to remain in charge of Asia’s governing body, with his hopes of reelection boosted in June last year when he signed off on a new deal for the AFC’s commercial and broadcast rights.The agreement with Chinese-backed company DDMC Fortis will ensure revenues more than double from those under the current agreement with long-term partner Lagardere Sports.Also Read | AIFF president Praful Patel becomes first Indian to be elected as FIFA Council memberAlso Read | Asia pushes for more spots in expanded World Cuplso Watch | Great to have someone like Chris Gayle in KXIP: KL Rahullast_img read more

Referee shot in face by cannon during college football game in Maine

first_imgA school spokesperson said the cannon “was fired from outside the fence behind the end zone”.“One of the game officials was proceeding along the end line when the cannon was fired and was struck by packing material from the cannon,” the spokesperson said. “The academy’s president has directed that these devices will no longer be permitted on campus for future events.”The referee was taken to a hospital and an investigation into the incident will be referred to the district attorney’s office pending potential criminal charges, the sheriff’s office said.The Mariners, who play in Division III, lost the game to Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 42-21. Topics Reuse this content US sports Pinterest College football Share on Facebook Since you’re here… … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Support The Guardian College sports Share on Pinterest A referee is recovering from non-life threatening injuries after he was hit in the face by a cannon blast while officiating a football game at Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday, according to the Hancock County sheriff’s office.The sheriff said it’s a tradition of to set off a cannon using a blank shotgun shell whenever the team scores, but that an alumnus brought his own cannon to Saturday’s homecoming game and filled it with black powder.Video footage shows the referee walking behind the end zone during the second half, then grabbing his head and collapsing after the cannon goes off. Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Maine Twitter Facebook Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Share on LinkedInlast_img read more

Cargotec Picks China for Its ASC Business

first_imgzoom Chinese Rainbow Cargotec Industries (RCI), a Sino-foreign joint venture between Jiangsu Rainbow Heavy Industries (RHI) and Cargotec Corporation, will expand its cooperation with Finnish port automation solutions provider Kalmar.Under the cooperation plan, RCI would take over the automatic stacking cranes, while Kalmar would focus on automation and software development, sales, marketing and customer interface, as well as project deliveries of mega projects.“Together with RCI, we have been very successful in delivering Kalmar RTG projects within the set time, budget and Kalmar quality standards as well as to the full satisfaction of the customers. This gives us confidence that a similar cooperation model in ASC business would help us in executing our automation strategy,” Antti Kaunonen, Senior Vice President, Automation and Projects, Kalmar, said.To implement the plans, Kalmar will start a cooperation with its personnel in the Automation and Projects division in Tampere, Finland. Based on the company’s initial estimations, the possible personnel implications might lead to the reduction of maximum 35 employees, as well as to temporary layoffs.last_img read more

Worlds 1st Icebreaking LNG Carrier Joins Sovcomflot

first_imgImage Courtesy: DSMEThe world’s first icebreaking liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier Christophe de Margerie has been delivered to its Russian owner, shipping company Sovcomflot, according to South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME).Under the USD 320 million shipbuilding agreement signed between the parties in 2014, DSME constructed the ship which features a length of 299 meters and a width of 50 meters. The vessel has a capacity to carry 173,600 cubic meters of LNG.The ARC-7 class icebreaking LNG carrier, which recently completed its ice trials, will be deployed at a gas field on the Yamal Peninsula, in the western part of Siberia.A representative from DSME said that the shipbuilder is scheduled to deliver the remaining 14 icebreaking LNG carriers, currently on order at the yard, by 2020.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Universities Get Excellence and Innovation Funding

first_imgUniversities and students will benefit from nine projects that will spur innovation, attract and support international and aboriginal students, and make it easier to apply to university. Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan was at Cape Breton University today, May 9, to announce the latest round of Excellence and Innovation Fund projects. Cape Breton University will work with its Unama’ki College to make post-secondary education more accessible for aboriginal learners across the province. Cape Breton, Saint Mary’s and Acadia universities will study ways to create a Nova Scotia-China learning campus to offer local academic programs in the city of Zhuhai. Jeff Ward, a soon-to-be bachelor of arts in community studies graduate, said Unama’ki College provides aboriginal students support that offers opportunities for enriched post-secondary experiences. “I’m glad more students across the province will be able to enjoy that experience,” said Mr. Ward. “These opportunities allow the students to flourish and grow as strong, confident aboriginal community members, who can then give back to their own communities in positive ways.” Mount Saint Vincent University will enhance its International Education Centre to improve services for students. The University of King’s College will pilot a new approach to recruit and retain students from the United States. The fund will support ongoing projects involving all universities that directly benefit students: an electronic transcript system will streamline the application process a transfer credit portal will simplify the process of transferring credits from one university to another an online application portal will help students find information and apply to universities more easily “Our universities are facing demographic and economic challenges, and are looking for ways to do things differently,” said Ms. Regan. “That’s what these projects are all about – using technology in new ways, expanding learning opportunities, working together to bring more international students to Nova Scotia, and letting the bright minds in our universities bring new ideas to life.” All universities will see savings from a shared IT service, including a common e-mail, calendar and collaboration tool. The fund also supports four sandbox projects, including an Island Sandbox. Sandboxes are environments where students, innovators and industry can develop new ideas that could become businesses. Cape Breton University president David Wheeler said the university aspires to be an entrepreneurial and multicultural campus, where students in all disciplines are inspired to address and solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. “Working with our partners, we want to harness CBU’s expertise in clean technology, culture, aboriginal learning and community economic development to promote opportunities for all our students,” said Mr. Wheeler. “We’re proud to play a role in the innovation fund investments, and we are committed to delivering great results for our province and Cape Breton Island.” The Excellence and Innovation Fund helps universities deliver high-quality education while exploring new ways to encourage collaboration and reduce operating costs. Government is investing $5 million in this round of projects. Government also recently announced other new efforts to help students, including the elimination of the interest on Nova Scotia student loans, research and innovation scholarships, and more career-related summer and co-op jobs.last_img read more

Conservatives balk at GOP plan to avert government shutdown

first_imgWASHINGTON – Disgruntled conservatives threatened late Tuesday to scuttle Republican leaders’ plans to prevent a weekend government shutdown, saying GOP leaders now lack the votes to push their proposal through the House. The setback came as a deal between President Donald Trump and Congress to protect young immigrants from deportation also remained distant.The intransigence by the House Freedom Caucus came as Republican leaders raced against a Friday deadline for pushing a short-term spending bill through Congress. If they fail, federal agencies would start shutting their doors over the weekend — an election-year debacle that GOP leaders and many Democrats are eager to avoid for fear of alienating voters.The leader of the hard-right Freedom Caucus emerged from a Tuesday night meeting to say its members — and other GOP lawmakers as well — want a short-term bill keeping federal agencies open to contain added money for the military.“There’s not enough support to pass it with GOP-only votes in the House,” the group’s leader, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told reporters. He said he planned to discuss their concerns with Republican leaders.The GOP focus on keeping government open comes as it’s become certain there’s no time to cut a deal by Friday on protecting young immigrants.Those talks were soured by Trump’s incendiary remarks about “shithole” countries in Africa last week. Democratic leaders said they would not promise to vote to keep the government open past Friday without a plan to preserve a program that protects the young immigrants known as “Dreamers.”“We don’t want to shut down the government. … We want to keep the government open,” Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters. “But we’re not going to be held hostage to do things that we think are going to be contrary to the best interests of the American people.”House Republican leaders tried to win over wary conservatives with a promise to repeal unpopular taxes as part of the bill preventing a shutdown.They sweetened the plan with a two-year delay on implementation of unpopular taxes on medical devices and generous employer-subsidized health care plans. The taxes, also unpopular with many Democrats, are part of former President Barack Obama’s marquee health law.The temporary funding bill would also include a long-delayed, six-year renewal of a popular health insurance program for children of low-income families. It would fund the government through Feb. 16.House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled the plan at a Tuesday evening GOP meeting. Lawmakers and aides initially said it was received well, raising hopes that a potential shutdown would be sidestepped with relative ease. A Ryan spokeswoman declined later to comment on the Freedom Caucus’ opposition.Many Democrats said they’re still unlikely to support the measure without an agreement on immigration. The prospects for such a deal were complicated as Democrats appeared to see scant reason to bargain with a president many in their party view as holding racist views.“There’s no trust there,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.Negotiations on immigration were to resume Wednesday but Marc Short, a top White House aide, said an agreement was very unlikely to come this week. “We’re optimistic that we’ll get a deal,” Short said. “I think this week would be fairly Herculean.”Even if they succeed in the House, Republicans would still need at least nine Democratic votes to push a spending package through the Senate, which the GOP controls 51-49. Democrats seeking leverage are forcing that bill to require 60 votes for passage.When the Senate approved a similar short-term spending bill in December, 17 Democrats plus Maine independent Angus King voted to keep the government open. Seven of those Democrats face re-election in November in Trump-won states — including West Virginia, North Dakota and Montana, which have small numbers of minority voters.Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, said Tuesday he’ll vote for a short-term spending bill without a plan to assist the immigrants facing possible deportation. Other red- and swing-state Democrats did not commit.“I think everyone has the empathy and compassion to want to help these young people who are stranded and we’re trying to find that, but shutting down the government isn’t going to help them,” Manchin said.Democrats voting against that December bill included some senators — such as Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California — who might seek the presidency in 2020 and would love support from their party’s liberal voters.On the left, liberal groups are ramping up pressure on Democrats to resist any spending plan. Groups like MoveOn, United We Dream and CREDO shifted their focus from Republicans to Democrats earlier in the month, threatening primary challenges and public ridicule for Democrats unwilling to risk a government shutdown to save the program for young immigrants.Meanwhile, the bipartisan group of senators continued work to build support for a plan to protect the “Dreamers” and toughen border security, including funds to start building Trump’s long-promised border wall.Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, late last year but gave Congress until March 5 to pass legislation extending the initiative created by President Barack Obama. It has protected around 800,000 young immigrants from deportation.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to highlight the later deadline, suggesting there was more time to work out a deal. A shutdown now would be “a manufactured crisis,” he argued.___Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Marcy Gordon and Steve Peoples contributed to this report.last_img read more

US firm Lockheed Martin gets first crack to design 60B warship fleet

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government is giving U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin the first crack at inking a contract to design Canada’s $60-billion fleet of new warships.Government officials say Lockheed’s proposed design beat out two rival submissions during what has been a long and extremely sensitive competition to design the replacements for the navy’s entire frigate and destroyer fleets.However, that doesn’t mean Lockheed executives will be popping champagne, as negotiators for both sides will now have to sit down and iron out details including the final cost before an actual contract is awarded.The stakes will be high for both sides, with hundreds of millions of dollars in play as well as pressure to make up for lost time even though whatever decisions are taken could have ramifications for the navy and taxpayers for decades.The government has reserved the right to walk away from the talks, if Lockheed drives too hard a bargain, and negotiate with the second-place bidder, which the government did not identify, though officials are hoping that won’t be necessary and a contract will be signed this winter.The warships are to be built starting in the early 2020s by Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding, which worked with the government in identifying Lockheed as the preferred bidder and will also participate in the pending negotiations.last_img read more

Spanish Man Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Sexual Abuse

Rabat – A Spanish man has just been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for sexual abuse and rape against a Saharawi minor from Tindouf.Four years ago, the abuser hosted the victim in the eastern Spanish port city, Alicante, as a part of the summer vacation program organized annually for the benefit of the children in the Iberian country.Moreover, the abuser, who is a member of a local NGO that cares for sick children in Tindouf, was also sentenced by the Provincial Court of Alicante to pay a fine of EUR 3,240 for “corrupting a minor,” according to the Spanish press. The accused was also ordered to pay a compensatory fee of EUR 6,000 to the victim. He was banned by the court from receiving children from Tindouf camps for a period of four years.According to the judge of the provincial court, the minor was in Alicante in the summer of 2014  to receive treatment for an ear disease, at which time the child was touched repeatedly by the accused during his stay in the Spanish city.In addition, the searches carried out in the man’s home as part of the investigation revealed nearly 50 files containing pictures of children aged 12 to 15 who were either semi-nude or wearing underwear. read more

UN announces next round of talks to try to resolve Western Sahara

Delegations from the parties to the dispute – Morocco and the Frente Polisario – and the neighbouring countries of Algeria and Mauritania will gather just outside New York for three days of discussions starting on 11 March.The participants are expected to deepen their discussions on their respective proposals for a settlement to the dispute, and to also further discuss the ideas associated with governance put forward by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his latest report on the issue, according to a spokesperson for Mr. Ban.He added that the meeting is being held at the invitation of the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross.During the meeting the participants are also expected to review the status of confidence-building measures between the two sides and discuss the outcome of the last coordination meeting on the issue held by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).The UN has been involved in efforts to find a settlement in Western Sahara since 1976, when fighting broke out between Morocco and the Frente Polisario after the Spanish colonial administration of the territory ended. A peacekeeping force (MINURSO) has been in place since 1991. 24 February 2012The next round of United Nations-backed informal talks aimed at reaching a settlement in the Western Sahara dispute will take place next month, the UN announced today. read more

Groups expect big global climate protest amid union support

BERLIN — Civil society groups say they expect hundreds of thousands of people to join a worldwide protest for climate action Friday.Environmental activists, trade unions and church groups in Germany said Monday that more than 400 rallies are planned in the country alone.The protest, billed as a “global climate strike,” is also expected to see events in Australia, Japan, India, South Africa, Britain the United States and dozens of other countries.It’s partly inspired by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly demonstrations over the past year calling on world leaders to step up efforts against global warming.The demonstrations take place days before a U.N. climate summit in New York at which heads of government will present their long-term plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.The Associated Press read more

GM reverses course says strikers will keep health coverage

DETROIT — General Motors now says striking workers will get company-paid health insurance, nine days after saying coverage would be cut off.The company says in an email to the United Auto Workers union that it will keep benefits in place due to significant confusion among members. The letter says employee health and well-being are GM’s top priorities.Workers howled and politicians criticized GM after the company said it would end benefits the day after the strike began Sept. 16.It’s standard procedure for health care costs to shift to the union in a strike. The United Auto Workers’ website says the union would pick up the cost of premiums.The strike by about 49,000 factory workers has shut down production at more than 30 GM factories. Talks continued Thursday.The Associated Press

US productivity grew at 23 per cent rate in third quarter while

In this Sept. 4, 2014 photo, Family Dollar assistant manager Robin Swint arranges merchandise at her store in Wilmington, N.C. The Commerce Department revises its estimate of U.S. company productivity and costs for the July-September quarter on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/The Star-News, Matt Born) by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Dec 3, 2014 6:53 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US productivity grew at 2.3 per cent rate in third quarter while labour costs fell WASHINGTON – U.S. workers’ productivity increased in the July-September quarter at a slightly faster pace than previously estimated while labour costs declined for a second straight quarter.Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, increased at an annual rate of 2.3 per cent in the third quarter while labour costs fell at a rate of 1 per cent, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.In its first estimate, the government had put productivity growth at a slightly slower 2 per cent and said labour costs had risen a tiny 0.2 per cent. The strengthening of productivity growth combined with a faster drop in labour costs should reassure the Federal Reserve that there is little threat of unwanted inflation pressures harming economic growth any time soon.Greater productivity is the key factor determining rising living standards. It enables companies to pay their workers more without having to increase prices.The slightly faster productivity growth compared to an initial estimate one month ago reflected revisions the government made to the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services.Last week, the government revised GDP for the third quarter up from its first estimate of 3.5 per cent to a stronger 3.9 per cent. Greater growth in output translated into stronger growth in productivity and lower labour pressures.In the five-and-a-half years since the recession, when millions of workers lost their jobs and found it difficult to secure new ones, labour costs have remained well contained.Over the past year, labour costs have risen 1.2 per cent, a modest increase that is well below the long-run average of 2.8 per cent in annual gains. That suggests that wages and salaries are not rising fast enough to spur inflation.The Federal Reserve keeps a close watch on productivity and labour costs for any signs that inflation may be accelerating.Productivity over the past year has increased by a modest 1 per cent, well below the long-run average of 2.2 per cent.In the two years after the recession, productivity surged. Companies cut jobs faster than their output was falling, driving productivity higher as fewer workers did more. Productivity grew 3.2 per cent in 2009 and 3.3 per cent in 2010.But in the past three years, productivity growth has averaged just 1 per cent per year as hiring has picked up. Economists at JPMorgan, however, are looking for a slight improvement in productivity growth next year, forecasting a gain of 1.5 per cent in 2015. read more

Correction Female Game Artists story

Correction: Female Game Artists story by The Associated Press Posted May 30, 2016 8:33 am MDT Last Updated Jun 1, 2016 at 10:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email PHILADELPHIA – In a story May 30 about female video game developers, The Associated Press reported erroneously when Gamergate, a controversy over video game criticism and ensuing online harassment of women in the industry, began. It began in 2014, not 2013.A corrected version of the story is below:After Gamergate, female video game developers on the riseThe male-dominated video game industry is changing as more women get involved in designing, playing and reviewing themBy NATALIE POMPILIOAssociated PressStudents from an all-female arts college in Philadelphia attended a conference for video game developers last year and, without even trying, they stood out.“We were basically the only girls in the room,” recalled Lindsey O’Brien, 21, a rising senior at Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art & Design.The male-dominated video game industry is changing as more women develop games, play games and take jobs reviewing games. While the ongoing cyber harassment of female gamers known as “Gamergate” indicates a reluctance by some to accept the growing number of women in the industry, mainstream institutions are welcoming all to the console.Moore’s animation and gaming arts program will see its first class of game developers graduate next year. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology created its Game Lab in 2012. New York University’s Tisch School began offering a video game design degree last year.“There’s going to be a huge boom of women entering the industry in the next 10 years,” said Stephen Wood, Moore’s gaming arts professor, who took over the fledging program when he joined the faculty in 2014. “In the ’80s and ’90s, video games were seen as things boys do. But in the ’90s and early 2000s, girls said, ‘We’re going to play, too.’ Now those girls are going to college and studying video games. We’re helping close that gender gap and being part of the solution.”According to a 2015 survey by the International Game Developers Association, the number of female video game developers has doubled in the past seven years, from 11 per cent in 2009 to about 21 per cent now. About 79 per cent of the survey’s 2,000 respondents agreed diversity in the industry is “very” or “somewhat” important.“Much dialogue has occurred in the past couple of years around the topic, (with) a strong majority recognizing that greater diversity on development teams creates a stronger foundation for the team to create games that may maximize their global appeal,” said Kate Edwards, executive director of the association.Since joining Moore, Wood has seen the gaming arts program grow from eight students to about 40. He acknowledges he had some bias against female game creators until he saw his students’ work.“They create these awesome games that are no different than what you’d see in the industry today,” he said. “It’s a misperception that girls are making games with rainbows and unicorns. They’re really not. I don’t play a new game and say, ‘Oh, this was designed by a woman, this was designed by a guy.’”O’Brien learned the ins and outs of gaming from her mother, who could tear up the Atari. O’Brien started out on Sega Genesis and PlayStation systems, bonding with her older brother as they played games like “Mortal Kombat.”“I have tons of female friends who like shooter games, like ‘Call of Duty,’” she said. “A lot of people who aren’t part of the community are shocked when they hear that.”“Gamergate” began in 2014 after anonymous online commenters claimed a female video game developer was getting an unjust amount of attention for a new product. She was the victim of cyber harassment that then spread to other women in the industry, including Edwards, the executive director of the Game Developers Association.Edwards said the incidents have raised important industry issues. Intel, for example, pledged $300 million in 2015 to fund a three-year effort to increase the number of under-represented groups — including women, Hispanics and African-Americans — by 14 per cent.Wood said he talks to his students about the potential for abuse. The good thing, he said, is Moore students have a tight bond and can stand together against such threats. O’Brien, too, said she expects some negative responses, but she’s ready for them.“There are some people who say girls don’t know about games, that girls can’t make games,” O’Brien said. “I think if somebody has the skills to do the job, they should do the job.” In this Friday, May 13, 2016, photo, animation and gaming arts student Lindsey O’Brien works on her project at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia. The male-dominated video game industry is changing as more women develop games, play games and take jobs reviewing games. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) read more

Live at the Apollo UN chief urges Democracy Prep grads to help

‹ › “We provide shelter to refugees – and schools for refugee children who have been forced to flee fighting in Syria and other troubled parts of the world,” he continued, adding that: “Our peacekeepers destroy weapons and train ex-soldiers for new jobs that contribute to society.” When there is an earthquake, a tsunami or a flood, the United Nations rushes in with food, medicine and hope. The Secretary-General said that the world body also negotiates and mediates to prevent wars and establish peace.The United Nations needs all kinds of people: politicians, diplomats, lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, police and more, he said, declaring: “I am here to say: we need you!”“We need you to think beyond the borders of the United States. We need you be global citizens. Climate change, poverty and violence affect all countries. We have to respond as one human family,” he said.The Secretary-General noted that every single one of the graduates was going to college. That is why he referred to them as the “class of twenty-seventeen.” He urged them to take the strength inside them and challenge every problem. “Then look for a harder problem – one that affects more people. Reach inside yourself and fulfil the promise of your school to change the world,” he said.The UN chief said that Democracy Prep “is very close to my heart” because it proved his belief that education transforms the world. In that spirit, he had launched the Global Education First initiative, with the aim of getting some 57 million out-of-school children back in school by the year 2015.“We want to raise more leaders like you – people who will shape a new future. You are my inspiration. Keep changing our world,” the Secretary-General said in closing. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Congressman Charles Rangel at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for the first graduation ceremony of Democracy Prep Public School. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe “This is your moment,” the Secretary-General said in a rousing commencement address as the first graduating class of Democracy Prep High walked across the stage at the legendary Apollo Theater in historic Harlem, New York City, to receive their diplomas.Democracy Prep Public Schools are a network of six open-enrolment, high performing, public charter schools, serving some 1,600 students in Harlem. The School’s stated mission is to educate “responsible citizen-scholars for success in the college of their choice and a life of active citizenship.”“Congratulations on the first graduation of this remarkable school!” said Mr. Ban, adding:“You rose to every challenge. You showed that you appreciate tough demands. And you are ready to reach for the stars.”Telling the graduates that he had always dreamed of appearing live at the Apollo but the problem was that he could not sing, Mr. Ban still managed to kick off his commencement speech with a song – showing a music video by Beyoncé, entitled I was Here. He said that when the video was taped, the pop superstar asked him about the work of the United Nations and he had explained that the Organization feeds about a hundred million hungry people around the world each day; it works to save the lives of millions of children with vaccines and basic health care. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his wife, Yoo Soon-taek, take a group photo with the graduating class of the Democracy Prep Public School at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, applauds graduating students during the first graduation ceremony of Democracy Prep Public School. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, delivers the keynote address at the first graduation ceremony of Democracy Prep Public School. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, delivers the keynote address at the first graduation ceremony of Democracy Prep Public School. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, delivers the keynote address at the first graduation ceremony of Democracy Prep Public School. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe read more

Three OSU players still suspended for game against Toledo

Contrary to what Ohio State said earlier this week, junior running back Jordan Hall, sophomore defensive back Corey Brown and junior defensive back Travis Howard will not be available for the game against Toledo on Saturday. OSU issued a statement late Friday afternoon that said Hall, Howard and Brown have not yet been reinstated by the NCAA, and therefore, will not participate in Saturday’s game against Toledo. “The university continues to work with the NCAA on the reinstatement process and is hopeful that the student-athletes will be reinstated soon,” the statement said. The statement also said that the university would have no further comment on the matter. The NCAA released a statement just minutes after OSU released its statement, clarifying some things concerning the players’ eligibility. “The nature and scope of their violations merit a minimum two-game suspension,” the NCAA’s statement read. “The facts submitted by the university have raised further questions that need to be answered before the reinstatement process is complete.” Thursday, it was reported that the players received $200 in cash during a fundraiser. This is consistent with the university’s statement last week, that the three players received impermissible benefits totaling less that $300 each. The Buckeyes will now continue to rely on the running back tandem of sophomore Carlos Hyde and freshman Rod Smith, the two backs featured in last Saturday’s game against Akron. There is a chance that sophomore running back Jaamal Berry will be available this week as well, but Berry has been nursing a hamstring injury and his status is uncertain. read more

Urban Meyer Ohio State football kick off season with 5610 win against

The offense sputtered in the first quarter while Miami jumped to an early, 3-0, lead, but the Buckeyes, led by sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller and his receiving corps, scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions to go up, 21-3, before the half. OSU didn’t look back. Miller set an OSU single-game rushing record for quarterbacks in the win with 161 yards and one touchdown, breaking Cornelius Greene’s 1974 record. Miller also tied Greene for the most 100-yard rushing games in OSU history with four. “The objective with Braxton is to make him from an athlete playing quarterback to a quarterback that manages,” Meyer said. “He has to be a leader and he showed that today.  By game’s end, OSU junior Carlos Hyde collected 84 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries and receivers Corey Brown, a senior, and Devin Smith, a sophomore, each collected a touchdown reception before a chorus of Buckeyes added scores of their own. There were frequent off-field reminders that Saturday was Meyer’s first game at OSU, from the game day program, which featured Meyer’s likeness, to a banner unfurled by the Block-O student cheering section. Meyer, squinting from the sideline, focused his attention not on the celebration that was his first game as OSU coach, but the Silver Bullets defense, which was on-field for the first official snap of his Buckeyes coaching tenure. OSU eventually forced a Miami punt on its first series. Then, at the 13:34 mark of the first quarter, Meyer’s spread offense made its Ohio Stadium debut. Miller took the first snap and rushed for three yards. The possession, which began deep in OSU territory, eventually stalled, ending in a punt. Twice in the first quarter, Meyer’s defense had its collective back pressed against its own end zone. In the first instance, Miami freshman kicker Kaleb Patterson missed a 24-yard field goal attempt about seven minutes into the game. OSU was unable to dodge a second bullet, however, and Patterson redeemed himself on Miami’s next possession with a 23-yard field goal that put his side up, 3-0, with 5:06 to play in the first quarter. The Buckeyes, perhaps fortunate not to be trailing by two touchdowns, staggered into the second quarter trailing 3-0. Meyer said the first 15 minutes were embarrassing.  “Obviously, the first quarter was very poor football,” Meyer said.  Not only was OSU’s offense sputtering early, but Miami’s offense was stealing the show. The RedHawks outgained OSU in the first quarter, 178-42, and the partnership of Miami senior quarterback Zac Dysert and junior receiver Nick Harwell gashed the Buckeyes’ defense several times. Dysert finished the game, 31-of-53 passing for 303 yards and two interceptions while Harwell ended the game with 8 receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. The second quarter yielded different results from the very beginning. The first big blow for OSU came when Miller lobbed a 38-yard pass to Brown, allowing OSU to cross into RedHawks territory and down to the 23-yard line for the first time in the game. On the next play, Smith hauled in a one-handed circus catch in the back right corner of the south end zone to bring OSU fans to their feet – it was the first score and lead of the Meyer era. “It was definitely my best all time catch,” Smith said. “I’ve had some catches at practice but nothing like this one.” The touchdown catch by Smith, who dropped down on his side after corralling Miller’s pass with only his right hand, capped an 83-yard drive that put OSU up, 7-3. The Buckeyes came right back down the field on their next drive and tacked on another touchdown when Miller found Brown on a five-yard touchdown catch to cap a 57-yard drive. OSU’s offensive stagger was gone – now it was swaggering, marching to two touchdowns on consecutive drives that lasted a combined 3:25. Suddenly, the Buckeyes were outgaining Miami, 188-172. Then came another score. A 33-yard rush by Miller pushed the Buckeyes down to Miami’s 2-yard line and Hyde finished the drive two plays later with a 2-yard dive into the end zone. The cheers softened, fans began to walk about the aisles and stadium corridors – it was a comfortable lead that OSU would only add to. Then came Hyde’s desperate, goal line lunge as time expired in the first half. OSU lost out on a chance at more points in that instance, but Miller made up for it early in the second half. OSU was back on the offensive a mere 17 seconds into the third quarter. Miller dashed down the visiting sideline and stuttered at the tail end of a 66-yard run to shake the lone remaining Miami defender before crossing into the end zone. Make it 28-3, OSU, and counting. Meyer’s special teams unit, which contains a subunit referred to by coaches and players as “the freak show,” got in on the scoring action too. OSU forced a RedHawks punt on the visitors’ next possession, but a play that was officially scored as a “team rush” resulted in a snap that never reached Miami’s punter. The ball was loose and sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby came up with it in Miami’s end zone for another touchdown to make it 35- 3. At 10:24 in the third quarter, Miami struck back when Dysert connected with Harwell on a 44-yard touchdown pass to narrow its deficit to 35-10. The pace of the scoring slowed for both teams after that touchdown, and the 35-10 score line held into early in the fourth quarter. OSU senior cornerback Travis Howard intercepted Dysert for the second time at the 14:09 mark of the fourth quarter, setting the offense up at Miami’s 5-yard line. OSU redshirt junior quarterback Kenny Guiton entered the game for Miller, who twice fell to the turf with cramps, and handed the ball to Hyde who ran five yards for his second touchdown of the day. With 9:33 remaining in the game, the OSU points kept coming. Guiton drove the Buckeyes down and put the ball in senior fullback and captain Zach Boren’s hands. Boren ploughed into the end zone for the first rushing touchdown of his OSU career and extended his team’s stranglehold to 49-10. Lastly, freshman Bri’onte Dunn scored with 44 seconds to play in his OSU debut, and the Buckeyes led, 56-10. “Our offense is built to keep scoring,” Hyde said. “That’s Coach Meyer’s standard, and to have fun.” All the while, the Buckeyes’ defense stifled Miami’s rushing attack, allowing, if you can call it that, -1 yards in the game. And the Guiton-led offense did its job running out the clock, allowing OSU to finish the game with a comfortable distance between it and the RedHawks. OSU will host Central Florida next Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon. With Ohio State leading Miami (Ohio), 21-3, a mere three seconds before halftime, first-year coach Urban Meyer tried for a touchdown from the 1-yard line rather than take the easy field goal. “Ohio State should be able to knock it in from the 1-yard line,” Meyer said after the game. “I wanted to see how they would do.”  The attempt, a desperate lunge by junior running back Carlos Hyde, fell short and OSU came up empty handed at the stroke of half time. Nevertheless, an impression was made – Meyer and his aggressive play-calling style had officially arrived in Columbus. It was that same aggressive style that allowed Meyer’s No. 18 Buckeyes (1-0) to cruise to a 56-10 win against the unranked Miami RedHawks (0-1) Saturday at Ohio Stadium. read more