EU Brexit chief laments slow progress but hails new dynamic

first_imgBRUSSELS – The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator warned Thursday that talks on Britain’s departure from the bloc are weeks, possibly months, away from making substantial progress, despite hailing a positive new momentum in the negotiations.Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, 2019 — the first member country ever to do so — but the talks must be wrapped up by October 2018 to allow time for parliaments to ratify it.More than a year since Britons voted to go, and six months after London triggered the two-year countdown to Brexit, the talks are still in a preliminary phase. Many EU leaders fear that time will run out, leaving a messy divorce that would be damaging to both Britain and its European partners.After a fourth round of negotiations concluded in Brussels, Michel Barnier said: “We will need several weeks, even several months, to be able to see ‘sufficient progress’ on the principles of this orderly departure.”Britain’s Brexit negotiator David Davis was more upbeat, and told reporters that the negotiations had “made important progress.”EU leaders insist the talks must make “sufficient progress” on Britain’s financial settlement, the rights of citizens hit by Brexit and the status of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border before they can be broadened to include future relations and trade between Britain and the EU.Britain the issues are intertwined and should be thrashed out together.EU leaders, minus British Prime Minister Theresa May, must rule on whether and when “sufficient progress” has been made. They had been expected to do just that on October 19-20 at their next summit, but Barnier’s assessment assures that this tentative deadline will be missed.Barnier said Britain has not yet identified the amount of the financial commitments it will make as part of the divorce agreement, although it has agreed to pay its 2019 and 2020 budget share, part of the EU’s long-term budget arrangement agreed on around five years ago.“The only way to reach sufficient progress is that all commitments undertaken at 28 (member states) are honoured at 28,” the former French government minister said.Barnier and Davis acknowledged that they had failed to bridge differences over what role the European Court of Justice should play in the future. One of the main Brexit referendum campaign themes played on public discontent with the Luxembourg-based ECJ ruling on British interests.“This is a stumbling block for the EU,” said Barnier.Still, he hailed the “new dynamic” that May’s speech in Italy last week had inspired and the more detailed British proposals that had resulted from it.Davis agreed that things had changed.“We are making decisive steps forward,” Davis said, adding that much progress was made on ensuring the rights of citizens who will be hit by Britain’s departure. Those include 3 million EU citizens living in Britain and 1 million Britons living on the continent.EU officials have previously said Britain’s offer to EU citizens falls short of guaranteeing the rights they have now. Barnier said Thursday that progress had been made but a “big gap” remained in some areas.In a rare joint statement, British trade unions and British employers called on the U.K. and the EU to offer more certainty to individuals and businesses. They said “after 15 months of human poker, the uncertainty facing 4 million European and U.K. citizens has become intolerable.”The Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry said “a clear guarantee of the right to remain for citizens in both the U.K. and EU27 is needed within weeks.”___Jill Lawless in London contributed to this story.last_img read more

Haiti UN human rights expert urges presidential candidates to fight impunity

“As the country prepares to choose its next president, I hope that solemn commitments are made in the field of human rights and that the signals are sent for a greater respect for human rights, judicial reform, the fight against impunity and access basic services for all,” Mr. Forst said in a press release during his current mission to Haiti. Former first lady Mirlande Manigat and popular musician Michel Martelly are the two candidates in the run-off poll scheduled for 20 March. Mr. Forst has chosen the fight against impunity as one of his main themes during meetings with Haitian officials and representatives of international organisations. “It is important that the fight against impunity be carried out through judicial means, and I want to remind the victims that we will explore all possibilities in this area, especially for the most serious crimes of the past,” he said. “However, the fight against impunity is not limited to judicial remedies only. There are also additional steps to be taken in education, awareness. Other countries in Latin America and Africa have used innovative ways to exorcise the past crimes. Haiti would do well to learn from these experiences,” said Mr. Forst. After visiting several prisons and talking with many judges, the independent expert noted that reform of the justice system, including the independence of the judiciary, has not been implemented for several years despite the passing by parliament in 2007 of laws on judicial reform. He also called for greater attention to human rights during the reconstruction of the country after last year’s catastrophic earthquake. “I want to stress that water, housing, access to [health] care are not only humanitarian needs. They are rights guaranteed by the Haitian State. It is urgent that parliament ratifies the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” said Mr. Forst, whose current mission to the Caribbean nation will end on Sunday. 24 February 2011The United Nations independent expert on human rights in Haiti, Michel Forst, today urged candidates in the country’s upcoming presidential run-off election to spearhead the fight against impunity and champion greater respect of human rights. read more

TD Bank sees 53million boost in secondquarter profit from TD Ameritrade

TORONTO — TD Bank Group says that brokerage firm TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. will contribute about $53-million of net income to the bank’s second-quarter earnings.That would be about $8-million more than in the year-earlier quarter.Toronto-Dominion owns a large minority stake in the Nebraska-based online brokerage firm.TD Ameritrade, which reports in U.S. currency, says it had US$144-million or 26 cents per share of net income and US$679-million of revenue in its second quarter ended March 31.Those are up from the year-earlier profit of US$137-million or 25 cents per share with US$673-million of revenue in the second quarter ended March 31, 2012.Canadian Press read more

UN sees progress in Kosovo Security Council told

“Our message is: standards before status,” Michael Steiner, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Kosovo and the head of the UN Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK), said in a briefing to an open meeting of the Council.”Kosovo has not yet achieved the standards that either the international community or its own people demand,” he added. “But we can see progress.” While it was difficult to say what Kosovo’s future status would be, Mr. Steiner stressed that there would be no partition, no cantonization and no return to the status quo ante of 1999. “The outcome cannot be mono-ethnic but must be multi-ethnic. It must be a democratic, safe and respectable Kosovo on the way to Europe,” he said.Mr. Steiner told the meeting, which also heard statements by representatives from some 20 countries, that Kosovo finally had in place a multi-ethnic government with Serb participation. However, the pace at which UNMIK could transfer further authority to the Provisional Institutions depended on their readiness to assume real responsibilities, he noted.Meanwhile, the UN Mission and the Kosovo police have been cracking down on organized crime by conducting several successful anti-smuggling operations. “Our policy is zero tolerance for crime and corruption,” Mr. Steiner said, adding that a Financial Inspection Unit consisting of a highly experienced team from Italy’s Guardia di Finanza has been created o expand the Mission’s efforts to fight graft.UNMIK has also been trying to establish its authority in northern Mitrovica, with the core of its strategy for that city based on effective policing, Mr. Steiner said. He called on Belgrade to stop financing “parallel structures” in the city, stressing that they must be replaced by legitimate institutions.On the economic front, the UNMIK chief noted that Kosovo took a serious hit 10 days ago with a disastrous fire caused by a lightning strike on one of the province’s two main power plants – ensuring power shortages in the months ahead. “Together with the Kosovans we will manage through a number of measures,” he said. “But the real problem will come this winter.”As for inter-ethnic relations, Mr. Steiner said that the number of minority returns to Kosovo now exceeded the outflow from it, although he cautioned that the returns process has been too slow.Video – Security Council meeting read more

Augmented reality mapping out techs next mindbending trip

This February 2016 photo provided by Meta, shows Meta founder and CEO Meron Gribetz, in Redwood City, Calif. While startups like Meta, Magic Leap and Atheer have been making the most visible progress in augmented reality so far, technology heavyweights are also eyeing it. (Stephen Schauer/Meta via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT by Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press Posted Mar 31, 2016 10:53 am MDT Last Updated Mar 31, 2016 at 12:04 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Augmented reality mapping out tech’s next mind-bending trip SAN FRANCISCO – Virtual reality is a trip, but an even wilder ride could be around the corner as mind-bending startups and technology trendsetters try to emblazon the world with interactive holograms that enlighten, entertain and empower us.The concept, known as augmented reality, looks like something out of a science-fiction movie. Think Tony Stark, the comic-book character who scans information-filled holograms beamed in front of his “Iron Man” mask, or John Anderton, the character that Tom Cruise played while flipping through digital screens floating in the air in “Minority Report.”It hasn’t yet advanced as far as virtual reality, which is getting attention with this week’s release of the much-hyped Oculus Rift headset from Facebook.But augmented reality has the potential to touch far more people because it’s designed as a seamless supplement to everyday living instead of an escape into the artificial dimensions conjured by VR, which so far revolves around video games and 360-degree video clips.“Augmented reality is going to have a lot more practical applications simply because there are a lot more people out there who interact with things in the real world,” says Greg Kipper, who studied the technology’s potential in his book, “Augmented Reality: An Emerging Technologies Guide to AR.”With augmented reality, the three-dimensional holograms seen through a headset are meant to be a helpful or amusing companion to the real world. When you walk through a grocery aisle, you might see a list of ingredients for making an Italian dish appear on a virtual screen before your eyes. Or an image of the solar system might start orbiting around you as you read an astronomy book.Don a VR headset, though, and you’re surroundings are blocked off. You are cast into a different world, as a dinosaur charges through a jungle, or you’re on the precipice of a 100-story skyscraper looking perilously at the street below. It has a lot in common with an amusement park ride, including the tendency to cause nausea or dizziness if you wear a VR headset too long.While startups like Meta, Magic Leap and Atheer have been making the most visible progress in augmented reality so far, technology heavyweights are also eyeing it.Microsoft has just started shipping a $3,000 version of its augmented reality headset, HoloLens, to a limited audience of computer programmers, while Alphabet Inc.’s Google has been a key investor in the $1.3 billion that Magic Leap has raised during the past two years. Apple Inc. signalled its interest last year when it bought a startup called Metaio, spurring speculation that the iPhone maker is exploring ways to infuse the project in its future products.Meta, a Silicon Valley startup with about 100 employees, is scheduled to ship its second-generation headset this summer. It’s being sold as part of a $949 kit tailored for programmers to design more three-dimensional, interactive applications for the new headset.If Meta CEO Meron Gribetz realizes his vision, his company will spawn a new form of computing that will be just as revolutionary as the graphical interface that enabled personal computers to be controlled with a mouse and the touch-screen technology that helped turn smartphones into indispensable utilities. He describes Meta’s technology as “an extension of your mind because it is built on the principles of your mind.”Instead of staring at display screens while pecking at clunky keyboards, Gribetz foresees people navigating through an array of holographic screens suspended in front of their faces and controlled with the touch of their hands. Virtual keyboards will appear for data entry.People will be able to reach into their holographic screen, pull out a drawing of the human anatomy and remove the skeleton to study. Or they might look inside a shoe they are thinking of buying. Phone calls will become obsolete as everyone in a conversation appears as holograms that can exchange documents and data.“Virtual reality is cool, but it’s just a stepping stone to augmented reality,” says Gribetz, 30. “We are going to build something that is 100 times easier to use than the Macintosh and 100 times more powerful.”Meta plans to use its own workers as lab rats. By next March, Gribetz plans to removes all computer screens from the company’s offices in Redwood City, California. Instead, employees will use virtual screens that are seen and touched through Meta 2 headsets.Magic Leap, a startup based in Dania Beach, Florida, has created an even bigger buzz given its ties to Google, whose CEO Sundar Pichai sits on its board. In addition, Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group was among the investors in a $793.5 million round of fundraising completed in February.But Magic Leap has also raised intrigue with flashy videos providing brief glimpses at what it’s working on. One clip shows a whale leaping out of a gymnasium floor and then splashing down before disappearing. In another scene, a pair of hands open to show a miniature elephant leaping into the air.The company has said little else about what its plans are other than its technology will make people feel like they are wizards starring in their own Harry Potter movie.“We are giving people a paintbrush to paint all the world,” Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz said during a rare appearance at a technology conference last year.Kipper believes tantalizing images and promises like the ones coming from Meta and Magic Leap make it more likely that people will be disappointed when they first experience augmented reality. He predicts a major breakthrough is still five to 10 years away.“When you first see an augmented reality demonstration, you say, ‘Hey, this is great,” and then when you actually get it, you realize it’s not quite what you saw in the video,” Kipper says. “Everyone in the race pushing for augmented reality is sort of in a dead heat, taking millimeter steps forward.”___Online:Oculus Rift: http://oculus.comMeta 2: http://metavision.comMagic Leap: http://magicleap.comAtheer: http://atheerair.com read more

Ahead of October elections Security Council urges Liberia to plan for safe

The 15-member Council agreed a presidential statement – which is similar in tone to a resolution but not legally binding – commending the Liberian Government “for progress towards restoring peace, security and stability” in the country.The statement notes that plans are underway for the presidential and legislative elections to be held in October 2017, and urges that they be “free, fair, credible, and transparent” and include full participation of women. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, whose two terms end this year, has reassured the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that the polls will be peaceful. In addition to concerns for safety during the polls, girls and women in the country continue to face “high incidence” of sexual and gender-based violence, said the statement signed by Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who holds the rotating presidency for the month of July. The Council notes that given the transfer of security responsibilities for Liberia’s security services on 30 June 2016, the Government should create a plan for the elections, and provide adequate resources behind the plan. Among other issues raised in the statement was the need for Liberian officials to expand efforts to address the root causes of conflict in the country, to reinvigorate the reconciliation process, and to promote land reform.“The Security Council encourages the Government of Liberia to accelerate its accountability and transparency efforts to bolster public confidence in advance of elections and transfer of power, and stresses the need for the Government to honour its commitment to support the passage of the Land Rights Bill and the Local Government Bill,” according to the statement.The approval of the bills would have a positive impact on people’s lives and contribute to overcoming societal and structural inequalities which helped to lead to the conflict. read more

BBCs record breaking Bodyguard shows live TV isnt dead

When the BBC released a new show 20 years ago viewers had to patiently wait each week for the latest installment.But as viewers crave instant fixes with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime supplying binge-watching for the masses, dramas on BBC and ITV are being shown as two-parts before resuming the normal weekly format.  As record numbers tuned in to watch the latest BBC drama Bodyguard, the BBC are set to capitalise on ratings by hooking people in by showing the second episode the day after the first aired.Boyd Hilton, Entertainment Director at Heat Magazine, said the tactic is terrestrial TV’s response to on-demand services such as Netflix. “Viewers enjoy the thrill of watching an exciting high-end drama as it goes out,” he says, “but they have to address the Netflix issue, without releasing all of the series in one go”.“If a good old-fashioned TV channel like the BBC can get 7 million viewers it shows live TV isn’t dead.”The new six-part series starring Keeley Hawes and Richard Madden debuted on Sunday night at 9pm to an average overnight rating of 6.7 million and an audience share of 35%, the BBC said.The programme peaked with 6.9 million viewers. The second most-watched new drama launch of the year so far is BBC One’s McMafia, which had an average overnight audience of 5.6m when it aired on New Year’s Day, while ITV dramas Innocent and Girlfriends opened with 5.3 million and 5.2 million average viewers respectively.The series, penned by Line Of Duty writer Jed Mercurio, sees Ashes To Ashes star Hawes play fictional home secretary Julia Montague while Game Of Thrones actor Madden is the bodyguard assigned to protect her.It comes as ITV plan to show the first two episodes of new drama Vanity Fair in a similar back-to-back construct.   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

DIY project converts a BIC Lighter into a Blue Laser Lighter

first_imgWant to build a laser project that will amaze your friends and could even make James Bond raise an eyebrow with interest? With just the right set of parts and tools you can convert a normal BIC Lighter into a pretty awesome small portable blue light laser lighter.All you need to start this project is to carefully remove the flint wheel, shield, and button in addition to the butane gas in the lighter. Then by using a multi-tool, you cut open the bottom of the lighter to make room for additional parts. These parts will include a blue laser driver, a blue laser diode, a momentary switch, a resistor and a couple of button batteries. Then after some wiring you install the new parts into the BIC Lighter Shell and reattach a modified lighter button. If all goes to plan you have yourself a pretty cool little portable blue laser capable of being used like a regular lighter.Just be sure to be extra careful and never point a blue laser at anyone or yourself for that matter.Read more at YouTube, via DEVOURlast_img read more

Microsoft unveils Office 2011 for Mac Service Pack 1

first_imgMicrosoft unveiled Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac yesterday. The service pack contains some notable improvements to the suite, including significant changes to Outlook and overall speed, security, and stability improvements. Many of the complaints that Mac users had about Office 2011 centered around the new version of Microsoft Outlook for Mac, and Microsoft appears to have taken their feedback to heart.Among some of the biggest improvements to Outlook are better support for Apple’s Mac OS X Sync Services, which now allows you to synchronize tasks, notes, and your calendar across machines using Sync Services. The update also adds support for junk mail and filtering rules on Microsoft Exchange servers – so if you work in a cross-platform environment and have mail sorting rules saved to your Exchange account, Outlook for Mac will now recognize them and allows you to manage them.Outlook for Mac also brings back the “resend” and “redirect” features. Resend allows you to re-send the same message to the same or new recipients more than once from your sent items, while redirect allows you to route specific email messages to new recipients as soon as it lands in your inbox, seamlessly to the sender. The service pack also lets you pick from recently used locations for meeting and calendar appointments, similar to Office for Windows.The other apps in the office suite also saw updates, with PowerPoint getting password protection for slideshows and presentation files, and Excel finally getting the Solver analysis tools add-in. All of the applications will benefit from the global stability and security improvements in the suite, and the ability to manage alt-text for images, tables, charts, and movies used in any document created in Microsoft Office.The only downside to the update is that the improvements in Microsoft Office leverage Apple’s Mac OS X Sync Services, which Apple has promised to discontinue later this year. Apple prefers to push customers towards MobileMe instead, and last year’s beta of the new version of MobileMe already includes support for cross-system synchronization. Microsoft will likely wind up patching Office for Mac again when that change occurs. The suite is available now, and requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or higher to install.Read more at Apple Insiderlast_img read more

Farright extremist Thomas Mair will die in jail after hes handed life

first_img 23,246 Views Updated 10.40pm  Courtroom sketch of Thomas Mair Source: Elizabeth CookFAR-RIGHT EXTREMIST Thomas Mair has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release for murdering British MP Jo Cox.Sentencing Thomas Mair, 53, to a rare “whole life term” punishment, judge Alan Wilkie told him: “Because she was a member of parliament your crime has an additional dimension that calls for particular punishment.There is no doubt it was done to further a political motive. Your inspiration is not love of country, it is an admiration for Nazis and similar anti-democratic white supremacist creeds.The jury at London’s central criminal court took just 90 minutes to convict Mair of killing the mother-of-two as she arrived at a library to meet constituents a week for the Brexit vote.Cox, a 41-year-old member of the opposition Labour party and a vocal supporter of the EU, had been due to meet her constituents in Birstall, northern England, when she was attacked in broad daylight on 16 June.Mair showed no emotion as the verdicts and sentence were read out.In his sentencing statement, the judge said that Mair would die in jail and would only be released to die in his home at the discretion of a Secretary of State.Following the verdict, Cox’s husband Brendan called the murder “a political act and an act of terrorism”.“We have no interest in the perpetrator, we only feel pity for him,” he added.Jo was interested in everybody, driven not by her ego but her desire to help. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 129 Comments Nov 23rd 2016, 10:41 PM As the clock ticks down, get all the best Brexit news and analysis in your inbox: http://jrnl.ie/3097448 Far-right extremist Thomas Mair will die in jail after he’s handed life sentence for Jo Cox murder The MP was murdered a week before Britain’s EU referendum. By Cianan Brennan Share70 Tweet Email Short URL Jo Cox Source: PAFar right extremist Mair repeatedly shouted “Britain first” as he shot Cox three times and stabbed her 15 times in a murder that shocked the country, the trial heard.Mair was also found guilty of possession of an offensive weapon with intent, possession of a firearm with intent, and grievous bodily harm against a 77-year-old man who attempted to intervene during the attack.Cox was married with two children. She had been campaigning for a Remain vote in the UK’s Brexit referendum at the time of her death.She was first elected to Parliament in the 2015 General Election.Police had found Mair’s Birstall home to be full of Nazi literature and other memoribilia in the wake of his arrest.Investigators found an extensive collection of books on German military history, the Holocaust and Nazi race theory and a statue of a bust of the eagle of Germany’s Third Reich.At his first court hearing in June, Mair had been asked his name and replied:Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.Additional reporting AFP and Rónán DuffyRead: ‘Grindr killer’ Stephen Port convicted of murdering three men with date-rape drugRead: Clinton urged to call for recount in three states amid reports of ‘foreign hacking’ Wednesday 23 Nov 2016, 10:41 PMlast_img read more

NASAs Spitzer Telescope Captures Sideways Lightsaber Galaxy

first_img NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope snapped an image of a sideways galaxy and it looks like a lightsaber floating in space.The long red beam in the middle of the image is NGC 5866, a galaxy that lies 44 million light-years away from Earth and has a diameter of approximately 60,000 light-years, which is a little more than half the diameter of the Milky Way, said a NASA press release. Even though some galaxies have large spiral arms or thick dust disks, NGC 5866 is a different case: From our planet viewpoint, we only see the edge of this galaxy, so most of its structural characteristics are invisible to our eyes.Here’s how Spitzer can spot this “lightsaber” galaxy: The telescope detects infrared light, and the red hue shown in the image above corresponds to an infrared wavelength that is typically emitted by dust. The dust, which has a consistency similar to thick smoke or soot, absorbs light from stars and reemits light at longer wavelengths, including in infrared form.Clean edges of the dust emission from NGC 5866 show that there is a flat disk or ring of dust surrounding the outer region of the galaxy. Dust disks and rings can develop as a result of galaxies merging together, however, NGC 5866 doesn’t have any signs of distortions in the ring that can appear when galaxies collide.No, this red beam in space isn’t a light saber! It’s a galaxy, far, far away — 44 million light-years away, to be exact.Because we’re facing the galaxy’s edge, our @NASAspitzer telescope detects its infrared light but can’t see its spiral features. More: https://t.co/0bWqjKIHIy pic.twitter.com/WPqEHqkCcl— NASA (@NASA) August 7, 2019Spitzer snapped this image during its “cold” mission, which concluded a decade ago. The colors shown represent three infrared wavelengths that were captured by the Infrared Array Camera instrument. Blue light matches up to Spitzer’s observations at a wavelength of 3.6 microns, green corresponds to 4.5 microns, while red correlates to 8 microns. Blue haze in the image is generated by stars that make up most of NGC 5866.More on Geek.com:Hubble Snaps Illuminated Spiral Galaxy Over 70 Million Light-Years AwayNASA’s Chandra Spots Pair of Stars ‘Banished’ From GalaxiesNASA Telescope Observes Ancient Galaxies That Illuminated the Universe Spitzer Snaps Bright Infrared Close-Up of M81 GalaxyHubble Space Telescope Observes ‘Galactic Duo’ in Space Stay on targetlast_img read more

Hillsboro bets credit rating on success of baseball

first_imgHillsboro, Oregon’s fifth-biggest city, is staking its credit rating on a plan to build a $15.2 million stadium for a minor-league baseball team. Similar efforts in Washington state and New Jersey ended in downgrades.The Portland suburb with about 93,500 residents broke ground on the venue last week. It will house an affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks that for 23 years played 200 miles away in Yakima. Owners of the Yakima Bears, last year tried unsuccessfully to negotiate moving the team to Vancouver.Hillsboro plans to finance the stadium by selling municipal bonds by year-end, even as the extra yield investors demand on some of its debt has climbed by 60 percent since July. In the past 18 months, Wenatchee and Harrison, N.J., lost their investment grades because sports-arena projects financed with munis missed revenue projections and failed to spur the development officials were counting on. Hillsboro is taking a similar risk, said Howard Cure, director of muni research at Evercore Wealth Management, which oversees $3.7 billion.“It’s yet to be proven how much a sports team contributes to economic stimulus,” said Cure, who’s based in New York. Hillsboro’s economy has benefited from its location in Oregon’s so-called Silicon Forest of technology companies. Intel and Lattice Semiconductor are among those operating in the region.The Hillsboro stadium is part of “a vision for the city to bring community-based programming and places where the community can get together,” said Suzanne Linneen, the city’s finance director. “There’s a belief that it will bring some economic vitality to the region.”last_img read more

Late scientists work culminates in new butterfly guide

first_imgFrom the cover of “Butterflies of Alaska: A Field Guide” by Kenelm W. Philip and Clifford D. Ferris. UAF photo.A new butterfly guide is out. It identifies thousands of species across Alaska, eastern Russia and western Canada. The guide also reflects the collaborative work of hundreds of scientists and amateur collectors.Download AudioKen Philip was a world renowned Fairbanks butterfly expert, or lepidopterist, who passed away almost two years ago. He left behind a collection totaling more than 100,000 specimens. He also left unrealized his dream of producing a comprehensive guide to Alaska’s butterflies and moths. Derek Sikes, a researcher and curator of University of Alaska’s Museum of the North, says friends and colleagues have stepped in to realize Philip’s dream. He says that collaborative approach is in keeping with the cadre of volunteers Philip developed in some 50 years of research.“He had a team of between 400 to 600 people called the Alaska Lepidopterist Survey, and over the decades Ken was working, they’d send in specimens from all around the state,” Sikes says.Sikes says the team is still active, and Philip’s family has established an endowment to support further research. It also helped fund the new guide. He says guides are invaluable tools for amateurs and scientists alike, especially as conditions in the north shift.“We have this historical data, and now we can continue to monitor these beautiful creatures into the future and see how they change… hopefully not for the worse — but at least we’ll be able to pay attention to them.”Sikes says while the bulk of Philip’s collection is headed to the Smithsonian Institution, the guide and UAF funded awards for research insure Philip’s legacy continues.“Butterflies of Alaska: A Field Guide” is available for purchase online or at Gulliver’s bookshop in Fairbanks.last_img read more

The Weird Oscar Record Steven Spielberg Holds

first_imgThe speeches held at the Academy Awards ceremony are usually emotional and filled with gratitude, showing respect and full of “thank-yous.” The list of gratitude is, often, comprised of all the crew members, parents, and families. There were a couple of remarkable and awkward speeches such as Roberto Benigni’s 1998 speech, where he thanked his parents for gifting him poverty, for which he was grateful.Olivia de Havilland with the first of her two Oscars, this one for To Each His Own, March 13, 1947.In 1987 Cher thanked all the assistants and the woman who had taught her the Brooklyn accent, intentionally leaving out the whole crew, which is highly unusual.The person who has officially won the most “thank-yous” is Steven Spielberg, leaving even God five places behind him.Steven Spielberg speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Photo by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 3.0Reviewing the archive of 1,396 speeches online, Vocativ counted that Spielberg was thanked 42 times which propelled him to the top of the list.He, himself, was nominated fifteen times and has won two Oscars for his masterpiece Schindler’s List and one for Saving Private Ryan.Steven Spielberg and Chandran Rutnam on location during the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Photo by Chandran Rutnam (Asian Film Location Services PVT Ltd.) CC BY-SA 3.0Spielberg has helped quite a few actors to get an Oscar themselves, like Daniel Day-Lewis starring in Lincoln.It was understandable for him to thank the director who made a movie that helped him win one of the most important awards in the history of the film industry.However, there are people who expressed their gratitude to Spielberg just for inspiring them, such as Sam Mendes, director of American Beauty.Montreal Comiccon 2016 – Steven Spielberg and ET cosplay. Photo by Pikawil CC BY-SA 2.0According to the Academy Awards Acceptance Speech Database, after Steven Spielberg handed the Oscar to him, Mendes said: “especially thank you to Steven Spielberg for handing me this script in the first place, for handing me this [referring to the Oscar], and for being so generous with your wisdom.”Steven Spielberg’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.Following him is George Lucas who gifted us with the Star Wars franchise and was mentioned 23 times. Right after him, with only one vote less, is director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Peter Jackson.On an honorable 6th place is God with 19 mentions, far less than the winner, Steven Spielberg has.The list finishes with Fran Walsh, Sheila Nevins, and Martin Scorsese and Saul Zaentz sharing 10th place.Besides honorable mentions of crew members, the Academy itself was thanked in 43 percent of the speeches for allowing for such a great opportunity. Parents are thanked in 28 percent of all Academy Awards speeches.Read another story from us: Steven Spielberg to Remake the Classic Musical ‘West Side Story’Maybe the 91st Oscar Ceremony taking place on February 24, 2019 will change these stats, but it seems that Spielberg has a strong advantage, at least for the time being.last_img read more

Australian Consulate to reopen in Kolkata

first_imgThe Australian High Commission has decided to reopen its consulate office in Kolkata after it closed down more than thirty years ago. The opening of the office in Kolkata signifies the growing demand of Indians preferring to travel Australia for business and education purpose. The return of the diplomatic mission was as much needed reflection of the change in Bengal’s business climate as the rise in tourists and students travelling to Australia.Apart from the Australian High Commission’s office in New Delhi, there are offices of Consulate-Generals in Mumbai and Chennai. The opening of the Consulate-General’s office in Kolkata will take the number of Australian diplomatic posts in India to four.Harinder Sidhu, Australia’s High Commissioner to India welcomed Australian Government’s announcement to fund the Consulate-General in Kolkata and stated that it aims to strengthen bilateral trade and investment, particularly in the mining and resources sectors and extend the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF).  “These announcements cement Australia’s commitment to India as a first tier partnership,” she said. These announcements are made at a time when Australia is deepening its relationship with India, and are consistent with commitments outlined in the Foreign Policy White Paper.In 2017, more than 302,000 Indian arrivals were recorded from Australia, making India the 8th largest inbound market in terms of arrivals. Indian visitors spent AUD 1.43 billion (approximately INR 7,150 crore) an increase of 16% over the previous year.last_img read more

Guests are invited to experience Southeast Asia in

first_imgGuests are invited to experience Southeast Asia in style aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express, passing vibrant cities, rural villages and gleaming pagodas, all while enjoying cocktails, fine dining, convivial company and spectacular views. Self-professed “masters of the art of luxury train travel”, the Eastern & Oriental Express staff provides the perfect balance between leisure on board and inspiring excursions further afield.The Eastern & Oriental Express is inviting guests to peruse its new season itineraries for opportunities to experience Southeast Asia like never before.Singapore to Bangkok, three nightsDay one: BangkokBoard the gleaming carriages of the Eastern & Oriental Express at Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station in the evening. A steward will show guests to their elegant private cabin, where they have time to settle in as the journey begins. Head to the teakwood Observation Car to enjoy spectacular open views of the sun setting over the lush landscapes. Dress for dinner before taking a seat in one of the sumptuous Restaurant Cars. Indulge in a gastronomic feast of eastern and western specialties, expertly prepared by onboard chefs. Afterwards, enjoy a convivial nightcap in the Bar Car while being entertained by the resident pianist. The cabin has been converted into a cosy bedroom by your steward.Day two: KanchanaburiAs morning breaks in rural Kanchanaburi Province, breakfast is served in the cabin. Later, the train arrives at River Kwai Station, where guests disembark for their chosen excursion:1. Classic TourCruise along the Khwae Yai River aboard a local raft, taking in views of the Thai teakwood houses along the banks. A guide provides insight into the building of the infamous railway and bridge, which were constructed by allied prisoners in World War II. After the cruise, board a coach to the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre and perhaps pay a visit to the Don Rak War Cemetery before returning to the train.2. Cycle TourBoard a private coach to rural Nong Kao village for an hour-long bicycle tour. Cycle through the verdant rice fields, stopping for a fascinating demonstration at a local Thai farm and refreshments. Return to the Traditional Thai Wooden House for a relaxing herbal infusion before returning to the train by coach.3. Culinary TourThis guided tour begins with visits to a vibrant wet market and an acclaimed rice noodle house where guests will get an insight into the traditional processes used. Guests then proceed to Wat Nue Pier to board a river raft and participate in a traditional Thai cooking class on board as they sail along the River Kwai. Disembark at Chong Kai War Cemetery for an optional visit before returning to the train by coach. Back on board, a leisurely afternoon awaits. Take time to relax and recharge the batteries before preparing for a sumptuous dinner, preceded perhaps by an enticing signature cocktail in the Bar Car. Overnight on board.Day three: Kuala Kangsar – Kuala LumpurGuests may indulge in a lie-in before breakfast in their cabin as the train enters Malaysia. Observe how the landscape changes to include dramatic limestone massifs rearing up from the rice fields. Spend the morning at leisure, reading, chatting with fellow guests or gazing at the passing scenery. Lunch is served before the train arrives at Kuala Kangsar, where guests disembark for a guided tour of this fascinating royal town. See the golden-domed Ubudiah Mosque, one of Malaysia’s most majestic temples, Perak Royal Museum and the Sultan Azlan Shah Gallery, then rejoin the train as it continues southwards through the lush rainforests and rural west-coast towns of Peninsular Malaysia. Prepare to enjoy another magnificent dinner and convivial evening in the Bar Car. Overnight on board.Day four: Johor – SingaporeBreakfast is served in the cabin as guests savour the last leg of their journey. Course through expansive palm plantations dotted with traditional settlement homes in the southernmost state of Johor. Cross the Causeway over the Straits for a late-morning arrival into cosmopolitan Singapore, the final exciting destination.Singapore to Bangkok, two nightsDay One: Singapore – Kuala LumpurOn arrival at The Fullerton Hotel guests are greeted by the Eastern & Oriental Express team, who assist with luggage and check-in formalities. Guests will be escorted to Woodlands Railway Station, where their steward warmly welcomes them aboard and shows them to the elegant cabin. The train leaves Singapore and crosses over the Johor Causeway into Peninsular Malaysia. As the journey continues northward guests are served a refreshing afternoon tea in their cabins. Stroll along to the Observation Car to admire the passing scenery of lush landscapes and rural settlements. Later, dress for a dinner of eastern and western specialties in the Restaurant Car, followed by an enticing cocktail or liqueur in the Bar Car where the resident pianist plays. Each guest cabin has been transformed into an inviting bedroom.Day Two: Kuala KangsarAs the train travels through the verdant rainforests and rural west-coast towns of Malaysia, guests enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the comfort of their cabin. Arrive at Kuala Kangsar and alight to board a coach, which whisks guests away from the city to a rural village set among the rice paddies and surrounded by hills and mountains. Here they have two excursions to choose from (whichever is chosen, comfortable walking shoes that can get a little muddy are recommended):1. Traditional Village ExperienceA chance for guests to immerse themselves in rural Malaysian life. The villagers welcome guests with a traditional martial arts dance before they sample regional food and drink and browse locally produced handicrafts. Enjoy a guided walk through the rice paddies to learn about the process of planting and harvesting before heading to a plantation where rubber, banana and durian are grown. The tour finishes with refreshments that include banana and durian chips produced from the plantation crops.2. Hill TrekThe excursion begins with a visit to a rubber, banana and durian plantation. After sampling the delicious chips produced here, join a guide—an expert naturalist—on a walk up the hill, learning about the local area along the way. Cold towels and refreshments greet guests’ arrival at the top, alongside panoramic views over the village and surrounding rice paddies. Peer through the binoculars provided and guests may even catch a glimpse of the train waiting at nearby Padang Rengas Station.Guests rejoin the train at Padang Rengas Station and enjoy lunch before spending a relaxing afternoon either in their cabins, the bar or the Observation Car. Look out for the picturesque limestone massifs that rear up from the rice fields. As the train crosses into Thailand, the scenery changes to include wing-roofed Thai temples and bustling stations. In the evening, further culinary delights are served in the Restaurant Car, after which guests may wish to enjoy a convivial drink in the Bar Car before their final night’s sleep on board.Day three: River Kwai – BangkokFollowing breakfast in their cabin, guests disembark at River Kwai Station late morning for your chosen excursion.last_img read more

Lausanne SWIT – In the wake of both a complete re

first_imgLausanne, SWIT – In the wake of both a complete renovation and the creation of one of the most beautiful spas in Europe, Lausanne’s Beau-Rivage Palace is now giving attention to the rebirth of the hotel’s gastronomic restaurant, entrusting its renaissance to star chef, Anne-Sophie Pic, currently the only French woman to hold the Michelin Guide’s coveted 3-Star rating.Anne-Sophie Pic’s association with the Beau-Rivage Palace will be her first venture outside the city of Valence in southeastern France, where she will continue to operate the original restaurant that bears her name.Shared principles are what brought Anne-Sophie Pic and the Beau-Rivage Palace together. Each is proud of its long and prestigious history, each strives for excellence and each specializes in expressing a lifestyle that is both unique and refined.Anne-Sophie Pic and the Beau-Rivage Palace have come together to achieve a new level of excellence and are committed to energizing a historic tradition.The opening of Anne-Sophie Pic at the Beau-Rivage Palace is planned for Spring 2009.About the Beau-Rivage Palace: Voted one of the Top 500 World’s Best Hotels by Travel + Leisure in its 2008 World’s Best Awards Readers’ Survey and listed as one of the best hotels in Switzerland in the 2008 Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, the Beau-Rivage Palace is situated on 10 acres of private gardens with spectacular views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps. The Cinq Mondes Spa at the Beau-Rivage Palace was listed as the third-best spa in Europe in Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List 2008. The property features three restaurants and two bars and terraces, two tennis courts and special programs for children.Reservations: The Beau-Rivage Palace is located at Place du Port 17-19, CH-1000, Lausanne 6, Switzerland. The hotel can be contacted at: 011 41 21 613 33 33 and reservations can be made through the hotel (reservation@brp.ch) or through The Leading Hotels of the World at: 1-800-223-6800 or www.lhw.comlast_img read more

Woman dies from H1N1 first fatality in the Republic

first_imgThe first death from H1N1, or ‘swine flu’ has been recorded in the Republic, health services said on Thursday.The patient at the Nicosia General Hospital was a 51-year-old woman with a pre- existing medical conditions.  According to the health services, a total of 19 people have been infected with the virus in the government-controlled areas, 13 of whom have been discharged from hospital. The remaining five are in stable condition.Two people have died in the north from the virus.Authorities said on Thursday there was no cause for alarm or panic. You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Search For 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Bank of Cyprus kicks off review of restructuring plans

first_imgBy Laura NoonanBailed-out Bank of Cyprus is reviewing its restructuring plans in a move that could result in billions of euros of its troubled assets being put into a “bad bank”, chief executive John Hourican said.Hourican took the top job at Cyprus’ largest bank in October after it was rescued during an international bail-out of the island, which had run into financial problems partly because of the exposure to debt-laden Greece.At that time, a plan to put the bank’s 22 billion euros of good and bad loans into one legal entity was just being finalised. This plan also envisaged the bank remaining reliant on some emergency funding from the Central Bank of Cyprus until 2017.BoC CEO John HouricanBut Hourican, former investment banking head at Royal Bank of Scotland, wants to look again at all the options.“We have appointed HSBC to help us look at our overall corporate finance agenda including the entire structure of how the group is organised,” Hourican told Reuters in an interview.“What I’d like is to re-open the entire option list for the bank – do we continue with the plan we currently have? Is there a possibility of a more formal good bank/bad bank? Is there another set of options we could approach in terms of accelerating our restructuring plan?”The creation of a bad bank would free Bank of Cyprus from its problem loans and make it easier to forge a “normal” bank better able to fund itself and support the country’s economy. The bad bank was considered as an option in the terms of Cyprus’ 10 billion euro bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.Bad banks have been used successfully to cleanse banking systems in Ireland and Spain, and one is being created in Slovenia.The HSBC team is being lead by its head of European financial institutions group Tim Sykes, a former senior official at the UKFI which managed the UK’s banking stakes including its 82 per cent share in Hourican’s former employer RBS. The HSBC review will take several weeks. HSBC confirmed its involvement but declined to comment further.RESCUEDBank of Cyprus is now the country’s biggest bank after it merged last year with collapsed rival Cyprus Popular Bank as a result of the EU/IMF bailout.The bank was the first in the eurozone to force depositors to give up some of their savings to help to recapitalise it.The original restructuring plan, which Hourican said was still its core ambition, focuses on actively managing non-performing loans, selling off non-core assets like its Ukrainian arm, and integrating Laiki, a rival bank wound down under the EU/IMF bailout deal.So far, Hourican’s management team have stopped short of a full bad bank and instead split the bank internally into a “restructuring and recoveries division,” which is managed separately and is funded by about 10 billion euros of emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the Central Bank of Cyprus.“At the end of the day, funding will be what determines whether you can separate out your good bank and your not so good bank,” Hourican said.A fully-fledged bad bank would be a separate legal entity that would not qualify for central bank funding and so private cash – potentially bonds or shares – would be needed to back it.“(Emergency liquidity) ELA is only available for deposit taking institutions,” Hourican said. “If you were to create an AMC (asset management company) you are not a deposit-taking institution … What we have to do is try and find a private solution that doesn’t further burden the Cyprus state.”Hourican said that Bank of Cyprus’ small size would make it easier to find a private sector solution than much larger banks in the so-called periphery of Europe. He said investor interest had been building in the bank, which had a balance sheet of 30 billion euros at the end of 2013.“Pre-Christmas, Cyprus and the Bank of Cyprus was just a ‘too hard to look at’ category of funding or investment for any external party,” he said. “Post-Christmas the incoming (feedback) has been quite significant in terms of people saying, this is now becoming very interesting, as opposed to being too difficult.”Since the start of the year, financial markets have become more optimistic about the outlook for some of the weaker economies in the European Union. The lure of juicier investment returns has attracted investors back to Greece and Portugal.Investors have also been attracted to crisis-stricken countries after watching the big wins reaped by those who invested early on, like investors from North America who trebled the value of their 2011 investment in Bank of Ireland.“I think a lot of possibilities and opportunities will open up over the coming few months on how we might go about tackling this problem,” Hourican said, referring to the bank’s reliance on emergency liquidity.He said the bank was looking at lots of solutions including private finance solutions and issuing bonds.“It is good to see the Greek banks back raising money at very tight spreads,” he said, referring to 500 million euros in bonds sold at a yield of 5 per cent by Piraeus, which became the first Greek bank to issue debt in five years.He pointed out that Greece was at a different stage in its bank restructuring than Cyprus and that the country does not have capital controls in place.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoGundry MD PrebioThrive Probiotic SupplementBad Digestion Slowing You Down? Top Doctor Reveals What You Need To DoGundry MD PrebioThrive Probiotic SupplementUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

That is one of the

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