Rabat – The former Turkish police officer who killed the Russian Ambassador to Ankara, was killed in a shootout with Turkish Authorities in the capital city. Moscow had called its diplomat’s murder an act of terrorism.The Russian ambassador to Ankara was shot in the back and killed while giving a speech at an art gallery on Monday.The 22-year-old gunman, who shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo” after shooting, was a former police officer, the Mayor of Ankara, Melih Gökçek, said. Police later killed the assailant, Turkish station NTV reported. “We regard this as a terrorist act,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.“Terrorism will not win and we will fight against it decisively”, she added in a statement relayed by Reuters. A video of the attack shows the attacker dressed like a bodyguard in a black suit and tie while standing behind the ambassador as he made his speech at an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ankara. The attacker took out his gun and shot the ambassador from behind.Video footage shows the diplomat lying on the floor, bleeding out. According to Turkish Media, the killer showed a police ID to enter the gallery.Russia is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is a fervent opponent of Assad’s regime.Turkish citizens protested Russia’s involvement in Syria on Sunday, but Ankara and Moscow have been working hand in hand to evacuate citizens trapped in Aleppo – which is now almost completely under the control of President Bashar Al Assad, whose armed forces have reportedly been murdering political opponents one-by-one in the eastern half of the city.Sunday’s demonstrators held Russia and its President Vladimir Putin responsible for the human rights abuses occurring in Syria.
The International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008, a programme of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) officially beginning on 1 March, will be the fourth such event. The previous IPYs of 1882-83, 1932-33, and 1957-58, also known as the International Geophysical Year, all produced major increases in understanding the Earth system.“IPY comes at a crossroads for the planet’s future; February’s first phase of the Fourth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has shown that these regions are highly vulnerable to rising temperatures,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said.“However, meteorological and other regular environmental in-situ observation facilities at the poles are few and it is essential to install more and increase satellite coverage to gain a better overall picture of how rapidly these areas are changing, and of the global impact of these changes,” he added.The IPY projects will focus on learning about the past, present and future environmental status of the polar regions, while advancing understanding about the interactions between those regions and the rest of the globe. They will also investigate the frontiers of science in the polar regions, and use the unique vantage point of the polar regions and develop observatories from the interior of the Earth to the Sun and the cosmos beyond. In addition, the projects will investigate the cultural, historical and social processes that shape the sustainability of circumpolar human societies.In order to ensure full and equal coverage of both the Arctic and the Antarctic, IPY will span two full annual cycles, from March 2007 to March 2009. Many national and regional IPY launch events are being organized over the next few weeks. The official international launch ceremony will take place on 1 March at the Palais de la Découverte in Paris. “We face many challenges as we start: funding, data sharing, and, most importantly, the surprising and rapidly changing nature of the polar regions,” IPY International Programme Office Director David Carlson said.But we have an enormous strength: international enthusiasm and cooperation, at a higher level and across a wider range of science than most of us will see at any other time in our careers. IPY will succeed because of this scientific urgency and energy.” 26 February 2007The largest polar research programme in 50 years, with a major focus on global warming, gets under way this week with United Nations support as thousands of scientists from over 60 countries prepare to carry out 220 science and outreach projects in both the north and south polar regions.
The video recordings aired on television channels show even students, some very young, pelting stones and other objects at the police and the new principal of the school. Parents and several outsiders were also seen involved in the violence as a mark of protest over the appointment of the new school head. The new principal sustained minor injuries while his car was completely damaged after students and parents agitated over his appointment.Riot police had been deployed to the school after the students pelted stones at the principal and also attacked his car with flower pots. The police are to gather evidence using video recordings from the media to arrest those involved in the violence at the Galle Vidyaloka Vidyalaya on Monday.Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that the video recording will be used to identify those involved in instigating the violence and causing injuries to some people. The Education Ministry said that school property was also damaged in the incident. (Colombo Gazette)
CASA and SLFFA said that all major shipping lines and freight networks are currently represented in Sri Lanka and the lifting of restrictions will not bring any new shipping lines or freight networks into the country. Shipping agents have also diversified into seafarer training and education and over the years have produced a pool of some 35,000 employed and employable personnel for global carriers and contribute in excess of USD 250 million per annum. Shipping agency and freight forwarding business contribute an estimated USD 400 million per annum to the economy.“We are concerned that with this policy change the foreign owners will get controlling interest of agency/ freight forwarding companies and not only will these companies be restricted in their growth but they would be limited in their capacity to invest in related or unrelated business as hitherto done by local entrepreneurial shipping agencies/ freight forwarding companies over the past several decades. Sri Lankan owned shipping agencies have always endeavoured to assist exporters in securing space in tight situations which will not be the case when control of shipping agencies shift to foreign ownership,” they said.A majority local ownership in shipping agencies/ freight forwarding companies have led to local entrepreneurs promoting the Principals/ freight networks to maximize their business through Sri Lanka as opposed to other regional hubs benefiting the port of Colombo as well as the country. CASA and SLFFA said this position will be entirely jeopardized with this policy change. The existing restriction applies to shipping agency / freight forwarding functions only and not to investments in other facets of the shipping lines/logistics activities.The restriction in foreign ownership of shipping agencies/ freight forwarding has not inhibited shipping lines’ interests in investing in port terminal capacity in Sri Lanka as displayed in the expression of interest for ECT where all major shipping lines and terminal operators submitted bids. An example would be the case of SAGT where there have been investments from major shipping lines.There are currently in excess of 750 local shipping and freight forwarding and clearing agents employing over 12000 direct staff most of whose jobs would be at risk as would the enterprises themselves. Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA) and Sri Lanka Logistics and Freight Forwarders Association (SLFFA) the voices of the shipping and logistics industry, have strongly object to the Government’s budget proposal to lift the remaining restriction of 60% on foreign ownership on shipping and freight forwarding agencies.CASA and SLFFA says the proposal will not bring any significant benefit to the industry and the economy and instead will have an adverse impact to the national interest of the country. Further, the management positions will be filled by expatriate staff depriving Sri Lankan professionals. The indirectly linked staff would be as much as 100,000, whose employment also would be at stake. “The removal of restrictions on foreign ownership will not bring in any additional investments or benefits to the country as envisaged. There will be no new investments by shipping lines and freight forwarders as a result of this policy change. Local companies have already invested in the required infrastructure to support the shipping lines’ and logistics activities such as in container depots, freight stations, logistics parks, transportation etc. Such a policy change would enable shipping lines and freight forwarders to repatriate hundred percent of profits instead of reinvestment locally. They will convert the agencies to cost centers reducing the employment of Sri Lankans and depriving the government of substantial tax revenue,” CASA and SLFFA said. “With the expansion of capacity (eg. CICT ) in the port of Colombo shipping lines brought in new services with larger vessels and more volumes in a short period of time. With continuing expansion of capacity, shipping lines will bring in further new services/volumes predominantly due to Sri Lanka’s strategic location, the availability of deep water terminal facilities coupled with competitive port and terminal tariffs and service excellence comparable to competing hubs,” CASA and SLFFA said.They said that the contention that the shipping lines and logistics operators will base their operations in Sri Lanka as a result of this legislative change is incorrect due to the fact that currently there is no restriction on shipping lines or logistics operators setting up their hundred percent owned headquarters or regional offices in Sri Lanka. The shipping industry in Sri Lanka, is, in fact, already liberalised where any foreign ship owner can freely operate their vessels in Sri Lanka.
“The Secretary-General urges all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations to protect civilians in armed conflict,” said a statement issued by a spokesman for Mr. Annan. “He calls on the Government of Indonesia to ensure the necessary security conditions to allow international aid organizations safe and unhindered access to affected populations.The statement also reiterated the United Nations commitment to a dialogue with the Indonesian authorities on these and other humanitarian issues related to Aceh.
“I share my sympathy with Ms. Gil Won-ok about the suffering and pain that she and other victims have experienced. It is crucial that the voices of victims and survivors are heard,” Mr. Ban said. The term ‘comfort women’ refers to hundreds of thousands of girls and women from several Asian countries abducted and forced into sexual slavery prior to and during the Second World War by the Japanese military. In December 2015, the Governments of Japan and the Republic of Korea reached an agreement to resolve the longstanding issue of ‘comfort women’ that reportedly involves an official apology from Japan for the treatment of these women and a promised payment of $8.3 million for the victims.“I hope that the Agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea on 28 December 2015 will be faithfully implemented under the guidance of human rights principles,” Mr. Ban said. “Once more, I call on all concerned parties to continue the dialogue towards a comprehensive resolution of this issue in line with human rights principles, with the victims at the centre.”Meanwhile, a group of independent UN human rights experts today raised concerns about the December 2015 agreement, noting that the pact falls short of meeting the demands of the victims, who deserved “an unequivocal official apology” from Tokyo.“We believe the agreement between Japan and South Korea falls short of meeting the demands of survivors,” said the independent experts on discrimination against women, transitional justice and torture. “An unequivocal official apology recognizing the full responsibility of the then Japanese Government and military, as well as adequate reparations, would protect and uphold the victims’ right to truth, justice and reparation. “We are also deeply concerned that the Republic of Korea may remove a statue commemorating not only the historical issue and legacy of the ‘comfort women’ but also symbolizing the survivors’ long search for justice,” they added.The experts stated that Japan and the Republic of Korea should understand that this issue will not be considered resolved so long as all the victims, including from other Asian countries, remain unheard, their expectations unmet and their wounds left wide open, underscoring that this is now a race against time, given the age of the survivors.Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
Brock University is reminding students, faculty and staff that support services are in place following the incident in residence that took place Thursday night.Police are continuing to investigate an isolated and targeted assault that occurred around 8 p.m.Three Brock students were taken to hospital with injuries as a result of the altercation, and were released later Thursday night.Information widely shared on social media from non-official sources dramatically distorted the facts. Niagara Regional Police said the assailants immediately fled the campus and that students and the public were not in any danger. There was also no lockdown on campus, though for a brief period and out of an abundance of caution, NRP officers were stopping vehicles as they left the main entrances.Any impacted students living in Village Residence were relocated Thursday night and support services were immediately made available to anyone who needed them.Counselling continues to be available today, Friday, March 22 in a variety of ways. For students living in residence, counsellors and Student Life staff are available in Lowenberger Room 134 until 5 p.m. today. For all Brock students, support is available through the Student Wellness and Accessibility Services office on the fourth floor of Schmon Tower and counsellors are also available 24/7 by phoning 1-833-276-2533.A variety of support services are also available to faculty and staff, who are encouraged to visit Brock’s Health, Safety and Wellness website for a list of resources.Resources identifying how a traumatic event can impact a person and tips and tools for understanding and recovering from a traumatic event are also available online.Brock University would like to extend its thanks to the Niagara Regional Police for their rapid and professional response to Thursday night’s incident.Officers are continuing to investigate and have released the following information about the two suspects believed to be involved:The first is described as a male with a slim build in his 20s, possibly of East Indian descent. He was wearing a dark toque, a dark mask covering the lower portion of his face and dark-coloured clothing.The second suspect is also described as a male with a slim build, in his 20s and possibly of East Indian descent. He was wearing light-coloured clothing and possibly grey pants.Anyone with information is asked to phone NRP at 905-688-4111 x9495.
News is spreading today that Aaron Swartz has committed suicide aged just 26.Swartz will be known to many as one of the co-founders of Reddit, but that was not his only major achievement. At the age of 14 he co-authored the RSS 1.0 Specification, worked briefly for Wired after selling Reddit, launched Jottit, created the web.py web application framework, co-founded the progressive advocacy group Demand Progress, and was a Harvard University fellow.More recently Swartz had garnered the attention of the authorities due to his actions. In 2009 he was investigated by the FBI after publicly sharing 20 percent of the PACER US federal court documents database. However, no charges were brought against him at that time. Then in July 2011 it was discovered he had spent months stealing data from MIT.Swartz was indicted after stealing 4.8 million documents from JSTOR, a not-for-profit digital archive of scientific papers. The problem being, he repeatedly broke into a secure and restricted area of MIT to hook up a laptop to get the records. He also used several methods of trying to evade detection. JSTOR has since publicly released the archives, while Swartz faced up to 35 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.After the indictment in Boston, Swartz moved to Brooklyn, New York. News of his suicide yesterday has been confirmed by his uncle, Michael Wolf. No further information has been released at this time, and our thoughts go out to his friends and family.via MIT
With Greece holding the presidency of the EU and Australia chairing the G20, this year the two nations find themselves presiding over the world’s most powerful international inter-governmental institutions – giving each a unique opportunity to influence global economic policies.“Greece’s economic recovery depends critically on expanding exports and private investment and we see the diaspora playing a vital role in boosting both.In Sydney today – to attend the first ministerial-level G20 meeting under Australia’s presidency – Greece, which holds the current rotating European Union Presidency will be represented by Ms Christina Papaconstantinou, Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Finance.A former lawyer, Ms Papaconstantinou was previously Greece’s Secretary General for Fiscal Policy and President of the Public Debt Management Office. On the eve of the meeting which prepares the ground for the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane in November, Neos Kosmos conducted an exclusive interview with Greece’s top civil servant with responsibility for finance. We began with the situation in Greece.Secretary General – the Greek Government says that the economic tide in Greece is finally turning, but what is the real evidence of recovery? Is Greece finally ready to come off life-support?Greece will no longer require financial assistance from its eurozone partners and the IMF – life-support as you call it – when the Greek state will be able to finance its funding needs from private capital markets. For private investors to invest in Greek government bonds at an interest rate that is affordable for Greece, they need to feel confident that the causes of the crisis in Greece – loss of fiscal discipline and competitiveness – have been addressed in a sustainable way and that Greece is credit-worthy again. The fact that Greece in 2013 will have a surplus in both the primary fiscal balance (revenues minus expenditures excluding interest) and in the current account – just four years since having record deficits in both above 10 per cent of GDP – is in and of itself evidence of the unprecedented and very real progress Greece has made in a very short time. Moreover, this progress has also led to a surge in interest from private investors recently and we plan to start borrowing from these investors in the following months, initially for small amounts, with a view to gradually building up our credibility again. Once the Greek state accesses private markets, a virtuous cycle will be unleashed that will boost liquidity in the real economy, which is the most cited constraint by private enterprises right now. The increase in liquidity will consolidate the nascent recovery we are seeing in late 2013. Just to name a a few, the economic sentiment indicator has reached one of the highest levels of the last five years, the Purchase Managers Index in January 2014 indicated expansion for the first time since August 2009, and retail sales increased in November for the first time after almost four years. I am confident that by this time next year, the combined impact of improved liquidity and the implementation of our structural reforms will ensure that Greek citizens will feel the recovery – which is the most important sign that the tide is finally turning. What are the measurable outcomes of the structural reforms and fiscal consolidation within the Greek economy over the past four years?Greece has realised an impressive adjustment in its twin deficits, the primary fiscal deficit, and the current account deficit. For the first time after many decades, by the end of 2013, the twin deficits have not only been eliminated but they have also turned into surpluses.On the fiscal front, over 85 per cent of the required fiscal adjustment needed to reduce debt to sustainable levels by 2020 has been completed. In particular, since 2009 Greece’s primary deficit has declined by more than 10 per cent of GDP, and it now seems that the target set for 2013 in the 2014 Budget for a primary surplus of 0.4 per cent of GDP will be over performed. Furthermore, it is estimated that since 2009, the cyclically adjusted primary balance has improved by more than 20 per cent of GDP. The improvement in competitiveness has also been remarkable. Over the last four years, the cumulative loss in cost competitiveness since Greece’s entry in the Eurozone (2001-2009) has been fully recovered. This development is also reflected in the current account balance. The current account deficit stood at 2.4 per cent of GDP in 2012 from 14.9 per cent of GDP in 2008. It is now projected that by the end of 2013 there will be a current account surplus.Greece has implemented structural reforms in many fields of economic activity, including reforms in the labour market, the pension and health system, and tax administration. These reforms helped to close the competitiveness gap and create a favourable environment for business and foreign investment. Since 2009 Greece has lost 25 per cent of its GDP. What must Greece do to change this decline?The crisis was the result of very high twin deficits – a primary fiscal deficit and current account deficit, and the loss of competitiveness, which led to Greece’s exclusion from the international capital markets. The substantial financial support Greece received from its eurozone partners and the IMF was followed by fiscal and structural reforms that had to be implemented in order for the country to return to a sustainable growth path.The unprecedented adjustment Greece has realised over the past years has come at a very high socio-economic cost. However, the signs of macroeconomic recovery now become visible. In 2013 GDP declined by 3.7 per cent; this fall – which was the result of a continuous deceleration in the rate of decline of GDP throughout the year – was milder than originally projected. Furthermore, unemployment now seems to be stabilised. In 2014 Greece is expected to exit the deep recession it experienced over the last six years, whereas in the years to follow Greece will grow at robust rates. The new growth model for the Greek economy currently developed will be more extrovert. It will be based on investment, innovation, exports and foreign direct investment, while the implementation of structural reforms will continue. What benefits for Greece come with your presidency of the EU? What opportunities are there and what are the challenges?Our first major priority is the promotion of growth – in order to boost employment and cohesion. A second priority relates to further integration of the Economic and Monetary Union, including the establishment of a banking union, in order to safeguard confidence in the European economy. Another important priority concerns a comprehensive review of the immigration and border policies in order to reflect the needs of member states and, in particular, of those who share a disproportional part of the burden. There is also a fourth, horizontal priority: the maritime policy of the EU. The sea lanes are extremely important to our trade. We will seek to step up efforts to bring in a more global approach to all maritime issues [and] security and energy aspects of the maritime policy.With elections to the European Parliament imminent, how concerned are you that Eurosceptics will influence the situation? Is such scepticism dangerous for Greece and Europe?Given the direct impact of decisions taken at European level, on people’s lives across Europe, this year European Parliament elections are a great challenge for our presidency.The economic crisis in Europe, the high unemployment rates – especially among young people in the countries of Southern Europe, and the social insecurity, supported, among other things, perceptions that questioned our common European course.For this reason, it is very important to hear from people across the Union about what they expect, and to make that clear at the upcoming elections. They will have a real choice on what kind of Europe they want. As a member-state of the EU and the eurozone, Greece is representing a European Union that must show its commitment to great values, solidarity and the European welfare state. The value of the European model for prosperity and growth can reaffirm the European project in the hearts and minds of the people of Europe.As president of ECOFIN – the EU Finance Ministers’ Council – what will be Greece’s input to the G20 Ministerial Conference? What do you hope the G20 under Australia’s presidency can achieve?Our overarching goal [is] to foster growth, competitiveness and jobs, to ensure stability and prosperity for European citizens, as well as to restore confidence in the financial sector.We intend to focus on further developing banking union as a prerequisite for more trust and reliability, as well as for increasing liquidity in European economy, and safeguarding its financial stability. The Single Resolution Mechanism [a pan-European ‘resolution authority’ to manage future bail-outs] is, undoubtedly, a key element of the banking union, and as such, it is an overarching priority of the Greek presidency.We will also work towards deepening further the integration of the European Monetary Union and strengthening the coordination of national economic and fiscal policies in order to preserve the integrity of the common currency and promote the necessary growth-enhancing reforms.In addition, the Greek presidency will advance discussions for financing the economy, in particular SMEs’ facilitation of access to financing, aiming to enhance sustainable growth and promote the creation of new jobs.Οn taxation policy, it is highly important to carry on with the appropriate actions, at the European level, against taxation practices that undermine citizens’ and investors’ confidence and encourage tax fraud and tax evasion.The aim of the Australian presidency to strengthen global growth and foster employment is strongly supported by the EU. Growth in Europe has been accelerating during the last months due to the implementation of ambitious structural reforms and a sound fiscal policy. We hope we can share our experience with our partners in G20 and we are confident that the Australian presidency will succeed in coordinating all G20 members to develop ambitious growth strategies during the Brisbane summit.The Greek diaspora business community in Australia and the US have been vocal in wanting to support Greece during the economic crisis. What can be done to realise a more effective role for the diaspora in Greece’s economic future?Greece’s economic recovery depends critically on expanding exports and private investment and we see the diaspora playing a vital role in boosting both. The crisis has been an opportunity for us to address the chronic ailments of the business environment in Greece – excessive bureaucracy, unnecessary administrative costs, an inefficient tax system – that discouraged many well-intentioned investors. Since 2009 we have been working hard to improve the investment climate – as shown by the fact that Greece has risen 24 positions in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings, and in particular 97 positions in terms of the ease of starting a business and 70 positions in terms of protecting investors. While there is still much to do, it is evident from the extremely strong investor interest in a variety of sectors that Greece is already an attractive investment destination with opportunities in real estate, energy, trade/logistics, food processing and agriculture, IT and pharmaceuticals, as well as in our traditional champions of tourism and shipping. To give you an example, Piraeus is now the fastest growing port in the world, growing by 112 per cent between 2011-13 in terms of containers handled. It is projected to become the largest port in the Mediterranean by 2016. The driver of this growth is the investment by Chinese company Cosco that manages two out of the three terminals at Pireaus and wants to make it the gateway of choice for Asian-European trade. Given Australia’s close ties with Asia, there are ample opportunities for the Greek Australian diaspora to play a key intermediary role both as investor and facilitator of these trade links. The diaspora seeks an enabling environment in Greece to invest on a significant scale – how can this environment be created, what are the challenges? The Greek government plans to continue its efforts to improve the business environment. In April we plan to submit a bill to Parliament that will enable investors to establish new businesses within 24 hours. The government is paving the way for stronger bilateral economic, commercial and administrative cooperation with the Australian government. For example, in 2013 the Hellenic Parliament approved the OECD’s Multilateral Convention of Mutual Administrative Assistance that enables the tax administrations of Australia and Greece to share information on taxpayers, to avoid double taxation. We hope that this cooperation will provide a basis for the negotiation of a double taxation treaty for which the Hellenic Republic has made formal requests to the government of Australia. In this increasingly favourable economic environment, we invite the Greek Australian diaspora to join these efforts in order to bridge Greece and Australia in a tight network of trade, business, and investment. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Last year, NASA provided evidence that water may still exist on the surface of Mars. This was based on an analysis of dark streaks on the Red Planet called recurring slope lineae (RSL). At the time, it looked like there may actually have been flowing salty water on these hillsides. NASA was pretty excited about it, and even told The Martian director Ridley Scott ahead of time. With more time to look at the RSL, NASA still thinks there’s water, but much less of it.NASA has been using the Mars Odyssey satellite to analyze the water content of the RSL. Odyssey has a handy instrument for this called the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). The presence of water in the Martian soil affects how quickly the ground heats up during the day and cools at night. NASA analyzed several years of THEMIS readings from RSL in Valles Marineris canyon, finding that the likely water content by weight is 3%. That’s about the same water content as Earth’s Atacama Desert or the Antarctic Dry Valleys. Those are the driest places on the planet.The low water content of the soil makes it unlikely that any water is flowing down these Martian hillsides as originally hoped. The 2015 announcement was based on the presence of hydrated salts in the soil, and NASA scientists believe that’s still true. You can have hydrated salts without there being enough water to flow across the surface. The most likely explanation for the RSL is that salts in the soil are pulling water vapor out of the atmosphere. Thus, there’s no evidence for a large underground reservoir of water.There was hope following the initial announcement last year that there might be enough water on Mars to make human exploration more feasible. The alternative is bringing all the water the crew needs from Earth, which is expensive. For the time being, that looks like the best option. We’ve still got a few decades before NASA is ready to launch a manned Mars mission. A lot can happen in that time.
It’s a good start to winter at Northwest ski areas if they can open by Thanksgiving weekend.On cue, serious snow fell on Turkey Day at Mount Hood this year. By Black Friday, both Timberline Lodge and Mount Hood Meadows were operating, although on a limited basis with a reduced number of chairs.This Monday, Mount Hood Meadows began daily operations, two weeks earlier than normal.Timberline Lodge on Wednesday was operating six chairlifts with a 73-inch base at the lodge.Mount Hood Skibowl, the third big ski area on the peak, started tubing on Dec. 3 and its chairlifts at 3 p.m. Wednesday.“This is the best start to the season in a decade,’’ said Dave Tragethon, vice president of communications for Mount Hood Meadows. “Most recently we haven’t had enough snow to offer daily operations until later in the month. These storms aligned to give us a fast, early start to the season, providing enough snowpack to open even our lowest elevation lift and the nordic center.’’Night skiing at Meadows is planned for Friday and Saturday. Beginning Dec. 16, the ski area will move to its holiday schedule, with chairlifts operating from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Jan. 1, with the exception of Dec. 19, Dec. 20 and Christmas Eve, when the lifts close at 4 p.m.
The club is back to its winning ways and managed to beat Southampton FC 3-1 today in the last match of 2018 in the English Premier LeagueAfter two consecutive defeats in the English Premier League, Manchester City returned to the victory path.The team was able to beat Southampton 3-1 today.And captain Vincent Kompany is delighted after today’s performance.“It was more than just the result – it was about the way we played,” the defender told Sky Sports.Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“We’re not focusing on anything much other than our performance. We have to be hungry and aggressive.”“We’ve been hit in our pride recently and that’s how a team has to react,” he commented.“We’ve got four competitions to play for in an incredible season. Today was a step in the right direction.”“We go into the next game in the same frame of mind, as always. We just want to win,” he explained.“We need to be ready for a fight and ready to take it to them [Liverpool] and try to win. We should be able to pull everything out of the locker for that game.”
It’s time to talk more in-depth about Iñaki Williams, one of Athletic Club’s most impressive natural talents with a very peculiar life story to tell.Athletic Bilbao’s history was forever changed when they accepted the very first black race footballer into their ranks, Iñaki Williams was accepted to the Athletic Club’s Lezama player academy when he was only 14 years old and everything took a wild turn since then.The club from the Basque country has a very specific policy of breeding their own players, it’s one of the few clubs who will only accept young talents who were born or bred on a specific region of the Basque Country.These areas are Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, Araba, Nafarroa, Lapurdi, Zuberoa, and Nafarroa Behera. Iñaki himself was actually born in Bilbao, Biscay but his parents are both of Liberian blood and were born in Ghana before coming to the Basque Country when they were escaping from the African Civil War in the ’90s.Once you take a look at Williams’ physical capabilities, you immediately get thrown off by his innate capacity to sprint and by the fact that he doesn’t have any aspects that are familiar to those of a Basque-born player.But once you hear him talk, you realize he is truly from that specific area of the country.No había visto el golazo de Iñaki Williams, gran autopase y una increíble velocidad. pic.twitter.com/eOfszS02AV— Eduardo Mendez (@LaIoMendez) January 15, 2019Iñaki spent the vast majority of his childhood in the city of Pamplona where he was developed in youth academies from CD Pamplona, but as soon as Athletic club knew of his origins they didn’t hesitate to sign him for their youth academy.After a slow-burn development in the younger categories, Iñaki finally made his debut at age 20 on 6 December 2014 after replacing an injured Aritz Aduriz.It took Williams only a couple months to score his first goal as it came in a match against Torino in the UEFA Europa League, the qualities that Iñaki presented from the very first moment were incredible.A potent striker with the ability to make speedy sprints during counter attacks with an innate finishing skill that very few players in Athletic’s history have showcased, this young talent was meant to be one of the club’s most celebrated players.But for some reason, Williams still hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations and he even went a good 770 days without scoring a single goal with his club or country according to El Pais.Match Preview: Barcelona vs Valencia Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Is derby time in La Liga, as Barcelona welcomes Valencia to the Camp Nou Stadium tonight at 21:00 (CET).People had been expecting a performance like the one he delivered last weekend, it was something truly spectacular to witness.🔝 Máximo goleador del @AthleticClub❤ Corazón de león🦁 IÑAKI WILLIAMS 🦁#AthleticSevillaFC pic.twitter.com/1RA2wC1V7e— LaLiga (@LaLiga) January 13, 2019It happened against Sevilla in La Liga match played last Sunday at the New San Mames Stadium, Williams first surprised the whole world with a top-class definition from the outside of the box and scored an authentic screamer to the top corner.But that was only the beginning, as Williams took a counter-attacking pass from deep inside the field and made a tremendous run that surpassed both of his markers to then finish with a clinical shot to the bottom corner to give Athletic Bilbao the much-needed victory against a very competitive squad such as Sevilla.The second goal had all the qualities that Williams first started showing when he began his career, it’s almost as if he had just awakened from a two-year slumber.This win was very important for the Basque squad because it took them away from the relegation zone, it was all thanks to this impressive display from Iñaki Williams, the very first black race player produced in the Athletic Club youth academy.All he needs is more consistency because he already has great talent.El mejor gol de Iñaki Williams fue este contra el racismo. pic.twitter.com/ZcGoN2uTEN— Fonsi Loaiza (@FonsiLoaiza) January 13, 2019What does Iñaki Williams need in order to gain more consistency as a footballer for Athletic Club Bilbao? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.
“Why is this so life-affirming?” Lexi asks me. “I feel like someone’s pouring hot chocolate into my soul.”Tucked away in a finished basement, I’m watching her trek through her own virtual reality. I’m there to watch over her and keep her safe because she’s just taken a few grams of psychedelic mushrooms.For as long as dystopian cyberpunk has been a thing, virtual reality has been looming over us as one of many future-bound apocalyptic scenarios. The story goes that virtual spaces will be so much better, so much more satisfying than reality that we’ll simply cease to be people. As with any mind-altering tech, though, there’s a wave of people hoping that this tech will enhance their life. Taking cues from earlier movements, these neo-psychonauts are the first wave of explorers, hoping to find pieces of themselves scattered across hallucinogen-augmented virtual landscape.AdChoices广告While the name has come to refer to a popular, mid 2000s adventure game, “psychonauts” was originally used to describe those who explored the mind. “In the same way and for the same reasons cosmonauts explore the cosmos, I want to see the deepest parts of myself,” Lexi tells me. “VR is just one more tool in that kit.”“Lexi” asks me to use her pseudonym, for obvious reasons, but she’s far from alone in her journeys. Entire communities have sprung up around the concept. With the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and even cheaper options like Galaxy VR and Google Cardboard, programmers, designers, artists, and musicians have been trading around VR games and VR-enhanced songs.“They’re a lot like the old Mind’s Eye movies,” she says. “You’ll start somewhere normal like a messy bedroom in a suburban house… but in moments you’re transported out of everything.”As I watch her float through space on my screen, I see wondrous shape-shifting voids that slowly turn into faces, then four dark figures reaching towards her, before they melt into a golden pyramid.“In pop culture we’re sold this fuzzy idea of what tripping looks like. It’s weird, there are crazy shapes everywhere, and it’s often this really scary place. That only happens with insane dosages. Most people just feel closer to everything, euphoric. Yeah it’s not the real world, but it’s not entirely foreign either.” With these games and videos, though, that’s not the case. They are exactly what most of us imagine what we think an acid trip is like. And that’s the kicker, Lexi says, this gets you closer to a world that doesn’t exist. It’s one thing to feel more connected to yourself and to the real world you live in, but navigating these spaces and connecting to them can connect you to things that go beyond reality because, she reflects, “VR can show you anything.”She takes a rest, I get her some water and a bit of food before she takes another dose. She carefully breaks apart the mushrooms and sprinkles them over a burger before drowning it in ketchup.“They taste like shit. The worst.”When she jumps back in, she wants to start up something a bit calmer, so we load up Tilt Brush. A simple app that’s a bit like Microsoft Paint in VR. She’s used the program before, but this is the first time she tries it while tripping.“This is going to be amazing,” she tells me with a sinister grin.It starts out simple enough — she rotates the controllers on her Vive to change her brush type, and then she starts painting. She flips between a few backgrounds before settling on one that surrounds her with stars and gets to work.She starts by selecting a brush called “hypercolor,” and carves into her reality what any giddy, tripping 20-something might — drawing three dimensional penises. As she puts the finishing touches on her first scrotum she can’t help but cackle.“Wait, I have an idea!” she belts excitedly. “Fire!”Seconds later I’m watching this digital phallic mural ejaculate fire in all the colors of the rainbow. Lexi’s joy is infectious. At this point it’s not about the literal concept of a penis coming flames as it is her marvel at such a ridiculous image enveloping her. She painted it in a circle around where she stood so that the whole eight-foot behemoth was everywhere she looked.“Wanna see?” she giggles before tearing off the headset and calling me over.Sure enough, it’s a striking site, crudely doodled pubic hairs and all. I could see her detached fascination with the strangeness of the human body filtered through the lens of technology. It was just as edifying for me as I started thinking about how strange genitals and what so many choose to do with them are. But just as I felt myself tilting into my own reflexive high, she shouted, “My turn!”Like a real-world manic pixie dream girl, she bounced around eager to see as many weird things as she could before the psychedelics wore off. But at this point, she was pretty far gone.She walked around some packed-in three-dimensional paintings. A space-bound dragon. An elaborate snowman. And a giant red mushroom flecked with white which sent her into another giggle fit, before quipping, “I’m on those!” After a few minutes, she went back to trying to make something herself, but she didn’t get very far.After carefully scrolling through the available brushes she found one called “rainbows,” that she greeted with a charming “ooooh.” She grabbed her virtual brush and twirled around tracing a descending spiral of rotating colors. When she stood back up to look at her work she paused and took off the headset.“Oh my god. There’s rainbows. Raaaaaaainbows.” She fell to the floor and started crying, “I just need to take a second to cry from happiness.” She looked up at me with teary, gleeful eyes before muttering once again, “There are rainbows.”We spend the rest of the time talking, digesting what she’d done and seen. Her trip’s a gentle rollercoaster, short bursts of sobriety punctuating bits of contented incoherence. Through it though, she was mostly lucid — her experience just altered, augmented. She’d focus on the lines or patterns in the ceiling or on a baseboard before referencing Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” and the idea that our lives are meaningless in the sea of reality.When she comes down for the final time, it’s calming, gentle. She’s just back, but more serene. More contented. The effect lasts for weeks, she later tells me. She doesn’t take another dose for a while, but she feels that she’s just… better.If Lexi’s emblematic of other VR psychonauts, I can’t imagine this being the world-ending technology that some may fear. Her experiences have been transformative, and while that’s hardly rare, it hasn’t come to dominate her life. More it’s just the occasional accent to otherwise pleasant being.
Thursday, March 16, 2017 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Transat AT blames higher fuel prices, weak dollar for Q1 losses Posted by Tags: Air Transat, Profit Report MONTREAL — Transat AT Inc. says fluctuations in the Canadian dollar and higher fuel costs have hampered its attempts to return to sustainable profits.The Montreal-based travel company says it had a $32.1 million net loss in its first quarter ended Jan. 31, nearly half of the $61.2 million net loss in the same period a year earlier.It says that was mostly because of a favourable swing in the value of derivatives used to offset the impact of higher fuel prices.However, Transat’s adjusted net loss grew from $30.4 million to $36 million as costs rose due to rising fuel prices and the weaker loonie.Revenue dropped by $36.4 million to $689.3 million as the company cut the number of Sun destination packages.Transat’s net loss equalled 87 cents per share and its adjusted loss was 98 cents per share.
No related posts. By Carlos A, Sandi | AFPBy Latin American standards of turbulence and strife, Costa Rica stands apart as a breath of fresh air and bastion of human rights.But now it’s under fire for a new media law criticized as a gut punch to freedom of the press at a time when corruption scandals here sprout like mushrooms.In enacting the law, this small Central American country with no army and a Nobel Peace laureate to its credit – former President Oscar Arias – seems to be emulating bigger Latin American neighbors with populist leaders that often tangle with or otherwise crack down on the press. These include Argentina, Venezuela and Ecuador.Costa Rica is tiptoeing into this arena – the president already sounds apologetic over the new law – but the legislation is indeed right there on the books and in force since last week.It is framed as being part of a drive against cybercrime and says reporters can go to jail for “improperly” obtaining information of a confidential nature.One of the most reviled articles is No. 288, which allows for jail terms of up to 10 years for anyone who publishes “secret political information.”It punishes people who “unduly” obtain information on defense or foreign affairs issues, or which affects the country’s fight against drug trafficking or organized crime.The criticism has been scathing. The bill was introduced in 2009 and approved in June, even though the congressional Human Rights Commission was then examining an alternative law proposed by news executives.The citizens’ ombudsman’s office says it is going to court to challenge the law as unconstitutional.“It is a law that is going to curb freedom of expression and information, and which is not only going to affect the news media,” said José Rodolfo Ibarra, president of the Costa Rican Journalists Association.Critics say the law is especially offensive given Costa Rica’s tradition as a defender of human rights and freedom of expression.Media executives say it is the press that has exposed countless cases of corruption, including three involving former presidents – two of whom went to prison.“In recent decades, the main allegations against corrupt people, both public and private figures, came from the news media,” said Ignacio Santos, director of the TV news program Telenoticias on Channel 7.“It is a law that is going to have very serious impact on the development of the investigative journalism done in this country,” added Roxana Zúñiga, director of Noticias Repretel on Channel 6.Faced with the onslaught of criticism, President Laura Chinchilla issued a statement promising to tone down the law and not go hard on journalists.But Ibarra of the journalists’ association said that conciliatory spin was too late, as the law was already approved and in a big rush. Reporters Without Borders said she should simply have scrapped the law.“Legislation that is so opposed to the guarantees offered in our constitution in the areas of freedom of expression and information should have led to a presidential veto,” the association said.Costa Rica has ample company as a country now criticized over its treatment of the press.The Inter-American Press Association said last year that freedom of the press in Latin America faces threats from government attempts at control in Venezuela and Ecuador.It said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is at outright “war” with the press and has the ultimate goal of controlling digital media.In Argentina, media giant Clarín says President Cristina Kirchner is now trying to silence an opposition press by forcing the media group to sell off some radio and TV licenses or see them auctioned off. Facebook Comments
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways (BA), has denounced the government’s newly introduced Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax as a disgrace. The APD will have a huge adverse effect on developing countries’ economies as well as Britain’s, Mr Walsh said in a Fly.co.uk report.The tax currently raises £2.3 billion for the Treasury every year, but Walsh says that the APD is set to generate £3.8 billion by 2015 with a 65 per cent increase. He warned that rising passenger numbers couldn’t meet the rate of increase of the tax, noting that the levy on individual passengers would need to rise to keep pace. The airline chief cited developing countries such as the Caribbean as being negatively impacted – 12 per cent fall in arrivals to the region from the UK has been witnessed ever since the APD raised the cost of a family-of-four holiday from £120 to £200. Other islands have seen a 25 per cent decline in arrivals from Britain. Mr Walsh said the obsession with aviation taxes will harm carriers and their goodwill, as UK carriers have been relatively more hurt by the APD than carriers in Europe who weren’t burdened with a similar tax.The proposed per-plane tax from the coalition government, he added, could suffocate BA’s efforts to develop in the Caribbean under the increasing levies.
By Andria KadesEight years after Cyprus’ last construction bubble burst, the rate at which properties and projects are springing up across the country are quickly changing the industry which was stagnant for so many years.In Limassol, high-rise after high-rise buildings are popping up with dozens more in the pipeline. The city is also gearing up for the first integrated casino resort set to open in 2021.Head of the Limassol branch of the construction workers association Yiannis Markides told the Sunday Mail that already there was a shortage of specialist construction workers in the industry.“There is a need for people in the workforce,” he said.“For a lot of the tall towers and the casino, works haven’t started yet. There is a lot of development coming in the future.”According to the interior ministry, the government issued building permits for 25 high-rise buildings in the first three months of the year and 60 more are pending, most of them in Limassol.Markides said when construction begins for the dozens of tall buildings, then the gap in the market will really start to become obvious.At the moment, demand is high particularly for certain levels of expertise as many of the projects underway are new to the island and the local workforce.For instance, Markides said formwork workers and iron smiths in particular, are in demand for the initial construction phase when the building ‘skeleton’ is being constructed.“There are many from Greece here carrying out this work. In Cyprus, they don’t have the expertise and experience to do that.”Because the brunt of the construction work has yet to begin, a full picture has yet to emerge.Athanasiou developers and Askanis Group, both told the Sunday Mail they had no issue with a shortage of supply of construction workers. Cybarco, which has taken on the casino project did not wish to comment.Zavos, Garpozis and Evangelou & Frantzis were not immediately available for comment.Pandelis Leptos, who heads the Cyprus land and building developers association and is the director of real estate company Leptos Group, told the Sunday Mail that at the moment, the workers in Cyprus were enough to match the demand.Many of those who worked in construction lost their jobs either after the end of the building boom in 2010-11 or after the full-blown 2013 financial crisis hit the island.“Those people such as a specialised iron worker couldn’t work somewhere else. They couldn’t be a waiter for instance,” Leptos said.Now that there is growth however, many of those who were left unemployed will be able to find work with a whole host of jobs opening up.Additionally, many of those who were left without a job went abroad in a bid to find work. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Emirates were particularly attractive. Now that the local market is expanding, many of these workers will opt to come back to their home country, Leptos estimates.“I myself hired Cypriots who were in the Emirates.”Asked whether there would be a need to bring in non-Cypriot workers from abroad, his assessment was that this might happen but was not the case right now.“We might need more but the EU market is open if we need it.”For Dynacon construction company operating out of Limassol however, the situation is pretty dire for finding skilled workers.In the space of the past six months, many workers have demanded an increase in their salary to the tune of about 10 to 15 per cent.“The growth in Limassol happened very quickly,” and started about a year ago.It’s not just the high-rise buildings, civil engineer for Dynacon, Demetris Christofides told the Sunday Mail.There’s a whole host of projects, offices, and flats that are being constructed and it isbecoming more common for construction workers to demand higher salaries.“There’s a shortage of staff in all specialties. From iron smiths, formwork workers, builders, electricians.”Cyprus’ construction sector output rose last year 25 per cent to €752.9m compared to 2016, which is roughly one third of the all-time high of 2008.Figures showing registered unemployed construction workers are decreasing by the month. In the beginning of 2018, 2,376 workers were registered as unemployed in the industry.By July, the number was 1889.According to Christofides, the shortage of staff is a result of fewer young people joining the industry, former workers having retired but also several former construction workers nowreceive GMI (guaranteed minimum income) and want the money paid to them in cash under the table so they can continue to receive their benefits.The company doesn’t want to do anything off the books and therefore is struggling even more. At the moment, they are trying to get current employees to work more hours where they can or to purchase services from other companies.“It’s going to get worse.”Asked if the possibility of hiring foreign workers was in the air, Christofides said it’s a difficult feat as there are expenses which need to be considered but also the language.There are already employees from Greece but they weren’t headhunted and brought to the island. They came of their own accord looking for work and were hired. This meant the employer’s responsibility for helping workers find accommodation and cover those expenses is not – at the moment at least – an issue. Accommodation costs for workers are a serious issue for Limassol where rents are so high.Other EU-workers that were in Cyprus and worked in construction were largely here because they too came to the island looking for work independently and so had their own expenses covered.Many of them left after the crisis however, Christofides said.Markides cited an example where a company owner wanted a specialised mechanic from Greece because he couldn’t find one in Cyprus.“He had to bring the mechanic with his family but it was very difficult to find them an affordable place for rent.”Of course, the company owner paid the rent expenses.Smaller companies will also struggle to afford such expenses, particularly if their projects are not on a large scale.On the other hand, Leptos believes that there are many apartments available across the country – particularly in Paphos, Larnaca and Nicosia that can be utilised.The workers could commute, or if the companies wanted them based in Limassol, they wouldn’t be on the coast where rent prices are soaring, but further out of town.“They would take the cost into account for their expenses.”Nonetheless, according to Markides, gaps in the market he says exist will become far more obvious in about two years’ time when construction really gets going.“The government needs to prepare a national strategy over this. We can’t wait until the last minute again.”You May LikeNoteableyHotel Concierge Won’t Tell Guests These Simple Room HacksNoteableyUndocoffeebeans.com for Angelino'sAngelino’s Can Save You Money On Your Keurig K-Cupscoffeebeans.com for Angelino’sUndoseriouslaBaby Walrus Jumps On Ship, Gets So Attached With The Sailors He Refuses To LeaveseriouslaUndo At least 20 killed, 50 injured in attack on VP candidate’s office in KabulUndoTwo days of music to dance toUndoBale’s China move called off by Real MadridUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Rep. Brett Roberts offered the following statement:“Last night, my colleagues and I voted on a plan that would have slightly reduced Michigan’s income tax. I wasn’t able to support that plan for a number of different reasons.“Just more than a year ago, the Michigan Legislature asked residents for money to fix potholes, roads, and bridges across the state. A good portion of this money comes from Michigan’s general fund. Because our general fund is supported directly by the income tax, it’s possible that the funding previously dedicated for road repairs would be in danger.“Without a list of budget areas that would need to be cut under this plan, I’m not comfortable voting for it. Creating a $1.1 billion shortfall in the state’s budget threatens local schools, fire services, police services, and municipal revenue sharing. These are not services that our communities can go without. Impulsively voting on this measure without knowing its effect on the budget is irresponsible and reckless.“Under this plan, an average, middle-class family would see a savings of about $3 per week. I’d much rather sacrifice a cup of coffee than pay for a costly repair to my car, and I think a lot of Michiganders share that sentiment.“Over the last few weeks, I’ve had an overwhelming number of constituents reach out to me, asking me to vote against this irresponsible change. While I saw the problems with this plan myself, turning my back on my fellow constituents is simply not an option. I’m here to be their voice, and their voices told me to vote ‘no.’“I look forward to hearing more from our neighbors in the district on all issues in the future.”###Representative Brett Roberts, R-Charlotte, is a sixth-generation farmer and lifelong resident of Eaton County. Categories: Roberts News 23Feb Rep. Roberts issues statement on income tax vote
23May Rep. Kahle’s crowdfunding bill gains House approval Legislation expands opportunities for small businessesRep. Bronna Kahle, center, recently welcomed Tecumseh Brewing Co. co-founder Kyle DeWitt, left, and city of Adrian Economic Development Coordinator Chris Miller, right, to speak in support of legislation she sponsored to increase opportunities for small businesses to crowdfund in Michigan.State Rep. Bronna Kahle’s legislation to update Michigan’s investment crowdfunding law, the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption, recently received overwhelming bipartisan approval in the Michigan House of Representatives.Michigan first adopted rules allowing crowdfunding in 2013. Currently, the law only allows Michigan residents to invest in Michigan-based businesses. Kahle’s legislation will expand the program so people can also invest in small businesses primarily doing business in the state and allows Michigan’s law to remain active under new Federal regulations.“Crowdfunding has created numerous opportunities for start-ups by allowing Michigan residents to invest in Michigan-based businesses,” Kahle said. “Expanding these investment options to more businesses will provide opportunities for further economic growth in our state.”Kahle recently welcomed Chris Miller, economic development coordinator for the city of Adrian, and Kyle DeWitt, general manager and co-founder of Tecumseh Brewing Co., to speak in support of the legislation before the House Commerce and Trade Committee. Tecumseh Brewing Co. was the first Michigan business to use crowdfunding to come up with start-up costs.“We didn’t come from money, so we really had to build from the ground up to get the funds we needed,” DeWitt said. “We owe a lot to crowdfunding. It was a great program for us. It allowed us to add 20 jobs to our community and help out with community service projects.”Miller said: “Michigan is one of the leading states in the ‘local capital’ movement that has swept across the country over the last three years. Investment crowdfunding, where all residents can invest in local businesses, is a powerful tool for communities across the state as they work to compete in the global economy. Representative Kahle’s bill to extend Michigan’s 2013 law is critical to continue Michigan’s leadership, and we appreciate Representative Kahle’s sponsorship and support for this important legislation.”House Bill 4305 now moves to the Senate Commerce Committee for consideration.### Categories: Kahle News