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Australian Open: Serena Williams outclasses Belinda Bencic in opening round

first_imgSerena Williams took her first step toward Australian Open title No. 7 and Grand Slam singles championship No. 23 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Belinda Bencic.Williams broke the Swiss player’s service in the 10th game to clinch the first set. In the second set, she pulled out to a 5-0 lead but Bencic staged a comeback, breaking Williams’ serve the first time she served for the match.Serving for the match at 5-3, Williams double-faulted on her first match point before clinching it on her second when Bencic netted a backhand.The last time the pair met – in the Toronto semifinals in 2015 – Bencic won in three sets.Williams lost the Australian Open final last year to Angelique Kerber but won last year’s Wimbledon title to equal Steffi Graf’s Open era mark of 22 Grand Slam singles titles.Williams will play Lucie Safarova, who beat Yanina Wickmayer on Tuesday, in the second round.PLISKOVA CRUISESKarolina Pliskova has backed up her strong performance at last year’s U.S. Open with a first-round win at Melbourne Park, beating Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-2, 6-0 to open play Tuesday at Rod Laver Arena.The fifth-seeded Pliskova, who beat Serena Williams in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows last year before losing the U.S. Open final to Angelique Kerber, took a 4-1 first-set lead in under 20 minutes.Pliskova has never advanced past the third round at Melbourne Park, losing each of the last two years at that stage to Ekaterina Makarova.KONTA BEATS FLIPKENSadvertisementJohanna Konta has won her opening match at Melbourne Park, beating Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 7-5, 6-2 to open play Tuesday at Margaret Court Arena.Konta was a surprise semifinalist at last year’s Australian Open, kick-starting a strong 2016 season which saw her break into the top 10 by the end of last year.The British player won last week’s Sydney International, dominating No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets in the final.last_img read more

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Mohammed Siraj thanks Virat Kohli for having dinner at his home

first_imgRoyal Challengers Bangalore fast bowler Mohammed Siraj on Tuesday thanked his captain Virat Kohli for visiting his house in Hyderabad.RCB were in Hyderabad this week for their must-win clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad and have the opportunity to pay a visit to Siraj’s house for some lip-smacking biryani and korma.On Sunday, after practice, Kohli and a few other RCB players including Parthiv Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal reached Siraj’s home at Tolichowki where they were treated to some authentic Hyderabadi biryani along with patthar ka gosht, korma, khoobani ka mertha and double ka meetha.Siraj took to Instagram to thank the India skipper and posted a couple of pictures with him as well.”Thank you VK Bhaiyya @virat.kohli, The BEST-EST gift I have ever received in my life,” Siraj wrote in his post.RCB have been struggling in the Indian Premier League this season having registered just three wins from 10 matches and are languishing in seventh spot in the table with 6 points.They lost their last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad by 5 runs which meant that they are now virtually out of reckoning for a place in the play-offs.advertisementKohli personally has been in terrific form with the bat scoring 396 runs in 10 matches at an average of 49.50 with three fifties and a highest score of 92 not out.He is fifth in the highest run-getters list this season and tops the batting charts overall, leading Suresh Raina by 13 runs with 4814 runs in 159 games at 38.20 including four hundreds and 33 half-centuries.Siraj on the other hand, has been quite impressive for the second season in succession with 7 wickets in as many games at 32.57 and an economy rate of 8.76, which is pretty good in this format.The 24-year-old had produced his best bowling figures of 3 for 25 this season in the last game against SRH but it went in vain as RCB were restricted to 141/6 in chase of 146 in 20 overs.last_img read more

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What We Learned in the Oklahoma State-West Virginia Game

first_imgAs has become a Monday tradition around here, it’s time to look back on Saturday’s game and talk about what we learned. A lot took place1. J.W. Walsh is paramount (KP)I had Walsh ranked No. 13 on my preseason list of which player was most important to this year’s team. Turns out that might have been a little (or a lot) too low. Walsh closed like a boss in Morgantown and has been helping OSU’s red zone offense bolster its touchdown percentage all season (from 50 percent last year to 60 percent this season).I’ve thought Walsh to be important as a backup and spot-player all year. Now I just see him as an extra part of the offense (like another running back).2. This defense has no apparent weakenesses (KB)Despite the fact that the Cowboys lost Vili Levini, the projected starter at one of the defensive tackle positions, the run game has been superb. The run defense doesn’t rank in the top 50, but the red zone defense has been its saving grace, ranking T-29th in the country.3. Chad Whitener is adequate (KP)That sounds like a dig, but it’s not. To say someone is an adequate fill-in for Ryan Simmons is to say that player is really good at football. He finished with 11 tackles, a fumble recovery and this forced fumble.4. McCleskey is the permanent red zone decoyI didn’t go back and watch the film on this, but how many times did McCleskey go in pre-snap motion but never actually get the ball in the red zone? The Walsh package provides McCleskey as an option in the red zone, and obviously, last week at K-State proved he’s got some wheels. But stretch plays with the current state of the offense are going to be few and far between moving forward, especially until the offensive line settles in.5. Marcell Ateman feels like the go-to guy (KP)I’m not sure if this is a reality or just what I feel compelled should happen during a game, but Ateman seems like the dude I want Rudolph going to if he has to have 15 yards. I could also be talked into Brandon Sheperd, but it’s impressive that No. 3 has worked his way into the conversation after a career of unfulfilled expectations.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

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Ferrari might have cracked it but F1 gimmicks get short shrift

first_imgTopics Share on Messenger Right call not conspiracyLeclerc was aggrieved at the pitstop strategy where Vettel passed him for track position and ultimately the win. However, after being debriefed by the team the Monegasque accepted their decision to pit Vettel first made sense. Theories that Ferrari were favouring Vettel after Leclerc failed to give him a tow in qualifying at Monza simply do not hold up. Instead Ferrari made another well-judged strategy call, reflecting a team operationally on form. In first and third on track, they pitted Vettel to cover Max Verstappen and with hope that he might undercut Hamilton. They, as with every other team, had not anticipated the huge undercut that the hard tyres offered – a 3.9-second advantage. Vettel flew on his out lap while Leclerc, despite the pedestrian pace of the first 19 laps, discovered that, when asked to push, his soft tyres had gone. Both were circumstances the team had not expected, rather than conspiracy. Their call was undeniably right. They had a one-two on track and had forced Mercedes into an alternate strategy that failed.Mercedes wrong-footedNot only did Ferrari find outstanding pace but Mercedes were not at their usual level of flawless execution. Ferrari went all out for a qualifying setup, which proved to be vital. With Ferrari’s weakness through slow corners Mercedes, understandably perhaps, expected to have an advantage and had consequently concentrated on a strong race setup. They were clearly quicker on the long runs in practice but come Saturday morning, when the Ferraris came alive, the Mercedes’ single-lap pace looked under threat and so it was. With track position so important Ferrari’s qualifying allowed them to dictate the race, hence the slow pace at the start to back up the midfield to prevent an aggressive undercut from behind. Mercedes then rejected Hamilton’s request to try an undercut and their gamble to send him long failed. Their chief strategist, James Vowles, admitted responsibility. Mercedes, however, will doubtless learn their lessons. Similar miscalculations in Germany were immediately followed by a strategic masterclass in Hungary. Mercedes GP Short shrift for reverse gridsF1’s sporting director, Ross Brawn, has long been considering the format of race weekends as part of his process of reinventing the sport for 2021. He has said they are to try some new ideas in 2020, especially for Friday and Saturday – including the possibility of a sprint race and changes to qualifying. Ferrari’s team principal, Mattia Binotto, has said these have, in principle, already been agreed for three races in 2020.One of the ideas that has been mooted, however, was dismissed by drivers in Singapore – that of replacing qualifying with a sprint race started in reverse championship order. Hamilton sighed with frustration at the concept. “The people who proposed that don’t really know what they are talking about,” he said. Vettel described it as: “Complete bullshit. I don’t know which genius came up with that.” Other series such as F2 do use reverse grids but, much as F1 can adapt, this would be a gimmick beneath the sport. The drivers’ reactions suggest it will not be part of the three race test weekends next season.Singapore needs a revampMuch as Marina Bay at night sells its rich visual spectacle, on track the race was again less than gripping. Indeed , for all that broadcasters eulogise over how it looks, with grandiose helicopter shots of pleasure palace hotels looming over the circuit, it is simply window dressing for a race where out at the front it was a procession decided by strategy. Had it taken place in daylight, this would have been eerily similar to some of the least enlivening meetings at Valencia.There was overtaking and there were battles lower in the field but largely because of drivers being out of position. Hamilton asked the media if they had been “bored” and described it as “worse than Monaco almost”. It is a tough mental and physical test but that does not translate well into entertainment for fans. Nor does the near impossibility of overtaking in similarly matched cars, as proved by the top six. Hamilton at least had a suggestion that the organisers might think on: if the final corner were a tight hairpin, drivers could close properly on one another before the straight. Lewis Hamilton had to settle for fourth place. Photograph: Pixathlon/REX/Shutterstock Pinterest Ferrari step forwardThe Scuderia’s one-two in Singapore suggested they may finally have brought the SF90 up to speed. Struggling through slow corners all season, the car at Marina Bay, with a swathe of upgrades, had the grip on turn-in and balance that allowed Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel really to attack the corners. Leclerc’s qualifying lap was a stunning piece of driving but he was able to do it because the car was where he wanted it. Though they looked resurgent, chicken counting is premature. As Lewis Hamilton pointed out, you do not find 30 points of downforce from nowhere. The car was once more in its window but it clearly works well on the C5 compound of tyre – the softest rubber Pirelli can offer. It was last used in Canada where Vettel also found the sweet spot. They have without doubt made a major improvement but performances in Sochi and Suzuka will prove just how far they have come. If Ferrari do maintain this form, they will be at the front of the field. Reuse this content Read more Ferrari Facebook … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Facebook Formula One Lewis Hamilton admits that Ferrari hold advantage on the track Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Formula One 2019 Support The Guardian Since you’re here… Share on Pinterest features Share via Email Motor sport Share on Twitter Twitter last_img read more

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Government Releases Independent Hydraulic Fracturing Review Report

first_imgEnergy Minister Andrew Younger has received, and publicly released, an independent review of hydraulic fracturing today, Aug. 28. David Wheeler, president of Cape Breton University, was commissioned to review the social, economic, environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing, and make recommendations about its current and future role in Nova Scotia’s onshore petroleum industry. “We appreciate the efforts of Dr. Wheeler and his panel to help inform government’s decision on whether or not hydraulic fracturing should be a part of Nova Scotia’s onshore oil and gas development,” said Mr. Younger. “It will be considered along with other sources of work and input to reach our conclusion.” The review started in August 2013. All submissions, presentations and documents for the hydraulic fracturing review are available online at www.cbu.ca/hfstudy . “Nova Scotians are very interested in this subject,” said Mr. Younger. “I have read every letter that has come across my desk representing all points of view on this issue. I will consider the hydraulic fracturing review report as part of our decision on hydraulic fracturing and will respond to the report once we’ve had a chance to review it thoroughly.” For more information on the independent hydraulic fracturing review, and to download the report, go to energy.novascotia.ca/oil-and-gas/onshore/hydraulic-fracturing-review .last_img read more

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Africas historic pivot

first_imgThe year 2018 was marked by tremendous economic and political turbulence around the world. And yet, for future historians, it may well be the year when Africa started to claim its intellectual and economic-policy independence. The unlikely trigger for what could turn out to be a continent-wide strategic shift was Rwanda’s decision to increase tariffs on imported secondhand clothes and footwear in support of its local garment industry. This provoked an immediate hostile response from the US, which suspended duty-free status for Rwandan textile exports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), America’s flagship trade legislation for the continent. Also Read – A special kind of bondFor a small, landlocked African country that relies heavily on trade, this was a big deal. But the fact that Rwanda held its ground confirmed that times have changed. If Rwanda is willing to risk preferential access to the US market in order to develop its domestic garment industry, then it must be confident that it will find alternative markets for its exports. Meanwhile, other African countries have also adopted a more independent attitude vis-à-vis the major trading powers. Also Read – Insider threat managementAfrican governments have increasingly been taking a stand on a wide range of potentially controversial issues, including trade policy in East Africa, land redistribution in Southern Africa, and macro-economic and debt-management policies in North Africa. African governments’ motive for stepping up now is not only economic; it is also about dignity, intellectual freedom, and a willingness to risk charting one’s own course. And, more broadly, African leaders recognise that the ongoing transformation of the global economy means that no country will have enough power to impose its strategic preferences on others, even when they are much smaller, as in the case of Rwanda and the US. Empirical research from the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows that tariff reductions and market access have become much less relevant for economic growth than was the case a generation ago.Trade is no longer about manufacturing a product in one country and selling it elsewhere; rather, it is about cooperating across borders and time zones to minimise production costs and maximise market coverage. The WEF estimates that “Reducing supply chain barriers to trade could increase [global] GDP up to six times more than removing tariffs.” If all countries could bring the performance of border administration, together with transport and communications infrastructure, up to just half the level of global best practice, global GDP would grow by $2.6 trillion (4.7 per cent), and total exports would increase by $1.6 trillion (14.5 per cent). By comparison, the complete elimination of all tariffs worldwide would boost global GDP by only $400 billion (0.7 per cent), and exports by $1.1 trillion (10.1 per cent). Clearly, global value chains are now the dominant framework for trade. And, as we have seen, African countries such as Rwanda (as well as Ethiopia and Morocco) are already taking advantage of this paradigm shift. Rather than wasting time in unproductive policy discussions over tariffs, they are redirecting their strategies to focus on trade facilitation. True, today’s trade wars have disrupted international supply chains and will continue to do so. But new constraints will also stimulate creativity and innovation. For example, as Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics points out, “In the light of advances in technologies such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence, it is not far-fetched to imagine that businesses could manufacture domestically the intermediate products that they currently import.” In this case, the trade would continue apace, “but the product mix would shift from intermediate to final products.” Moreover, in an increasingly multipolar world, low-income countries will not have to rely solely on the West for financing and policy ideas (though they will have to be mindful of the risks of indebtedness and precarious governance frameworks). Even as global commerce has undergone a tectonic shift, traditional development thinking, policies, and practices have not. Meanwhile, as the major emerging economies pursue technological and industrial development to escape the “middle-income trap,” they are altering the distribution of roles and responsibilities across the global production system. Owing to the economic success of countries such as China, Vietnam, and Indonesia, other low-income economies in Africa and elsewhere now have substantial opportunities to boost employment in labour-intensive industries. After all, China now produces many of the high-value-added goods that once were the exclusive preserve of advanced economies. As China and others continue climbing the industrial and technological ladder, the necessary relocation of large parts of their supply chains to lower-cost countries will affect the costing and pricing of goods and labour everywhere. But developing countries can actually use their latecomer status to reap substantial economic benefits. Despite the wildly exaggerated threat of automation, African countries, in particular, can exploit their lower factor costs to promote successful labour-intensive industries in which they have a comparative advantage. For example, African countries can lower the cost of doing business by building strategically located production clusters and industrial parks (including for green industries). They are also in a strong position to attract foreign direct investment, which brings the positive externalities of technology and know-how transfer, managerial best practices, state-of-the-art learning, and access to large global markets. If managed properly, this two-pronged approach could provide ample employment for a low-skilled labour force, while rapidly increasing fiscal revenues. And this, in turn, would allow for improvements to infrastructure in other areas, thus creating the conditions for long-term prosperity and social stability. While trade agreements such as the AGOA are still very important to African countries, broader economic and technological changes are opening up new opportunities, and smart policymakers are seizing them. This is a pivotal moment in North-South relations. After centuries of being politically and intellectually tethered to advanced economies with little to show for it, Africa is striking out on a new path of self-affirmation. In this quest for prosperity, African leaders and policymakers have proved ready to withstand sanctions, threats, and setbacks. They may not all have read Nietzsche, but they know that what “does not kill us, makes us stronger”. (Célestin Monga is vice president and chief economist of the African Development Bank Group. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

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CIRQUE DU SOLEIL UNLOCKS THE MYSTERIES OF AWE

first_img Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Key Findings of the “Science of Awe” StudyGoing beyond the traditional survey-based studies, the experiment combined advanced brain-monitoring technology during live Cirque du Soleil performances with specifically developed artificial intelligence software to capture and measure awe in action.The study found that experiencing awe:Leads to fully living the moment. This finding suggests that in a state of awe, we draw our focus away from our never-ending thoughts and distractions and into the sights and sounds around us. Somehow awe packs enough disruptive punch to immerse ourselves into an experience.Enhances our willingness to step into the unknown, including an openness and a disposition to ask questions, lean into new experiences, and be more empathetic toward others.Increases our tolerance to risk, creating a lower need for cognitive control and a decreased need to “be right” and the ability to accept information in a less biased manner. This ultimately contributes to an increased curiosity and overall desire to step into the unknown.Recalibrates our feelings about the future and reshapes our perceptions about the past. Perhaps the most striking study discovery, this re-framing of one’s positive sense of self may magnify the behavioral effects of an awe experience and suggests a mechanism for more persistent behavioral change. This reinforces the hypothesis that awe may one day be used to foster psychological wellness.Puts the brain in a state of bliss, counteracting the effect of stress and reflecting neural characteristics associated with those induced by psychedelics.Can lead to increased creativity. Explained by a greater activity in the default mode network, a brain function most commonly associated with self-related thinking, such as meditation, which plays a large role when reflecting on the self or others«This study helped us understand the intricacies of the emotional response we trigger in our audience during our shows, » expresses Kristina Heney, Chief Marketing and Experience Officer at Cirque du Soleil. « These findings confirm that art, through the emotions it triggers, is powerful and can be transformative. In a way, it’s bigger than us. Understanding the true impacts of awe is something that we wanted to share with all artists and creators of entertainment to help spread awe into this world. »The “Science of Awe” MethodologyDuring 10 different Cirque du Soleil performances of “O” in Las Vegas, a total of 280 audience members participated in the experiment, some of which wore state-of-the-art EEG “brain caps,” enabling study administrators to record the neural responses of 23 different “awe moments” during the show. All participants were asked to respond to a series of perception and psychological experiments before and after the show or were prompted via an iPad to report any feelings of awe, providing scientists with deeper, psychological and behavioral insights related to awe.“For the first time, we are able to begin to see what awe ‘looks like’ inside the brain giving us the ability to create an artificial intelligence system that can predict when awe is being experienced,” explains Dr. Beau Lotto, lead neuroscientist at Lab of Misfits. “The findings are even more important than anticipated. This is a significant development in our understanding of awe and allows us to answer some critical questions related to one of the most essential human perceptions. Awe creates the possibility to expand our space of possibility. It has the power to transform not only our own lives but can also help us to change the lives of others” continued Lotto.For more on the “Science of Awe” study results, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/awe and to consult media materials, please click here.About Cirque du Soleil Entertainment GroupOriginally composed of 20 street performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group completely reinvented circus arts and went on to become a world leader in live entertainment. Established in Montreal, the Canadian organization has brought wonder and delight to over 190 million spectators with productions presented in close to 450 cities in 60 countries. Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group currently has over 4,000 employees, including 1,400 artists, from nearly 50 countries.Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group creates content for a broad range of audacious projects. On top of producing world-renowned shows, the organization has extended its creative approach to a large variety of entertainment forms such as multimedia productions, immersive experiences, theme parks and special events. Going beyond its various creations, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group aims to make a positive impact on people, communities and the planet with its most important tools: creativity and art. For more information about Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, please go to cdsentertainmentgroup.com.About the Lab of MisfitsThe Lab of Misfits Studio, founded by Neuro-scientist, Dr Beau Lotto, is the world’s first neuro-design studio and public perception research space. The Lab of Misfits turns the world into a lab as a way of enabling insights for companies and organizations.The lab creates unique real-world ‘experiential-experiments’ that places the public at the centre of the process of discovery. By spanning social and personal boundaries between people, brands and institutions, our aim is to create, expand and apply insights into what it is to be a perceiving human. For more information about Lab of Misfits, please go to www.labofmisfits.com. Advertisement MONTREAL and NEW YORK – The celebrated imaginators at Cirque du Soleil—whose own work has been described by critics as “awe-inspiring”—partnered with Lab of Misfits, renowned creative neuroscience group led by human perceptions expert Dr. Beau Lotto, to conduct an ambitious study on the emotion of awe.   The findings uncovered powerful and potentially far-reaching dimensions, suggesting that awe may ultimately be what drives our desire to step forward into a world of uncertainty in search for answers. Moreover, the study suggests that experiencing awe enables an apparent ability to raise our risk tolerance, increase our social behavior and can even reframe who we believe we were in the past.The word “awe” has been around for nearly a millennium, its description ranging from dread and fear to admiration and veneration. Despite permeating our lexicon with phrases such as awe inspiring, awesome and awe-struck, the illusive and mysterious emotion continues to spark wonder, curiosity and debate. Awe also seems to be at the very heart of a constant human quest that sometimes manifests itself through the countless bucket lists that appear in our social media feeds.Guided by the desire to recognize what drives people to pursue meaningful, pulse-pumping life experiences and understand how people feel when they see a Cirque du Soleil live performance, the collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and the Lab of Misfits set out to answer how and why we experience awe, and its impact on those who feel it.  In the broader context of the future of live entertainment, Cirque du Soleil was also interested in the role emotions play in driving people to disproportionately seek communal experiences. Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

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MMIW Inquiry details to be announced Wednesday in Gatineau Que

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA — Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett will use the backdrop of the Grand Hall in the Canadian Museum of History to announce the details of the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls Wednesday in Gatineau, Que., across the river from Ottawa.Bennett will outline the terms of reference (ToR) and announce the five commissioners who will lead the country through the inquiry at 8ET.The Indigenous Affairs minister will be joined by Canada’s Attorney General Jody Wilson Raybould and Status of Women Minister Patty Hadju.APTN National News will be live on TV and online for the announcement starting at 8.The ToR is expected to give the commissioners a broad mandate to delve into the root causes of the issues that has Indigenous women and girls experiencing violence at a much greater rate than the general population.Police forces, including the RCMP, are expected to be a major focus of the inquiry.Following the announcement, there will be a private session with families followed by a feast at the Wabano Health Centre in the city’s east end.A number of news conferences are planned to respond to the details of the inquiry and the commissioners.The Native Women’s Association of Canada, whose report, Sisters in Spirit, brought national attention to the issue will follow the government’s announcement at the museum.Pauktuutit Women of Canada will hold a news conference early Wednesday afternoon. The Inuit organization was critical of the government after it was leaked that none of the commissioners were Inuk. Qajaq Robinson, is a lawyer who was born in Nunavut, but is not Inuk.According to sources, the announcement was set for July 6 but was postponed. The government never explained the delay.news@aptn.calast_img read more

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Indian MPs want Katchatheevu back

India’s Rajya Sabha members from the AIADMK, DMK and the CPI want the Centre to renegotiate with the government of Sri Lanka to reclaim the island of Katchatheevu, The Hindu newspaper reported.Buoyed by the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill to ratify the land border agreement with Bangladesh, these MPs said the government must reconsider the exchange of Katchatheevu as it was not done through a constitutional amendment and has not served India’s interest. A. Navaneethakrishnan of the AIADMK said the “ceding” of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka without any constitutional amendment has adversely affected the livelihood of fishermen of Tamil Nadu. CPI’s D. Raja also raised the issue and said there has to be consensus on issues of foreign policy and the view of the State was not taken into consideration during the agreement on Katchatheevu. “There are already problems at the borders with Pakistan and China…the Southern border will always be tense,” he said, urging the government to take up the issue with the Sri Lankan government.DMK’s Tiruchi Siva said the government should settle the Katchatheevu issue like it did the dispute with Bangladesh. He said there were no records to prove that the island was with Sri Lanka.Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said the issue is sub judice and she cannot comment on it. In 2011, the government of Tamil Nadu impleaded itself as a party in this case since it is the custodian of all land records. This case is still pending in the Supreme Court.“The ceding of Katchatheevu is illegal and unconstitutional… I urge the Centre to rescind the 1974 agreement with Sri Lanka ceding Katchatheevu,” Mr. Navaneethakrishnan said. “The ceding of Katchatheevu is in total violation of the views given by the Supreme Court in a Presidential reference in the Berubari case,” he said, adding that a case has been filed in the Supreme Court by AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa. read more

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President holds special discussion on resettlement

President Maithripala Sirisena held a special discussion today on the resettlement of displaced families in the North and East.Several Ministers as well as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province took part in the discussion. The issues faced by the war displaced people and the efforts which need to be taken to resettle all those displaced had been discussed at the meeting. (Colombo Gazette)

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UN mission launches nationwide radio broadcast in divided Côte dIvoire

Calling the radio station a partner in the peace progress, the station’s chief said its aim was to relay open and honest dialogue, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said today.Every opinion would be welcome, as long as broadcasters avoided insults and acrimonious exchanges, he said.The station carries the name of the peacekeeping mission’s French acronym, ONUCI-FM.The establishment of the radio responds to a February 2004 Security Council resolution establishing the mission. That text mandated ONUCI to promote understanding of the peace process among local communities and the parties “through an effective public information capacity, including the establishment, as necessary, of a United Nations radio broadcasting capability.” read more

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US ran 1069 billion surplus in April staying on track for lowest

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government ran a big surplus in April, thanks to a flood of tax payments that helped keep the budget on track for the lowest annual deficit in six years.The Treasury Department says April’s surplus totalled $106.9 billion, down slightly from last April’s $112.9 billion surplus. The government typically runs a surplus during April, when individual tax returns are due and corporations must make quarterly tax payments.Through the first seven months of the 2014 budget year, which began Oct. 1, the deficit totals $306.4 billion. That’s down 37 per cent from the same period last year.The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting a deficit of $492 billion for the full budget year. That would be the narrowest gap since 2008. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email FILE – In this Monday, Aug. 8, 2011, file photo, a statue of former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin stands outside the Treasury Building in Washington. The Treasury Department reports on the federal budget picture for April and for the fiscal year thus far on Monday, May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted May 12, 2014 12:01 pm MDT US ran $106.9 billion surplus in April, staying on track for lowest deficit since 2008 read more

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Hurricane Katrinas true legacy was to spur disaster risk management – senior

“Hurricane Katrina exposed weaknesses in disaster risk management which are common to many hazard prone locations around the world,” said the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Margareta Wahlström.“We can learn a lot from New Orleans if we are to achieve substantial reductions in disaster losses as called for in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which was adopted by governments earlier this year,” she said.The Sendai Framework, named after the Japanese city in which it was adopted by Governments earlier this year, is a 15-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement – and the first major agreement of the new UN sustainable development agenda – with seven targets and four priorities for action. Ms. Wahlström said: “New Orleans has transformed itself into a role model for disaster resilience.”“It continues to invest heavily in improving flood defences and major efforts have been made to engage citizens in the renewal of the city,” she continued. “There is better mapping of the city’s hazards and there is greater awareness among the population about the importance of disaster risk management in ensuring the sustainable social and economic development of the city.”She also said “many lessons learned from New Orleans have been incorporated into the Sendai Framework including the need to engage the elderly and other potentially vulnerable groups in disaster planning and to make adequate provision for their safety when a disaster strikes.”“Hurricane Katrina has taught us that disaster risk reduction must be people-centred and engage all sectors of society,” she said.Ms. Wahlström’s Office is dedicated to disaster risk reduction and supports implementation of the Sendai Framework which seeks “the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses, in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.” read more

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In Tokyo UN deputy chief cites benefits of locallevel social dialogue on

“Every country should open up a social dialogue within its own communities. It is a marvelous opportunity which media can provide by asking tough questions,” she said at an event themed ‘Overcoming Divides for Our Future,’ which took place at the Asahi World Forum 2017. “The United Nations can help provide a space for dialogue to close the gap between reality and aspiration, with inclusiveness and representation,” she added.Addressing to the audience, half of which was university and high school students, the Deputy Secretary-General underscored the essence of “no one left behind” enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and importance to include youth in this dialogue to decide on their future. “Youth and women remain marginalized and must be empowered to close the inequality divide.” Referring to the fast evolving ‘fourth Industrial Revolution,’ she emphasized the need of high-quality education for young people to be equipped with necessary skill sets. She also stressed her expectation for Japan and Japanese businesses to show leadership in transforming the society in the direction of sustainability and inclusion, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as a momentous occasion to mobilize “whole-of-society” efforts. Also in her remarks, the Deputy Secretary-General highlighted that though the financing needs for sustainable development are considerable, enough private and public investment do exist. “These financial resources have to be unlocked and channeled to sustainable development,” she said, referring to the importance of partnerships.In responding to a question raised by a high school student in the audience about leadership qualities essential to addressing SDGs, Ms. Mohammed responded “integrity, courage, and passion to make a difference” and encouraged the audience to think what they hope for and what actions they can take for their aspirations. read more

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The Raptors Championship Doesnt Deserve An Asterisk

OAKLAND, Calif. — Even as the Raptors celebrate their first NBA championship in franchise history, there will undoubtedly be naysayers downplaying the win because of the circumstances surrounding the victory.Golden State star Kevin Durant missed the first four games of the series with a right calf injury and tore his Achilles when he returned for Game 5 after his team fell behind 3-1. And with the Warriors in a solid rhythm and vying to knot things at three games apiece in Game 6 Thursday, Klay Thompson’s left knee buckled as he landed following a dunk attempt; the injury would later be revealed to be a torn ACL.No one in their right mind would ignore the reality of those brutal injuries, or the effect they had on what could have been an even more competitive series. But focusing too much on those issues arguably takes away from something that became clear about Toronto this season: The Raptors regularly took — and more often than not, capitalized on — calculated risks all year long. Those wise gambles played a key role in their success, both in the finals and leading up to it.Pay close attention, and you’ll notice that Toronto coach Nick Nurse experiments with several things1Like having his point guards dribble the ball to the middle of the floor, as opposed to over to a sideline, before calling a timeout. While this might fly under the radar for just about everyone, Warriors coach Steve Kerr picked up on it, and, after asking around, learned that doing so allowed a team to then select which side of the floor they wanted to inbound the ball from following the break. just enough to engineer an advantage for his team. He illustrated a willingness to try, more than once, some rare defenses that are seen more often at the middle-school level than in the NBA. The 51-year-old, who had coached almost everywhere before this, found success toward the end of Game 2 when he sent his team out to contain Stephen Curry with a box-and-one after Thompson went down that night. Using that look — and holding Curry scoreless with it in Game 2 — helped the Raptors feel comfortable tightening the screws on Curry with the same defensive scheme in Game 6, after Thompson was forced to exit again.Beyond that, Nurse opted to tweak his second-half starting lineup in Game 3 to include Fred VanVleet over Danny Green, even though Green had hit three triples in the first half. He stuck with that third-period shift the rest of the series, feeling that VanVleet’s ball-handling and stingy perimeter D on Curry were useful to begin the half.By now, we all know the first two changes the Raptors made, dating back to last summer. Team president Masai Ujiri jettisoned Dwane Casey, who would go on to win Coach of the Year, to replace him with Nurse, who had never been an NBA head coach. And the executive would later deal away Toronto’s all-time leading scorer, DeMar DeRozan, sending him to the Spurs to get Kawhi Leonard — a move that seems obvious in hindsight but also carried at least some risk, given Leonard’s quad issues and his unwillingness to commit to Toronto once his deal was up at the end of this season. (Also noteworthy: The Raps didn’t toss someone like Pascal Siakam, who later blossomed into one of the NBA’s most valuable players from a contract standpoint, into the deal to acquire Kawhi. Again, a highly calculated move.)Since then, the 27-year-old Leonard has rewarded Ujiri’s gamble by putting himself firmly in the conversation for best player in the world. Kawhi dominated long stretches of the conference semifinal series against the Sixers, then changed the complexion of the conference finals matchup with Milwaukee by taking defensive responsibility for likely league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. He moved on to Antetokounmpo for Games 3-6, and Toronto won all four of those contests to reach the finals. All told, Leonard finished with 732 points throughout the playoffs, the third most ever in one postseason — after LeBron James (748) in 2018 and Michael Jordan (759) in 1992.There’s also something to be said for the Raptors’ split-second decision-making on the court. They were the NBA’s most efficient team in transition, and they bludgeoned the turnover-prone Warriors with that ability in Game 1. (Golden State claimed to not know what to expect that night because of how long it had been since they’d played one another.) Toronto entered the postseason as the league’s best defense at recovering loose balls, and Kawhi made a living in the series off of traveling great distances to come up with momentum-shifting offensive boards.All those sorts of plays require a robot-like calculation of whether the risk is worth taking, but it generally felt as if Toronto — a long, deep club of high-IQ players — won those battles against the two-time defending champs. (There was one play where the Raptors’ bet didn’t pay off, and it tied the series.)For all the dice-rolling the Raptors did this season — we haven’t even mentioned the Marc Gasol trade, for instance — they took seemingly no risks with Leonard’s health and load management. Thursday had to have been incredibly sweet for Kawhi, given that he earned the title on the exact same floor where, just over two years ago, he suffered an ankle injury on a controversial play that almost immediately derailed his team’s chances of competing for a title.The Raptors were still incredibly fortunate in plenty of ways throughout this run. The absences of Durant and Thompson, for instance, allowed Nurse to deploy those aggressive zone hybrids on Curry, knowing that no other scoring threat would be able to take advantage. We wrote about the abundance of fortunate bounces on the rim the Raptors got during the playoffs, and Kyle Lowry — who was dominant Thursday — scored a key basket late that seemed to fit that profile.And years from now, we still may not have any explanation for what VanVleet did over these final four weeks of the postseason. We already mentioned that he defended Curry admirably, but he essentially became a different player altogether during the second half of the playoffs, killing opposing defenses with his long-range triples and devastating late-clock offense.Exactly two years ago today, we wrote a story that tried to imagine what a team that could beat the Warriors would look like. In it, we laid out what we believed to be the key factors: a club that could either beat or slow down Golden State in transition, a team with a lot of length and versatility, and a club that could shoot. With all of that in mind, we mentioned San Antonio, which still had Leonard at the time; a budding Milwaukee club; Boston; and Utah. (We weren’t as high on Cleveland because of the Cavs’ horrendous defense.) One team we didn’t even bother mentioning at the time was the Raptors, who had fared worse against the Warriors in the regular season over a three-year span than any other NBA club, in terms of minutes spent leading Golden State.But what that goes to show you is how aggressive Ujiri was in his overhaul of Toronto, not just acquiring Leonard’s otherworldly talent but also using Nurse’s ideas, Siakam’s length and Gasol’s floor spacing and defensive IQ.So, no: The Warriors weren’t at full strength for these NBA Finals. But if you think Toronto became a champion — and won 17 of the 24 quarters in this series — solely because of that, you’re selling the club short. The Raptors have been gambling for a long time now, and their ability to place bets at just the right time is a huge part of the reason they’ll be hosting a parade in the coming days. read more

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Why the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame

first_imgWe have been asked this question by a number of newspapers around the world wishing to celebrate their local hero, who will be inducted this coming Saturday, February 22. There is still time to reserve a seat at the gala dinner in Salt Lake City and join key personnel from our sponsors and inductees, including Rio Tinto, Boart Longyear, Redpath Mining, Sandvik, FL Smidth, MacLean Engineering, Joy Global, Mine Safety Appliances and many more. The www.im-halloffame.com has been established first and foremost because, although there are various mining halls of fame around the world, there is not one specifically dedicated to the technology innovators of our industry. There is now!In my life alone (John Chadwick) in the industry (I am a mining engineer by qualification) there have been many very important innovations/technology developments that have massively changed the industry in terms of productivity and safety. Before that too there were many decades of such breakthrough developments. Many of those remain unrecognised and we felt it was time to start redressing the situation. It will take many years to catch up and recognise the innovators of this great industry that is so crucial to the modern world.It is also the first truly International hall of fame in the industry – the first, 2013, inductions include Americans, Australians, South Africans, Finns, Swedes and Canadians. As yet there are no British (my home country), German, or Polish inductees, for example, but there are many of them deserving of recognition. I urge you to nominate for this year, see the website for details. Be aware that a well presented nomination – who, the technology, what it achieved, etc. is important in standing a chance of selection.The International Technology Mining Hall of Fame will become better known each year and we will be able to revel in greater numbers of nominations each year. I would love to see all the people that I think worthy of recognition inducted before I go, but it is not up to me, it is up to the international panel of judges I have assembled around the world. It is up to the industry at large to nominate and those judges to decide.last_img read more

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Plane filled with aid from generous Irish leaves for Philippines

first_imgA PLANE CARRYING almost 40 tonnes of humanitarian aid from Ireland is on its way to The Philippines today.The aid is on board a specially-commissioned GOAL-Aer Lingus flight which left from Dublin Airport at 8.10am this morning.The relief supplies were donated by the Irish people in recent days and will be used by GOAL in the stricken country. The aid agency is assisting some of the millions of people who were affected by the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan just over two weeks ago.“Companies from all across the country, including some of our most trusted suppliers, responded to GOAL’s request for aid stocks over the past few days,” said GOAL CEO, Barry Andrews.He said that the Irish Defence Forces were one of those to come forward, donating materials valued at almost €60,000. The Construction Industry Federation provided another €10,000 worth of stock.He described the people of Ireland as having been “extraordinarily generous, particularly considering the short time frame we were operating in”. He also thanked Aer Lingus, for putting on the flight, and its cockpit, cabin crew and operations staff employees, who volunteered their free time.The plane is due to touch down in Dubai this evening, and from there GOAL will arrange onward transportation of the stocks to the Philippines.The supplies include aqua tabs, emergency medical equipment, assorted food items, shelter materials and other essential items.GOAL will work with its network of local partners on the ground to distribute the aid. So far, it has reached almost 17,000 people across Leyte and Panay, which are two of the worst-hit islands.Aid will be distributed by GOAL in Tacloban city in the coming days.Read: Column from the Philippines: ‘Driving through the city, I saw approximately 100 dead bodies’>last_img read more

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NASA successfully deploys solar sail on NanoSailD

first_imgNASA, along with other international space agencies, seem to be pretty good at putting things into Earth’s orbit, but they are not so good when it comes to bringing things down. As a result, Earth’s orbit has been cluttered with space junk which has put other spacecraft, include those which are manned, in danger of a possible catastrophic collision. The solution may be in the form of technology called a solar sail.A solar sail is a form of spacecraft propulsion system which uses radiation pressure, which can come from a star like our own Sun, or from an artificial source like a laser. It also has the ability to act as a parking brake to slow down spacecraft for de-orbit by skimming the top of our atmosphere.Such technology has been successfully tested by NASA this month on board a small spacecraft called NanoSail-D. At first, NASA believed the mission was a failure before it even began. That’s because the small spacecraft was stuck inside its mothership called the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology SATellite (FASTSAT), which was launched in November. Luckily, and for an unknown reason, the NanoSail-D spacecraft ejected from its mothership on January 17. A few days later, on January 20, the NanoSail-D unfurled its solar sail. The sail consists of a thin polymer sheet of reflective material which covers a 10 m2 area.The solar sail will provide enough aerodynamic drag to allow the NanoSail-D to de-orbit within 70 to 120 days. This will test the possibility of including solar sails on future NASA satellites to allow them to return to Earth and harmlessly disintegrate in the atmosphere. Such a technique could prevent the build-up of future space junk. Of course, a solar sail does have an accelerator pedal in addition to a brake which is why NASA engineers will be measuring the pressure of sunlight on the sail as well.Read more at NASAlast_img read more

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Juncker snubs Tsipras

first_imgSYRIZA MP Dimitris Papadimoulis has labeled as an “insult” Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s decision not to meet with leftist leader Alexis Tsipras during his visit to Athens. SYRIZA put in a request to the Luxembourg embassy in Athens last week for a meeting but the leftist party was told that the country’s prime minister would not have time to meet Tsipras during his visit. “This is a major institutional indecency and an insult to democracy,” Papadimoulis told Skai TV. “The leadership of the European Union prefers to only talk with the people it finds convenient.” SYRIZA sources told Kathimerini on Tuesday that the party suspects officials in the Greek government or troika had urged Juncker not to hold talks with Tsipras, whose party is the second largest in Parliament. “We won’t accept a democracy where you can pick and choose,” said Papadimoulis. It is customary for visiting officials to meet with the leader of the main opposition party when they come to Athens. However, Tsipras also turned down in July a request from troika representatives to meet with them. Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Government guns for deal with troika

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras briefed Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his coalition deputy Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday night following the resumption of negotiations between government officials and troika inspectors as sources said they were determined to reach a deal by Sunday.Although several points of contention remain, a source at the Finance Ministry said there had already been some progress since the talks resumed yesterday and remarked that the troika was just as keen to wrap up the negotiations, which have dragged on for seven months, as the Greek side. “Time is an issue for both sides,” the official said, adding, “It’s not only us that have something to lose, they have too.”A key reason that both sides want to finish by Sunday is the possibility that an emergency summit of European Union finance ministers will be held on Monday to discuss the steps being taken to create a European banking union.Once a deal is reached with the troika, the government is keen for all the so-called prior actions to be wrapped up into one multi-bill to avoid having several votes in Parliament that could be a strain on the fragile coalition. Legislation regarding the recapitalization of Greek banks would be included in that multi-bill, sources said.The troika auditors arrived at Thursday’s meeting with Stournaras armed with a revised version of the memorandum, ministry officials said, noting that the document formed the basis for talks even though much of its content remains to be settled.The most contentious issue in the negotiations is still a series of structural reforms – chiefly aimed at lifting barriers to competition – that the troika is keen for Greece to enforce. The reforms are listed in a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which has been dubbed the “Toolkit.” The government has embraced some of the proposed reforms but is resisting certain demands including that supermarkets should be given the right to sell non-prescription medicines. Also, as regards troika demands for an extension to the shelf life of milk, Athens has said it will not agree to reforms that harm the interests of Greek producers.last_img read more