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States agree Ban Kimoons UN reform plans need support – Arab League

5 February 2007United Nations Member States agree that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deserves their backing for his plans to restructure the Organization’s peacekeeping and disarmament operations so that he can focus on tackling pressing international crises and global challenges, an official from the League of Arab States said today. The League’s Permanent Observer to the UN, Yahya Mahmassani, who attended a private lunch today with Mr. Ban and other key ambassadors, including members of the Security Council, said participants concurred that although they might have different views on some of the proposal details, they must come to an agreement quickly.“We can’t continue to just keep discussing it and putting forward our ideas without setting a consensus on this,” he told the UN News Service and UN Radio. “There was a general feeling at the luncheon that we must agree on this issue because the SG has too many other things to do. He has a big agenda to follow.”Under a proposal given to Member States, Mr. Ban wants to create a new Department of Field Support so that UN peace operations – whose numbers have reached an all-time high – can be supported more effectively and coherently.The Secretary-General has also suggested that the Department of Disarmament Affairs be constituted as an Office with a direct line of responsibility to him “to ensure access and more frequent interaction,” his spokesperson Michele Montas said today.Mr. Ban and other senior UN officials have been holding talks with Member States about the proposals, and Mr. Mahmassani said that informal process would continue in the weeks ahead.Also speaking to the UN News Service and UN Radio, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari said Mr. Ban stressed to participants at today’s luncheon that “he wants to feel he has their support” for his vision for restructuring, so that he can implement it quickly and then concentrate on such issues as the Darfur crisis, the Middle East, Iraq and climate change.Mr. Gambari said Mr. Ban wants Member States to at least support the framework of his changes, allowing any contentious details to be worked out in the second phase during meetings involving the General Assembly and its committees.He added that some participants voiced concerns about the process rather than the content of the planned reforms, given that they would have budgetary and resource implications.The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and some other States also wanted assurances that the proposal for disarmament affairs did not represent a downgrade of its role, especially amid perceptions among some that non-proliferation was being paid more attention than disarmament.But Mr. Gambari said Mr. Ban informed ambassadors that his plans were actually designed to upgrade the role of disarmament and ensure it plays a more pro-active part in encouraging Member States to reach agreement on issues where they are divided.He added that representatives of the European Union and the United States, among others, indicated that they wanted to give Mr. Ban plenty of room to organize the Secretariat in the ways he sought.Mr. Gambari also noted that Mr. Ban had already made some alterations to the initial draft of his plans to accommodate the views of Member States. read more

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Vital African UnionUN partnership can be strengthened further Security Council told

“The African Union is a vital strategic partner to the United Nations,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to a meeting on the UN-AU partnership in peace and security, chaired by President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month.“Over the last decade, the AU and sub-regional organizations have significantly bolstered their own role in building an architecture for peace and security on the African continent,” noted Mr. Ban. “Together, our collective efforts in conflict prevention and mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding are making a real difference throughout the continent,” he stated. “Of course, there is more room for improvement.”Some examples of cooperation between the UN and the AU include the joint peacekeeping operation in Darfur (UNAMID), combined efforts to combat the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and UN support to the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia (AMISOM).Mr. Ban said that it is only natural that there will be differences in dealing with complex and fast moving crises. “Organizations with different mandates, membership, and perspectives will occasionally have differences in approach,” he said. “The question is how we manage those differences – how we work together.”The UN has strengthened the partnership with the AU in several concrete ways over the past few years, noted Mr. Ban, whose recent report on the subject focuses on building on successes, improving coherence, and harmonizing decision-making from a firm foundation of shared values and principles. “We must build on what we have achieved to devise and strengthen practical tools so that we can successfully face our common peace and security challenges in Africa together,” he wrote in the report.Mr. Ban told the Council that the UN-AU partnership can be enhanced further in a number of ways, including by learning new lessons and developing new tools, as well as by intensifying the engagement with civil society and women’s groups active in mediation and conflict prevention, particularly at the local level.“As we look ahead, we will need to ensure flexibility so that each new situation is addressed on its own merits. We must also promote innovative arrangements in complex situations that may require joint actions, operations, or enhanced partnerships,” he stated.“As we do so, let us strive to maximize our collective efforts and limited resources, and ensure that each partnership arrangement has a clearly-defined division of labour and roles and responsibilities for each organization,” added the Secretary-General, who will attend the AU Summit later this month.The meeting heard from numerous delegations, as well as Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, who noted that a more strategic relationship between the UN and the AU is made more compelling by the fact that Africa, despite the significant progress made in recent years, still accounts for the highest number of conflicts worldwide.In addition to the traditional threats, the continent is now facing a new set of threats, including terrorism, maritime piracy, border disputes and climate change, he added.“Clearly, these challenges require concerted responses by the African Union and the United Nations and a much closer partnership,” stated Mr. Lamamra, who suggested that the two organizations agree on a set of principles aimed at clarifying their relationship and “anchoring it on a more solid platform.”In a resolution that was adopted unanimously during the meeting, the Council reiterated the importance of establishing “a more effective relationship” between it and the AU Peace and Security Council, including in the area of conflict prevention, resolution and management, electoral assistance and regional conflict prevention offices.It also encouraged the improvement of regular interaction, consultation and coordination between the two bodies on matters of mutual interest, and decided to elaborate further ways of strengthening relations, including through achieving more effective annual consultative meetings, the holding of timely consultations and collaborative field missions. 12 January 2012The collective efforts by the United Nations and the African Union in peace and security matters are having an important impact on the continent, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council today, while stressing the need to further strengthen this vital partnership. read more

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Initial public offerings scheduled to debut next week

NEW YORK — The following is a list of initial public offerings planned for the coming week. Sources include IPO ETF manager Renaissance Capital, and SEC filings.Week of July 22.Castle Biosciences – Friendswood, Texas, 3.3 million shares, priced $14-$16, managed by SVB Leerink/Baird. Proposed Nasdaq symbol CSTL. Business: Sell genetic tests used to diagnose skin cancers.Livongo Health – Mountain View, Calif., 10.7 million shares, priced $20-$23, managed by Morgan Stanley/Goldman Sachs. Proposed Nasdaq symbol LVGO. Business: Provides a unified healthcare platform for chronic illness management.ProSight Global – Morristown, N.J., 8.8 million shares, priced $16-$18, managed by Goldman Sachs/Barclays. Proposed NYSE symbol PROS. Business: Specialty property and casualty insurer backed by Goldman Sachs and TPG.Sunnova Energy International – Houston, 17.6 million shares, priced $16-$18, managed by BofA Merrill Lynch/JP Morgan. Proposed NYSE symbol NOVA. Business: Provides residential solar energy systems and services.Wanda Sports Group – Beijing, China, 33.3 million shares, priced $12-$15, managed by Morgan Stanley/Deutsche Bank. Proposed Nasdaq symbol WSG. Business: Sports events, media and marketing platform of China’s Wanda Group.WiMi Hologram Cloud – Beijing, China, 4 million shares, priced $7.50-$9.50, managed by The Benchmark Company/Maxim Group LLC. Proposed Nasdaq symbol WIMI. Business: Chinese provider of ad services and software used in holographic augmented.The Associated Press read more

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UN SouthSouth forum wraps up with over 450 million pledged for greener

South-South cooperation is the exchange of resources, technology and knowledge between developing countries. Today, over $5 trillion in reserves are held by countries of the global South, which now also account for 47 per cent of global trade. Among the agreements made this week at the 2013 Expo, held at the Nairobi headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), were projects ranging from building organic fertilizer factories and clean energy projects in Kenya to solar power plants in Uganda to green businesses for women in Egypt.Organized by the UN Office of South-South Cooperation and hosted by UNEP under the theme “Building inclusive green economies,” the Expo is the world’s biggest stage for development solutions created in the South for the South.“The theme of this year’s Expo is fitting in that Southern countries have both the opportunity and the obligation to pursue a ‘smarter’ development course than their predecessors,” said General Assembly President John Ashe, who addressed today’s closing ceremony.He added that it is evident that South-South cooperation is having great impact and influence across a range of sectors including health, energy, economic and trade. It is also worthy, he said, to note that the South is attracting significant capital inflows, and that some of the emerging economies of the South are beginning to exercise tremendous geopolitical influence. “The fact that this Expo is being convened in the Global South for the first time is testimony to the growing importance of the South.”Mr. Ashe went on to say that this year’s theme recognizes the fact that society, economy and environment are inextricably linked, and that each derives benefit from or causes harm to the other. “It also highlights the concept that ecology and economy are not two competing and mutually exclusive paradigms, but that they can in fact be harmoniously managed in a mutually advantageous way for the benefit of companies, citizens, communities and countries,” he stated. Highlights of the week included the Expo’s first Solution Exchange Forum, which presented examples of innovative projects in developing countries that are already contributing tangible benefits to the environment, economic development and decent job creation.A total of 15 Partnership Forums were also held, with topics ranging from youth volunteerism to China-Africa business in support of green growth. More than 50 exhibitors showcased their innovative Southern-grown solutions in the Expo’s eco-friendly pavilion.Also, more than 40 companies were successfully matched and held business negotiations at the Expo’s South-South Global Assets and Technology Exchange (SS-GATE), another of the many events held during the week, which also featured the presentation of the annual South-South Cooperation Awards honouring individuals and organizations that have been prominent champions of South-South cooperation throughout the world.The Expo topped the agenda in a meeting held today between Mr. Ashe and Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director.They also discussed the green economy in the context of sustainable development and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS).Mr. Ashe also met with Madame Sahle-Work Zewde, Director-General of the UN Office at Nairobi (UNON) to discuss the administrative services and political mandate of what is the third largest UN administrative office in the world. The meeting comes as the General Assembly considers the Organization’s budget for the next biennium.While in Nairobi, Mr. Ashe also met with Doug Cress, Programme Coordinator of the Great Apes Survival Partnerships (GRASP), who urged the UN General Assembly to support the cause of great apes survival. Among the topics discussed, the need to balance conservation and human growth, and the importance of technology and finance to help further this cause.According to a UN spokesperson, Mr. Cress has proposed efforts to establish a UN International Day on Great Apes by 2014. read more

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Geek deals Pioneer SEA1000 headphones at 61 off

first_imgAudio is one of the most subjective things in the technology world. In a world of speeds, feeds, and specs, how something sounds will be difficult to get a consensus on.  Perhaps even more relative is the importance of audio. Does your average person care if their car stereo has ten speakers vs six or if their PC has audio enhancing software for tuned output?It is safe to say that your average person is not an “audiophile” and ergonomics aside, doesn’t mind using the earbuds that came with their phone or music player. Just look at all the white earbuds dangling in your local coffee shop.For those with discerning tastes in sound, then comes a whole new category of subjective and relative opinions and preferences. Data and specs only tell part of the story: the user’s own brain and ears influence their opinion of an audio device far more than anything else, perhaps second only to brand preference.Since most of us don’t have unlimited budgets to spend thousands, or even hundreds, of dollars on a quality set of headphones, this helps narrow the field down to products that are subjectively pleasing to most, but don’t break the bank either.We found a deal on one such set of headphones, an over-the-ear set that promises geek-level audio quality, comfortable fit, and thanks to this deal a great price too. Pioneer’s SE-A1000 are a light-weight set of cans, which is clearly seen in the very minimalist design. The earmuffs are well padded and over-sized to ensure long hours of comfortable use, weighing just over 26 ounces.The cord spans an impressive 18 feet for extra mobility and is even fabric-wrapped to avoid tangling. Even the most stingy of us with our audio budgets will typically agree that a quality set of headphones starts in the $30-50 range. The SE-A1000 is available for just $59 with free shipping, after an impressive 61% instant discount.Visit LogicBuy for the Pioneer SE-A1000 headphoneslast_img read more

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Face of 9000yearold skull found in central Greece reconstructed

first_imgUniversity of Athens researchers put a face to the past at an event at the Acropolis Museum on Friday. Thanks to advances in 3D modelling technology, archaeologists together with the assistance of an endocrinologist, orthopedist, neurologist, pathologist, and radiologist, have managed to reconstruct the facial features of a teenager from a skull found in 1993 dating back to around 7,000 BC. While very little is known about how she lived and died, her features consist of prominent cheekbones, a heavy brow and dimpled chin. Discovered in Theopetra cave in central Greece, the woman’s face was last seen in its full human form some 9,000 years ago at the end of the Mesolithic period.The teenager has since been named ‘Avgi’ by archaeologists. Translating to ‘Dawn’, it is a fitting name given she lived during what researchers consider to have been the ‘dawn of civilisation’, when humans in Greece and the region as a whole, underwent a transition from hunter gatherers to a society that was cultivating its own food.The reconstruction team was led by orthodontist Manolis Papagrigorakis, who noted that while Avgi’s bones appeared to belong to a 15-year-old, upon closer inspection her teeth indicated that she was in fact 18 “give or take a year”.Working alongside the team was Swedish archaeologist and sculptor, Oscar Nilsson who has worked on a number of ancient faces, specialising in reconstructions. The sophisticated process entailed taking a CT scan of the skull and a 3D printer making an exact replica of the scan’s measurements. Pegs were then glued upon the replica reflecting the thickness of the flesh at certain anatomical points of the face, which was then fleshed out muscle-by-muscle. Some features were recreated based on skull measurements, while others such as skin and eye colour are based on population traits in the region, given the area has been populated continually for some 130,000 years. “Avgi has very unique, not especially female, skull, and features,” Nilsson observed.“Having reconstructed a lot of Stone Age women and men, I think some facial features seem to have disappeared or ‘smoothed out’ with time. In general, we look less masculine, both men and women, today.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Syndrome dAsperger symptômes diagnostic traitement chez ladulte et lenfant

first_imgSyndrome d’Asperger : symptômes, diagnostic, traitement, chez l’adulte et l’enfantLe syndrome d’Asperger est un trouble de la famille de l’autisme se manifestant notamment par des difficultés à communiquer et à établir des relations sociales.Définition : qu’est ce que le syndrome d’Asperger ?Le syndrome d’Asperger est un trouble de la famille de l’autisme. Il fait partie des TSA (troubles du spectre autistique) ou TED (trouble envahissant du développement) caractérisés par des problèmes de communication et de relation sociale. Il ne se traduit pas en revanche par une déficience intellectuelle ou un retard de langage.Le syndrome d’Asperger se déclare dès l’enfance et touche beaucoup plus les garçons que les filles. On considère qu’environ 500 000 personnes sont atteintes à travers le monde. Symptômes du syndrome d’AspergerLe syndrome d’Asperger se manifeste par les signes cliniques suivants : – difficultés à communiquer et à comprendre les situations sociales (signes corporels, règles sociales tacites)- intérêts restreints : tendance à l’obsession dans un domaine spécifique- maladresse motrice : mouvements répétitifs et/ou mal contrôlés- hypersensibilité (hyperacousie): difficultés à supporter les environnements bruyants- attachement à la routine : difficultés à supporter l’imprévu- vocabulaire développé grâce à une bonne mémoireDiagnostic du syndrome d’AspergerLe syndrome d’Asperger est très difficile à diagnostiquer en raison de l’absence d’un retard mental. En effet, ses symptômes peuvent être associés à différents troubles de comportement, de langage ou de développement.Les premiers signes du syndrome d’Asperger sont visibles dès les premiers mois ou années (absence de geste sociaux à 1 an, absence de mot à 18 mois, perte de langage…). Pourtant, le diagnostic du syndrome d’Asperger se fait le plus souvent après l’âge de 10 ans. Il se fait à l’aide de tests spécifiques, d’observations, d’un bilan orthophonique ainsi que des entretiens avec la famille et l’école.Traitement du syndrome d’AspergerIl n’existe malheureusement pas de traitement curatif du syndrome d’Asperger. Cependant un suivi multidisciplinaire peut permettre de limiter les désagréments. Il peut être composé d’une rééducation orthophoniste, d’une thérapie comportementale ou d’une thérapie psychologique. Un traitement médicamenteux peut également être mis en place pour diminuer les troubles autistiques. Le syndrome d’Asperger chez l’adulteÀ lire aussiACC (anticoagulants circulants) : définition, rôle, comment analyser les résultats ?A l’âge adulte, le syndrome d’Asperger se caractérise par les mêmes symptômes que chez l’enfant. Le handicap n’étant pas visible au premier abord, les relations avec les personnes croisées au quotidien peuvent s’avérer compliquées.Un accompagnement peut être mis en place pour favoriser l’insertion dans la société des personnes atteintes. Il peut être adapté selon le niveau d’autonomie.Le 11 mai 2016 à 10:39 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

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PreOrder Douglas Adams Lost Doctor Who Story

first_img HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster Stay on target Don’t panic: Douglas Adams’ long-lost “Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen” story is coming soon.The Fourth Doctor novel, penned by James Goss, is based on a recently discovered treatment and “extensive” notes found in the Douglas Adams archive in Cambridge.Set for publication on Jan. 18—and available now to pre-order—the tale follows the Doctor and companion/Time Lady Romana to the end of the universe a cricket match.But in true Doctor Who style, nothing is as it seems. Read the BBC book description below:Intergalactic war? That’s just not cricket … or is it?The Doctor promised Romana the end of the universe, so she’s less than impressed when what she gets is a cricket match. But play is soon interrupted by 11 figures in white uniforms and peaked skull helmets, wielding bat-shaped weapons that fire lethal bolts of light into the screaming crowd.The Krikkitmen are back.Coming January 2018 (via BBC)Millions of year ago, the people of Krikkit discovered they were not alone in the universe. Instead of welcoming their intergalactic neighbors, though, the xenophobic species launched a crusade against all other life-forms.The Time Lords came to the rescue, eventually imprisoning the planet within “an envelop of Slow Time,” which could be opened only with the Wicket Gate key—a device that, to the human eye, resembles an oversized set of cricket stumps.From Earth to Gallifrey, from Bethselamin to Devalin, from Krikkit to Mareeve II to the far edge of infinity, the Doctor and Romana are tugged into a pan-galactic conga with fate as they rush to stop the Krikkitmen gaining all five pieces of the key. If they fall, the entire cosmos faces a fiery retribution that will leave nothing but ashes…Best known as the author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Adams also wrote “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe,” “Life, the Universe and Everything,” “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish,” “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” (now a BBC America TV series), and three Tom Baker-era episodes of Doctor Who.Following his unexpected death in 2001 at the age of 49, Adams’ legacy lives on through radio programs, television shows, and books—including “Krikkitmen.”Goss is no stranger to the famous author’s work: He previously penned a novelization of Adams’ DW serials “The Pirate Planet” and “City of Death,” developed the unfinished Who story “Shada,” and adapted Dirk Gently for stage.US shoppers can download the Kindle edition (starting next year) for $13.49; a £15.18 ($20.20) hardcover version will also ship from Amazon.co.uk.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

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Actions revealed for Energy Solutions by TCI EUC Cummings

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 16 Jul 2015 – Get rid of all incandescent light bulbs throughout the territory by the year 2016; that is just one of the bold and some would say sensible proposals in a sustainable energy pitch by the country’s Energy Commissioner, Malike Cummings. Compact Fluorescent lights and LED lighting are much smarter options says Cummings who believes in phasing out what most people have and even running pilot projects for LED lighting on street lamps. Another action identified by Mr. Cummings when he presented on day one at the Summit of OCT Energy Ministers under the theme ‘Sustainable Energy Solutions from the Poles to the Tropics’ in Brussels, Belgium was that new construction projects should only use solar powered water heaters and that Governments be more prepared to offer concessions to developers who build with energy efficiency top of mind. Malike Cummings shared with his counterparts at the conference that overseas Caribbean Territories are characterized by high energy costs and prices, archaic legislative and regulatory frameworks and limited uptake of renewable energy and energy efficient projects. A draft energy policy, authored by Cummings has been written and ready for review since November 2014. Malike Cummings and Susan Malcolm represented the Turks and Caicos at the conference held last month. Government expounds on Fuel price investigation FUEL COSTS INVESTIGATION SLOW TO COME, PUBLIC ASKED TO SOUND OFF ON THE ISSUE Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you TCI signs onto sustainable energy; can tap into $60 million Related Items:compact flourescent lights, Energy Commissioner, energy solutions, LED lights, malike cummings, sustainable energy solutionslast_img read more

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Sheriff maintains Rebecca Zahaus death was suicide

first_img Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Updated: 12:47 PM Posted: December 7, 2018 December 7, 2018 Sasha Foo, center_img Sasha Foo 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The death of Rebecca Zahau is back in the spotlight again. Just nine months after a civil jury found she was murdered by her boyfriend’s brother, Adam Shacknai, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department announced that the department stands by its initial finding that Zahau died by suicide.In a briefing for reporters that was closed to the public, the Sheriff’s team of homicide investigators as well as the County Medical Examiner discussed the evidence in the case that was given a second look.“We found no evidence that would dispute or be inconsistent with the Medical Examiner’s finding that Rebecca Zahau’s manner of death was suicide,” San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.Earlier this year, a jury in San Diego disagreed with the suicide finding and decided that Zahau’s death was a homicide. The jury found Adam Shacknai responsible for Zahau’s July, 2011 death at the Spreckles mansion.Following the verdict and at the urging of the Zahau family, the Sheriff’s Department re-examined a number of things, including the door where a cryptic message was painted, footprints on the balcony and the rope around Zahau’s wrists. At trial, the attorney for the Zahau family alleged that Rebecca was sexually assaulted with the handle of a steak knife.In the review by the Sheriff’s Deparment, investigators confirmed that menstrual blood was found on the handle, but said the autopsy reports revealed no evidence of sexual assault.The Sheriff’s investigators also reviewed injuries to Zahau’s head. Although a forensic pathologist testifying at trial for the Zahau family said Zahau had serious blunt force injuries to her brain, the County Medical Examimer said the latest review found only superficial cuts and abrasions on her forehead and no signs of brain injury.Keith Greer, the attorney who represented the Zahau family in the civil trial criticized the Sheriff’s review as a sham. Just days before Sheriff Bill Gore announced that his department had wrapped up its review, attorneys for Adam Shacknai filed a motion for a new trial.Attorney Keith Greer, speaking for the Zahau family said he may look for help from other quarters, perhaps by asking for a federal agency to launch a new investigation. Sheriff maintains Rebecca Zahau’s death was suicidelast_img read more

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Clark County gives Barron royal sendoff

first_img Clark County Administrator Bill Barron’s final day is Sept. 10.He retires after 40 years of public service that began in 1972 in Illinois. Barron took the job as Clark County’s top administrator in 1998. During his time in Clark County, Barron helped build the Public Service Center, expand the county fairgrounds and lead the organization through a tumultuous and austere financial period amid the Great Recession.Former and current elected officials, county staff and members of the public said goodbye to Barron during an emotionally charged farewell ceremony on Thursday afternoon.The dozen who spoke — including commissioners David Madore, Tom Mielke and Steve Stuart and former Commissioner Betty Sue Morris — praised Barron for his integrity, attention to detail and work effort. He was called a teacher, a leader, a coach and a friend.Mielke called Barron a patient man for how he “tolerated, guided and mentored” the many “type-A personality” commissioners he served.“And we all looked up to you,” Mielke said.Barron, who is generally regarded as a stoic professional, took time to compose himself as a room of well over 100 people applauded. And after thanking everyone for their kind words, he delivered a final request to his staff.“It is my hope that you, the employees of the county, will continue to make Clark County a great place to live, work and play,” Barron said. “Thank you all.” Clark County Administrator Bill Barron grew emotional toward the end of his speech thanking those who honored him at a farewell ceremony on Thursday.last_img read more

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University of Winchester rolls out sustainability and wellbeing programme

first_imgThe University of Winchester has rolled out a wellbeing and sustainability programme to its 600 employees, following the success of a four-month pilot.Launched in January 2018, the Jump programme, provided by Green Rewards, is available to all of its university employees and helps encourage behaviour change around staff health and sustainability.The programme enables employees to take part in various wellbeing and sustainability-related initiatives, which reflect the university’s priorities around energy use, waste and recycling, food and drink, volunteering, sustainable transport and health and wellbeing. Employees can monitor and report their corresponding weekly activity via the programme’s online platform or app in order to earn points.Individual employees and teams who collect the most points will be awarded prizes on a monthly basis, as well as at the end of each school term. The team with the most points will also be able to donate £400 to a charity of their choice.The university-wide roll out is the result of a four-month pilot, which started in September 2017. During the pilot, 54% of participants who were signed up to sustainable transport activities reported this on the platform or app every week. This included walking and cycling to work, using public transport, car sharing and using the park and ride service.Furthermore, 67% of participants who were taking part in energy saving activities reported weekly that they had switched off their electrical equipment when not in use. At the end of the pilot, the conference office was named as the team with the most points. They awarded grant-based foundation The 401 Foundation with the prize £400 donation.Liz Harris, environmental projects assistant at the University of Winchester, said: “We’ve seen a really positive response to the Jump programme at the university, with an engaged audience participating in activities every week and regularly feeding back to us how much they like the programme and what we can do to keep continually improving their experience. The university-wide roll-out will allow us to keep improving our environmental sustainability and employee wellbeing here at the university.”last_img read more

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31 of women do not know how much they have saved into

first_imgLess than a third (31%) of female respondents do not how much they have saved into their pension, compared to 21% of men, according to research by Aegon.Its Retirement confidence survey, which polled 946 UK non-retired individuals, further revealed that 15% of women have no pension arrangements in place.The research also found:11% of male respondents are not paying into any kind of pension plan.15% of male respondents have saved more than £300,000 into their retirement savings, compared to just 4% of women.6% of female respondents are confident they will have ample funds for retirement, compared to 13% of men.Kate Smith (pictured), head of pensions at Aegon, said: “These figures are staggering and show just how wide the gap between men and women is when it comes to preparing well for retirement. We know that there are a number of factors that impact a woman’s ability to save for retirement, including career breaks to raise a family or care for elderly parents, however our research shows that many women are burying their heads in the sand and failing to prepare for retirement.“The widening pensions saving gap between men and women shouldn’t be ignored and the sooner that women are able to engage with pension saving, the better. Everyone should think ahead to retirement, regardless of their age or gender and when it comes to pension saving, it’s good to regularly check in how much [employees] hold in savings and where possible, [they should] think about paying in more in order to have the lifestyle [they] want in retirement.”last_img read more

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Cops issue guidelines for smooth conduct of festival in Nellore

first_imgNellore: District Superintendent of Police (SP) Aishwarya Rastogi appealed to the members of Ganesh Utsava Committees to conduct the festival in a peaceful manner following the guidelines of the police. He said this is crucial since village/ward secretariat examinations have been scheduled and the Vice-President of India M Venkaiah Naidu also visiting the city. Also Read – TDP to open shelters for victims of attacks Advertise With Us The SP stated that people should not use loudspeakers after 10 pm and not to create any difficulty to the people. Cops suggested to the people to Dial 100 if they have any problem in their localities. Every Ganesh pandal must have police permission, Rastogi mentioned and added more than one lakh candidates are attending the exams for village/ward secretariats in 323 centres in the district and 60,000 alone are attending in Nellore city in 162 centres. Members of the Ganesh Utsava committees have to reduce the sound of loudspeakers during the examination timings. The organisations have to appoint volunteers to clear the crowds during celebrations, he said. Also Read – Quarry checks bring down granite production Advertise With Us The SP said they had prohibited donations by force in the name of religious functions. Installation of idols will be allowed only at the places where they will not cause any obstruction to free flow of traffic. No unauthorised electric connection at pandals will be allowed and the organisers have to apply for supply of electricity by paying fixed charges depending on load they use, he said. The SP made it clear bursting of firecrackers are also prohibited from 6 am to 6 pm on September 2 till the immersion procession completes. Municipal Commissioner PVVS Murthy said that organisers should not arrange flexis on the main roads obstructing traffic movement. Nellore DSP J Srinivasulu Reddy, Traffic DSP P Mallikarjuna Rao and others were present.last_img read more

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After Emotional Debate Texas House Tentatively Passes Sanctuary Legislation

first_img Share Marjorie Kamys CoteraTexas House members on April 26, 2017, voted on an amendment to Senate Bill 4, legislation that would outlaw “sanctuary” jurisdictions in Texas.Editor’s note: This story has been updated throughout.After more than 16 hours of debate, the Texas House of Representatives early Thursday morning tentatively gave a nod to the latest version of a Senate bill that would ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in Texas.The 93-54 vote fell along party lines and came after one of the slowest moving but most emotional legislative days at the state Capitol.The vote came at 3 a.m. after state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, successfully made what some Democratic members called an unprecedented motion to group all of the remaining amendments — more than 100 — and record them as failed. He said he made that suggestion so members wouldn’t be forced to pull their amendments. The motion passed 114 to 29, with about a third of Democrats approving the measure.Members voted on the bill after adding back a controversial provision that extends the scope of the bill and allows local peace officers to question the immigration status of people they legally detain. The original House version of the bill only allowed officers to inquire about status during a lawful arrest.That detainment language was included in what the Senate passed out of its chamber in February but was later removed by state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, the bill’s House sponsor.The amendment to add that provision back into the bill was offered by Tyler Republican Rep. Matt Schaefer, who was in the middle of a back-and-forth, deal-making struggle that stopped debate for more than hour. Both parties’ members caucused as they tried to hammer out a deal whereby Schaefer would pull his amendment and Democrats would limit the number of proposals they would offer.But no compromise was reached, despite several high-profile Republicans, including Geren and House State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, telling members they would vote against the Schaefer proposal.The intent of bill is “getting dangerous criminals off the street. That’s the mission. Shouldn’t be any more than that,” Cook said. The bill keeps a provision that makes sheriffs, constables and police chiefs subject to a Class A misdemeanor for failing to cooperate with federal authorities and honor requests from immigration agents to hold noncitizen inmates subject to removal. It also keeps civil penalties for entities in violation of the provision that begin at $1,000 for a first offense and swell to as high as $25,500 for each subsequent infraction.” Democrats also offered myriad amendments that sought to shield people at certain places from being subject to the provisions of the bill. Those include domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, pre-kindergarten schools, and public school events such as football games. All failed along party-line votes. House Democrats scored one victory with an amendment by Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, that allows local entities to prohibit their employees and peace officers from assisting federal immigration officers at places of worship. (The bill already excludes commissioned peace officers who are employed by religious organizations.) The emotional debate that members witnessed early on in the afternoon continued as the daylight faded. At one point, Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, told members that she was once a victim of sexual assault and said immigrants would fear reaching out to police should something similar happen to them.She pleaded with members to keep the language about status inquiries limited to only people under arrest. “If you ever had any friendship with me, this is the vote that measures that friendship,” González pleaded. But amendments by her and her Democratic colleagues were shot down repeatedly before the final vote on the bill.Throughout the floor debate, House Democrats had done everything from warning Republicans against heckling them to shedding tears during floor speeches.Before debate on actual policy started, Democrats tried their best to tug at Republican heartstrings in hopes of diluting what they labeled an “intentionally” racist proposal.State Rep. Ana Hernandez, D-Houston, recounted through tears how she was undocumented for years after her visa expired when she was growing up.She said the bill exemplifies the fear her parents experienced “each day their little girls went to school. Worrying about an immigration raid.” Hernandez gave a similar speech in 2011, the last time the Texas House took up a “sanctuary” measure.She was followed by state Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, who’s been fasting in protest of the bill since she last attended church on Sunday. She said she’s received hate mail telling her to “die” and “starve.”Addressing “sanctuary” jurisdictions was declared an emergency item by Gov. Greg Abbott in the early days of the 85th legislative session. SB 4 passed the Senate in February.House members had expected a rough debate. Before the bill reached the House floor, one member predicted “trench warfare,” while another said that “battle lines have been drawn.” A third House member simply predicted “a total shitshow.”Houston-area Reps. Gene Wu and Harold Dutton, both Democrats, added their own opinions Wednesday. A choked-up Wu said the bill was personal to him as an immigrant, and he recounted the fear the proposal has stirred in his district. Dutton calmly recited the history of what he deemed racist pieces of legislation and their effects on women, Chinese immigrants, former slaves and other minority groups.Through it all, Geren stood his ground and said the bill wasn’t about targeting minorities or about racial profiling. Geren said it’s about focusing efforts on deporting undocumented criminals.“Most of the [immigrant community] is not a lawless community,” he said. “And that’s why we are going [only] after the ones that are criminals.”State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, had Geren’s back. He said his immigrant relatives were called “spics” and “wetbacks.” But he said the bill was commonsense policy that was about the rule of law.Either way, Democrats said they intend to keep fighting. During his floor speech, the usually mild-mannered Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, warned Republicans: “Do not mess with us today.”The House version has a provision that forces college campus administrators to comply with the bill, which Democrats have argued could get college students deported for relatively minor offenses such as being a minor in possession of alcohol.Proponents of the legislation say it is about the rule of law and ensuring law enforcement agencies follow the same policies.“This bill ensures that there is predictability that our laws are applied without prejudice” no matter who is in custody, state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, said when the Senate voted on SB 4 in February.Opponents of the measure say it would make communities less safe as many undocumented immigrants would be reluctant to reach out to police for fear of being deported. They also fear it would open the door to racial profiling and argue it’s not needed because local jails already cooperate with immigration officers.“We know the Republicans have the numbers in the building,” said state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “You’re going to see Democrats fighting very hard through a variety of tactics, including amendments detailing the deficiencies of the bill, the pointlessness of the bill.”Tensions in the House began percolating this week when Democrats successfully blocked a procedural maneuver known as a calendar rule. The rule would have set a 1 p.m. Tuesday deadline for proposed amendments to SB 4. Democrats said that would have given Republicans too much time to study the amendments and find ways to cut off debate.Wednesday’s debate comes just a day after Austin Mayor Steve Adler revealed that, according to what U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told him at a meeting about what the federal government considers a “sanctuary” jurisdiction, neither Austin nor Travis County is considered one.It also comes after a federal judge on Tuesday ruled that President Donald Trump exceeded his authority when he signed an executive order withholding federal money from “sanctuary” cities in the country. The judge ruled that only funds related to immigration enforcement can be withheld, according to the Associated Press.Watch the Texas House debate the bill at the top of this page.Read related Tribune coverage: The latest version of the Texas Legislature’s bill to outlaw “sanctuary cities” in Texas is a scaled-down version of what the state Senate passed out in February. Former immigration and border officials say the Trump administration is floating ideas related to immigration that range from nullifying treaties to expanding employment screenings.Disclosure: Steve Adler, a former Texas Tribune board chairman, has been a financial supporter of the Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/04/27/tensions-flaring-house-members-will-debate-anti-sanctuary-city-bill/.Texas Tribune mission statementThe Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.last_img read more

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The Capitol Press Club Hosts The Business of Communications

first_imgThe Capitol Press Club will host an informative evening about “The Business of Communications: Succeeding as an Independent Writer” on July 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will be located at the Thurgood Marshall Center. The event is free and opento the public. Learn techniques from experienced journalists and further you’re knowledge in the spectrum of communications.For more information and/or to register, visit evenbrite.com and search for The Business of Communications.last_img

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10 Reasons Into the SpiderVerse Is the Best SpiderMan Movie Ever

first_img MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Stay on target At one point, Sony’s animated Marvel feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse looked poised to be a mere quirky, also-ran in an era of superhero filmmaking where a well-received live-action Spider-Man (as portrayed by Tom Holland) has been popularly integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut. Instead it became a huge hit with audiences, earned some of the best reviews of the year, and launched multiple spinoffs of its own into pre-production. With the Academy Awards one week away and having thus far near-swept the year’s worth of animated film awards, it’s considered a heavy favorite to win Best Animated feature — joining Black Panther in Marvel’s double-pronged assault on the previously superhero-proof Oscar season.With all that praise, it’s hardly surprising that as the film continues to make its way through the popular consciousness, many have suggested that it might actually be the best animated film of the year, the best animated superhero movie yet or even the best Spider-Man movie — animated or otherwise — ever made. That’s quite a statement, considering how often Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 is ranked alongside Richard Donner’s Superman or Nolan’s The Dark Knight as one of (if not the) best superhero movies ever made.Could it be? Here are 10 times that Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse made its case as the best Spider-Man movie ever made (WARNING: SPOILERS).It’s the Most Comic-Book Feeling Movie EverPlenty of films and TV shows have tried, to varying degrees of success, to bring the unique feel of comics to motion; think the Adam West Batman incorporating off-kilter angles and cartoon sound-effects, or Sin City’s abstract monochrome palette. But Into the Spider-verse not only goes all the way visually — using a revolutionary mix of 2D, 3D, digital, and hand-drawn animation techniques to recreate the fusion-media feel of a modern comics page — it uses those stylized tricks to convey mood and emotion in ways a live-action film never could; from the thought balloons crowding out Miles’ post-empowerment headspace to the astonishing final battle set in a collapsing maelstrom of different styles and animation-effects representing a breakdown between realities. Nothing in the world of live-action or animation has ever looked more heroic.Photo Credit: Sony Pictures AnimationIt Uses the Best of Every Previous Spider-ManEven when the change is overall for the better, there are always pieces of the prior incarnations that end up being missed whenever a superhero franchise retools or reboots: No one has yet managed to write a piece of Superman music that can supplant John Williams’ theme in the popular imagination, and the live-action Spider-Man movies can’t seem to bring themselves to even attempt re-casting J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson.But liberated from the constraints of live-action and with a Multiverse gimmick baked into its plot, Into the Spider-Verse takes full advantage (and then some) of the freedom to mix and match the best aspects of every version that’s come before: Its Miles Morales is both inspired-by the original from Ultimate Spider-Man but also new to the film, its two versions of “classic” Peter Parker freely borrow from the comics, cartoons, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland versions, it’s flashback invocation of “With great power…” samples Cliff Robertson’s reading of the line from the first Sam Raimi film (at one point having Maguire voice Peter B. Parker was discussed) while classic moments like the first-webswing “Woooooo!” to the upside-down kiss and even Spider-Man 2’s iconic train rescue combine with visuals inspired by comics, cartoon, and video-game versions to create something wholly new.It’s the First Superhero Movie to Go Beyond (And Think Bigger Than) the MCUThe Marvel Cinematic Universe rewrote the rules for superhero movies (and made the genre bigger than it ever was before) by winning its gamble that the genre-fluid shared-universe continuity employed by comics — where sci-fi, fantasy, horror, action, and comedy storytelling break down and merge into a singular cohesive whole — could successfully translate to movies and television. But with audiences now having fully accepted, via the MCU, that what began in the semi-grounded world of the first Iron Man could grow to include wizards, viking gods and space raccoons… where can the genre go next?As it turns out, the answer is to begin breaking through the walls between reality, logic, and self-awareness itself, and it’s not Marvel-proper that got to this next-level first but rather a licensed side-project from Spider-Man co-owner Sony. Spider-Verse took the possibilities of superhero movies to the place genre-reshaping works like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Grant Morrison’s Animal Man did for comics in the ’80s and ’90s, and one has to wonder if it’ll be a comedown to step back into the “normal” MCU after this: “Yeah, sure, this is fine… nobody’s a cartoon pig, though…”It Goes Big Without Losing the Real StoryFans were rightly worried when it was revealed that what had initially been announced as an animated film about Miles Morales would also be a multiverse crossover featuring several other Spider-Men: Would the popular young hero’s fans be shortchanged in favor of a team-up — or, worse, would the premise itself render a character presented in comics as the successor to the Spider-Man mantle as just one of many interchangeable alternates? Incredibly, those fears turned out to be unfounded: The film balances its two-tiered story commendably, always keeping Miles’ origin and development at the center, and wisely keeping the other Spider-People as a Greek Chorus of supporting players whose presence enhance his story without ever overwhelming it. That’s hard to do, especially in a high-energy family film (not every animation studio would have the courage to cut away from introducing the wacky alt-universe Spiders in order to pick up a key plot-point about Miles and his Uncle Aaron) but Into the Spider-Verse consistently goes the right way.Photo Credit: Sony Pictures AnimationThose Awesome Fresh Takes on Classic Familiar CharactersSure, the film already has “new” material to spare in terms of how relatively unknown Miles Morales and the (living) version of Spider-Gwen are outside of loyal comic readers, but Into the Spider-Verse takes its conceit of being mainly set in a universe decidedly not identical to the “conventional” Spider-Man continuity or the real world as a free pass to try exciting new things with by now well-known characters: Two different Peter Parkers (one whose life has worked out much better than Spider-Man’s typically does, another who ended up even worse), a tech-wiz Aunt May who’s in on the secret and builds the gear, a Spanish-speaking cyborg Scorpion, some of the most intimidating versions of Kingpin, Tombstone, and the Prowler ever… and, of course, Kathryn Hahn’s Olivia Octavius — a gender-flipped Doctor Octopus whose reveal is one of the film’s best “gotcha!” moments, and who ends up being one of the most inspired versions of the character ever.It Does Diversity Right — And That MattersEvery Hollywood studio worth its salt knows that diverse casting that reflects the evolving 21st-century face of the global audience is a smart box-office move in addition to a forward-thinking one; but not every film has pulled it off without seeming awkward or tone-deaf. But the filmmakers behind Into the Spider-Verse clearly took their mandate to make the film’s central mantra of “Anyone can wear the mask” work as a real statement to rally behind, not simply in the instantly-iconic imagery of the familiar Spider-Man mask lifting to reveal the face of a Black teenage boy but in the way its story builds on themes of identity and culture for new insight into the familiar superhero “secret identity” setup.From the casual bilingual swapping between English and Spanish in conversation with his family and melting-pot NYC neighborhood to his unease at transferring to an upscale charter school to his internal conflict over admiration for his straight-laced policeman father and slick operator uncle (itself a micro-morality-play of competing cultural visions of Black American manhood), we’re repeatedly shown how profoundly Miles is already asked by the world around him to inhabit multiple identities even before it’s his turn to be Spider-Man — a significant but fascinating difference from other versions of the character that feels natural instead of heavy-handed.Photo Credit: Sony Pictures AnimationIt Gives Us a Spider-Man for the 21st CenturyMoreso than any other A-list superhero, Spider-Man has always connected strongly with the youth culture of each successive generation. The most popular versions of the character tend to be those that hew to the high school and college age versions of the comic book original, which is part of why Miles Morales was so much better received conceptually than many other radically-different “inheritor” legacy heroes by notoriously change-averse fans. But while movie versions have often leaned hard on nostalgia for the teen years of grownup filmmakers, Into the Spider-Verse feels directly in-tune with the 21st Century young audience it’s mainly aimed at: It speaks Generation Z’s language, moves at a modern speed, and (as noted previously) features a cast that actually looks like the diverse, evolving world it’s being released into.It Showed Us What a Superhero Death Looks Like When It CountsLet’s get real: The Infinity War “dusting” of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker (“Mr. Stark – I don’t feel good…”) was the shocker movie-meme of 2018 in large part because it’s so conceptually grim and Holland so effectively communicates the horror of the sequence — but no one thinks he’s going to stay dead, any more than they thought Henry Cavill was going to not come back in Justice League. That superhero deaths are hard to take seriously or be moved by has been a punchline for years — but maybe not after Into the Spider-Verse let us see what it can look like when it’s “for real.”Sure, there’s still a bit of an “escape hatch” — the Peter Parker of Miles’ universe has only been dead for a day or so before Miles meets the older, grumpier but very much alive (if dimensionally-displaced) Peter B. Parker version. But the initial sequence of the Morales Family, along with the rest of New York, gradually receiving the news that Spider-Man has been found dead (at only 26 years old — an additional gut-punch) is one of the film’s best sequences: Lil Wayne, Ty Dolla $ign, and XXXTENTACION’s “Scared of The Dark” queuing up on the soundtrack, the nighttime montage of New Yorkers’ stopping in their tracks as their phones light up with the bad news, Mary Jane Watson delivering a eulogy whose content says “This is the real thing, not just plot-information for later”… it’s a stunning moment, maybe the best version of such a scene ever — even before the additional final bruising no one could’ve planned for.Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Animation“I’m Gonna Miss Him…”“…We were friends, y’know.”If the rest of the funeral sequence didn’t fully break you on first viewing, hearing the voice of the (then) just recently-deceased Stan Lee come up on above the chatter had to do it. Especially with those two lines, and the perfectly-timed reveal of what the King of the Marvel Cameo’s role this time actually was: A costume store owner, who sells Miles Morales his first Spider-Man suit. Oof.It Has a Real Heart — And a Real Message“Anyone can be Spider-Man. You can be Spider-Man.” It sounds a bit like a cynical marketing line, and to an extent it is — a philosophical “poptimistic” sounding justification for the Into the Spider-Verse’s gimmick of a multiversal superhero team starring different versions of a popular hero. But the film turns it into a serious statement of purpose as well, crafting a narrative of inclusivity and openness to new concepts of what a hero can be that (in the broad strokes) offers the spectacle of “Spider-Men” across multiple different ages, genders, body-types and even species — but also gets serious and specific about the personal journey and stakes for the young hero at the center of the story.The Miles Morales of Into the Spider-Verse isn’t exactly the same character as the one who originated in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man, and its unknown if he resembles the (hypothetical) version who’s eventual existence has already been hinted at for the live-action MCU Spider-Man films. But for most moviegoers, this will be the first introduction to the character — a young Black man who inherits the mantle of a famous white superhero and has to make it his own in a world that already alternately demands of him, fears him, dismisses him, and in general, can’t stop telling him what he can and can’t be.Photo Credit: Sony Pictures AnimationThose realities hang over and inject real heart into every frame of the film, from his evolving relationship with his father to his shattering final confrontation with his uncle (revealed, as in the comics, to be The Prowler) and especially in his showdown with The Kingpin; whose stature as symbolic embodiment of blatant criminality enabled by power and privilege takes on a stark new dimension when he’s looming over a Spider-Man with the same face and voice of dozens of young men without superpowers who are (literally and figuratively) beaten down by other powerful old white men, like Wilson Fisk in real life, every day. It’s an animated film, and a very unusual one, but at heart it’s more “real” than most live-action superhero epics can ever hope to be.More on Geek.com:MovieBob’s 15 Most Anticipated Movies of 2019MovieBob’s 12 Least Anticipated Movies of 2019MovieBob’s Top 10 Movies of 2018last_img read more

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EPA finds dogs are the best way to clear beaches of seagull

first_img Citation: EPA finds dogs are the best way to clear beaches of seagull guano (2012, September 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-09-epa-dogs-beaches-seagull-guano.html Scientists puzzled by sand bacteria More information: Dramatic Improvements in Beach Water Quality Following Gull Removal, Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/es302306bAbstractGulls are often cited as important contributors of fecal contamination to surface waters, and some recreational beaches have used gull control measures to improve microbial water quality. In this study, gulls were chased from a Lake Michigan beach using specially trained dogs, and water quality improvements were quantified. Fecal indicator bacteria and potentially pathogenic bacteria were measured before and during gull control using culture methods and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Harassment by dogs was an effective method of gull control: average daily gull populations fell from 665 before to 17 during intervention; and a significant reduction in the density of a gull-associated marker was observed (p < 0.001). Enterococcus spp. and Escherichia coli densities were also significantly reduced during gull control (p < 0.001 and p = 0.012, respectively for culture methods; p = 0.012 and p = 0.034, respectively for qPCR). Linear regression results indicate that a 50% reduction in gulls was associated with a 38% and 29% decrease in Enterococcus spp. and E. coli densities, respectively. Potentially human pathogenic bacteria were detected on 64% of days prior to gull control and absent during gull intervention, a significant reduction (p = 0.005). This study demonstrates that gull removal can be a highly successful beach remedial action to improve microbial water quality. (Phys.org)—A slew of researchers working for the US Environmental Protection Agency have found that the best way to clear public beaches of bird guano and the hazardous bacteria that result, is to unleash trained dogs to harass them into moving elsewhere. The team has written a paper describing their results and have had it published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Explore further As anyone that's ever visited a public beach knows, seagulls are a familiar and generally unwelcome sight, as they congregate over areas and leave behind enormous amounts of their feces. What's worse is that many bacteria that are hazardous to human health tend to show up in the guano which makes its way into both the sand and nearby waters. Beaches that are frequented by a lot of people are tested periodically for such bacteria and if levels grow too high, the beach must be closed for a time. In most cases, beaches are "cleaned" by turning over the sand, a time consuming and costly business.To fight the problem, the EPA has tried using oils to cover bird eggs which prevent them from hatching; a method that offers some short term benefit, but not much in the long run; it's also quite labor intensive. In looking for new ways to solve the problem, the researchers noted anecdotal evidence that has suggested that when dogs are allowed on beaches, bird populations and the level of guano go down, though dog droppings of course, go up.To find out if using dogs might be the solution if done in a proper way, the research team, led by Reagan Reed Converse, picked a beach in Racine Wisconsin, on Lake Michigan to serve as a study site. There they counted the number of birds present over an eleven day period and took sand and sea samples to measure the amount and kinds of bacteria as well. Next, they unleashed two border collies (with their handlers) that had been trained to chase seagulls on command, while leaving other less troublesome birds alone. The dogs kept the beach cleared of birds from morning till night for a week while the handlers kept the beach clear of dog doo.The results showed the dogs truly did the trick. Prior to their arrival the researchers counted on average 665 birds on any given day; during the dog trial, that number fell to just 17. Also, prior to the introduction of the dogs, the researchers found hazardous bacteria present seven out of eleven days; when the dogs were working, they found none.Because the results were so convincing, the EPA is now considering ways to implement beach patrols using trained dogs as a regular part of beach maintenance. Journal information: Environmental Science & Technology This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2012 Phys.orglast_img read more

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When Indian fiction reflected the burden of society

first_imgA novel that takes its readers into the abyss of poverty and patriarchy, thereby narrating the sordid uses of power and the agony it unleashes; a dystopian satire that draws a telling portrait of our times; and finally an international bestseller from India weaves together a writer’s experiences as a social and environmental activist – all of this in fiction. Two years ago, there was a spontaneous protest by leading Indian writers who returned their Sahitya Akademi awards in the wake of what they called a growing climate of intolerance and a threat to free speech in the country. Later, these writers were dubbed as those with “vested interests”, seeking “cheap publicity” at a time when their books had “stopped selling”. Those opposed to them pointed out that, as writers, the ideal way to put their perspectives before the public was through their writings – and few could disagree with this fundamental point. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfCut to the present: The year 2017 witnessed the release of at least three powerful novels, along with two short story anthologies, all of which use the medium of art and fiction to reflect the burden of society.Leading the charge with huge publicity and global media attention was the return of writer-activist Arundhati Roy with her novel “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness”. The novel came after a hiatus of two long decades, during which Roy was actively involved in a number of social and environmental campaigns – a lot of which is reflected in the offering. From Kashmir to Maoists and transgenders to crony capitalism, it is an inward contemplation of a master storyteller on the times and surroundings she is living in. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”I speak as a reader and a publisher when I say that I turn to fiction, as much as to non-fiction, when I seek to make sense of our times, or any time that has gone past us. ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ is a stellar example of the sheer humanity of the art of the novel. What such a book does is stand up for integrity: It shows us both searing beauty and the fearsome ugliness. Arundhati Roy’s book is an empathetic, hopeful and fiercely idealistic response to the epic tale of Independent India. What more can one ask of a great Indian novel,” asked Meru Gokhale, Editor-in-Chief, Literary Publishing, of Penguin Random House India. Soon after Roy’s novel came “When the Moon Shines By Day” by Nayantara Sahgal, a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family and a noted writer who spearheaded the “award wapsi” campaign in 2015. The moon obviously does not shine by day nor does the sun shine by night. “Something is wrong if one is forced to agree with such propositions, or be punished for refusing to agree,” Sahgal said, pointing to the larger narrative that she presents in her novel.Thus, a character finds her father’s books on medieval history disappearing from bookstores and libraries. Her young domestic help, Abdul, discovers that it is safer to be called Morari Lal on the street, but there is no such protection from vigilante fury for his Dalit friend Suraj. Kamlesh, a diplomat and writer, comes up against official wrath for his anti-war views.And finally, the year closed with the recent release of Kiran Nagarkar’s “Jasoda”, a commentary on society narrated as fiction. The readers question the protagonist Jasoda, seeking to understand whether she is a mother, murderer or saint?”You could characterise ‘Jasoda’ as a novel that explores the incidence of female infanticide, its causes and its consequences in Indian society, particularly in the hinterland; or a novel that depicts the generation gap between the acquiescent pre-liberalisation generation and the ambitious, confident post-liberalisation generation,” said Udayan Mitra, HarperCollins India.”Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the book is that the central character is a woman, she is a mother, and her name is Jasoda – a name everyone familiar with mythology knows. What the book is ultimately about, for me, is how myth and reality are at cross-purposes in today’s India,” he added.Above and beyond these names are “When Danniel Comes to Judgement” by Keki Daruwalla and “Up Country Tales” by Mark Tully – both short story anthologies – bringing many societal issues to the fore. The biggest achievement of these books lies in the fact that they have transported their settings to the ground realities of the times we are living in, moved away from an elitist urbanscape (the current trend) and, in doing so, they have only rekindled the rich legacy of the likes of Raja Rao, Mulk Raj Anand and R.K. Narayan.last_img read more

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Binay Tamang vows to revive shut tea gardens

first_imgDarjeeling: Binay Tamang, former chairman of the Gokhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and candidate for the forthcoming Assembly by-election from the Darjeeling constituency, has assured tobring relief to the tea garden workers by resolving various issues ailing the tea gardens in the Hills. “Out of the 87 tea gardens in the Hills around five are closed. With the relentless efforts of the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union and the intervention of the GTA we managed to reopen the Risheehat Tea Estate that had been closed for 13 days. The Kanchen View Tea Estate will also open from April 29,” said Tamang, who is at present on the campaign trail. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataIncidentally, a cease-work strike has been declared by the management at the Kanchen View Tea Estate located in Darjeeling town. Tamang further stated that after the Model Code of Conduct is lifted a Sri Lankan Tea Company will visit the closed gardens. The company has shown interest to run these closed gardens. “If things work out the no objection certificate will be provided to them to run the gardens. If it does not, we can have workers cooperatives to run these closed gardens. The matter has already been discussed with the state government. Things look very positive,” Tamang said. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateRegarding special relief for the tea garden workers who had not received wages during the 105-day bandh in 2017 in the Darjeeling Hills in the grip of political strife, Tamang stated that that a proposal had been given and the Bengal Government’s response is positive. “During the bandh, workers had missed out on wages for 73 days. A report had been prepared and sent to the state government. Altogether Rs. 108 crore is required to pay all the workers for the bandh period. Even if not the full 73 days, we want the government and the GTA to disburse a special relief for at least 50 to 60 days. It will be a big help for the workers and their families. The state is very positive about it,” Tamang said.last_img read more

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