China WTO changes must support developing countries

first_imgBEIJING — A Chinese official says Beijing will go along with World Trade Organization reforms meant to update global trade rules but they must protect China’s status as a developing country.The deputy commerce minister, Wang Shouwen, said Friday that any changes must address protectionism, abuse of export controls and security reviews — a reference to Beijing’s clash with U.S. President Donald Trump over technology policy.The Trump administration has criticized the WTO as too slow to deal with complaints about Chinese industry policy. The European Union says the trade referee should focus on subsidies, technology transfers and state industry — all areas in which Beijing faces complaints.Wang said Beijing will “not allow other members to deprive China of the special and differential treatment that developing members deserve.”The Associated Presslast_img read more

It was time that I stood up to the Chads and Stacys

Video of the interview as well as a 190-page transcript were filed in court during pretrial discussions and obtained by National Post. Normally, media would not be allowed to reveal the content of such an interview, especially one so incendiary and incriminating, until it was entered as a public exhibit at trial. However, Postmedia and other news organizations asked the trial judge to allow publication now, because Minassian’s guilt or innocence will be decided by a judge without a jury and because of the compelling public importance of the material.Minassian’s interview has not yet faced legal objections or challenges to its truth. For now, it stands as a disturbing, graphic and uncontradicted account of the accused man’s own blunt words, as told to police just hours after his arrest.“I’m a little shaken, to be honest,” Minassian said near the beginning of the interview, when asked how he was doing.“It’s not my usual day, obviously.”It wasn’t a usual day for anyone in the city.————At about 1:22 p.m. on April 23, 2018, a rental van started barreling along the sidewalks of Yonge Street between Finch and Sheppard avenues, crashing into and over pedestrians.After 10 minutes of chaos and carnage, Minassian was arrested unharmed, despite trying to provoke a police officer to shoot him by pretending he had a gun.He was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.About nine hours later, Minassian was led into a Toronto police interview room where everything was recorded. Stripped of his clothing and wearing only his underwear and a white police-issue cover-all, Minassian was told he legally did not have to answer questions. He was taken to a private room where he telephoned a lawyer for advice, first, who advised him not to answer any questions.Even so, Minassian was drawn into conversation through patient and clever questioning by Det. Rob Thomas, an investigator with Toronto police’s Sex Crimes, Behavioural Assessment Section.Despite the gravity of the situation, Minassian sat placidly, only occasionally shifting his weight in the chair placed by police in the corner of the room, crossing or uncrossing his legs, or splaying them in front of him.He spoke in a steady, flat tone with precise, clipped enunciation, devoid of any emotional displays. He had a decidedly cold manner, even when discussing his victims, to the point of sounding like a machine when describing killing as “to convert the life status of certain individuals to death status.”The interview began at 10:46 p.m.After early reluctance to open up — declining to answer 20 of Thomas’s first substantive questions — Minassian was soon speaking in granular detail, about his life, about why and how he did the van attack, and explaining the destructive worldview of the incels, such as dividing humanity into categories of betas, Stacys, Chads and normies. Police couldn’t crack Toronto van attack driver’s laptop, phone passwords despite eight months of trying U.S. Army warns of possible incel shootings at Joker film screenings He claimed he had communicated online with two other notorious incels — including the man he called the movement’s “founding forefather” — prior to them committing their own massacres: Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in California in 2014, and Chris Harper-Mercer, who killed nine people in Oregon in 2015.Together they plotted “timed strikes” in an incel rebellion, Minassian claimed.Minassian claimed that Rodger even confided in him about his plans three days before Rodger’s killing spree. Minassian wished him luck.Such startling declarations of his self-described “radicalization” and overt intent behind the van attack were made by Minassian during an almost 4-1/2 hour post-arrest interview with police. Toronto van attack suspect Alek Minassian. He wanted something bigger than a car “to inflict severe damage.” While he told Ryder he wanted to help a friend move furniture, he told police the van was really meant to be a “tool for the rebellion.”He reserved a van for 1 p.m. on April 23.Then, he waited.“I didn’t need to make any further preparations.” While he waited, he was “preoccupied” with the idea.“I was thinking that I would inspire future masses to join me in my uprising,” he said. “How the foundations of the world would be shooken by this event.”The day before the attack he posted a message on 4chan, using coded language to avoid detection, he said.“I stated there will be a beta uprising tomorrow, I encourage others to follow suit.”He said he received several congratulatory replies, including someone from Edmonton who said he would do his part on Nov. 15. Thomas probed for details about the threat, but Minassian offered nothing more. (Edmonton police told the Post the force did not have enough information to even begin looking into whether the threat was forwarded to them or whether it was investigated.)————On the day of the van attack, Minassian woke about 7 a.m. after a solid eight hours sleep. He ate breakfast, cleaned up and checked his email to see if there were any school emails or job offers, he said.There were none.He then went for a walk around his neighbourhood before heading to pick up the van.Just before he started driving it, he posted a Facebook message from his phone.(That post provided the first public link between the attack and the incel ideology. In part, it said: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” It also referenced 4chan.)Minassian drove the van towards Yonge St., “because I knew it would be a busy area,” he said.“I’m thinking that this is it, this is the day of retribution.” (This is a phrase Rodger used in a video he posted on YouTube just before his own killing spree.)This is the day of retribution“That’s the only thing that’s in my mind, it’s just burning in my mind,” Minassian said. He drove along Yonge St., “and then as soon as I saw there were pedestrians, I just decided to go for it.”He said he pushed the gas pedal to the floor.“I just started using it as a weapon,” he said.“I speed the van towards them, and I allow the van to collide with them,” he said. “The vehicle collided with several pedestrians, some of who are no longer alive as a result.“To be honest, the only reason I stopped my attack was because someone’s drink got splashed on my windshield and I was worried that I would crash the van.“I wanted to do more,” he said, but he could hardly see. “I saw the cops approaching so I decided to pull over and get out of my van.”He purposely pointed his wallet at the arriving police officer, hoping he would think it was a gun and shoot him. That was part of his plan, he said, “suicide by cop.”He considered buying a toy gun to provoke police but he worried someone at the rental company might see it and decline to give him the van.“So I decided to go as stealthily as possible.” Alek Minassian, charged with murdering 10 people in the April 2018 van attack in Toronto, is questioned by police detective Rob Thomas after the attack. (A beta is an incel; Stacy is the generic name for attractive women who shun betas; Chad is the name for sexually successful men who attract women despite being seen as dumb; normies are the masses in between, with average looks and intelligence.)Minassian explained what the “incel rebellion” was.“It’s basically a movement of angry incels such as myself who are unable to get laid, therefore we want to overthrow the Chads, which would force the Stacys to be forced to reproduce with the incels.”But it took the detective a while to get Minassian to that point. Thomas started by gently asking Minassian about his relationships.“Have you ever had a relationship with a female?”“I don’t wish to answer that,” Minassian said, at first. He had trouble resisting the topic, however.“I would say that sometimes I am a bit upset that they choose to date obnoxious men instead of a gentleman,” he said. He traced his feelings of alienation to an incident in 2012.“I did ask a girl out once but she rejected me,” he said. “I felt crushed at that point.”I consider myself a supreme gentlemanAnother defining moment for him came when he went to a Halloween party in 2013. He “attempted to socialize with some girls, however they all laughed at me and held the arms of the big guys instead.“I felt angry they would give their love and affection to obnoxious brutes,” he said, “because I consider myself a supreme gentleman.”When he started college in Toronto in 2014, taking a bachelor of software development degree program at Seneca College, he found he wasn’t alone in this anger.A friend he met at college pointed him to online forums where the incel community was quietly burgeoning.Minassian connected with likeminded men primarily through message boards on 4chan and Reddit, he said. The forums reveal incel discussions dwelling on outrageous expressions of misogyny. Primary themes include: vivid threats of rape, death and subjugation of women; urging violence against men who are sexually active; and bleak, often suicidal self-denigration.Although he said he doesn’t hold “any political views,” he was attracted to forums featuring “political discussions with an alt-right bias,” he said. “It was very blunt and honest,” he said of the online posts. There he learned the “red pill truths about why women choose to date obnoxious men.“I know of several other guys over the internet who feel the same way, but,” Minassian said, “I would consider them too cowardly to act on their anger.” Ontario Superior Court Cole Burston/Getty Images TORONTO — Soon after Alek Minassian was charged with killing 10 people by purposely crashing a van into them along a crowded Toronto sidewalk last year, a police officer asked him how he felt about it.“I feel like I accomplished my mission,” Minassian calmly replied.That mission, he declared in a lengthy interview with police, was to cause mass casualties and panic as part of the “involuntary celibate” rebellion, a violent ideology — known as incel for short — held by some men who feel dangerously aggrieved by their inability to attract sexual interest from women.Minassian, 26, explicitly declared his fealty to the incel doctrine, and his links to the incel movement went far deeper and were more structured than previously known, according to his own account of planning and executing his “mission.”Related LinkedIn via CP A police officer stands near a body covered by a tarp on the sidewalk along Yonge Street near Finch Avenue after a man drove a rental van down the sidewalk and hit and killed multiple pedestrians in Toronto, April 23, 2018. Emergency responders at the scene on Yonge Street after a van plowed into pedestrians on April 23, 2018 in Toronto. Cole Burston/Getty Images Tyler Anderson/National Post Police inspect a van which struck and killed multiple pedestrians on Yonge Street in Toronto, April 23, 2018. He refused to identify them or his college friend who introduced him to the online world of incels.Minassian was a receptive student — and mimic — of incel culture. He spoke with authority on incel terminology and people. He knew its history and key dates by heart. Several phrases he used are common in incel forums.Online he connected directly with Rodger and Harper-Mercer, he said. (Both men later committed suicide by shooting themselves in the head after launching separate deadly attacks.)Minassian said he first sent a private message to Rodger on Reddit after Minassian read one of his posts in January 2014. It started an online back-and-forth, most of it through 4chan, he claimed.“We found each other very interesting. We both had the same frustrations,” he said, “despite being separate by distance so far apart.” He never met Rodger in person, but wished he had.Minassian said he last communicated with Rodger on May 20, 2014, three days before Rodger’s attacks near a university campus in Isla Vista, California.“He told me that he has to go, he must, he’s on a very important mission and he might not make it back alive.“I kind of had an idea in my head of what he was planning but I didn’t want to think it was true at the time, so I said, so I replied, and said, I wish you good luck with that.”We discussed our frustrations at society and being unable to get laidMinassian claimed he, Rodger and Harper-Mercer plotted staggered incel attacks.“We discussed our frustrations at society and being unable to get laid and we were plotting a certain timed strikes on society, in order to confuse and shake the foundations, just to put all the normies in a state of panic.”There is no independent corroboration of Minassian’s account of his ties to Rodger or Harper-Mercer, and it is not yet known if he was telling the truth or aggrandizing his place in the incel world.Minassian said he learned of Rodger’s attacks and suicide on the news.“I felt kind of proud of him for his acts of bravery,” he said. He credits Rodger with starting the “beta uprising.” Rodger’s acts made him “feel radicalized.”Thomas asked him what he meant.“I felt it was time to take action and not just sit on the sidelines and just fester in my own sadness.”————Minassian spent a large portion of his life online. Logging in seemed his default state. He owned two laptops. At Seneca College, there was a specific computer in the school’s library he obsessively used. He also had his phone.He played a lot of video games, about five hours each day, “especially the violent ones,” he said. “I just like to let out all my urges into the TV screen.“I would classify myself as a hardcore gamer,” he said, also saying, “I watch too much TV,” favouring crime shows.He enlisted in the Canadian Forces, with plans to join the infantry as a soldier on the frontlines.“I was interested in learning how to use weapons,” especially assault rifles, “because these you can actually hold in your hand.” But he never made it far enough in his training to fire any guns in the military. (The Department of National Defence said Minassian was judged to be an unsuitable recruit and voluntarily left basic training after 16 days, although the military saw no “red flags” of violence.)Instead, he enrolled in college.He did not excel in high school, spending most of it in special needs classes. “I was kind of a nerd in high school,” he said, but seemed to do well in his four-year software program.He had completed the requirements for his degree — his last day of classes was five days before the attack.The timing was not a coincidence. He felt the attack would be “more symbolic” if he had finished his college degree first, he said.After years of feeling radicalized — “just thinking and day dreaming,” he said — he started planning an attack a few weeks before it occurred.“I was thinking that it was time that I stood up to the Chads and Stacys,” Minassian said.While he was at his campus library in early April, he read online reviews for various vehicle rental companies. He dismissed some companies because people complained about poor customer service before settling on Ryder. “People loved Ryder,” he said.Minassian phoned and asked for a van or a truck. They had a 10-foot van available. It sounded “perfect” — “big enough to have an effect but not too big that I can’t manoeuvre with it.” Once he realized the officer wasn’t going to shoot, he surrendered.“I realize I had no choice but to get on the ground because I was probably going to be tackled anyway or tased,” he said. “If I’m going to live, I’d rather not encounter a physically painful experience.”————It was at this point in the interview, after almost four hours, that Minassian abandoned his original reluctance to talk about his personal experience with women.After a bathroom break, during which Minassian displayed obsessive-compulsive qualities — using paper towel to turn off the taps then taking fresh paper towel to avoid touching the doorknob to open the door, explaining “I had to ensure that there would be no germs on my hand” — Thomas revisited his question of whether he had ever been intimate with a woman.“Unfortunately, I haven’t,” Minassian said. He has never had a girlfriend and didn’t go to his high school prom.He said he hadn’t had sex because, “I’m too nice.”Minassian wasn’t asked detailed questions about his mental health. Several former classmates earlier described him as socially awkward and having behavioural issues. His mother, in an unrelated media interview before the attack, said her son had Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.Asked about his religion, he said he was an atheist.“I wasn’t raised with any religion,” he said.In answer to questions about his travels, Minassian spoke of visiting Quebec for summer hiking at Mont-Tremblant, of family Christmas vacations in Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles and a spring trip to Boston.Thomas then confronted Minassian about his claim he took a bus to pick up the van. Minassian insisted he was telling the truth, but Thomas told him that Minassian’s father, Vahe, had already told police he dropped him off at a coffee shop nearby.Minassian then admitted that was the case. He said he lied to protect his father. “I was worried that you would think he was an accomplice,” Minassian said, “but he was not aware of this.”Minassian assured Thomas that everything else he said was true.As the interview wound down, Thomas asked Minassian about his reaction to the deaths and injuries he was charged with. That’s when he chillingly said he accomplished his mission.Thomas asked him if that is what he would tell the families of the van attack victims if they came into the room.“I honestly don’t know what I would say,” Minassian answered.“Would you apologize?”“I honestly don’t know.”Minassian was led out of the room at 3:04 a.m.His trial is scheduled for next February. read more

Liberia top UN envoys return to Monrovia

According of a UN spokesperson in New York, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Representative for Liberia, Abou Moussa, and UN Resident Coordinator Marc de Bernis returned to Monrovia over the weekend.In a letter to the Security Council last week, the Secretary-General had said he was sending the two back to Monrovia to assist in preparations for the return of UN and associated personnel. At the height of the conflict, precarious security conditions forced the suspension of virtually all international relief operations in most parts of the country.Mr. Annan’s letter informed the Council of a number of other urgent initiatives he had taken to address the grave situation, notably, naming Jacques Klein, former head of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), as his Special Representative for Liberia to lead and coordinate the activities of the UN in that country.In other news, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned last Friday of a growing food crisis in Liberia, saying that hundreds of thousands of displaced people in camps outside Monrovia will soon face starvation if a peaceful solution is not reached immediately. Arnold Vercken, WFP’s Deputy Director for West Africa, said, “Our trucks are loaded and ready to go, but we have no guarantees of security.” read more

Where Did All The Lopsided Super Bowls Go

(The list could have also included a few other notable snoozers, such as Washington’s 42-10 win over Denver in 1988 and Denver’s own easy 34-19 win over Atlanta in 1999.)Sure, there were a few all-time-great Super Bowls interspersed among those stinkers — such as Joe Montana’s final-drive victory in 1989, the aforementioned Giants-Bills classic from 1991, Elway’s first Super Bowl win in 1998 and the Rams’ epic finish against the Titans in 2000. But for most of the Super Bowl’s first four decades of existence, there were just as many duds, games that could make you wonder why so much hoopla was devoted to what would frequently turn into a boring blowout.More recently, though, we’ve been treated to far better games on the Super Bowl stage — and practically no true laughers. How can we prove it? Statistically, there are a number of ways we can measure the excitement of any given game, and this post from ESPN’s Brian Burke lays out a few of my favorites:Excitement Index is the sum total of movement in win probability across an entire game. This rewards back-and-forth games with a lot of uncertainty about the eventual winner until the very end of the game. Super Bowl XXIV (1990) — San Francisco 55, Denver 10Average score margin: +/-23.2 pointsTies/lead changes: 1John Elway’s Broncos were no match for Joe Montana and the 49ers, who took a 41-3 lead five-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter and cruised to the most dominating victory in Super Bowl history. Fewer than 15 minutes in this game were spent with Denver even being within one score of the lead. On paper, Sunday’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams has all the earmarks of an instant classic. The teams are evenly matched in their strengths and weaknesses, and the favored Patriots’ pregame chance of victory — 52.8 percent, according to our Elo model — is among the lowest113th-lowest, to be exact. of any favorite in Super Bowl history, meaning the game is close to a toss-up.In the past, though, this would have guaranteed nothing — and even could have been viewed as a bad omen. (Or at least, it wouldn’t have been reliably good.) It wasn’t too long ago that we were in an era of total Super Bowl stink bombs being a regular occurrence. Some of the best (i.e., worst) examples of this, in terms of time spent with the score lopsided, included:Super Bowl XX (1986) — Chicago 46, New England 10Average score margin:2Or the average of the game score differential at every second of the game. +/-19.6 pointsTies/lead changes:3Excluding the initial 0-0 tie. 3After the Pats took a quick 3-0 lead, the Bears rattled off 44 consecutive points. Chicago ended up with 167 yards and four touchdowns on the ground while burying New England QBs Tony Eason and Steve Grogan under relentless defensive pressure. Super Bowl XXXVII (2003) — Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21Average score margin: +/-11.1 pointsTies/lead changes: 3Led by another of history’s great defenses, Tampa jumped out to a 34-3 third-quarter lead and never looked back. (As it turns out, maybe you should change up your audibles and play calls when facing your former coach in the Super Bowl.) Comeback Factor is the eventual loser’s highest win probability in the game. This essentially measures how dramatic a comeback the winning team needed to stage, with larger numbers representing more unlikely victories.In concert, these metrics tend to do a good job of measuring what we want out of a thrilling Super Bowl — late-game heroics, big comebacks and results that come down to the wire. With win probability data provided by ESPN’s Stats & Information Group,4Using the version of win probability that doesn’t have the pregame odds baked into the formula, to make sure we’re focusing only on the way a game played out once the teams actually took the field. I calculated both metrics for every Super Bowl (since the first game was played in 1967) and plotted them out as a time series by season: Super Bowl XXVI (1992) — Washington 37, Buffalo 24Average score margin: +/-12.9 pointsTies/lead changes: 1A year after losing one of the most dramatic Super Bowls ever, the Bills were undone by Washington’s 24-0 run in the second and third quarters. Buffalo eventually found itself in a 37-10 hole before a couple of meaningless TDs made the final score seem far more respectable than it actually was. In recent years, you can see a pattern emerge: Very few Super Bowls have been duds, according to the Excitement Index. Since that Bucs-Raiders debacle in 2003, 13 of the past 15 matchups have registered an Excitement Index above the all-time average for Super Bowls.5The average Excitement Index for all Super Bowls ever is 4.4. And of the two that didn’t, one was New England’s unprecedented 28-3 comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in 2017, which only graded as below average because so much of the game was spent with the Falcons in command, before the Pats stormed back. (It made up for that lower Excitement Index with the highest Comeback Factor of any Super Bowl by far.)Over the past decade-and-a-half, the only genuinely terrible Super Bowl came in 2014, when the Legion of Boom Seahawks thoroughly routed Peyton Manning’s favored Broncos, 43-8. That game nearly set new records for the lowest Excitement Index and most lopsided average score margin in a Super Bowl (it ranks second in both categories). But it was also an aberration in an era when great Super Bowls are the norm and duds are very much the exception.Some of that may be because of the matchups actually becoming closer over time. According to our Elo ratings, the average Super Bowl’s pregame spread during the 2010s has been 2.1 points, the smallest in any decade since the 1970s. By comparison, that number was 3.2 from the 1980s through the 2000s. So it’s not exactly a coincidence that the games have gotten better in the same span — though that fact alone doesn’t necessarily explain all of the uptick in great Super Bowls.So does all of this mean we’re “due” for a dull game Sunday? No. But we’ve also been extremely spoiled by seeing so many great ones in recent history. We’ve watched just as many Super Bowls hit an Excitement Index of 5.0 in the past 14 seasons as we had in the 38 seasons beforehand. Something might have to give eventually, even if all signs point to this weekend’s game continuing the exciting run.ESPN’s Brian Burke contributed research. Super Bowl XXXV (2001) — Baltimore 34, N.Y. Giants 7Average score margin: +/-11.1 pointsTies/lead changes: 1Baltimore’s defense completely owned this game, keeping the New York offense from crossing the 50-yard line until late in the first half (they would only run four plays in Raven territory at all) and harassing Kerry Collins into the second-lowest-rated passing performance in Super Bowl history. Super Bowl XXIX (1995) — San Francisco 49, San Diego 26Average score margin: +/-19.1 pointsTies/lead changes: 1Any hope that this matchup might be competitive vanished when Steve Young hit Jerry Rice for a 44-yard TD a scant 1:24 into the game. It was the first of seven 49er touchdowns on the day and part of the 35-10 lead San Francisco would build minutes into the third quarter. Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

Column Panti Bliss controversy raises major questions about RTEs role in public

first_imgI LISTENED IN DISMAY earlier this week as I was informed that the state broadcaster, RTE, had agreed to pay damages to a number of parties who felt they had being wronged by having the word ‘homophobic’ attributed to them. If this proves to be true, then major questions have got to be asked about the role of the public service broadcaster in public discourse.While some people may argue the toss over the definition of the words homophobe or homophobia, nobody can dispute the definition of the word equality. The Oxford Dictionary defines equality as: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. Clearly, if you disagree that another person, by virtue of their sexuality, is not entitled to equal status, rights or opportunities, then you are not an advocate of equality.The purpose of public discourseIn relation to this particular incident, the primary tenet here is the difference between public discourse and private discourse. In private discourse you are entitled to express any belief you so wish, whereas in public discourse the debate must be balanced and allow for equality of views. A balanced media, particularly the state broadcaster, has a duty to challenge opinions that promote inequality.There is an insistence, by some, in public discourse that we must listen to the voice telling us that a gay person’s relationship is somehow lesser than a straight relationship – essentially that they are unequal. That is the promotion of inequality. If inequality is to become the currency of public discourse then we have a societal problem that will continue to grow.Let’s, for a second, presume that women had never been given the right to vote and they were now fighting for that right. Imagine now, that every debate on the topic focused on women’s mental capacity to participate in civic life. Would you have a problem with that? If you believe in equality, you believe that men and women are equal. The same holds true with every category of people.Different types of news mediaMost people could very easily point to certain sections of the international, privately-owned media and easily describe them as having a particular editorial slant, be it conservative anti-immigrant, anti-gay etc, or liberal and openly left-leaning in its views on social reform. However, when we consider the role of a public service broadcaster we expect it to be free of those types of biases. We expect an impartial service that delivers rounded debate, a plethora of opinions and provides equal opportunities to all sides of the argument. Indeed it is for this reason that we pay a licence fee.If we have a situation where the public service broadcaster is so easily intimidated by some litigious conservatives – or any other group for that matter – then we have a problem, a big problem. How can we honestly expect there to be reasoned and equal debate on any topic if a strongly worded letter from someone who perceives an insult, will result in the mitigation of that debate, its removal from the airwaves, and a public apology for the fact that it ever happened!We can be pedants or we can be realists. Whilst one might not like a particular word attributed to them, one cannot dispute the definition of a word. Utilising the Oxford Dictionary again, we see that the definition of homophobia is a “aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people”. If you argue that homosexual people are not entitled to the same consideration as straight people then you are, by definition, a homophobe.Espousing beliefsIf the public service broadcaster is to capitulate every time someone cries foul when a well-founded and fair opinion is expressed about them, then they will find that the budget very quickly runs dry but – more importantly – so too does public discourse. For example, I am always introduced as an Independent TD. This is, by dictionary definition, correct. Now suppose I decide I’m not happy with that label despite the fact that it is accurate. Should I write a letter to RTE and expect a cheque by return? Where does it end?You cannot openly espouse a belief then decide to be offended when the appropriate label for that belief is applied to you. The public service broadcaster has a duty here to exercise discretion, common sense and most importantly, to provide an equal platform where one side, or the other, is not afraid to openly address an issue using appropriate wording, not slurs, but actual dictionary definitions that are not open to dispute by pedants with well-paid solicitors behind them.Catherine Murphy is an Irish independent politician from Leixlip in County Kildare. Follow her on Twitter @CathMurphyTDOpen Letter to RTE: Explain why you censored gay rights advocate Rory O’NeillRead: RTÉ apologises for ‘distress’ caused by Saturday Night Show guest’s commentsRead: Part of The Saturday Night Show removed from RTÉ Player over ‘legal issues’Share your story: opinions@thejournal.ielast_img read more

Google brings Project Glass to Fashion Week

first_imgThere’s no doubting that Google’s Project Glass is one of the best Geek toys that has yet to be released. Just the idea of the wearable technology being less than a year away has been a cause for constant and increasing fervor inside the tech world.In an attempt to give everyone in the rest of the world a reason to start talking about Project Glass, Google has given a handful of DVF models one of the developer unit prototypes and had them walk out on stage during Fashion Week to show them off.One of the least likely places you would expect to see anyone talking about Project Glass is inside the world of fashion. For these dedicated few, Fashion Week is one of the biggest events of the year. This week is one where models walk the stage and photographers from around the world capture them in the latest gear from every major designer. This year, equipped with the camera in a Project Glass unit, some of the models got to fire back.The DVF Google+ page is filled with photos taken by the models wearing Project Glass. These photos have been uploaded straight from the units, and include a little bit more insight into how these units interact with Google+. The photos are uploaded using the same rules as the Google+ app for iOS or Android, and the photo details are now completely filled in. Previous Glass photos were were missing any real information. These photos are published at 2048 x 1536, which is the default resolution for Google+, and the photos are labeled as having been taken from “Glass 1”.It looks like all the photos on the DVF page were uploaded straight from Glass devices, and there are no obvious signs of photo editing of any kind. It’s not clear whether or not the models were intentionally taking the photos, or if the camera app was set to take the shots at pre-determined intervals as we’ve seen in previous Glass demonstrations.Putting Project Glass into the mainstream for attention is an incredibly valuable experiment. The idea of a wearable computer is still pretty sci-fi to most people, and events like this will help raise overall awareness. For the moment, Google’s Project Glass seems to be leading the charge, but I doubt it will be long before we see real competition in this emerging market.More at the DVF Google+ pagelast_img read more

WWE Network now featuring ECW on TNN episodes

first_img Now Playing Up Next Google+ Jennie Garth Pinterest Episodes of ECW on TNN from 1999 and 2000 are now being featured in the Vault section of the WWE Network under the ECW Hardcore TV area. Episodes from August 1999 through January 2000 are currently available for viewing as of this week.Source: Network.WWE.comRecommended videosPowered by AnyClipThe Tech Behind the First FDA-Approved Birth Control AppVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 3:42/Current Time 0:03Loaded: 42.20%0:04Remaining Time -3:39 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list Now Playing Up Next Apple TV+ To Be Offered For $4.99 Per Month Gwen Stefani Videos Articles Videos Articles The Tech Behind the First FDA-Approved Birth Control App Twitter Adam Martin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORcenter_img Alex Trebek returns to ‘Jeopardy!’ Now Playing Up Next ECW Press announces Al Snow Autobiography to be released this Wednesday WhatsApp The Jeopardy Legend Is Back Now Playing Up Next Now Playing Up Next Leigh Sales and Lisa Wilkinson deserve gold Logies. Facebook Rob Van Dam shares thoughts on John Oliver, wrestling high in ECW, WWE Hall of Fame Paul Heyman says relaunched ECW would have been successful with another namelast_img read more

Woodland mayoral candidates have wealth of experience

first_imgJohn ‘J.J.’ BurkeOccupation: Semi-retired business owner and computer technician.Age: 59Background: Woodland City Council, 2002-presentFunds raised: Not available (less than $5,000)Endorsements: None providedwebsite: jjformayor.webs.comGrover LasekeOccupation: Cowlitz County emergency managerAge: 58Background: Retired 30-year law enforcement officerFunds raised: $5,000Endorsements: Building Association of Clark Countywebsite: groverformayor.blogspot.comTwo candidates with long experience in local government are vying to succeed Woodland Mayor Chuck Blum, who chose not to seek re-election. John “J.J.” Burke has served nine years as a member of the Woodland City Council and lost narrowly to Blum in the 2007 mayoral race. He is a member of the Downtown Revitalization Committee and several other civic groups. Grover Laseke, Cowlitz County’s emergency manager, has worked in law enforcement for 30 years, including eight years as Woodland’s police chief. He served as mayor of Toledo from 1988 to 1993 and has served as a volunteer with Medical Teams International.Laseke finished first in the four-way August primary race for mayor, with about 44 percent of the vote. Burke finished second, winning 27 percent of the vote.The candidates agree that addressing city traffic issues and working to improve communications between the mayor and city council are among Woodland’s most pressing needs.Burke also calls for development of an aggressive strategy to attract and retain more businesses. If elected, he said, he will work directly with the council, the Port of Woodland and the Chamber of Commerce to develop that strategy and will meet monthly with interested business owners to hear their concerns, involving the city’s entire public works team in those meetings. He promises to use his veto power to kill any measure that would hurt existing businesses and to consider changing the city’s sign code to accommodate larger businesses looking to attract new customers.last_img read more

Mysterious Air Force space plane still orbiting 719 days later

first_img 4 12 Photos SpaceX launches hush-hush space plane (probably) Secretive space plane lands after nearly two years in orbit Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan kept things plenty vague when he visited the X-37B facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in July. “The X-37B is a key component to America’s future in space dominance,” he said in an Air Force release.The Air Force didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the X-37B’s current flight.The X-37B, which began as a NASA project, made its first flight in 2010. A second model took off on its first mission in 2011.We don’t know X-37B’s purpose, but we do know it’s been hanging out in orbit for longer and longer periods of time. As for when we can expect it to rejoin us on Earth, that’s classified, too. We’ll just have to live with the mystery. X-37B: The space plane of mystery (pictures) 3:52 4 game-changing experimental aircraft Now playing: Watch this: Tags Sci-Tech Space plane Enlarge ImageIn March 2010, back before it ever flew, the X-37B posed for this picture on a runway in Titusville, Florida. Boeing We know what it looks like: a cute little space shuttle. We know where it is: in orbit around Earth. We know who sent it there: the US Air Force, via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in September 2017. Why just don’t know why.The uncrewed Boeing-built X-37B space plane has now been in orbit for 719 days, breaking the previous record of nearly 718 days set during its last mission, which returned to Earth in early 2017. The Air Force hasn’t revealed the exact purpose of the drone, but it did at least let us know when it landed last time. “The X-37B program is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft that performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies,” the Air Force said in a boilerplate description it’s repeated over the years. Share your voice Comments Boeing Spacelast_img read more

Why keep changing features of notes coins Bombay High Court

first_imgMumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday sought to know from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) the reason behind changing from time to time the size and other features in currency notes and coins. The query was posed by a division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice N M Jamdar while hearing a petition filed by the National Association of the Blind (NAB). Also Read – Trinamool, BJP activists scuffle at Dilip Ghosh’s event Advertise With Us The NAB petition claimed that new currency notes and coins issued by the RBI posed difficulty for visually impaired persons in terms of identification and distinguishing them. “We want to know from the RBI that what is the compulsion of changing the features like size and so on in the currency notes,” Chief Justice Nandrajog said. The court added that no other country in the world keeps changing size and features of their currency notes so often. Also Read – NRC in Assam to be released: list to finalize if a person is Indian or Foreigner Advertise With Us The court was informed that in March this year the RBI had issued new coins with special features to help visually impaired persons distinguish them. The court directed the apex bank to file its affidavit within a period of six weeks on the issue. The petition has sought for directions to the central bank to include distinctive features in the new coins and currency notes.last_img read more

A story of heroism

first_imgMahesh Bhatt is coming up with his latest release The Silent Heroes which is a is an adventurous and emotional story of 13 real deaf and mute children (who are on a Himalayan mission), their struggle for survival , their courage and their heroism. Everything about this film is fresh as the children were selected from a deaf school and trained specifically for this film, this film was shot in bone chilling weather and remote unexplored locations in Uttarakhand Himalaya with a fresh cast and crew. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The Silent Heroes is world’s first film with real deaf actors and is perhaps the first attempt by a film maker to create story with these special children as Heroes and not as sympathy seeking individuals.The Silent Heroes has been screened at various film festivals and received excellent audience response, Kolkata International children’s film fest , Dehradun international film fest and Prayag international film fest, to name a few.This film is directed by Mr Mahesh Bhatt, who has been working with various national and international television channels on socially relevant stories and adventure stories for more than 2 decades. Singer Sonu Nigam has given his voice to these children in form beautiful songs, ably supported by a fresh music team.last_img read more

The Longest Siege and Bombardment Ever Recorded

first_imgMilitary history has witnessed some epic sieges: long, painful ordeals where cities and castles have been surrounded, bombarded and starved into submission. Siege warfare has been waged, in various forms, for thousands of years, and remains an effective strategy for conquering well-fortified strongholds. Surviving a siege is a matter of luck and patience. In this respect, perhaps the most resilient city in history has to be Ceuta, a small stronghold on the coast of North Africa, which survived the longest and most epic siege ever recorded.1572 depiction of Ceuta.At the end of the 17th century, this small Mediterranean outcrop endured a siege of 26 years, only to immediately suffer another seven-year-long bombardment just a few months after the siege was lifted.This epic battle makes it into the history books as the longest ever siege, closely followed by the battle of Candia, a city in Crete that was besieged by the Ottomans for 21 years.Siege of CandiaAccording to the BBC, in 1694 Ceuta was in Spanish hands, having previously been a Portuguese domain within the Iberian Union. The Spanish had dominated the Western Mediterranean during the 17th century, but in the 1670s, the rise to power of a new Moroccan sultan began to challenge their hegemony.Moulay Ismail ibn Sharif was proclaimed the Sultan of Morocco in 1672, and he soon earned a reputation as a formidable military strategist. He successfully campaigned against the Ottomans and European powers in North Africa and restored a number of key cities to Moroccan control, including Tangiers, Larache and Asilah.Moulay Ismail ibn SharifAccording to historian James Brown, in 1694 he set his sights on Ceuta and dispatched his general, Ali bin Abdullah, to surround the city. The Moroccan forces attacked the city in full force but made little headway, and so settled themselves in for the long haul. They cultivated the land around the city, ensuring that they would remain well supplied, and waited for weaknesses to show in Ceuta defenses.Related Video: Archaeologists Unveil 3,000-yr-old Tomb in LuxorSomewhat surprisingly, Ceuta proved to be remarkably resilient. Despite some Moroccan incursions, the city remained in Spanish hands, supported by supply chains from the Iberian Peninsula via Gibraltar.The Royal Walls of Ceuta, built from 962 to the 18th century, and navigable moats. Photo by Jim Gordon CC BY 2.0Facing a sustained Moroccan offensive, the rulers of the city appealed to the king’s court in Madrid for support. The king responded by sending troops from the south of Spain and Portugal.This strategy proved to be counter-productive. Ceuta had previously been a Portuguese stronghold, and many Portuguese felt that it should have fallen to them after the dissolution of the Iberian Union in 1640.Prince Henry the Navigator during the Conquest of Ceuta. Photo by CC BY-SA 2.0Friction between the Spanish and Portuguese troops was so bad that the Portuguese withdrew without having fired a single shot at the Moroccan besiegers.Spanish fortunes took a further turn for the worse when Gibraltar was captured by the English in 1704. With their supply lines cut off, the future appeared bleak for the defenders of the city. However, the Moroccans were still unable to make any headway against the resilient defense of the city, and Ceuta held on.Capture of Gibraltar.The turning point of the siege finally came in 1720, when political and territorial losses in Italy forced the Spanish crown to turn its attention towards the North African stronghold.The Marquis of Lede arrived in Ceuta with a large supply of reinforcements, and pushed the Moroccans back. He successfully entered the city, and for a moment, it appeared that the patience of the inhabitants had paid off. They had survived 26 years: the longest siege in history.The Marquis of Lede directing the attack on the besiegers.However, the twist in the tale came just a few months later when plague decimated the city of Ceuta. The Marquis of Lede fled, along with his army, and the siege was immediately reinstated by the Moroccans.The beleaguered residents of Ceuta endured yet another seven years of attack, grimly holding on to their territory despite superior Moroccan military strength.Respite for Ceuta only came with the death of Moulay Ismail, which triggered a succession crisis in the kingdom of Morocco. As other priorities emerged, the Moroccan troops withdrew, leaving the city weak and impoverished, but still in Spanish hands.Read another story from us: 5 Stories of Escaped Slaves who Made it to Freedom and SuccessThe defense of Ceuta has gone down in history as one of the most epic sieges of all time. Over 33 years, the people of the city endured almost constant bombardment, but Ceuta survived to tell the tale. This is one colonial holding that the Spanish have always been unwilling to relinquish.last_img read more

Opera 40 Stable released

first_imgOpera 40 Stable released by Martin Brinkmann on September 20, 2016 in Opera – Last Update: May 22, 2018 – 26 commentsOpera 40 is the latest version of the Opera desktop browser that brings automatic battery saving, Chromecast support, a built-in browser proxy and other features to the stable channel.We have talked about most of the features that ship with Opera 40 in the past already. The one thing that is new is that these features are now available to all users of the web browser, and not only users who run development versions of Opera.Probably the biggest feature of Opera 40 is the new browser proxy — Opera calls it VPN and we will use the same terminology in this article — that the browser ships with.The VPN is not enabled by default, but can be enabled in the preferences. Easiest way to do that is to load opera://settings in the address bar, switch to Privacy & Security when the Settings page opens, and check the “Enable VPN” box on the page.Please note that enabling the VPN will disable Opera Turbo. Once enabled, VPN is displayed on the left side of the browser’s address bar.A left-click on the icon displays options to disable the VPN, check the data transfer of it, the IP address assigned to your PC, and an option to switch to another location.Opera VPN supports the five locations United States, Germany, Canada, Netherlands and Singapore currently.It hides the “real” IP address of the device you are using. The connection speed is quite good. I was able to play 1080p YouTube videos without issues for instance, and streams played in source quality just as well.One thing that you cannot use Opera VPN for however is Netflix, as you will get the dreaded “you seem to be using an unblocker or proxy” message when trying to do so.The VPN adds some extra protection when you are browsing the Internet. Check out this presentation video advertising Opera’s VPN.Opera 40 ships with a big list of under the hood changes that you may find interesting. The battery saving mode supports new power saving settings that allow you to configure thresholds. There is also an estimation of the remaining time on battery capacity.Load opera://settings, make sure browser is selected and scroll down until you find the battery saver group listing.You may enable or disable it there, and check the “save battery automatically” option to set a threshold for the feature.Other changesThe new Opera 40 web browser supports Google’s Chromecast out of the box. You do need to download and install the Download Chrome Extension first in Opera, and then the Google Cast extension from the Chrome store.Download Chrome Extension allows you to install extensions from Chrome’s Web Store directly in Opera.Once done, you may interact with Chromecast devices as if you were using Google Chrome.The integrated newsreader supports RSS feeds now. Basically, what you can do now is add any RSS feed to Opera to read it in the browser.To use the personalized newsreader, click the News icon on the left-hand side of the Speed Dial and then click the “+” button. You can then paste a URL into the search field. Once the URL is recognized as valid source, you can add it.The browser engine was updated, and the video pop out feature of the browser supports more video sites and players.You may download Opera 40 from the official website, or run a check for updates if the browser is already installed on your system.SummaryArticle NameOpera 40 Stable releasedDescriptionOpera 40 is the latest version of the Opera desktop browser that brings automatic battery saving, Chromecast support, a built-in browser proxy and other features to the stable channel.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

These people booked a window seat but sat next to this instead

first_imgThese people booked a window seat but sat next to this instead @Qantas Seat 9A…Window Seat…#wheresmywindow? I’m pretty claustrophobic and this really didn’t help. QF547— Schipffy (@schipffy) February 20, 2017 Share Posted by Thanks @united! I paid for upgrade for a window seat, and THERE. IS. NO. WINDOW! #10F #wheresmywindow— cant tell you (@trashmoneyyy) March 21, 2017 LONDON — You’d think that when booking a window seat on a plane, you’re guaranteed the one defining feature of that seat – a window. But alas, in an era where “no-frills” increasingly means new lows for the airline industry, even windows aren’t a sure thing anymore.A new hashtag has been making the rounds on social media these days to describe the latest gripe of ripped-off fliers. #wheresmywindow is being used by unfortunate passengers who were stuck sitting next to a windowless wall, despite having booked a window seat.According to the YouTube channel Today I Found Out, which investigated the issue last October, airlines are adding more rows of seats to aircraft to raise revenue. As a result, some rows are left without windows, an unfortunate by-product in the race towards competitive airfares.Most of the tweets poked fun of the respective airlines and were kept on the humourous side. Check out some of our favourites:My seat has no window. maybe that’s extra? #wheresmywindow #missingwindow #windowawarenessday— Alistair Bates (@realAlistairB) July 21, 2017 Friday, September 15, 2017 Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

New Belarus foreign minister named

first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix MINSK, Belarus (AP) – Belarus’ authoritarian president has named a new foreign minister in what is being seen as an effort to improve relations with the European Union and United States.Vladimir Makei, the head of the presidential administration, replaces Sergei Martynov, who had been foreign minister for nine years.Political analysts saw Monday’s appointment as an overture to the West from President Alexander Lukashenko. The vital role family plays in society 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img The EU has imposed punitive sanctions on Belarus over human rights abuses. Relations soured further this month when Lukashenko’s government effectively expelled Sweden’s ambassador after he met with opposition activists.Makei, however, is also on the list of 243 Belarusians targeted by EU travel bans and asset freezes.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Top Stories last_img read more

Nine Alleged Convicted in Mortgage Fraud Cases

first_imgNine Alleged, Convicted in Mortgage Fraud Cases Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank of America Citigroup Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Processing Service Providers Wells Fargo 2011-08-26 Ryan Schuette August 26, 2011 589 Views Another week rolled by with more instances of mortgage fraud, as reported by several news outlets from around the country. Nine defendants alternately received indictments, pled guilty, and submitted to their sentences from courts as a result of allegations and convictions stemming from mortgage fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, and money-laundering activities.[IMAGE]The fraudulent activities, followed up by days in court, occurred across four states, with the “”_Associated Press_””:, “”_Central Valley Business Times_””:, “”_Daily Local News_””:, and “”_Twin Cities Pioneer Press_””: all reporting.In Davenport, Iowa, a U.S. district court returned five-year sentences to Bettendorf natives Darryl Hanneken and Robert Herdrich for their pleas of guilty to conspiracy and fraud, according to the _AP_. The court ordered the defendants to restitute $869,000 in related fees.The news service reported prosecutors as saying that Hanneken and Herdrich purchased 30 properties in Davenport by submitting fraudulent applications to banks and lenders between 2005 and 2006. The two men went through a real estate agent and mortgage broker to carry out the operations.Across the country, in Sacramento, California, a federal grand jury slapped Sean Clendon, Anthony Salcedo, and Anthony Williams with 11 indictments over mortgage fraud identity, according to the _ Business Times_. The jury also indicted Williams for identity theft to the tune of two counts.According to the _Business Times_, Williams and McClendon, a loan officer, went through sham buyers to fraudulently obtain four properties in Rocklin, Folsom, Sacramento, and El Dorado Hills. The newspaper said that Salcedo paid off McClendon and Williams for their role in identifying the sham buyers, while McClendon oversaw the loans for each of the properties.[COLUMN_BREAK]Overstating home prices on loan documents and payments, each application falsified income and asset amounts for the buyers in order to qualify the loans.The _Business Times_ reports that convictions may send the defendants to prison for up to 30 years, with $1 million in fines for each. Penalties related to identity theft, as for Williams, could mean two-year prison terms.Meanwhile, one state over, in Las Vegas, Nevada, a defendant by the name of John Lucidi entered a guilty plea for his role in conspiring to commit millions of dollars in wire fraud and money-laundering activities, according to a story by the _Local News_ that quoted U.S. attorney Zane David Memeger. According to the _Local News_, Lucidi conspired to knowingly filch money from, and commit acts of fraud against, several mortgage giants while on the payroll as a mortgage broker for companies in Pennsylvania. The banks on his list included “”Bank of America””:, “”CitiMortgage””:, Countrywide Bank, “”First Magnus Financial””:, “”JP Morgan Chase””:, “”PNC Bank””:, and “”Wells Fargo””: Lucidi pled guilty to his role in these activities between 2005 and 2008.The newspaper reported that Lucidi allegedly scammed the banks to the tune of $7 million. He orchestrated the scheme by fronting a number of buyers to obtain mortgages under false information and pretenses. In turn, he paid the sham buyers $30,000 and $50,000, while he amassed inflated commissions and kickbacks on his purchases.With sentencing set down the line, Lucidi may face jail time that last from 108 to 135 months, a three-year release involving supervision, plus fines amounting to either $1.5 million or $500,000 in addition to double the value in criminally derived property, according to _Local News_.Finally, farther north, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a court sent Richard Sand down the river with a 30-month prison sentence for the part he played in a scam involving $2 million in fraudulent loans, according to _Pioneer Press_. Sand pled guilty back in March to one count of aiding and abetting wire fraud and another for money-laundering activities.According to the newspaper, Sand, plus an attorney and ex-chairman of White Bear Township’s board, faced sentences over a transaction that relied on falsified loan applications to secure a $2-million loan from Bank of America. Sand used his mother’s name in the application to falsely signal that she owned a stake in the loan.center_img in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Sharelast_img read more

Federer’s twin Gran

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