Tenders for Highway 101 Improvements in Digby County

first_img repaving from Meteghan River Bridge east for about 8.1 kilometres to Exit 29, east of Little Brook Station; repaving from west of Exit 31 near St. Martin for 8.3 kilometres to the Meteghan River Bridge. This also includes repaving of the ramps and parking area at Exit 31. One of Nova Scotia’s busiest highways will be made smoother and safer as a result of two tender announcements by the Department of Transportation and Public Works. The tenders, for Highway 101 in Digby County are: Both contracts are scheduled for completion this summer. “Road safety is a top priority for our department,” said Transportation and Public Works Minister Angus MacIsaac. “The two paving projects will make for smoother, safer travel in the Meteghan Bridge area.” The Department of Transportation and Public Works’ highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in Nova Scotia. It maintains 4,100 bridges and operates seven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from district offices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney.last_img read more

Trudeau poised to shuffle retool cabinet with focus on Liberals team for

first_imgOTTAWA – Justin Trudeau will shuffle his front benches today to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.Sources say the changes will expand the prime minister’s cabinet by adding new posts to showcase up-and-coming MPs and to broaden the profile of a party that has long pinned its fortunes to the Trudeau brand.The shuffle appears designed to ensure deft communicators are well-placed to spell out the government’s positions and defend policies on hot political issues leading up to the 2019 election campaign.Insiders have indicated there’s a possibility Ottawa will appoint a minister dedicated to seniors, a post that once existed in past federal cabinets.The mid-summer shakeup will give ministers a couple of months to get up to speed on their new portfolios before they return to Parliament this fall, and the Liberals will hope they can master their responsibilities ahead of the election.Nearly three years into its four-year mandate, the Liberal government has few remaining opportunities to rejig its cabinet lineup.last_img read more

Zamboni stranded in NS ditch takes off as amusing Canadian snapshot

first_imgWINDSOR, N.S. — The powerful storm that battered Eastern Canada Monday had an unexpected casualty — a Zamboni found in a ditch near Windsor, Nova Scotia, without a rink in sight.A bemused driver snapped a photo of the scene and it quickly spread on social media as a bizarre rural Canadian tableau.Jake Ross, who had bought the Zamboni at auction as a novelty, put it out on his lawn decorated with Christmas lights for the holidays.The strong winds that ripped shingles off his roof apparently also pushed his large lawn decoration off for a spin across the property.“The wind got it rocking and rolling and it just took off in the night,” Ross said on Tuesday. The sight took him by the surprise when he was leaving for work on Monday.“I just kinda glanced at the side and saw it sitting in the ditch and thought, no way. It was a couple hundred feet down the road,” Ross said.He was crunched for time, so he had to leave it and hope it wouldn’t be towed before he got home in the evening. “I was running late Monday morning, and I was like, ‘I don’t got time to deal with this.’ So I had to leave it,” he said.In the meantime the photos spread on Facebook, even catching the attention of comedian Larry the Cable Guy.The American comedian shared the photo with the caption: “You guys in Canada sure know how to party.”Ross said he found the incident and subsequent social media buzz funny, and he managed to tow the vehicle out of the ditch with his truck that evening.The Zamboni is now stored out back with its parking brake on.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Racist Mob Violently Beats Every Muslimlooking Person in France

Casablanca – In a graphic video posted on YouTube, a mob of extremists in France is shown violently beating every Muslim-looking person in the street.The video shows hundreds of extremists destroying what looks like a coffee shop and public places around it. Even more shocking are the violent physical assaults on Muslim-looking passengers who are heard screaming in agony and pleading for the perpetrators to stop.Dozens of civilians have fallen victim to these criminal acts by extremists as the less-than-a-minute video shows. Beside their fists and feet, the attackers are shown beating and assaulting people with rods and metal objects that look like knives. The video was posted on July 20 and is just a small clip of what appears to have been a massive assault by French extremists against unarmed civilians based on their appearance.France has recently become a fertile ground for terrorists who claim allegiance to ISIS as well as for anti-Muslim extremists. read more

Customs in Guerguerat Border Seize 10 Million Firecrackers Counterfeit Products

Rabat – Customs authorities on the Guergerat border have seized more than 10 million units of illegal firecrackers and counterfeit items, including food and fixed-line telephone devices.According to Moroccan press, the seized products are worth MAD 1.4 million. The items were collectively hidden in a truck carrying products declared for import. Customs authorities discovered the illegal items using a special scanner. In 2017, Moroccan customs seized 8,300 unused mobile phones of different brands at the Guerguerat border crossing to Mauritania. The seized mobile phones were hidden on a truck registered in Mauritania. The buffer zone of Guerguerat has witnessed many instances of illegal smuggling in recent years, under heightened tensions between Morocco and the Polisario Front due to increased security intervention in the area.Moroccan authorities had intensified security measures in the area to combat illegal activities at the border area, a frequent checkpoint for smugglers, up until last month.Tension reached alarming levels in the months in December of 2016, and January  2017, when the Polisario militants began obstructing passage to Moroccan trucks carrying goods to Mauritania and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.Morocco withdrew its law enforcement from Guerguerat in February after a request issued on February 25, by Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General.The UN chief urged Morocco and Polisario to “unconditionally withdraw all armed elements from the Buffer Strip as soon as possible, to create an environment conducive to a resumption of the dialogue in the context of the political process led by the United Nations.”Immediately after the statement, King Mohammed VI ordered the withdrawal of Moroccan security forces from the region. The Polisario, however, did not withdraw its forces until the end of late April.Besides Polisario’s activities in the buffer strip, the region poses other security challenges for Morocco.In late September, a Moroccan officer serving at the border crossing in Guerguerat was attacked by individuals armed with knives, who proceeded to steal a Moroccan army pick-up truck.Additionally, separatists loyal to the Polisario Front have previously conducted assaults against members of Moroccan police.In December 2016, three separatists attacked a Moroccan policeman with knives. After their arrest, investigations revealed the attackers had worked to incite the local population to demonstrate their support for Polisario.The ongoing illegal activities of the Polisario Front in the Western Sahara buffer zone pose a threat to the stability of the region and undermine the UN settlement process to end the conflict over the region. read more

Hungarian Hall celebrates milestone

DELHI The Hungarian Hall here is celebrating its 70th anniversary this month.“We are proud of our Hungarian heritage,” said Andy Putoczki, hall president since 2008.“And we encourage our Hungarian friends and community friends to help preserve our heritage, culture, and Hungarian foods.”The hall was completed on May 15, 1949, after a group of Hungarian immigrants created an association to preserve their heritage, culture and language. The group was incorporated on June 7, 1947.The hall is used for all kinds of events from weddings to funeral luncheons. Regular meals are served on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.Before being president, Putoczki, whose father was vice-president at one time, served on the executive for a number of years. But he stepped away for a few years because of the workload of being a school principal.“I came back on, they elected me as president, and that’s been about 10 years now and I’m still here,” he said.As president, Putoczki organizes the events calendar for the year and oversees the financial books, among other duties.Mary Jane Kekes, president from 2002 to 2006, is the only woman to serve in that role.“I grew up in the hall; this was like a second home to me,” she said.“It means a lot.”Kekes was joined by three other women on the board during her tenure as president.“We shook the walls, but they’re still standing,” she said.Over past 70 years, the hall has gone through many renovations. The basement, which used to be a bowling alley, is now home to the Danube Bar and the Delhi Belgian Archery Club.The hall has been an integral part of the Multicultural Heritage Association of Norfolk since it was created 41 years ago, participating in and hosting many events.astaylor@postmedia.com read more

New deal paves way home for Burundians in Rwanda – UN refugee

The agreement, signed in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, provides an official framework for a repatriation operation that started at the end of June. The operation’s sixth organized convoy left from Rwanda to Burundi on Wednesday, bringing the total number of organized returns thus far to 2,155.“The voluntary repatriation of thousands of Burundian refugees from Rwanda and Tanzania on a weekly basis is a vote of confidence given by the Burundian refugees to the positive political developments that have taken place in Burundi,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative in Kigali, Panos Moumtzis, said in a statement.Last week the UN refugee agency reported a dramatic increase in the return of Burundian refugees from Tanzania following orderly communal elections at the end of June. Those elections represented nearly the last step in a long transition to peace and democracy in this tiny Central African country that has been torn by decades of ethnic war.Earlier today Secretary-General Kofi Annan congratulated Burundi on the election of Pierre Nkurunziza as its first post-transitional President. read more

Traders look to US earnings news economic data following negative showing

by Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 14, 2012 6:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – It could be hard to get markets energized this week as traders focus on a run of mainly secondary economic data amid minimal expectations for a slew of third quarter earnings reports.The TSX ended last week down 217 points or 1.74 per cent after buying sentiment took a hit from a gloomy forecast from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF reduced its growth forecast for the world economy to 3.3 per cent this year from its previous estimate of 3.5 per cent.Expectations for next year were also pared back as the IMF forecast for growth in 2013 is 3.6 per cent, down from 3.9 per cent three months ago and 4.1 per cent in April.The TSX is still up about 7.5 per cent from the market lows of early June, largely because of a commitment from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi to do whatever it takes to preserve the monetary union and another round of quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve.“You’ve already had a pretty good rally,” said Colin Cieszynski, market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.“You may see in the coming months there’s not enough to take markets much further but there’s not enough to knock them down either and you end up in this range bound trading for markets.”U.S. markets also ended last week lower with indexes failing to get a bounce from a strong earnings report from banking giant JPMorgan Chase, which beat expectations for earnings and revenue.But expectations for this earnings season are muted with analysts expecting a 2.1 per cent year-over-year decline in S&P 500 operating earnings, which would be the first year-over-year drop since the recession that followed the 2008 financial collapse.“Expectations have come down and the markets have gone up so it’s looking like a lot of (optimism) has probably already been priced into the market,” said Cieszynski.“So the actual reaction becomes fairly muted. You really need a real positive surprise at this point to move the needle very far.”The quarterly reporting season in the U.S. kicks into high gear this week with investors looking to results from Citigroup on Monday, chip giant Intel and beverage giant Coca Cola Tuesday, Bank of America and American Express Wednesday, Advanced Micro Devices Thursday while McDonald’s is among those handing in numbers on Friday.The quarterly reporting season in Canada tends to lag the U.S. by a couple of weeks.On the economic front, markets will open Monday morning digesting weekend reports from China on the latest readings on the country’s trade balance along with consumer and producer prices. And the latest reading on Chinese gross domestic product growth comes out Wednesday night.The Chinese economy has been instrumental in helping the global economies recover from the 2008 financial collapse. But expectations from the world’s second-biggest economy have been diminished as the Chinese government slowed economic growth in order to get a handle on persistently high inflation.“Expectations are pretty low,” added Cieszynski.In Canada, traders will look to the latest reading on existing home sales on Monday. Economists expect sales to have fallen in September by 15 per cent year over year.“There is no denying that underlying sales have softened meaningfully since new mortgage insurance rules kicked in July 9,” said BMO Capital Markets deputy chief economist Doug Porter in a commentary.Statistics Canada releases its latest reading on inflation Friday with the consensus calling for a 0.3 per cent rise in September from August, which would translate into 1.5 per cent rise year over year.In the U.S., investors will look to more data suggesting that the U.S. housing sector has finally turned the corner following the collapse in home prices that sparked the 2008 crisis.Housing starts for September are expected to come in at an annual rate of 770,000, up from 750,000 in August.Meanwhile, existing home sales are reckoned to come in at an annual rate of 4.72 million, down slightly from August.“The decline should still leave sales 11 per cent above year-ago levels,” said BMO Capital Markets senior economist Sal Guatieri.Traders will also take in U.S. September retail sales before the market opens Monday morning. Sales are expected to have climbed 0.8 per cent, down a bit from the 0.9 per cent rise in August. Traders look to U.S. earnings news, economic data following negative showing read more

Housing starts fall in October with drops in all regions CMHC says

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Canadian Press Posted Nov 8, 2012 5:13 pm MDT Housing starts fall in October with drops in all regions, CMHC says OTTAWA – The pace of home building slowed in October to a softer reading than economists expected in a report by the federal mortgage insurer, providing yet more evidence of a cooling housing market.Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Thursday there were 17,507 actual housing starts last month. That translates into a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 204,107 starts, down almost nine per cent from an annual rate of 223,995 recorded in September.CMHC said there were drops in both single- and multiple-unit starts in urban areas last month.Declines were recorded in all regions, with Quebec reporting the biggest drop at 16.9 per cent.“The monthly decrease in total housing starts posted in October was mostly due to a decrease in both single and multiple starts in urban centres in Quebec and the Prairies,” Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC, said in a release.“Multiple starts also declined in many urban centres in Ontario, more than offsetting an increase in such starts in Toronto.”Seasonally-adjusted urban starts decreased 1.5 per cent in British Columbia, 6.4 per cent in Ontario, 12.3 per cent in the Prairies, and 16.8 per cent in Atlantic Canada.The agency, which provides mortgage insurance to home buyers and market intelligence to the real-estate industry, estimates rural starts came in at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 21,973 units in October.Earlier this week, the federal Crown corporation predicted 177,300 to 209,900 of housing units will be started next year — substantially less than the forecast of 210,800 to 216,600 for 2012.Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said the slowdown is consistent with the bank’s expectations.“We view household formation around 190,000 annualized and the starts are a little north of 200,000, so they’ve slowed from a very rapid pace to a pace that’s still above household formation,” Carney said in Montreal.“We’re expecting this decreased contribution from housing relative to GDP… We’re starting to see some things that are consistent with that, so it’s entirely consistent with expectations.”Emanuella Enenajor of CIBC WM Economics noted that “despite low (interest) rates and surprisingly resilient investor demand, housing construction looks to be struggling to attain new heights in recent months.”“Although the housing starts data tend to be volatile month-to-month, we expect to see a trend in softening starts through 2013, as a slowdown in secondary market activity weights on homebuilding.”The CMHC data suggests housing starts — where trends tend to lag those in the home resale market — are falling in line with home sales figures released in the last few months, which points to a broader slowdown in Canada’s housing market.The latest figures from Canadian Real Estate Association found sales in September fell 15.1 per cent from a year earlier, due in large part to a further tightening of mortgage rules and a slowdown in Vancouver.A real estate expert at Queen’s University called the drop in housing starts in October “significant” and said it’s “clear evidence” that the housing market is slowing down.“(The numbers) provide sound evidence reinforcing the idea that housing markets in most regions and cities are cooling off rapidly,” John Andrew, director of the Queen’s real estate roundtable, said in a release.“Housing starts are clearly responding to the decrease in new and existing home sales that we’ve seen in most markets over the past few months, especially for condos. I expect this trend to deepen over the remainder of 2012 and likely into 2013.”In a global outlook released last month, the International Monetary Fund singled out housing and household debt, which currently sits at a near-record 163 per cent of income, as the key areas of concerns for Canada.Those concerns have been voiced before, including by Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who has moved four times in as many years to reduce mortgage lending.Over-saturation, high prices, high debt levels and recent tightening of mortgage rules are impacting the resale market, economists have noted, particularly in the previously torrid markets of Toronto and Vancouver. read more

South Sudan harassment of staff draws concern of UN mission

The mission stressed that such threats, forcible searches of UN vehicles, flights and convoys, and movement constraints are in violation of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the UN and the Government of South Sudan, which establishes the rights and privileges of foreign personnel in a host country in support of a larger security arrangement.The mission calls on the Government to respect its obligation to ensure the security and the freedom of movement for peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel, reminding that such freedom is essential for the UN to be able to implement its protection and assistance mandate for the country’s vulnerable populations. In the daily media briefing in New York earlier today, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq noted that “the humanitarian situation in the country also remains extremely fragile.”“The Heads of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Antonio Guterres, are currently in South Sudan and said they were alarmed at the scale of the needs arising from the crisis,” he added. In Upper Nile state, the mission has been observing large numbers of civilians returning from Malakal town to the UN protection site, which currently hosts more than 21,500 displaced persons. “Some of the civilians said they were advised by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) troops to not enter the town because the situation was volatile, while others reported to the UN mission that they had heard gunshots in the southern part of the town,” explained Mr. Haq. “Against this backdrop, aid agencies in South Sudan warn of even more dire humanitarian consequences, if urgently needed funds are not raised in the coming weeks,” said the spokesperson, emphasizing that the South Sudan Crisis Response Plan, which covers January to June 2014, is only 30 per cent funded. “Of the $887 million shortfall in funding, $232 million is the bare minimum required for the next three months to avoid the humanitarian situation deteriorating sharply,” stressed Mr. Haq.Later in the day, on the margins of the EU-Africa Summit in Brussels, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met a delegation of the South Sudan Government, led by Awan Guol Riak, Minister in the Office of the President, and Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.According to a readout of the meeting, Mr. Ban expressed his concern about the situation in South Sudan and underlined the readiness of the UN to do all its power to assist efforts to end the violence, and promote peace and reconciliation, as well as human rights and accountability. The Secretary-General stressed the paramount importance of preventing incidents of harassment against UN personnel. read more

Womens Volleyball Ohio State loses 32 to No 3 Penn State and

Ohio State head coach Geoff Carlston instructs members of the women’s volleyball team during a timeout in a match against No. 3 Penn State on Oct. 6. The Buckeyes lost 3-2. Credit: Rebecca Farage | Lantern ReporterOhio State split two home matches this weekend as it fell 3-2 to No. 3 Penn State Friday, but returned to the court the next day and picked up a 3-0 victory versus Rutgers.No. 3 Penn StateDespite losing 3-2 to Penn State, outside hitter Bia Franklin had a big night with 10 kills and nine digs, both career-highs for the sophomore. Setter Taylor Hughes also played a solid game with a match-high 50 assists, a total she had only matched just once previously this season.Penn State quickly jumped ahead in the first set with an 8-3 lead. Even after two timeouts, the Buckeyes could not match Penn State’s energy. The Nittany Lions delivered 18 kills with a .500 hitting percentage, leaving the Buckeyes behind and allowing Penn State to take the first set 25-13.The Buckeyes did not let the first set affect their performance as they stormed out to an 11-8 lead in the second set.The game grew more intense by the point as both teams fought back-and-forth for the second set with three lead changes. Outside hitter Luisa Schirmer was responsible for five kills and Hughes added 14 assists, leading the Buckeyes to win the set 25-23.The third set was just as competitive as the second, this time with 12 ties. Penn State middle blocker Haleigh Washington helped her team with seven kills on a .364 clip. Tensions were high as both teams played a close point-by-point set, ending in a 30-28 victory for the Buckeyes.The fourth set was quite a turnaround as the Buckeyes fell to a 13-6 deficit, forcing them to call a timeout. The Nittany Lions maintained their momentum and did not relinquish their lead. With 14 kills and 13 digs, Penn State took the set 25-9.The Nittany Lions carried their vibrant energy into the fifth set, leaving the Buckeyes to trail behind them 8-0. Although the Buckeyes attempted to catch up, Penn State took the set and the match with a decisive 15-7 victoryAlthough he sees room for improvement, Ohio State head coach Geoff Carlston thought his team played well against Penn State and recognized the tough moments the Buckeyes worked through.“In this conference and to go where we want to go, you have to be able to do it,” Carlston said. “If it’s a 2 1/2 hour match, you got to do it for 2 1/2 hours. It’s hard.”RutgersThe Buckeyes dominated Saturday night, bouncing back from their loss with a 3-0 sweep against Rutgers. Outside hitter Ashley Wenz was the star of the night with a career-high 18 kills.Wenz said she was not anticipating setting any records this weekend, but sees this as a success for the team as a whole, not just for herself.“I think it helps playing all the way around,” Wenz said. “We’re running the back row attack and it’s been working really well. We have a really nice rhythm with it right now, so that definitely helps.”Ohio State played a sound first set with 11 kills and 10 digs. Wenz put away four kills in the first set, and Rutgers had just a -.050 hitting percentage. The Buckeyes won the opening set 25-15.The second set went just as well for the Buckeyes as they were able to play strong offensively with 13 kills and posses a powerful defensive line with two blocks from middle blocker Madison Smeathers and Hughes. Ohio State claimed the set 25-12 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.  The Buckeyes played no differently in the third set, leading with a 9-1 opening run before the Scarlet Knights called a timeout. Although Rutgers was able to pull within just a couple points, Ohio State maintained a steady pace and won the third set 26-24, taking the match.Wenz thought playing these two teams were completely different experiences, but was proud of her team’s progress despite the weekend split.“I think [Rutgers was] pretty scrappy on defense and [we were] able to make the smart shots that we needed to make to be able to put the ball down,” Wenz said.The team’s success Saturday has shown Carlston what the Buckeyes are capable of, but he is only focused on making the team the best they can be.“We made some strides in some areas this weekend, but we just need to come back and keep getting better on Monday,” Carlston said. “We just got to stay focused. We can be really good, but we need to keep challenging ourselves to get better.”The Buckeyes will hit the road again as they face Illinois at 8 p.m. Friday and Northwestern at 8 p.m. Saturday. read more

Veolia commissions water treatment facility for CONSOL Energy

first_imgVeolia Water has successfully commissioned and begun operational management of the CONSOL Energy Inc Northern West Virginia Water Treatment Facility near Mannington, West Virginia. The Zero Liquid Waste (ZLW) facility designed and built by Veolia will treat 3,500 gal/min of mine drainage water. By employing a ZLW process, water of low quality is extracted and treated, and clean water is returned to the ecosystem, improving the water balance and condition of the Monongahela River watershed. Veolia will provide operational management of the facility for the next 10 years, guaranteeing CONSOL continual performance and optimisation of the system. The ZLW treatment concept removes contaminants in the mine water and reduces them to solid salts. The process also uses a number of sustainable practices and technology applications, reducing the carbon and energy footprint of the treatment process.This environmentally sustainable design and construction approach was developed to help CONSOL meet discharge standards for chlorides in West Virginia’s waterways. The facility will treat water from CONSOL’s Blacksville #2, Loveridge and Robinson Run mining operations. “In partnering with Veolia on this first-of-its-kind in scale and scope project, we were able to bring the water treatment plant online on time, under budget, and in full compliance with our permits,” commented Katharine Fredriksen, Senior Vice President Environmental Strategy and Regulatory Affairs. “This demonstrates the success of partnering with a company that shares our commitment to our core values of safety, compliance, and continuous improvement.”To quantify the benefits of the water treatment facility to the Monongahela River, Veolia conducted a Water Impact Index (WIIX) evaluation. Developed by Veolia, the WIIX 2 measures not only water volume, but the level of stress upon local water resources, overall water quality and indirect water impacts from chemicals and electricity. Measuring all these factors, the WIIX calculates the water impact of the new treatment facility will be 1.3 billion gallons of high-quality water per year returned to the Monongahela River basin, validating a positive environmental impact by the water treatment facility. “Veolia is continually working to develop sustainable solutions to meet the needs of our industrial customers while benefitting the environment,” said Kirk Schwab, General Manager of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies’ Pittsburgh office that designed and built the facility. “We are pleased to deliver this state-of-the-art project for CONSOL and believe that it will be the benchmark for mine water treatment in the Appalachian region for years to come.”Steve Hopper, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Veolia Environnement North America’s Industrial business, said, “The partnership with CONSOL goes beyond meeting new regulatory requirements. It combines technical know-how with operational expertise to implement a solution which positively impacts the environment while meeting the production needs of CONSOL through guaranteed performance.”last_img read more

French experts rule out Arafat poisoning

first_imgFRENCH EXPERTS HAVE ruled out a theory that Yasser Arafat was killed by poisoning and believe he may have died of natural causes, a source close to the probe into the Palestinian leader’s death said Tuesday.The French experts’ findings differ significantly from those of Swiss scientists, who said last month that their research offered some support for the suggestion Arafat was killed by polonium poisoning.“The report rules out the poisoning theory and goes in the sense of a natural death,” the source said.The circumstances of Arafat’s death aged 75 at a military hospital near Paris in November 2004 after a sudden deterioration in his health have long been mired in rumour and speculation.French doctors were unable to say what killed him and an autopsy was never performed, at the request of his widow.Many Palestinians believed he was poisoned by Israel – a claim repeatedly denied by the Jewish state.Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP the results of the French probe were “no surprise”.Some reservationsTawfiq Tirawi, the head of a Palestinian team that investigated Arafat’s death, expressed reservations over the French findings but said members of the team needed to study the report before taking a position.France opened a formal murder inquiry in August 2012, a month after an Al-Jazeera documentary linked Arafat’s death to polonium poisoning.Some 60 samples were taken from Arafat’s remains in November 2012 and divided between Swiss and Russian investigators and a French team carrying out a probe at his widow’s request.The prosecutors’ office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, which is conducting the French probe refused to comment on the investigation’s findings Tuesday.“I am so shattered by these contradictions. What are we supposed to think?” said Souha Arafat.The Swiss team said the test results neither confirmed nor denied polonium was the actual source of his death, although they provided “moderate” backing for the idea he was poisoned by the rare and highly radioactive element.They said the quantity of the deadly substance found on his remains pointed to the involvement of a third party.Russia’s Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) has yet to release its findings.A report by news agency Interfax in October quoted its chief Vladimir Uiba as saying Arafat “could not have been poisoned by polonium” but the medical agency later denied he had made any statement.Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Mhanna last month urged France to release the results of its probe, saying the Palestinians were sure Arafat had been poisoned and that Israel was the “only suspect” in his death.‘Easier with a bullet’Israeli President Shimon Peres, who shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, said last month that the reports of polonium poisoning were unbelievable.“If someone had wanted to get rid of Arafat, it would have been easier to do it with a bullet,” he said.The Swiss team’s findings sparked fresh accusations from the Palestinians and increased tensions with Israel at a delicate time.US-brokered peace talks resumed at the end of July after a three-year gap, but have already hit a deadlock over Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank on land the Palestinians want for their future state.Arafat shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Israeli leaders after signing the landmark Oslo accords in 1993, when hopes ran high for a negotiated settlement to the conflict.But the negotiations broke down seven years later amid bitter recriminations on both sides, and a bloody Palestinian intifada, or uprising, erupted that would eventually claim the lives of some 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis from 2000-2005.Israel and the United States blamed Arafat for a wave of suicide bombings and other attacks on Israelis during the uprising, while Arafat insisted he was powerless to prevent Palestinians from retaliating for deadly Israeli military operations in the occupied territories.© – AFP 2013Explainer: What do the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks mean?last_img read more

Neo Yokio is an Absolutely Mesmerizing Train Wreck

first_imgStay on target I’m a huge weeb. I mean, I’m wearing ninja tabi socks and eating microwave gyu-don with Gundam chopsticks right now (and they’re comfortable, delicious, and rad, in that order). I’m also a New Yorker, and while I didn’t grow up here as a transplant I’m capable of unreasonable and obsessive city jingoism to rival a Bostonian’s. Which means I’m either the ideal or absolute worst audience for Neo Yokio. It’s a Netflix original anime of which I’m still trying to fully understand its existence. It’s also the reason your Twitter timeline has shown scattered Toblerone jokes for the last week.Seriously, my threshold for cringey anime is pretty high, but I had to pause Neo Yokio just 40 seconds in after hearing the phrase “Bronx Prefecture.” I simultaneously tapped out and decided I was all-in.What is This, and Why Does it Exist?Neo Yokio is about a young exorcist in a heavily Japanicized alternate New York City who navigates high society while fighting demons. Sounds silly in reality, but for anime it actually sounds pretty tame. Neo Yokio is also the project of Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig, and stars Jaden Smith. They’re people who exist in reality, but in the context of anime are entirely baffling. Ultimately, however, Neo Yokio is simply a glorious failure.Neo Yokio is, at heart, a fantasy-comedy anime. I laughed super-hard at it. Those two facts are largely unrelated. Usually, failed comedy is the worst possible thing, because unlike failed drama it can’t even fall back on making you laugh from the absurdity when the absurdity itself is what fails. Neo Yokio manages to be weirdly, cringingly hilarious while being completely unsuccessful at the comedy it attempts.All of the intended humor comes from the heavily upper-class premise of the show. The main character Kaz is a “Neo-riche magistocrat” and a prominent figure in high society, so he and everyone around him obsesses with fashion and social standing. It’s a solid premise that’s been played with in everything from Archer to The Big O to Keeping Up Appearances. It also parallels the sports anime trope where the thing that the anime is about is, in that world, the most important thing there is. Fashion is a big thing in Neo Yokio’s premise, so it’s the only thing in Neo Yokio.Failing at ComedyNone of that pays off as intended, because Neo Yokio completely botches the two most important aspects of comedy: timing and delivery. When absurd statements about the importance of fashion are made, they almost never get any beats to hit as the jokes they’re meant to be. There’s no moment to laugh at the absurdity, because the conversation keeps going at a completely unbroken pace. The humor, as written, would be hard enough for talented voice actors to bring out because of how it’s timed.There’s a reason a lot of anime series share voice actors between them. That’s because people like Laura Bailey, Johnny Yong Bosch, Steve Blum, Monica Rial, and Yuri Lowenthal are very good at bringing personality and energy to roles using only their voices. You can joke about how Steve Blum has been in every animated work since Akira, but you also have to admit that Cowboy Bebop and The Big O wouldn’t have been the same without him.Instead of talented voice actors, Neo Yokio stars Jaden Smith, doing his best Yuri-Lowenthal-on-quaaludes impression. His delivery isn’t simply flat, it’s flat in its flatness. It’s hyperflat. Gigaflat. Tengen Toppa flat. Deadpan comedy can work incredibly well, but it needs just the right hints of inflection, and to be combined with proper timing, to pay off. This doesn’t mean Smith’s a bad actor, just a bad voice actor. Because those are two surprisingly different things that have very different requirements.In fact, none of the main cast is primarily a voice actor. Smith is joined by Jude Law as his Gundam-looking personal robot butler Charles, Susan Sarandon is his stern Aunt Agatha, his best friends Lexy and Gottlieb are played by Vice/MTV/YouTube celebrities Desus and Mero, and the fashion blogger Helena is played by actual fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson.The result of this cast is a bunch of characters who sound vaguely like people, but nothing like the people they’re being animated as. The performances range from dull monotone to absurdly broad accented strokes, with no inflection or energy behind it to breathe life into any character. And when the flattest delivery is coming from the start, who has the most screentime, you get a weirdly dull, unengaging experience no matter how interesting the setting is or how many amusing points might be buried in the writing. Let’s call this the Valerian effect.The art makes it even weirder. The show was produced by Production I.G., and generally looks like a pretty basic, frankly low-budget shonen anime. Simple but largely clean character designs that lean heavily on the generic side, with decent background animation and detail to avoid looking really cheap. For the most part.Woke? Comatose.Then there’s Aunt Agatha, Lexy, Gottlieb, and a handful of other characters with Western facial features that don’t match Kaz’s design. If anything, they look like background characters from The Boondocks. Which, combined with the subject matter, makes the entire series feel like it’s constantly setting up for a Boondocks-style social commentary joke but never actually hitting it. And around episode four their failure in trying to deliver that style of joke results in a few of the most uncomfortably out-of-nowhere and utterly failed attempts at showing social awareness I’ve seen (which only get steamrolled by the bizarre timing and terrible voice acting).It’s so strange to see a show that’s clearly some sort of passion project, but half-asses so many of its aspects while pouring money into others. Big-name, expensive, ultimately terrible cast. Passable animation. Some kind of message that just isn’t there, or at least isn’t expressed in a way for normal humans to really comprehend.The real killer here, which brings all the cringey writing, terrible delivery, and slightly janky art together into an utterly perplexing mess I really want to call so-bad-it’s-good, is the utter structural flaw of the show’s comedy: the complete lack of an audience surrogate. Neo Yokio puts you in a setting that’s both familiar-but-unrealistic with the Japanicized New York City and the supernatural elements, and unrelatable-but-realistic with the high society obsessions over fashion and social standing. No matter how you look at the world, at least some part of it is going to be fundamentally strange and alien. And that lack of anything that’s consistently relatable means none of the jokes land anywhere remotely near you. That constant barrage of weirdness can be salvaged with good comedic timing and expert delivery, but such things are apparently banned in Neo Yokio.The best way to ground fantastical settings is by including an audience surrogate, a character or set of characters who provide a familiar set of sensibilities to naturally play off of the unfamiliar situations. You need someone to look at all the weird crap that’s happening and say “Hey, this is weird crap!” And even if the rest of the world looks at them like they’re completely crazy, you at least have that tiny sliver of relatability the audience can latch onto.Archer: Terrible Anime EditionAs strange as it sounds, the best and most direct example of how to do this right is with Archer. No single character in Archer is quite normal, and every member of the cast has at least some crippling personality flaw. But each of those flaws is recognized by the other characters, so at least someone in the scene is able to call out how absurd any reactions that come from those flaws are. Everyone thinks Kreiger is crazy except Kreiger. Everyone thinks Cyril is pathetic is except Cyril. Everyone thinks Mallory is awful except Mallory. The crazy in each character is balanced with normality from the rest of the characters.Sterling Archer in Archer, in fact, is simply a far better executed version of Kaz in Neo Yokio. Both are fashion-conscious, narcissistic socialites with obsessive attention to the details of personal style and begrudgingly demonstrate expertise at their work despite constant embarrassing failures, spurred on by emotionally distant family matriarchs demanding they earn their lifestyle. The difference is that, when they freeze and obsess over absurd fashion minutiae, Archer’s coworkers look at him like he’s insane while all of Neo Yokio steps right in line with Kaz’s own priorities. I mean, both shows even take place in alternate histories where the Soviet Union still exists. The parallels are weirdly extensive.Well, that difference, and the fact that Jon Benjamin is a stellar voice actor and Jaden Smith, well, isn’t. And that Archer’s cast is full of other excellent voice actors and Neo Yokio’s cast has A-list celebrities, YouTube personalities, and fashion figures.And that Archer’s writing is extremely aware of the personal flaws in its cast. The humorously discordant aspects of its world and uses reaction and timing to highlight that recognition while Neo Yokio seems to play everything completely straight with the humor of its setting.Basically, watch Archer instead of Neo Yokio. But also watch Neo Yokio, because it’s so bad as to be strangely hypnotic. Its existence is perplexing. Its terribleness is amazing. I think I love it, or at least love hating it. It’s anime that lands in that strange so-bad-it’s-good niche as Birdemic and The Room. And it’s on Netflix, so check it out.Neo Yokio is one of the first anime series I’ve seen that really triggers the smell-this reaction. You know, where you smell something really bad and your first instinct is to make your friends smell it, both for that shared experience and because seeing their reaction is hilarious. The fact that it exists and you can inflict it on other people is a far better joke than any of the intended humor in the show itself.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Finally, Ash Ketchum Is A Pokemon Master‘One Punch Man’ Get A Video Game, Probably Has More Punches last_img read more

Gianfranco Zola sympathises with Eden Hazards frustrations

first_imgChelsea assistant coach Gianfranco Zola claims that even though Eden Hazard may not be known for his industry off the ball, Chelsea still needs him to assist the team.The Belgium winger hasn’t really impressed in all his outing this term after he was deployed by new coach Sarri to play as a false nine.Chelsea defeated Tottenham 2-1 on penalties to reach the EFL Cup final on Thursday with Hazard scoring the Blues’ second goal in a second leg.“I was very much like Eden,” Zola told reporters, according to FourFourTwo.“I was a very positive player, I liked to move around the pitch, find the spots on the pitch where I could receive the ball, turn and make the damage to the opposition.Premier LeaguePremier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“I was very, very similar and I do understand that. I believe we try to give him this but also to be an organised team defensively and offensively. Especially offensively. That’s why we ask Eden sometimes to put himself about in working hard.“I know that’s not his best quality. We understand that sometimes he needs to be fresh when he receives the ball. There is no doubt that we are on the same page. We want to find a common ground where he can get the best out of himself and the team can benefit from him.“Not only when he is scoring goals but when we have moments in the game where we need everybody to defend and everybody to press. That’s exactly what we are trying to do. Eden, I think, I have to be fair that he has been doing it.“He has been trying to do it. We are very demanding because we want to do it all the time. I am sure that we will find a compromise. I am not in a position to criticise a player like Eden. We believe, Maurizio said one thing, that the potential of Hazard is greater than the performances.“So he is not criticising what Eden is doing but he believes he can do much more for himself and the team. That’s all he is saying. This is the situation he wants Hazard to understand. Again, when we see his performances we look forward to seeing more and more.”last_img read more

Video game is coming Game of Thrones being developed by Telltale

first_imgAccording to a report over at IGN, Telltale Games — developers of the recent episodic Walking Dead games — is currently developing a Game of Thrones game. The developer is noted for its licensed titles, from the aforementioned Walking Dead, to Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, and the most recent The Wolf Among Us, which is based on the Fables comic series. So, though there are no details at the moment, it’s safe to assume that the reportedly upcoming GoT game will play similarly to Telltale’s other titles.Telltale is living in the limelight these days, as the developer not only brought adventure games back into the forefront of gaming, but is also getting ahold of some beloved franchises. If the report is accurate, then Telltale has just gotten ahold of one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed franchises in both the world of television and books.The developer’s formula is almost foolproof, but the very design that makes its games so popular could one day be the reason why that popularity wanes. The games are, more or less, visual novels; they don’t contain much active gameplay. Eventually, that might wear thin on gamers — especially if the GoT game follows the series plot and character development, as that would make it a third way to experience the same story alongside the books and TV show. More likely, though, Telltale will give it the Walking Dead treatment, and create a unique story that intertwines with the one we’re so familiar with.If Telltale is indeed developing a Game of Thrones game, it won’t be the only one in development. Bigpoint is developing a GoT browser-based MMO called Seven Kingdoms, Atlus released an RPG back in 2012, and Cyanide developed an RTS back in 2011. However, Telltale’s version would likely be the one to reach the largest audience, as the visual novel gameplay is quite simple to pick up and play, and would appeal to an wider audience more than an MMO or RTS would.Telltale stated that they cannot comment on the report, so if you’re really looking forward to the Telltale-ization of Game of Thrones, stay tuned.last_img read more

US arrests relatives of Venezuela first lady over drugtrafficking allegations

first_imgRelated posts:US slams Aruba’s release of Venezuela’s former intel chief Global drug policy isn’t working. These 100-plus organizations want that to change. Nephews of Venezuelan first lady deny US drug charges Solís put on the defensive as joint US-Costa Rican patrols come up for renewal NEW YORK – U.S. agents have arrested two relatives of Venezuela’s first lady for allegedly conspiring to smuggle 800 kilos (1,800 pounds) of cocaine into the United States,The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas were arrested in Haiti on Tuesday by local police, handed over to U.S. agents and flown the same day to New York, the newspaper said, citing two unnamed people familiar with the matter.The two men are due to appear before a U.S. federal judge in New York on Thursday, the Journal added. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan was not immediately reachable for comment.Campo Flores, 29, identified himself on the plane as a stepson of President Nicolás Maduro who had been brought up by his aunt, First Lady Cilia Flores, the newspaper said.The Journal said the other man identified himself as a nephew of Cilia Flores, a former president of Venezuela’s National Assembly and defense lawyer for Venezuela’s late leader, Hugo Chávez.The Journal reported in May that U.S. prosecutors are investigating several senior Venezuelan officials for alleged involvement in large-scale cocaine trafficking.Recommended: Colombia is again the world’s top coca producer. Why that’s a blow to the US Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impa

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact From left; Arizona Cardinals free safety Harlan Miller (34), linebacker Cap Capi (42), free safety Harlan Miller linebacker Alex Bazzie (54) and cornerback Jarell Carter (39) celebrate a safety caused by Alex Bazzie against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) TEMPE, Ariz. — The extended preseason is finally over for the Arizona Cardinals and now cutting the roster down to 53 players is all that remains before preparations for Week 1 can truly begin.“Feel really, really good about this team,” Bruce Arians told the media on Friday. “I think the one thing that we set out was to prove our intelligence as a football team. I saw that come to fruition all through camp, in a lot of situations. We were much, much better than we have been in the past.” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Friday that Arizona had released Johnson, putting the decorated running back’s NFL future in limbo.Penny’s 17-carry, 77-yard performance against the Broncos may have sealed the deal and landed him on the 53-man roster.The release of Johnson suggests the Cardinals have their backfield unless they decide to have three running backs instead of four.Wide receivers on the bubbleArians followed up his positive comments on Penny and Ford by noting that some guys “went the opposite way” with their performances on Thursday night.Arians could have been referring to wide receivers Jeremy Ross and Aaron Dobson, who both had drops in the preseason finale. The two were reportedly released Friday.The wide receiver position has been up and down throughout the entire preseason. And while the prevailing feeling is that the Cards will hold on to six, Arians cautioned against assuming that was a done deal.“It could be five,” he reminded everyone. “It could be seven.”Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Jaron Brown, J.J. Nelson and Chad Williams are all in. Brittan Golden didn’t play Thursday and appears to be the leader for a sixth spot. Ross and Dobson would have been the primary contenders for the seventh spot, though they were reportedly let go.center_img Top Stories Finding a routineIn the past, the Cardinals have had Mondays off, before ramping up on Tuesday for the next game. Arians noted on Friday that some of the vets had approached him about switching things up so Tuesday could be the off day this season.“We did a bunch of sports science stuff about practicing four days in a row,” Arians explained. “I think it’s better for learning, four days in a row, but it might not be best physically. Especially going to the east coast and playing at 10 o’clock.”So that’s the plan – for now, at least. Arians did point out that he reminded his guys that such a change means Monday is now gameplan day, so they can’t forget it all, then expect to just start back over on Wednesday. No one can afford wasted days like that now that the regular season is here.Versatility is keyBlaine Gabbert’s impressive preseason has all but guaranteed him a roster spot moving forward, meaning Arizona will be one of the few teams around the league that keeps three quarterbacks. That means the Cardinals will have to be a little thinner at another position though, whether that’s outside linebacker, offensive line or somewhere else. Of course, Arizona stumbled to a forgettable 7-8-1 record in 2016, amid expectations that the team would be a Super Bowl contender. Those expectations are gone now, in terms of public perception on a national level, but they remain internally among the Cardinals organization.“This team is totally different, I think, than last year’s team in that they’re very serious about their work,” Arians explained. “But they have a lot of fun and enjoy competing against each other. Last year was a lot of business. Work got done, but it was more of a business, because this is what’s expected of us. This year, there’s more of a chip on their shoulder – and there should be.”Backfield shaping upWhen discussing players that may have helped their chances of making the team during Thursday night’s preseason finale in Denver, Arians singled out both Elijhaa Penny and Rudy Ford.In Penny’s case, that makes the race for roster spots among running backs that much tighter. David Johnson and Kerwynn Williams are locks at this point, but that essentially left a trio of Penny, Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington fighting for what was likely two spots. 0 Comments   Share   That makes for some difficult decisions in the coming hours, but having guys who can move around and be effective in numerous roles gives Arians and his coaching staff some much-needed flexibility.Some of those decisions have alredy been made, as the team reportedly let go of offensive linemen Jonathan McLaughlin and Givens Price.“We have a lot of versatility,” he said. “That’s the one thing, I think, that sticks out for this team is guys can play multiple positions and give us quality depth if and when those injuries are going to occur.”For example, Haason Reddick is currently lining up as an inside linebacker, but he’s capable of playing outside too. Arians doesn’t want to pile extra responsibility on the rookie right now, seeing as how he’s already got enough on his plate with the possibility he may need to start Week 1. That versatility, however, is something the team will keep in mind when deciding just how thin they can go at certain positions as the final cuts are made on Saturday.last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Lickety Split the l

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletter >Lickety Split, the lobby-level coffee shop at Four Seasons Resort Orlando features techniques and equipment unique to Orlando that will delight travelling coffee connoisseurs.Serving Caffe Umbria coffee, a third-generation Italian coffee roaster based out of Seattle, Washington, and offering 6 different blends and 4 different brew styles, Lickety Split baristas are able to customise the coffee experience.  Now, for those who have ever wanted to become the consummate at-home coffee barista, Lickety Split presents the perfect chance. Guests can attend a Barista Bootcamp this December, learning how to master single drip coffee, cold brew coffee, coffee cocktails and latte art.The Barista Bootcamp is offered as part of Four SeasonsEntertain U(niversity), a series of unique classes offered between 1 October and 31 December, 2015 taught by the entertaining, culinary and beverage masterminds at Four Seasons properties across the globe.Classes will be offered on 5, 12,19 and 26 December 2015, from 5 to 7pm in Lickety Split.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more