Category Archives: weddylfhkeal

Alleged suicide by farmer in Chouhan’s home district

first_img Keer’s son Sher Singh claimed that his father ended his life due to mounting debts. He said he saw his father lying unconscious and rushed him to the government Rehti hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead.Mr.Singh said his father had borrowed Rs. 4 lakh from banks and Rs. 2 lakh from other sources due to which he remained disturbed.The incident comes days after Mr. Chouhan announced a slew of measures to end farmers’ woes in the State, which witnessed violent protests over loan waiver and other demands. Madhya Pradesh farmers not impressed, to step up stir A debt-ridden farmer in Sehore — the home district of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan — allegedly committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance on Monday.A case was registered at the Rehti Police Station, police said on Tuesday.The reason behind the alleged suicide of 55-year-old Dulchand Keer is still not clear, said District Collector Sudam Khade.Rehti police station in charge Pankaj Geete too said, “The cause behind the farmer’s death is a matter of investigation but he was having a debt of Rs. 6 lakh on him.”Also Readlast_img read more

Ex-NBA exec joins ONE Championship as new VP International

first_imgOil plant explodes in Pampanga town Meghan Jenkins joins the ONE Championship family. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOMANILA, Philippines—ONE Championship appointed a former NBA officer to become its new Vice President International.Meghan Jenkins, a former Vice President and Head of Strategy for NBA Asia, will now work side by side with ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong in extending the mixed martial arts promotion’s global reach.ADVERTISEMENT ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes MOST READ PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes “Having spent the last few years focused on identifying opportunities across the Asia Pacific region, it is clear to me that there is significant untapped potential in Asia’s massive and growing sports media market and ONE Championship is uniquely positioned to capture a large portion of it,” added Jenkins.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations Mighty Sports jumps right into action in Dubai tilt SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte “As a seasoned leader Meghan will work alongside myself and the rest of our leadership team to help scale markets,”  said Sityodtong in a statement.A seasoned marketing executive, she has a masters degree in Business Administration from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Carolina at Chapel Hill.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsThe former NBA officer also negotiated media deals in Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines—markets ONE already has a foothold in—across different emerging media platforms and eSports.“I am thrilled to be joining ONE Championship, my experience over the last decade working to build the NBA into a global sports leader will be invaluable as I embark on this new challenge and help take ONE Championship to the next level,” said Jenkins. PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war View commentslast_img read more

COMMENTARY: Spending 2170 Weeks with Muhammad Ali

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares “How Ali Did It.” I still remember the headline from the New York Daily News after Muhammad Ali defeated the seemingly invincible George Foreman on October 30, 1974, in the fight deemed “The Rumble in the Jungle,” to regain the world heavyweight boxing championship.That was 2170 weeks ago.RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLEI was a kid at the time, in the fourth grade. In the days leading up to the fight, most of my friends were rooting for Foreman. They thought Big George would chase Ali all around the ring, the latter “running around like a scaredy-cat.”But Ali outfoxed everyone. Granted, he wasn’t crazy enough to stand toe-to-toe and trade punches with one of the most ferocious sluggers of all time. Surely, he would run around the ring – sticking and moving – using his superior handspeed and footwork. Except being the faster man won’t help when your opponent, who is also bigger and stronger, has a four-inch longer reach than you do (82 inches for Foreman to 78 for Ali).Instead, Ali incorporated the “rope-a-dope,” which he applied to perfection. Ali had a tremendous ability to absorb punches – in fact, his doctors concluded that his Parkinson’s Disease, from which he suffered for decades and complications from which led to his death at 74 on June 3 – probably arose from all the blows he took to the head over the years – and so he used that to wear Foreman out. By laying on the ropes and covering up, Ali became a human punching bag, enticing Foreman to tee off on him at will.The slower, plodding Foreman didn’t score too many points, and eventually ran out of gas. In front of 60,000 frenzied fans in Zaire (now the Congo), Africa, Ali knocked out Foreman in the eighth round.That “How Ali Did It” headline, with a photo of triumphant Ali standing over the felled Foreman, hung on my Washington Heights bedroom wall for years.THE SPINKS JINXOn February 15, 1978, which was 1998 weeks ago, Ali lost that championship belt, to the little-known Leon Spinks. Ever since the Foreman fight, Ali in the ring looked older than his 32 years. He padded his already-legendary record by defeating perennial rival Joe Frazier in 1975 (the second time he beat Frazier in their three fights), Jimmy Young and Ken Norton in 1976, and Earnie Shavers in 1977. But in his second reign as heavyweight champion, he also coasted to unremarkable wins against journeymen Chuck Wepner, Ron Lyle, Joe Bugner, Jean-Pierre Coopman, Richard Dunn, and Alfredo Evangelista. Names that would prompt all but the most avid boxing fans to ask: “who?”An Olympic gold medalist in only his eighth professional fight, Spinks “shook up the world” (as Ali – still using his birth name Cassius Clay at the time – had proclaimed he’d done, in 1964, when he cut the ferocious Sonny Liston down to size) by eking out a split-decision victory on the judges’ scorecards.MIRACLES DO HAPPENEveryone loves an underdog, to be sure, and there was no bigger underdog than Spinks, whose gentleness and humility was in sharp contrast to Ali’s bombastic brashness – yet the majority of the boxing world was on Ali’s side to regain his title a record third time. He did, in a rematch with Spinks exactly nine months later, on September 15, 1978, exactly 1968 Fridays from the day he died.By then, I was a teenager new to New Jersey, which, though only a short busride back to the New York side of the George Washington Bridge – and on a nice day, a fun walk – felt like a whole new world in which I didn’t quite fit naturally.I thought back to February 15, staying up late to watch the fight – this was all before Pay Per View made it impossible to do so without spending a small fortune. I missed New York, and Ali, whom I never had the chance to meet in person, felt like an old friend. When he won back the title from Spinks that night, it was a “Hollywood ending” that came to real life.The loss-win arc of those six months symbolized my own journey from New York to New Jersey. In February, I had been excited about Spinks’ win, because he did the unthinkable. But now, I wanted Ali to get his title back. Just as in the summer months in between, I was excited that my family and I were moving someplace new, but by October, I was homesick for my old neighborhood.Muhammad Ali lands a vicious right to Leon Spinks’ jaw en route to regaining the heavyweight championship a record third time. (Getty Images)THE PARTY’S OVERTwo years later, on October 2, 1980, 1861 weeks ago, I learned one of life’s vital lessons – miracles don’t always happen – the hard way. After retiring for the umpteenth time in 1979, Ali reemerged the following year to challenge Larry Holmes, a smart fighter with a very good jab, who won a version of the title two years earlier against the great but past-his-prime Ken Norton, and who arguably would have been no match for a young Ali. But young Ali was not, and he showed it. Holmes tagged the woefully slow and seemingly defenseless Ali for 10 excruciating rounds, until Ali’s longtime trainer Angelo Dundee finally could bear to watch no more and threw in the towel. “The Greatest,” as Ali dubbed himself, and echoed by so many others, was done as a fighter.Technically, Ali did fight once more, in 1981 against Trevor Berbick, who would eventually win the title five years later, only to be pummeled by Mike Tyson in his first and only title defense.This time, Ali was through and he knew it. But at age 39, it should’ve been the first day of a new chapter in a long and illustrious life.For as great as Ali was in the ring, perhaps even greater was his colorful personality outside it. Few people – not only in boxing but in any walk of life – could match his gift of gab. But it was not to be.RIP – CHAMPIn 1984, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and though it took decades for the symptoms to become noticeably debilitating, he was never quite the same – even early on.It is always tragic when an affliction lessens the quality of one’s life, but it is particularly heartbreaking when the individual in question is robbed of unparalleled oratory gifts. One cannot help but think of Ali in this vein, along with another world-renowned figure whose career, if not peak, overlapped with Ali’s: Ronald Reagan.The former president, too, fell victim to a disease, Alzheimer’s, which not only robbed him, but America as a whole, of contributions he could have made following his own retirement.It is fitting, then, to conclude with this playful photograph depicting better days – Ali’s visit to the White House in 1983.Ali visits President Reagan at the White House in 1983. (PHOTO: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library)last_img read more

Acromag: quad-port GbE XMC modules in RJ45, SFP, and rear I/O versions

first_img Continue Reading Previous VadaTech: new ADC/DAC modules with Xilinx UltraScale+ XCVU13PNext ST: new STM32 value line MCUs boost real-time IoT-device innovation Acromag’s new XMC610 Series modules provide four independent gigabit Ethernet interface ports when used on VME, VPX, PCIe or other embedded computing carrier boards. The industry-leading Intel I350 Ethernet Controller interfaces with the PCIe bus via four high-speed serial lanes on the XMC P15 connector. Three models are available. The XMC611 model offers four RJ45 connectors on the front panel for copper cabling while the XMC612 substitutes four SFP connectors to additionally support fiber optic media. The rear I/O model XMC613 routes four 1000BASE-T connections to the P16 connector and is compatible with conduction-cooling frames. Designed for COTS applications, these XMC modules are ideal for use in defense, aerospace, industrial, and scientific research computing systems. All versions are lead-free.Employing Intel’s advanced I350 4-port gigabit Ethernet controller, these networking modules introduce new levels of performance including improved power management technologies, such as energy-efficient Ethernet and direct memory access coalescing. Other enhancements add flexibility for virtual functions and increased offload capabilities. Auto-negotiation supports 10/100/1000 Mbps data rates. A 3.3V low power design and extended temperature operation from -40 to 85°C further simplify system integration. Software support is available for embedded applications running on Linux, Windows, or VxWorks operating systems.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Boards & Modules last_img read more

Archery coach Teja, athletic’s Pannu recommended for Dronacharya Award

first_imgBy Amanpreet Singh New Delhi, Sept 17 (PTI) National archery compound coach Jiwanjot Singh Teja is set to become one of the youngest Dronacharya awardees after the 34-year old’s name was recommended for the honour along with Asian Games gold medallist Arpinder Singh’s coach S S Pannu. The selection committee picked Teja, head coach of the national compound archery team since 2013, along with Pannu, who trained triple jumper Arpinder Singh, the gold medal winner at the recent Jakarta Games. Also recommended for the Dronacharya award are CA Kuttappa (boxing), Vijay Sharma (weightlifting) and A Srinivasa Rao (table tennis), according to the sources in the Sports Ministry. Teja was instrumental in reviving two-time Asian Games medallist Trisha Deb’s career. In 2010, a Korean coach had said Trisha was not fit to become an archer but under Teja she went on to win two bronze medals at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. Under Teja, India’s women compound team achieved the world number one rank. “My son was born in 2010 and I have missed all his growing years because I was always away in the national camps. I really missed my son’s early years in childhood. I did not know when he started walking on his own but all this has paid now,” Teja, who hails from village Bhawanigarh in Sangrur district, told PTI from Patiala. “And getting this award at the age of 34 is very encouraging for me and the sport. I can easily serve another 20 years. Initially, I had also thought to become an engineer like my brother but then I chose to be an archer. I never became an international standard archer because there was no good training available.advertisement “I asked my family to help me become a coach and today we have produced excellent results in compound archery. Our team was ninth in the world in 2011 and in two years we took it to world number two rank,” Teja said, remembering his struggle and achievements. Four coaches have been recommended for the Dronacharya award in the life-time category. They are Clarence Lobo (hockey), Tarak Sinha (cricket), Jiwan Kumar Sharma (judo) and V R Beedu (athletics). Four Dhyan Chand awardees picked by the selection committee are Satyadev Prasad (archery), Bharat Chhetri (hockey), Bobby Aloysius (athletics) and Chougale Dadu Dattatray. These recommendations are subject to approval by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. Once ratified by him, President Ram Nath Kovind will present the awards on September 25 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The selection committee was headed by Justice Mudgal and has other members in former Commonwealth Games gold-winning air pistol shooter Samresh Jung, shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa, former national boxing coach G S Sandhu, hockey coach AK Bansal and archery coach Sanjeeva Singh apart from Sports Authority of India’s Special Director General Onkar Kedia and Joint Secretary (Sports) Inder Dhamija. The Dronacharya award is presented to coaches for their outstanding and meritorious work on a consistent basis over a period of four years. The Dhyan Chand honour is bestowed on sportspersons for their life-time achievements and contribution to sport during both their active career and after retirement. The Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand awardees are entitled to a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each. Recommendations for Dronacharya Awards: Regular Category: Jiwanjot Singh Teja (archery), S S Pannu (athletics), C A Kuttappa (boxing), Vijay Sharma (weightlifting) and A Srinivasa Rao (table tennis). Life Time category: Clarence Lobo (hockey), Tarak Sinha (cricket), Jiwan Kumar Sharma (judo) and V R Beedu (athletics). Recommendations for Dhyanchand Award: Satyadev Prasad (archery), Bharat Chhetri (hockey), Bobby Aloysius and Chougale Dadu Dattatray (wrestling). PTI AT AT PDSPDSlast_img read more

Put risky ice rescue courses on hold jury at coroners inquest into

first_imgTORONTO – Risky ice rescue courses that send firefighters and firefighting students into treacherous, fast-moving currents should be put on hold until they can be performed safely, a coroner’s inquest into the deaths of two Ontario men recommended Thursday.Jurors looking into what led to the deaths of Gary Kendall, 51, and Adam Brunt, 30, in separate ice rescue training exercises said the province should convene an expert committee to determine whether such training can be carried out in swift water without endangering participants.The committee should consider what equipment, techniques, locations and standards would be required to bring the risks down to an acceptable level, the jury suggested.The jury’s 15 recommendations, which are not legally binding, were issued after the inquest heard from multiple witnesses, including fire officials, over more than two weeks.A spokesman said the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development would be looking closely at the recommendations.“We also encourage private training operators to ensure they are aware of them as well, including the recommendation to put this kind of training in abeyance until after further government decisions are made,” Murray Gaudreau said Thursday in an email.“We will continue to review the recommendations and will strive to address the jury’s findings as we implement changes to improve our policies and procedures,” Gaudreau said.Brunt’s father, Al Brunt, said the recommendations brought some hope that others would be better protected in the future. But he said the real relief will come when the government adopts the jury’s suggested policies.“The people that are opting to get into first responders as a career deserve to be protected, deserve safety … Just to take a training course they shouldn’t have to put their life on the line and that’s hopefully what these policies, once enacted, will protect going forward,” he said outside the inquest.“The closure aspect will come in time,” he added.The lawyer representing Kendall’s family said they were pleased to see issues that had haunted them for years finally get attention.“One of the questions that came up time and time again during this inquest is whether it’s possible to do this training safely at all, and everyone who testified only gave anecdotal evidence,” Alex Van Kralingen said after the hearing.Now, he said, experts will make that call.“The only sad thing for me is that we did not have this coroner’s inquest after the 2010 death of Gary Kendall,” he added. “The family, as you know, asked for an inquest at the time because they felt that there were systemic issues surrounding this sort of training, which were not being properly managed. No one listened to them and Adam died in 2015.”Kendall, a veteran volunteer firefighter, and Adam Brunt, a firefighting student, died five years apart during ice rescue courses involving the same training company.Kendall died in January 2010 after getting trapped under a fast-moving ice floe in waters near Sarnia, Ont. Brunt drowned in February 2015 while trying to float through a narrow gap in the ice on the Saugeen River near Hanover, Ont.Their deaths — which the inquest jury deemed accidents — brought scrutiny to the industry surrounding private training courses for firefighters, which is currently unregulated.The inquest jury zeroed in on that industry, urging the province to create a certification system for all firefighter safety instructors.The province should also build and maintain a database of firefighter training courses that includes safety records and any complaints made against the providers, the jury recommended. That database should be given to all Ontario municipalities to ensure they retain certified instructors.Brunt’s mother, Christy Brunt, said that information could have saved her son’s life.“He looked online to see what courses were the best out there and this one was one of the ones, all the kids were taking it, so he took this one, he thought it would be the best one,” she said. “So if the accident was on there already, if Gary’s death was on there, then maybe he wouldn’t have taken the course.”The inquest heard that firefighters looking to learn about ice rescue practices may have no other choice than to turn to private instruction, since the Ontario Fire College suspended its own program three years ago.Jurors heard the college, a provincial body that offers training to members of municipal fire departments, has yet to replace the program with an updated version.The jury said the province should give regular reports on its response to the inquest’s recommendations over the next three years.last_img read more

Air Canada flight from Toronto makes emergency landing in Washington

first_imgWASHINGTON – An Air Canada flight from Toronto to Washington was forced to make an emergency landing Sunday evening after smoke was discovered in the cockpit.Flight 7618 was headed for Ronald Reagan airport when pilots discovered the smoke and diverted to Washington’s Dulles International Airport.Sky Regional, which operates Air Canada Express, says 63 passengers and four crew members were unharmed after exiting the plane on the tarmac at Dulles.Images posted online show emergency vehicles parked on the tarmac as passengers gather nearby.Andrew Trull, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, says passengers were evacuated via an emergency slide and taken to the main terminal.He says there were no delays as a result of the incident, and all runways are now back up and running normally.last_img read more

King Mohammed VI Launches Initiative to Preserve Heritage of Marrakech’s Old Medina

Marrakech – On Monday, in the city of Marrakech, King Mohammed VI announced the launch of several projects aimed at preserving the historical heritage of the old medina of Marrakech and reinforcing its tourist and international character.Thus was launched an important program of restoration and enhancement of the tourist and spiritual circuits of the ancient medina of Marrakech.  Also included in the program is the Merstan urban health center project, which involves the reconstruction of the first aid centers of the Moroccan Red Crescent in the Jamaâ El Fna and El Mellah districts. The restoration of the Ben Youssef Medersa will also be included in this program.In line with the objectives of the Development Plan titled “Marrakech, City of Permanent Renaissance,” these projects reflect the special interest granted by the Sovereign to the preservation and enhancement of the historical heritage of several cities in the Kingdom and His firm determination to safeguard different strata of the national memory. They also testify to the will of King Mohammed VI to highlight the intangible, spiritual, cultural and architectural characteristics of the city of Marrakech to help consolidate its place as the City-Museum which has made it the flagship tourist destination of Morocco.  It is also hoped that the initiative will result in a boost in the living conditions of its inhabitants.The program of restoration and enhancement will result in the restoration and enhancement of the tourist circuit from Dar El Bacha to Ben Youssef, especially through the renovation and embellishment of the facades of the buildings along this circuit.The 100million dh program also involves the spiritual circuit of the seven Saints (Sidi Youssef Ben AliCadi Ayyad Ben Moussa, Sidi Abdelaziz Tebbaâ, Abderrahmane Ben Abdallah Assouhaili, El Abbas Assabti, Sidi Ben Slimane Al Jazouli and Abdallah El Ghazouani)The old medina of Marrakech will witness the completion of several other projects aimed at improving the conditions of the population’s access to basic services and preserving the heritage of the ancient medina.Thanks to these efforts, the Ben Youssef Medersa, an architectural gem built in the heart of the old medina near the Ben Youssef Mosque, will be restored. This particular project, which will be carried out with a budget of 61million dh, testifies to the will of HM the King, Commander of the faithful, to preserve the cultural and historical significance of Morocco’s ancient cities.The King also visited the site of the renovation and conversion of former the Dar El Bacha into  the Museum of Confluences. The 12million dh project will be endowed with an exhibition space dedicated to the art of Islam which will exhibit writings, tablets and various objects related to science and Islamic knowledge.It will also include a permanent exhibition space reserved to the universal collection of Patty Cadby Birch, representing the four continents of America, Africa, Europe, Asia. The collection includes historical and archaeological data demonstrating the different facets of Moroccan culture.  There ill also be dedicated for housing temporary exhibitions.All of these projects come in addition to the many actions and initiatives undertaken by the Sovereign for the protection and promotion of the old medina of Marrakech, particularly the urban rehabilitation program of Hay El Mellah, the requalification project of the tourist circuit of “Ben Youssef” square towards “Jamaâ El Fna” Square through to “Ben Saleh” Square, and the rehabilitation of the Selhem, Ziyat and Sidi Abdelaziz Foundouks. read more

Column: Fires, floods, quakes are part of California living

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In the winter of 2009, my wife and I found a house that looked like a great place to start our family, a three-bedroom in a hilly subdivision surrounded by dry brush just outside the Redding city limits.By that point, I’d covered wildfires for the Record Searchlight newspaper for three years. I’d seen fire after fire ignite during Shasta County’s blast-furnace summers in the brushy chaparral that dominates the landscape.In 2008, a freak early summer lightning storm ignited more than 86,500 acres in the area, prompting the evacuation of dozens of families. I stood in that very subdivision where we now wanted to live as residents watched a churning smoke plume on the other side the Sacramento River canyon. The fire didn’t jump the river that day.But as my wife, Cara, and I toured that same subdivision, I told her, “This neighbourhood is going to burn to the ground some day.”We bought the house anyway.The quiet streets, the running trails and the fishing opportunities minutes away in Lake Shasta outweighed the risk.How very Californian of me.If there’s one consistent thread in California’s history, it’s that we often ignore the profound risks that come with living in this big beautiful state — the earthquakes, the mudslides, the wildfires, the floods, the droughts and, yes, even the volcanoes.It’s been like that since our founding.Gov. Leland Stanford took a rowboat to his inauguration in January 1862 because Sacramento was swallowed by the same floodwaters that would turn the Central Valley into a vast inland sea stretching from Red Bluff to Bakersfield.Despite the billions we’ve spent on dams and levees, it’s only a matter of time before it happens again.“It’s still going to flood some day,” Jeffrey Mount, a watershed expert with the Public Policy Institute of California, told me a couple of wet winters ago after Hurricane Harvey. “There’s still going to be that rare large event, which will overwhelm us.”Half a million Sacramentans go about their lives largely oblivious to the threat.I grew up in Mt. Shasta, a small alpine community near the Oregon border. The city is named after the massive active volcano that looms above it. When Shasta inevitably erupts, lava, debris, ash and boiling steam and gases could wipe my hometown off the map.But, man, what a great place to grow up.When I was a boy, I would bike out to the meadows by my house. I’d spend hours fishing, barefooted up to my knees in creeks frigid from the melting snow pouring off my mountain’s glaciers.I’d like to live under Shasta’s shadow again some day. Never mind that my home would stand on ashy soil flecked with pumice and obsidian, reminders of the eruptions of centuries past. Never mind the charred marks on the big cedars and pines, scars from wildfires that burned through Siskiyou County decades ago. Never mind that my great aunt’s home was one of the few left standing in her neighbourhood after the Boles Fire burned through the Siskiyou County city of Weed in 2014, torching 157 homes.I get why more than 2.7 million Californians are living in places that could erupt in a catastrophic inferno any summer, or those who move to California even though we could build as many as 1.2 million new homes over the next 30 years in the areas with state’s highest fire risk .I get why they’re rebuilding Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighbourhood, which first burned by the Hanly Fire in 1964 before it burned again in 2017’s Tubbs Fire. And why they rebuilt Harbison Canyon in San Diego County after it was levelled by the Laguna Fire in 1970 and again by the Cedar Fire in 2003.I get why Cheri Skipper, whose Harbison Canyon home burned in the Cedar Fire, wanted nothing more than to move back in while it was being rebuilt, despite the trauma she endured and the anxiety that still has her obsessively looking for smoke and checking local fire-watcher websites.“All I wanted to do was to go home, put my head on my pillow and look out the patio and see my view,” she told me as she gazed out at the green hills festooned with wildflowers after recent rains. We both knew this summer the vegetation will be brittle and dry , her canyon a wind tunnel for the Santa Anas.What I don’t get is how surprised people are that these big, destructive fires keep happening.The “new normal” is what officials keep calling it, but last year’s “record breaking” 1.9 millions of acres burned wasn’t really a record at all. If anything, we’re approaching something closer to an “old normal.”UC Berkeley researchers estimate that prior to 1800, about 4.5 million acres of California burned in a typical year. That was before we started monkeying with our climate and infesting our wild places with non-native, fire-prone vegetation. We spent a century trying to put out every fire that popped up to protect the state’s lucrative timber stocks and the ever-expanding sprawl.Some environmentalists argue we should stop moving to these places and rebuilding them when they burn down. They tell cities to focus on infill and building up urban centres in a sustainable way. Stop encroaching on nature. Fair enough. That certainly is the safest alternative.But that’s not going to happen if California’s history is any guide. Plus, what do you do about the folks who already live in dangerous communities? Tell them they should move? Tell them firefighters aren’t going to try to save their homes?Californians aren’t totally oblivious to the dangers. There is an active debate over how much new development we should allow and where we should allow it. There’s common ground in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s and President Donald Trump’s executive orders to thin the forests after the Camp Fire. Of course, the devil is in the details. It remains unsettled how much logging, intentionally-set “prescribed” fires and other wildland management strategies California and the federal government will undertake.The reality, though, is there’s only so much that can be done when you live in a state that wants to burn.Before too long, before it’s too late, we’ve all got to have a clear-eyed understanding of the risks of living in the hundreds of lovely communities like Redding, Paradise, Malibu and Santa Rosa that have encroached into the forests and chaparral. The price you pay to live there is that in any fire season, you and your family could burn.Prepare accordingly.Adopt the mindset of J. Lopez, one of two firefighters I spoke to recently whose homes survived major wildfires burning in adjacent wildlands. They still chose to live there knowing they’ll almost certainly go through another one. That’s why they’re zealots about evacuation planning and minimizing the risk to their properties by clearing the vegetation around their homes.“On Sunday, I got up in the morning, and two minutes later I’m walking in the forest. How cool is that?” said Lopez, an assistant chief with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “But it’s understanding what you’re moving into and embracing it. You’re not going to change it. Nature is always going to win.”It did in Redding.Last summer, I found myself driving through the neighbourhood where my wife and I had bought our first house. I was on assignment for The Sacramento Bee the morning after the Carr Fire and its infamous “firenado” roared through western Redding, burning 1,079 homes.Home after home was burned to wood skeletons along the streets where I once walked our puppy and pushed our girls in strollers. Just outside the subdivision, a woman and her two grandchildren burned to death.Out of sheer luck, our former home, which we had since sold after I changed newspaper jobs, was still standing.Despite the heartbreak and the terror and the loss, my old neighbourhood will rebuild, and the region will be a fire trap again as soon as the chaparral grows back. Yet, if I still lived in that neighbourhood, I’d almost certainly want to stay there. Those trails. That fishing. The peace and quiet. I miss them still.Ryan Sabalow, The Associated Press read more

Unemployment rate falls to record low, down 0.3 per cent in May

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – It was another good month for Canada’s labour market.There were 27,000 new jobs added in May. Statistics Canada says this follows a strong increase in employment in April.“The unemployment rate in May was the lowest since comparable data became available in 1976,” the agency says. Job numbers grew by 453,000 compared with the same month a year ago.The unemployment rate fell to 5.4 per cent compared with 5.7 per cent in April as the number of people looking for work fell sharply.Economists on average had expected the addition of 8,000 jobs for the month and an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The better-than-expected increase in the number of jobs follows a record 106,500 jobs that were added in April.The increase in jobs was made up entirely of full-time employment as there was no change in the number of part-time jobs.Year-over-year average hourly wage growth for all employees, a key indicator monitored by the Bank of Canada ahead of its interest-rate decisions, 2.8 per cent in May, up from 2.5 per cent in April.Statistics Canada says employment rose in B.C., as well as in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. A drop was seen in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as in Prince Edward Island, while there was little change in the rest of the country.In B.C., employment rose by 17,000 in May, primarily thanks to increases in “part-time work among core-aged people.” read more

Côte dIvoire UN warns insecurity preventing access to those in need of

The United Nations refugee agency today warned that access for humanitarian organizations striving to continue to assist people affected the political unrest in Côte d’Ivoire’s commercial capital, Abidjan, and other parts of the country is shrinking rapidly amid worsening insecurity.In Abidjan, the estimated number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has exceeded 200,000, most of them former residents of the northern suburb of Abobo, where fighting has raged in recent days, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).The West African country has been beset by political uncertainty, with factional fighting and other forms of violence flaring up in Abidjan and the western region, since incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office after he was defeated by opposition leader Alassane Ouattara in a presidential election held last November, whose result was certified by the UN.The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meanwhile, urged Ivorian authorities to immediately halt inter-ethnic violence and called for an immediate investigation into reported crimes to bring perpetrators to justice, and provide redress to the victims in line with international human rights standards.Many of the IDPs in Abidjan have moved in with relatives and friends, but large numbers of people have sought temporary shelter in other places around the city, including churches and other communal buildings. Those in temporary shelters are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told reporters in Geneva.“UNHCR is seeking access to these vulnerable individuals, including by working through NGOs [non-governmental organizations] that we have been coordinating with, but humanitarian space in Abidjan as elsewhere in Côte d’Ivoire is being squeezed hard,” she said.“Large numbers of refugees from Liberia, who are unable to repatriate, have taken refuge in the UNHCR compound in Abidjan since Monday,” she added.In Abobo, whose population is estimated at about 1.5 million people, mobile telephone and television transmitters were damaged during the recent fighting, disrupting communications.“We are still very concerned about a group of 60 families trapped inside a church and without proper food, water, or sanitation, and we have appealed to combatants for these people to be let out,” said Ms. Fleming.The insecurity has also spread to the Deux Plauteaux, Cocody, and Koumassi neighbourhoods and the business district of Le Plateau, she said. “We are seeing increasing numbers of roadblocks,” she added.Heavy fighting has also erupted in the west of the country, around the towns of Duékoué and Blolequin, about 90 kilometres further south. “We estimate that there are currently around 70,000 displaced people in the west and we continue to see large numbers of people crossing into Liberia,” said Ms. Fleming.In eastern Liberia, UNHCR has registered some 40,000 refugees since November. An estimated 32,800 other people have arrived since 24 February, putting local communities and the Liberian authorities under considerable strain. Host communities and refugees are in need of food, but poor roads continue to make it difficult to get aid to those in need.Meanwhile, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, said relief agencies are revising the estimates of the funds required to respond to the Ivorian crisis in the light of the rising numbers of refugees and IDPs. Humanitarian agencies initially requested $87 million, but only $15 million has been provided. “I urge donors to support the humanitarian response in Cote d’Ivoire and in Liberia,” said Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, at a news conference in New York.In a decision made in Geneva under its early warning and urgent action procedure, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, underscored its concern about “reports of the seriously declining human rights and humanitarian situation in Cote d’Ivoire, including ethnic tensions, incitement to ethnic violence, xenophobia, religious and ethnic discrimination.”The Committee deplored “that the political stalemate that followed the proclamation of presidential election results continues to be marked by a number of serious and escalating human rights and humanitarian violations across the country,” the UN expert body said in a press release.Violations include ethnic clashes that have resulted in deaths, numerous injured people, destruction of property, and the displacement of population inside and outside the country, the Committee added.The Committee also called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to continue drawing the attention of the Security Council to the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, which “could evolve into a threat to international peace and security, along with extended violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”Cote 4 March 2011The United Nations refugee agency today warned that access for humanitarian organizations striving to continue to assist people affected the political unrest in Côte d’Ivoire’s commercial capital, Abidjan, and other parts of the country is shrinking rapidly amid worsening insecurity. read more

Sidewalk Labs advisory panel member Saadia Muzaffar quits citing deep dismay

TORONTO — A member of the panel guiding Sidewalk Labs’ plans to build a high-tech neighbourhood in Toronto has resigned, citing “deep dismay” and “profound concern” about the project and those behind it.In a letter obtained by The Canadian Press, TechGirls Canada founder Saadia Muzaffar said she is stepping away from her role with the Waterfront Toronto Digital Strategy Advisory Panel because project-backer Waterfront Toronto has shown “apathy and a lack of leadership regarding shaky public trust” and has dodged questions around privacy and intellectual property, even at a series of roundtables the organization has held to consult the public.“I have yet to see evidence that Waterfront Toronto shares the urgency and concern that has been raised in multiple fora,” Muzaffar said in the note to Waterfront Toronto and her fellow panel members dated Oct. 4.“The most recent roundtable in August displayed a blatant disregard for resident concerns about data and digital infrastructure. Time was spent instead talking about buildings made out of wood and the width of one-way streets, things no one has contested or expressed material concern for in this entire process.”Muzaffar’s resignation from the panel follows that of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System executive John Ruffolo and comes as controversy surrounding the project from Sidewalk Labs, a division of Google-owner Alphabet Inc., continues to mount.Critics of the project have complained since its inception that those behind it have shared few details about their plans and given little explanation for how data will be collected, kept, accessed and protected.The concerns have made it all the way to the office of Toronto Mayor John Tory, which told The Canadian Press last month that the mayor had met with former Alphabet Inc. executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Sidewalks Labs founder Dan Doctoroff and discussed “the need for Google to give Toronto residents a better understanding of the details of its plans for urban innovation and their data privacy commitments as soon as is practical.”Beyond raising issues with the lack of information for the public, Muzaffar’s letter also mentioned concerns stemming from recent reports that Sidewalk Labs is “asking potential local consultants to hand over any intellectual property that is developed to the Alphabet-owned company — and in cases where that’s not possible, to give Sidewalk Labs an exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide licence to use it.”Muzaffar did not respond to requests for comment, but her letter said the choice to step down from the panel was “difficult,” especially because she noted that she is only person of colour on a panel that she claimed doesn’t have any Indigenous representation.In response to Muzaffar’s letter, Waterfront Toronto’s acting chief executive officer Michael Nobrega released a statement saying the organization is “unwavering” in its commitment to the public interest.“We are also well supported by external privacy and legal experts including a former Federal Privacy Commissioner, and continue to welcome the comments and interest of a broad base of community members,” he said.Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs did not answer The Canadian Press’s questions around whether Muzaffar’s resignation came as a surprise or if it was looking to change the way it operates as a result of her criticism.However, Sidewalk Labs spokesperson Dan Levitan said, “We take seriously questions about data and expect in the months ahead to present and consult with the public on a comprehensive plan for data collection, use, and governance.” read more

More on Joey Vottos Swinging Habits

Responding to my piece earlier on Friday about the Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto and his approach to at-bats with runners in scoring position, reader Keith Anderson asked:How does his [swing] percentage compare to when there isn’t anyone in [scoring] position? Is there a noticeable/meaningful difference? I just wonder if people are picking at how his play changes or just how he plays.Funny you ask, Keith! Before deciding to focus specifically on whether Votto swings at pitches in the strike zone with runners in scoring position, I collected a bunch of other data covering different scenarios.Let’s look at this year first. Here are Votto’s 2014 numbers in RISP situations versus bases empty.Votto with RISP, 2014121 pitches47.1 percent strike rate (strikes + balls in play/pitches)29.8 percent swing rate24.7 percent called strike rate8.7 percent chase rate (swings at pitches out of the strike zone)57.9 percent fastballs57.7 percent swings on pitches in strike zoneVotto with bases empty, 2014437 pitches58.8 percent strike rate40.5 percent swing rate30.8 percent called strike rate17.4 percent chase rate59.3 percent fastballs64.8 percent swings on pitches in strike zoneSo Votto is swinging a lot more often this year in bases-empty situations than he is with runners in scoring position. Not coincidentally, he’s getting a lot more strikes to swing at with nobody on. Interestingly, he’s also doing something very un-Votto like: chasing pitches out of the zone, in this case twice as often with the bases empty as with runners in scoring position. Of course it’s only May 9, so we’re dealing with relatively small sample sizes.Now let’s take a look at how often Votto has swung at strikes with the bases empty over time.Votto swing percentage on pitches in strike zone with bases empty, 2009-20142009 73.32010 69.42011 66.82012 59.72013 64.32014 64.8Votto swing percentage on pitches in strike zone with RISP, 2009-20142009 78.22010 76.22011 69.82012 62.42013 69.22014 57.7The same trend governing Votto’s swing rate with runners in scoring position can be seen with the bases empty. He’s far less aggressive today than he was in 2009, and somewhat less aggressive than he was during his 2010 MVP season. After that, things level out, assuming we discount (or simply ignore) 2012, when a knee injury messed with his entire stat line. Also note that the small-sample-size issues that make Votto’s swing percentage on pitches in the strike zone with runners in scoring position has not carried over to the same stat with the bases empty; 2011, 2013 and 2014 look nearly identical with the bases empty.One other thing. If we assume that the 57.7 percent figure for runners in scoring position this year is a small-sample-size fluke that will even out shortly, then we’re left with a clear and healthy trend: The better the RBI opportunity, the more Joey Votto swings at pitches in the strike zone. read more

Urban Meyer Winning not far off for Big Ten

CHICAGO – How does the Big Ten regain the respect of the rest of the college football nation? First-year Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said it’s pretty simple. “(We) have to win bowl games,” he said. “That’s the bottom line in all of this is to win.” The Big Ten’s bowl record in the last decade, however, would suggest that it’s something easier said than done. With a 34-51 bowl record since 2000, the conference has struggled to assert itself on the national scene while Meyer’s former league, the Southeastern Conference, has flourished during the same period. Nationally, the reality of bowl wins and losses may be fueling the idea that Big Ten football is – and has been for some time – an outdated art; a mired, old approach to football, and has been surpassed. And, despite its efforts, the Big Ten’s recent bowl performances hasn’t helped matters. In last season’s bowls, the conference recorded a 4-6 mark that watched traditional powers OSU, Penn State, Wisconsin and Nebraska all lose in their respective bowl games. For the SEC, however, last year was its sixth consecutive national championship and it’s eighth since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998. Locally, OSU has historically struggled in battling against its southern brethren -especially on the sport’s biggest stage. The Buckeyes are 0-8 against the SEC in bowl games – a lone victory came in a 31-26 triumph in the 2011 Sugar Bowl against Arkansas. That game has since been wiped from the record books in accordance with an NCAA-ordered vacation of wins from OSU’s 2010 season. Meyer said in his own experiences now at OSU, he’s noticed that the SEC may have an advantage in overall team speed. “I notice it on special teams. In spring practice I noticed that,” Meyer said. “So I just think overall athleticism right now we’re a little bit behind.” That need for speed, though, is something Meyer said he is addressing. “We’re recruiting with that motive, with that intention and I’m real proud to say it’s going very well,” he said. Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who will open this season at defending national champion and SEC powerhouse, Alabama, said it’s hard to paint the entire conference as inferior to the speed and athleticism of the SEC. “I think it’s a hard question, really, to even answer. Because I think everybody’s different. I think when people make the mistake of lumping the conference in not having speed or whatever it might be,” Hoke said. “When we’re playing the reigning national champion, they’re a terrific football team and they’ve done terrific things. We’re excited about the opportunity to go into a great venue, different venue, obviously, and go line up and see what happens.” Similarly, while Meyer said he would benefit from another year of familiarizing himself with the teams and players in the Big Ten, the former Florida coach said he anticipates that “winning is not that far off.” “The coaches in this conference would know much better than I would. I’ll know more obviously next year when you ask that same question. I’ll have a much better understanding because I’ll be in the stadiums and I’ll know the teams much better,” Meyer said. “But I know one thing: I’ve watched enough film this summer, there’s some very good teams in this conference.” read more

Aide to Tory MP held over Houses of Parliament rape claim

first_imgWe are aware of an incident on the parliamentary estate which is being investigated by the Metropolitan PoliceHouse of Commons spokesman Police are investigating an allegation that a Tory MP’s aide raped a woman in Parliament.Sam Armstrong, chief of staff to South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, was arrested last week.The 23-year-old has been released on bail until January while inquiries continue into the incident, which is alleged to have occurred in the early hours of Friday.Mr Armstrong, who has previously been pictured with former Prime Minister David Cameron and former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, has been banned from entering the Parliamentary estate until further notice.Police searched Mr Mackinlay’s office in Westminster in connection with the allegation later that day. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Detectives from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command are investigating an allegation of rape at the Houses of Parliament in the early hours of Friday 14 October.”A 23-year-old man was arrested that same day on suspicion of rape. He has been bailed pending further inquires to a date in mid-January 2017.”A House of Commons spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident on the parliamentary estate which is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service.”Parliament is working closely with the police on their investigation and we cannot comment further while this is ongoing.”According to The Sun, the allegation was made after a group of Tory aides had been drinking on the House of Lords terrace, overlooking the River Thames.Mr Armstrong reportedly took the woman to the MP’s Parliamentary office in the early hours of Friday and she reported the alleged attack soon afterwards. A spokesman for the MP said: “On Friday morning, Mr Mackinlay was made aware of an allegation against a member of his staff.”Following a request made by the police and parliamentary services he granted full access to his Westminster office.”Mr Mackinlay is currently awaiting further information from the police.” Sam Armstrong pictured with Nicky Morgan, the former Education Secretary Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Sam Armstrong pictured with Nicky Morgan, the former Education Secretarylast_img read more

Mary Beard cut from US version of Civilisations fearing slightly creaky old

David Olusoga, Mary Beard and Simon Schama Professor Mary Beard has accused a US broadcaster of editing her own episodes of Civilisations to make them more anodyne, saying her on-screen appearances as a “slightly creaky old lady with long grey hair” had been cut.Prof Beard, who hosts two episodes of Civilisations for the BBC in Britain, said the American edits of the show had seen her central arguments erased, her on-screen contributions reduced, and an episode on religion re-edited to focus more closely on Christianity.Suggesting she could not help thinking her appearance “isn’t ideal for US TV”, in a series of wry asides on Twitter, she admitted she felt “a bit shifty” reading criticism of a show she did not fully approve.Prof Beard, who has regularly spoken of the abuse she has received as an older woman on television, said she was “rather sad” about the changes, urging viewers to watch the full BBC version online.She aired her criticism on Twitter, after a Wall Street Journal’s review called the new series of Civilisations on American channel PBS as “anodyne”, with a viewer observing she “virtually disappears from the PBS version”. David Olusoga, Mary Beard and Simon SchamaCredit:BBC Responding to the review, Prof Beard said: “Really hope that friends in USA realise that my Civilisations episodes on PBS are very different from original BBC versions, have been drastically changed. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. While the British version had three hosts, Prof Beard, David Olusoga and Simon Schama, lead their own programmes, the American edits see them join a number of “contributors” to each show including expert “talking heads” and narration from actor Liev Schreiber.Asked on Twitter why the changes were made, Prof Beard wrote: “I wish I knew .. to make it better for an American audience, people say…???? I am rather sad about it. Hope people will look at the originals when they are available.”Questioned on whether she had approved edits, she said: “Put it this way, if that’s how I had wanted to make the programme, I would have done it that way!” “The PBS series intentionally broadens the perspectives presented in each episode by including a wider range of interviews with international artists, art historians and subject experts who have a direct connection to their areas of expertise.“We value Ms. Beard’s contributions to the series, and regret to learn of her criticism, however the PBS version was always intended to be a different presentational style from the BBC version.” Really hope that friends in USA realise that my Civilisations episodes on PBS are very different from original BBC versions, have been drastically changed The originals were far from ‘anodyne’ I promise BBC versions will be available on PBS digi channel.— mary beard (@wmarybeard) April 17, 2018 Yes I noticed I hardly appear (not to mention, more important, the disappearance of most of my actual argument!).. cant help think that a slightly creaky old lady with long grey hair isnt ideal for US TV??— mary beard (@wmarybeard) April 17, 2018 She added: “Can’t help think that there is something about a creaky 63 year old grey haired lady that doesn’t quite fit the bill. But I am probably smelling a rat where there isn’t one!” “The originals were far from ‘anodyne’ I promise.”Saying the experience had left her grateful for the BBC’s treatment of Civilisations episodes, she told the Telegraph: “Whether people liked them or not, my BBC episodes were at least what I wanted to say!”The BBC and PBS versions were made by the same production company, but the two broadcasters were each responsible for their final chosen edits. aruments changed, talking heads added, my religion programme was made much more Christian focussed than it was originally— mary beard (@wmarybeard) April 17, 2018 A spokesman for PBS said: “From its initial stages, the PBS version of Civilizations was conceived to be distinct from the BBC version. read more

Only two counties see increase in planning applications in 2012

first_imgONLY TWO IRISH counties have seen an increase in the number of planning applications lodged in the first eight months of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, new data has shown.The National Housing Construction Index, compiled by Link2Plans, shows that of the 26 historic counties in the Republic, only Donegal and Leitrim have seen increases in the number of applications lodged in the first two thirds of the year.91 applications were lodged in Leitrim, an increase of 4 on the previous year. In Donegal, applications have increased from 733 to 863, a jump of 18 per cent.At the other end of the scale, Kerry has seen the highest fall in the number of applications; 313 planning applications were made in the first two thirds of 2012, compared to 491 in the previous year. This equates to a drop of 36 per cent.Kildare is close behind, falling from 396 to 256, a fall of 35 per cent. Applications in Clare are down by 32 per cent, from 341 to 231, while the Wexford is down by 29 per cent (453 to 320) and Cavan 28 per cent (144 to 104).Overall, the number of applications for housing construction has fallen by 16 per cent in the first two-thirds of the year.9,197 applications were lodged in the country in the eight months to August, down by 16 per cent from the previous year’s figure of 10,953.The number of building projects which have commenced in the first eight months has also fallen, though by a slightly lesser amount: 10 per cent.3,782 projects began construction in the eight months to August. That is down from 4,215 in the equivalent period of 2011.Six of the 26 counties have seen increases in commencements when compared to last year: Westmeath, Mayo, Sligo, Cork, Cavan and Kilkenny. By comparison, commencements in Laois and Roscommon are down by 33 per cent.In full: the National Housing Construction Index for August 2012 (PDF)last_img read more

Remains of MH17 victims to be handed over to Dutch authorities

first_img Source: Malaysia Airlines/Twitter We are retiring the MH17 flight number from 25 July out of respect for the crew and passengers –— Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) July 20, 2014 Moscow, which has drawn ire for failing to rein in the pro-Russian rebels, meanwhile hit back at US accusations that it supplied the weapons allegedly used to shoot down the airliner.On the ground, the animosity between Ukraine’s warring sides was underlined by intense shelling which erupted in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, a city just 60 kilometres (about 40 miles) from the station where the bodies had been held in refrigerated wagons.Five people were killed and 12 wounded, as Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said he was ordering his troops to hold fire within a 40-kilometre radius around the crash site, where forensic experts were heading. A pro-Russian fighter guards the crash site of MH17 yesterday. Source: AP/Press Association ImagesRussian ripostePutin had appeared to adopt a conciliatory tone yesterday, saying Moscow would do “everything in its power” to resolve the three-month-old Ukrainian conflict.But today, Moscow moved to slap down US accusations that the missile system used to shoot down the aircraft was transferred from Russia to separatists.A senior Russian defence ministry official insisted that “Russia did not give the rebels Buk missile systems or any other kinds of weapons or military hardware”.Moscow challenged Kiev instead, saying records showed a Ukrainian military plane was flying just three to five kilometres from the Boeing 777 before it crashed on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board.“With what aim was a military plane flying along a civilian aviation route practically at the same time and at the same flight level as a passenger liner?” asked Lieutenant-General Andrei Kartopolov.Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko swiftly dismissed that claim, calling it an “irresponsible and false statement” by Russia.Russia’s riposte came after Kiev released fresh recordings of what it says are intercepted conversations between rebels conspiring to hide the flight’s black boxes from international monitors.Deputy head of the OSCE mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug, right, speaks to a member of the Dutch forensic investigations team as the train loaded with passengers’s remains departs the station in Torez today.Source: AP/Press Association ImagesCrash site chaos ‘insult’Earlier at the Torez railway station, Dutch investigators wearing masks and headlights were finally allowed to examine the remains of over 200 recovered bodies.As they opened each of the train wagons holding the remains, an overpowering stench filled the air.Patience was wearing thin over the limited access to the crash site in Grabove, but Malaysia’s premier said late today rebels have now agreed to give investigators freedom to examine the scene.Najib added that six members of his team would accompany the train carrying the victims’ remains to the government-held east Ukrainian city of Kharkiv where they would be handed over to the Dutch, who have been asked by Kiev to lead the probe.Obama denounced the chaotic removal of bodies by rebels as “an insult to those who have lost loved ones” while Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called it an “absolutely shambolic situation”.As grief turned to anger, the public prosecutor’s office in the Netherlands said it had opened a criminal probe into the downing of the plane, which had 193 Dutch on board.The outrage was palpable in an open letter from Dutch national Hans de Borst, who lost his 17-year-old daughter Elsemiek.“Thank you very much Mr Putin, separatist leaders or the Ukrainian government, for murdering my dear and only child,” he wrote in the letter published by Dutch media.“I hope that you’re proud to have destroyed her young life and that you can look yourself in the mirror.”After meeting bereaved families, an emotional Dutch King Willem-Alexander said the disaster has left “a deep wound in our society”.- © AFP, 2014Read: Australia hits out at “shambolic” MH17 response >Read: Book of condolence opened in Dublin for Malaysia Airlines flight victims >center_img THE REMAINS OF Flight MH17 victims will be handed over to the Netherlands, while Malaysia will receive the doomed plane’s black boxes after Kuala Lumpur struck a breakthrough deal with Ukrainian separatists today.Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he had agreed with the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Borodai, that the remains of 282 people will be moved by train to the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and handed over.With the backing of Russia, the UN Security Council today unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet and demanding crash site access in rebel-held east Ukraine.Australia took the lead in drafting the resolution that was adopted after some changes were made to satisfy Moscow.The measure called for a full, independent international investigation of the Malaysia Airlines plane disaster and demanded that those responsible face justice.“We must have answers. We must have justice,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the 15-member Council.Black box dealWestern powers today ratcheted up the pressure on Moscow over the Malaysian plane disaster, as a train loaded with some 280 bodies was finally allowed to leave a rebel-held station four days after the jet crashed in strife-torn east Ukraine.US President Barack Obama insisted that Moscow force pro-Russian insurgents controlling parts of east Ukraine to cooperate with an international probe into the disaster, and said chaos at the impact site was an “insult” to families of the victims.With global fury mounting over the limited access given to investigators in the aftermath of the crash, the insurgents blamed for hampering the probe struck a breakthrough deal with Malaysia to hand over two black boxes recovered from the plane wreckage.last_img read more

Mirabella slams Liberals gender gap

first_imgFormer Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella has said her party must do more to redress the gender imbalance within the party – and has come out swinging against male Liberals who she claims ran an “orchestrated” campaign to undermine her election chances.Ms Mirabella, who unsuccessfully re-contested the seat of Indi at the election, says she believes senior male Liberals backgrounded against her (and assistant treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer), in the early days of the campaign.“So many blokes, so little courage,” Mirabella told reporters this week, adding: “It would be less objectionable if these people were geniuses, but they had serious deficiencies, as you can see from the election result.”With only 13 women among the 60 Liberals elected to the lower house this month, the figure represents 21.7 per cent of the party’s MPs – a marginal decline, but a decline nevertheless in an already low proportion in the last parliament, where 17 women were among the 75 Liberal MPs (22.7 per cent).Mirabella is urging the party not only to set, but to achieve targets on gender equity.“Without the cultural change, it is not going to be attractive to a lot of women and the hurdles are significant,” she says.Ms Mirabella (née Panopoulos), formerly a public policy fellow at the University of Melbourne, was one of the first to sign up to the Melbourne Declaration on Women’s Participation in Australian Politics in 2014. The declaration includes a commitment – at a minimum – to ensure that 40 per cent of party official, parliamentarian, ministerial, shadow ministerial appointments – across all political parties and parliaments are women over the next two candidate selection cycles, or by 2020, whichever is sooner.While the Liberal federal executive has put forward “a national aspirational target of 50 per cent for female representation in Australian parliaments by 2025”, the ambition looks pie in the sky, particularly given each state division has to devise and agree a strategy for reaching it, and few in the party support a move to quotas.Labor is looking to have the same split in parliament by 2025, but having set quotas, along with rules that require it to preselect 40 per cent women, quota targets are proving very difficult to meet, with the party still preselecting men in traditional Labor seats by a factor of about five to one.Sophie Mirabella lost her bid to reclaim the seat of Indi to Independent Cathy McGowan, who achieved a 4.5 per cent swing against the Liberals after preferences. Mirabella’s first preference vote dropped over 17 per cent from the 2013 election, largely due to the Nationals Party fielding a candidate. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

I5 closed near Rose Quarter this weekend

first_imgInterstate 5 southbound will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Broadway and the Marquam Bridge, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. Access from I-5 southbound to I-84 eastbound will remain open. The left lane of I-5 northbound will also remain closed through the weekend.Travelers on I-5 south will take Interstate 405 southbound as a detour. Congested is expected near I-5 and the detour routes, and even on surface streets. Motorists heading through Portland should consider using Interstate 205.In addition, rolling slowdowns and lane closures are planned on Highway 26 west of downtown due to unrelated work.For more information visit: www.BurnsideBridge.orglast_img read more