Bhopal: Teen sensation Srihari Nataraj won the men’s 100m freestyle title before bettering his own national record to win the gold in the 50m backstroke event of the 73rd Glenmark Senior National Aquatic Championship here on Tuesday. The Day 4 witnessed four national records being broken across nine categories — seven individual and two team events. Karnataka swimmer Srihari created a national record by finishing with a timing of 25.58 seconds to clinch the gold in the men’s 50m backstroke event. Rakshith Shetty and PS Madhu finished second and third respectively. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhIn the 100m freestyle event, the 18-year-old Srihari (50.59) turned his silver from last year into gold by pipping AS Anand (51.49) of SSCB. Vinay Saharan (also of SSCB) won the bronze medal. Delhi’s Kushagra Rawat broke the men’s 800m freestyle meet record clocking 8:09.47s. Soumyajit Sahaa and Sushrut Kapse of Railways came second and third respectively. The women’s 200m freestyle saw Shivani Kataria of Haryana better her own record to win the gold medal. Mahrashtra’s Kenisha Gupta and Khushi Dinesh of Karnataka finished second and third respectively. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterThe last record of the day was broken in the mixed 4x50m event. Team Mahrashtra, comprising Mihir Ambre, Kenisha Gupta and husband-wife duo of Rujuta and Virdhawal Khade, comfortably won the the event to clinch the gold medal with the timing of 1:39.69. Showing their depth of talent, Mahrashtra beat the challenge of team RSPB, who won silver, while Karnataka claimed bronze with a time 1:41.92. Results: Men: 800m Freestyle: Kushagra Rawat (Delhi) 8:09.47 (NMR); Soumyajit Saha (RSPB) 8:32.01; Sushrut Kapse (RSPB) 8:33.58 100m Butterfly: Sajan Prakash (Police) 54.25, Mihir Ambre (Maharashtra) 54.38; Supriya Mondal (RSPB) 54.47 50m Backstroke: Shrihari Nataraj (Karnataka)25.58 (NMR); Rakshith Shetty (Karnataka) 26.73; MADHU P S (SSCB) 27.02 100m Freestyle: Shrihari Nataraj (Karnataka) 50.59; Anand AS (SSCB) 51.49; Vinay Saharan (SSCB) 52.87. Women: 200m Freestyle: Shivani Kataria (Haryana) 2:05.80 (NMR); Kenisha Gupta (Mahrashtra) 2:07.94; Khushi Dinesh (Karnataka) 2:10.49 100m Butterfly: Divya Satija (Haryana) 1:04.38; Apeksha Fernandes (Maharashtra) 1:05.53; Nina Venkatesh (Karnataka) 1:05.98. 50m Backstroke: Maana Patel (Gujarat) 30.39, Jyotsna Pansare (Maharashtra) 30.82; Ridhima Veerendra Kumar (Karnataka)30.87 4 x 200m Freestyle: Karnataka (Damini K Gowda,Suvana C Baskar, Smruthi Mahalingam, Khushi Dinesh) 9:04.86; Maharashtra (Yuga Birnale, Siyaa Shetty, Sadhvi Dhuri, Rutuja Talegaonkar) 9:08.51; Tamil Nadu (Swarna K Harith, Meenakshi V K R, Shakthi B, Bhavika Dugar) 9:04.86. Mixed 4x50m Freestyle: Mahrashtra (Mihir Ambre, Kenisha Gupta, Rujuta Khade, Virdhawal Khade) 1:39.69 (NMR); RSPB (Aaron D’Souza Avantika Chavan Aditi Dhumatkar Viraj Prabhu) 1:41.83; Karnataka (Likith S P Deeksha Ramesh Smruthi Mahalingam Shrihari Nataraj) 1:41.92.
World renowned Italian fashion designer, Giorgio Armani, has pledged to go 100 percent fur-free across all his labels from the Autumn/Winter 2016 collection onwards.Armani’s no-fur promise follows hot on the heels of a similar commitment by Hugo Boss last year, and comes after the designer worked closely with Humane Society International and The Fur Free Alliance, a coalition of 40 animal protection organisations in 28 countries working to end the fur trade.Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/United Kingdom, said: “Armani is the first word in luxury fashion, and so it is hugely significant for the global fashion industry that Armani has pledged to remove animal fur from all his new collections going forward. Those designers such as Prada, Fendi and Michael Kors who continue to put animal suffering on the catwalk are looking increasingly isolated, with this move by Armani probably the most powerful message yet that killing animals for their fur is never fashionable.”Giorgio Armani said: “I am pleased to announce that the Armani Group has made a firm commitment to abolish the use of animal fur in its collections. Technological progress made over the years allows us to have valid alternatives at our disposition that render the use of cruel practices unnecessary as regards animals. Pursuing the positive process undertaken long ago, my company is now taking a major step ahead, reflecting our attention to the critical issues of protecting and caring for the environment and animals.”
Sinead O’Connor posted an emotional video on Facebook last week, in which she talked openly about her struggles with mental illness.The singer wanted to use the video to help people understand mental illness, and talked frankly about her thoughts of suicide.“Mental illness, it’s like drugs, it doesn’t [care] who you are, and equally what’s worse, the stigma doesn’t care who you are,” she said in the 12 minute video. “There’s absolutely nobody in my life except my doctor, my psychiatrist – the sweetest man on earth, who says I’m his hero – and that’s about the only thing keeping me alive at the moment… and that’s kind of pathetic.“I want everyone to know what it’s like, that’s why I’m making this video.”“I am one of millions… people who suffer from mental illness are the most vulnerable people on earth, we can’t take care of ourselves, you’ve got to take care of us,” she added. “My entire life is revolving around not dying, and that’s not living. And I’m not going to die, but still, this is no way for people to be living.”A spokesperson for the singer has since said that O’Connor is now receiving care and is surrounded by love: “She is safe, and not suicidal. She asked for this to be posted knowing you are concerned for her. I hope this comforts those of you were concerned.”To watch the video, click here.
PARADISE, Calif. — Wildfire surrounded Darrel Wilken and the three hospital patients in his car. But instead of evacuating Paradise, they were stuck in traffic along with thousands of others.Cars burned in front of them. Trees, homes and buildings exploded into flames as the gusting firestorm destroyed nearly everything around themWilken, a nurse, knew about Paradise’s evacuation plan, which includes route maps and zones. But the speed and intensity of the fire forced him to improvise, he said.Despite the tragic outcome of that day in November 2018 and the confusion faced by people like Wilken, the city’s careful planning made a difference, Paradise Mayor Jody Jones insists.“I don’t know that you could ever prepare for something like what happened here. It was just so fast,” Jones said. “But we were not caught flat-footed. We did know what to do. Our people knew what to do, and it did save lives.”Counter-intuitive as it may sound, Paradise has some of the strongest evacuation planning in California. In fact, a USA TODAY Network-California survey of communities at high risk from wildfire found only 22% (including Paradise) have a robust, publicly available evacuation plan.The scale of disaster in the Camp Fire was unprecedented, but the scene of people fleeing wildfire was familiar, repeated numerous times over the past three years up and down California from Redding and Paradise to Santa Rosa, Ventura and Malibu.In many of those communities, motorists became stuck in traffic as officials tried to evacuate thousands onto a few roads leading away from the flames.___NO REQUIREMENT TO PLANThe 85 deaths and nearly 19,000 buildings destroyed in Paradise’s Camp Fire made it the deadliest and most destructive blaze in California history. Eight of those who perished were found in their vehicles, with two others found outside near vehicles.In some spots, burned-out and abandoned vehicles lined roads leading out of town.But none of that has created a detectable sense of urgency for more evacuation planning.Using Cal Fire’s designation of wildfire risks across the state, the USA TODAY Network-California requested evacuation plans from 27 communities at greatest risk of fire.One group consisted of the 15 most populous communities where 95% or more of residents live in very high hazard areas for wildfires; the other group included the 15 places with the highest sheer number of residents living in that riskiest zone. Three communities appeared on both lists.Reporters contacted officials in each of those 27 communities, and filed document requests under the California Public Records Act with those that refused to release plans.They found that fewer than one in four, just 22%, have a robust evacuation plan that is available to the public.California does not require communities to plan for wildfire evacuations. And while experts recommend cities and counties develop evacuation plans, there is disagreement over what should be included in those plans.Tom Cova is a University of Utah geography professor who has done extensive research on environmental hazards, emergency management, transportation, and geographic information science.Cova said he doesn’t understand why communities wouldn’t do more evacuation planning.“To me, it says, one, communities are complacent or ignorant of the risks, and two, it’s a failure on the part of local and state governments to not require them (certainly for the highest hazard communities),” Cova said in an email.Jones, the Paradise mayor, said other communities around the state in high fire hazard areas should learn a lesson from what happened in her town.“Have a plan, an evacuation plan,” she said. “You’re going to have tragedy if you don’t have a plan.”But some emergency officials say fires are too unpredictable for that.Evacuation areas depend on the fire itself and what areas or neighbourhoods it is threatening, said Paul Lowenthal, assistant fire marshal and public information officer for Santa Rosa.He acknowledged the difficulty of evacuating tens of thousands of residents during the Tubbs Fire in October 2017, when between 80,000 and 100,000 residents were evacuated and Highway 101 was clogged.Lowenthal said evacuation plans may be helpful in communities with few roads in and out. But in communities like Santa Rosa, where there are more options, he believes they aren’t needed.“Conditions dictate the extent and need for evacuations,” Lowenthal said.___FIRE EVERYWHEREParadise had detailed evacuation plans that had worked in the past, including in 2017, Jones said. The evacuation plan breaks the town into 14 zones. Residents living in each zone evacuate depending on where the fire is located.The plan is mailed to every home in Paradise each year. The community even practiced evacuating, she said.But the Camp Fire, which broke out the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, was different. It was “everywhere” by the time it got to Paradise, Jones said.“The plan was never for the whole town to evacuate at once, so I’m not sure I would say it went according to plan because the evacuation plan we had was predicated on evacuation by zones in a very orderly manner,” Jones said.“And the entire town, because of the wind, the embers were coming in everywhere all at once, so we had fires all over town and the entire town was evacuating at one time, which is going to overrun your transportation system.“I don’t care what town you are, where you live or how big your streets are. They’re not sized to take the entire population at one time,” she said.City and county officials had planned on having motorists evacuate via the five two-lane roads and one four-lane road leading out of town. But fire forced officials to close three of those routes, further clogging the remaining roads, Jones said.Still, Jones is convinced the evacuation plan and residents’ familiarity with it saved lives.“People were aware. In Paradise, you had fire every year. You had evacuations every year, usually by zone. People knew what to do, so that was helpful,” she said.Without that, she said, the situation would have been even more chaotic.Wilken, the nurse, said he had been through two previous evacuations in Paradise. Both went more smoothly, but the Camp Fire was different.“It just happened too quickly. It was a blitzkrieg of fire, and no one was prepared for that,” Wilken said.___SECRET PLANSWhen USA TODAY Network-California reporters contacted community leaders and emergency managers around the state, some claimed they do have plans but refused to make them available.Reporters submitted requests for copies of evacuation plans in March to Los Angeles, El Dorado and San Bernardino counties through the California Public Records Act.Emily Montanez, a senior program manager with the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management, said the evacuation report is not available to the public because it contains sensitive information about the sheriff’s office main station and substations.Los Angeles County later released a copy of the evacuation plan after it received a public records request for the document.In San Bernardino County, the sheriff’s and fire departments have developed evacuation plans, but “the information is not public record because of the possibility of someone using that information to hamper evacuations during an emergency,” said Scott Vanhorne, a spokesman for a county supervisor.However, in response to a USA TODAY Network public records request, county officials two days later provided 851 pages of documents.While the documents referred to the roles and responsibilities of various agencies during emergency evacuations, they did not include a separate appendix on evacuations.The county also did not provide the evacuation plan for the communities of Lake Arrowhead, Crestline and Running Springs — three communities where at least 95% of residents live in very high hazard areas for wildfires.El Dorado County officials also initially refused to release information about evacuation plans that would cover Pollock Pines, one of the 15 largest communities in the state where more than 95% of residents live in a very high hazard zone for wildfire.“I confirmed with the (lieutenant) for our (emergency services) division that we do not release our emergency plan, for obvious security reasons,” wrote El Dorado County Sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony Prencipe, in an email response. He did not elaborate on those reasons.Then, in response to a Public Records Act request, the county provided one page from its emergency operations plan that refers to evacuations. Three paragraphs on that page were blacked out.El Dorado County officials also provided several pages of what it called evacuation plans for the area of Mosquito and Swansboro roads near Placerville, but those consisted mostly of general instructions to residents on how to prepare themselves.__WHAT IS AN EVACUATION PLAN?The detail and quality of evacuation plans vary from community to community across the state.“One of the more impressive” evacuation plans, according to researcher Cova, was developed by San Diego County and is included as a 76-page appendix to its emergency operations plan.The evacuation plan is a “regional, 50,000-foot view of evacuation planning” not intended to replace on-the-spot decision making in specific emergencies, said Alex Bell, a spokeswoman for San Diego County.The county’s evacuation plan was born out of the lessons learned from evacuating New Orleans residents during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as well as hurricanes Irma and Harvey in 2017.San Diego’s evacuation plan also contains estimates on the number of residents within communities in the county who may require evacuation assistance, sheltering, transportation and help with pet evacuation.It provides general evacuation routes and road capacities, county-wide shelter capacities, resources available locally and through mutual aid and access considerations for people with disabilities.There is “all sort of disagreement out there” about what makes a viable evacuation plan, said Tim Haney, professor of sociology and director of the Centre for Community Disaster Research at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.He looks for:— Distinctions between what’s needed for slow- vs. fast-onset disaster.— Plans for the vulnerable: low-income, elderly, disabled, those without a vehicle, etc. The plan should note where those populations are concentrated relative to the hazard and what kind of transportation they’ll need.— A plan for what to do when people don’t hear the evacuation order, don’t trust it or choose not to evacuate. Will uniformed officers knock on doors, and if so how will that be staffed and organized?— An estimate of the number of people who will need shelter while they are evacuated and where those shelters will be set up. A plan also should identify sources of food, toiletries, etc. Shelter plans should be set up in a way to minimize risk of gendered violence. Shelter plans should also accommodate pets.— Assurance that emergency social services such as mental health services will be available and evacuees will know how to get those services.“A successful evacuation is basically a chain of events that must happen smoothly and if any one link in the chain breaks, the plan fails,” Cova said.___A PATCHWORK APPROACHState law doesn’t require evacuation plans. City and county authorities can decide whether to have one, said Mark Pazin, chief of law enforcement for the California Office of Emergency Services.“Nothing is mandated, but it’s highly advisable, given the drama we’ve seen up and down the state,” Pazin said.Nine of the 27 communities surveyed for this story are in Los Angeles County, which has an evacuation plan within its overall emergency operations plan, but those plans aren’t readily available to the public.Los Angeles County released a copy of its evacuation plan in response to a public records request from the USA Today Network.The 73-page evacuation plan is part of the county’s Operational Area Emergency Response Plan.While the plan was not available without a public records request, it begins by addressing the “officials, employees and residents of Los Angeles County.”Two Los Angeles County communities, Malibu and Topanga Canyon, have individual evacuation plans that are posted on the internet.Three communities in San Bernardino County — Lake Arrowhead, Crestline and Running Springs — are covered under the agency’s evacuation plan for the mountain communities in an area stretching from Crestline to Big Bear, said Glenn Barley, San Bernardino County unit chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.While evacuation routes are posted online, the complete evacuation plan for Crestline, Running Springs and Lake Arrowhead are not publicly available, Barley said.Two other communities on the list — Magalia and Paradise — have posted evacuation plans online.The city of Glendale’s 2008 emergency plan identifies nine brush fire zones in neighbourhoods near the mountains.Each of the zones includes a population figure and notes about narrow roads or remote neighbourhoods with restricted access. The plan cautions that such road conditions could lead to problems for emergency responders as well as people evacuating.“I looked at that and I don’t know if there is a problem. I wouldn’t call that a problem, maybe a concern,” said Dan Bell, a spokesman for the city.Bell said the city has updated the plans but declined to release those newer documents. He said the plans do not list solutions or steps the city is taking to address road obstacles in the brush fire zones.While officials in Sonoma, Shasta and Ventura counties evacuated tens of thousands of residents from wildfires over the past three years, those counties also do not have evacuation plans.___‘CONCERN WITH THAT PRE-PLANNED STUFF’Kevin McGowan, assistant director of emergency services for Ventura County, said fires are too unpredictable to plan for evacuations: You don’t know where they will start and you don’t know where they’ll go.“Our concern with that pre-planned stuff is that it doesn’t lend itself to that dynamic decision-making process,” McGowan said.He said when fires break out firefighters and law enforcement personnel are authorized to make decisions about evacuations quickly based on current conditions.“We built a culture in Ventura County to evaluate evacuation needs right away,” he said.Planning out evacuations ahead of time would be very hard to do, he said.“It’s not something you can just have written and on the shelf and then just pull it out. It doesn’t work that way with wildfires,” McGowan said.Ventura County officials do evacuation planning for tsunamis, but emergency planners know where a tsunami will come from. Those evacuation plans are available online, McGowan said.As far as traffic congestion during evacuations, McGowan said evacuation plans aren’t likely to solve that problem.“Every single one of these really large fires had traffic congestion,” McGowan said. However, it wasn’t gridlock, he said.“There’s absolutely no evacuation in the history of the world that is going to go absolutely seamless,” McGowan said.Evacuation plans are helpful for “well-defined hazards such as a tsunami or dam failure, said Briana Khan, a spokeswoman for Sonoma County.Wildfire evacuation plans also may help smaller communities but not larger ones, she said. Plus, there’s the cost.“Most communities in California do not have wildfire evacuation plans due to the need to expend resources in addressing other hazards such as flooding or earthquakes,” Khan said.However, she said, Sonoma County is interested in developing evacuation planning for its most at-risk communities.“Although we do not have a definite timeline in place for delivering and exercising these plans, the county is very aware of — and is counting on — the significant community interest in this subject,” Khan said.Since the 2017 fires, officials also have begun sending out emergency warnings and calling for evacuations earlier, she said.Haney, the Mt. Royal University researcher, said the success of an evacuation plan rests on several things: effective communication, whether a community trusts its local government, resources available to residents and geography.The trend among emergency managers is to develop evacuation plans for many different types of disasters — hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, fires, etc. — rather than a single evacuation plan for each, Haney said.“It’s really about imagining the different scenarios — making plans flexible enough to fit many different disaster types,” Haney said.“Things that never happened before happen all the time,” he said.What happened during the Camp Fire in 2018 had happened before, although on a smaller scale, said Jones, the Paradise mayor.Because of evacuation problems during a 2008 wildfire, Paradise and county officials drew up evacuation plans that include evacuation zones and routes, she said.“We had terrible traffic jams (in 2008) and from that we developed an evacuation plan,” Jones said.But Jones takes away a different lesson than emergency leaders in other parts of California. She doesn’t see the Camp Fire deaths as a sign that planning is futile. Quite the opposite.“(Eighty-five) deaths is a lot and it’s terrible, but our residents knew what to do,” she said.___USA Today Network-California reporter Megan Diskin contributed to this report.Damon Arthur, The Associated Press
20 February 2007An unidentified explosive device went off under a parked United Nations vehicle in Kosovo last night at a crucial time for the Albanian-majority Serbian province, which the world body has run since 1999, following the unveiling of proposals for its final status. The explosion in Pristina, the capital, which damaged two other UN vehicles and a civilian one as well as shattering windows in nearby houses and shops, comes less than two weeks after UN police used rubber bullets against pro-independence ethnic Albanian demonstrators, killing two of them. “The UN condemns any acts of violence directed at UN property or personnel,” the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) said in a statement today. No injuries were reported and the police are investigating the circumstances of the incident. The proposals, drawn up by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Special Envoy for the status process, Martti Ahtisaari, call for the province, where Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1, to have the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, with an international civilian and military presence supervising the arrangements. But it does not specifically mention independence, which Serbia rejects but which many ethnic Albanians seek. The UN has run the province ever since North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid brutal ethnic fighting. In a related move the Deputy UN police Commissioner has been named acting Commissioner, replacing his former chief whose resignation Mr. Ban’s Special Representative in Kosovo Joachim Rücker requested after the police used rubber bullets during the demonstration by the ethnic Albanian Vetëvendosja (self-determination) group on 10 February. Deputy Commissioner of Crime Trygve Kalleberg will replace Stephen Curtis until the formal appointment of a new chief by Mr. Ban following the usual procedures, which are expected to take several months, UNMIK said.
Canada has a rich history of innovation, but in the next few decades, powerful technological forces will transform the global economy. Large multinational companies have jumped out to a headstart in the race to succeed, and Canada runs the risk of falling behind. At stake is nothing less than our prosperity and economic well-being. The FP set out explore what is needed for businesses to flourish and grow. We talk to some of the innovators, visionaries and scientists on the cutting edge of the new cutthroat economy about a blueprint for Canadian success. You can find all of our coverage here.Toronto Mayor John Tory has declared the week of April 22nd, Toronto Blockchain Week, to “celebrate and promote blockchain innovation in the City of Toronto.” Over the course of the next few days, thousands of people will descend on the city to attend more than 50 events that will showcase the ground-breaking work of Canadian and global businesses, governments and startups, who are harnessing the blockchain to build a new “internet of value.”Blockchain is often associated with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but this is just one way that this technology can be used. Blockchain is the first native digital medium for value, a “trust protocol” that allows parties to transact and do business without intermediaries or middleman.It holds the potential to transform not only how we move, store and manage financial assets, but also allows us to finally rethink many of our institutions and address global problems such as financial inclusion, privacy and identity. It is also critical to Canada’s (and Toronto’s) transition to a prosperous and thriving knowledge economy. Canada’s digital industry needs to set global standards — we all depend on it Cryptoassets will revolutionize financial services — for those who play the long game It will take much bigger thinking if Canada is to compete with giants in the ideas economy Consider:Startups struggling to raise seed capital can issue “tokens” representing equity in their company to a global investor base, tapping into vast pools of capital, without the need to decamp to Silicon Valley. The “initial coin offering” or ICO boom already showed this was possible. With the right business and regulatory infrastructure, we could be at the halcyon days for entrepreneurship.After revelations that social media giants such as Facebook misuse its users’ personal data, many are calling for government intervention. But blockchain enables digital identities that citizens own and control. “Virtual You” could not only preserve our rights to privacy and personal security but also restore our control over our own identities and the data we create.Nearly $2 billion dollars of goods and services crosses between the Canadian and U.S. border each day. Blockchain allows us to rethink supply chains as “asset chains” where every stakeholder — from manufacturers to customs agents, retailers to distributers — have real time access to the provenance, authenticity, and location of every asset that matters. Wal-Mart, IBM, Maersk, FedEx and others are making blockchain a cornerstone of their future business strategy.Canada’s immigrant communities spend considerable amounts in fees to send money to family in their former homes. Fees on these remittance payments can run upwards of 10 per cent. Blockchain eliminates the need for costly middle-men, allowing money to be sent using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. With the growing popularity of so-called “stablecoins,” digital dollars pegged to currencies such as the Canadian dollar, many users will not need to know how to own cryptocurrencies or even require a bank account. The upside is not only lower fees but also greater financial inclusion and prosperity.In Canada most technological enthusiasm has been focused in AI. But recently blockchain has caught the attention of developers, entrepreneurs, NGOs, business leaders, central banks, the investing public and regulators — as the natural sister technology for building an innovation economy.To be sure there has been confusion and naysayers — until recently, the crypto tail was wagging the blockchain dog. With the decline of crypto markets, there is a renewed focus on the underlying blockchain platforms and how they might change business and government.Toronto has emerged and continued to evolve as a leading global blockchain hub, and for good reason: It has a thriving start-up ecosystem that has produced many leading projects, such as Ethereum, Cosmos and Aion. The city has a financial industry that has shown a genuine interest in investing in blockchain. Business leaders in many different industries have begun investing in this technology, and some government leaders are beginning to consider the policy implications.This week’s Blockchain Revolution Global conference, which draws together more than 1,300 global business leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, creators and thought leaders, will help solidify Toronto’s position as a global leader. “We have worked relentlessly to build Toronto up as an attractive place for innovators and entrepreneurs by supporting an innovation-friendly business environment and livable communities,” Mayor Tory said in a statement.Canada — and Toronto in particular — has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to achieve a better future by building a platform for the new digital economy with blockchain.Alex Tapscott is the co-founder of The Blockchain Research Institute and the co-author of Blockchain Revolution. Alex is also an active investor and advisor in the blockchain space.
Stay on target Over a year and a half into its lifespan, the Nintendo Switch has established itself pretty nicely. If you pick one up today, you aren’t an early adopter testing out the waters but an informed consumer buying into a proven ecosystem. The back library is quite substantial with hits like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey, and the recent Octopath Traveler. And it’ll only get more fleshed out this holiday with Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.However, there’s still one major part of the Nintendo Switch that’s currently making it feel more like an unfinished prototype than a wildly successful modern game console: the online system. The Switch will feature the first paid Nintendo online system, and after being delayed from a nebulous late 2017 launch, Nintendo is now insisting the service will launch this September. We assumed we’d get more details during the 9/6 Nintendo Direct, but that video was understandably pushed back due a tragic earthquake in Japan. So we’re still somewhat in the dark as to what Nintendo Switch Online even is, even though it launches in just a few weeks!Here’s what we do know. When Nintendo Switch Online goes live, users will need to subscribe in order to keep playing most online multiplayer Nintendo Switch games, including favorites like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Mario Tennis Aces. Prices range from $4 for a single month to a $35 yearly family plan split amongst eight users. It’s pretty generous, but the common assumption is that because of Nintendo’s spotty history with online services, the cheaper price compared to Xbox and PlayStation will also reflect a more modest set of features. After all, users will still be forced to use that dumb mobile app for voice chat, unless they’re playing Fortnite.Beyond online play, subscribers will gain access to quality of life features like cloud save back ups (as there is currently no way to backup Switch game save files) and discounts on eShop purchases. Most exciting, but perplexing, to Nintendo fans though is the library of classic games. Although old games thrive on Switch, there’s no actual Virtual Console service letting you buy past Nintendo hits. Instead, Switch Online subscribers can play a selection of NES games like Dr. Mario and Balloon Fight with added online co-op.And that’s really it for what we know. Although Nintendo continues to remind us of the existence of this service, they’ve yet to provide more firm details. Everything else is just fan speculation. Will they finally ditch the mobile app for actual headsets? Will the servers be more stable now that we actually have to pay for them? Will this truly be the Netflix for classic games subscription service we’ve always dreamed of? Will Nintendo add more NES games along with SNES, N64, Game Boy, and even Gamecube titles?These are all questions worth answering, and ideally questions Nintendo would’ve addressed already. But the other possibility is that Nintendo hasn’t detailed more about online because they’ve already said everything that will be there, at least at launch. They’ve showed their hand. They’re self-aware enough to realize they don’t have much history to make big ambitious online promises. So they’re charging a relatively small fee for relatively safe features. It sucks to make this shift after months of free online play, but folks will totally pay pennies a day to play Smash Bros. online and get some portable NES games.The rescheduled Nintendo Direct should be hitting any day now. There’s already news starting to leak from it like the retitled Yoshi’s Crafted World. So any lingering questions about Nintendo Switch Online should (hopefully) be resolved soon. Nothing is ever “finished” these days, hardware or games, but considering how awesome the Switch otherwise is it would be nice for Nintendo to at least tick this box at last.For more on Nintendo Switch check out this nifty Luigi’s Mansion Labo mod and cool indie games to play before Smash Bros.Buy it now!Nintendo SwitchProtect Your Nintendo Switch With These Awesome CasesLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. ‘Star Wars Pinball’ Has Your Favorite Brand in Ball Form‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Was Final Mission From Late Nintendo President
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland multimillionaire has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a neighborhood boy and agreed to pay his victim $1.6 million and spend about nine years in prison.Scott Raymond Strickland pleaded guilty Tuesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court to first-degree sexual abuse and a related count. Judge Julie Frantz approved the deal and gave the 56-year-old former doctor and flight attendant about two weeks to turn himself in.Strickland has told authorities he’s worth about $2.5 million. The victim’s lawyer Josh Lamborn says that after the man pays taxes and penalties on his assets, he’ll have about $1.8 million, with most of that going to the victim. Lamborn says his client — now a young man — wanted to avoid testifying in a trial.
NEW DELHI/ TEL AVIV: “It’s genuine friendship”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as he greeted “my friend Prime Minister Modi” and the people of India on the occasion of its 73rd Independence day. Posting a video on Twitter of his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Israeli Prime Minister said: “To my friend Prime Minister Modi and the people of India. Namastey! Happy Independence Day! Also Read – Watch: Donald Trump says Florida faces absolute monster hurricane Advertise With Us יום העצמאות שמח הודו! 🇮🇱🇮🇳Happy Independence Day India! सभी भारतवासियों को इजरायल की ओर से स्वतंत्रता दिवस की हार्दिक शुभकामनायें।@NarendraModi pic.twitter.com/7afares7we— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) August 15, 2019 The post also carried a line in Hindi wishing the people of India happy Independence Day. Last month, Israel’s ruling Likud party put up 10-storey high posters of Modi with Netanyahu on the sides of the party headquarters in Tel Aviv, as part of its campaign for the September 17 snap polls. Also Read – Pakistan test-fires 290-km range missile Advertise With Us The posters of Modi, as well as US President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin, along with Netanyahu, were hung from the roof of Metzudat Ze’ev, the 15-storey Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Modi also featured in a video clip released by Netanyahu for the election campaign. Netanyahu, who is facing a tough challenge from his rivals, is set to visit India on a day-long trip on September 9. He created history on July 20 by surpassing Israel’s first premier David Ben-Gurion’s record as the longest-serving Prime Minister.
Joan Brook: Nelson/Bob Daemmrich: PaxtonJustin Nelson (left) is the Democratic nominee facing incumbent Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.Three years ago almost to the day, a Collin County grand jury indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for securities fraud. As the state’s top lawyer turned himself into a jail in his hometown of McKinney and smiled for his mug shot, Democrats couldn’t help but feel optimistic. The last time Texas elected a Democrat for attorney general was over two decades ago. Paxton’s legal troubles could potentially serve, they hoped, as the springboard to breaking that streak.What perhaps no one could have foreseen back in 2015 was the dizzying array of twists and turns the legal case against Paxton would undergo. Three summers later, there is still no trial date in sight and one is unlikely to emerge before Election Day.Yet despite avoiding a challenge from within his own party this year – arguably the biggest political threat for a statewide official in deep-red Texas – the political fallout from Paxton’s indictment remains to be seen. In November, he’ll face his first actual test of it at the ballot box: a challenge from Democrat Justin Nelson. The well-credentialed Austin lawyer is framing the race as a crystal-clear referendum on the charges that have dogged Paxton for the vast majority of his first term.“The question that voters will have is who voters want to hire as a lawyer for Texas, for all Texans,” Nelson said in a recent interview. “Voters will be able to choose me, someone who has clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court, who has taught at the University of Texas law school, Texas Super Lawyer, a partner at a successful law firm, versus my opponent, who it’s embarrassing that he’s indicted for fraud in one of the most heavily Republican counties in Texas.“And I think that when voters see that contrast, it will be integrity versus indictment.”There has been a long-running gag order on all sides in the securities fraud case, leaving Paxton running for re-election without the ability to address his biggest political vulnerability. He held firm on the gag order when asked about the indictment in a recent interview, saying he looks forward to discussing the case “as soon as the courts allow me to speak.”“I’ve done my job,” he then said. “I’ve worked extremely hard to represent the people of Texas. It’s been an honor and really the greatest opportunity of my life.”A stalled caseStretching back before he was elected attorney general in 2014, Paxton has facedscrutiny related to his soliciting of investment clients. In late July 2015, a Collin County grand jury indicted him on two first-degree felony charges of securities fraud and a third-degree felony charge of failure to register. The charges, to which Paxton pleaded not guilty, allege that when he was a state representative, he mislead investors in a North Texas technology company called Servergy, recruiting them without disclosing he was making a commission.In the time since then, Paxton drew similar, civil charges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission — and beat them. But the original, criminal case at the state level has persisted, surviving multiple attempts by Paxton’s lawyers to defeat it before trial. The case has also gone through a change in venue — prosecutors successfully pushed to have it moved from Paxton’s home county, Collin County, to Harris County — a change in judge and three delays in the trial date, with the most recent one proving indefinite.That is because all sides are currently waiting for a decision from the state’s highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, on whether the prosecutors can be paid, an issue that has effectively frozen the securities fraud case. That side legal battle stems from a series of lawsuits filed by Jeff Blackard, a Paxton supporter and Collin County resident, who has sought to limit payments to the prosecutors, arguing excessive taxpayer money is going toward the case.In December, the Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to hear prosecutors’ challenge to a lower-court ruling that voided a six-figure invoice for work dating back to January 2016. But since then, the Court of Criminal Appeals has not taken any additional action on the case, and it went on summer recess last month, ensuring any further developments will not come until the fall at the earliest.Nelson has said Texans deserve a trial before Election Day to know whether their attorney general will wind up in prison. But all sides are at the mercy of the Court of Criminal Appeals, which can take however long it wishes to first sort out the prosecutor pay case.“It is not unusual for the Court of Criminal Appeals to wait with a case, and you know there is no time limit for them,” said David Crump, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center. “The only real … factor that creates any kind of time issue is their own sense of duty. Over and over again, I’ve seen courts want to take their time in spite of external events.”Paxton’s team has maintained it has long been ready for trial.“No one is above the law, but no one should be below it either,” Paxton spokesman Matt Welch said in a statement. “When a case has gone on for over three years with no end in sight, it conflicts with a citizen’s right to a speedy trial guaranteed under the U.S. and Texas Constitution. Attorney General Paxton looks forward to his day in court when he can finally put this politically motivated prosecution behind him.”Brian Wice, the special prosecutor who has taken the lead on the payment case, declined to comment on its status on behalf of himself and the two other prosecutors.An AG with Trump’s earPaxton’s allies and supporters argue he has been anything but distracted as attorney general, building up an impressive record and using his platform to take a national lead on some of the most prominent legal issues of the past three years – including multi-state efforts to repeal signature Obama-era initiatives related to health care and immigration.“I think if you look at, just to take one example, the attorney’s record before the United States Supreme Court, litigating some of the most high-profile cases, cases that are difficult cases, several of them decided 5-4 — I think the fact that the state of Texas under the AG’s leadership prevailed virtually across the board speaks to that,” said Allyson Ho, a veteran appellate litigator in Dallas. “I think the results of that speak to the caliber of his team and his leadership and to the conservative causes that the voters of Texas care deeply about.”In the process, Paxton has emerged as one of President Donald Trump’s closest allies among GOP attorneys general. Last year, Paxton was the first state attorney general to come to the defense of the president’s controversial ban on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, filing an amicus brief backing it in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Paxton was later joined by over a dozen states in support of the travel ban, which was upheld last month by the U.S. Supreme Court.Trump has announced his support for Paxton’s re-election campaign twice — first in a tweet days before the March primary and then in May while speaking at the National Rifle Association meeting in Dallas. Paxton believes it is a relationship that benefits Texas, providing a “night-and-day difference” with the state’s hostile stance toward Trump’s Democratic predecessor.“A great thing is dialogue,” Paxton said in the interview. “Before with the Obama administration, the only thing we can do is sue them. With this administration, we can meet with almost anyone we want to meet with [and] discuss issues before we have to pursue any kind of confrontational litigation.”Texas Republicans haven’t appeared particularly fazed by Paxton’s lingering legal problems as he runs for re-election. Among his closer supporters, it continues to be viewed as a political witch hunt that stretches back to 2014. That’s when one of the three allegations that comprise the securities fraud case — that Paxton failed to register with the state securities board — came up in Paxton’s GOP primary against then-state Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas.“We first heard these accusations in the 2014 primary and they were thoroughly vetted and the voters made their voices heard in the primary and the general election,” said state Sen. Bryan Hughes, a Mineola Republican and longtime Paxton ally. “Since that time, there’s been an attempt to gin up other charges, but I think it all goes back to the same facts, and the voters have heard this. It has been thoroughly vetted and litigated and I believe the voters will reject these charges again.”It also does not go unobserved among some Paxton supporters that he is fighting the securities fraud case against the backdrop of Trump’s battle against his own alleged “witch hunt”: special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Hughes said it was fair to compare the two, adding that he believes “more and more people are concerned about the criminal justice system being used as a political weapon.”The dearth of intra-party resistance to Paxton’s re-election bid became even clearer late last year, when the filing deadline for March primary came and went without anyone signing up to challenge him — the only other major statewide official who did not draw a primary opponent then was Comptroller Glenn Hegar. And while Gov. Greg Abbott conspicuously declined to say whether he voted for Paxton and two other fellow statewide officials in the nominating contest, the top of the ticket is clearly behind Paxton for November.“Ken Paxton has been a fearless defender of the Texas and United States Constitutions and Governor Abbott is proud to support his re-election,” Abbott spokesman John Wittman said in a statement.Democrats optimisticIn Nelson, Democrats have ample reason to be optimistic. He brings an impressive resume to the race as a clerk for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and current partner at Houston-based litigation powerhouse Susman Godfrey. That network that comes with that — as well as Nelson’s own wealth — has allowed him to build a bigger war chest than any other Democratic statewide candidate beside U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is running a far more high-profile race to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Still, Paxton maintains a wide cash-on-hand advantage.In addition to Nelson’s fundraising, Democrats have been buoyed by a pair of public polls that suggested the race may be close. A recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found Paxton leading Nelson among registered voters by just 1 percentage point, but 26 percent of voters had yet to pick a candidate.“I feel really good about his race,” said state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, ranking Paxton and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller as ripe targets for Democratic upsets in November. “[Nelson’s race] is particularly compelling because … I’ve seen people react when you talk about an indictment and an attorney general — I mean, this is our lawyer, and they can’t get their head around the idea that our own lawyer is under indictment. They’ll easily concede, ‘Yeah, he’s innocent until proven guilty’, but it’s the whole image — it’s the whole cloud over the work — it just doesn’t sit easy when you hear about that.”To be sure, Nelson is not building his challenge entirely around the incumbent’s legal troubles. Nelson also is campaigning on issues like ending gerrymandering, which was the topic of a pub crawl he led last month in Austin that touched three congressional districts in a five-block radius. During an interview at the last stop — at Easy Tiger in downtown Austin — Nelson said he would use his platform as attorney general to fight partisan gerrymandering in particular through written opinions, through the litigation process and at the Legislative Redistricting Board, where the attorney general has a seat. Nelson and Paxton were already on opposite sides of the issue before their race began, having signed on to dueling amicus briefs in the Wisconsin gerrymandering case that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to decide on last month.The anti-gerrymandering pub crawl turned out Nelson supporters like Sarah Sharp, an Austin musician who has known him since high school.“I love that he’s never run for office before and that I also happen to personally know that he’s a brilliant man and a thoroughly decent man,” Sharp said as Nelson mingled with the boisterous happy-hour crowd at Easy Tiger. “It would be nice to have less corruption. I believe Justin when he talks about actually following the rule of law.”National radarThe contest for attorney general is playing out in the shadow of higher-ballot races for U.S. Senate and governor, and accordingly, there has been little to no sparring between Paxton and Nelson.Paxton, asked in a November C-SPAN interview about his re-election campaign, welcomed all challengers and said he was “happy to debate anybody on the issues and look forward to it.” However, he was noncommittal in the recentTribune interview when asked whether he would debate Nelson, calling it “an issue that we’ll address down the road.”The race is on the radar of the Democratic Attorneys General Association and its Republican counterpart, of which Paxton is vice-chairman. The Republican Attorneys General Association has already contributed $150,000 to Paxton’s campaign, and RAGA Executive Director Scott Will, in a statement, said Paxton is “one of our leading rule of law champions, and for good reason, he has an envious record of accomplishments.”DAGA, meanwhile, formally endorsed Nelson the day after he secured his party’s nomination and quickly launched a mini-website attacking the incumbent as “Corrupt Ken Paxton.” Since then, DAGA says it has texted more than 100,000 voters in Texas as part of a multi-state program to educate electorates about the office of attorney general and the importance of elections for it.In an interview, DAGA Executive Director Sean Rankin said the association was taking Texas “very seriously,” encouraged by the demographic changes in the state, a national landscape poised to favor Democrats, the potential for crossover voters — and of course, the securities fraud case.“He has not gone through an election cycle while under indictment,” Rankin said, dismissing GOP claims that Paxton’s legal troubles are old news to voters. “The average Texan does not want someone who’s under indictment in this office.”Disclosure: The University of Houston and the University of Texas have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. 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Popular on Variety ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Apple Music is partnering with ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” for the second iteration of its “Up Next” program which showcases new and emerging artists.The first group to be featured will be K-Pop dance act NCT 127, who perform on October 8. The previous season of “Up Next” featured Khalid, 6lack and Daniel Caesar, each Grammy-nominated, as well as Latin sensation Bad Bunny and Aria-winning Amy Shark.The teaming includes the performance as well as creation of a custom content package, production of an audio EP from a bespoke live session and a filmed interview for Beats 1. In addition, the artist is upstreamed to music and video playlists promoting new acts.In a recent report by Midia Research analyzing mid-year data in the music sector, Apple Music registered a two-point gain in market share, reaching 19% and 43.5 million subscribers. It added the second-highest number of subscribers: 9.2 million, with the United States being the key growth market. In the U.S., Apple Music is expected to soon overtake Spotify in terms of paid subscribers, and by some accounts it has already done so. Apple Music named Oliver Schusser, who formerly served in a senior role in the company’s European operation, as its new head in April.
$4.42M – Good Boys $3.83M – Angel Has Fallen Impressions: 287,750,603Attention Score: 92.31Attention Index: 77National Airings: 762Networks: 24Most Spend On: NBC, ABCCreative Versions: 13Est. Lifetime TV Spend: $9.91MStudio: Annapurna PicturesStarted Airing: 07/19/19 Impressions: 445,491,461Attention Score: 92.64Attention Index: 80National Airings: 1,435Networks: 37Most Spend On: NBC, CBSCreative Versions: 21Est. Lifetime TV Spend: $16.9MStudio: Columbia PicturesStarted Airing: 07/05/19 Top Movie Commercials by Weekly TV SpendData provided by iSpot.tv Impressions: 247,444,687Attention Score: 93.14Attention Index: 86National Airings: 814Networks: 34Most Spend On: NBC, TelemundoCreative Versions: 38Est. Lifetime TV Spend: $19.16MStudio: Universal PicturesStarted Airing: 07/14/19 Box Office: ‘Angel Has Fallen’ to Win Modest Labor Day Weekend Box Office: ‘Don’t Let Go’ Opens With $150,000 on Thursday Night Related Impressions: 235,900,257Attention Score: 93.45Attention Index: 90National Airings: 574Networks: 33Most Spend On: ABC, FOXCreative Versions: 56Est. Lifetime TV Spend: $11.29MStudio: Warner Bros.Started Airing: 06/17/19 In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Good Boys.”Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.42 million through Sunday for 814 national ad airings on 34 networks. (Spend figures are based on estimates generated from Aug. 12-18. Estimates may be updated after the chart is posted as new information becomes available.) Universal Pictures prioritized spend across networks including NBC, Telemundo and CBS, and during programming such as “Preso No. 1,” “Bachelor in Paradise” and “Big Brother.”Just behind “Good Boys” in second place: Columbia Pictures’ “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” which saw 1,435 national ad airings across 37 networks, with an estimated media value of $4.34 million. Impressions: 366,081,161Attention Score: 95.11Attention Index: 117National Airings: 1,052Networks: 27Most Spend On: Univision, ABCCreative Versions: 21Est. Lifetime TV Spend: $9.22MStudio: LionsgateStarted Airing: 05/30/19 $4.34M – The Angry Birds Movie 2 TV ad placements for Lionsgate’s “Angel Has Fallen” (EMV: $3.83 million), Warner Bros.’ “Blinded by the Light” ($3.18 million) and Annapurna Pictures’ “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” ($3.14 million) round out the chart. Notably, “Angel Has Fallen” has the best iSpot Attention Index (117) in the ranking, getting 17% fewer interruptions than the average movie ad (interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV). $3.18M – Blinded by the Light $3.14M – Where’d You Go, Bernadette 1 Movie titles with a minimum spend of $100,000 for airings detected between 08/12/2019 and 08/18/2019.* TV Impressions – Total TV ad impressions delivered for the brand or spot.* Attention Score – Measures the propensity of consumers to interrupt an ad play on TV. The higher the score, the more complete views. Actions that interrupt an ad play include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV.* Attention Index – Represents the Attention of a specific creative or program placement vs the average. The average is represented by a score of 100, and the total index range is from 0 through 200. For example, an attention index of 125 means that there are 25% fewer interrupted ad plays compared to the average.Variety has partnered with iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company, to bring you this weekly look at what studios are spending to market their movies on TV. Learn more about the iSpot.tv platform and methodology. Popular on Variety ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15
Last Friday (7th September, 2018), DARPA announced a multi-year investment of more than $2 billion in a new program called the ‘AI Next’ campaign. DARPA’s Agency director, Dr. Steven Walker, officially unveiled the large-scale effort during D60, DARPA’s 60th Anniversary Symposium held in Maryland. This campaign seeks contextual reasoning in AI systems in order to create deeper trust and collaborative partnerships between humans and machines. The key areas the AI Next Campaign may include are: Automating critical DoD (Department of Defense) business processes, such as security clearance vetting in a week or accrediting software systems in one day for operational deployment. Improving the robustness and reliability of AI systems; enhancing the security and resiliency of machine learning and AI technologies. Reducing power, data, and performance inefficiencies. Pioneering the next generation of AI algorithms and applications, such as ‘explainability’ and commonsense reasoning. The Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program In the conference, DARPA officials also described the next frontier of neuroscience research: technologies for able-bodied soldiers that give them super abilities. Following this, they introduced the Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program, which was announced in March. This program aims at funding research on tech that can transmit high-fidelity signals between the brain and some external machine without requiring that the user is cut open for rewiring or implantation. Al Emondi, manager of N3, said to IEEE Spectrum that he is currently picking researchers who will be funded under the program and can expect an announcement in early 2019. The program has two tracks: Completely non-invasive: The N3 program aims for new non-invasive tech that can match the high performance currently achieved only with implanted electrodes that are nestled in the brain tissue and therefore have a direct interface with neurons—either recording the electrical signals when the neurons “fire” into action or stimulating them to cause that firing. Minutely invasive: DARPA says it doesn’t want its new brain tech to require even a tiny incision. Instead, minutely invasive tech might come into the body in the form of an injection, a pill, or even a nasal spray. Emondi imagines “nanotransducers” that can sit inside neurons, converting the electrical signal when it fires into some other type of signal that can be picked up through the skull. Justin Sanchez, director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, said that making brain tech easy to use will open the floodgates. He added, “We can imagine a future of how this tech will be used. But this will let millions of people imagine their own futures”. To know more about the AI Next Campaign and the N3 program in detail, visit DARPA blog. Read Next Skepticism welcomes Germany’s DARPA-like cybersecurity agency – The federal agency tasked with creating cutting-edge defense technology DARPA on the hunt to catch deepfakes with its AI forensic tools underway
By: The Canadian Press TORONTO — A man whose Canadian passport expired while he was abroad cannot recover any of the costs he racked up after Air Canada refused to let him board his return flight, an Ontario court has ruled.In its decision, the small claims court found that Gerald Gartner was the author of his own misfortune because he should have ensured his document was valid before trying to fly back to Toronto from St. Lucia.“The plaintiff was responsible for failing to check his own passport,” Deputy Judge David Dwoskin said in his ruling in Ottawa.“Air Canada determined in good faith that it was required by applicable law or government regulation … to refuse to carry the plaintiff.”The case arose in January last year when an Air Canada gate agent prevented Gartner from boarding his return flight because his passport had expired while he was there. He tried showing the agent his driver’s licence, health card and birth certificate – to no avail.More news: Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsGartner sued Air Canada for the $8,062.23 he said he spent in courier and other costs getting a renewed travel document as well as for a hotel and taxi fares. Among other things, he alleged Air Canada was in breach of contract by barring him from the flight he had reserved, and negligent in failing to train its out-of-country employees properly on the constitutional right of Canadian citizens to enter the country.In its defence, Air Canada pointed to its terms and conditions of carriage, which, among other things, state that a valid passport is required for return travel to Canada.The carrier also told court the Canada Border Services Agency had instructed airlines that gate agents can only accept valid passports as an international travel document and passengers cannot board a flight without one.While border officials may allow travellers who have arrived in Canada to use other documents to enter the country, airline personnel are neither border agents nor trained as such, Dwoskin said.More news: Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyThe judge also found Gartner’s damages claim for more than $8,000 to cover the expenses he incurred for a new passport and a “lengthy stay at what appears to be a premium hotel” in St. Lucia to have been excessive.Despite losing his case, Gartner did escape having to pay Air Canada any of its trial costs. Dwoskin said that was because of the “novel circumstances of the case and the public interest respecting the issues raised.”He did say he would reconsider the costs issue if either side could show it had made a reasonable offer to settle before trial. Thursday, May 30, 2019 Tags: Air Canada, Passport Share Court rules in Air Canada’s favour in expired passport case << Previous PostNext Post >>
Take Three, showcases three leading contemporary Indian artists Anju Dodiya, who exhibited in the main hall at this year’s Venice Biennale, Alexis Kersey and Alwar Balasubramaniam at Kings Road Gallery & Tanya Baxter Contemporary from Thursday June 25th until Wednesday September 30th 2009. These three artists are the rising stars of the Indian Avant Garde. This show is also a preview for a major retrospective of the work of India’s leading living artist – S. H. Raza.This global interest in Indian art is reflected in the artwork, with artists expressing both India’s heritage and pictorial traditions in a multicultural, dynamic tone. As influential, big names in Indian art since the 1950s such as Souza, Mehta, and Husain continue to draw high bids at Christies and Sotheby’s, the cutting-edge, contemporary works of India’s avant-garde artists have been creating a buzz in these auction houses since the early 1990s. Following the success and critical acclaim of the major retrospective of Indian Contemporary artists, there continues to be a huge amount of interest in Indian Contemporary art, culminating with the Christies auction in May of pivotal Indian works of art.Collectors including Charles Saatchi, Frank Cohen and Francois Pinault are fast stocking up on this genre of Indian art, being art market-makers in their own right. Contemporary Indian art seems to be globally perceived to be more international than many other forms of contemporary art. Many of India ’s leading lights, including Subodh Gupta, T V Santhosh, and Alexis Kersey, are typical examples of artists whose works act as a social commentary on India’s globalization. The common denominator that exists between the three artists we are showcasing is their ability to unveil a new India that is both transfixed and held captive by a new consumerist works.Anju Dodiya’s works weave stories which are fictional yet seemingly very real. Working largely in her favored medium of watercolor she creates her own narratives projecting her self-image as the protagonist. This personalized idiom is presented as an allegory to reality. These autobiographical fictions dwell in a contemplative melancholy. Both her idiom and her medium bring out a lyrical and highly expressive quality to the works. She treads this fine line distinguishing fantasy and reality and simultaneously builds her personal metaphors – The Pale Mourner clearly reflects this mood. Her work was chosen to be hung in the central hall at this year’s Venice Biennale.Born and raised in Mysore by British parents, Alexis Kersey grew up immersed in both Indian and British culture. Inspired by his experiences, Kersey’s work often melds traditional Indian subjects with westernized aesthetics. In an effort to immerse himself in the culture surrounding Indian poster art, Kersey often chose to observe and work with commercial sign painters, squatting on the pavements of Chennai. To cater to a perceived superiority of Western goods and styles, much of the images commonly used in sign boards and advertising often promise a ‘Taste of the West’ through these consumer goods. “ The effect”, says Kersey, “is of the walls in cities, especially in South India , where posters have been plastered on, one over the other, and in places people have torn them off so you have a new narrative mythology created” In particular, the artist revisits and updates the traditional styles of the Nineteenth Century Company School Paintings. (The collective name given to the paintings created by Indian studios and commissioned by the British serving in the East India Company and later.) In 1990, Kersey, who had been living in Britain for some years, chose to return to Mysore to continue his work. The artist has been exhibiting since 1988 in galleries throughout India as well as London , and New York . In the last 18 months, Alexis Kersey’s work has seen a significant rise: there has been considerable interest from dealers and auction houses alike, with his pieces fetching between £15,000 – £70,000. With the current boom in Indian art expanding rapidly, this artist is one to watch out for.Alwar Balasubramaniam seeks to find clarity in life through art. His works, be it painting, sculpture or installations break their conventional boundaries and often merge into one another in mixed media. He addresses a question vital to visual art- that regarding sight/perception itself. He plays with dualities of presence-absence, visible-invisible and real-unreal. This he addresses in reference to the Buddhist and Hindu religious philosophy regarding the self and its dissolution seen in Untitled, cast from his body. Beyond capturing his vision with beauty of an experience, his works are strongly influenced by the spiritual nature of expression.A gifted artist, Balasubramanium’s early works display an unusual precision and control which won him a trip abroad. On his return to India he began creating ambitious works exploring texture, contour and the language of abstraction. Keenly involved in the power of materials, the artist started using ordinary materials such as sawdust to invest his art works with economy, simplicity and sophistication. He has started using his own finger print in his works which eventually led to his using his own body as an extension of the print medium, seen in Constructions. His ‘language’ is minimalist, with a simple visual motif carrying enormous conceptual and philosophical connotations in Dawn to Dawn. His works also address the question of infinitude and void, as opposed to the perceived reality of finite and form in Homage to a Saint. His material and medium is determined by the conceptual concern of his work as in the Golden Thorn. Playful and poetic his works are challenging and philosophical.www.cassletonelliott.com
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – It took a year of searching and nearly 1,000 candidates, but the Walt Disney Studios has found its Mulan.The studio says Wednesday that Chinese actress Liu Yifei will play the warrior in the live-action epic from director Niki Caro.The 30-year-old actress, who is also known as Crystal Liu, is well known in China as a model, actress and singer, but less so stateside. She has appeared in films like “The Forbidden Kingdom” with Jackie Chan and “Outcast” with Nicolas Cage.Disney says the story will be inspired by the animated film from 1998 and The Ballad of Mulan. Bill Kong, who has produced films like “House of Flying Daggers” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is executive producing the film.It is expected to hit theatres in 2019. by The Associated Press Posted Nov 29, 2017 9:56 am PDT Last Updated Nov 29, 2017 at 10:20 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Chinese actress Liu Yifei cast as Disney’s Mulan
by Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 23, 2018 7:48 am PDT Last Updated Mar 23, 2018 at 8:21 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Neil Young as the Man in the Black Hat is shown in the film “Paradox” in this undated handout photo. Beneath all the whimsy in Neil Young’s trippy new dystopian Western “Paradox” lies a serious message about a “crisis” facing the music industry, says the Canadian rock great. Actress Daryl Hannah wrote and directed the surreal Netflix film, in which prospectors looking for old technology jam on guitars and ruminate on the importance of music and “the seeds of life” in the Rocky Mountains. Young plays the mysterious Man in the Black Hat alongside a cast that includes Willie Nelson and his sons Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson from the band Promise of the Real. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO – Netflix Neil Young says ‘Paradox’ film has a message about a music crisis TORONTO – Beneath all the whimsy in Neil Young’s trippy new dystopian Western “Paradox” lies a serious message about a “crisis” facing the music industry, says the Canadian rock great.Actress Daryl Hannah wrote and directed the surreal Netflix film, in which prospectors looking for old technology jam on guitars and ruminate on the importance of music and “the seeds of life” in the Rocky Mountains.Young plays the mysterious Man in the Black Hat alongside a cast that includes Willie Nelson and his sons Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson from the band Promise of the Real.“I think that we’re in the midst of an incredible crisis for the arts and for music in particular. The seeds represent that in a way that is a good metaphor,” Young said in a phone interview from New York.“We don’t like (genetically modified organism) seeds, we like pure seeds, and we don’t like GMO music, we like pure music. And all music that comes out today has been GMO’d to death — it comes out totally bastardized and compromised. You get about five per cent of a digital copy of what the music was.“So 99 per cent of the people, or maybe almost 100 per cent of the people on the planet — that’s what they hear, and that’s because of the record companies and the tech giants. They’ve both been irresponsible with the art of recorded sound.”The “Heart of Gold” singer-songwriter said he’s trying to be an example for others by providing “the best-sounding streaming service in the world” at NeilYoungArchives.com, which contains high-quality audio from his storied musical career.Other streaming services are able to do the same but don’t because record companies “insist on charging a ridiculous amount of money for the high-res files,” he added.“As a record company, why would you not put your best foot forward? I don’t understand it. So I call out on all the record companies to lower the price of high-res and to lower the price of everything so that it’s all one price,” said Young, who was born in Toronto and grew up in Omemee, Ont., and Winnipeg.“The record companies, they make … a small fraction of one per cent of their profits from high-res. So why would they charge so much for high-res? They can’t sell it at that price and it’s only for elitists, yet that used to be what everybody heard.“When music was alive, everybody heard that. Now, no one hears it and music is dead. It has no sound, there’s no audio…. That’s why people are not moved by music like they used to be moved by it.”Promise of the Real has collaborated with Young on albums, including last year’s “The Visitor” and 2015’s “The Monsanto Years,” which criticizes a major producer of genetically modified crops.“They are all very passionate about those issues and natural farming practices and the importance of protecting the very foundations that we depend upon, that all life depends upon, or keeping the integrity of seed and diversity and also of water,” said Hannah, who is in a relationship with Young.Young, 72, is also passionate these days about the privacy issues plaguing Facebook. While his musical archive website can currently be entered by logging on to a Facebook or Google account, that’s going to change, he said.“We’re researching ways to disconnect from Facebook as a portal. If users have to use it to get in and that’s what they want, we’ll let them in. But once they get to us, there’s no more tracking.”Hannah, whose latest acting projects include the series “Sense8,” shot most of “Paradox” on a whim over three days after meeting Young and the band in the Rockies as they practised for a tour. She wrote the script, bought the props and outfits, and cast some of her female relatives.The “Kill Bill” and “Splash” star hopes viewers will see the film’s fantastical elements as more of a dream.“I really hope people will let it just wash over them and then I think they’ll get the best hit out of it,” she said.This is Hannah’s first feature-length film as a director, although she stressed it doesn’t represent her filmmaking style.She previously helmed short films and also shot, directed and did the stage design for Young’s intimate concert at Omemee’s Coronation Hall in December.“He showed me all of the bridges he used to look at turtles over and where his house was an all that stuff,” Hannah said.“We went to the laundromat, we did my laundry, did her laundry, and then we walked down to the Hall,” added Young.“Then we went to the old mill where I used to be when I was a kid, showed her my house. We walked around. It was a fun.”
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