We were prepared no major damage due to Fani Mamata

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who stayed back at Kharagpur and monitored the situation said on Saturday morning that preventive measures taken by the state administration have ensured that there was not much damage due to cyclone Fani. There was no report of any casualty or major injury across the state.”We took all possible precautionary measures as soon as there was forecast of the cyclonic storm. I was worried for the last one week. We have been constantly monitoring the situation,” Banerjee said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkAssuring all possible assistance to those who have lost their houses due to the cyclone, she added that 42,000 people have been evacuated by the administration. “They will return to their homes in one or two days,” she added. Banerjee said that over 800 houses have been partially affected with a number of electric poles being uprooted, trees have fallen and roads have been affected. “12 kachcha houses collapsed. All restoration work will be taken care of. We have already removed the trees and roads have been cleared in most of the areas,” she assured. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygenThe Chief Minister further maintained that restoration work is complete in Digha, Mandarmani, Diamond Harbour and going on in full swing in other areas. “Electricity has been restored in most places. In the next two days, situation will be normal,” she asserted. A senior official of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Alipore, said that Fani that was in Ranaghat in Nadia district at around 9 am in the morning that moved further north-northeastwards and entered Bangladesh around noon as a deep depression developed with wind speed of 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph. Deputy Director General of Alipore weather office Sanjib Bandyopadhyay admitted that though the department had predicted the right path for cyclone Fani during its entry in Bengal, it was not fully correct while predicting its wind speed.last_img read more

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At UN delegates finalize new treaty protecting rights of persons with disabilities

After five years of negotiations, countries meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York have agreed on a new treaty to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. “This is the first convention of this magnitude for this century,” UN General Assembly President Jan Eliasson said after the agreement was reached late Friday. He told the negotiators that they were conveying to the world “the message that we want to have a life with dignity for all and that all human beings are all equal.”“This marks a great day for the UN and for persons with disabilities,” said New Zealand’s Ambassador Don MacKay, who chaired the talks through its final sessions. “It’s a good convention and it will make a difference for millions of people.” The successful completion of the treaty, after a day of intense negotiations and compromises that capped years of effort, was met with applause by well over a hundred government delegations and hundreds of representatives of disability organizations who participated in the process of crafting the 40-article pact. Proponents of the convention maintained that the treaty was necessary because persons with disabilities represented one of the most marginalized groups and that their rights had been routinely ignored or denied throughout much of the world.While the convention does not create new rights, it specifically prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, including civil rights, access to justice and the right to education, health services and access to transportation.The convention was largely approved by consensus, although there was a vote on a provision concerning “foreign occupation” that was included in the preamble. With five countries voting against, the provision was adopted.The convention will be formally sent to the General Assembly for adoption at its next session, which begins in September. It will then be open for signing and ratification by all countries.It is estimated that 10 per cent of the world’s population, or about 650 million people, suffer from disabilities. read more

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STEP Energy Services raises 100 million in IPO half of initial target

CALGARY – STEP Energy Services (TSX:STEP) says it has raised $100 million in an initial public offering, falling short of the $200 million target it set out earlier this year.The offering illustrates how even with Canadian oil and gas services producers recovering from a two-year crude price crash, accessing capital markets can be a struggle.Last month, Source Energy Services (TSX:SHLE) went public in the first major energy company IPO since October 2014, suggesting markets were thawing. But Source also scaled back its plans, closing a $175-million IPO after initially aiming to raise about $300 million.STEP had hoped to sell its shares for between $14 and $16, according to its preliminary prospectus filed in February.However, its adjusted prospectus filed last week set the price at $10 per share. The stock ended the session on Tuesday at $9.95.Step offers a range of well completion services, while Source is one of the largest suppliers of speciality sand to Canada’s well fracking industry. by The Canadian Press Posted May 2, 2017 1:59 pm MDT Last Updated May 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email STEP Energy Services raises $100 million in IPO, half of initial target read more

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Womens Soccer Ohio State readies for Big Ten tournament against Nebraska

Ohio State forward Eleanor Gabriel (8) dribbles the ball down the field against the Wisconsin Badgers on Oct. 21st. Ohio State won 2-1. Credit: Cori Wade | For The LanternWith the Big Ten tournament vastly approaching, the Ohio State women’s soccer team comes in as the third-ranked team in the conference, and prepares for battle against Nebraska. For senior forward Eleanor Gabriel, this is something Ohio State (9-5-3, 6-2-3 Big Ten) had been striving for since the beginning of the season.“One of our goals was to make it in the top four of the Big Ten,” Gabriel said. “And I think that’s a really good standard to hold. I think that the Big Ten is a competitive conference and making a spot in the top four is always a win for us.”This will be Ohio State’s chance to continue the momentum after ending with a pair of 2-1 victories over Purdue and then-No. 19 Wisconsin.  Sophomore forward Marissa Birzon notched the first goal for the Buckeyes on Sunday in a match against Wisconsin. Birzon said the team is thrilled and looking forward to facing Nebraska coming off a big win over the Badgers. Nebraska (8-6-4, 4-3-3 Big Ten) is the sixth seed in the Big Ten tournament and has scored 28 goals to Ohio State’s 22 on the season.Senior forward Faith Carter and junior midfielder Meg Brandt are essential players when it comes to Nebraska’s offense so far this season. Carter scored three goals against Indiana and Brandt tallied one against Oregon State and Indiana.  The Big Ten tournament is a rematch for these teams, with the Cornhuskers trying to redeem themselves after falling 1-0 to the Buckeyes last season and drawing a tie against them earlier this year in Columbus. The Buckeyes will prepare for one of their biggest tests on the year so far, and Gabriel said the rest heading into the game may make the difference come time for the tournament.“I think one of the main preparations that we’ve done this week, is just getting some quality rest for our games and making sure that after the regular season, everybody’s ready to go for the second part of our season,” Gabriel said.Whichever team wins the Big Ten tournament this weekend will then match up against the champion of the quarterfinal game between Rutgers and Minnesota in the Big Ten semifinals at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 2. With expectations running high this week, the team relies on the leaders and upperclassmen to give the younger players on the team some words of advice.  “I think our senior leadership and junior leadership, has really helped our team be successful this season, especially welcoming the freshmen because they have stepped up in some big games,” Birzon said.As postseason play begins, the Buckeyes will hope to find success at home against Nebraska. The game is at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 2 p.m. on Sunday. read more

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Sunday pay slash

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Productivity Commission’s recommendation to cut double-time pay on Sundays could see many retail and hospitality workers lose as much as half their income.Sunday penalty rates that aren’t included as overtime or shift work could be set at Saturday rates for hospitality, entertainment, retail, restaurants and cafes.The proposal has been slammed by the ACTU, Greens and Labor, saying the measure is a wage cut for the lowest paid workers in the country.Neos Kosmos spoke to some of those at the sharp end of the issue. Sia Psicharis, a Melbourne beauty salon owner, believes that such decisions work best when three important factors are considered at once: staff, business and clients. “We pay workers double, but we can’t charge the client twice, leaving no room for the business to absorb such a cost, especially with the rise of online discounting service coupons.”“We’re better off not doing treatments on Sunday because we simply can’t afford it,” she adds.Sofia Karambetsos, who manages a nut shop, agrees with the pay being on one level throughout the whole week except for public holidays. “We have worked Sundays all our business life and we pay a flat rate, which is above award rates,” she tells Neos Kosmos.“It has become the norm to work on Sunday within the hospitality industry. It’s part of the Australian culture.”However, barista Andreas Andriakopoulos disagrees with the proposal. For him, living in a progressive society means the state has to take good care of its weakest citizens. “Employees who have to work on Sundays spend this day away from their families, which is why I think the existing penalties should not be abolished.”Meanwhile, the commission suggests making temporary changes to the minimum wage and rewards to be reviewed only when necessary rather than every four years.“I spent five years without a raise at a previous job, whilst assuming more and more responsibilities,” says Roula Pappas, who now works as a store manager.“There are many cafes and clothing store owners who won’t go that extra mile to reward their hard-working employees if they are not compelled to by the law.”For students like Yolantha Crayes, who are only permitted to work 20 hours a week, penalty rates are a big help. “My family doesn’t have the means to support me and I rely on weekend pay rates to pay my bills,” she says.The report also proposes amending unfair dismissal laws, ensuring employees can receive compensation only where there is no evidence of underperformance or misconduct.Petra Katrakis, recently-arrived from Greece, is bemused by the many cases of migrant exploitation she has come across during her two years in Australia.“I’ve seen bosses promising to hire desperate people, give them some cash in hand the first week, stall their payments and fire them within a month.“People wanting to avoid compensation and giving raises could easily claim an employee isn’t reliable,” she adds.The Productivity Commission has also recommended allocating more resources for the Fair Work Ombudsman to investigate employers suspected of underpaying migrant workers.Kitchen worker Mario Petrou says it’s about time. “Do you know how many migrants like myself are being paid $6 an hour just because ‘this is what we’d get back where we came from’?”Productivity Commission Chair Peter Harris last addressed the committee on Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) on 14 August. His draft recommendations are still out for consultation.last_img read more

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Former WWE writer wishes Vince McMahon Happy Birthday Ryder and Hawkins start

first_imgFacebook Former WWE writer David Lagana, who is now working with Billy Corgan’s NWA, posted the following and entertaining Happy Birthday tweet to Vince McMahon this week.Lagana has been actively part of the NWA’s re-branding under Corgan and previously worked for Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor following his stint with WWE.Happy Birthday @VinceMcMahon No 52 seconds sum it up better on what it’s like being a writer there. pic.twitter.com/Y5BeO3FAyR— David Lagana (@Lagana) August 24, 2018Ryder and Hawkins start new podcastWWE stars Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins have started a new podcast called “The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast.” The podcast focuses on hobbies and collecting pro wrestling toys, something Ryder and Hawkins have been doing since childhood.“Join Matt Cardona (WWE Superstar Zack Ryder) and Brian Myers (WWE Superstar Curt Hawkins) as they talk about one of their favorite hobbies…collecting wrestling toys! Each week these two members of Mattel’s “Elite Squad” chat about the latest news, upcoming releases, toy history, vintage collecting and much more! As lifelong wrestling fans and wrestling memorabilia experts, these two have plenty to say about the world of wrestling collectables.”Recommended videosPowered by AnyClipIs WWE Losing Its Audience?Video Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 0:29/Current Time 0:01Loaded: 43.49%0:02Remaining Time -0:28 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list Now Playing Up Next Adam Martin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR WhatsApp Videos Articles Pinterest Ronda Rousey On WWE: I Love This Job, But I Dont Need It Twitter Vince Mcmahon Now Playing Up Next Is WWE Losing Its Audience? Now Playing Up Nextcenter_img Wrestleview Weekly: Predictions for tonight’s Clash of Champions event in Charlotte Roman Reigns is in Remission Triple H Google+ Seth Rollins Defends WWE On Two Separate Occasions Videos Articles Joan Jett Set To Perform Ronda Rouseys Entrance At WrestleMania 35 Wrestleview Live #65: Reviewing and discussing WWE Clash of Champions from Charlotte Now Playing Up Next Now Playing Up Next Wrestleview Post-RAW #51: Thoughts on Bayley’s surprise heel turn, Clash of Champions buildlast_img read more

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Luka Modric rejects Real Madrid offer – Report

first_imgCroatian midfielder Luka Modric has reportedly rejected a new contract offer from Real Madrid and is said to be considering an approach from Inter.Diario AS cite a report in local TV station Telemadrid and carried by Football Italia claiming the Ballon d’Or winner has turned down Madrid’s initial offer and there are strong indications that the interest from Inter is huge.Modric has been instrumental in both club and country as he helped Real Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League title and his nation Croatia to their first ever World Cup final.Sergio Ramos, Real MadridZidane reveals Sergio Ramos injury concern for Real Madrid Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Zinedine Zidane has put Sergio Ramos’ availability for Real Madrid’s trip to Sevilla next weekend in doubt after withdrawing him against Levante.Modric is believed to be influenced by the fact that his fellow compatriots Sime Vrsaljko, Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic all play at the Nerazzurri.The midfielder’s current deal at the Bernabeu runs through until 2020 but he is said to be holding out for an improved offer, one which would match or exceed that offered by Inter.last_img read more

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Alaska GOP votes to block 3 House reps from primaries

first_imgAlaska Republican Party leaders voted Saturday to block Homer Rep. Paul Seaton, Anchorage Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux and Rep. Louise Stutes of Kodiak from running in the party’s 2018 primaries.audioAll three representatives joined Democrats and independents last fall to form a bipartisan coalition, taking control of the House away from Republicans. The Republican Party’s state central committee said that violated a party rule about caucusing with other political parties and that the legislators misled voters when the joined the coalition.“The two penalties for that at the time are no financial support, access to our database and also granting the Republican Party the freedom to recruit a challenger,” Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock explained.Babcock said Saturday’s vote is an expansion of last year’s decision to deny the House members support.He said a court ruling in October, which determined that independents are allowed to run in Democratic primaries, also allows the Republican Party to block individuals from running as its nominee if they violate that party rule.Rep. Seaton said he hasn’t officially heard from the party about its decision and wasn’t made aware of Saturday’s vote.“I just don’t think this actually comports with state law,” Seaton said, “that people can excise people from their party or they can say, ‘Yes, you’re in the party, but we’re disallowing you personally from being able to run.’”Babcock wrote a letter to the state Division of Elections Monday, alerting Director Josie Bahnke of the party’s decision. Rule changes for the 2018 primaries were due in September, so it’s unclear whether the state will honor the change or decide it doesn’t comply with state law.Bahnke told KBBI in an email that the division plans to make its decision within a week.The state also appealed the October ruling to the Alaska Supreme Court, which could complicate the outcome. Babcock said the party knows the decision could go either way.“We’ll see how things unfold,” he added. “We don’t know if we’ll join with the Democratic Party in the defense of the decision, we don’t know if we’ll go to federal court, or we don’t know if we’ll just accept the state’s decision and just to state our position and let the voters decide.”Seaton, LeDoux and Stutes could still run as a Republicans next fall if they’re blocked from the primaries. Each would need to collect signatures in order to do so. They could also run as an independent or join another party’s ticket.last_img read more

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Warplanes Strike Syrian Town Hit by Chemical Attack

first_imgAPA protester reacts during a rally against the U.S. missile strikes in Syria, Friday, April 7, 2017, in New York. Hundreds of demonstrators took to New York City streets chanting “Hands off Syria!” and “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!” The U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria on Thursday night in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack against civilians earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)Warplanes on Saturday struck the Syrian town where a chemical attack had killed scores of people earlier this week, as Turkey warned that a retaliatory U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base would only be “cosmetic” if greater efforts are not made to remove President Bashar Assad from power. The airstrikes on the opposition-held northern town of Khan Sheikhoun, where 87 people were killed in the chemical attack earlier this week, killed a woman and wounded her son, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective. Elsewhere in Syria, U.S.-led airstrikes killed at least 21 people, including a woman and her six children who were fleeing on a boat across the Euphrates River near the Islamic State group’s self-styled capital, Raqqa, the target of a major offensive by U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian forces, activists said. Near the central city of Homs, a bomb exploded aboard a bus carrying workers, killing a woman and wounding more than 20, according to state TV and the Observatory. The chemical attack prompted the U.S. to launch nearly 60 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian air base early Friday, which killed nine people and marked the first time Washington has directly targeted Syrian government forces since the war began in 2011. The move was welcomed by the Syrian opposition and its main backers, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but harshly condemned by Russia and Iran, who back Assad and said striking his forces would complicate the struggle against extremist groups. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the U.S. strike should be the start of a renewed effort to end the civil war, which has killed an estimated 400,000 people and displaced half of Syria’s population. “If this intervention is limited only to an air base, if it does not continue and if we don’t remove the regime from heading Syria, then this would remain a cosmetic intervention,” he said. He said the best outcome would be a peace agreement that leads to a transitional government accepted by all Syrians, followed by elections in which all Syrians, including those living abroad, could vote for new leadership. For that to happen, he said, “this oppressive Assad needs to go.” Iran, which has provided crucial military and political support to Assad, meanwhile called for a fact-finding mission to determine what caused the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun. State television quoted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as saying the committee should be impartial and “must not be headed by Americans.” Rouhani said “neutral countries should come and assess to make it clear where the chemical weapons came from.” Syria’s government has denied carrying out any chemical attack, and Russia’s Defense Ministry said the toxic agents were released when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons arsenal and munitions factory. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson canceled a planned trip to Russia because of fast-moving events in Syria. Johnson said the situation in Syria has changed “fundamentally” following the chemical attack and the U.S. response. Johnson condemned Russia’s continued defense of Assad “even after the chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.” He had planned to travel to Russia Monday on a trip intended to start a fresh dialogue with Moscow. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meanwhile plans to meet with G-7 foreign ministers in Europe next week before going on to Moscow. Johnson said Tillerson will be able to give a “clear and coordinated message to the Russians.” In Damascus, dozens of Syrian students gathered outside the offices of the United Nations to protest the U.S. missile attack. The protesters in the capital held banners and chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” One of the banners they carried read: “The Iraqi scenario will not be repeated in Syria.” They were referring to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq after Washington said Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction — a belief that later turned out to be incorrect. University student Ashraf Fadel said he came to denounce “the unjust American aggression against Syria.” He added that the United Nations was “created to support America instead of serving the wronged people.” Elsewhere in Syria, activists opposed to the Islamic State group said a U.S.-led coalition airstrike hit a boat carrying civilians fleeing across the Euphrates River. The groups Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently and Sound and Picture said the attack killed a woman and her six children. The attack occurred in the Shuaib al-Zeker area, near where U.S.-backed Syrian fighters have been on the offensive against IS under the cover of coalition airstrikes. Activists and state media said a separate airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition on the northern IS-held village of Hneida killed at least 14 civilians, including children. The Observatory said 15 people, including four children, were killed in the airstrike. The Sound and Picture group said the airstrike hit an internet cafe, killing 14 people. In Saudi Arabia, the official Saudi Press Agency reported that U.S. President Donald Trump has spoken by telephone with King Salman about the U.S. missile strike on Syria. The news agency reported that during the Friday phone call, the Saudi monarch congratulated Trump for his “courageous decision.” Saudi Arabia said the missile launch was the right response to “the crimes of this regime to its people in light of the failure of the international community to stop it.” The kingdom is among the most vehement opponents of Assad and supports Sunni rebel groups fighting to oust him. The Sunni rulers of Saudi Arabia are in a power struggle for regional dominance with Iran’s Shiite government. ___ Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul and Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria contributed to this report. Sharelast_img read more

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No Armed Police You Will Hear Us

first_imgBy J. K. Schmid, AFRO Baltimore StaffStudents of the Baltimore Algebra Project seized the floor of a Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) board meeting, Jan. 22.The time and space of the 6 p.m. public hearing at district offices was primarily dedicated to the issue of arming Baltimore City Public Schools Police with firearms.Cheryl A. Casciani, chair of the BCPS Board of School Commissioners, confronts members of the Algebra Project during most recent school board meeting. (Photo: J.K. Schmid)Del. Cheryl Glenn’s House Bill 31, first read by the Maryland General Assembly January 9, seeks to carve out a special exemption for the firearms ban in Baltimore City public schools. School resource officers on public school property will be the bill’s new and only exemption from the ban.BCPS Police President Sgt. Clyde Boatwright, has been advocating for the arming of resource officers in Baltimore City’s 105 public schools since last year.“We urge a favorable vote, we urge that this measure passes,” Boatwright said to the board. “That’s all we ask, pass [the bill] forward.”As part of his remarks, Boatwright acknowledged his union’s unchanged position and the mounting resistance to the proposal.“I’m reading some of the emails from some of the organized groups and some of the language that I read is very interesting,” Boatwright said. “I see a lot of ‘likely,’ ‘could,’ but there’s no substantive data to support that it will do harm to students by having an armed police officer.”Mere minutes prior to Boatwright taking the microphone, attorney Kimberly R. Humphrey of theMaryland Coalition to Reform School Discipline, had submitted into the record a study of the deleterious impact of police contact between adolescent students and police and both the dubious prospect of reducing school violence through additional investment in law enforcement.The studies were published in 2013 and 2014, respectively.“Some of the language I see in these emails and these position papers, it’s like we’re a bunch of animals that just can’t wait to get over the kids, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Boatwright said.Long-time Baltimore City community activist and 1960 graduate of Frederick Douglass Senior High School, Leo Burroughs, Jr., also testified.“We didn’t tolerate the foolishness that’s happening now in our city, in regards to our students; beating up teachers, et cetera.,” Burroughs said. “I don’t want to get off track, but what I am suggesting is that we are not tough enough. We can be compassionate, we can de-escalate, I believe in all of that. I am a long-term scout master in the city for 55 years. So we’re very compassionate, but we’re very tough.”The last five-minute slot was allotted to the students of the Baltimore Algebra Project, returning again and again to the message: “No Education, No Life,” during the remainder of the meeting.Approximately a dozen students walled off the board from the audience and distributed their demands, including a national student Bill of Rights.Emphasis was placed on “Right Six”, the right to safe and secure public schools. “Students and youth shall have the right to safe and secure public school facilities of equal quality regardless of wealth, poverty or place of residence.”“A part of safe a secure school is not having students in class with guns in the building,” John Gray said, during the demonstration.Gray also cited a survey of students’ relationship with their resource officer, claiming a 51 percent disapproval rating of said officers by said students.“Think about who these schools serve, these schools serve students,” Unique Chisholm said. “If students say ‘no,’ you need to rethink why it is that you think putting guns in school is okay.”“You have been heard, and we demand,” said Board Chair Cheryl A. Casciani before being cut off. “The school board is gonna vote on this in due order.”Casciani left her chair and confronted the students directly. When rebuffed, she and the remainder of the board gave up the floor and retreated via their exclusive entrance/exit.“If anybody on the board does want to talk about it, we’re here,” Chisholm said as she and Gray and Daijah Hill took their seats to offer additional testimony. No member of the board returned.last_img read more

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Pixel 3s Top Shot camera feature uses computer vision to enable users

first_imgAt the ‘Made by Google’ event, Google launched Pixel 3 sharing its newly introduced camera features, and one of them was Top Shot. Last week, it shared further details on how Top Shot works. Top Shot saves and analyzes the image taken before and after the shutter press on the device in real-time using computer vision techniques and then recommends several alternative high-quality HDR+ photos. How Top Shot works? Once the shutter button is pressed, Top Shot captures up to 90 images from 1.5 seconds before and after the shutter press, and simultaneously selects up to two alternative shots to save in high resolution. These alternative shots are then processed by Visual Core as HDR+ images with a very small amount of extra latency and are embedded into the file of the Motion Photo. Source: Google AI Blog Top Shot analyzes captured images based on three attributes: functional qualities like lighting, objective attributes like whether the people in the image are smiling, and subjective qualities like emotional expressions. It does this by using a computer vision model, an optimized version of the MobileNet model, which operates in low latency, on-device mode. In early layers, the model detects low-level visual attributes like it identifies whether the subject is blurry. In subsequent layers, it detects more complex objective attributes like whether the subject’s eyes are open and subjective attributes like whether there is an emotional expression of amusement or surprise. The model was trained using a technique named knowledge distillation, which compresses the knowledge in an ensemble of models into a single model, over a large number of diverse face images using quantization during both training and inference. To predict the quality scores for faces, Top Shot uses a layered Generalized Additive Model (GAM) and combines them into a weighted-average “frame faces” score. For the use cases where faces are not the primary subject, three more scores are added to the overall frame quality scores. These scores are subject motion saliency score, global motion blur score, and 3A scores (auto exposure, autofocus, and auto white balance). All these scores were used to train the model predicting an overall quality score, which matches the frame preference of human raters, to maximize end-to-end product quality. To read more in detail, check out the post on the Google AI Blog. Read Next Google launches new products, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, Pixel Slate, and Google Home Hub Google’s Pixel camera app introduces Night Sight to help click clear pictures with HDR+ Google open sources DeepLab-v3+: A model for Semantic Image Segmentation using TensorFlowlast_img read more

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South Korean spy agency explored technology to hack chat app

first_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Kakao Talk is a free mobile chatting app that is used by 38 million people at least once a month in South Korea. Kane Lee, a spokesman for Daum Kakao Corp. which operates Kakao Talk, said the company’s servers have never been breached. However, Lee said there are hacking tools that could infiltrate mobile devices without going through the servers.The story emerged earlier this month when a searchable library of a massive email trove stolen from Hacking Team, released by WikiLeaks, showed South Korean entities were among those dealing with the Italian surveillance firm.Two previous NIS directors, who successively headed the spy service from 1999 and 2003, were convicted and received suspended prison terms for overseeing the monitoring of mobile phone conversations of about 1,800 of South Korea’s political, corporate and media elite.Earlier this year, another former NIS chief was sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of ordering an illicit online campaign to support then-ruling party candidate and current President Park Geun-hye ahead of the 2012 presidential election.The spy service has previously countered that its agents were only trying to cope with North Korean cyberwarfare by posting comments meant to counter messages that praised the North and spread groundless rumors about South Korean government policies. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall How do cataracts affect your vision? ___Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Youkyung Lee contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img Top Stories National Intelligence Service chief Lee Byoung Ho told legislators in a closed-door briefing that the agency bought hacking programs from an Italian company, Hacking Team, in 2012 that were designed to intercept information from cellphones and computers, according to details released to reporters by the office of lawmaker Shin Kyung-min, who attended the meeting.Lee didn’t indicate whether the agency obtained the technology for hacking Kakao, but he acknowledged that it asked Hacking Team about getting such technology, according to Shin’s office.The spy agency didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.Lee said the hacking programs bought from Hacking Team would be ineffective for spying on civilians because the NIS only received enough to monitor 20 different devices at once. He said the programs have been used mainly for research as the country looks to strengthen its cyberwarfare capabilities against North Korea, which Seoul blames for repeatedly attacking Internet networks and stealing information from computers, Shin’s office said.Lee also told lawmakers that the programs the NIS purchased from Hacking Team were used by 97 intelligence and investigation agencies in 35 countries around the world. Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s beleaguered spy agency has acknowledged exploring the purchase of technologies to intercept communications on the popular Kakao Talk smartphone chatting service, but maintains it only intended to strengthen its monitoring of rival North Korean agents, not South Koreans, lawmakers said Tuesday.The revelation is sensitive because the country’s spy agency has a history of illegally tapping South Koreans’ phone conversations. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

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Mantra Group set for Outrigger acquisition in Queensland

first_imgMantra Group set for Outrigger acquisition in QueenslandMantra Group is set to take over management of four Outrigger Resorts in Queensland next month, increasing its network to 52 hotels and over 8,000 rooms and securing its place as the largest accommodation provider in the Sunshine State.The four resorts are based in popular tourism destinations and will rebrand on 1 July 2015 as Peppers and Mantra hotels as follows:Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Noosa – to rebrand as Peppers Noosa Resort & VillasOutrigger Surfers Paradise – to be rebranded Mantra on View Hotel Surfers ParadiseOutrigger Twin Towns Resort – to be rebranded Mantra Twin TownsBoathouse Apartments by Outrigger – to be rebranded Boathouse Apartments Airlie BeachMantra Group CEO, Bob East, said: “The Outrigger Acquisition is a natural fit for Mantra Group, extending the Group’s footprint in key leisure destinations.  The properties are complementary to our existing portfolio and we look forward to working with the owners, guests and team members to make the transition as smooth as possible” The Mantra GroupSource = Mantra Grouplast_img read more

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Falling Leaves and Further Inventory

first_imgTo see the full report, including regional data, click here. September 26, 2017 693 Views Starter Home 2017-09-26 Brianna Gilpin Share Falling Leaves and Further Inventory Though many believe spring is the optimum time for home buying, a report by Trulia said starter-home buyers should think again.According to the report, starter home inventory increases by approximately 7 percent in the fall months compared to the spring, which leads to listing prices that are about 4.8 percent to 3.1 percent lower in the winter and spring than in the summer, respectively.Trulia found that 70 of the largest 100 metros experienced peak annual starter home inventory between October and December, based on their Inventory and Price Watch data from 2012 to 2017. It also found that listing prices of starter homes dip between January and March annually as a result of the spike in inventory that happens at the end of each year.“Nationally, the number of starter and trade-up homes on the market has decreased substantially, falling 20.4 percent and 12.5 percent respectively, during the past year, while inventory of premium homes has fallen just 2.3 percent,” Trulia reported.The share of starter homes dropped to 20.5 percent from 23 percent year-over-year and homebuyers will have to spend 2.3 percent more of their income in 2017 than they did in 2016.Trulia reported that inventory is at the lowest it has recorded since they began keeping track in 2012, but starter homebuyers should be able to find consolation at the end of the year.“That seasonal spike in inventory also tends be followed by lower listing prices at the beginning of the year,” Trulia reported. “As a result, fall and winter is prime hunting time for starter homebuyers to think about trying to bag that all elusive starter home, rather than packing it in for the season.” in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

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Nami says comanage gas plans now or freeze pending Cyprus solution threatens

first_imgTurkish Cypriot ‘energy minister’ Ozdil Nami has said that there should be co-management of the island’s natural reserves right now or Greek Cypriot energy plans should be frozen until a Cyprus settlement is reached.In comments to Phileleftheros, published on Sunday, Nami made it clear that Turkey was in a position to block planed drilling in all areas of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and did  not rule that out.Ankara blockaded the path of a drillship belonging to Italy’s ENI in block 3 for two weeks. The Saipem 12000 is now due to leave for Morocco early in the week having failed to reach their drill site.The breakaway regime lays claim through its own ‘exclusive economic zone’ , which in effect says that half of Cyprus’ EEZ belongs to them, including blocks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 12 and 13.Turkey, which says it is protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots, also has claims on parts of various blocks in Cyprus’ EEZ saying the areas in question form part of its continental shelf. The claim includes part of blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7, to the south and southwest of the island.Block 10, awarded to US giants ExxonMobil, which is due to drill in the coming months is not contested by Turkey.However Nami when asked about block 10 reportedly said: “Turkish Cypriots have rights to all blocks. The natural resources of Cyprus belong to all Cypriots. Both sides therefore need to be involved in a mechanism that ensures that they have a say and will benefit from these natural resources. The fact that we did not take any action on block 10 does not mean that we will not take action in the future. ”But it can all be avoided, he added, if Greek Cypriots accept co-management of the gas, or freeze plans until a Cyprus solution, even suggesting a formula for this be drawn up as a prerequisite for resuming the settlement talks. He also said he believes this could prove to be a vehicle that could lead to a solution of the Cyprus issue.If there is no possibility of such an interim energy agreement, Nami said Turkey could intervene and prevent drilling in block 10 as well. “It could happen. It depends on the situation at the given time. There should be a dialogue with the Turkish Cypriot side on hydrocarbon issues in order to resume talks on the Cyprus issue within a defined timetable. Dialogue, or the freezing of drilling activities to avoid the poisoning of the talks climate”.Asked whether when referring to a dialogue with Turkish Cypriots did he mean co-management of any hydrocarbon reserves, Nami said: “Yes, from A to Z,  take joint decisions on who is active in the EEZ, when and how. We have to reproduce what would take place in a federal Cyprus. And we have to do it today. If we insist on taking advantage of natural resources before a solution to the Cyprus problem, then we will have to apply from now on what would happen in the context of a solution. If one tries to use the hydrocarbons as a pressure lever to the other side, then this will certainly be a source of tension. Why should the Turkish Cypriot side allow the Greek Cypriots to use such a pressure lever?”You May LikeSolar SolutionsCalifornia – New Program Giving Solar Panels to Homeowners With Electricity Bills Over $100/mthSolar SolutionsUndoLCR HealthTop Doctor Warns Against Abdominal “Deep” Fat (And How To Get Rid Of It)LCR HealthUndoVehicleBuff ReviewWhat 5 Car Wax Sealants Were Voted Best of 2019?VehicleBuff ReviewUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Rep Bizon hosts indistrict coffee hours for local residents

first_img Categories: Bizon News 17Jun Rep. Bizon hosts in-district coffee hours for local residents Calhoun County residents are invited to join state Rep. John Bizon for June coffee hours this weekend.The coffee hours will take place at the following times and locations:Friday, June 19 at 9 a.m. at Maria’s Garden, 1410 N. Eaton St. in Albion.Saturday, June 20 at 8 a.m. at Ritzee Hamburgers, 1463 Michigan Ave. W. in Battle Creek.“Coffee hours are a great opportunity for me to meet with local residents and discuss their concerns and issues regarding local and state issues,” said Rep. Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “Their feedback is an important resource to help me better represent their needs in Lansing.”Residents who are unable to attend coffee hours can contact Rep. Bizon at (517) 373-0555, DrJohnBizon@house.mi.gov or RepJohnBizon.com.###last_img read more

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Rep Bizon Step up to support heart health for women

first_img Categories: Bizon News,News ### State Rep. Dr. John Bizon of Battle Creek encouraged support today for efforts aimed at improving heart health, particularly among women.The first step? Wear red on Friday – National Wear Red Day – to show support for research related to cardiovascular health. Bizon co-sponsored a resolution approved by the Michigan House to declare Feb. 3 Go Red for Women Day in support of the American Heart Association effort.The resolution also declares February as Heart Month in Michigan. Supporters encourage heart-healthy diets and exercise along with donations to support research aimed at reducing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death for women in the United States.“We’ve got to do more to tackle this critical health issue,” said Bizon, an ear, nose and throat specialist for nearly four decades. “For your wife, your mother, your daughter, your sister, your friends and yourself – get active in this effort.”More information is available at www.goredforwomen.org.center_img 02Feb Rep. Bizon: Step up to support heart health for womenlast_img read more

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Rep Maturen introducing bill to ensure tax assessment process is fair for

first_img21Mar Rep. Maturen introducing bill to ensure tax assessment process is fair for all Categories: Maturen News,News State Rep. David Maturen of Vicksburg today said he will introduce bipartisan legislation to ensure that the tax assessment process is fair for small businesses and local communities by doing away with a tactic some large retail corporations have used to dramatically reduce the taxes on their properties.“Lawyers hired by big corporations have won assessment disputes by claiming that sales of older, vacant buildings – which often have restrictions on how they can be used – should be considered when determining the value of new, mint-condition stores,” said Maturen, a licensed real estate appraiser. “This theory lacks common sense. It would be like a resident building a new home and expecting it to have the same taxable value as an old, boarded-up house down the street.”Maturen said his legislation will eliminate this loophole, known as the “dark store” theory after the old, vacant structures that big box retail chains have convinced the Michigan Tax Tribunal to use as comparable properties when determining the assessed value of new stores.In some cases, the “dark store” loophole has brought the assessed value for the entire property – a brand new building and the land on which it was built – to less than the cost of the land alone.Maturen said his legislation will improve the approach used by the Michigan Tax Tribunal when it considers an assessment dispute. It will require the Michigan Tax Tribunal to complete a highest and best use analysis of the property in question, as well as the properties being used as comparables.“Members of the tax tribunal should be required to consider the three universally accepted appraisal principles – cost, income and sales comparison – when they’re making an assessment determination,” Maturen said. “This will ensure the tax assessment process is fair for all parties involved.”Maturen’s new bill is a reintroduction of his HB 5578 of 2016, which passed the House in June 2016 but did not make it to the governor’s desk.###The bill is expected to be designated as House Bill 4397.last_img read more

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Rep Howrylak supports legislation enacting local government retiree task force recommendations

first_img Categories: Howrylak News,News 07Dec Rep. Howrylak supports legislation enacting local government retiree task force recommendations The House this week – with bipartisan support – approved pension and retiree healthcare liability reforms designed to ensure the promises made to local government employees and the fiscal stability of Michigan communities.The reforms are based on policy recommendations contained in Governor Rick Snyder’s Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force report.“The initial legislative package that was introduced in the House went far beyond the scope of what the task force recommended,” said state Representative Martin Howrylak. “I opposed the package as introduced because I believe local governments should have the flexibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of their communities. As such, I was pleased to work with my colleagues to advocate for legislation that better reflected the task force’s suggestions.”Michigan communities have roughly $7.46 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $10.13 billion in unfunded health care liabilities.  In response to this growing problem, Governor Snyder developed a task force comprised of policymakers, employee representatives, pension managers and insurance and accounting professionals committed to develop policy solutions to address this complex issue.The task force’s report acknowledged greater transparency and accountability is needed and agreed that a stress-test system should be developed to measure the community’s ability to fulfill promises made to employees while maintaining vital community services. In addition, the task force advocated for a Municipal Stability Board to provide technical assistance to local governments in reviewing their finances and developing corrective action plans.In light of the concerns expressed by members of the House, the bills in this package were rewritten to follow the task force’s policy recommendations. If this new package is signed into law, all local governments would be required to report pension and retiree health care liabilities to the Department of Treasury. Treasury officials would be responsible for flagging local units that are not funding their pension liability at 60 percent or failing to fund their other post-employment benefit (OPEB) liability at 40 percent. If further action is needed, a local unit would be required to submit a corrective plan of action to a Municipal Stability Board. This body would be composed of a state official, a local government representative, and a local employee representative appointed by the governor.A local government flagged for underfunding would be required to keep submitting plans of action to the Municipal Stability Board until the board signs off on a plan that will address the municipality’s underfunded pension and/or OPEB liability.As a result of the changes made to the bill package, the legislation was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support Dec. 7.“I supported the final product that followed the task force’s recommendations because I believe this legislation will provide flexibility and valuable resources to help local governments achieve fiscal stability,” said Rep. Howrylak.The Senate passed similar legislation on Dec. 7. In order for the reforms to become law, the Senate and the House must pass the same bills.For more information regarding the Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force visit the following webpage:https://www.michigan.gov/documents/snyder/R3_Task_Force_Report_579101_7.pdf.###Note: The House legislation: House Bills 5298, 5300, 5301, 5303, 5304, 5305, 5306, 5307, 5308, 5309, 5310 and 5013.last_img read more

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

first_img17May May is Mental Health Awareness Month Categories: Noble News A column by state Rep. Jeff NobleTens of thousands of Michigan residents who live with mental and behavioral health illnesses struggle to get the care they need.In any given year, around 336,000 adults in Michigan are documented having a serious mental illness and 84,000 adolescents experience a major depressive episode, with only 44 percent of all individuals receiving some form of treatment.As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on the work the legislature is doing to combat flaws in Michigan’s mental health care system.As a member of the House Health Policy Committee, I’ve seen firsthand the need for increased mental health awareness in our state. I was proud to personally sponsor legislation to combat the growing shortage of mental health care professionals in Michigan by growing our state’s talent pool in our psychiatric facilities.We’re doing so by allowing employment of qualified professionals who were previously convicted of certain minor felonies or misdemeanors. Individuals convicted of serious crimes will still be excluded from consideration, however, because safety is our number one concern. In fact, I introduced another bill requiring the permanent revocation of medical licenses for anyone convicted of sexual assault under the pretext of medical treatment.In regards to those with minor infractions, however, I believe it’s time to make use of the many talented and educated people who are currently being overlooked because of past mistakes unrelated to their ability to care for patients.But my bill is just one of the many efforts being made to better mental health care in Michigan, thanks to the work of the House bipartisan mental health C.A.R.E.S. Task Force, named for its commitment to community, access, resources, education and safety.As a result of the report published by the task force, House lawmakers have introduced numerous pieces of legislation to improve mental health care in our state. The measures address treatment and prevention in Michigan’s jails and judicial system, train individuals to recognize a mental health crisis, expand opportunities for people in need to be connected with care, fill the shortage of mental health providers, deliver care early to adolescents, ensure veterans are connected with services, combat the opioid epidemic and more.Though I am proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far, there’s still more to be done. We continue to work to eliminate the stigma attached to mental illness and do all we can to improve access to care for those in need.last_img read more

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