Kolkata magician feared drowned after Houdini act fails

first_imgKolkata: A Kolkata-based magician, who attempted an underwater escape trick like legendary magician Harry Houdini, is feared to have drowned in the Ganga as his body could not be found till Monday afternoon, police said. Chanchal Lahiri, who goes by the stage name of ‘Jadukar Mandrake’, was on Sunday reportedly lowered into the river from Kolkata’s Millennium Park area with his hands and legs tied as part of the stunt but could not come out of the water. “The disaster management teams conducted search operations on Sunday night and Monday morning but his body could not be found. “It is possible that the body has been swept away. We are also conducting searches on the nearby riverbanks on both sides of Ganga but nothing has been found so far,” an officer from River Traffic Control Department told IANS. Lahiri had gone to the mid point of the river just underneath the bridge; his hands and feet were tied up. From there he was picked up by a crane and thrown into the river near pillar number 28 of the bridge. The magic was that Lahiri would come up from water, by untying himself on his own. However, the spectators waiting there, started to panic after Lahiri did not come out of water even after more than 10 minutes. The River Traffic Control personnel shortly launched a search and rescue operation but Lahiri have not been found since.last_img read more

Trudeau Irish leader march in Montreal Pride parade

first_imgMONTREAL – Justin Trudeau marched with his Irish counterpart in Montreal’s Pride parade on Sunday, marking the first time a foreign head of government has joined a prime minister in a Canadian Pride celebration.Trudeau waved a rainbow flag and occasionally danced, while Irish leader Leo Varadkar walked beside him and waved to the crowds that lined the street.At an earlier news conference, Trudeau highlighted the importance of working with foreign allies to continue the fight towards greater equality.“For all that we celebrate here in Canada, there is a lot of work to do around the world, and we need to build up our allies and stand together strongly for rights, for opportunities and for the values we know unite our countries.”Varadkar, who is Ireland’s first openly gay prime minister, said more progress is needed in areas such as sexual health and the prevention of homophobic bullying.He added Canada and Ireland have a responsibility to work together to advance the cause of equal rights in areas of the world where they are under threat.“I think Ireland and Canada have a lot in common,” he said.“What we have most in common that we are countries that understand that diversity is our strength and our differences make us better.”The two prime ministers were joined in the parade by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, Bloc Quebecois leader Martine Ouellet, and a number of federal and provincial politicians.Trudeau donned white jeans and a light blue shirt and carried a flag as he shouted “Happy Pride!” flanked by Varadkar, Couillard, and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.At an earlier event Sunday, Trudeau said that the celebration is representative of the kind of place Canada is, in contrast with an anti-immigration rally in Quebec City.He says a small “angry, frustrated group of racists” don’t get to define Canada or change its core values.last_img read more

BJP demands case in sanitation workers death

first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari has demanded criminal case against CM and the concerned officers for death of two sanitation workers who had entered sewage treatment unit in Rajouri Garden on Saturday. Tiwari said “no one should call himself well-wisher of workers by making tall claims about them. One has to work for it. Kejriwal has completely failed in this case.” “This tragic incident has also exposed the false sympathy expressed by Kejriwal. He is deliberately endangering the lives of workers. The investigating agency should also take into consideration his responsibility and take action accordingly because the sanitation workers are entering the plants for cleaning without protective gear. Case should be filed against the CM in this regard,” he said.last_img read more

Chinese lawmakers endorse technology law amid US pressure

BEIJING — China’s ceremonial legislature has endorsed a law meant to help end a costly tariff war with Washington by discouraging officials from pressuring foreign companies to hand over technology.The technology measure is part of a law on investment approved Friday that China’s government says is intended to improve conditions for foreign investors.The approval comes in the midst of a rapid-fire series of U.S.-Chinese negotiations aimed at ending a fight over American complaints Beijing’s technology policies violate its market-opening obligations.The government said earlier the law would prohibit officials from using “administrative measures” to compel companies to hand over technology. The version approved by the National People’s Congress wasn’t immediately released.Business groups welcomed the proposed law but said they need to see how it will be enforced.The Associated Press read more

Amazon to open first Go store that accepts cash

NEW YORK — Amazon launched its high-tech Go convenience store a year ago, where shoppers can pull items off the shelf and walk out.Now it’s adding a decidedly low-tech feature: accepting cash.Its new store opening in New York City Tuesday will be the first Amazon Go store to do so. At its other shops, customers can only enter with an app that links to a credit card or an Amazon account.The company, facing backlash from critics who say cashless stores discriminate against the poor, confirmed last month that it was working on a way to accept paper bill and coins.In the new store, employee will swipe those who want to pay by cash through the turnstile entrance. After shoppers grab what they want off the shelves, an employee will scan each item with a mobile device and check them out. There still won’t be cash registers in the store.Cameron Janes, who oversees Amazon’s physical stores, says the way it accepts cash could change in the future, but declined to give details.“This is how we’re starting,” he says. “We’re going to learn from customers on what works and what doesn’t work and then iterate and improve it over time.”In recent years, a small but growing number of stores around the country have gone cash-free. But some activists and politicians say that discriminates against people who don’t have a bank account.Philadelphia became the first city to ban cashless stores earlier this year. New Jersey passed a statewide ban soon after, and similar laws are being considered in New York City and San Francisco.It’s not clear how many shoppers will skip the app and want to pay by cash at Amazon Go. The New York store, the first in the city, is in Brookfield Place, a high-end shopping mall and office complex that houses a Gucci store and office workers from banks and credit card companies. Amazon expects many of its customers to be workers looking to pick up a lunchtime salad or sandwich, people who live in the area or tourists visiting the nearby World Trade Center.Amazon didn’t say when its 11 other Go stores will start accepting cash.____Contact Joseph Pisani at http://twitter.com/josephpisaniJoseph Pisani, The Associated Press read more

Google says services on Huawei phone still will function

BEIJING — Google is assuring users of Huawei smartphones the American company’s services still will work on them following U.S. government restrictions on doing business with the Chinese tech giant.Google said Monday it is complying with and “reviewing the implications” of an order that requires export licenses for technology sales to Huawei Technologies Ltd.Last week’s order follows U.S. government accusations that Huawei is a security risk and might help Beijing spy abroad.Huawei, which uses Google’s Android operating system, is the No. 2 global smartphone brand by number of handsets sold, behind South Korea’s Samsung Electronics.Google said on Twitter, “We assure you while we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device.”The Associated Press read more

Independent UN probe into Bhutto killing meets with former Pakistani president

18 November 2009The independent United Nations commission charged with examining the facts and circumstances behind the December 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto met recently with former President Pervez Musharraf. The Commission of Inquiry “had a frank, open and cordial conversation with former President Musharraf, having been able to pose to him many queries on issues central to its mandate,” the group said in a statement issued yesterday. Set up following a request from the Pakistani Government, the Commission has met with dozens of individuals in the course of its work, which it formally started on 1 July.The Commission is headed by Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz of Chile, and its other members are Marzuki Darusman, the former attorney-general of Indonesia, and Peter Fitzgerald, a veteran of the Irish National Police who has also served the UN in a number of capacities.It will submit a report to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon within six months of starting its work. Mr. Ban will then share the report with the Government and submit it to the Security Council for information. read more

Sports Minister says Susanthikas medal belongs to the country

The Sports Minister however said that Jayasinghe had not reported to work for some time. He also said that the Government treats Jayasinghe like it does other sports stars who brought glory to the country.Jayasekera said that Susanthika Jayasinghe was given financial support by the former Government and even after he took office yet she never appreciated that support. (Colombo Gazette) He said that in future any medal won by National sportsmen and women must be given to the Sports Ministry.Jayasinghe had accused the Sports Minister of refusing to pay her for the services she rendered to the Ministry. Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera says the Olympic medal won by sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe belongs to the country.Jayasinghe had said that she wanted to auction the silver medal she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as she was facing a financial crisis. However Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera told reporters today that the medal was won for the country and so it belongs to the country. Jayasekera said that if Jayasinghe is going to auction the medal then the Sports Ministry is willing to take it. read more

Innovation Nation What Canadian companies need to thrive in the cutthroat global

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 a commanding head start in the race to succeed, and Canada risks falling behind. At stake is nothing less than the country’s prosperity and economic well-being. Innovation Nation sets out to explore what is needed for businesses to flourish and grow.Over the next three months, the Financial Post will talk to some of the innovators, visionaries and scientists on the cutting edge of the new cutthroat economy about a blueprint for Canadian success.Read our full series here. read more

UN Special Envoy says humanitarian situation in Darfur Sudan has worsened OCHA

Tom Eric Vraalsen, who visited West, North and South Darfur on 6 and 7 December, said, “Denials of access are the greatest impediments to humanitarian efforts in the area,” according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today.Whereas in September humanitarian aid could partially cover needs, “now humanitarian operations have come to a virtual standstill,” he said.He was shocked by the conditions in which the internally displaced persons were living, he said, adding that conditions in inaccessible areas were bound to be even worse.In his meeting with the Tripartite Committee – comprising representatives of the Sudanese Government, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the mediating Government of Chad – Mr. Vraalsen strongly urged the parties to stop fighting and renew the ceasefire, with the participation of all concerned, including militias.The United Nations has received many reports of systematic raids against civilian populations, including burning and looting of villages and large-scale killings and abductions. Humanitarian organizations have also been targeted, with staff being kidnapped and relief trucks looted. read more

US home rents rising more slowly as price gains lose pace in

US home rents rising more slowly, as price gains lose pace in energy hubs Dallas and Houston by Josh Boak, The Associated Press Posted Oct 27, 2015 6:16 am MDT Last Updated Oct 27, 2015 at 9:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email FILE – This April 6, 2011 file photo shows a “For Rent” sign in front of a home in Los Angeles. The real estate firm Zillow reports on home rental prices in September 2015 on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File) WASHINGTON – The U.S. home rental market cooled in September. The slowdown hit major hubs of the energy industry such as Dallas, Houston and Tulsa, while moderating the boom coming in tech centres such as San Francisco, San Jose and Denver.Real estate data firm Zillow said Tuesday that median rents rose a seasonally adjusted 3.7 per cent from a year ago, down from the annual pace of 4.1 per cent in August. The slowdown likely reflects the 14.8 per cent surge in apartment construction during the first nine months of 2015, as increasing supplies have tempered price appreciation.Research by the CoStar Group, a real estate marketer, found that 158,000 apartment units are being built this year, the highest level in more than three decades.Still, rental prices continue to exceed wage growth.Average hourly earnings have risen just 2.2 per cent from a year ago, which means that housing is consuming a larger share of renters’ incomes. Meager wage growth, rising rents and climbing home values has led the share of the country renting to climb to 36.6 per cent, the highest level since 1967, according to the Commerce Department.The median rent nationwide was $1,386 in September, up $50 a month from a year ago. But the data suggest that rental prices are easing somewhat, even in the hottest markets.Rental price growth has slowed in areas at the epicenter of the oil and natural gas industry. Oil prices have nearly halved in the past year to $44 a barrel. Houston rental costs are up 5.8 per cent over the past 12 months, down from annual growth in excess of 6 per cent. Price appreciation has also slipped in Dallas and Tulsa.Rental costs remain highest in tech-centric areas such as San Francisco, but appreciation there also began to soften slightly last month. The median rent was $3,348 in San Francisco last month, a yearly increase of 13.3 per cent. But on an annualized basis, the median rent hike has dropped from 14.2 per cent in August.Of the largest metro areas, only New York reported faster price growth compared to August.In some parts of the country, prices fell outright on a monthly basis. Tenants found cheaper prices in September compared to August in Cincinnati, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, New York and San Diego, among other locales.. read more

Week In Brussels – Week ending Friday 14 September 2012

DOWNLOAD1. European Parliament sets out its policy priorities for 20132. President Barroso delivers State of the Union speech3. EU grants almost €200 million to support key transport infrastructure projects4. FISITA launches ‘Your Future in Automotive’ website5. Week aheadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

Ohio State footballs Michael Bennett blossoming into leader on defensive line

Then-junior defensive lineman Michael Bennett (63) celebrates recovering a fumble during a game against San Diego State Sept. 7 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-7.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorA multi-year starter for Ohio State’s most prominent athletic program, a standout leader of an experienced returning group and a guy who spends much of his free time with roommates — none of whom are on his team.No, it’s not OSU basketball’s Aaron Craft, but senior defensive lineman for the football team Michael Bennett.Bennett, a starting interior defensive lineman for the Buckeyes, came into spring practice as not only the elder statesmen on the defensive line, but a key player for the unit.“He’s a great leader. I think our players respect him as a leader,” defensive line coach Larry Johnson said after practice March 27. “He’s played a lot of football … When he opens his mouth, guys are listening to him right now. That’s the kind of leadership you want. So I’ve been very impressed with Mike, his leadership skills on the field and off the field. He’s a great student, and we’re looking for great things from him. He’s a senior, he knows he’s a guy that’s gotta move it forward. When we talk about moving a yardstick and I think Mike’s doing a great job moving forward. He’s doing a great job for us as a group.”The line, which also returns standouts in juniors Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington as well as sophomore Joey Bosa, is one of the more experienced units for the Buckeyes in 2014.But with a new coach and Spence suspended for the first two games of the year after reportedly testing positive for MDMA, Bennett is going to be looked to for leadership even more.“I think we look pretty good,” Bennett said March 27. “A lot of stuff has changed from coach (Mike) Vrabel, from what he taught, but I think the guys really bought into it early from the first two practices. We really started to get what coach Johnson was about, and how we need to start doing things.”Vrabel has since gone to the Houston Texans of the NFL, and the line is undergoing a transition period while getting used to Johnson, but Bennett said what he has seen from the group has really impressed him so far this spring.“The guys are really adapted and changed, and I don’t know if you guys could notice today but we were getting after the ball, we were running to the ballcarrier and stuff like that,” Bennett said. “I’m really excited with where we’re going to be. We’re a lot better than we were last spring.”In 2013, Bennett finished tied for third on the team in sacks (7.0) and fourth in tackles for loss (11.5), prompting CBS Sports to label him as the top NFL prospect at defensive tackle in 2015.Since Johnson joined the coaching staff in January, Bennett has moved to the nose guard position, and is set to play alongside Washington on the interior. Johnson said he thinks Bennett has the skill set to thrive at the position.“Quickness is a key for me on the inside,” Johnson said. “It’s not about how big you are, it’s quickness. The things we do, we want to be a penetrating defense — attack the ball. With all the spread teams … guys are like, ‘Oh he’s only 295.’ Well that’s good enough. You have a 320-pounder and get caught on a 15-play drive, that’s pretty tough. So I like to play the quickness, we like to play quickness, and Mike brings that to the table.”’Bennett said Johnson has brought an intensity to the unit that will improve things in the upcoming season.“He wants us to go 100 percent to the ball every play … With coach Johnson he wants us running all the way until the ball is on the ground. He wants strip sacks, not just regular sacks,” Johnson said. “Just little stuff like that. He’s really adamant about going until the whistle blows and then getting back on the line and not being tired.”But even with all of his experience and presence on the line, Bennett might see a drop in playing time once the season kicks off Aug. 30 at M&T Bank Stadium against Navy.Johnson said the change could come because of the talent in the unit, and that more player rotations are likely.“We’re working a lot of combinations trying to figure out what’s going to be the right eight,” Johnson said of the possible groups that will play on the line. “I think each guy’s got a different set. I tell our guys, ‘You might be able to play goalline. You might be able to play short yardage situations.’ I think each guy is going to have a role. Just to say what that role is, we won’t know yet until we finish spring ball and continue to evaluate.” read more

Exclusive Tobias Ellwood shares vivid memories of Westminster attack as he urges

first_imgDon’t bottle it up – come forward with a mate a share your concerns before they develop Soldiers from the The Royal Welch FusiliersCredit:Giles Penfound/British Army via Getty Images Mr Ellwood said: “What I went through is something… but we shouldn’t forget that there are many people who have seen much worse and continue to be affected by it.”That’s why it is so important for us to have the mental health strategy that we need- a veterans support package that is understood and a covenant that obliges councils, businesses and communities to recognise the sacrifice that individuals have given.”Part of the problem, he suggested, is that “you are dealing with a very macho environment” and getting individuals to come forward can be a challenge in its own right. The Prince, who has become a figurehead for veterans from all walks of life, decided to give an unprecedented interview into his past in the hope it would encourage others to break the stigma. Mr Ellwood said he was pleased there was now a greater understanding of the impact of putting people in harm’s way and “making them experience things that most people will never see in their lives.”Adding: “It might not necessarily be there in the first week or two after they’ve come back, it could materialise ten years after they’ve actually left the armed forces.”But that is when they need to be aware that there is help and support that can be provided to them. It’s the least that we can do.” He is still uncomfortable speaking about what happened, but recognises there is a crossover with his own traumatic experience and his current role in trying to support veterans who struggle with coming to terms with their own experiences of war as they make the step into civilian life.He said: “I think the hardest thing, as well as stepping through with others to try and save PC Keith Palmer’s life, was coming home and finding my eight-year-old boy on top of the stairs having refused to go to bed.  “It was 10 o’clock at night and he was really confused. He couldn’t understand why a bad person would do what he did and he also couldn’t quite understand why I had then stepped forward in the way that I did. Tobias Ellwood (centre) helps emergency services attend to a police officer Keith Palmer in March 2017 Credit:Stefan Rousseau/PA Tobias Ellwood outside the Ministry of Defence, LondonCredit:Rii Schroer for The Daily Telegraph  He gave the interview as he launched a new six year strategy to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their families.Mr Ellwood, who has previously spoken about how hard it was to get his brother’s body home after he was killed in the Bali bombing, wants to change the stigma that says “you can’t put your hand up and say ‘actually I’m affected by this, or I’m troubled by that’”.And he wants a greater understanding of the myriad mental issues that can affect those who bear the mental scars of combat. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. British Army soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment conduct “Lastay Kulang” Operation on May 30, 2007 in Sangin Valley, Helmand Province, AfghanistanCredit:Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images “I had to explain to him that there are some bad people in this world. There are bad people doing bad things, but there are more good people doing good things, and that’s why we stand up to events such as this.”Pictures of Mr Ellwood covered in blood as he tried in vain to save PC Palmer went around the world and became some of the defining images of the terrorist attack in which Khalid Masood killed five people before being shot dead by a ministerial bodyguard.”It’s something I’ve deliberately not spoken about it public at all”, he said, as he urged war veterans not to “bottle it up” and seek help for mental health issues. Tobias Ellwood outside the Ministry of Defence, London Soldiers from the The Royal Welch Fusiliers Tobias Ellwood (centre) helps emergency services attend to a police officer Keith Palmer in March 2017  British Army soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment conduct "Lastay Kulang" Operation on May 30, 2007 in Sangin Valley, Helmand Province, Afghanistan Show more In message to veterans, he urged: “Don’t bottle it up – come forward with a mate a share your concerns before they develop”, adding that 90 per cent of mental challenges are treatable in the early stages.Speaking after the anniversary of Passchendaele, where there were 500,000 causalities in the space of three months, he said “many of them were shell-shocked from what they witnessed and in those days could be shot for it.”We’ve moved a long way forward from that and now recognise this can very much be a part of being an operation environment.”He also praised the “sterling” work of Prince Harry, who recently disclosed that he sought counselling after enduring two years of “total chaos” while still struggling in his late twenties to come to terms with the death of his mother. The strategy includes periods of ‘decompression’ for service personnel after combat operations and new ‘learning packages’ for NHS GPs on veteran health issues.Mr Ellwood said that de-medicalising mental health to include anxiety and depression, which is far more common that PTSD, early detection, and timely, effective treatment, are also key facets of the MOD’s plans.It comes amid concerns that a number of army personnel coming forward as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan are falling through the gaps when it comes to receiving treatment on the NHS.Last September, the charity Combat Stress said it was treating more than 1,300 veterans of Afghanistan for illnesses including PTSD, depression and anxiety, up 34 per cent from the previous year.They also suggested that a younger generation of troops, who were more aware of mental health issues, were coming forward and the number of cases could rise higher in the coming years. A Tory Minister and former soldier has shared the “vivid memories” that haunt him after he tried to save the life of a policeman stabbed in the Westminster terrorist attack, as he told combat veterans not to “bottle up” their own emotions.In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Tobias Ellwood cried as he discussed the attack in March for the first time, revealing that the hardest part of that day was arriving home and explaining to his eight-year-old son what had happened.Mr Ellwood tried in vain to to save PC Keith Palmer’s life by giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and applied pressure on the wounds to stem the blood flow.last_img read more

Kenyan forces storm shopping mall in final assault on militants

first_imgUpdated at 3.53pmKENYAN SECURITY FORCES remained locked in a fierce, final battle with Somali Islamist gunmen inside an upmarket Nairobi shopping mall today as huge explosions and a barrage of heavy gunfire echoed out of the complex.A thick cloud of black smoke billowed out from the Westgate mall as Kenyan officials said the 50-hour-long siege — which has seen the gunmen massacre at least 62 people and take dozens more hostage — was close to being resolved.“We think the operation will come to an end soon,” Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku told reporters camped outside the vast part Israeli-owned complex, which was popular with wealthy Kenyans and expatriates.“We are in control of all the floors, the terrorists are running and hiding in some stores… there is no room for escape,” he said, adding that some hostages had been freed, but without giving specific numbers. Two gunmen were also killed in the fighting.The Kenyan Red Cross said at least 63 people were recorded missing, thought to include hostages as well as those possibly killed or still hiding. Around 200 people were wounded, officials said.Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents have claimed responsibility for the attack, which began at midday on Saturday, when the gunmen marched into the complex, firing grenades and automatic weapons and sending panicked shoppers fleeing.Foreign fightersKenyan army chief Julius Karangi said the gunmen had different nationalities. Several foreign fighters, including Somalis with dual nationalities, are members of the Shebab force.“They are from different countries. We have sufficient intelligence this is global terrorism,” Karangi said.Lenku denied that any of the insurgents were women.“There are no women, all the terrorists are men. Some of them had dressed like women,” he saidShebab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage warned that the hostages would “bear the brunt of any force directed against the mujahedeen” — signalling that hostages were being used as human shields.[Image: AP Photo/Riccardo Gangale]Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed the attackers will “not get away with their despicable and beastly acts.”“We will punish the masterminds swiftly, and indeed very painfully,” he declared in a televised speech to the nation yesterday.Israeli forcesA Kenyan security source and a Western intelligence official said Israeli forces were also involved in the operation, along with British and US agents.Non-Muslims selected for executionThe Shebab rebels said the carnage was in retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia, where African Union troops are battling the Islamists.“If you want Kenya in peace, it will not happen as long as your boys are in our lands,” rebel spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said in a statement posted on an Islamist website.Shocked witnesses said the gunmen tried to weed out non-Muslims for execution by interrogating people on their religion or asking them to recite the Shahada, or Muslim profession of faith.A Kenyan police security officer runs for cover [Jerome Delay/AP/Press Association Images]The dead include four Britons including a British-Australian, two French women, two Canadians including a diplomat, a Chinese woman, two Indians, a South Korean, a South African and a Dutch woman, according to their governments.Also killed was Ghanaian poet and former UN envoy Kofi Awoonor, 78, while his son was injured. The son of the former Kenyan ambassador to Ireland also lost his life in Saturday’s violence — Mbugi Mwangi was also a nephew of President Kenyatta.Israeli interests in Kenya have come under attack before, and the Westgate mall — popular with well-to-do Kenyans, diplomats, UN workers and other expatriates — has long been seen as a potential target.Kenyans line up to donate blood for victims [Khalil Senosi/AP/Press Association Images]Red Cross officials have revised down the official death toll from the siege. The figure is now at 62, seven lower than previously reported, due to “double counted bodies”.Travel adviceThe Department of Foreign Affairs has updated its travel advice for Irish citizens in Kenya today, in light of the ongoing siege at the Westgate mall.The warning, posted on the DFA website this morning, advises all Irish nationals to avoid the area and to “exercise extreme caution”.It adds: “Irish citizens are advised to keep in touch with the Honorary Consulate Office in Nairobi and to monitor this website for further information.”Speaking in Dublin earlier, Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore said he hoped that the hostage situation could be  brought to a conclusion as quickly as possible “and that everyone will be brought out safely”.The Tánaiste said he wanted to offer his particular condolences to former ambassador Catherine Muigai Mwangi following the death of her son, and that she was in the thoughts of “her many Irish friends and colleagues and members of the diplomatic corps”.Additional reporting by AFP.[This article was originally posted at 12.19pm]Read: Son of former Kenyan ambassador to Ireland killed in Nairobi siege >Read: Heavy gunfire and explosions heard as siege continues in Kenyan shopping mall >last_img read more

Richard Bruton Scrap the political creche and convalescent home that is the

first_imgNEXT FRIDAY, THE Irish electorate will be faced with a very simple question; do you want to abolish the Seanad, yes or no?A Yes vote will not only save €20 million a year and reduce the number of national politicians, it will represent the biggest shake-up of the Irish political system since the foundation of the State. Every other section of Irish society has been forced to undergo massive change in the last number of years; it is only right that politics changes too.People on both sides of the debate agree that the Seanad is an undemocratic institution. Just 1 per cent of the population elected the current Seanad. The vast majority of senators are chosen by politicians, meaning the second house has always been dominated and manipulated by the main political parties.“Deeply elitist election”A minority of graduates elect just six senators, while the Taoiseach of the day gets to nominate 11 senators of his choosing. By any measure this is deeply elitist way of electing a chamber of national parliament.It is facts like these that lead those opposing the Referendum to resort to that catch-all solution; ‘reform’. Reform the Seanad, they say, as if this is a new concept.There are a number of significant problems posed by the suggestion of Seanad reform.First of all, there is no reform option on the ballot paper. Furthermore, there’s no agreement among the No side, on what reform means. In the last 75 years, ten reports have been published on reforming the Seanad. None has been implemented. Of these, eight reports were published under Fianna Fáil governments, yet the party never found enough time during its decades in power to actually act on any of them.“Mish-mash of reform plans”The latest mish-mash of reform plans including varying proposals from the Greens, Fianna Fáil (the party which has embarked on a newl- rekindled love affair with the Seanad), John Crown, the senator who missed half of all votes in the second house in the last year, and a joint proposal from Feargal Quinn and Katherine Zappone, which would safeguard the undemocratic nature of the Seanad. In my view, they are all missing the point. They are looking for a purpose for a second chamber of parliament that a country of our size simply does not need.Ireland is almost alone in terms of political representation when compared to other small developed countries. Why? Because we have two chambers of parliament. There are six countries in Europe with populations of between 4 and 6 million. Ireland is the only one to have a second chamber of parliament. And, as a result, we have a third more national politicians than the average. Abolishing the Seanad and the planned reduction in the number of TDs by 8 will address this imbalance and bring us into line with European norms.“Power grab?”Perhaps the least credible argument being put forward by those trying to keep the Seanad is that abolition is a power grab by the Government. This just doesn’t stand up, because the Seanad has no power to grab. The Seanad cannot overturn legislation, it can only delay it. And the last time it actually did so was in 1964.Consider also the fact that in the last week, a number of independent TDs, including former Labour Party members, have joined Sinn Féin and the Socialist Party in calling for a Yes vote. It is really credible to suggest that this group of politicians – arguably the Government’s harshest critics – would agree to something that would give us more power?In tandem with the referendum on the future of the Seanad, the Government is presenting a series of measures to reform our national parliament to make it more transparent and accountable. This includes radically overhauling the committee system to make it more independent, and changes in the way draft laws are considered, to allow for closer scrutiny of key legislation. This builds on steps already taken steps to increase female representation in the Dáil, cut the overall number of TDs, eliminate corporate donations and make lobbying more transparent.“A luxury we don’t need”Other important changes have been made to increase the powers of the Ombudsman, strengthen the Freedom of Information system and new legislation that will give inquiry powers to the Dáil. This will result in far greater oversight than a costly second chamber with little real power.The Seanad is a luxury we don’t need and can’t afford. Reforming it is neither required nor realistic. I believe we need fewer politicians and more effective parliament. If you agree that it’s time we finally scrapped the political crèche and convalescent home that is the Seanad, saving €20 million a year in the process, then I urge you to vote Yes on 4 October.Richard Bruton is Fine Gael’s Director of Elections and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.Declan Ganley: “Fewer politicians” is not an argument for getting rid of the Seanad>last_img read more

Pick It Out – 15 stunning goals from the Gaelic football season

first_imgYouTube: kilkennyfootball9. July – Liam Irwin (Mayo) in Connacht MFC finalYouTube: kilkennyfootball10. July – Michael Meehan (Galway) v Cork in All-Ireland SFC Round 4YouTube: Conor Ryan11. August – Jack McCaffrey (Dublin) in All-Ireland SFC quarter-finalGo to 1.20YouTube: officialgaa12. September – James O’Donoghue (Kerry) v Dublin in All-Ireland SFC semi-finalYouTube: Kevin Bolger13. October – Colm Cooper (Dr Crokes) in Kerry club SFC finalGo to 0.25YouTube: JC O’Shea14. October – Colm Cooper (Dr Crokes) in Kerry county SFC finalYouTube: JC O’Shea15. December – Marc Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht) in Kerry Division 2 FLYouTube: AnGhaeltachtABUWhat have we left out? Let us know in the comments section below.10 of Kerry’s best sporting moments in 2013Jack McCaffrey: ‘Dublin win is a testament to the character of the lads’ 1. January – Donie Kingston (UCD) in Sigerson Cup first roundGo to 0.31YouTube: HEGAATV2. April – Davy Dalton (Meath) in NFL Division 3 finalYouTube: kilkennyfootball3. May – Brian Hurley (Cork) in All-Ireland U21FC finalGo to 7.01YouTube: kilkennyfootball4. May – Cian Mackey (Cavan) in Ulster SFC preliminary roundYouTube: kilkennyfootball5. June – Ciaran Lyng (Wexford) v Louth in Leinster SFC quarter-finalYouTube: kilkennyfootball6. June – Cathal Mulryan (Connemara Shamrocks) in Boston SFCYouTube: Connemara Gaels7. June – Padraig McMahon (Laois) in All-Ireland SFC Round 1YouTube: kilkennyfootball8. July – Darragh Doherty (Mayo) in Connacht MFC finallast_img read more

ASA Celebrates South Korean Regulatory Approval of LibertyLink® Soybeans

first_imgDeclares an Historic Milestone in the Advancement of Biotech SoybeansThe American Soybean Association (ASA) today celebrated more than a decade of diligent and persistent work on behalf of U.S. soybean farmers to advance global acceptance of new biotech soybean traits after LibertyLink® soybeans (A2704-12) from Bayer CropScience received food safety approval from the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA). This final regulatory approval in South Korea clears the way for unrestricted planting in the United States and importation into all major markets for LibertyLink soybeans, along with Roundup Ready 2 Yield™ soybeans (MON 89788) from Monsanto, which received final KFDA regulatory approval on Feb. 27, 2009.”Today marks a significant milestone in the history of crop biotechnology,” said ASA President Johnny Dodson, a producer from Halls, Tenn. “This year will be the first planting season since 1996 that farmers have access to new biotech-enhanced soybean traits that can be planted, harvested, comingled and shipped without restriction to customers around the world. The value of U.S. soybean and soybean product exports exceeded $20 billion in 2008, so regulatory approvals in our key export markets are critical to U.S. farmer profitability.”The American Soybean Association is a strong supporter of biotechnology because ASA’s farmer-leaders believe it is a tool for producing safer, more nutritious food more efficiently and more abundantly,” Dodson said. “For more than a decade, ASA has safeguarded U.S. soybean farmer profitability by working with biotechnology providers to keep out of export channels varieties of biotech-derived soybeans that haven’t been approved for export to key foreign markets. At the same time, ASA has worked tirelessly with biotechnology providers to educate foreign regulators and import customers about the safety of seedstock enhanced through modern biotechnology. ASA appreciates both Monsanto’s and Bayer’s good stewardship of their new biotech traits throughout the U.S. and international regulatory approval processes.”Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans, which are tolerant to Roundup® (glyphosate) herbicide, are the next generation of the popular Roundup Ready technology farmers have used in soybeans since 1996. The new product offers the same effective weed control, simplicity and flexibility benefits of the Roundup Ready system and it promises significantly increased soybean yield potential.Bayer’s LibertyLink soybean technology is tolerant to Ignite® (glufosinate) herbicide so farmers will now have an additional in-crop weed control option. Being able to alternate herbicides provides an effective management tool to minimize the selection for herbicide resistant weeds, which will enhance the sustainability of all U.S. soybean production.Soybeans grown from these biotech-enhanced varieties are no different in composition, nutritional profile, functionality or safety than soybeans grown from seed developed through conventional breeding methods. However, herbicide-tolerant soybeans are helping farmers protect the environment by implementing reduced tillage practices that save millions of tons of topsoil every year. These practices also reduce the number of times a farmer has to run equipment over the field, which saves million of gallons of fuel and improves air quality by reducing engine emissions, and there is less herbicide carryover in the field, which provides for healthier groundwater, rivers and streams.”ASA has worked in partnership with Bayer CropScience, Monsanto, the Foreign Agricultural Service of USDA, and the U.S. Soybean Export Council to educate foreign buyers on the safety of biotechnology and the need for regulatory clearances of these new traits,” Dodson said. “Worldwide market acceptance of crop biotechnology has been one of the most important missions of the American Soybean Association during the past 12 years. It has been a tremendous task involving hundreds of meetings and thousands of hours of time by volunteer farmer-leaders and staff in major export markets around the globe. The end result, however, is worth it because U.S. soybean farmers now have access to two new biotech soybean varieties, while U.S. soybean exports and our reputation as a dependable supplier are protected.”In 2008, more than 162 million acres (65.8 million hectares) of biotech soybeans were planted worldwide, which is equivalent to 70 percent of global production at more than 234 million acres (95 million hectares) of soybeans. Last year, over 92 percent of the soybean acres in the United States, 99 percent of the soybean acres in Argentina and 65 percent of the soybean acres in Brazil were planted with biotech-enhanced seed. These three countries collectively produce 90 percent of the world’s soybean exports.”U.S. farmers look forward to these and other new biotech-enhanced soybean varieties now under development that will offer important benefits to consumers, growers and the environment, ranging from healthy oil profiles to increased yields to better weed control,” Dodson said.last_img read more

UK Charity Brings Live Holiday Music To Senior Centers

first_img Twitter Proven to have positive benefits for all ages, this season U.K. senior center residents will be able to share the joy of musicRenée FabianGRAMMYs Oct 30, 2017 – 10:46 am There’s no better way to spread holiday cheer than with live music, and thanks to U.K. charity Music in Hospitals & Care and window and door company Everest, seven senior centers across the U.K. will experience live holiday music concerts.The concerts, which will be put on for senior center residents, their family and friends, and staff, have been shown to have positive health benefits, from reducing anxiety and stress to boosting the immune system and facilitating pain relief, not to mention how they  lift mood.Music in Hospitals & Care and Everest put on a similar series of live concerts between November 2016 and July of this year for the senior population, and according to The Telegraph, 95 percent who attended a concert reported increased social interaction as a result, while 89 percent reported improved mood and raised spirits.”Events like this take the residents out of their everyday routine and leave a lasting, positive impression,” said Lorraine West, activities coordinator at Oakridge House in Basingstoke.Music in Hospitals & Care has provided live music in healthcare since 1948, and this holiday season, they will provide many U.K. seniors something to sing along to throughout the season.Live At 35: Warner Music Signs Deal To Bring Live Music To AirplanesRead more U.K. Charity Brightens Seniors With Holiday Music uk-charity-brings-live-holiday-music-senior-centers Email Facebook U.K. Charity Brings Live Holiday Music To Senior Centers News last_img read more

Bill Gates praises Steve Jobs ability to cast spells on people

first_img5:11 Gates pointed to NeXT, a company Jobs started in between stints at Apple. A workstation for academic institutions and professionals, the Next Computer was the first ever to allow you to email audio clips or read an ebook — but it also cost $6,500 in 1988 or over $13,000 in 2019 money. “When he did the NeXT Introduction,” Gates recalled, “it was such nonsense, and yet he mesmerized those people… I was like, ‘wait a minute, that spell should not work at all!” At Apple, employees borrowed a term from Star Trek to describe Jobs’ ability to “cast spells.” They called it his reality distortion field.”The reality distortion field was a confounding melange of a charismatic rhetorical style, an indomitable will, and an eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand,” wrote Andy Hertzfield, a software designer on the original Macintosh. “If one line of argument failed to persuade, he would deftly switch to another. Sometimes, he would throw you off balance by suddenly adopting your position as his own, without acknowledging that he ever thought differently.” Steve Jobs “mesmerized” people, his longtime rival says. Getty Images Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had a long, complicated relationship and a rivalry that sometimes veered toward vicious. On Sunday, though, 63-year-old Gates had plenty of praise for the late Apple CEO, who died in 2011 of pancreatic cancer.Gates appeared Sunday’s episode of Fareed Zakaria’s GPS show, which focused on leadership. Zakaria, a CNN host, asked Gates about Jobs’ management style, noting that Jobs broke almost every rule there is about leading a company.”Steve [is] a good example of ‘don’t do this at home,'” Gates laughed. Gates said it’s easy to recall the “bad parts” of Jobs’ career, saying he could at times be an “asshole” but that Jobs had some once-in-a-lifetime qualities that can’t be replicated. “Steve is a very singular case where the company really was on a path to die and it goes and becomes the most valuable company in the world with some products that are really quite amazing,” Gates said. “There aren’t going to be many stories like that.”Gates, who now devotes most of his time to philanthropy through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, made special mention of Jobs’ notorious ability to influence people, often against their better judgment. “I was like a minor wizard because he would be casting spells, and I would see people mesmerized,” he said. “Because I’m a minor wizard, the spells don’t work on me. I could not cast those spells, but I’d see them and I’d say, ‘Hey, don’t!”  Best Buy Now playing: Watch this: $999 Computers Tech Industry reading • Bill Gates praises Steve Jobs’ ability to ‘cast spells’ on people Boost Mobile Bill Gates Steve Jobs Microsoft Apple • 6 Apple Bill Gates’s top mistake? Letting Google’s Android rule… $999 See it Aug 31 • Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Sprint: Choose the best 5G carrier See It Apple iPhone XScenter_img Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors Sprint Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it See It Share your voice Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Comments $999 Jobs and Gates had a tempestuous relationship over the decades. Jobs often criticized Gates for lacking passion for products, while Gates sometimes claimed Jobs didn’t understand technology. “Bill likes to portray himself as a man of the product, but he’s really not,” Jobs said to his biographer, Walter Isaacson. “He’s a businessperson. Winning business was more important than making great products.” Meanwhile, Gates in the ’90s told then Apple head Bil Amelio: “Don’t you understand that Steve doesn’t know anything about technology? He’s just a super salesman.”The two became more conciliatory in the 2000s, even sharing the stage for a dual interview at the D5 conference in 2007, the year the iPhone was released. “Bill built the first software company in the industry,” Jobs said. “I think he built the first software company before anybody, really in our industry, knew what a software company was.” CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Tags See It Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR See All $999last_img read more