2 militants killed in Shopian encounter in Kashmir

first_imgTwo militants were killed in an operation of security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian on Sunday morning.”Based on a credible input about the presence of militants, a cordon and search operation was launched early morning at Rebban area of Zainapora in Shopian. The search party was fired upon by the hiding militants. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter. Two militants were killed,” said the police spokesman.The police said both the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. “Their identities are being ascertained,” the spokesman added.The police said incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.last_img

DU to CBSE: No extra weightage, special treatment to board students

first_imgWhile rejecting Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) plea for extra weightage, Delhi University in a communication to the board has said that the varsity will not offer any “special” treatment to the UG aspirants from the board.As reported by TOI, a senior official in a meeting said, being a central university, DU treats Class 12 marks given by all boards in the country equally.Here’s what CBSE said in its plea:The board had earlier sought “appropriate weightage” for Class 12 students seeking admissions to the undergraduate programmes CBSE initiated this move so that the board does not lose out to candidates from other state boards that “inflate” Class 12 marks.Meanwhile, DU is all set to begin with the undergraduate (UG) admission process from May 22. (Check: DU Admissions 2017: ‘Open Days’ for students and parents to begin from this date) Last year, Delhi University began the admission process to various undergraduate courses on June 1.Last year’s data of students taking admission at DU:In 2016, over 1 lakh applications were received in two days by the university for its 60,000 undergraduate seats which actually raised concerns about whether colleges would increase their cut-offs.State-wise number of applications:From Delhi itself, DU received nearly 2.5 lakh applicationsLooking at other states, 50,246 forms were received from Uttar Pradesh (UP)More on the report:In order to decide on the request of CBSE, DU’s admission committee has set up a sub-committee of four college principalsThe meeting was held on April 24 by the Union HRD ministryFurther, the meeting was attended by 32 school education boards across the nationAfter a prolonged discussion, all the boards along with ministry agreed not to spike marksHere’s what a DU official said:While coming on the issue, a DU official in a recent TOI report said, “There have been issues with the boards from Tamil Nadu, Kerala or Andhra Pradesh among others on inflating marks. But they are not exceptions as even CBSE had been ‘inflating’ marks in the past.”advertisementMoreover, DU will be conducting ‘Open Days’ to counsel and guide the admission seekers and their parents.Read: DU Admissions 2017: Sports quota weightage increased to 60 per centRead: DU Admission 2017: List of entrance-based UG courses releasedFor information on more latest news and updates, click here.last_img read more

Nokia 5.1 Plus with MediaTek chipset, Nokia X6 global variants spotted on Bluetooth certification site

first_imgHMD Global launched the Nokia 2.1, Nokia 3.1 and Nokia 5.1 only recently. All the three smartphones are currently available in China, but HMD Global is reportedly working on bringing the devices to other markets as well, including India. Alongside these follow-up Nokia phones, HMD Global is seemingly working on a new smartphone too. This is highly anticipated to be the Nokia 5.1 Plus. Renders of the Nokia 5.1 Plus were leaked last week, hinting at the upgraded version of the Nokia 5.1. The smartphone has now been spotted on Bluetooth certification site, hinting at the imminent launch.A Nokia smartphone with model number TA-1109 has appeared in Bluetooth certification. The listing doesn’t reveal much details about the smartphone though, and neither does it confirm the name of the phone. But, we are expecting it to be the Nokia 5.1 Plus. This is because according to a Nokiapowerhouse report the Nokia TA-1109 phone is seen listed with a MediaTek chipset on the certification site. This goes in line with a previous leak which revealed that the Nokia 5.1 Plus will come with a MediaTek chipset and not Snapdragon like the Nokia 5.1. Hence, we assume the TA-1109 to be the Nokia 5.1 Plus. However, nothing is official for now. It could either be the Nokia 5.1 Plus or any other Nokia phone.Renders of alleged Nokia 5.1 Plus were leaked last week showing off thin-bezels all around the phone and also a notch. Nokia X6, which has been launched recently, was the first phone by the company to come with an iPhone X-like notch. The Nokia 5.1 Pro is expected to be the second one. The notch on the top of the Nokia 5.1 display will include a front camera, earpiece, and some sensors.advertisementThe leaked renders show that the Nokia 5.1 Plus will sport a dual camera setup with LED flash for better low-light photo capture. Apart from the two cameras and the flash, the rear panel of the Nokia 5.1 Plus is expected to include a fingerprint sensor. The smartphone is rumoured to come with a USB Type-C port, a loudspeaker grill at the bottom and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The handset is also expected to come with a secondary microphone for noise cancellation.ALSO READ: Nokia 5.1 Plus may be in the works, CAD renders reveal notched display, dual camerasApart from the Nokia smartphone with model number TA-1109, two other phones with model numbers TA-1083 and TA-1116 have also appeared in Bluetooth certification. These two models are expected to be the global variants of the Nokia X6. Yet again, there’s no official confirmation on the same yet. According to Nokiapoweruser, the TA-1116 model was also spotted on Russian and Taiwan certification sites hinting at imminent release outside China soon. This could possibly mean that Nokia X6 is coming to India soon.last_img read more

On retirement day, Yuvraj Singh tips Rishabh Pant to better his exploits

first_imgThere is some sincerity when legendary sportsmen pick their legacy-candidate on retirement. Sachin Tendulkar tipped Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Yuvraj Singh singles out Delhi dasher Rishabh Pant.For Pant, having missed the flight to UK after selectors picked the experienced Dinesh Karthik over his exuberance, Yuvraj’s words of high praise should boost his confidence. “Rishabh Pant has potential to be better than me. And he has proven himself in a short span of time,” Yuvraj spoke in his retirement press conference.Delhi’s dynamic left hander was tipped to be India’s X factor in the World Cup campaign but his mixed performances in this season’s IPL and a few 50 overs opportunities he got before the World Cup, discouraged the selectors from picking him.But Yuvraj foresees a bright future for Pant on back of his clean striking ability as well as the maturity he has showcased in early part of his test career.”He scored two test hundreds away – in Australia and England. He has a lot of potential. He has it in him to be a very attacking and match winning left hander. I am really looking forward to seeing him in the next few years,” said Yuvraj.Yuvraj wasn’t impressed with India’s musical chairs for no.4 slot ahead of the World Cup but restrained himself from pressing the point. “There is a lot I want to say but I won’t. All I will say is we have to back whoever is picked to play at no.4 for the World Cup,” he said.advertisementAfter a series of trial and error, KL Rahul has started as India’s first choice no.4 batter in England with Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik as possible backups. Rishabh Pant is one of the standbys outside the chosen squad of fifteen in case need arises for a replacement.Also Read | Rohit Sharma to Yuvraj Singh: Love you brotherman, you deserved a better send-offAlso Read | Enjoy retirement legend: Stuart Broad bids adieu to Yuvraj SinghAlso Seelast_img read more

If national teams wore their country’s flag

first_imgWTF What would national teams look like if they wore their country’s flag? Goal 02:19 10/10/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(6) Camisetas banderas @francooc07 WTF Albania v Italy Ecuador v Argentina Brazil v Chile Peru v Colombia Lithuania v England Belarus v Netherlands Brazil Ecuador Albania Italy Argentina Chile Lithuania Belarus Colombia Peru England Netherlands WC Qualification South America WC Qualification Europe World Cup Can you imagine Germany shunning their traditional white, or Italy swapping blue for their flag colours? Imagine no further – the results are here! Each international break injects a new wave of colour into the wave of football as iconic club shirts are folded away and national team kits take centre-stage. But the colours on show are a varied bunch. While some countries choose to stick closely to the hues on their flags and others are more liberal with their interpretations. Indeed, certain nations traditionally play in colours not even present on their flags, although in each case the choice relates to ancient symbols linked to the country. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Germany, for instance, play in white as it was the colour of the now-defunct Kingdom of Prussia that predated the modern republic, while Italy’s distinctive royal blue is indeed royal in origin, coming from the House of Savoy that previously sat as head of state – a similar tale to Netherlands’ fairly self-explanatory House of Orange.What would happen, however, if the likes of the Azzurri were forced to play in a kit more closely resembling the colours of their flags? The results can be seen below and are courtesy of Franco Carabajal who published the designs on Behance: ARGENTINACamiseta banderaBELGIUMCamiseta banderaBOLIVIACamiseta banderaBRAZILCamiseta banderaCHILECamiseta banderaCOLOMBIACamiseta banderaENGLANDCamiseta banderaGERMANYCamiseta banderaITALYCamiseta banderaJAPANCamiseta banderaMEXICOCamiseta banderaNETHERLANDSCamiseta banderaPERUCamiseta banderaSPAINCamiseta banderaUNITED STATESCamiseta banderaURUGUAYCamiseta banderalast_img read more

3 days agoMan City keeper Zack Steffen delighted with first Fortuna Dusseldorf clean sheet

first_imgTagsLoan MarketAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man City keeper Zack Steffen delighted with first Fortuna Dusseldorf clean sheetby Paul Vegas3 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveZack Steffen was delighted with a first clean sheet for Fortuna Dusseldorf on the weekend.On-loan from Manchester City, Steffen has been superb for Fortuna this season – but hadn’t managed a clean sheet.That is until the weekend’s 1-0 win over Mainz.Steffen said, “Sometimes I like that when I have nothing to do. I’ll take that with me. I’m just totally happy and overjoyed that I finally did not concede a goal. That’s really good for me. “This is the credit of our defence. The guys did a great job. We finally showed that we can defend our goal when we totally concentrate for 90 minutes.” last_img read more

IPL 2019: Home advantage good thing, will speak to Ganguly, says KKR CEO

first_img Indo Asian News Agency KolkataApril 29, 2019UPDATED: April 29, 2019 17:45 IST Kolkata are placed 5th in the points table with 5 wins out of 12 matches in IPL 2019. ( Courtesy by BCCI)HIGHLIGHTSKolkata Knight Riders have lost 5 out of their 12 matches in IPL 2019Kolkata’s 4 out 5 defeats have come at the Eden Gardens, their home groundKKR CEO Venky Mysore has ruled out the option of playing their home matches outside KolkataWhile admitting that the Eden Gardens wicket hasn’t exactly been what they wanted, Kolkata Knight Riders CEO Venky Mysore said they have themselves to blame more for the spate of losses this season. Mysore also ruled out the option of playing their home matches outside Kolkata.KKR snapped a six-game losing streak to beat Mumbai Indians by 34 runs on Sunday night to keep their playoff hopes alive. The two time champions, who traditionally bank on their spinners to deliver the goods, failed to do that on an Eden track which was a batting paradise and hardly assisted turn.”You build a team based on your home conditions primarily because you’re playing seven games there. So it’s been slightly unusual in that sense. That’s (home advantage) a good thing and that’s how rivalries are built up,” Mysore told reporters on the sidelines of a charity event.Mysore said they would have discussions with the Cricket Association of Bengal top brass including Sourav Ganguly on getting the home advantage but there’s no question of moving away. “We will try and continue to have good discussions with the CAB, curator, the president and others to make sure that as home team we should have some advantage.”We are a Kolkata team. The kind of love affair, romance that has built up between KKR, the city and the fans is most gratifying. The team also recognises it. We are grateful for that. The kind of support we get here is incredible,” Mysore said.Mysore pointed out that despite the string of poor shows, fans have turned up in numbers. “Until yesterday, we had lost six in a row but every game was pretty much sold out. Fans have come and cheered us all the way. That’s great to see. That just shows, while fans get frustrated with results as we all do, the support remains and it continues. So there is no question of that type of a thought process,” he maintained.advertisement”In all fairness, we have probably not played to our potential. If some of the results had gone our way, we would not be talking about the conditions, pitch and all that,” he said.Russell was promoted to No 3 on Sunday after the West Indies all-rounder expressed his displeasure. The 30-year old slammed an unbeaten 80 from 40 balls.Head coach Jacques Kallis said it was a collective decision to send Russell at No 3. “We are a team that plays according to the situation. We had a good start so we decided that Russell bats higher up to get maximum number of overs. Fortunately it worked for us,” the South African great said.Also Read | IPL 2019: Try to make sure no back-biting in KKR camp, says Dinesh KarthikAlso Read | Chris Gayle feels after Virat Kohli, KL Rahul will serve Indian cricket for longAlso SeeFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAnita Jat Tags :Follow IPL 2019Follow Venky MysoreFollow Kolkata Knight RidersFollow KKRFollow Eden Gardens IPL 2019: Home advantage good thing, will speak to Ganguly, says KKR CEOKolkata Knight Riders have lost 4 out of 7 of their home matches at the Eden Gardens but KKR CEO Venky Mysore said the pitch can’t be blamed for such results. The team CEO ruled out any possibilty of moving away from Kolkata as their home ground.advertisementlast_img read more

Agricultural Companies Receive Infrastructure Funding

first_imgFour agricultural companies have been awarded funding to help strengthen their infrastructure and sustainability. “This funding will assist producers and processors in accelerating their economic potential and development,” said Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor today, Dec. 22. “They were chosen for their strong business plans and benefits for the agri-food industry as a whole.” Funding has been approved for: Melvin Farms Limited, to develop a fresh-cut cauliflower line and add value to their farm business Farmer John’s Herbs, to increase capacity and further develop a fresh Nova Scotia herb processing business Van Dyk’s Health Juice Products Limited, to expand into the Asian market and increase export sales of wild blueberry juice Acadian Maple Products Limited, to develop and increase capacity for maple industry processing and packing The businesses applied under the Strategic Infrastructure Investment Fund. To date, more than $3.2 million has been committed from the $6-million, four-year fund. “The Department of Agriculture continues to help Nova Scotia producers and the agriculture industry as a whole,” said Mr. Taylor. “The Strategic Infrastructure Investment Fund promotes creativity and partnerships in our industry.” More information on the Strategic Infrastructure Investment Fund can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/agri/ .last_img read more

Bianca Andreescu advances to first Grand Slam semifinals

first_imgCanada’s Bianca Andreescu has advanced to the semifinals at the U.S. Open, defeating Elise Mertens of Belgium in three sets, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.The 15th seed dropped a set for the first time in the tournament, but recovered to improve to 31-4 with two titles this season.It was the 12th consecutive three-set victory for the Canadian, who moved into her first career Grand Slam semifinal against No. 13 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.“This is honestly so crazy,” she said in her televised post-match interview on court. “A year ago I was in the qualifying round. I was suffering from a back injury. And now, what I’ve accomplished this year, I’m speechless.“I need someone to pinch me right now. Is this real life?”Andreescu, making her first appearance at the U.S. Open, is the first Canadian woman to reach the semifinals of the final Grand Slam of the season in singles since Carling Bassett in 1984.She joins Venus Williams, Chris Evert and Pam Shriver as only the fourth woman to make it to a U.S. Open semifinal in their first appearance.The 19-year-old becomes the youngest semifinalist at Flushing Meadows since Caroline Wozniacki was also 19 when she was the runner-up in 2009.Believe it, Bianca The 19-year old In the early going, everything went right for Mertens, who clipped lines with regularity. The unforced errors piled up for Andreescu.Mertens won 82 per cent of the points on her own second serve in that first set. Andreescu had to settle for a 26 per cent success rate.She did her best to pump herself up, though. And she cleaned up her game significantly even as Mertens’s level dropped from the championship level she displayed in the first set.Bianca breaks Andreescu has had plenty of slow starts in 2019, and has built a reputation for turning things around.She has 43 matches wins on the season, and needed three sets to win 17 of those. Of those three-set wins, 10 came after she lost the first set.Should Andreescu manage to get past Bencic and into finals, she could set up a rematch with Serena Williams, who was forced to retire in their Rogers Cup final last month.Williams, a six-time U.S. Open champion, will face fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina in the other semifinal.Andreescu will end up in the top 10 when the new rankings come out Monday.She should end up no lower than No. 9. Either Svitolina or Williams can still pass her. But not both, as they’ll meet in the semifinals Thursday night.Files from The Canadian Press were used in this reportlast_img read more

Actress at odds with Toronto movie theatre over discrimination case

first_imgAfter initially leaving the theatre she returned and accepted the rule. But Adeliyi says theatre owner Rui Pereira intervened to refuse her entry, and instead called the police and told her she would be arrested. Login/Register With: “This went from zero to 100 very quickly,” said Adeliyi, noting the owner started filming and taking pictures of her. She adds that when he called 911 and described her as “a black woman wearing black and being disruptive,” she realized she was “dealing with something deeper.” Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Local actress Wendy Olunike Adeliyi just wanted to see the movie Loving. But she says she was denied entry to Kingsway Theatre in a case of racial discrimination, and is demanding an apology. “When you describe someone as black and dangerous and threatening, that has gotten a lot of black women and men killed,” she added, noting she never raised her voice during the encounter. She said she’s considering filing a formal complaint.CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON eBOSS Facebook Advertisement Twitter Pereira strongly denies any discrimination, and says the theatre was simply enforcing its policies. Adeliyi, who has appeared in TV series such as Workin’ Moms, Republic of Doyle and Flashpoint, said she was refused a movie ticket unless she surrendered her backpack. Her backpack contained a laptop and money and she felt uncomfortable turning it over.last_img read more

Vancouver police tries to keep inquiry documents secret

first_imgAPTN National NewsVancouver police and the RCMP allowed serial killer Robert Pickton to walk away in 1997.IN a five year span, Pickton was able murder dozens of women.That’s the testimony heard last week during the missing women’s inquiry in Vancouver.APTN National News reporter Wayne Roberts has this story.last_img

Everyone must help eliminate cyber hatred says SecretaryGeneral

16 June 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that parents, the Internet industry and policy makers all have a role to play in eliminating hate speech from cyberspace. “Some of the newest technologies are being used to peddle some of the oldest fears,” Mr. Ban said at a seminar in New York entitled “Cyberhate” – the latest in an ongoing series on combating intolerance, organized by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).“We have seen it time and again,” he said, “targeting innocents because of their faith, their race, their ethnicity, their sexual orientation.”The Secretary-General said everyone has a role to play in eliminating cyber hate. Parents have a responsibility to teach their children to safely surf the net, he said. The Internet industry can help ensure that hate speech does not proliferate online, and policy makers must “take a hard look at this problem and work to safeguard people while balancing basic freedoms and human rights.” Among the other speakers scheduled for the full-day gathering were Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; Hemanshu Nigam, Chief Security Officer, News Corporation and MySpace; and Marta Santos Pais, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children.The UN began the “Unlearning Intolerance” series in 2004 with discussions of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and has continued the programme with lectures and seminars since then. read more

Brookfield to sell its controlling stake in NB forest products company

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Canadian Press Posted May 21, 2013 12:51 pm MDT EDMUNDSTON, N.B. – Two U.S. investment firms are buying a controlling stake in Twin Rivers Paper Company Inc., which operates mills in New Brunswick and Maine.Blue Wolf Capital Partners and Atlas Holdings announced Tuesday that they expected to close the deal with Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (TSX:BAM.A) in about three weeks.Financial details were not disclosed and Brookfield, which confirmed it owns 51 per cent of Twin Rivers, declined to comment further.The New Brunswick government is a general partner and creditors of the company that emerged in 2010 from the bankruptcy filing of Fraser Paper own a minority interest.Twin Rivers, with about 1,200 employees, is an integrated specialty paper company that manufactures packaging, label and publishing products with mill operations in Madawaska, Maine, and Edmundston, N.B. It also has a lumber sawmill operation in Plaster Rock, N.B.New Brunswick Premier David Alward said the province was “excited to have new partners such as Atlas and Blue Wolf invest in the province and commit to growing this operation and working with us as we continue to rebuild our economy.”“The local communities and our entire forest sector value the jobs and role that Twin Rivers plays,” Alward said.The New York-based investment firms have already invested jointly in a pulp mill in Pictou, N.S., and in an integrated pulp and paper business in Glens Falls, N.Y.Separately, Atlas employs about 5,000 people at 30 locations in North America, Europe and Asia while Blue Wolf owns seven U.S. companies.“Twin Rivers produces specialty papers and lumber products that are well regarded throughout the industry,” Blue Wolf managing partner Adam Blumenthal said in a statement.“Our plan is to build on these strengths as we seek to position the operations for long-term success and as a key contributor in the revitalization of the forest products sector in Maine and New Brunswick.”Tim Fazio, managing partner of Atlas Holdings, said that with the support and guidance of his firm and Blue Wolf, “we believe we can provide Twin Rivers with additional resources to address its capital needs, cost structure, market exposure and other critical operational challenges presented by the highly competitive forest products industry.”Dave Coles, president of the Canadian Energy and Paperworkers Union, which represents workers at Twin Rivers operations in Edmundston and Plaster Rock, praised the development.“We have long represented workers at companies owned by Atlas and Blue Wolf and we know them to be thoughtful and creative investors who are committed to the industry,” Coles said.“We will work with the new ownership to protect jobs and pensions for our active and retired members.” Brookfield to sell its controlling stake in N.B. forest products company read more

Afghanistan Ground combat taking devastating civilian toll says UN reporting sharp rise

The nature of the Afghan conflict has added yet another grim dimension as ground combat among the warring parties surpassed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as the leading cause of conflict-related death and injury to Afghan civilians in the first six months of 2014, the United Nations reported today.This “disturbing upward spiral” has meant the number of children and other vulnerable Afghans killed and wounded since the beginning of the year rose dramatically and “is proving to be devastating”, according to the sobering new survey released in Kabul by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). “More efforts are needed to protect civilians from the harms of conflict and to ensure accountability for those deliberately and indiscriminately killing them,” said the Director of Human Rights for UNAMA, Georgette Gagnon.Attacks which fail to distinguish between a military and civilian objective and attacks that deliberately target civilians are serious violations of international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes.The 2014 Mid-Year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, prepared in coordination with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), notes that while civilian casualties caused by IEDs also increased to unprecedented levels over the same period in 2013, deaths and injuries caused by mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire in ground engagements jumped dramatically as the frequency and intensity of these incidents increased in 2014, particularly in areas with concentrated civilian populations.“The nature of the conflict in Afghanistan is changing in 2014 with an escalation of ground engagements in civilian-populated areas,” said the UN Special Representative for the Secretary-General in Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš. “The impact on civilians, including the most vulnerable Afghans, is proving to be devastating.”From 1 January to 30 June 2014, UNAMA documented 4,853 civilian casualties, up 24 per cent over the same period in 2013. Civilian Deaths and Injuries – January to June 2009-2014. Credits: UNAMAIncluded in the toll were 1,564 civilian deaths (up 17 per cent) and 3,289 injuries (up 28 per cent). Ground engagements caused two of every five civilian casualties in 2014 accounting for 39 per cent of all civilian casualties: 1,901 in total, up 89 per cent from 2013, with 474 civilians killed and 1,427 injured.Total child civilian casualties increased 34 per cent in the first six months of 2014 to 1,071, including 295 killed and 776 injured, while total women civilian casualties increased 24 per cent to 440, including 148 killed and 292 injured. Ground engagements took the lives of 112 children and injured 408, with the total 520 child casualties, an increase of 111 per cent over 2013. Ground engagements killed 64 Afghan women and injured 192, with the total 256 women casualties, up 61 per cent over 2013.“In 2014, the fight is increasingly taking place in communities, public places and near the homes of ordinary Afghans, with death and injury to women and children in a continued disturbing upward spiral,” said UNAMA’s Gagnon.Improvised explosive devices used by anti-Government elements, the second leading cause of civilian casualties in 2014, were behind 1,463 civilian casualties – up seven per cent from 2013 and the highest number of civilian casualties from this tactic recorded in a six month period since 2009.The report states that the use of remote-controlled IEDs increased 13 per cent, with 205 incidents causing 637 civilian casualties including 150 deaths and 487 injuries. Of utmost concern, the use of indiscriminate illegal pressure-plate IEDs experienced a resurgence in 2014, killing 161 civilians and injuring 147, with a total 308 civilian casualties, a 33 per cent increase over 2013.Suicide and complex attacks by Anti-Government Elements, the third leading cause of civilian casualties, killed 156 and injured 427, with the total of 583 civilian casualties.In the first half of 2014, the Taliban publicly claimed responsibility for 147 attacks that resulted in 553 civilian casualties with 234 civilians killed and 319 injured. While Taliban fighters appeared to direct 76 of these attacks at military targets that indiscriminately harmed civilians, 69 attacks deliberately targeted civilians, including tribal elders, civilian Government and justice sector employees, and civilians in restaurants. UNAMA attributed 74 per cent of all civilian casualties to anti-Government elements and nine per cent to Pro-Government Forces (eight per cent to Afghan national security forces and one per cent to international military forces), while 12 per cent occurred in ground engagements between insurgents and Afghan forces which could not be attributed to a specific party. The remaining casualties were caused mainly by explosive remnants of war.Compared with the first six months of 2009, when UNAMA began to monitor civilian casualties, the number of civilians killed by anti-Government elements doubled in 2014 while the number of civilians killed by Pro-Government forces has been cut by half almost entirely due to reduced civilian casualties from aerial operations of international military forces.“The long-term trend shows that Anti-Government Elements are responsible for an increasingly large share of civilian casualties in the conflict,” said Special Representative Kubiš. “While all parties to the conflict – including Afghan national security forces – must do more to uphold their obligations under international law to avoid harm to civilians, the onus is clearly on the Taliban and other anti-Government elements to reverse this trend and deliver on their stated commitments to do so.”UNAMA made a number of recommendations addressed to anti-Government elements, the Government of Afghanistan and the International Military Forces in in its 2014 Mid-Year Report to improve the protection of civilians.UNAMA shared a draft of it 2014 Mid-Year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict with the Government of Afghanistan, the Taliban and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Comments from all these parties were carefully reviewed and addressed as appropriate in the report. UNAMA continues to work with all parties to the conflict to support their efforts to protect civilians and to end and prevent civilian casualties. read more

Iran UN rights chief calls for end to executions for drug offences

“Given the broadening recognition in Iran that death penalty does not deter drug crime and that anti-narcotics laws need to be reformed, I call on Iran to take the important first step of instituting a moratorium on the use of death penalty,” said High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.Last year, at least 966 people were executed in Iran – the highest rate in more than two decades – the majority for drug offences. At least four of those executed in 2015 were juveniles. So far this year, 60 executions have reportedly been carried out in Iran, less than the number in the same period last year.He, however, noted that five men were hanged last weekend, three of them on charges of narcotics trafficking. The other two men were convicted of murder.In at least one of the cases, that of Rashid Kouhi, there were serious concerns about the fairness of the trial and the denial of his right to appeal. Kouhi was sentenced to death in 2012 after he was found in possession of 800 grams of crystal meth. He was executed last Saturday in Gilan province in northern Iran.In December last year, 70 parliamentarians presented a bill to amend the existing mandatory death penalty for drug offences. The bill provides for life imprisonment in such cases. It remains to be seen whether it will be taken forward in the new Parliament.“There have been encouraging signs from within Iran towards reform of the law, from the judiciary, the executive and the legislature and I hope the new Parliament will adopt these changes,” Mr. Zeid said. “But it is unfortunate that executions for drug-related offences – crimes that clearly do not meet the threshold under international human rights law for application of the death penalty – continue to be carried out in the meantime.”He also expressed serious concerns about the large number of juvenile offenders reported to be on death row in Iran. He urged the authorities to ensure that no one is executed for offences committed under the age of 18, stressing that there is a strict prohibition against the execution of juvenile offenders in international human rights law, including in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran ratified in 1975 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it ratified in 1994. read more

Stoppage Time Is Often HomeCooked Especially in Major League Soccer

I wrote last week about the vagaries of stoppage time at the World Cup. The referee decides how many minutes to add at the end of each half of play — ostensibly based on how much of each 45-minute half was lost to injury, bookings, goal celebrations and other major delays. The referee doesn’t have to explain the decision, and it can sometimes puzzle fans and rankle teams. Trailing sides think they’re due more time, and leading sides want to get things over with quickly.Researchers have found that more than just time delays influence the amount of stoppage-time allotted. Refs in Spanish club football “systematically favor home teams by shortening close games where the home team is ahead, and lengthening close games where the home team is behind,” Luis Garicano, Ignacio Palacios-Huerta and Canice Prendergast reported in 2005.At the World Cup, only the host — Brazil, this year — truly has a home-field advantage. But in club soccer, home advantage is more relevant, and current data shows it’s not just Spanish club refs who favor the home side. Many of the clubs that enjoy the biggest home advantage in stoppage time play in Major League Soccer, the top U.S. and Canadian professional league. Although some U.S. fans objected to the amount of stoppage time awarded at the end of the U.S.-Portugal match, their domestic league is the club king of home-cooked stoppage time.To estimate home advantage in club soccer, I asked soccer stats providers TruMedia Networks for data from the major European club competitions, plus MLS. Using Opta data, TruMedia compiled the average amount of stoppage time awarded for clubs when playing at home, when entering second-half stoppage time in two different game states: ahead by a goal or trailing by a goal. That’s when the amount of stoppage time matters most: The leading team wants less time awarded, to hang on to the lead, and the trailing team wants more time to seek an equalizer. Teams’ motivations in tied games are harder to detect, and teams leading by two or more goals usually can rest easy entering stoppage time. (The data for the European clubs covers matches in the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga, France’s Ligue 1 and the Champions League since 2010-2011; in MLS, it covers all matches since 2012, through last Tuesday.)Average Allotted Stoppage TimeIn all, the data included 1,884 matches in which the home team led by a goal entering stoppage time, and 1,326 matches in which the home team trailed by a goal entering stoppage time. (There are more of the former because home teams win more often than they lose.) On average, the home team gets eight more seconds when it needs more time than when it doesn’t: Three minutes and 59 seconds compared to three minutes and 51 seconds. That’s a 4 percent increase: small, but enough to get the average home team a net gain in goals when it needs them over thousands of matches.The home edge varies widely across leagues. In Ligue 1, it’s somewhat surprisingly reversed: The home team gets 1 percent less time, on average, when trailing by a goal than when leading by a goal. Serie A and the Premier League — despite the fame of Fergie time — are around average. And in the Bundesliga and MLS, the home edge is a whopping 11 percent. That amounts to a more significant edge in absolute soccer terms for MLS home teams, however, because the average amount of stoppage time awarded is greater in the U.S. club league: Home teams trailing by a goal get an average of 28 more seconds than those leading by a goal in MLS, compared to just 19 more seconds in the Bundesliga.It’s impossible to say over a single match, or a small set of matches, that stoppage-time awarding is flawed: Maybe the game in which the home team trailed did have more disruptions, by chance or because there’s something systematic about such matches that eats more time. But the gap in MLS and Bundesliga, over more than 300 matches in each, is big enough to be suspicious. That doesn’t mean refs are consciously favoring the home side: It’s possible they’re influenced by the crowd or other circumstances without knowing it.Some clubs get an especially immense home advantage at the end of matches. Most of the biggest outliers are in the MLS. Among the 183 clubs studied, 117 had at least five home matches in the sample in which they entered stoppage time behind by a goal, and also had at least five matches in which they entered stoppage time ahead by a goal. Among these 117 clubs, the five with the biggest favorable home edge in absolute terms all were in the MLS. Ranking instead by percentage edge, these same five clubs place in the top nine. They are the Chicago Fire, the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Vancouver Whitecaps, Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City.Average Allotted Stoppage TimeGarth Lagerwey, general manager of Real Salt Lake, wasn’t surprised by the findings. He attributed them in part to the inexperience of MLS refs. Few have been full-time employees, though their number has increased this season after a lockout, “so they’re right at the beginning of the curve in terms of referee-growth development,” Lagerwey said in a phone interview. The influence of the crowd on refs “shows up in every sport: the NFL, the NBA and soccer,” he said. “The more experienced the referee, the less variation” he’d expect in stoppage time depending on the situation.Peter Walton, general manager of the Professional Referee Organization, which employees MLS refs, said he’d take a closer look at the issue of fairness in stoppage-time decisions. “I was not aware of any patterns in stoppage-time allowance,” Walton said in an email. “However, on the strength of your data I will be taking more interest in stoppage time per club. This is such a subjective topic and I feel more definitive guidelines are required to become more transparent in its use.” read more

Alex Bayne stepping up as leader slugger for Ohio State softball

OSU redshirt junior outfielder Alex Bayne (left). Credit: Courtesy of OSU“Small but mighty” might be the most fitting adage to describe Ohio State softball player Alex Bayne. Despite standing a mere 5-foot-5, the redshirt junior is currently leading her team in home runs and RBIs after three weekends of play.“She’s a monster in the weight room,” said OSU coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly.Bayne, a Texas native, played her freshman year at Marshall University in West Virginia but said she did not find her fit in the team and culture. After visiting a friend at OSU, she fell in love with the community and decided to transfer.“I saw the team was having open tryouts, and I was lucky enough for them to want me to come on,” Bayne said.Schoenly already envisioned Bayne, who took a year off from playing in 2014, as a great addition to the team prior to tryouts.“She pestered me over email for seven months, saying, ‘Coach, I want to try out for the team,’” Schoenly said. “After, she came into my office and had zero expectations. She was willing to do whatever we needed her to do.”This conversation showed Schoenly the type of selfless player the outfielder was — and continues to be — as she steps into a larger leadership role this season.“My close friends last year were the leaders, and I just followed in their footsteps and communicated with my coaches about what they and my team need out of me,” Bayne said.Bayne, who studies strategic communication, was given the OSU Sportsmanship Award in 2015, in addition to being named a scholar-athlete. Because of her natural leadership skills, her teammates nominated her to be a captain despite having just a lone season donning the scarlet and gray. Senior teammate Maddy McIntyre, who ultimately earned the captain role, indicated her enthusiasm about what Bayne continues to bring to the team.“Bayne has kind of taken it to a new level this year. She’s really stepped up into a leadership role,” McIntyre said. “She’s just the embodiment of empathy and so mature beyond her years.”Like McIntyre, Schoenly also described Bayne as lighthearted and commended her incessant dedication to the team.“She’s never going to leave anybody out. She’s a part of every group on the team,” Schoenly said, mentioning how Bayne will offer to give teammates rides or help the pitchers out at any chance she gets.Schoenly also recalled a game against Nebraska last season when Bayne’s commitment first started to show.“I put her in to pinch hit and she hit a double. I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to keep her in,’ and then she hit another double,” Schoenly said.Within two weeks, Bayne had earned a starting position, and by the end of the season, she was hitting .375 with 17 RBIs.“A few games after Nebraska, she hit two home runs against Ohio University,” Schoenly said. “Because of her commitment to the process, she was more than ready for the opportunity.”Those two home runs were just the beginning of the slugger’s ascension to being one of the Buckeyes’ most dominant and consistent hitters. As she takes on a starting role, Bayne said she wants to focus on what her team needs rather than being only a big hitter.“Hopefully, I can continue to keep doing what I’ve been doing, but I’m not trying to think too big,” Bayne said. “Just bat on ball.”McIntyre laughed when asked what she expects from Bayne as the season moves forward.“If she could hit three home runs every weekend, we would love that,” she joked. Regardless of whether Bayne actually hits three home runs per weekend, she said she plans to keep supporting her teammates no matter what happens. “I just want to be there for my team through the ups and downs of it all,” she said.Bayne is planning to use her fifth year of eligibility on the diamond to attend OSU for graduate school, where she hopes to prepare for a career in either a communication program at a university or an athletics public relations firm.To Schoenly, who praised her player’s outlook on life, Bayne is the precedent for the younger players when it comes to making the most out of any opportunity.“She has this ‘I’m not taking anything for granted’ attitude,” Schoenly said. “She is really competitive, though.”Right now, Bayne’s competitive edge is the epicenter of the Buckeyes’ dynamic start to the season. The Scarlet and Gray are 9-4 with a chance to bolster that mark during a four-game stint in Tempe, Arizona, beginning Friday. When asked about whether her choice to come to OSU was the right one, Bayne’s eyes lit up as she started to grin.“It’s been one of the best decisions of my life,” she said. read more

Acer launches Iconia Tab A110 an overpriced Nexus 7 wannabe

first_imgOn October 30th, there will be a new 7-inch Android tablet hitting retail shelves in North America. While you’re probably hoping that means the new 32GB Nexus 7, it’s actually Acer trying to sneak its new Iconia Tab A110 into the limelight.It’s a decent little 7-inch slate, powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core clocked at 1.2GHz (sound familiar?). There’s also 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, and a 2 megapixel Hangout-friendly front-facing camera.Based on how the A110 looks on paper, Acer’s going to have a tough time selling this 7-incher. With the base model priced at $229, it’s a full $30 more than the Nexus 7. And that 1024×600 resolution isn’t as sharp as what you’d get if you gave your money directly to Google instead. You’ll also be giving up about 900mAh of additional power if you opt for the A110.But hey, at least the A110 has a microSD expansion slot and a micro HDMI port.With that 32GB Nexus 7 all but confirmed, there’s a good chance Google’s tablets will see either a spec or pricing shakeup on the same day the Ionia Tab A110 is set to launch — invites have already gone out, so we’ll know soon enough just how much trouble the A110 is in.You’ve got to give Google bonus points for timing on the event now that Acer’s revealed a launch date for it’s latest slab. Is someone trying to send a strong message  about that whole Aliyun OS kerfuffle?last_img read more

Les forêts européennes souffrent de leur fragmentation

first_imgLes forêts européennes souffrent de leur fragmentationA ce jour, l’Europe compte 1,02 milliard d’hectares de forêt, soit un quart du total mondial. Chaque année, elle gagne 800.000 hectares de superficie. Pourtant, les forêts européennes sont malgré tout menacées, alerte le Programme des Nations unies pour l’environnement (Pnue). L’organisme onusien évoque en effet un morcellement croissant des forêts engendré par les abattages et les incendies.Le 5 juin prochain, la journée mondiale de l’Environnement sera consacrée aux forêts et à leur préservation. Si les forêts européennes, celles de la Russie comprises, représentent le quart de la surface forestière mondiale et augmentent régulièrement chaque année, elles sont elles aussi menacées, alertent le PNUE à cette occasion.À lire aussiLa migration de millions de crabes rouges filmée sur l’île de ChristmasIvonne Higuero, une experte de l’organisation onusienne, a présenté un rapport sur l’état des forêts européenne en 2011. “La bonne nouvelle est une augmentation du nombre de régions forestières”, a-t-elle annoncé, rapporte le site de la RTBF. Chaque année, l’Europe gagne 800.000 hectares de surfaces boisées. Mais “la mauvaise nouvelle est que cette progression n’est pas répartie également entre les pays” du continent, a déploré Ivonne Higuero. Mais la principale menace qui pèse sur les forêts européennes est un morcellement croissant, qui concerne surtout notamment l’Espagne, le centre de l’Europe et le nord de la Méditerranée. Une fragmentation engendrée par les abattages, les incendies, la conversion de terres pour l’agriculture et l’urbanisation.Le morcellement des forêts rend les parcelles “plus vulnérables aux changements climatiques”, menaçant la survie de certaines espèces. le PNUE recommande alors la création de “corridors verts” reliant les espaces boisés. La fragmentation menace en outre “la stabilité des sols” et pourrait avoir un impact important sur l’approvisionnement en eaudes “villes et communautés qui vivent de ces écosystèmes”, explique le rapport. Les experts du PNUE et de la Commission européenne travaillent alors sur une carte des zones les plus touchées par le phénomène, et devraient pouvoir la présenter lors de la réunion ministérielle sur les forêts qui se tiendra à Oslo du 14 au 16 juin prochains. Le 2 juin 2011 à 11:45 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more