The intimidation of local journalists over a recent New York Times (NYT) report drew strong criticism today.Michael Slackman, the International Editor of the The New York Times said that it was unacceptable for journalists to be intimidated in this way. “This action appears intended to silence critics and curb press freedoms, and ultimately deprive Sri Lankans of information in the public interest,” Slackman said. Slackman said that a group of Sri Lankan Parliamentarians allied with the former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, held a news conference to publicly criticize two journalists who contributed logistical assistance to a rigorously reported and accurate New York Times investigation into the Hambantota port, published on June 26. The Times said that it expects the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure the safety of journalists working for their or any news organization.“If Mr. Rajapaksa takes issue with Times reporting, we have encouraged him to contact senior editors at The New York Times rather than intimidating Sri Lankan journalists,” The New York Times said. (Colombo Gazette)
Moody’s changes Ontario debt outlook to negative from stable amid deficit fears TORONTO – Moody’s credit rating agency changed Ontario’s debt rating Wednesday to negative from stable, citing concerns about the province’s ability to eliminate a $12.5 billion deficit by 2017-18 as scheduled.“After several years of weak to moderate economic growth, and higher than previously anticipated deficits projected for the next two years, the province is facing a greater challenge to return to balanced outcomes than previously anticipated,” Moody’s Investors Service said in a statement.The change in outlook affects approximately $250 billion in debt securities, Moody’s said as it reaffirmed Ontario’s Aa2 ratings.The ratings agency didn’t wait for the Liberals to introduce their budget July 14 before lowering the outlook to negative, but Premier Kathleen Wynne has said it will be identical to the May 1 fiscal plan that was rejected by the opposition parties, triggering the June 12 election.“Although the province has not yet tabled a new budget following its June election, indications are that it will be little changed from the May budget, which Moody’s indicated was credit negative for the province,” said Moody’s vice president Michael Yake.“Failure to redress the fiscal challenges would add further pressures to a debt burden that has worsened in recent years.”Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the recently re-elected Liberal government remains committed to eliminating the $12.5 billion budget shortfall in three years, and blamed a weak economy and the federal government for the fact Ontario had to “adjust” its deficit targets for the next two years.“Due to lower revenue growth and federal cuts to transfers, we have adjusted short-term deficit targets but remain on track to balance the budget by 2017-18,” Sousa said in a statement.“We have cut expenses, and Ontario has become the leanest government in Canada with the lowest per-capita spending of any province.”But Moody’s said Ontario is facing a greater challenge to return to balanced budgets than previously anticipated, and warned the Liberal government will need to make “a considerable shift from recent trends” on spending if it is to meet its deficit targets.“Ontario’s rating could be downgraded if the province fails to provide clear signals of its ability and willingness to implement the required measures to redress the current fiscal pressures,” said Moody’s.“The outlook could return to stable if the province demonstrates through concrete measures that it will be able to achieve the very constrained expenditure growth rates and expected revenue growth over the term of its fiscal plan.”The Liberals were re-elected with a majority and the 2014 budget detailed plans for hundreds of millions of dollars in spending cuts, added Sousa.“I will be working with our new President of Treasury Board to further manage and control expenses and reduce our debt and deficit through a responsible plan that … includes new annual program savings targets of $250 million for 2014-15 and $500 million for each of the next two years,” he said.The Progressive Conservatives had warned in May and June that credit rating agencies were holding back on negative comments about the Liberal’s budget until after the June 12 election to avoid interfering in the campaign.Follow @CPnewsboy on Twitter by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 2, 2014 5:29 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
How low can it go?Oil dipped to a $40.80 a barrel Wednesday in prices not seen since spring of 2009, and it’s just more bad news for a struggling sector.The President of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors says there’s been about a 50 per cent drop in activity this year, contributing to thousands of layoffs.Mark Scholz says their June forecast predicted these sinking numbers.“What I think is very startling is that when you look at the number of active rigs that are working today, we are seeing similar activity that we saw in the mid-80s,” he said.He says the plunge equals about 25,000 fewer jobs available on the rigs.When prices eventually do bounce back, he explains, it’s going to be difficult to bring some of these people back into the field.“The people that we are losing right now are not your junior, entry-level positions. These are now your senior, most trained, most experienced individuals, that are certainly now being impacted,” he said. “From a training perspective to bringing those individuals up through the ranks, mentoring them, getting them in those experienced, senior positions — when those senior positions leave, it’s when industry is certainly hurting when it starts to rebound.”For now, it’s all about weathering the storm.Scholz says we are going to see depressed activity rates going into the third and fourth quarters of this year, and 2016 is not looking much better. by Kaitlin Lee Posted Aug 20, 2015 7:42 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email (Stock photo: FreeImages.com) Oil and gas continues game of limbo, as prices hit six year lows
Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva that the group of 13 had tried to seek asylum in Cambodia after they told local sources that they fled religious persecution in Viet Nam. However, provincial authorities in Cambodia warned that if they were caught, they would be deported back to Viet Nam.Last week, the Montagnards had communicated that they were ready to come forward, with the presence of the UN. Early on Saturday morning, a group of eight Montagnards, including one woman, had presented themselves to a joint team of UN and local authorities. Later that day, the UN team of three human rights officers and one driver scoured the jungle to search for the other group of five who wished to present themselves to the UN. Provincial police later informed the team that the group was being held in custody. The five were handed over to the joint team that evening. “When our team found them, the 13 Montagnards were thin, exhausted, dishevelled and complaining of various health problems after more than seven weeks of sleeping rough on the forest floor with little to eat,” said Ms. Shamdasani.The asylum claims of the 13 people are now being processed by the Cambodian Government’s Refugee Department.“We are grateful for the close collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and with our partners at the UN refugee agency (UNHCR),” Ms. Shamdasani said. “We thank the Ministry of Interior for its cooperation throughout the past two months, in spite of the difficulties with the provincial authorities. “We acknowledge with appreciation the cooperation of the provincial law enforcement authorities in the final instance, when they ultimately allowed the last five to apply for asylum. We will continue to work with the Government to ensure that any future cases are handled in line with the standards required by international law.”
The idea that subsidizing fossil fuels is a way to improve people’s lives could not be more wrong, said the UN chief in the Austrian capital, Vienna, because it means spending taxpayers’ money to “boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers, to bleach corals: to destroy the world.”Mr. Guterres went on to call for the decarbonization of urban infrastructure, a halt to coal plants, and the promotion of sustainable consumption and production: “in short, we need a green economy, not a grey economy.”Financing a ‘post-carbon’ societyIn the lead up to the UN Climate Summit this September, the Secretary-General has enlisted the President of France, the Prime Minister of Jamaica and the Emir of Qatar to mobilize international support to secure the $100 billion goal agreed by UN Member States at the Paris climate conference in 2015, necessary for advancing climate mitigation and adaptation in the developing world.Investors need to stop “financing pollution”, scale up green ventures and increase lending for low-carbon solutions”, he insisted, adding that the private sector and investment communities must support a “bold and ambitions climate agenda”, because climate action is not only good for people and the planet, it can also be good for business.Fossil fuel subsidies mean using taxpayers’ money to boost hurricanes, spread droughts & melt glaciers. As taxpayers, I believe we would like to see our money back rather than see it used to destroy the world. My remarks at @R20_AWS: https://t.co/0BAWMuilXd #ClimateAction pic.twitter.com/dAB43HMF2m— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) May 28, 2019 ‘Silver lining to the looming cloud’Recounting his recent trip to Tuvalu, a low-lying island state in the South Pacific that risks being inundated by rising sea levels, Mr. Guterres highlighted the fact that “rarely a day goes by,” without news of yet another disaster, such as floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme storms.However, there is a “silver lining to the looming cloud”, because, although the current situation is extremely serious, the shift to a green economy would see profound benefits for societies around the world, with cleaner water and air, less pollution, more chemical-free agriculture and reduced biodiversity loss.Regional action is ‘key to addressing the climate crisis’The R20 Austrian World Summit is a long-term initiative to help regions, states and cities to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, and meet the global climate protection targets outlined in the Paris Agreement to limit climate change. R20 aims to develop the summit to become the most important European meeting place for climate action solutions.One of the other high-profile speakers at the opening session of the event was outspoken Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who initiated the school strike for climate movement in November 2018, at the age of 15.Ms. Thunberg said that millions of children have been gaining lots of attention for the climate emergency, but they, like scientists, are not leaders, unlike many of the politicians, CEOs and celebrities attending the Summit: “people listen to you, and are influenced by you. You have an enormous responsibility, a responsibility that most of you have failed to take.”Climate change is an emergency, the biggest crisis that humanity has ever faced Greta Thunberg, youth climate activistSuch influencers, she added, cannot rely on people to read between the lines or search for scientific information. They must explain repeatedly, no matter how uncomfortable or unprofitable that may be. Ms. Thunberg reminded the audience that, although climate change may be a chance for green growth, it is primarily “an emergency, the biggest crisis that humanity has ever faced.”The work of Governor Schwarzenegger and the R20 coalition, in highlighting the importance of climate action at a “sub-national” city and regional level, was praised by the UN chief, who described sub-national action as being “key to addressing the climate crisis”, not only because regional and city governments are closer to the people, but because “regions and cities are the main engines of the world economy.”
Julie Koudys has become the second Brock University faculty member appointed to the Ontario government’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Expert Committee.“It’s an exciting and challenging opportunity, especially for a new researcher,” says Koudys, Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Disability Studies.Koudys joins Maurice Feldman, Professor in the Department of Child and Youth Studies and the Department of Applied Disability Studies on the committee that provides clinical advice to Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) treatments, services and supports for children, youth and their families.Committee members review and analyze evidence-based research on treatments, services and supports for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders.Koudys also recently received the 2017 Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis Research Award, which recognizes an individual who is conducting meaningful research in the Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) field. She is the former chair of the Ontario Scientific Expert Taskforce for the Treatment of ASD.Earlier this year, the taskforce released a report recommending that ABA be used in autism care and describing a wide variety of evidence-based interventions that use ABA to bring about specific results.Lawmakers discussed the report in the Ontario legislature to support the adoption of evidence-based practices in the Ontario Autism Program.Applied behaviour analysis interventions are considered to be the gold standard in autism care because they’re based on the best available research and have been applied effectively in the past.Some of these interventions include:Language training: methods to help individuals with ASD produce sounds or spoken words.Functional behaviour assessment: a systematic way of determining the underlying function or purpose of a behaviour so that an effective intervention plan can be developed.Parent training and parent-implemented interventions: includes programs in which parents are trained to carry out some or all of the interventions with their own child.Koudys says the fact three of the 10 people on the ASD Clinical Expert Committee are applied behaviour analysts is “significant in recognizing the expertise in research and clinical practice that behaviour analysts in Ontario have to contribute to policy and program development.”She credits Brock’s Applied Disability Studies program for offering the largest ABA graduate program in the province and for contributing to the exponential growth of ABA capacity in the field.Koudys says she hopes the committee will, among other things, examine how to expand ASD programs and services to include younger children and older youth, especially those with complex needs, who often miss out on such supports.
How do you make your smartphones stand out in 2012? Well, you could try constantly cramming the latest hardware into your handsets, but everyone else is doing that, too. You can’t rely on the operating system to set your phones apart, either, unless you’re Apple or RIM and no one else can use the OS.It’s all down to software, then, and that’s one of the contributing factors behind Samsung’s decision to purchase mSpot. Launched back in 2005, mSpot was an early player in the cloud media game. They brought their apps to smartphones back in 2009, though it’s been a struggle to compete with competitors like Spotify, Rdio, and MOG. Who wants to go through the hassle of uploading their private music library and still have to pay a monthly fee to stream when you can skip the uploads and get instant access to millions of tracks you don’t own, too?Struggles or no, Samsung will benefit from bringing mSpot’s apps and programming talent into the fold. They’ll provide an instant boost for the new S Cloud platform and help Samsung deliver a more cohesive media experience across all their connected devices. As an added bonus, mSpot also had deals in place with Disney, Lion’s Gate, Sony, Warner, NBC/Universal, Paramount, and other major studios to stream movies and TV shows to mobile devices.Even though Samsung is in the somewhat unique position of having their own chips to power their smartphones, it’s the on-phone experience that really wins users over. It was clear at the Galaxy S3 reveal — with those new social photo sharing features, file beaming, and rich voice command support — that powerful, compelling software is now the cornerstone of Samsung’s smartphone experience.Release available at Market Watch
From inception up until the setting up process, how did you start your business?I started my business working from home in the kitchen, then I moved to the lounge room and then the back room. Once my two children were born I had to move my work out of the house and into the garage. From here I employed two engineers and finally we ran out of space in the garage and had to move into a larger work space, which is when we re-located to 1130 Burke Road Balwyn North – our current office. As our client base and work load grew, so did the number of staff we employed. We now have a full office and demand is still growing.Did your Greek-Australian background help you or impede you during your early days?I believe it helped me a great deal in the sense that many people with a Greek background knew what line of work I was in and when they needed engineering services they felt they could relate to me. My Greek background also helped me because there are many first generation Greeks that cannot always speak fluent English so my ability to speak Greek was a great advantage in working with these clients. My long involvement with soccer helped me a great deal early on in my career in regards to networking. (Kyrgios played goal keeper for Clifton Hill, Brunswick Juventus, Banyule City & Lalor over 30s and more recently, he has begun coaching).What would you say stands out as the comparative advantage of your business over the competition? Each project we document is looked at on its own merits. Regardless of the scale, each job is treated with the utmost dedication and commitment. We have personalised and thorough documentation on every project no matter how small the fees are. How is business currently?Business at the moment is very good and there is definitely no shortage of work. Even though the economy is still going through a crisis at the moment, people have not stopped building and developing residences, commercial properties and even apartment buildings. Annually we provide work experience for university students. Although this may not produce a position in the company, they are given an opportunity to experience real engineering problems. I strongly believe [in] giving young people an opportunity as I was given one 20 years ago.What is your vision for the future of your business?My vision is to continue producing a high standard of work and hopefully take on a larger number of substantial projects such as the number of apartment buildings we have designed in the last seven years. Do you have any tips for young entrepreneurs?My philosophy is that if you really want something you will do your best to achieve it. It is also important to enjoy what you do and if this is the case and you apply yourself you will succeed. Think big! Always set goals and don’t limit yourself to what you can achieve. If you think you are only going to get to a certain level that is the level you will reach and you won’t get any further. Always think positive keep an open mind. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Alerte Météo France orange : de la neige désormais attendue dans 37 départementsLundi, Météo France a étendu l’alerte orange qu’elle a émise ce matin : ce sont désormais 37 départements qui sont concernés par les chutes de neige jusqu’à mardi 15 janvier, 16H. Les premiers flocons sont tombés lundi en fin d’après-midi mais n’ont pas tardé à s’étendre. Après avoir déclenché une alerte orange sur 14 départements du Nord à l’Ile-de-France, Météo France a décidé d’étendre la vigilance au sud-est à 23 départements supplémentaires. Ce sont ainsi désormais 37 départements qui sont concernés par l’alerte aux chutes de neige : ceux des régions Bourgogne et Limousin ainsi que l’Ain, l’Allier, l’Ardèche, les Ardennes, l’Ariège, l’Aube, le Cher, la Haute-Garonne, la Drôme, l’Isère, la Loire, le Loiret, la Marne, les Pyrénées-Atlantiques, les Hautes-Pyrénées, le Rhône et enfin la Seine-Maritime.La neige, mêlée à de la pluie, est d’ores et déjà arrivée sur le Nord-Pas-de-Calais et en Normandie. Mais les intempéries devraient s’intensifier dans la soirée selon les météorologistes. On attend 5 cm sur la Seine-Maritime, la Picardie et le Nord-Pas-de-Calais avec des cumuls locaux de 8 à 10 cm le long de la côte, et de 2 à 5 cm sur l’Ile-de-France. Collante, cette neige devrait tenir au sol et s’accompagner de rafales de vents à 50km/h. Du verglas est également attendu jusqu’au mardi 15 janvier, 16h. Face à cette alerte, l’Ile-de-France a déclenché aujourd’hui à 14H le niveau 2 du plan neige ou verglas qui prévoit des limitations de vitesse pour les poids lourds. Depuis 18H, la vitesse des véhicules de plus de 3,5 tonnes et de ceux transportant des matières dangereuses est limitée à 80 km/h et les dépassements sont interdits sur les axes du PNVIF. La circulation des plus de 3,50 tonnes et celles des véhicules de transport de matières dangereuses est également interdite sur la RN 118.La vigilance de mise au volant À lire aussi(VIDÉO) Un radar détecte un nuage de coccinelles de 80 kilomètres de large Cependant, il est recommandé à tous les automobilistes d’être très prudents et de limiter les déplacements si possible. Il leur est également conseillé de prévoir un équipement minimum en cas de blocage ou de longue attente sur la route. Par ailleurs, Météo France met également en garde contre le risque d’inondations : “Ne vous engagez en aucun cas à pied ou en voiture sur une voie immergée ou à proximité d’un cours d’eau”. Dans les Pyrénées, la situation est encore plus sérieuse puisque les fortes pluies et la neige conduisent à un fort risque d’avalanche. D’après Météo France, les cumuls de neige atteindront localement un mètre et les accumulations seront renforcées sous l’effet du vent de nord. Certaines de ces avalanches pourront ainsi menacer des secteurs routiers dès mardi matin de l’Ariège aux Hautes-Pyrénées et un peu plus tardivement sur l’extrême ouest. Le 14 janvier 2013 à 17:59 • Maxime Lambert
Less than a quarter (24%) of respondents felt motivated at work in 2015, according to research by Red Letter Days for Business.Its report, Employee motivation: Who came out on top in 2015?’, which is based on 2,006 responses from employees, also found that 34% of staff could not name a single occasion where they felt motivated at work last year.The research also found:Almost (46%) of respondents have neutral or negative feelings towards their job.Just 21% of respondents aged between 18 and 24 felt motivated at work last year, compared to 17% of respondents aged 45-55 and 39% of 25 to 34-year-olds.82% of those who felt motivated in 2015 received some form of reward or recognition.Around half (46%) of respondents who could choose whether they worked at home or in the office were highly engaged.45% of respondents cited a good work-life balance as a key motivator for them in 2015, and 16% of respondents found their workplace environment to be highly motivating.17% said that their boss is very good at saying thank you and keeping them motivated.Bill Alexander (pictured), chief executive officer of Red Letter Days for Business, said: “It’s worrying that only a small percentage of each age group could say ‘yes’ they feel motivated at work. What’s more worrying is how little 18-24 year olds are driven; this is our workforce of the future therefore employers need to do more to nurture this talent.“It’s concerning that such a large percentage of our workforces had difficulty naming a specific time when they felt driven. However, we must note that out of the employees who could remember an occasion the top responses fell into one of four categories: achieved, challenged, gained knowledge and recognised.“Employers who strive towards giving their staff the opportunities to experience these four elements throughout 2016 will no doubt benefit from an engaged and driven workforce.”
The Valdez Museum is commemorating next week’s 50th anniversary of the 1964 Earthquake with the launch of two exhibits.Download Audio
The IL&FS group is facing serious liquidity crisis and has defaulted on interest payments on various debt repayments since 27 August.ReutersThe Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) are now taking desperate measures to raise the funds. In the latest attempt, the IL&FS group has put high-end cars, office furniture, electrical appliances and other assets on sale.The Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) including its various group firms have invited bids to sell 36 luxury cars, including brands like Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Land Rover, Honda, Toyota and Skoda. The beleaguered firm has set a base price a little less than Rs.9 crore for these vehicles.Additionally, in another attempt to raise the capital, the group has also invited the bids for the lump sum sale of its used furniture and white goods on ‘as is where is’ basis at its properties in Mumbai and Kolkata.The IL&FS is going through a phase of a serious debt crisis and have defaulted on various debt repayment since late August. The IL&FS group burdened with a whopping Rs 90,000 crore debt and the default of the financial behemoth has sent cripple effect in the economy.Centre has sacked the existing board and has elected the renowned banker Uday Kotak to help the firm get out of the trouble. It is to be noted that, government-owned Life Insurance Cooperation of India (LIC) is the largest shareholder owning one-fourth of the firm’s equity, while the other shareholders include Orix Corporation of Japan, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Central Bank of India, and SBI.Recently, cash-strapped IL&FS’s move to divest renewable energy assets worth over Rs 8,000 crore has picked up pace as Uday Kotak-led board inviting expressions of interest. Multiple companies have shown their interest to take over these assets which includes Norway’s state-owned renewable energy producer Statkraft, I Squared Capital, Actis, Macquarie and the Hinduja Group.
BCL men chased the procession led by newly elected DUCSU VP Nurul Huq on the DU campus on Tuesday. Photo: Abdus Salam Banlgladesh Chhatra League (BCL) leaders and activists on Tuesday assaulted newly-elected DUCSU VP Nurul Huq and his associates at TSC on the Dhaka Universtity campus.Nurul Huq reached the DU campus at 1:45pm from hospital where he was undergoing treatment after being assaulted by BCL activists on the election day. He along with his associates went to the Teacher Student Center and was talking to the media there.BCL leaders and activists carried out the attacks on the leaders and activists of quota reformist panels who contested Dhaka University Students’ Union (DUCSU) polls. At that time, Nurul and his associates took shelter inside the TSC.BCL men beat up several people and chanted slogans.Nurul bagged the VP post of DUCSU deafeating the BCL candidate in Monday’s election. BCL, however, rejected the results. They brought out a procession in protest.
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin vowed to seek closer ties as they met for the first time on Thursday, in talks aimed at countering US influence.Putin emerged from the meeting in Russia’s Vladivostok saying that like Washington, Moscow supports efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula and prevent nuclear conflicts.But he insisted that Pyongyang “needs guarantees of its security, the preservation of its sovereignty”, and took a veiled swipe at the US for trying to strong-arm North Korea.”We need to… return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” Putin said.The summit in the Far Eastern port city came with Kim locked in a nuclear stand-off with the United States and Putin keen to put Moscow forward as a player in another global flashpoint.The two leaders greeted each other warmly, shaking hands and sharing smiles, at the start of meetings on an island off Vladivostok that lasted nearly five hours.Putin, known for delaying meetings with international guests, was waiting for Kim when he emerged from his limousine.Both men said they were looking to strengthen ties that date back to the Soviet Union’s support for the founder of North Korea, Kim’s grandfather Kim Il Sung.- Borscht, crab, dumplings -Kim said he hoped to turn the modern relationship with Moscow into a “more stable and sound one” while Putin said the visit would give a boost to diplomatic and economic ties.Putin said he supported Kim’s efforts to normalise relations with the United States and hoped to find out “what Russian can do” to help with the issue of denuclearisation.The two later shared a lunch that included borscht, crab salad and venison dumplings, Russian news agency TASS reported.Putin told reporters after Kim departed that he would fill in Washington on the results of the talks.”There are no secrets here, no conspiracies… Chairman Kim himself asked us to inform the American side of our position,” said Putin, who was due to fly on to Beijing for another summit.Kim, who arrived a day earlier in his armoured train, was expected to stay in Vladivostok until Friday for cultural events that Russian media have reported will include a ballet and a visit to the city’s aquarium.The meeting was Kim’s first with another head of state since returning from his Hanoi summit with US President Donald Trump, which broke down in February without a deal on North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.It followed repeated invitations from Putin after Kim embarked on a series of diplomatic overtures last year.Since March 2018, the North Korean leader has held four meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, three with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in, two with Trump and one with Vietnam’s president.At the meeting with Trump in Hanoi, the cash-strapped North demanded immediate relief from sanctions, but the talks broke up in disagreement over what Pyongyang was prepared to give up in return.Russia has already called for the sanctions to be eased, while the US has accused it of trying to help Pyongyang evade some of the measures — accusations Russia denies.There were no concrete announcements or agreements, but analysts said Thursday’s meeting was valuable to both sides.”For North Korea, it’s all about securing another exit. China talks about sanctions relief but it doesn’t really put it into action,” said Koo Kab-woo, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.”For Russia, North Korea is elevating it back to one of the direct parties, on the same footing as China.”- North Korean labourers -Among the issues that were likely discussed was the fate of some 10,000 North Korean labourers working in Russia and due to leave by the end of this year under sanctions.Labour is one of North Korea’s key exports and sources of cash. Pyongyang has reportedly asked Russia to continue to employ its workers after the deadline.Moscow was a crucial backer of Pyongyang for decades and their ties go back to the founding of North Korea, when the Soviet Union installed Kim Il Sung as leader.The USSR reduced funding to the North as it began to seek reconciliation with Seoul in the 1980s, but Pyongyang was hit hard by its demise in 1991.Soon after his first election as Russian president, Putin sought to normalise relations and met Kim Jong Il — the current leader’s father and predecessor — three times, including a 2002 meeting also held in Vladivostok.China has since cemented its role as the isolated North’s most important ally, its largest trading partner and crucial fuel supplier, and analysts say Kim could be looking to balance Beijing’s influence.While ties between Moscow and Pyongyang have remained cordial, the last meeting between their leaders came in 2011, when Kim Jong Il told then-president Dmitry Medvedev that he was prepared to renounce nuclear testing.His son has since overseen by far the country’s most powerful blast to date, and launch of missiles which Pyongyang says are capable of reaching the entire Umainland.
Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response. More details from DPS soon. https://t.co/KMCRmOPkiM— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 5, 2017“It’s a small Baptist church. It’s an older building,” one witness who works nearby told MSNBC, adding that she heard “semiautomatic gunfire” from her vantage point about 150 yards away. A man walked into the church during a service late Sunday morning and “began firing,” the local Wilson County News reports, citing county Sheriff Joe Tackitt. The paper notes that Tackitt “confirmed there were multiple casualties and multiple fatalities.”A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told NPR that it “was an active shooter incident.” The Wilson County News later reported that “the shooter has been taken down” — though officials have not yet publicly clarified whether that means he was taken into custody or killed.“While the details of this horrific act are still under investigation, Cecilia and I want to send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by this evil act,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “I want to thank law enforcement for their response and ask that all Texans pray for the Sutherland Springs community during this time of mourning and loss.” 2:37 p.m. Federal authorities are responding to a shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a small community southeast of San Antonio. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has tweeted that special agents from its San Antonio field office have been dispatched to the scene.Special agents from ATF’s Houston Field Division, San Antonio Field Office are responding to a shooting at a church in Sutherland Spring, TX pic.twitter.com/LCyt7EydbZ— ATF HQ (@ATFHQ) November 5, 2017 Families in tears wait to see if their family and friends are safe. Praying for the safety of all those involved. pic.twitter.com/yjzK7lZJ1S— Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) November 5, 2017 _ 1:20 p.m. A sheriff says a man walked into a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and started shooting, leaving multiple people dead. The Wilson County News reports that Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said the shooter has been taken down. It wasn’t immediately known how many people were killed and wounded or who carried out the attack. First responders converged on the church in the small town southeast of San Antonio and helicopters are taking victims to hospitals. Sutherland Springs is a community of about 400 people 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio. ___ 1 p.m. Local news outlets report that several people have been shot at a Baptist Church in South Texas. Television stations KSAT and KENS report that there are multiple victims and that there is a large police presence at the church in Sutherland Springs, which is 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio. KSAT reports that two Airlife helicopters are also at the scene. A sheriff’s department dispatcher says everyone is at the scene and unavailable to comment. KSAT has video of several fire and police vehicles at the church and a photo of a helicopter that the station says was arriving to take victims to hospitals. 7 p.m.The Pentagon has confirmed the suspect identified in the mass shooting at a Texas church previously served in the Air Force.In a brief statement, the Pentagon says Devin Kelley was an airman “at one point,” but additional details about his time in the Air Force were not immediately available.Authorities say 26 people were killed and about 20 others injured in the attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.———————6:45 p.m.Two sheriff’s vans were parked outside and police officers stood at the gate of a cattle fence surrounding the address listed for the Texas church shooting suspect, preventing a group of waiting journalists from entering.Two officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity have identified him as Devin Kelley.Officials from the Comal County Sherriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers declined to comment Sunday evening, or to say if they had raided his home. A few minutes later, the gate opened and two Texas Rangers trucks pulled out.The home is in a wooded area on the rural, western outskirts of New Braunfels, north of San Antonio. It is off a two-lane highway.Authorities say 26 people were killed and about 20 wounded in the shooting.___6:40 p.m.President Donald Trump says the deadly church shooting in Texas is an “act of evil.”Trump is in Tokyo on the first leg of a visit to Asia. He says he has spoken with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the state has the administration’s “full support.”Trump says he will continue to follow developments closely while he is traveling through Asia.The president says the “act of evil” occurred as the victims and families were in their place of “sacred worship.”Texas authorities say 26 people were killed and about 20 others were wounded Sunday after a man open fire inside First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs southeast of San Antonio. ——-5:40 p.m.Gov. Greg Abbott says 26 people were killed in the attack on a Texas church and that it was the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history.Abbott’s remarks came during a news conference Sunday, hours after the attack on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a community 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.The victims ranged in age from 5 to 72 years old.Two officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity identified the attacker as Devin Kelley.In a press conference Sunday night, an official from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) described the scene: Around 11:20 am, the suspect, dressed in black, approached the church and began firing an assault rifle. He then entered the church and continued firing. The FBI is on the scene of a church shooting in Texas. A witness heard about 20 shots fired during Sunday’s service. https://t.co/hhadTYmkdl pic.twitter.com/pBMSNjgSSL— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) November 5, 2017 4:20 p.m.The wife of the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs says the couple’s 14-year-old daughter was among those killed in a mass shooting at the church.Sherri Pomeroy, wife of Pastor Frank Pomeroy, said in a text message that she lost her daughter “and many friends” in the Sunday shooting. The text came in response to an interview request sent by The Associated Press to a phone number linked in online records to Frank Pomeroy.Sherri Pomeroy says both she and her husband were out of town and trying to get back to Sutherland Springs, outside of San Antonio.___3:30 p.m.A law enforcement official says more than 20 people have been killed in a shooting at a church in a small town outside San Antonio.The official, who was briefed on the investigation, says the gunman fled the church in a vehicle after the shooting and was also killed, either by a self-inflicted wound or during a confrontation with police. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.The official says between 10 to 15 people were also injured but stressed the investigation was early and the figures could change. Authorities are still trying to determine a motive.Federal law enforcement swarmed the scene to offer assistance, including ATF investigators and members of the FBI’s evidence collection team.David Martin Davies of Texas Public Radio told NPR’s Noel King that more than 20 people are dead, including the shooter.“This is a blue jeans and working boots kind of church,” Davies said. “It’s a big part of the community.” “I never thought it would happen here. This is something that happens in a big city. I would never have thought this would have taken place here. It’s just too tight a community. It doesn’t make sense.” Share President Trump says he is “monitoring the situation from Japan.”May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017 ___6:15 p.m.Texas authorities are offering more details about the timeline of a deadly church shooting.Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin says the alleged shooter was dressed in black, wearing tactical gear and a ballistic vest when he arrived at a neighboring gas station around 11:20 a.m.He crossed the street to the church, left his vehicle and started firing a Ruger AR assault-type rifle at the church. Then he entered the church and fired.As he left the church, the shooter met an unidentified area resident with his own rifle who pursued him. The suspect was found dead in his vehicle near the border between Wilson and Guadalupe counties.Martin says it’s unclear if he died of a self-inflected wound or was shot by the resident.Authorities haven’t announced the name of the suspect, only describing him as a white male in his 20s.Two officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity identified the attacker as Devin Kelley.—–6 p.m.A top Texas public safety officer says that 23 of the people found dead in a shooting at a Baptist church were found inside the building, two others were outside and one person was transported but died later.Freeman Martin, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, says the ages of those killed ranged from 5 to 72.He told a news conference that about 20 other people were injured in the attack.The first report of the shooting was at about 11:20 a.m., or about 20 minutes after the church website says the Sunday worship was scheduled to start. 2:15 p.m. A County Commissioner in Texas says he’s been told that more than 20 people were killed and more than 20 were wounded in an attack at a church, though he says those figures haven’t been confirmed. Albert Gamez, a Wilson County commissioner, made the comments to cable news outlets after the attack Sunday at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, a small community 30 miles southeast of San Antonio. A sheriff says that a man walked into the church and started firing. Authorities say the attacker was later killed. THE LATEST on a shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs (all times local): 5.25 p.m.The Associated Press says two officials confirmed that the Sutherland Springs church shooter was Devin Kelley.BREAKING: Two officials tell The Associated Press that the Texas church shooter was Devin Kelley— The Associated Press (@AP) November 5, 2017 President Trump: “All of America is praying” for the victims of the mass shooting at a Texas church https://t.co/W8WdrNLLcI pic.twitter.com/6GelJbUl09— CNN International (@cnni) November 6, 2017 Our deepest condolences are with the victims, families, and all those affected by the tragedy in San Antonio.— Houston Astros (@astros) November 5, 2017 David Martin Davies/ TPR NEWSSutherland Springs residents gather at the Community Building after the shooting at nearby First Baptist church, on Nov. 5th, 2017. ———4.50 p.m.Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, issued a statement after the shooting.“While many of the details are yet to be determined, clearly what happened today in Sutherland Springs is a horrific tragedy. I have spoken personally with Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt, Jr. and Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez, Jr. and offered the full resources of my office to assist in any way possible both now and as we move forward.“… My job now is to make sure that he and the people of Sutherland Springs have access to every resource available to them, and I will make sure that they have everything they need. Sutherland Springs has a special place in my heart. It is one of those unique communities where everyone knows everyone else and supports each other.”Democratic National Comittee Chair Tom Perez said in a statement: “I’m heartbroken by the horrific shooting in Texas. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Sutherland Springs and all those affected by this unspeakable tragedy.“No American should ever be afraid to worship. No family should ever face the unbearable pain that too many American families are feeling today. In the last 35 days, we’ve witnessed two of the worst mass shootings in American history. We cannot allow those who wish us harm to so easily turn their hatred into violence. And we must be united in working to ensure that these tragedies become a relic of the past rather than routine.”Unimaginable. Americans should never be afraid to worship. Sending condolences from all of us to everyone affected by the shooting in Texas.— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) November 5, 2017 ——– Lynda Gonzales / KUTTexas Governor Greg Abbott attends a candlelight vigil on Sunday, November 5, 2017 after a gunman killed 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX. ————-5 p.m.A congregant who wasn’t at a Texas church the day of a deadly shooting says his cousins attended and that family members have been told at least one was killed.34-yr old Nick Uhlig says he didn’t go to the Sutherland Springs church Sunday because he was out late Saturday. He says the cousin who was killed had three children and was pregnant with a fourth. He didn’t know specifics about how the other was doing.Uhlig says the family had just met days earlier for his cousins’ grandfather’s funeral.Also, After big celebrations last week for their World Series Championship, the Houston Astros expressed their condolences to those affected by the shooting ————— 7:05 p.m.More than 100 people gathered after dark on a grassy street corner within sight of the church where the shooting occurred for a prayer vigil.Attendees, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, lit candles while some wept and others hugged Sunday night. They could see the church sign lit up and emergency lights flashing.The vigil across the street from a gas station convenience store where law enforcement officials say the shooter stopped before the attack.Mike Gonzales, who does not attend the church but lives near says: “The people of this church are wonderful people.” Gonzales added, “We’re coming together to pray for them and show the world that now, in the midst of darkness, there is light.”Authorities say 26 people were killed and about 20 wounded in the attack. AP Law enforcement officers gather in front of the First Baptist Church after a fatal shooting on Nov. 5th, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. 9 p.m.An Air Force official says the man identified by officials to The Associated Press as the gunman in the mass shooting at a Texas church was court-martialed in 2012 and discharged two years later.Spokeswoman Ann Stefanek says Devin P. Kelley was court-martialed on one count of assault on his spouse and another count of assault on their child. He received a bad conduct discharge, 12 months’ confinement and a reduction in rank.Stefanek also says Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge.Authorities say 26 people were killed and about 20 others wounded in the attack in Sutherland Springs.———7:30 p.m.A U.S. military official says the suspect identified in the mass shooting at a Texas church was a former Air Force member who was stationed in New Mexico at one time.Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek says records confirm that Devin P. Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge. The date of his discharge and the circumstances under which he left the service were not immediately available.The Pentagon also confirmed that Kelley was an airman “at one point,” but didn’t provide additional details.Authorities say 26 people were killed and about 20 others wounded in the attack in Sutherland Springs.___7:15 p.m.President Donald Trump has promised his administration’s full support to the investigation of a Texas church shooting that left 26 dead and about 20 wounded.Speaking to U.S. and Japanese business leaders in Tokyo Monday morning during his Asian trip, Trump highlighted that this “act of evil” at a place of sacred worship.Trump says: “Our hearts are broken but in dark times — and these are dark times — such as these, Americans do what they do best.” He says Americans will pull together to help those suffering.Trump says he will continue monitoring the investigation during his 11-day tour.___
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas TribuneU.S. Sen. John Cornyn joins fellow Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Tribune CEO Evan Smith for the closing day of The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 24, 2017.U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, on Monday blasted Democrats for threatening to shut down the federal government under the guise of helping undocumented immigrants whose protected status in this country is slipping away.Some Democrats have threatened to shut down the government if lawmakers don’t include legislation that protects young undocumented immigrants, known as “Dreamers,” in budget bills that need to be passed this month.During a floor speech, Cornyn said those lawmakers are turning their backs on the very people they purport to be helping. “That’s simply a hysterical and cynical ploy – putting their party and their agenda ahead of the nation,” Cornyn said. “How can you claim to care about the 800,000 undocumented immigrants that this program protects through work permits and deportation relief but then turn your back on the 322 million people who need to know that their government is still able to function?”Democrats have demanded that any spending bills, whether a short-term fix or a broader budget bill, include some version of the DREAM Act — legislation that would provide legal residency and an eventual path to citizenship for undocumented youth who meet certain guidelines. The demand for the legislation increased after President Donald Trump announced in October he was ending the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. That program, known as DACA, granted qualified applicants — including about 124,000 Texans — a work permit and a reprieve from deportation proceedings. The program is set to expire in March.As a Texas, Cornyn said he understands the urgency. But he said he and his GOP colleagues also want to pass some immigration-enforcement legislation, including border security, interior enforcement, and improvements on workforce screenings. But immigrant rights groups are greeting Republicans’ insistence that there is time to act on the issue next year with great suspicion. They say all that means is that conservatives have more time to come up with a reason to fail the Dreamers. “If Congress doesn’t do it now — by attaching Dreamer legislation to must-pass legislation this year — it’s highly unlikely they are going to do it at all,” reads a statement Monday from America’s Voice, a Washington-based group that advocates for immigration reform. “If Republicans somehow manage to kick the can to next spring, what’s predictable is that they’ll load up an inadequate DACA fix with enough poison pills to ensure opposition.”Cornyn’s comments come after U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., last week declined to attend a scheduled meeting at the White House after President Donald Trump claimed on Twitter that the pair was soft on illegal immigration, weak on crime and in favor of more taxes.But on Monday the invitation was extended yet again, according to news reports, and the Democrats said they hoped they could come to an agreement on immigration and host of other issues.“We’re glad the White House has reached out and asked for a second meeting. We hope the president will go into this meeting with an open mind, rather than deciding that an agreement can’t be reached beforehand,” the pair said in a joint statement. Share
Online is a strange and terrifying place. It’s enabled us to connect with one another, advance the causes of science and culture, and unite the world with a glowing net of data. It’s also enabled people with very… particular interests to find each other. In this weekly series, we’ll be dipping into the Internet Gutter – the strange subcultures and weird worlds lurking in the dark pockets of the World Wide Web.The Mandela EffectDid you ever get the feeling like the world isn’t quite right? Have a memory that conflicted with other people’s? No, you’re not insane or being experimented on by evil government scientists. You’re just the latest victim of the Mandela Effect.Coined by a “paranormal consultant” named Fiona Broome, the name comes from Broome’s unshakeable belief that South African political leader Nelson Mandela died in jail in during the 1980s. He was actually freed in 1990 and became President in 1994. When she found that other people shared her wrong information, the Mandela Effect was born.With a critical eye, it’s pretty easy to see what’s going on: these people just don’t remember things right. It’s not complicated, and we all do it. The technical term is “confabulation.”But, since this is the Internet, the simplest answer isn’t always the one people believe. Hardcore Mandela Effect sufferers think they’ve been forcibly relocated to a parallel dimension, or are living within a computer simulation that’s glitching out. Let’s dive into the Internet Gutter to dig up the most crackpot theories.The StainProbably the most famous example of the Mandela Effect is the Berenstain Bears, the long-running children’s book series written and drawn by Stan and Jan Berenstain. A significant group of people believes that the titular ursines are the BerenstEin Bears, and at some point in the past, the spelling of the name was changed. Not only that, but all record of the E version was expunged from history.This… didn’t happen. People are confused because “Berenstein” is a more common spelling of the last name, where “Berenstain” is rarer. As you’ll see with some these Mandela Effects, they depend on childhood memories that have faded with time.Genie In A BottleComedian Sinbad is probably best known for his tenure on A Different World, but hundreds of people remember him as the star of 90s kid comedy Shazaam, where he played a wisecracking friendly genie.Only one problem: Shazaam never existed. Those memories are pure Mandela Effect. If you remember that movie, chances are you’re confabulating Sinbad into the Shaquille O’Neal vehicle Kazaam, which was about a wisecracking friendly genie. This would – and should – be a good enough explanation for most people, but Mandela Effect victims won’t let it rest.You read that right. People are making up all kinds of explanations as to why a movie that has never existed might have actually existed. Pulling the Star Wars Holiday Special into the mix to justify the burial of Shazaam is some next level nonsense, and in that thread there are multiple replies from people who swear to have seen Shazaam on videotape more than once. But this all seems innocuous compared to the truly weird places the Mandela Effect can go.Getting RealMost of these Mandela Effect manifestations have been pretty benign. Does it really matter that the name of a bear family is spelled one way or the other? Probably not. But some believers are pushing the limits in ways that could be dangerous. Watch this video and see if it doesn’t freak you out.One popular Mandela Effect theory involves the anatomy of the human body and the belief that it “changed” sometime in the 1990s. They back this up by comparing anatomical drawings from the mid-1900s with current drawings. In the “old reality,” human bone structure was wildly different, with fewer and less articulated bones.Let’s be frank, here: this is absolutely, inarguably insane. And the guy explaining it in the video above is a chiropractor, meaning that he actually works with the human body and gets paid for it. Would you like to know if the person re-aligning your spine believes that aliens or space gods or something rewrote reality during the grunge era? I would.Reality BitesThe best place to keep tabs on the continuing conflicts between memory and the real world is the Mandela Effect subreddit. That’s where people bring their best evidence to the hivemind and see what they think. Threads there are pretty funny. There’s always one or two “no, that’s always been that way” debunkers who get voted down, but the big discussion is around “residue” – images and videos that they believe might contain traces of the “old universe” that people remember.Some Mandela Effect cases are stupid – of course, Rubik’s Cube is spelled with a K, not an X. Chartreuse has always been a yellowish-green, not pink. Carmen Sandiego’s coat is red. Brian Dennehy is alive, goddammit. But people have managed to convince themselves that the opposite is true. And they’re making forum posts, blogs, and YouTube videos about it.What does the future hold for the Mandela Effect? Despite articles like this clearly stating that these are mixed-up memories and nothing more, believers continue to find more and more jawsome “examples” of the world changing without their permission. Who knows? Maybe there will be a shift so big that even skeptics like myself will have to admit it. But I wouldn’t put money on us ever remembering it.
by The Associated Press Posted Apr 17, 2019 12:24 pm PDT Writers guild sues talent agencies in heated Hollywood fight AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email LOS ANGELES — The Writers Guild of America is suing Hollywood’s four biggest talent agencies in the latest and boldest move in an increasingly bitter fight between the two sides.The suit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court claims that agents’ use of so-called packaging fees is illegal under California law because they pose a conflict of interest in representing writers.Packaging fees mean agents combine elements of a television series, including writers, scripts or actors, and sell them directly to studios as a unit rather than taking commission from each. It can mean massive payouts for agents from successful shows, sometimes more than those who directly work on them receive.The common practice has fueled increasingly heated negotiations between agencies and the guild. Numerous writers have fired their agents.The agencies said they would have comment later Wednesday.The Associated Press