Stars React As Rejected Beagle Farm Plans Are Overturned

first_imgA decision granting permission to Yorkshire Evergreen to farm thousands of beagle dogs and other animals for experiments has been condemned by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS).Today’s announcement by Secretary of State Greg Clark overturns the decision of East Riding of Yorkshire Council and contradicts a ruling by the previous Secretary of State who rejected similar unpopular plans for a dog farm on the same site.NAVS President Jan Creamer said, “This is a betrayal of the animals, the public and science. The number of dog experiments has declined substantially over the past ten years, but this regressive decision could see that positive trend reversed. Instead of consigning thousands of dogs to a life of suffering in the laboratory, the government should be championing better, modern alternatives that will save animal and human lives.”Celebrities Brian May, Peter Egan and Mark Radcliffe joined the NAVS campaign to oppose the controversial plans. Legendary Queen guitarist and Save-Me Trust founder Brian May voiced his disappointment at the ruling, saying “I am sickened to hear that this facility is to go ahead, ignoring the views of the public and local authorities, and condemning these best friends of man to thousands of unethical and unnecessary tests. This is an appalling message for Britain to send out to the world.”Downton Abbey’s Peter Egan was shocked by the decision, saying “This is a tragedy that will see litter after litter of beagle pups reared for the laboratory, where these gentle animals will be force-fed and killed in crude tests that are of little use to people.”Grahame Morris MP said “I am extremely disappointed that Yorkshire Evergreen’s plans have been approved. It makes absolutely no sense and is completely out-of-step with the government commitment to reduce the number of animals in experiments. I will do all I can to oppose similar plans and encourage scientists to use cutting-edge alternatives to animal tests.”Yorkshire Evergreen is owned by US multinational animal supplier Marshall BioResources and has attempted to push through plans for a laboratory breeding facility for four years, appealing multiple rejections. The proposals have caused a public outcry in the local community and across the UK, with tens of thousands of people signing petitions and speaking out in opposition.Earlier this year, a Yorkshire Evergreen director was convicted of illegally killing and mistreating animals by an Italian court. Marshall BioResources’ Italian facility ‘Green Hill’ was closed and the dogs have been re-homed.Being small and docile, beagles are preferred test subjects. Dogs are commonly used for ‘toxicology’ experiments where they may be force-fed chemicals and have toxic substances pumped into their veins which can make them so sick that they die in agony. Almost all individuals are killed at the end of the experiment.There has been a substantial reduction in dog experiments over the past ten years. Latest statistics show that 3,554 dogs were experimented on in Britain in 2013, down from 5,088 in 2003. The NAVS is concerned that the surge in availability of beagles could lead to a dramatic increase in dog experimentation.Science is moving away from using animals with far more advanced alternatives available. In addition, public support for animal experiments has fallen and the government has pledged to reduce the number of animals in experiments.The plans are liable to disrupt the village and local community, potentially subjecting Grimston locals to sound pollution and damaged verges during building work. Further disruption will be caused as young beagles are transported off to their fates in laboratories and the facility deals with the delivery of supplies and increased disposal of animal waste.last_img read more

Zibi development in Ottawa behind schedule

first_imgTodd Lamirande APTN National NewsThe shovels are in the ground, and demolition has begun.That means a controversial $1.2 billion redevelopment on the outskirts of downtown Ottawa is underway.Known as Zibi, it promises to provide jobs for members of Algonquin First nations.And that was a big part of the message at a news conference Thursday.tlamirande@aptn.caFollow @toddmetislast_img

CSK falling behind in powerplay Stephen Fleming

first_imgChennai: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) coach Stephen Fleming rues the fact that his team has not been able to make full use of the powerplays and score at a brisk rate in the first six overs in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In Qualifier 1 against Mumbai Indians, Chennai made an awful start as they managed to post 32/3 in the powerplay overs on a slow-turning Chepauk Stadium, here on Tuesday. Even in the previous games of this season, CSK were not able to make optimum use of the powerplay overs. They have averaged about 37 runs in the first six overs, managing to score in excess of 50 on just two occasions. Shane Watson, who was in tremendous form in 2018 (555 runs at a strike rate of 154.59), has not been able to deliver this year in the way CSK would have wanted. He has scored 268 runs at a strike rate of 121.26, including 11 dismissals in the powerplays. His opening partner Faf du Plessis has had a mixed IPL 2019, scoring 320 runs in 10 games at a strike rate of 118.95. Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayadu have scored 364 and 261 runs at strike rates of 126 and 93.54, respectively. Only MS Dhoni has been able to score at a brisk rate, amassing 405 runs in 13 matches at a strike rate of 135, which is low compared to his standards. “Yeah it [pacing the innings] is tough. There’s the problem we’re finding – we’re so far behind in the powerplays. We’re doing things right from overs 6 to 20, the run rate today I think was 7 and [then] 10 [in the last six overs]. We’re getting the right runs there, [but] we are just finding ourselves behind in the powerplays,” said Fleming at the post-match presser. Fleming believes a score of 40 or more would be more than sufficient in order to set up a competitive totals on slow and sluggish wickets like that of Chennai. “You run the risk if we over-attacked in the middle in those conditions, you can find yourself bowled out for 100. So you have got to have an element of safety. By the time you get that, it’s around about 14 overs, from there we were able to go at 10 an over [CSK scored at 8-an-over in the last six overs] which got us through to a competitive score,” Fleming insisted. “But we need to have more balance in the first six..around 40 would be nice. That may get you to a score of 150-160 which can be a match-winning score. We’re just falling behind at different stages but it’s the first six that’s holding us back when we lose wickets. Maybe in case we just throw the shackles off and have a crack in the next game, and see if we can just get ourselves into form and confidence,” he added. Chennai will get another shot at the title clash as they will face the winner of the Eliminator between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2 on Friday.last_img read more

Communications prices falling worldwide UN reports

Prices for information and communication technology (ICT) services are falling worldwide, and services continue to grow, propelled by mobile cellular use, but broadband Internet remains outside the reach of many in poor countries, the United Nations telecoms agency said today.The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Measuring the Information Society 2010 report “confirms that despite the recent economic downturn, the use of ICT services has continued to grow worldwide,” ITU’s Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid said in releasing the study.All 159 countries featured in the report’s ICT Development Index (IDI) have improved their levels, and mobile cellular technology continues to be a key driver of growth. In 2010, ITU expects the global number of mobile cellular subscriptions to top 5 billion. “At the same time, the report finds that the price of telecommunication services is falling – a most encouraging development,” said Mr. Al Basheer, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau.Fixed broadband services showed the largest price fall (42 per cent), compared to 25 and 20 per cent in mobile cellular and fixed telephone services respectively, yet a person in the developing world is nearly seven times less likely to have access than someone in a developed country. The world’s top 10 most advanced ICT economies feature eight countries from Northern Europe, with Sweden topping the IDI for the second year in a row. The Republic of Korea and Japan rank third and eighth, respectively. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain top the list of Arab States, with Russia and Belarus leading ICT development in the ex-Soviet Union. In Africa, only the Seychelles, Mauritius and South Africa are included in the top 100.Given the close relationship between ICT uptake and national income, most poor countries rank at the low end of the IDI. In particular, the least developed countries (LDCs), many of them in Africa, still have very limited access to ICTs, especially in terms of broadband infrastructure and household access.The gap between the high and the low groups is still significant although it is shrinking slightly, going from a value of 5.5 in 2002 to 5.3 in 2008, ITU Statistician Esperanza Magpantay told a news briefing in New York. “What we have found in our research is that sometimes it takes a certain threshold level of use of internet and new technology before the economy and the country take off and you have the network effect and all the other benefits kicking in,” she said. Mobile cellular technology continues to be the main driver of ICT growth, especially in the developing world, where average penetration surpassed the 50 per cent mark in 2009. Today, over 70 economies worldwide have surpassed the 100 per cent penetration mark, with developed countries averaging 113 per cent by the end of last year. While high-speed Internet access is now available in almost all countries, fixed broadband penetration in the developing world remains as low as 3.5 per cent, compared to 23 per cent in developed countries. 23 February 2010Prices for information and communication technology (ICT) services are falling worldwide, and services continue to grow, propelled by mobile cellular use, but broadband Internet remains outside the reach of many in poor countries, the United Nations telecoms agency said today. read more

A famous royal hat to benefit UN efforts to assist children in

The hat that launched a thousand headlines when it appeared at the British royal wedding last month is about to have an unexpected second life as a fundraiser for the work of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The pale pink hat worn by Princess Beatrice to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 29 April in London – and which drew immediate criticism from countless fashion observers – is being auctioned on the eBay website, with the proceeds to be divided equally between UNICEF and the Children in Crisis charity. The auction, which opened on 12 May, will close on Sunday night, but already at least 83 bids have been received and the current leading bid – as of Friday morning, New York time – is £50,400.05 (or about $81,570). Bids have been made from around the world, including from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Princess Beatrice said she has been amazed by the amount of attention that the hat, which was designed by the milliner Philip Treacy, has drawn. “I hope whoever wins the auction has as much fun with the hat as I have,” she said. “I really hope this idea can raise lots of money to give children a better future.” Katie Morrison, a spokesperson for UNICEF UK, said the aid agency had not expected the frenzy of bidding over the past week. “It’s wonderful that something that had such mixed press has really been used to do some good and to raise some money for children,” she said. “We’re surprised and we’re delighted.” Ms. Morrison said that UNICEF could use its half of the proceeds – based on the current top bid – to buy enough anti-malaria mosquito nets for more than 6,000 families, enough water pumps to provide 75 villages with safe drinking water or enough vaccines to protect nearly 70,000 children against measles. 20 May 2011The hat that launched a thousand headlines when it appeared at the British royal wedding last month is about to have an unexpected second life as a fundraiser for the work of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). read more

JVP says human rights issue used as political tool

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) accused the current and former Government of using the human rights issue used as political tool.JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that the resolution on Sri Lanka adopted at the UN Human Rights Council last week is not a “historic victory” for the country as claimed by the Government. Silva blamed the former Government for allowing the Sri Lankan issue to go international by issuing separate joint statements with the UN and India on how the post war situation will be addressed, including through the 13th amendment to the Constitution.Tilvin Silva said that by failing to abide by the joint statements, the former Government opened the doors for the UNHRC to place Sri Lanka on the agenda. (Colombo Gazette) He said that as a country it is important to understand what has been placed before Sri Lanka and the JVP feels there is an attempt by the UN and some powerful countries to use Sri Lanka to meet their needs.The JVP General Secretary also noted that the United States is attempting to defend human rights when the US military has been accused of human rights violations through its military operations in foreign countries. “There are some clauses we can accept but there are some we should not. So overall accepting this resolution could pose a threat to our country,” he said. He said that the resolution, which being watered down, still calls for foreign intervention in Sri Lanka’s domestic affairs. read more

UN condemns attack on human rights workers in Afghanistan that killed two

“An intentional attack against people who dedicate their lives to protecting the rights of Afghan citizens is an atrocity,” said Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in a statement issued in Kabul.The two killed were employees of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Six other staff of the Commission were injured when a remote-controlled improvised explosive device detonated against the human rights group’s minibus in Jalalabad.“Victims of human rights violations and abuses in Afghanistan often rely on AIHRC to document and draw attention to their plight,” Mr. Haysom said. “The climate of fear created by such attacks, threatens vital human rights work carried out throughout Afghanistan.”The UN mission “encourages relevant authorities to undertake prompt, thorough and impartial investigations, to hold those found responsible to account, and to ensure an effective remedy for victims.”It also said “authorities should take robust measures to ensure adequate protection of human rights defenders, women’s rights activists, journalists, civil society organizations and other individuals and organizations working to promote and protect human rights.”In addition, UNAMA noted that the deliberate targeting of civilians and the indiscriminate use of explosives in civilian populated areas are violations of international humanitarian law and “may amount to war crimes.” read more

Congrats Irelands Young Scientist winners scoop first prize at EU contest

first_imgTHE WINNERS OF Ireland’s Young Scientist competition have won top honours at the overall EU contest in Prague.Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Throw scooped first prize for their project on the effects of a specific bacteria on plant germination.The students from Kinsale Community School in Cork were one of three winners to share the first prize at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists this afternoon.The other first prize winners came from Finland and the United Kingdom, with each of the winning teams receiving €7,000.  A total of 126 students aged between 14 and 21 took part in the annual contest, representing 37 countries.It is the second year in a row that Irish students have shared the top prize.Over the period of 11 months, the girls tested almost 10,000 seeds and took thousands of manual readings. Their research found that two types of the bacteria accelerated the germination rates of barley, which could help farmers to increase their yields.Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science praised the mixture of “curiosity-driven research and more applied projects” at this year’s EU contest.“We need more young people to take up STEM subjects at school, and I especially want to encourage more young women to pursue careers in science and technology,” she said.Here are the three girls explaining their research:(Video: EUCYS2010/YouTube) Previously: Three Kinsale teens win at BT Young Scientist Exhibition > Read: World timekeepers can’t agree on whether to scrap the leap second >last_img read more

GEEK PICK Forza Horizon 4

first_imgStay on target We’ve been on a long road with Forza Horizon 4, from getting our first hands-on on with back at E3 to checking it out here in the office along with some nifty Fast and Furious toy cars. But the marquee Xbox One exclusive for this holiday (since Crackdown 3 isn’t until next February) is finally here. And now that the dust has settled, we can say pretty firmly that if you just have even a passing interest in games about driving or seeing big beautiful open-worlds, you should play Forza Horizon 4.The Horizon subseries separates itself from the mainline Forza series with its more relaxed gameplay and tone. They are set during big music festivals where dirtbags vibe out on free love and you’re racing to earn influencer points. Proper Forza games are about serious racing on serious tracks. Motorsport. But Horizon is just about the joy of the open-road. On a gameplay level that means Forza Horizon 4 is an open-world racer where players freely drive around taking on whatever events they stumble across. They can complete in simple races, stuntman missions, cross-country treks, and whatever else goes on in the English countryside setting. There’s so much freedom to devote to whatever discipline you’re most interested in. And there are almost too many lovingly recreated cars to gawk at and drive.But the game is never pushing you into seeing all this content. You experience it at your own pace. It makes the microtransactions less gross, too, especially after a recent tour of how Xbox parental controls showed me how responsible users can put very reasonable limits on young players’ spending habits.The setting is usually the star of a Forza Horizon game. And along with being absolutely gorgeous on Xbox One X, the British hills provide for a unique curvy racing experience. Just be sure to listen to classical music on the radio for the most aesthetic experience. But the developers get even more mileage out of the locale by shifting between the four seasons as you progress. The same race can feel quite different if it’s sunny, rainy, snowing, or blossoming. Other changes include even tighter online multiplayer integration with other players’ “Drivatars” and the ability to score your own little cottage home to admire with drone shots and store all your James Bond Aston Martins in a secret garage. Nice shiny cars to go with the nice shiny new custom Xbox controller options.For all it has going for it though, something about Forza Horizon 4, and its predecessors, doesn’t quite work for me personally as well as I keep hoping. The racing itself, while certainly way more accessible than mainline Forza games, still has too much of a foot in the boring realistic sim racing world. I want boosting and ramming other cars into dust. It isn’t wacky enough I want Burnout Paradise. Forza Horizon 4 isn’t Burnout Paradise, but it is pretty great for what it is. For more on Forza Horizon 4 check out our hands-on and our recent stream.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img Geek Pick: Shure MV88+ Is An Excellent, On the Go Microphone KitGeek Pick: Amazon Smart Plug Puts Alexa in Your Walls last_img read more

Virgin Trains to invest £700000 a year in mental and physical wellbeing

first_imgTrain operator Virgin Trains has signed the Time to Change pledge, committing to invest over £700,000 a year to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of its employees.As part of the pledge, Virgin Trains has committed to educating more than 3,000 employees in how to recognise mental health issues in both colleagues and customers, including offering mental health first aid courses and appointing mental health champions.Time to Change is an initiative by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which focuses on supporting mental health. The campaign aims to improve public attitudes towards mental ill health via training, and by encouraging more individuals and businesses to talk about mental health.As part of its commitment to the campaign, Virgin Trains has appointed two mental health champions from its board of directors. This is to ensure there is continued senior leader buy-in to support mental health issues, and so that the champions can advocate policies and agendas around mental health at board level.Virgin Trains will also provide mental health first aid courses for all managers in order to better equip them to support team members who may have mental health problems. The organisation is looking to roll out the training courses to all employees in the future.Virgin Trains celebrated becoming a signatory of the initiative by naming a train after the campaign.Clare Burles, people director and executive mental health champion at Virgin Trains on the east coast, said: “We’re very proud to be making a public pledge to improve mental health in our business.“At Virgin Trains we take the wellbeing of our employees and the customers who travel with us very seriously. That’s why […] we’ve created an entirely in-house health and wellbeing team, whose focus is on improving the mental wellbeing of our employees as well as their physical fitness for work.“Our commitment to working with Time to Change underlines the importance of mental health not only for our own people but the rail industry as a whole. We’re proud to be leading the way.”last_img read more

Flu Patients Leave Texas Hospitals Strapped

first_img Share On Monday alone, Parkland’s emergency department had seen 930 patients — double what the hospital typically sees for people with flu symptoms by this time of year, Dr. Joseph Chang, associate chief medical officer for Parkland, told CBS11.Across town on Sunday, Methodist Dallas Medical Center rerouted non-emergency ambulance patients to different area facilities in order to take care of “emergency patients like trauma, stroke, and sexual assault” due to the lack of bed availability from flu patients. The hospital said the move was consistent with state and federal laws, The Dallas Morning News reported. The Houston and Austin areas are also seeing high volumes of patients. In Houston, area hospitals have filled up, including Texas Children’s Hospital, where a quarter of patients are being treated for the flu. Austin doctors have reported high volumes of patients in emergency rooms, and “the number of visits at health care systems, physician offices and urgent care centers over the past week has really exploded,” Dr. Ken Mitchell of St. David’s Healthcare told KXAN.As of Thursday, no Texas hospitals had requested state help to deal with flu activity, Anton said.According to the department’s weekly influenza service report, there were high levels of influenza and influenza-like illness in Texas during the last week of 2017. Texas is one of 26 states reporting high flu activity, said the CDC.Walgreens’ flu index reports that Texas cities hold 9 out of 10 spots on the nationwide list of “Top 10 Designated Market Areas with Flu Activity.” The flu activity is tracked by retail prescription data used to treat the flu from nationwide Walgreens. People usually have some immunity to seasonal flu from either previous exposure or flu vaccinations, according to the CDC.Anton encouraged people to get flu shots if they haven’t already and, if infected, to stay home and be aware.Dr. David Lakey, chairman of the Texas Medical Association Council on Science and Public Health, said the flu can put even the healthiest person in bed for a few days. Babies, the elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases should take special approaches to avoiding and dealing with the flu and should see their primary care provider for antiviral medication if they are ill, he said.“For those individuals, the symptoms can progress pretty fast,” Lakey said.The strain of the flu spreading around Texas is called ‘H3N2’, and Lakey said the flu vaccine is usually less effective on this particular strain — but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t get a flu shot.“The flu vaccine isn’t perfect, but it’s our best tool,” Lakey said. “If you haven’t been immunized, there’s still a vaccine available, and go ahead and get immunized.”center_img Callie RichmondBig-city hospitals in Texas have been overwhelmed this week by an influx of flu patients, and state health officials say influenza activity is widespread across the state.At Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, waiting rooms turned into exam areas as a medical tent was built in order to deal with the surge of patients. A Houston doctor said local hospital beds were at capacity, telling flu sufferers they might be better off staying at home. Austin’s emergency rooms have also seen an influx of flu patients. But high emergency room volumes and filled hospital beds are “not uncommon” for this point during flu season, which runs from October to May, said Lara Anton of the Texas Department of State Health Services.“We definitely know it’s widespread,” Anton said this week. “We have been at widespread for the past three weeks.” But she added that it’s too early in the season to know whether this year’s flu impact is extraordinary.last_img read more

Baltimore Grassroots Leader Facing Rape Allegations

first_imgBy Lisa Snowden-McCray, Special to the AFROThe AFRO has received a written statement from a woman who claims that Adam Jackson, CEO of the Baltimore-based grassroots think-tank Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), raped her in 2015.The AFRO has also received statements from three other women alleging that Jackson threatened and intimidated them.Adam Jackson, head of the Baltimore think-tank Leaders of the Beautiful, is being accused of rape and harassment, which he denies. (Facebook)“When he became angry, he blocked doors with his body and punched holes in walls,” one woman wrote.The statement comes after an anonymous group started a social media campaign in late July taking aim at Jackson, and calling for him to step down from Leaders of the Beautiful Struggle.“[Adam] Jackson has exercised abusive leadership, a pro-capitalist and misogynist concept of Black nation-building, and implemented scare tactics to not only physically and sexually abuse black women but also (to) disparage and dismiss numerous black women across the city with his facile rhetoric and understanding of black feminism and intersectionality,” one post on the anonymous Me Too Baltimore page read.The StatementThe woman who says that Jackson raped her told this reporter her story over the phone a few months ago. She then gave the AFRO a written statement, delivered by a representative of the Me Too Baltimore Facebook. Because of the sensitive nature of the allegations being made, the AFRO agreed to publish their claims without giving their names.“When I saw a survivor being attacked for telling things that I knew were true, I knew I had to speak up,” she wrote. “I’ve been apprehensive because a large part of me has moved past the pain but there is still a piece of me that lives there. Tearful. Angry. Reaching out for help.”The woman provided the AFRO with a detailed and graphic account of the alleged rape. The AFRO is not publishing the specifics because some of our readers may find them upsetting.Despite this, she says that she still volunteered with LBS when the Uprising took place in May, 2015. She eventually broke off from the group because she didn’t feel they were listening to her suggestions or that they were supportive of her. When that happened, she said that a member of LBS dismissed her concerns by telling one of her family members that she’d slept with Adam and was unhappy that he didn’t want to sleep with her anymore.“I put my heart and soul into the work I was doing at that time, just to have my opinion once again invalidated, this time by referencing an intimate moment that I was uncomfortable about,” she wrote.Jackson’s DenialShortly after the Me Too page appeared, Jackson published a message on his personal Facebook page addressing and denying those claims. He said he had never been accused of violence or inappropriate behavior towards women by anyone.“ANY allegations that I have engaged in a pattern of sexual assault/abuse, verbal abuse or using my position to exploit women are patently FALSE,” he wrote. Later in the same post he added, “I respect Black women and the work they do in Baltimore and in everywhere else in this country. I support sexual assault survivors and their ability to speak their truth and seek justice. I also believe that as someone with a track-record of working to improve the conditions of Black people in Baltimore, I have a right to defend my name and my organization. I will not be bullied or forced into silent submission. This attack against me is cold and calculated, and I will pursue all options to understand the nature of these accusations. I will also work to clear my name by retaining legal counsel.”In another statement released on his Facebook page this week, Jackson reiterated his innocence.“I sincerely believe that this anonymous group is executing a tactic of character assassination and a political takedown on the work I’m doing in Baltimore,” he wrote.LBS has been a growing force in politics both in Baltimore and in Annapolis since their start in 2010. They have been influential in defeating and weakening legislation relating to mandatory minimums and cash bail. In addition, they were instrumental in creating the framework for, and helping administer, the city’s $12 million youth fund. While Associated Black Charities (ABC) is in charge of distributing those funds, LBS works with one of the outside consulting companies hired by ABC to oversee the grant application process, according to Diane Bell-McCoy, CEO of ABC. The fund has received $75 million in requests and will announce grant recipients later this year.Who are Me Too Baltimore?A person communicating with the AFRO,  who did not want to be named in this story, but identifying themselves as one of the many organizers and communicators for Me Too Baltimore, said via email that the group is comprised of roughly five Black women “along with other allies.” They claimed that the group reached out to Jackson, prior to the creation of the page. They also said that three additional women have contacted the Me Too Baltimore group since the Facebook page was created  in July.Asked why the organizers have chosen to remain anonymous, they wrote, “The most important identities that needed to be protected are survivors. The identities of organizers will be disclosed in time.”Alleged victims have made their accusations now , they said, because of individual survivors “coming to realize that they share commonality in abuse and abuser.”When asked by the AFRO why the accusers did not go to the police at the time of the alleged incidents, they wrote, “While the offenses that were committed were vile and caused emotional damage, we would be nothing short of foolish to ignore the relationship that Black citizens have with police.”“Further”, they added, “To involve the police in this matter may very well create a greater schism in our own community and take us further away from real accountability. What we want was to take an earnest step towards policing members of our own community.”They said that supporters of Jackson and LBS have been trying to delegitimize the Me Too Baltimore group’s efforts, by “absurdly characterizing us as White women outside of the community or ‘Russian hackers.’”Activist groups like FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, who use art and large-scale actions to bring attention to issues of abuse, and Hollaback Bmore, which works to end harassment in public spaces, have voiced support for the people behind the Me Too Baltimore page.“We have been raised in rape culture. Therefore, it is going to take some re-education in every sector of our society to thin differently about sexual assault,” Charnell Covert, FORCE’s community organizer told the AFRO via email.Jackson’s SupportersJackson has his defenders in Baltimore’s tightly knit Black activist community. Many people left messages of support for Jackson beneath his posts, with some calling the allegations against him attempts to assassinate Jackson’s character.Activist Erricka Bridgeford, one of the co-founders of Baltimore Ceasefire, told the AFRO that she was proud of Jackson’s response to the Me Too Baltimore page and said that, as a public figure also doing activist work in Baltimore, she could identify with the position he is in.“I am very familiar with being attacked and mischaracterized with whole conspiracy theories about me posted on people’s pages without specific incidents,” she said. “I’ve been raped twice in my life. I’m familiar with what abuse looks like and feels like — sexual violence, physical abuse…there were a lot of what felt to me just accusations about overall behavior or overall practices that couldn’t be proven to be true or untrue the way it was written.”Later, she released a statement addressing the incident on her Facebook page.“What I’ve experienced is that several opportunities for transparency and healing were rejected, but destruction of a man’s reputation was the goal,” she wrote. But she also said “to be extra clear: Myself and other Black women have told Adam that if he HAS been abusive, we will hold him accountable. Do not twist what I’m saying to mean that I’m unwilling to hold anyone accountable for sexual and physical violence or manipulation.”Ericka Alston-Buck, who founded the Sandtown-based children’s recreation center Kids Safe Zone, said that she has known Jackson professionally and through a close friendship for some time. She said that he has always been genuine in his activism.“Being an advocate isn’t his job. He is for the uplifting and forward moving of black people. That is who he is. It’s not something he does when the cameras are rolling or when someone’s recording or when people are watching,” she said.Alston-Buck says that she stands behind him 100 percent.“When I read the [Me Too Baltimore] post, it was the equivalent of me reading something negative about my favorite little cousin who I grew up with. You’re faced with people saying something negative about someone and when you know that person, it doesn’t resonate as true at all. So when I read it, I was like ‘Oh this is garbage.’”Historic  ContextNatasha Pratt-Harris is a professor at Morgan State University who specializes in criminal justice. Via an emailed statement to the AFRO she said that Black people often have to walk the line between false accusations, often levied by White people, and real harms done to Black women.“Black protest has focused heavily on Black male victimization – violence and wrongful criminalization, where women’s victimization has not been consistently highlighted.  #MeToo has done something that no other movement has done – it acknowledges that we must believe victims, thus giving Black women their voice, acknowledging victimization,” she wrote.“It is absolutely imperative that we NEVER assume that one is attempting to silence any victims by acknowledging ALL victims – #MeToo and #NotMe victims must be given equal acknowledgement in a system that has historically and currently not given victims their voices or the justice they deserve.”She added that victims should not only seek legal counsel, but mental health services as well.The AFRO tried to contact Jackson numerous times via text message and by phone for comment on this story. We also contacted LBS through email and by phone. Neither responded to the AFRO’s requests for comment by press time.last_img read more

11 XLadies You Need on Your Mutant Team

first_img SDCC 2019: Marvel’s ‘Dawn of X’ Comics Unveil Future of X-MenMarvel Posts ‘Dawn of X’ Teaser on Twitter Before SDCC 2019 There are two things etched into my Geek life: Batman and X-Men. I grew up absolutely enamored with the X-Men. They were the misfits. The ones who were cast from society and formed a found family that they could finally be themselves in. Lately, I’ve been binging A LOT of X-Men comics. Revisiting some old favorite characters and discovering some new ones.In my binging of these comics and massive research, I’ve come across a lot of characters that haven’t gotten a lot of love or a proper story arc that they truly deserve, especially some of the ladies. Keep in mind, I am not an expert in all things X-Men. I just have a deep love for them and… I’d love to see these lesser known X-ladies get some more love.AURORA – JEANNE-MARIE BEAUBIERvia MarvelI feel like we don’t get enough Aurora. It might be because of her twin brother, Northstar overshadows her a little bit even though Aurora has a fascinating and empowering story. Aurora, real name Jeanne-Marie was first introduced in Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 #120. Born in Canada, Jeanne-Marie was separated from her brother Jean-Paul (Northstar) after their parents were killed in a car accident. She was sent to a boarding school where things were very upsetting and sad for the young girl. She contemplated suicide, but when she decided to go through with it, the power of flight saved her. This allowed her to find something immaculate about herself. Aurora developed dissociative personality disorder when she told the school; she was immediately punished for it. Here, she created two personalities, one that was a teacher and the other that was more confident.Aurora’s first recruitment was with Alpha Fight where she reunited with her brother. In this, she suffered a lot from her DID, which messed her up a bit when she was in the group Gamma Flight. She was kidnapped by Headlock who wanted to restore (get another word for this) her personalities. After that, Aurora’s gained the lover, not fighter philosophy. She very much aimed to regain her mental health and help others, which is a superpower all its own. Aurora’s mind and powers have developed into something that she has a handle on. Gifted with super speed, flight, photokinesis and more Aurora deserves just as much love as her brother.OYA – IDIE OKONKWOvia MarvelOya is a fairly new mutant on the scene, especially after M-Day (post-mutant activation). Nevertheless, that doesn’t make her any less an insanely cool and deep character to explore. Introduced in Uncanny X-Men #528, Oya was born in Oyo, Nigeria she was happy there and from a deeply religious background. Things took a turn for the worst when at fourteen years old, she accidentally burned down her village. Her mutant power was activated. In this tragedy, she also accidentally killed her parents, resulting in Storm and Hope to find Idie before anyone was to take her away. She took the codename “Oya” and considers herself a “witch child” or “heretic” because of her abilities. She’s since come to terms with being a mutant, but also thinks of herself to be a sin.Oya has the powers of thermokinesis, which sounds super dope on its own, but even better explained a bit. Thermal manipulation is her thing. She has both pyrokinesis and cryokinesis. If you see her eyes, this is reflected in her character design where her right eye is blue, and her left is red. If that’s not cool enough, Wolverine himself took a shine to Oya and mentored her. Oya is a powerful mutant, but with a little more exploring, she could be even more of a favorite.BLINDFOLD – RUTH ALDINEvia MarvelThere are so many amazing things that go through my mind when thinking of Blindfold. She is probably one of the most underrated, but highly used beacons in X-Men. Blindfold has a ton of abilities when it comes to astral energy, telepathy, telekinesis, reality manipulation and much more. Blindfold, aka Ruth Aldine, was introduced in Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #7.Ruth’s background stories happen to be one of my favorites, but super tragic as well (all mutants have sad stories, you’ll see a pattern). Ruth was born with no eyes or eye sockets, because of this her father left, and her mother works a lot to support her and her brother. Speaking of, her brother, Luca, HATED her. He emotionally and physically abused Ruth and was general garbage of a human being. He also did an unspeakable act that I won’t spoil for you readers. You have to see the human trash that is Luca for yourself.Ruth has become, again, somewhat of a beacon. She’s able to walk on other plans and mentally see things in the present. However, some of her best moments are with Legion aka David Haller. If there’s any book that will tell you a lot about Blindfold, her powers and her relationship with David its the series X-Men Legacy: Legion. They’ve traveled planes together, helped heal each other’s broken minds and honestly complete each other. Write more Legion/Blindfold, you cowards.KARIMA SHAPANDARvia MarvelKarima Shapandar slides in and out of the X-Men comics since her conception in X-Men Unlimited. She started her adventures in comics as a police offer in India. She was in love or almost in love, nothing came happened of it, and you’ll hear why. Karima was sent to look for someone with Neal Shaara, who she had a romantic relationship with and looking for his brother, Sanjit. However, all of that took a turn for the worst when Sanjit was killed by Bastion, a Sentinel Master Mold. But then, Bastion was killed by Neal who turned out to be a mutant AND discovered that his brother was a Prime Sentinel, a robot designed to locate and destroy mutants. BUT THEN, Karima turned out to be a Prime Sentinel and Neal being a mutant was a bit of a problem. A love, never to be.After this though, she’s regained most of humanity and somewhat functions to her human body. Karima is almost 90% technology with Prime Sentinel enhancements that have been upgraded, fixed and toyed with. Some of her coolest arcs are when possessed by Malice via computer virus (X-Men Vol. 2, 2007) and then Arkea (X-Men Vol. 4 #1). There are some ladies on this list that have the “they’re super dope, now what do we do?” I think Karima is one that suffers from that and she left the X-Men, but whatever, she’ll come back. They always do.ARKEAvia MarvelSpeaking of Karima, one of my favorite new favorite villains to come out of X-Men comic is Arkea. She’s a literal infection! Arkea is introduced in X-Men #1 – Primer, so relatively new. This was the all-ladies X-Men comic that dreams are made of (….until). It brought together a fantastic cast that, in the beginning, had one villain to look out for. Arkea was born with her twin brother Sublime, a sentient bacterium who can possess people. The first thing he wanted to do was fight her as any sibling would. Arkea made her way through the solar system, trying to find a host before traveling along Shogo, Jubilee’s adopted son. She can possess robotics, so when she gets to the school, Karima’s body was prime pickings for this infection to crawl inside.Arkea is one of the most interesting X-Men villains because, again, literal infection. I have an absolute fascination with mutants who have psychic abilities, can possess other things and can go unseen to do some damage. Think of the destruction Arkea can do with merely owning Karima alone? Imagine if she got into another piece of machinery? Bring back Arkea!FRENZY – JOANNA CARGILLvia MarvelIf you were to play Frenzy in D&D, I’d say she’s probably Chaotic Neutral. Or Chaotic Evil. I know she’s one, but you never know what happens with Frenzy, to be honest. Joanna Cargill made her debut in X-Men comics in 1986, via X-Factor #4. Joanna’s mutant powers manifested as she was brought up in an abusive household. Her father was in the army, taking time out for his son while continually belittling and torturing his daughter. One day, her brother died in battle, he took out his rage and frustration losing his only son on Joanna. This was when her mutant powers went full form, hitting him in the chest and her father died. I swear, these sad moments will not stop rolling for a second.Frenzy has been affiliated with a ton of supervillain groups, plus the X-Men (and she was kind of brainwashed into it, so it shouldn’t count?). In an alternative universe, she was married to Cyclops when Legion warped everything. Her mutant abilities heighten everything into a superhuman level, but one thing that’s changed from her first introduction is her appearance. She goes from Grace Jones with cornrows to dreads to a full side shave with hair on the side. If you want full blown super strength and transformation, Frenzy is your girl.KARMA – XI’AN COY MANHvia MarvelComic history fact: Karma is one of the first openly lesbian characters in a major comic, but more on that in a later article (*wink*). Karma has endured a lot. Most of the X-Men have tragic pasts, and without comparing any of them to anyone else, Karma’s past never dictated her future. She lived through her experiences and made sure to lead a better life.Karma aka Xi’an Coy Manh’s first appearance came to readers in Marvel Team-Up #100. In this issue, we get to see Xi’an’s past with her growing up in Vietnam. The first time Xi’an uses her powers, she’s trying to help her brother. She possessed a soldiers mind, making him step away from her brother, but her brother soon discovered he was also in possession of the same power. He did the opposite of Xi’an, possessing the soldier’s mind and making him kill himself. Xi’an promised not to use the power like her brother, even later when her uncle blackmailed her.Xi’an has gone through so much more, but again, rose above it. She enrolled in school, finally got her name Karma and went on to be one of the founding members of the New Mutants. One interesting story is how she got her cybernetic leg in X-Men: Legacy #235 as she was fighting Cameron Hodge and his Smiling Killer Robots.TEMPUS – EVA BELLvia MarvelTempus seems to suffer the opposite of Karima Shapandar. Where she has the “what do we do now,” Tempus is almost in the “whats left to do when you’ve done everything?” Tempus or Eva Bell makes her first appearance in All-New X-Men Vol. 1, which is relatively recent so get on this now. Her new mutant powers happen after she’s at a party with her friend, brother, and crush in tow. The brother, being overprotective, gets into a brawl with the crush. This leads Eva to activate her powers and temporary stop time to break them up. Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magneto go to find her, they then take her before the Austrailian military to get her.Tempus obviously can stop time, which should make her a very powerful mutant, at least alpha or omega status. This especially becomes apparent when she accidentally travels through time in Uncanny X-Men Vol. 3. Here, she sees that Magik is Sorcerer Supreme, she’s married with a husband and a baby, and life was pretty okay. However, all good things for mutants must come to an end she’s booted to another future and learns that everything she knew didn’t happen. Tempus is a highly influential and lesser-known character that could definitely use more of a platform to show what else she can do.WARBIRD – AVA’DARA NAGANANDINIvia Marvel ComicsHow have we not had more Ava’Dara Naganandini in our comics?! There’s not a lot to say about her, but if I had to describe her, think of Valkyrie, but more badass? Yes. That’s how I’d like to explain her. Ava’Dara was birthed by an “automated seed sprinkler” (dude, I don’t know either) and an alien birth mother that sadly passed away when she was born. Ava’Dara grew up knowing she wanted to be a Warbird, assembling weapons and working in a factor. When she was older, she was sent to protect Kid Gladiator as he went to school at Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and became his bodyguard.Ava’Dara Naganandini made her first appearance in Wolverine and the X-Men #1, but it’s been a ride for her. It’s a bit cheating to put her on this list cause she’s not an X-Men per say, but being associated with them and being a lesser known character is all you need. Ava’Dara Naganandini would be a cool addition to the team again. Just… keep her 100 yards away from Iceman.LIN LI – NATURE GIRLvia Marvel ComicsHear me out! I know you’re saying, “Why would she put THIS mutant on the list?” Before you turn your back on me, I’ll make it short and sweet cause we don’t know much about this mutant besides whats in her first couple of appearances. Lin Li debuted in Wolverine and the X-Men Vol. 2 #1. Lin is quiet, a bit shy, but she hands out with little Bamfs and doesn’t bother many people. She can talk to plant life, animal manipulation, animal bonding and flight, which is very underestimated by a lot of standards.Lin’s presence in the comics have been great, but not enough JUST yet to make her a full X-Men just yet. Right now, she’s still a student at the Insitute and apart of Generation X with other new mutants Eye-Boy, Bling, Quentin Quire, Hindsight, and Morph, lead by nonother than Jubilee.You can doubt who she is and her powers, but you know who else we questioned when she first made her debut? Squirrel Girl. I think Lin Li, with the right person at the helm, can create zany, yet grounded stories for Lin. They have the potential to be maybe the funny, silent and observing opposite of Squirrel Girl, but if we make her a villain, deviously wonderful like Poison Ivy. I see potential in Nature Girl’s abilities.ILLYANA RASPUTINA – MAGIKvia MarvelI saved the best for last, as always. When I wanted to get back into X-Men comics, Magik was the first mutant that intrigued me. She’s sarcastic, straightforward, and a flippin’ sorceress! She’s the most well-known on this list for sure, especially with her current leads in the franchise and Anya Taylor-Joy bringing her to life in New Mutants next year. However, a lot of people still don’t know much about her because she’s so multi-fascinating and secretive (in her own way).Magik aka Illyana Nikolievna Rasputina appeared in Giant-Size X-Men #1 first as the youngest sister of Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin (or Colossus) and Mikhail Nikolaievitch Rasputin. Being the youngest sister Colossus was very protective of her, as she so she had a bit of a hand in his powers manifesting while saving her from a runaway tractor. After this, Piotr was recruited to join the X-Men, but Illyana’s adventures were just getting started. One of the COOLEST arcs for her has to be her Limbo arc.Long story short, Illyana is kidnapped by Belasco and the alternate universe versions of Storm and Kitty Pryde, named Storm and Cat, go to rescue her. In Limbo, she learned how to use good and evil magic, taught both by Storm and Belasco. The manipulation in Limbo via Belasco is predatory, and this storyline becomes a linchpin for who Illyana turns out to be and her powers. Please read Magik: Storm and Illyana, it’s so worth it.As Magik’s evolved in the X-Men universe, she’s learned her powers throughout exporting in teleporting, Limbo and again, being a flippin’ sorceress! I hope one day she goes super Omega level mutant on everyone. She honestly has the potential to be dangerous for all involved. I swoon over Magik on a regular basis. Currently, she’s back to New Mutant form, starring in New Mutants: Dead Souls, written by Matthew Rosenberg with art by Adam Gorham, as the leader of the team. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img Stay on targetlast_img read more

VIT recognises relief efforts in floodhit Kerala

first_imgThanima ’18, the annual cultural event to mark Onam festival was recently held at Vellore Institute of Technology. The festival was inaugurated by Malayalam actor Amit Chakkalakkal while Dr G Viswanathan, Founder, and Chancellor of VIT, handed over prizes to those who had extended help in all forms to the Kerala flood victims.Thanima is held at VIT and organised by students and faculty hailing from Kerala. The recent Kerala floods had caused immense destruction to the State and people from all over the world had contributed for relief and rehabilitation. Students, parents, staff and the management had mobilised a relief amount Rs 1 crore, which was personally handed over to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan by Dr Viswanathan. In addition, with help from philanthropists in Vellore, students mobilised Rs 20 lakh worth of clothes, medicines, and stationery and this was sent in a truck to Kerala. This year’s Thanima was held as an event to express gratitude to the people who had contributed to the flood relief. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSpeaking at the function held at Anna Auditorium, Dr Viswanathan said that Thanima was being staged this year as an event to express gratitude to all those who had contributed to the relief and rehabilitation following the floods in Kerala. He said that he felt immensely happy that Thanima was conducted by students from Kerala, 1,500 of whom were studying here and 160 faculties, who taught at VIT. Thanima was an event in which not just people from Kerala took part, but students from faculty from all over India took part with great interest. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveChakkalakkal, who inaugurated the event by lighting a traditional lamp, said that it gave him immense happiness to take part in the cultural festival. After completing his school he went to Bengaluru to study engineering. He said that he had completed his engineering studies eight years ago and it was struggling to succeed in life that had brought him as chief guest at the function in VIT now. He further extolled students to dream and struggle in order to fulfill it. Besides Malayalam writer Pushpa Kurup, who was the guest of honour, Director of Students Welfare Amit Mahendrakar, and professors Naiji, Jagadeesh Kumar also marked their presence at the occasion. Students presented kummi dance, drama, and other cultural programmes, followed by a vote of thanks by student coordinators Sachin and Malavika.last_img read more

Full Address President Jacob Zuma responds to Nkandla ruling

first_imgRead the full address below:Fellow South Africans,I address you during an important year when our country celebrates 20 years since President Nelson Mandela signed the Constitution of the Republic into law in Sharpeville, which took place on the 10th of December 1996.Our Constitution commits us, individually and collectively, to build a nation based on the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom, through constitutionalism and the rule of law.We have well-established institutions that support democracy and which protect the rights of our citizens.These include the Chapter 9 institutions, the Office of the Public Protector, the South African Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Auditor-General, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and the Commission for Gender Equality.Our Constitution also establishes a democratic parliament. I respect the role of parliament to hold the Executive to account as true representatives of our people, representing, as it does different voices, views and constituencies.Guided by the Constitution, we have an independent judiciary which is a trusted final arbiter in disputes in society.Yesterday, the Constitutional Court of the Republic, playing this crucial role, issued a judgement on the matter of security upgrades at my private residence in Nkandla.I welcome the judgement of the Constitutional Court unreservedly.The judgement has underscored the values that underpin our hard- won freedom and democracy, such as the rule of law and the accountability of public office bearers, while also respecting the rights of public office bearers facing scrutiny.The judgement has further strengthened our constitutional democracy and should make South Africans proud of their country’s Constitution and its strong and effective institutions.This is a ground-breaking judgement with regards to the powers of the Public Protector.I wish to thank the Court for providing clarity which will have a positive impact on other Chapter 9 institutions as well with regards to their work.The Constitutional Court has ruled that the remedial actions of the Public Protector are binding, and that anyone wishing to challenge the remedial action can only do so through a review by a court of law.The Court has also ruled that the remedial actions with regards to six features of the Nkandla project must be carried out.This entails the National Treasury establishing a reasonable proportion of the reasonable costs of each item to be paid by the President.I respect the judgement and will abide by it.I have consistently stated that I would pay an amount towards the Nkandla non-security upgrades once this had been determined by the correct authority. The Court has ruled on the matter and has devised a mechanism for such determination by the National Treasury.As alluded to by the court, we participated in the resolution of this matter voluntarily, through the proposal we made before the matter was heard by the court.We also consulted with other parties to the dispute as directed by the court. In the proposal I stated my willingness to pay and to abide by other measures.I would like to emphasise that it was never my intention not to comply with the remedial action taken against me by the Public Protector or to disrespect her office.It is for this reason that on receiving the report, I submitted it and my initial response to it to the National Assembly within 14 days as required by the Public Protector. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite The Court has welcomed this compliance and stated in the judgment that I also followed up with another response five months later.I then allowed another arm of the state, the National Assembly, to go through its own processes in dealing with the report.I welcome the finding of the court that it was legally permissible for me to inquire into the correctness of the aspects of the report that I may disagree with.I also welcome the clarity provided by the Constitutional Court that I should have then taken the matter on review by a court of law in the event of any queries or disagreement.This interpretation will be followed by the Executive in the future in light of this judgement. It puts an end to any other interpretations of this matter.I also respect the finding that failure to comply with the remedial action taken against me by the Public Protector is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic.I wish to emphasise that I never knowingly or deliberately set out to violate the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the Republic.The finding by the court that my failure to comply with the remedial action taken against me by the Public Protector is inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid, flows from the fact that I initially followed a different approach.While correct in law at the time, the approach was subsequently demonstrated to be contrary to the Constitution as stated by the Constitutional Court yesterday.I had earlier adopted a different approach based on the judgment of the Western Cape High Court.This ruling was subsequently overturned on appeal, and I immediately set out to abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court on this matter.I wish to confirm in line with the findings of both the court and the Public Protector, that I did not act dishonestly or with any personal knowledge of the irregularities by the Department of Public Works with regards to the Nkandla project.The intention was not in pursuit of corrupt ends or to use state resources to unduly benefit me and my family. Hence I have agreed to pay for the identified items once a determination is made.The judgement has been very helpful.There are lessons to be learned for all of us in government which augur well for governance in the future.The Nkandla project brought sharply into focus, the problems within the government supply chain mechanisms.The gross inflation of prices in the Nkandla project is totally unacceptable and should never have been allowed, hence government is improving procurement measures to prevent any future recurrence.The Office of the Chief Procurement Officer has been established at the National Treasury for this purpose of ensuring that strict supply chain procedures are followed by government departments.Government also took a conscious decision to clean up the Department of Public Works to ensure that the flouting of supply chain procedures is eradicated and prevented.I issued a proclamation in December 2013 authorising the Special Investigating Unit to investigate the irregularities in the procurement of goods and services by government officials, their close family members or friends and contractors in Nkandla.Subsequent to this, the Department of Public Works has instituted civil claims against the implicated officials and contractors.Criminal referrals have also been submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority, while referrals have also been sent to relevant government departments for disciplinary action.The Presidency is also reviewing the policy on the security benefits of members of the National Executive, to ensure that there is clarity with regards to what members are entitled to.Fellow South Africans,I wish to reiterate that any action that has been found not to be in keeping with the Constitution happened because of a different approach and different legal advice.It all happened in good faith and there was no deliberate effort or intention to subvert the Constitution on my part.The judgement has helped me and my colleagues to reflect deeply on the entire matter. With hindsight, there are many matters that could have been handled differently, and which should never have been allowed to drag on this long, which we deeply regret.The matter has caused a lot of frustration and confusion, for which I apologise, on my behalf and on behalf of government.I urge all parties to respect the judgement and abide by it.Let us use the judgement to build and further strengthen our democracy.I thank you.Issued by The Presidencycenter_img President Jacob Zuma addressed the nation on television on 1 April and agreed to pay back the money spent on the upgrades on his Nkandla residential home.This is after the Constitutional Court’s ruling that Zuma were in breach of their constitutional obligations after they failed to comply with the public prosecutor Thuli Madonsela’s 2014 report.Zuma said: “I respected the judgment and will abide by it,” Zuma said.“I have consistently stated that I would pay an amount towards the Nkandla non security upgrades once this had been determined by the correct authority.”Watch the address below:last_img read more

Allday yoga a chocolate concert and other happenings around Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:Palmares festival, Allende play, and other happenings around Costa Rica BMX bikers, TEDx lectors, and other happenings around Costa Rica Festival of Light, Egyptian dancers, and other happenings around Costa Rica Nativity scenes, funk music, and other happenings around Costa Rica Little Devils’ GameThe unique Brunca ritual is a multi-day battle between a “bull” and masked warriors. Following a similar event in the Boruca Indigenous Reserve in early January, this sequel takes place in the nearby community of Rey Curré.El Juego de los Diablitos takes place Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, Rey Curré, Puntarenas province. Fri.-Sun., 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Free. Info: SiCultura website.Cirque du SoleilThe mind-blowing avant-garde circus arrives in Costa Rica with its latest production, “Corteo.”“Cirque du Soleil: Corteo” continues through Feb. 8 at Hacienda Espinal, Alajuela. Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 12 & 4 p.m. ₡38,000-140,000 ($74-280). Info: eTicket.Art: Albrecht Dürer, Renaissance GeniusClassical German printer Albrecht Dürer receives a stunning retrospective at the Central Bank Museums.“Alberto Durero: Genio del Renacimiento” displays through April 26 at the Central Bank Museums, downtown San José. Daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: Museum website.Film: “The Devil’s Elbow”This acclaimed new documentary unearths a grim period in Costa Rican history.“El Codo del Diablo” screens at various cinemas. Info: Film website.Dance and Film: “La Bayadère”An exotic love triangle unfolds in this beloved ballet by composer Ludwig Minkus. The Eugene O’Neill Theater will screen a live production beamed into the theater by satellite.“La Bayadère” screens Jan. 24 & 25 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center, Los Yoses. 11 a.m. ₡5,000-10,000 ($10-20). Info: Cultural Center website.Art: “Ricardo Ávila: Urban Observer”See city life in a whole new way through Ricardo Ávila’s unique landscapes.“Ricardo Ávila: Observador Urbano” continues through March 29 at the Museum of Costa Rican Art, La Sabana. Wed.-Sun., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free. Info: Museum website.Theater: “Family Wanted”From Mexican dramatist Berta Hiriart comes a musical for all ages about family – the good, the bad, and the happy surprises.“Se Busca Familia” performs Sundays at Teatro La Fortina, Heredia. 3 p.m. ₡4,500 ($9) children, ₡6,000 ($12) adults. Info: La Fortina website.Theater: “The Kings’ Dream”A collaborative production between Costa Rican and Chilean artists, “El Sueño de unos Reyes” explores the concepts of nationhood and identity through movement and multimedia.“El Sueño de unos Reyes” performs through Jan. 18 – Feb. 1 at Gráfica Genesis, Cathedral District, San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. ₡3,000-4,000 ($6-8). Info: Gráfica Genesis website.Theater: “The House of the Spirits”Isabel Allende’s masterpiece comes to life during this stage adaptation by U.S. playwright Caridad Svich. After last year’s extremely successful run, Teatro Espressivo revives the Spanish-language production for a second round.“La Casa de los Espiritus” runs Jan. 15 – Feb. 15 at Teatro Espressivo, Tres Ríos. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. ₡10,000-15,000 ($20-30). Info: Teatro Espressivo website.Film: “Maikol Yordan”From the madcap minds of “Media Docena,” the hit Costa Rican sketch show, comes their first feature film, a comedy about the well-meaning yokel Maikol Yordan. How will this goofy campesino fare on his globe-trotting tour? Find out by catching this super-Tico comedy at almost any local movie theater.“Maikol Yordan” screens at various cinemas across the country. For more information about the film, visit the official Facebook page.Exhibit: “Juan Rafael Mora”Recognized for his muttonchops and paternal demeanor, Juan Rafael Monge is widely considered the Abraham Lincoln of Costa Rica. The National Archives displays images of this founding father to the public.Exhibit continues through Feb. 28 at the National Archives, Zapote. Free. Info: Archives website. Facebook Commentscenter_img The Super BowlThe folks in Quepos are not messing around: This small seaside down in Puntarenas province will host a massive outdoor Super Bowl party, and they expect no fewer than 1,000 attendants to flood the Marina Pez Vela amphitheater. Whether this is event will actually be the largest Super Bowl party in Central America has yet to be seen, but that is precisely their goal. If you’re not in Manuel Antonio, expect every sports bar in the country to host its own Super Bowl party this Sunday, Feb. 1. Whether you’re rooting for New England or Seattle – or just want an excuse to buy buckets of beer and watch satellite TV – American football’s finale can be just as awesome in Costa Rica as in the U.S.Concert Evening at Sibú ChocolateMusicians from The National Symphony perform in an intimate setting. Guests will be treated to a gourmet spread, courtesy of Sibú Chocolate.Concert takes place Jan. 31 at Sibú Chocolate, San Isidro de Heredia. 6 p.m. ₡15,000 ($30). Info: Sibú website.YogathonDowntown Yoga inaugurates its new location with a yoga marathon. Participants can sign up for certain time slots or for the entire day.“Yogatón” takes place Jan. 31 at Downtown Yoga’s new location, downtown San José. (From the Casa Amarilla, 100 meters east, 50 meters north, look for a red building with the drawing of a man). 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. ₡3,000-7,000 ($6-14). Info: Downtown Yoga website.Comedy AbroadLaugh for a cause: Comedy Abroad brings together PG-13 stand-up comics to benefit Abriendo Mentes, an education initiative in Guanacaste.Comedy Abroad performs Jan. 30 at Mar Vista, Flamingo, Guanacaste & Jan. 31 at El Coconut, Tamarindo, Guanacaste. Fri. 6 p.m.; Sat., 7 p.m. $15-20. Info: Comedy Abroad website.TEDxUnited World College of Costa Rica hosts the popular lecture series at Veritas. Presenters will speak in English and Spanish, with translators on-hand.TEDx takes place Feb. 5 at Veritas University, Zapote. 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Info: TEDx website.National Poetry DayJan. 31 is National Poetry Day in Costa Rica, and local bards have been celebrating all week. While readings and workshops take place across the country, poets will finisht the week by presenting their work at the bohemian bar El Lobo Estepario.Readings take place Jan. 30 & 31 at El Lobo Estepario, downtown San José. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m. Free. 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Best Western unveils spectacular hotel in Malaysias Genting Highlands

first_imgSource = Best Western International – Asia About Best Western Hotels & ResortsBest Western® Hotels & Resorts headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of 4,100* hotels in more than 100* countries and territories worldwide. Best Western offers seven hotel brands to suit the needs of developers and guests in every market: Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Best Western Premier®, Executive Residency by Best Western℠, Vīb®, BW Premier Collection® and GLōSM. Now celebrating 70 years of hospitality, Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales and marketing support, and online and mobile booking capabilities. More than 26 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. The brand’s partnerships with AAA/CAA, Minor League Baseball, and Harley-Davidson® provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. Best Western continues to set industry records regarding awards and accolades, including Business Travel News naming Best Western as the best midscale hotel brand in 2014 and Best Western Plus as the best upper mid-price hotel brand in 2014 and 2015, four consecutive Compuware Best of the Web gold awards for best hotel website, and seven consecutive AAA/CAA Hotel Partner of the Year awards. Nearly 60 percent of Best Western branded hotels earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award in 2015.* Numbers are approximate, may fluctuate, and include hotels currently in the development pipeline. Best Western Best Western Premier Genting Ion DelemenBest Western unveils spectacular hotel in Malaysia’s Genting HighlandsThe brand new Best Western Premier Genting Ion Delemen is nestled into the lush jungle-clad hills of Pahang state, in the center of the Malay Peninsula. As well as providing the perfect natural retreat for both Malaysian and international visitors, the new hotel is also on the doorstep of multiple attractions, such as Chin Swee Cave Temple and Genting’s Resorts World, which features a large theme park, casino and Malaysia’s longest cable car ride.In addition, two large retails malls are due to open in the area later this year, and the world’s first 20th Century Fox theme park is scheduled to welcome visitors in 2017.Best Western Premier Genting Ion Delemen is operated by Ion Delemen Hospitality Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the NCT Group of Companies.“The Genting Highlands is becoming a must-visit destination, not only for Malaysian travellers wanting a break from the city, but also for a rising number of international guests,” said Olivier Berrivin, Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ Managing Director of International Operations – Asia. “With beautiful natural scenery, an array of world-class attractions and 20th Century Fox World on track to open next year, there are now multiple reasons to visit.“Our impressive new hotel, Best Western Premier Genting Ion Delemen, will provide contemporary and stylish upscale accommodation for visitors. And with its outstanding collection of upscale facilities and incredible setting, the hotel is likely to become a destination its own right,” Mr Berrivin added.Scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2016, Best Western Premier Genting Ion Delemen will offer a collection of rooms, ranging from studios to one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, all featuring separate living areas, bedrooms and kitchenettes. All rooms will offer modern amenities including flat-screen TVs, international power outlets and complimentary Wi-Fi, as well as spacious bathrooms and large windows that overlook the lush Titiwangsa Mountains.This brand new hotel also incorporates a vast array of amenities. There are no fewer than six restaurants and bars, most of which offer floor-to-ceiling windows or al fresco seating areas that merge seamlessly with the natural surroundings. There is also a sky garden, a heated swimming pool, luxurious spa, fully-equipped fitness center, children’s play area, and extensive space and conferences and events.Guests will also be able to access the Genting Highlands’ many other attractions – including Resorts World – using the hotel’s complimentary shuttle bus service.Best Western Hotels & Resorts currently operates three hotels in Malaysia, located in Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya and Ipoh. Best Western Premier Genting Ion Delemen will become the company’s second upscale hotel in the central mountains of the Malay Peninsula, following the spectacular Best Western Premier The Haven Ipoh.last_img read more

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first_img Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The NFL Draft is a little more than a week away and the Arizona Cardinals continue bringing in prospects for workouts.According to Scout.com, the Cardinals are taking a pre-draft look at LSU running back Spencer Ware.Ware was part of a “running back by committee” situation in 2012 for the Tigers. The 5-foot-10, 228-pound Ware ran for 367 yards and a touchdown on 94 carries. He was bothered by a deep thigh bruise for a portion of the campaign. Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelocenter_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling As a sophomore in 2011, Ware ran for 707 yards and a team-leading eight touchdowns on 177 carries and was a Second-Team All-SEC selection.According to the report, Ware has already worked out for Indianapolis, Philadelphia and New England. Scout has Ware rated as the 18th-best running back in this year’s draft class.last_img read more

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the Countess of Wessex,K. which serves a crucial role in the Internet infrastructure A domain name system translates what you type into a URL”Twittercom” sayinto the appropriate numerical IP address and directs you to where you want to go In a typical DDOS attack hackers take over virus-infected computers known collectively as a “botnet” and command them to send large numbers of requests or “garbage packets” to a server with the intention of overwhelming itmaking it impossible for legitimate users to access it as needed What made the attack on Friday exceptional and exceptionally scary for cyber researchers is that the hackers used not only virus-infected computers but hundreds of tens or hundreds of internet-connected devicesnamely certain types of security cameras and DVR playersthat we don’t really think of as “computers” in the first place XiongMai Technologies a Chinese company that manufactures some of the webcams used in the attack announced Monday that it would recall some of its products But such recalls aren’t going to do much at a time when literally millions of new internet-connected devices are being connected every day Edgar said “There are millions and millions of cameras out there on the shelves and in people’s homes and there’s no security on them” he said “Going back and making sure that each of these cameras have better security isn’t really possibleit’s a depressing thought” According to a 2015 report by the information technology research company Gartner there are now roughly 64 billion internet-connected things worldwide from smart watches to smart refrigerators to smart web cams By 2020 Gartner expects that number to bounce to 208 billion That means that even if a relatively small portion of those devices are infected with malware and commandeered in a DDOS attack like the one Friday hackers could an extraordinary amount of damage either the US economy or potentially to national security “This particular attack disrupted key services that are a part of peoples daily lives but no lives were lost” Chris Petersen a co-founder of the security analytics firm LogRhythm told TIME But he added it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which hackers utilized this same army of devices to disrupt other key services like hospitals or physical infrastructure projects “This attack just proves that an attack of this nature could be easily realized” he said Just two weeks before Election Day cybersecurity experts have for example raised the specter that hackers possible operating on behalf of a nation state like Russia or China could plan a similar attack to compromise state and county election websites which voters rely on to access information about their registration or where their polling places are Since no voting machines in the US are connected to the internet it would be extremely difficult for hackers to undermine the actual act of voting but they could fairly easily succeed in creating the impression that the election had been compromised in some way “The possibility of hacking the vote-counting process is quite difficult” said Edgar “But the goal is causing chaos on Election Day That’s pretty simple” A large part of the problem is that internet-connected device makers currently do almost nothing to protect their products from cybersecurity threats Mike Raggo the chief research officer at the security firm ZeroFOX which focuses on social media platforms told TIME “Manufacturers want you to be able to plug it in and it’s ready to go” he said “So most of these devices have a default password default configuration default login” That makes it easy to plug-and-play but it also makes these devices very vulnerable to attack According to Network World the hackers on Friday used only about 10 to 20% of all the 500000 or so devices known to be infected with a particular malicious code known as Mirai which means that the DDOS attack could easily have been five to ten times larger than what it actually was “Theres a lot of dry gunpowder left in terms of compromised IoT devices” Petersen warned Consumers can protect themselves to some degree by keeping the software on their devices up to date changing the default password if its possible orfor the more sophisticated consumerhardening up other parts of a home network said Scott Radcliffe a former military officer and vice president at FleishmanHillard where he works on cybersecurity issues “But it’s a problem of getting the message out It’s just not intuitive that we have to worry about security on all of these new things” On Monday Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Politico that his department is working with law enforcement officials and the private sector to produce a strategic plan “in the coming weeks” to guard against similar attacks in the future There are currently no state or federal regulations in the US that require even basic cybersecurity protocols on internet-connected devices and appliances It’s a scenario that creates a vacuum of responsibility Edgar said “You can say let’s hold manufacturers liable for damaged caused by insecure IoT devices but how would you do that” he said explaining that DDOS attacks can involve hundreds of thousands or millions of devices made by dozens of different manufacturers “If youre looking at it from the point of the view of a law firm how do you define the damage find plaintiffs and defendants” Edgar and others suggest that perhaps the time has come for the government to step in “There’s a big fear in the high tech community that government regulation is going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg by telling tech companies how to make their devices” he said but added that regulations can establish security benchmarks without being prescriptive “Look I’m an entrepreneur” said Petersen “I am certainly not someone who wants to see more regulation from a business standpoint But when I put on my cybersecurity hat and I look at the realities of what is going to protect our nation from devastating cyber security attacks I dont see much of an alternative except to regulate” Contact us at editors@timecom igniting the battery’s highly flammable lithium electrolyte. child labor and infant mortality are all on the decline. 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How would I use my iPhone to pay for something? while Richard Kim, “At this critical moment of our nation, The Onnoghen – led panel said all the issues raised by factional Chairman of the PDP in Ondo State Biyi Poroye against Jegede had been overtaken by yesterday’s ruling of the Court of Appeal Poroye who is of the Sen Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction had appealed against the ruling of the appeal Court that reinstated Jegede as PDP governorship candidate “The decision of the lower court on the substantive matter yesterday 23/11/2016 that decision has rendered the instant interlocutory appeal academic as appellant has the right to against the said judgement including the interlocutory ruling” Onnoghen ruled “In this circumstance this appeal is hereby struck out with no order as to cost” Counsel to the factional Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP Chairman in Ondo State Biyi Poroye Beluolisa Nwofor challenged the yesterday’s ruling of the Appeal Court saying his appeal ought to be heard because the election was few days away Nwofor said “This appeal is different in its entirety because this is the only appeal coming before the governorship election of Ondo fixed for Saturday and it cannot be adjourned because time is of the essence” Reacting to Nwofor’s argument counsel to Jegede Wole Olanipekun contended that hearing Nwofor’s appeal after the appellate court had delivered judgement in the favour of Jegede has rendered the process academic “The final judgement of the court delivered yesterday and the ruling makes it pursuit academic” Olanipekun said it means that those areas that appear to be controversial or where the President had some issues." the Serb told United’s website (www. instilling in children a safe code of conduct and respect for others, ATF enroute to partner in Coachella mosque fire. read more

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