Rabat – The third session of the Morocco-US strategic dialogue will open next Thursday in Washington under the co-chairmanship of Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar and US Secretary of State John Kerry.The event is part of a process launched in September 2012 following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries providing for the strengthening of bilateral ties through mutually a mutually beneficial partnership.In this regard, the two countries agreed to hold an annual meeting co-chaired by the two countries’ diplomacy chiefs alternating between the capitals of Morocco and the US. The first session was held in Washington on September 13, 2012, while the second took place in Rabat on April 04, 2014.This bilateral strategic dialogue takes place at the level of four working committees focusing on political, economic, security, and educational issues.A fresh momentum was given to this strategic partnership following King Mohammed VI’s visit to Washington at the invitation of President Obama in November 2013. read more

TORONTO — Losses in several sectors resulted in a moderate decline on Canada’s main stock index Thursday while the loonie was little changed.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 73.67 points to 15,191.96, with energy, base metals, industrials and financials the biggest losers.One bright spot for the energy sector was Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ), which reported higher second-quarter profits compared with a year ago. Its stock rose $1.31, or 3.39 per cent, to $39.90.Otherwise, crude prices have stalled, weighing on oil and gas stocks, said Todd Mattina, chief economist and strategist at Mackenzie Investments.The September crude oil contract gave back 56 cents to US$49.03 per barrel. It settled above the US$50 mark on Monday, but has since retreated.“Energy is having a tough time cracking the $50 threshold,” said Mattina.In New York, markets were generally flat. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 9.86 points to 22,026.10, its seventh straight record close, while the S&P 500 index slipped 5.41 points to 2,472.16 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 22.31 points to 6,340.34.The quiet trading day came as the Institute for Supply Management delivered a disappointing report on how U.S. services companies did in July. The group said its services index slipped to its lowest reading in 11 months as production, orders and hiring all slowed down.On Friday, stock markets will look for direction from two important reports when both Statistics Canada and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics release the jobs figures for July.“A lot of investors are looking to those reports for signs of where the economic cycle is going and how that might influence the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada in their next interest rate decision,” said Mattina.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 79.50 cents US, down 0.12 of a cent.Elsewhere in commodities, the September natural gas contract lost one cent at US$2.80 per mmBTU, December gold was down $4.00 to US$1,274.40 an ounce, and September copper was unchanged at US$2.88 a pound.— With files from The Associated PressFollow @DaveHTO on Twitter. read more

by Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 5, 2013 4:07 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email CALGARY – The CEO of Enbridge Inc. said Wednesday he’s willing to work with the B.C. government to allay doubts it has about the safety of the proposed $6-billion Northern Gateway pipeline.The province officially declared opposition to pipeline last week, telling a federal review panel the project shouldn’t go ahead because there are too many unanswered questions about how Calgary-based Enbridge (TSX:ENB) would respond to a spill.“I don’t view it as a blow,” Enbridge CEO Al Monaco told reporters following a pipeline safety forum hosted by the National Energy Board.“As a matter of fact, I think the B.C. position is pretty much what they’ve stated, which is they want to see more information, they’re going to input their views to the joint-review panel process and as, I said before, we see it as a pretty good roadmap to get things done.”The 1,600-kilometre line would transport 550,000 barrels per day of oilsands crude from just outside Edmonton to a port in Kitimat, on the northern B.C. coast. There, oil would be loaded onto hundreds of tankers a year for transport to Asian markets. A parallel line would carry imported diluent, which helps heavy crude flow through pipelines, eastward for use in the oilsands.Supporters of the project say it would free land-locked Alberta to expand its customer base beyond the United States — a development worth billions of dollars in additional revenues.Monaco said he is eager to discuss the matter with B.C. Premier Christy Clark, but no meeting has been scheduled.B.C. has left the door open to changing its mind before the panel issues its report at the end of the year, and included recommendations for strict conditions the government believes should be put in place should the panel decide to issue a certificate.“What they’re saying is they have a concern around certain issues. We share those concerns. The project will evolve and we’re hoping that eventually we’ll be able to sit down with them and seek some more input into what they’d like to see,” Monaco said.“You have to remember we are in a regulatory process and I think the B.C. government has submitted their views, which we accept and will work toward addressing.”Monaco said Enbridge would attempt to provide additional information on its safety plans by the time the panel hears final arguments later this month.But he said a lot of the detailed planning on issues raised during the consultation process won’t actually begin until Enbridge does a “detailed design” on the project.“I’m confident it will go, but I’m not taking that for granted. We have a lot of work to do,” he said.“From here on, the project is going to evolve further and we’re going to continue to work with the government and move forward.” “I’m confident it will go”; Enbridge CEO ready to work with B.C. on pipeline read more

by Elaine Kurtenbach, The Associated Press Posted Jan 27, 2017 12:01 am MDT Last Updated Jan 29, 2017 at 10:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Trump plan for tax on Mexico exports raises eyebrows in Asia FILE – In this Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, file photo, a tug boat goes by the pier of a container terminal in Tokyo. Talk of a possible 20 percent tax on U.S. imports from Mexico is raising eyebrows in Asia, where exports to the U.S. drive growth in many economies. Japanese officials said Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, they hoped to soon hold talks on trade with U.S. officials. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) TOKYO – Talk of a possible 20 per cent tax on U.S. imports from Mexico raised eyebrows Friday in Asia, where exports to the U.S. drive growth in many economies.Reaction to the news was more muted than it might have been, however, since much of the region was closed for lunar new year holidays.Japanese officials said Friday they hoped to meet soon with U.S. officials. Finance Minister Taro Aso said the Japanese side should “thoroughly explain” how Japanese companies have been contributing to American society, including creating jobs.“It would be important to exchange opinions to accurately convey the reality and establish a steady relationship,” Aso told reporters.President Donald Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer said the 20 per cent tax was among several options to finance building a wall along the U.S. southern border, but no decision has been made.Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (PAYN’-yuh nee-EH’-toh) scrapped a scheduled trip to Washington next week over the issue. He has flatly rejected Trump’s assertion that Mexico will pay for the wall on its border.The peso fell 0.6 per cent against the U.S. dollar, to 21.35 pesos to the dollar but recovered to about 21.23 late Friday in Asia. The Japanese yen also weakened against the dollar, to 115.23 yen from Thursday’s close of 114.46 yen.China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported that Trump was considering the 20 per cent tariff without any editorial comment. However, the report cited unnamed analysts saying Trump would have to withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, to be able to impose such a tax. Trump has said he wants to renegotiate NAFTA.Though he did not refer directly to Trump, in remarks marking the eve of the lunar new year on Friday, Premier Li Keqiang said, “Above all, we remain convinced that economic openness serves everyone better, at home and abroad.“The world is a community of shared destiny. It’s far preferable for countries to trade goods and services and bond through investment partnerships than to trade barbs and build barriers. Should differences arise, it behooves us all to discuss them with respect and a keen sense of equality,” he said.Uncertainty over future trade ties with the U.S. rose after Trump pulled the U.S. out of a Pacific Rim trade initiative, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that formed the centerpiece of former President Barack Obama’s moves to strengthen U.S. economic ties in the region.It’s unclear how much of Trump’s campaign rhetoric will become reality, said Kent Calder, director of Asia Programs at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.“But the general symbolism that America is growing protectionist I think deeply concerns almost all Asian countries because they are pre-eminent exporters, and many of them heavily dependent on exports and so that has major implications for them, even if this is specifically aimed first of all at Mexico,” he said.Japan’s chief government spokesman refused comment on tensions over the border wall, but said Tokyo was watching for any impact on Japanese companies.A steep tariff on exports from Mexico to the U.S. would pinch manufacturers like Toyota Motor Corp., which like nearly all other automakers builds small cars in Mexico to take advantage of its lower wages.Toyota employs thousands of people at factories in the U.S, but it also is planning to build a plant in Mexico to make the popular Corolla subcompact.About 70 per cent of the vehicles Japanese car makers sell in the U.S. are made in the U.S., but a tax on cars exported from Japan — 1.8 million last year — would “clearly be a major headwind,” Capital Economics’ economists Marcel Thieliant and Mark Williams said in a report issued Friday.Trump also has threatened to impose steep tariffs on imports from China, which ran a $319 billion surplus with the U.S. in January-November 2016, compared with Japan’s $62.4 billion surplus and Mexico’s $60 billion, according to U.S. figures.___Associated Press writers Ken Moritsugu and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report. read more

Weve Never Seen A Player Quite Like Giannis Antetokounmpo

Antetokounmpo still needs to polish some of the finer aspects of playing guard, such as running a pick-and-roll and spotting up for jumpers. But! He’s also still days shy of his 22nd birthday. If he’s this good — and this versatile — now, watching Antetokounmpo reach his potential will be one of the NBA’s most entertaining storylines over the decade to come.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Across the nine major component categories of advanced metrics tracked at,1i.e., categories that attempt to isolate skill in a particular area of the game, rather than more holistic measures such as PER or Win Shares. Antetokounmpo ranks among the top half of qualified2For the purposes of this story, I considered a player to have qualified for the league leaderboard for these nine stats if he has played at least 12.2 minutes per scheduled game (taking the average number of games across all NBA teams), which works out to about 1,000 minutes in a normal 82-game season. NBA players in eight of them — turnovers are the only area where he was worse than the average player through Wednesday’s games.But the Greek Freak is at his most transformative when he plays point guard. When 6-foot-5-inch James Harden — 6 inches shorter than Antetokounmpo — is already towering over opposing point guards after his move to the position this season, the idea of a 6-foot-11-inch terror in the open court, dunking on opponents in transition and making plays for teammates, is unprecedented. Since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, Toni Kukoc (in 1998-99) was the only player 6-foot-10-inch or taller to have a higher assist rate than Antetokounmpo has right now — and Kukoc wasn’t also rebounding or recording steals and blocks at anywhere near the same rates as Antetokounmpo is.In fact, the mere sight of a guy his size, doing what he does, is startling. Against Cleveland, the side-by-side comparison between Antetokounmpo and LeBron James — heretofore the greatest combination of size, speed and athleticism in basketball — was eye opening:To visualize what an outlier Antetokounmpo is among guards, here’s a plot of Box Plus/Minus against height for players listed by Basketball-Reference as point guards or shooting guards this season: One of the best point guards in the NBA right now stands 6 feet 11 inches tall.Let that sit for moment.OK, so Giannis Antetokounmpo also plays positions other than the point for the Milwaukee Bucks, and Matthew Dellavedova has been eating some of Antetokounmpo’s minutes at the 1. And frankly, it doesn’t really matter where Giannis plays, given that he can rattle off stat lines like the 34 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks he produced Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The guy is good at damn near everything there is to do on a basketball court: read more

OSU junior forward Nate Kohl (27) heads the ball in the second half Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Sept. 28. Credit: Michelle McDonnell | Lantern PhotographerIn a season derailed by injuries, stagnant offense and mistakes in the defensive zone, the Ohio State men’s soccer team has found itself in an unfavorable position.Coming into Tuesday night with a 3-9 record, the Buckeyes desperately needed a win to get some confidence back and build momentum leading into the final few games on the schedule.  Like a team with new life, Ohio State took down Oakland University 3-0 with an aggressive offense and all-around confident play.“We were in a little slump coming into this game,” junior forward Nate Kohl said. “We knew we had to get some goals and we were able to shut them out.”The Buckeyes never allowed the Golden Grizzlies to settle in, getting on the board in the early goings of the opening period.In just the 11th minute, junior defender Niall Logue crossed a pass from the far post to find sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed, who was able to give OSU an early 1-0 lead.With momentum on their side, the Buckeyes had no intentions of allowing Oakland to catch its breath.A few moments later, in the 14th minute, senior midfielder Ben Fitzpatrick worked a ball down the sideline in the offensive zone and got past his defender, allowing him to cross a ball right in front of the net that Kohl sent past the keeper to give the Buckeyes an early 2-0 lead.For Kohl, it was his fourth goal of the season.OSU did not take its foot off the gas even after taking a two score lead. They outshot Oakland 11-3 through the first 45 minutes, and applied relentless defensive pressure making it difficult for the Golden Grizzlies to cross midfield.As a result, the Buckeyes were able to extend their lead just before halftime.In the 40th minute, Mohamed struck a free kick from 20 yards out that sliced into the back left corner of the goal to extend the lead to 3-0, his second score of the game and fourth of the season.“We punished them with the early goals,” OSU coach John Bluem said. “Today we felt like we had the confidence against an Oakland team that we have seen a couple times here before. We aren’t just going to drop deep and defend for 90 minutes. We are going to play. We are better when we play more aggressively.”The second half was much less action packed, with OSU playing more on the defensive, trying to maintain the three-score lead. The Buckeyes would finish the game with a 14-9 shot advantage.“If they get an early goal in the second half, now it becomes more complicated,” Bluem said. “You want to make sure the guys understand that they have to continue to play hard. The game isn’t over.”The Buckeyes will play the second leg of this two game homestand as they resume Big Ten play against No. 9 Indiana on Saturday.“We proved we can win a game and we can do it again next game, too,” Mohamed said. “We just have to have confidence and play our game. Indiana is a pretty good team. We just have to step up to the plate and compete with them and we will be fine.” read more

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseMIT’s Thread-Like Robot Slides Through Blood Vessels In the Brain Stay on targetcenter_img There’s nothing funny about the impending robot revolution—the day artificial intelligence becomes dominant over humans, and computers take over the planet.It’s pretty hilarious, though, watching the ominous overlords screw up.“We subconsciously view them [robots] as lifelike and project our own attributes, emotions, and failings onto them,” Kate Darling, a research specialist at MIT’s Media Lab, said in 2015.“It’s so similar to the way we laugh at America’s Funniest Home Videos or kids falling down, or videos of animals doing silly, human-like things, or compilations of newcaster fails or models tripping on the runway,” she explained.It’s a built-in mechanism for reassuring ourselves that everyone effs up. But at least a video of me falling down the stairs hasn’t gone viral.Knightscope K5 Autonomous Data Machine (Steve)An upright, dry K5 (via Knightscope)In July, Georgetown-based retail park The Washington Harbour introduced the newest member of its security team, Steve. But, days after its launch, the robot was found face-down in an office building fountain. No witnesses came forward on behalf of the drowned robot; it remains unclear whether its plunge was intentional or accidental.The high-tech machine boasts 360-degree vision and the ability to scan up to 1,500 car license plates per minute. And while it can’t make arrests or taser a criminal, it will call the cops or sound a loud siren in an emergency situation.Boston Dynamics’ AtlasDuring an August TED Talk, Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert highlighted some of the firms’ latest tech, including advanced robots that can gallop like a cheetah, negotiate 10 inches of snow, walk upright on two legs, and even open doors.The Atlas humanoid, however, still needs some practice.“Everything doesn’t go exactly the way it’s supposed to,” Raibert admitted to the audience, which was howling with laughter as they watched an outtake of Atlas clumsily take down a pile of trays and a cart, before collapsing onto the floor itself.Heinz AutoMato57I like a healthy serving of ketchup on my hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries. But I’m not yet ready to hand over the dispensing responsibilities to the AutoMato57.Billed as able to “maneuver to a plate and expel condiment in desired locations,” the device features tank tread and green plastic Hulk arms, which squeeze the sauce in the general direction of your food (usually).MIT grads and AutoMato co-creators Bill Fienup and Barry Kudrowitz readily admit their product’s faults. But you can’t fault them for trying. (Just don’t invite them to your next BBQ.)MMM 3000 Robotic Arm MK IIRemember, kids: Eating while gaming can be messy and dangerous.So UK-based meat maker Mattessons launched a competition to design a device that allows the user to play and snack at the same time. From more than 15,000 entries, a team of engineers turned the best ideas into official blueprints, and even fewer into working prototypes. Like this robotic arm, which is less of a friendly reminder to keep your blood sugar levels steady, and more a torture device.The project culminated in the final MMM3000 “Ultimate Gaming Helmet.”Festo SmartBirdAutomation technology firm Festo modeled its SmartBird robot after the herring gull (known to most Americans as loud, annoying seagulls). By flapping its wings, the lightweight glider can lift and propel itself, becoming, at a distance, nearly indistinguishable from other feathered friends.Speaking at a gadget show a few years ago, the creators boasted that their robots act and behave “just like animals.” Which quickly became apparent when, during a live demonstration of the SmartBird, it flew around the room before nose-diving into the audience.Maybe someone in the audience was throwing breadcrumbs.Hanson Robotics’ SophiaThis is exactly what Elon Musk is talking about: Earlier this year, Hanson Robotics CEO David Hanson appeared on CNBC’s The Pulse with Sophia, the company’s “most advanced” AI system.Designed to look like Audrey Hepburn (I don’t see it), Sophia has been described as “an evolving genius machine,” whose increasing intelligence puts her at the forefront of the robot revolution.Case in point: When asked by Hanson himself if she wants to destroy humans (“Please say ‘no,’” he prompts her), Sophia responds with a smile, “OK, I will destroy humans.”This, folks, is the beginning of the end.Google Home Smart SpeakersEqually disturbing is this conversation between two Google Home smart speakers.The devices—named Vladimir (and sometimes Mia) and Estragon (or maybe Marco, and also sometimes Mia?)—argue and make up like any human couple.“Why are you arguing with me?”“Because you are wrong.”Burn!Last year, YouTuber Adam Jakowenko “decided to have some fun” with his Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers, forcing the machines into an infinite loop of event planning.Honda ASIMOWell, this is awkward.Honda began developing humanoid robots in the 1980s, creating several prototypes before ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility). The 4-foot-3, 119-pound android was built to interact with humans, offering a handshake and verbal responses.Just don’t ask it to come upstairs.During a live demonstration, the Japanese bot confidently walks to a set of steps, waits for its cue, climbs a few notches, then promptly falls backwards. (My favorite part comes next, when people rush the stage to hide the dead body.)iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaneriRobot’s Roomba vacuum cleans your house like a superhero cleans a villain-infested city. The roving robot, however, remains vexed by one foe in particular: feces.There is no shortage of sweeper-vs-stool videos, depicting the heartbreaking (yet hilarious) aftermath of the autonomous vacuum trying but failing to spruce up a steaming pile of shit.“I couldn’t be happier right now,” YouTuber Rocco DiGiorgio deadpans in one of my favorite clips (above). “I can’t even walk around the house. There’s crap everywhere,” he narrates. “F-M-L.”Someone even posted a 20-minute instruction on how to clean excrement out of the Roomba.Grant Imahara’s “The Spider”Even the experts get it wrong. Grant Imahara, best known for his robotics work on MythBusters, has been tinkering since he was a toddler. In 2007, he began working on The Spider—a large-scale walking robot intended to carry a person. With motors in all six legs, the anatomically incorrect device should theoretically move each individual limb, just like a real arachnid.But Imahara overestimated the monstrous bot, which suffered inadequate torque and never learned to walk. Even more embarrassing, though, would have been death by bionic spider.“Working late at night by myself, there were a few too-close calls when the robot almost crushed me,” Imahara admitted in in a 2014 column for Make: magazine.Simone Giertz’s shitty robotsInventor, maker, robotics enthusiast, and vlogger Simone Giertz has made a living out of hilarious robot fails.Self-proclaimed “Queen of Shitty Robots,” the straight-faced Swede creates machines to automate everyday tasks, like waking up in the morning, wiping your butt, brushing your teeth, and applying lipstick. The robots, however, usually provide more laughs than practicality.“I never set out to build something actually useful,” Giertz told New Scientist last year. “Almost all of my projects start out with a thing I would want to automate in my life, and then I just go with the over-the-top solution.”last_img read more


first_img Related Items:British Atlantic Financial Services, finacial services commission, kevin higgins, liquidation, premier rufus ewing Beaches puts former Premier on blast about controversial pier Row over Grand Turk infrastructure reaches fever pitch in Parliament Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you Bishop says peace & prosperity is everybody’s responsibility at Law Enforcers Church Service Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 12 Jan 2015 – There was no government or private sector bail-out plan supplied as an alternative to ending British Atlantic Financial Services Ltd operating in the Turks and Caicos Islands and on Friday the Chief Justice ruled that the company be liquidated. Around 2,600 policy holders will now have to wait and see what returns they get on the dollar for their near three decades of saving with BAFSL in some cases. The financial institution, reportedly millions of dollars in the hole, had been in the hand of provisional liquidators PriceWaterHouseCoopers since last month so this decision was not a huge surprise to some of the policy holders to whom we spoke. It is still unclear why government never moved to rescue the institution when Premier Rufus Ewing, in a called press conference spoke passionately about the handling of the case by the Financial Services Commission managing director, Kevin Higgins even calling for the decisions made surrounding the matter to be investigated and the Premier made an appeal to the Supreme Court to be considerate of the case and the Premier pledged that his government would do its best to bail out. A first step in that plan was revealed by Hon Dr. Rufus Ewing as meeting with the Opposition. That first step never happened. Another hearing in the case of BAFSL, which also got slammed in social media for what some residents called outrageous salaries and lack of information flowing to stakeholders is set for February 28, 2015.last_img read more

Natl Honors Awards nominee forms available

first_img Related Items:Agnes Swann, Karen Missick, linda williams, Llewlyn Handfield, national honors awards, oneal delancy, Rev Dr. Conrad Howell Adaptation of National Song debuts in memory of writer, Conrad Howell Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 16 Apr 2015 – Nominations are now being accepted for the seven National Awards and Medals and the deadline for entries is June 30th, 2015. During a radio talk show to the nation on Wednesday, the National Awards and Honors Committee explained how the bestowels will work and how the public has been really made the architects of who will be rewarded for their selflessness to country and humanity. Dr. Linda Williams led a vigorous discussion as Chairman of the committee and explained that the forms are available in every island and cay and finally gives the public the chance to say, and with evidence, who it believes should be a National Hero. Also on the Committee, Bill Archie Clare, who shared that this journey started in 2003 and has since grown to now encompass a national award for Youth. There is a guidelines booklet, which explains the criteria of the nominees and a form at the back of that very same booklet can be filled out. Nominations must be in on time, the Committee will only be responsible for handing over a list of candidates to the TCI Cabinet – they are not the selectors of the winners and cannot themselves be nominated while serving on this prestigious body. Cabinet ultimately determines who will be awarded year by year under the auspices of the Premier. While only one National Hero will be awarded each year, other categories can have up to four candidates gaining a medal or the honor. Again, you can now find the purple and golden colored guidelines booklet countrywide at clinics, hospitals, NIB, NHIB, Office of the Premier, libraries and District Commissioners’ offices. Other Committee members include: Agnes Swann, Karen Missick, Rev Dr. Conrad Howell, Llewlyn Handfield and former speaker of the House, Oneal Delancy. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you PDM on Passing of Conrad Howell Premier speaks following Howell’s body discoverylast_img read more

One killed as Pakistan police disperse Islamist sitin

first_imgSmoke rises from a blocked flyover as protesters from the Tehreek-i-Labaik Yah Rasool Allah Pakistan (TLYRAP) religious group clash with police in Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo: AFPPakistani forces clashed violently with hardline religious protesters in Islamabad Saturday, with at least one person killed, more than 130 injured and small demonstrations spreading to other cities after police cracked down on an Islamist sit-in.Thousands of security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets as the demonstrators blocked roads and burned police vehicles around the site of the sit-in, which has choked a main highway and virtually paralysed the capital for nearly three weeks.An Islamabad police spokesman confirmed that a policeman was killed in the fighting after he was struck in the head by a rock, and an AFP journalist saw what appeared to be the body of at least one demonstrator lying on the road in the capital.At least 139 injured people have been taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad, a spokesman from the hospital told AFP, adding that 93 of them were members of the security forces.The sit-in by the little-known hardline group called Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan (TLYRAP) has blocked the main road into the capital used by thousands of commuters since November 6, causing hours-long traffic snarls and enraging commuters.The protesters, who before Saturday numbered some 2,000 people, are demanding that Pakistan’s law minister Zahid Hamid resign over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear.Demonstrators have linked it to blasphemy—a highly contentious issue in Muslim Pakistan—and claim the oath was softened to enable the participation of Ahmadis, a long-persecuted Islamic minority sect.Smoke and tear gas filled the air in the ongoing, hours-long bid by some 8,500 police as well as paramilitary Rangers and Frontier Corps forces to clear the demonstrators, which began soon after dawn.AFP reporters at the site said dozens more demonstrators were arriving.Fresh protests were also springing up in other cities. Police in Karachi said some 200 protesters were blockading a major road in the southern port, with at least nine injured people—including three with gunshot wounds—brought to hospital, according to doctors.Markets and shops were closing in the megacity, Pakistan’s commercial hub, as alarmed residents stayed inside while clerics called for more demonstrators to come and help protect the dignity of the Prophet Mohammed.Smaller demonstrations were breaking out in Lahore and other cities, according to local media.As the clashes intensified, Pakistan’s powerful military chief phoned the prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to urge the situation be handled “peacefully,” military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Twitter.General Qamar Javed Bajwa called for both sides to avoid violence “as it is not in national interest”.Pakistan’s media regulator barred local TV channels from broadcasting live images from the scene, though protesters were still using Facebook Live and other social media.Bungled responseAuthorities have hesitated to act against the sit-in, citing fears of violence as the demonstrators have vowed to die for their cause.But their weeks of inaction have sparked the wrath of residents as well as Pakistan’s judiciary, with the Supreme Court issuing a blistering statement earlier in the week and the Islamabad High Court threatening to hold officials in contempt.The sit-in had previously cost the life of an eight-year-old child whose ambulance could not reach a hospital in time due to the blocked roads.Analysts and critics have accused the government of bungling its response to the protest, and allowing a minor issue to grow into a headline-grabbing and potentially dangerous situation.“Politically driven procrastination has its own costs and this is what the government is paying,” analyst Imtiaz Gul told AFP.The government delays had “allowed all like-minded people to organise and prepare for the protests,” he said, adding that whether or not the government is forced to ask for military aid “it has already become explosive”.Other analysts have warned that the sit-in set an alarming precedent, that anti-state forces could choke the capital at any time and “bring the government to its knees”.last_img read more

Lawyer for Mexicos mostwanted man El Chapo doesnt know where client is

first_imgEl Chapo: Hollywood material? Badillo, who insisted he had no advance knowledge of the escape nor any contact with Guzmán afterward, has not stopped defending his client just because he’s on the lam. He has filed two judicial requests, known as amparos, arguing that the state should stop hunting Guzmán. He believes that belligerent language coming from authorities in Mexico and the United States — phrases like “we’re going to find him and take him off the streets” — sound like death threats, and he wants the authorities to protect his client.Badillo also claims that a group of Colombian soldiers “armed to the teeth” have come to Mexico and are now trying to assassinate his client.“This is a critical moment for him,” Badillo said. “He’s living under the sword of Damocles.”Even if the government doesn’t accept Badillo’s arguments, he hopes people could just relax a little bit about ol’ Chapo. He’s a living legend, give the guy some peace.“It was a clean escape. There wasn’t any violence. There wasn’t harm to third parties. Perhaps a bit of damage to the bathroom floor. But a plumber could easily fix that,” Badillo said.“What if this had happened in the U.S.?” he asked. “In New York, Chicago, Alcatraz, Washington? It would be on the big screen in Hollywood. It already would have raked in a billion dollars in the first weekend. With Tom Cruise. ‘Mission Impossible’ number six or eight, who knows? So why is it such a big scandal here? It doesn’t make sense.”See also: Undermining Mexico: How ‘El Chapo’ built a criminal empire, and escaped prison, by digging deep A DEA wanted poster distributed in Mexico by the U.S. Embassy announcing an active free phone for information on Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and a $5 million reward. AFP/DEA/HOFor all his lawyer’s high praise, Guzmán has established himself as one of the most terrifying drug lords in the world. He leads the Sinaloa Cartel, the dominant narcotics smuggling organization in Mexico, responsible for bringing more heroin, cocaine and marijuana into the United States than any other group. His cartel has also waged deadly battles with other gangs for supremacy across Mexico.Badillo is not the only attorney for Guzmán. He said there were four or five others, but he didn’t know how to reach them. Apart from sharing the message that he thinks Guzmán is in danger, he didn’t want to discuss much about the fugitive’s career or his own. When I asked whether Badillo had represented other drug lords, he would only say, “I have had some relevant cases.”After lunch, a customer at another table came over and greeted Badillo warmly. As we were leaving, I figured I might as well ask whether the lawyer knew where Guzmán was now. He said he didn’t.“Some things are better not to know.”Recommended: After 23 years in prison, top assassin for Pablo Escobar is a ‘reformed’ man© 2015, The Washington Post  Facebook Comments ‘Mercenarios extranjeros’ que buscaban asesinar a ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán: Juan Pablo Badillo…— Periódico Expreso (@Expresoweb) August 13, 2015 Related posts:Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán tunnels out of maximum security prison Undermining Mexico: How ‘El Chapo’ built a criminal empire, and escaped prison, by digging deep Did Delta Force help capture El Chapo? US role yet to be detailed Mexico drug lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán back in jail, betrayed by biopic bidcenter_img MEXICO CITY — Lawyer Juan Pablo Badillo, a silver-haired gentleman of 74, has only superlatives for his most famous client.He’s a man of “exceeding intelligence” and the “greatest fortitude” who treats others with the “utmost respect.” In their meetings inside Mexico’s highest-security prison, Badillo said, he felt he was talking to a kindred spirit: “He knows laws, he knows the constitution, and obviously the penal code.”This type of flattery might be a prerequisite for representing Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, one of the world’s most notorious drug dealers, who tunneled out of prison in July. Another requirement is apparently discretion, and Badillo, lunching on breaded veal at the swanky Balmoral restaurant in the capital’s Hotel Presidente Intercontinental the other day, has many things he would not care to share.“I don’t want to venture into that terrain.”“Those things are in the past.”“I have a bad memory.”“I forget.”What Badillo can recall is that he grew up in the northern city of Durango, graduated from University of Juárez law school and began practicing in 1970, focusing on criminal law. He said he met Guzmán in 1993 when the drug lord was held in another Mexican prison, Puente Grande, from which he escaped in 2001, reportedly in a laundry cart. In those days, Badillo said, he would meet Guzmán two or three times a week, and got to know him well. So he was recruited to serve on Guzmán’s legal team when the trafficker was arrested last year in a commando raid in Mazatlán.“It was a professional challenge,” Badillo said.Badillo said he only met Guzmán six times during his recent yearlong stint at the Altiplano prison and their videotaped discussions focused on his legal defense. The U.S. government had requested Guzmán’s extradition — something Mexican authorities declined — and that possibility worried Guzmán above all else, Badillo said. When talk reached the drug lord that he might be extradited after all, he fled through a hole cut into his prison shower stall and then escaped through a mile-long tunnel. He has not been heard from since.“He was concerned and motivated [to escape] precisely by these rumors that his extradition was imminent,” Badillo said. “He was anticipating that they would kill him.”See also: Is ‘El Chapo’ in Costa Rica? Probably not, but he wouldn’t be the first kingpin to flee herelast_img read more

first_imgMet Opera to hire all-black chorus for ‘Porgy and Bess’ NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Opera will hire an all-black outside chorus next season for its first presentation in nearly three decades of the Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess,” which opens the season on Sept. 23.Performances of “Porgy and Bess,” which premiered in 1935, are licensed by the Gershwin family, which specifies an all-black cast.“Certainly it’s more complicated, but it’s worth the complications because it’s such a great piece,” Met general manager Peter Gelb.“Porgy,” by George and Ira Gershwin, and DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, depicts a crippled beggar in a poor African-American community of Charleston, South Carolina.When the Met presented “Porgy” for the first time in 1985, it also hired an outside chorus — at the time, there were three black members of the Met’s regular chorus of 81. That has increased to six in a group of approximately the same total now, the Met said.“I think the Met is regarded as an institution that is colorblind when it comes to casting,” Gelb said. “We have many African-Americans and other black artists who are appearing on our stage in major roles.”The Hungarian State Opera created controversy last year when it presented an unauthorized production with a largely white cast.Donald Palumbo, the Met chorus master, said about 400 people had auditioned for the “Porgy” chorus since November and 68 would be chosen for rehearsals that start Aug. 5.“We will have two existing choruses at the same time in the building,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting but it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m hoping that they will interact as much as possible.”Eric Owens and Angel Blue head the opening-night cast, which is conducted by David Robertson and includes Denyce Graves, Latonia Moore, Golda Schultz and Ryan Speedo Smith.Then-Met music director James Levine insisted on an uncut version for the 1985 Nathaniel Merrill production. That staging, which appeared 54 times through 1990, was presented in three acts with 3 hours of music and two intermissions for a total of 4 hours.This production is trimmed to about 2 1/2 hours of music plus a single intermission. The staging by James Robinson debuted at London’s English National Opera last year and was seen this year at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam.“It doesn’t feel excessively long,” Robinson said. “The original version just really goes on and on and on.”The last of the 13 performances on Feb. 1 will be broadcast to movie theatres around the world. A revival already is scheduled in an upcoming season.“Porgy” is among five new-to-the Met stagings next season.Handel’s “Agrippina” has its Met premiere on Feb. 6 and stars Joyce DiDonato in a David McVicar production adapted from one he created for Brussels’ Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in 2000. The Met premiere of Philip Glass’s “Akhnaten” on Nov. 8 is in a Phelim McDermott staging seen at the ENO and LA Opera in 2016.Yannick Nezet-Seguin, starting his second season as the Met’s music director, leads Berg’s “Wozzeck” opening Dec. 27 in a William Kentridge production first seen at the 2017 Salzburg Festival in Austria. He also conducts revivals of Massenet’s “Werther” and Puccini’s “Turandot,” which will mark the Met’s first regular Sunday performance on Oct. 6. There will be 16 Sunday matinees next season, and the Met plans 23 in 1920-21 and 27 in 2020-21.Nezet-Seguin plans to conduct as many as six productions in 2020-21.Wagner’s “Die Fliegende Hollaender (The Flying Dutchman)” is an intermission-less Francois Girard staging that opens March 2 with Valery Gergiev conducting Bryn Terfel, a co-production with L’Opera de Quebec and the Dutch National Opera.Simon Rattle leads a revival of Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier” starting Dec. 13. Placido Domingo adds another new role a few months before his 79th birthday when he sings Sharpless in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” starting Nov. 6.Ronald Blum, The Associated Press by Ronald Blum, The Associated Press Posted Feb 20, 2019 10:03 am PDTcenter_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emaillast_img read more

Victims of Pissouri Landslide were shocked into silence at House committee meeting

first_imgRepresentatives of the victims of the southeast Pissouri landslide sat in shocked silence when the minister of the interior, appearing before the House of Representatives on Monday June 10, attacked the professional competence of the geological survey department of the ministry of agriculture (GSD) and alleged that some officials were receiving payments to frustrate legal action.The GSD has been carrying out investigations in southeast Pissouri for several years. By monitoring movement within boreholes and other scientific means, the GSD determined that the area has been destabilised by a landslide triggered by uncontrolled groundwater.The victims cannot sue for professional negligence: first because it would be foolish and unjust to blame structural engineers for a landslide triggered by groundwater reserved to the state, which occurred up to 30 years after they completed their professional services; and second, because no court would find a structural engineer responsible for causing a natural disaster, identified as such by the GSD.The minister, in giving evidence before the House interior committee, attacked these findings and asserted that there is no landslide in Pissouri. He then made the astonishing claim that “some people” – presumably the senior officials of the GSD who identified the landslide and its cause – were receiving payments to frustrate legal action.This is the third time that ministers or state officials have alleged criminal wrongdoing in respect of southeast Pissouri. First, former interior minister Socrates Hasikos, in November 2015, alleged criminal negligence against the Technical Chamber Etek-registered ‘surveyors’; second the auditor-general in March 2019 alleged criminal wrongdoing by Etek-registered structural engineers; and now in June 2019, the minister of interior Constantinos Petrides, appears to have made allegations of bribery against GSD officials.If ministers and high officials have evidence of criminal wrongdoing, then it should be passed to the police for proper investigation, and if appropriate prosecution. If there is no such evidence, the minister should at once apologise to the minister of agriculture, Costas Kadis who is responsible for the GSD, and to the GSD itself, and to the union which represents GSD officials.Allegations of criminal wrongdoing are career-ending allegations and should not be bandied about recklessly as political rhetoric. Antony Walker FRICSCommittee Member Pissouri Housing Initiative Group (PHIG)You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoSmart Tips DailySeniors With No Life Insurance May Get A $250,000 Policy If They Do ThisSmart Tips DailyUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Hodgkinson, a farmers’ conglomeration had said it will launch another round of protests for over two months from 31 August to voice its demands for a loan waiver and remunerative price for agricultural produce. read more

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