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first_imgOTTAWA – Canada consulted with the United States before it decided the takeover of a Vancouver tech firm by a Chinese communications company did not pose any national security concerns, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.But warning flags about the deal are still popping up in the United States, whose military is one of the biggest customers of Norsat International, maker of satellite receivers for security and military use.Hytera, a privately-owned Chinese communications company which manufactures radio transceivers and radio systems, made a bid to take over Norsat in 2016.The move triggered a requirement under the Investment Canada Act that the government must examine takeover bids of Canadian companies by foreign-owned firms to determine if it raises national security concerns.But earlier this month, Norsat said they were told a preliminary review determined there was no need to proceed to a full national security review, paving the way for the takeover to proceed.The Opposition Conservatives argue that was a mistake.Conservative MP Peter Kent accused the Liberals of jeopardizing Canada-U.S. relations.“While the Liberals may be willing to jeopardize our security interests, selling Norsat for a trade deal with China, they have clumsily put at risk relations with our best friend, trade partner, and protector,” Kent said.He cited comments made by Michael Wessel, commissioner of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, who said this week the U.S. military should review its dealings with Norsat, and the U.S. Congressional Committee on Foreign Investment should look at this particular deal.A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense told The Canadian Press Tuesday the Pentagon couldn’t comment on the matter specifically.“However the Department of Defense emphasizes that transfers of sensitive technologies and capabilities should be carefully vetted to mitigate potential risks to U.S. and allied security interests,” said Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness.In question period Tuesday, Trudeau said Canada’s national security experts assessed both the takeover and the technology involved and determined there were not national security concerns. The review process included consultations with allies, he said.“I can say that we consulted the United States on this particular case and as a government we respect and follow the recommendations of our allies and our national security agencies,” said Trudeau in French.Concerns about the Hytera takeover include fears that even privately-owned Chinese enterprises are subject to influence from the Chinese government. In March, Hytera was sued by Motorola Solutions over allegations three engineers who left Motorola to work for Hytera stole patents and trade secrets.When a foreign bid is raised, the first step is a preliminary consultation with security experts from a number of agencies and departments including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Department of National Defence and Communications Security Establishment Canada, Malcolm Brown, the deputy minister for Public Safety, had explained to MPs on Monday,.Brown said a “full blown review” is the final step in a specific process but that all steps have their own significance.“There is quite substantial review that is taken at every step,” he said.Michael Byers, Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia said every transaction like this should proceed to a full review.He said the former Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper added the national security review process to the Investment Canada Act “precisely to avoid ad hoc approaches of the kind the minister took here.”— with files from Alexander Panetta in Washington.— follow @mrabson on Twitter.last_img read more

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first_imgCALGARY – Police in Calgary say foul play was not involved in the death of a man whose body was discovered in a clothing donation bin.A passerby saw the body sticking out of the bin outside the North Hill shopping mall at about 3:45 a.m. Thursday and called 911.Police, the fire department and emergency medical services responded and the man was pronounced dead.Police said he appeared to be in his mid-20s.The medical examiner will do an autopsy to determine the cause of death, but police said it was accidental.last_img read more

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first_imgMONTREAL — Quebec’s most prominent women’s group continues to lose members after it passed a resolution last month recognizing that women can freely choose to become sex workers.The resolution approved by members of the Federation des femmes du Quebec has split the organization between prostitution abolitionists and those who believe women can consent to sexual activity in exchange for money.Diane Matte, founder of the group CLES, which works with current and former sex workers, said the federation’s position is “incompatible with the work we’ve done over the past 18 years to fight sexual exploitation.”Whether there are women who believe they can enter freely into the sex industry is the wrong question to ask, said Matte, whose organization was among three groups that announced Wednesday they are leaving the federation.“The question is rather, as a society that believes in equality of all women, do we support an industry that is sustained by poverty, social inequality and the violence that women face in it?”MCVI, a group that advocates on behalf of sexual assault victims, as well as the Maison d’Haiti, a prominent organization in Montreal’s Haitian community, also quit the federation yesterday.Matte said at least two branches of the Confederation of National Trade Unions previously announced they will no longer be part of the women’s federation.Messages seeking comment from federation president Gabrielle Bouchard were not returned Wednesday afternoon.Bouchard told The Canadian Press in late October the “large majority” of voters at the group’s general assembly supported the motion,”but some people were upset.”Matte said she is “pessimistic” about the future of the federation, which was formed in 1966.“We weren’t the first to leave and we won’t be the last,” she said in an interview. “I hope the members who stay apply pressure to the board of directors to return to its central purpose … to fight for the equality of all women.”Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Rabat – Some 4.2 million tourists visited Morocco in the first half of 2016, decreasing by 2.6% compared to the same period of 2015, according to figures by Morocco’s Tourism Office.The number of foreign tourists was down 5.6% while arrivals of Moroccans living abroad posted an increase of 1.7%, the Office noted in its latest statistics on tourism in Morocco.Tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy decreased by 8%, 7%, 5% and 5% respectively, said the Office, noting that the number of tourists from Holland showed stagnation. According to data provided by the professionals of tourist accommodation, overnight stays in tourist accommodation facilities decreased by 4% compared to the same period of 2015. read more

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14 November 2007The United Nations refugee agency today launched its annual Christmas fund-raising appeal that aims to generate donations to help provide shelter, schooling and support for refugee children worldwide. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it hopes this year’s Star Appeal can surpass the record total of $560,000 that was raised last year. Members of the public can donate to the appeal through a special link on the agency’s website.Nick Van Praag, the head of UNHCR’s Department of External Relations, said “our goal is to strike when the iron is hot – and there is no better time to fund-raise than during the holiday season.”UNHCR is stressing that even small donations can go a long way to bringing relief to children who have been forced to leave their homelands. A donation of $40 buys a survival kit for children who are badly malnourished, while $80 purchases a durable lightweight tent for a family of eight and $210 pays the wages of a teacher for three months.Last year’s Star Appeal helped young residents of the Nakivale settlement in Uganda, which is home to refugees from several African countries. read more

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19 August 2011The head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today made an impassioned appealed to the world to save an estimated 390,000 starving children in famine-ravaged regions of Somalia, saying the international community must not let the so-called “disaster fatigue” numb compassion and generosity. The head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today made an impassioned appeal to the world to save an estimated 390,000 starving children in famine-ravaged regions of Somalia, saying the international community must not let the so-called “disaster fatigue” numb compassion and generosity.“I have read in the last few days a number of articles noting a decrease of interest in the Horn of Africa in the press and in the publics. This must not happen. We cannot let a kind of disaster fatigue set in,” said Anthony Lake, the UNICEF Executive Director, at a news conference at UN Headquarters to mark World Humanitarian Day.“The statistics can be mind-numbing, but remember that the data is sons and daughters. The statistics are little boys and little girls, every one of them,” said Mr. Lake, adding that the situation in Somalia was a “human disaster becoming a human catastrophe.”In addition to the tens of thousands of Somalis who have already died as a result of the drought-induced famine, which has been exacerbated by conflict and poverty, an estimated 390,000 children are suffering from malnutrition. Four fifths of them are in the worst affected areas of the country’s south-central zone.“In some areas there we are seeing already historically high rates of severe acute malnutrition… which means that the number of children in that zone facing imminent death is approaching 140,000 children,” said Mr. Lake. “In many ways this is a children’s crisis. Their plight demands and deserves our most urgent, bold and sustained response,” he added.“I think that in all of us […] there is a natural desire when confronted with the images of people suffering so much to push them away, to categorize them as victims and to thus separate their lives from ours.“That is wrong. They are not simply victims to be pitied. They are courageous, resilient human beings fighting under terrible circumstances to survive and save their children’s lives. They both deserve out admiration and our support in their desperate struggle, and we are struggling to provide it,” said Mr. Lake.He warned that the onset of the next rainy season is not due until October and projections indicate that the entire central and southern Somalia will suffer the same extreme food and nutrition crisis now prevailing in the five areas where famine has been declared, with almost 300,000 children in imminent peril.“The crisis will get worse,” said Mr. Lake. “There will be no major harvest until the beginning of next year and those are predicted to be below average.“We are in a fight against time. We must take from these facts and projections not hopelessness, not surrender, but a renewed determination to limit the deaths, to save lives and to know some day that we did all we could today. We need all the support that we can get in order to do this,” he added.Mr. Lake said that UNICEF had established hundreds of nutrition centres and programmes in Somalia and was reaching more than a million people with water and sanitation. The agency is also planning a measles vaccination programme that is expected to reach two million children in the coming months.Speaking at the same news conference, Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that despite stepped-up efforts aid agencies were not reaching as many people across the drought-stricken Horn of African with life-saving assistance as they would like.“We are all working as quickly as we can to provide life-saving aid and protection in the [Somali] capital, Mogadishu, across the border in refugee camps particularly in Kenya and Ethiopia and increasingly in the south, in Al Shabaab-controlled areas.“But we are still not reaching enough people. Donors and the public have continued to give generously, but we still need more than a billion dollars to provide all the aid that is needed,” said Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator. read more

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Reciprocal access will see FlySmiles Gold members eligible to use the Qantas Business Lounge, while FlySmiles Platinums can luxe it up in the Qantas First Lounge.Travellers will also have the option of pocketing frequent flyer miles in SriLankan’s FlySmiles scheme or the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. Earlier this week Australia’s International Air Services Commission renewed limited codeshare agreements between Qantas, Emirates and SriLankan Airlines for flights to Colombo via Singapore, and between Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines for flights to Colombo via Singapore. (Colombo Gazette) Business class travellers and passengers holding the appropriate Qantas Frequent Flyer status will be able to use Qantas’ Melbourne lounges, including the Qantas First Lounge for Qantas Platinum and Platinum One members. SriLankan Airlines will begin flying between Melbourne and Colombo towards the end of this year, marking the airline’s long-awaited return to Australian skies, Australian Business Traveller reported.A spokesperson for the Sri Lankan flag-carrier – which many years ago abandoned flights to both Sydney and Melbourne – indicated to Australian Business Traveller that the schedule would see four flights each week, using an Airbus A330 jet fitted with lie-flat business class seats to make the 11 hour journey. This will be the only direct route from Australia to Sri Lanka – most travellers to the tiny island off the southern tip of India transit via Singapore, with onwards flights provided by SriLankan and Singapore Airlines. read more

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Donald Trump, domes and minarets are out.Rock ‘n’ roll and guitars — lots of guitars — are in as the Hard Rock chain re-does Atlantic City’s former Trump Taj Mahal casino.The company owned by Florida’s Seminole Indian tribe on Wednesday unveiled its $375 million plan for the shuttered casino resort, which it bought last month from billionaire investor Carl Icahn, and plans to reopen by summer 2018.It will draw on the world’s largest collection of music memorabilia to help brand the new resort, with a decided New Jersey slant.Few things are more New Jersey than the mob and Bruce Springsteen, and Hard Rock rolled out someone who embodies both to help reintroduce the resort. Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band and “Sopranos” TV fame, said he’ll periodically broadcast his radio show, “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” from there, and will help organize beach concerts.“It’s a timeless place where you can come, and for the younger generations that feel like they missed the rock ‘n’ roll era when it first came along, we make sure that they get the experience,” said Van Zandt, who plays guitar with Springsteen and portrayed mobster Silvio Dante on the HBO mob series. “The spirit of rock ‘n’ roll is still alive; you didn’t miss it.”Now-President Donald Trump built the Taj Mahal in 1990, but lost control of it and two other Atlantic City casinos in a series of bankruptcies that happened before Icahn scooped it up last year from yet another bankruptcy. Icahn shut the casino in October after a crippling strike that sought to restore workers’ health insurance and pension benefits that were eliminated in bankruptcy court.Its literally over-the-top decor of Indian-inspired domes and minarets soon will be a thing of the past; the purple carpet that Trump loved was ripped out long ago.“There will not be one — and underscore the word ‘one’ — piece of design, architecture, minaret or anything left over from the Taj Mahal,” Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen said. “We are removing it all.”It its place will be items from the world’s largest music memorabilia collection. Hotel guests will even be lent Fender electric guitars to play in their rooms.Republican Gov. Chris Christie, whose administration seized Atlantic City’s assets and major decision-making power last November, said Hard Rock’s investment in Atlantic City shows that the state’s tough love is working in the cash-strapped city.“Hard Rock’s willingness to come in and invest in Atlantic City shows you that they appreciate the hard things that have been done to restructure the city and make it a place where investing makes sense,” Christie said.Since the takeover, Christie’s administration has negotiated a tax settlement with the Borgata casino that will save the city nearly $100 million. It also is seeking drastic cuts to the police and fire departments.Others feel that recent encouraging developments such as the Hard Rock purchase, the planned reopening of the former Atlantic Club casino as a water park, and the rebirth of the former Showboat casino as a non-gambling hotel, are due more to market forces in a less competitive environment than to anything Christie has done.Allen resisted getting drawn into a political debate, but he did say that if Atlantic City had declared bankruptcy — something that loomed as a real threat before the state takeover — Hard Rock would not have invested there.Assemblyman Chris Brown, a fellow Republican, was less reticent.“Tell me something the governor has done” to make Atlantic City better, he said. “Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything.”___Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC Guitars oust minarets as Hard Rock redoes Taj Mahal casino by Wayne Parry, The Associated Press Posted Apr 5, 2017 12:48 pm MDT Last Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 2:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all countries to end the discrimination that threatens the wellbeing, health and even the lives of people with albinism, and to provide programmes that will enable them to play a full part in society.“I call on all countries and stakeholders to recognize that human rights apply to all people everywhere, including people with albinism,” Mr. Ban said in a message, marking the second International Albinism Awareness Day, since the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution dedicating 13 June to this issue.Albinism is found in every country and society in the world, regardless of people’s ethnicity or gender; according to the UN, discrimination and stigmatization of people with albinism also exists to varying degrees all over the world. “Albinism has often been subjected to mystification, triggering erroneous beliefs and myths,” the Secretary-General explained. “The completely mistaken belief that potions or amulets made from the body parts of people with albinism have magical powers has given rise in some countries to a demand for such human remains. This has led to attacks, abductions and killings of people with albinism, and even to the theft of their bodies from graveyards.”The UN is also highlighting that thanks to the long history of discrimination and stigmatization of albinism, in some places, people with this condition may live in abject poverty, without access to basic services like accommodation, healthcare and education.“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to leave no one behind,” said Mr. Ban. “That includes people with albinism. The cycle of attacks, discrimination and poverty must be broken.”He also welcomed the appointment of the first Independent Expert on the human rights of people with albinism.In 2013, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for the prevention of attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism. In response to the call from civil society organizations advocating for persons with albinism to be considered a specific group with particular needs that require special attention, the Council created the mandate of this Independent Expert in March 2015. read more

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Rutgers redshirt senior wide reciever Janarion Grant (1) takes the field during a game against Eastern Michigan. Credit: Courtesy of Jeffrey Gomez | The Daily TargumLocation: New Brunswick, New Jersey2016 record: 2-10 (0-9 Big Ten)Head Coach: Chris Ash2017 record so far: 0-2All time record vs. OSU: 0-3What’s happened so far in 2017Rutgers opened the year with a 30-14 defeat at the hands of Washington, last year’s Pac-12 champion. The Scarlet Knight defense held the Huskies to just 10 points in the first half, but Huskies’ junior quarterback Jake Browning threw for two second-half touchdown passes to put the game out of reach. The next week, Rutgers clashed with Eastern Michigan hoping to steer the season in the right direction, but fell to the Eagles 16-13. Rutgers’ offense struggled, especially on third down, converting on only 4-of-16 attempts.    Impact PlayerIf a play is needed on offense, look no further than fifth-year senior wide receiver Janarion Grant. In his junior season, Grant had three kickoff returns for touchdowns — Grant’s five-career kickoff returns are tied for ninth in NCAA history — while adding another through a punt return. Last season, through the first four games, Grant averaged 164 all-purpose yards per game until sustaining a season-ending injury against Iowa on Sept. 24. He was granted eligibility for a fifth year, due to the injury. Grant had a solid game against Eastern Michigan, catching eight passes for 91 yards. Grant is a dynamic talent, and if he can stay healthy, it should help the Rutgers offense as well as its special teams.StrengthsRutgers’ strengths on offense rely on a few key players in addition to Grant: running backs Gus Edwards and Robert Martin. These two seniors seem to be a bright spot in an otherwise inconsistent offense. Both have combined to rush for more than 100 yards in each of the first two games this season.WeaknessesInconsistencies on offense and defense were a big part of why the Scarlet Knights found themselves at the bottom in almost every statistical category last season. They only averaged 15.7 points per game, which was good for 127th out of 128 teams. Coach Chris Ash started his second season by bringing in former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill as offensive coordinator. Rutgers scored 14 points versus Washington and dropped just 13 points against Eastern Michigan. The defense wasn’t much better than the offense last season as it allowed 37.5 points per game, 116th-most in the FBS. in defense. However, the Scarlet Knights held Washington to 30 points and Eastern Michigan to 16 points. read more

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Anze KopitarLAK2017257-13-0.72 Of course, Crosby’s résumé as one of the greatest to ever play the game means that he is often held to an unrealistic standard. But his relatively precipitous dip begs the question: Are any NHL superstars slump-proof?Looking at the top 20 scorers whose careers started after the 2005 lockout, seven of them had an 11-game stretch that was worse than Crosby’s current skid at some point in their careers. (Crosby’s current teammate, Phil Kessel, had an 11-game streak with Toronto in 2015 where he notched only 3 points and posted a -16 plus/minus.) And now that Crosby has finally joined the club, every single player on the list can gripe about at least one 15-game run where their SGV was below replacement: Mikko KoivuMIN2006011-4-0.83 Claude GirouxPHI2010134-11-0.99 STATS DURING 15-GAME SLUMP John TavaresNYI2010044-15-1.64 Joe PavelskiSJS2013123-5-0.58 Jeff CarterPHI2007033-11-1.52 Jussi JokinenFLA2017101-9-1.35 Steven StamkosTBL2009167-10-0.30 Paul StastnyCOL2009246-10-0.56 Phil KesselTOR2015246-17-1.30 Ryan GetzlafANA201211011-15-0.44 Zach PariseMIN2016246-14-0.99 Evgeni MalkinPIT2015/16246-7-0.12 Alex OvechkinWSH2014527-18-0.80 Source: Hockey-Reference.com Everybody’s gotta slump sometimeWorst 15-game stretches according to simple goal value (SGV) for NHL’s top 20 scorers whose careers started after the 2005 lockout, 2005-2018 Corey PerryMDA2006033-6-0.64 Patrick KaneCHI2009134-8-0.70 Nicklas BackstromWSH2014167-9-0.37 PLAYERTEAMSEASONGOALSASSISTSPOINTS+/-SGV It’s time we talked about Sidney Crosby. Crosby is the best hockey player of his generation — and among the best to ever lace up a pair of skates — but he’s been a virtual nonentity on the Penguins’ stat sheet this season. You read that correctly — two-time Art Ross Trophy winner, two-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner, two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner, and two-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner Sidney Crosby seems to have forgotten how to score.In his past 11 games, Crosby has scored zero goals, contributed just 3 assists, and has a -9 plus/minus. It’s the second-longest goalless streak of his career — but even during his longest goalless streak in 2011-12, he still dished out 17 assists in those 12 games. More importantly: That streak occurred when he was dealing with recurring concussion symptoms and actually bookends a three-month absence from the team.In terms of overall production, this is by far the worst 11-game stretch of Crosby’s career. We figured that out using a simple regression that estimates a forward’s goals versus threshold1GVT was developed by Tom Awad of Hockey Prospectus and is similar to baseball’s value over replacement player, in that it seeks to determine a player’s value in terms of goals above what a replacement-level player would contribute. based on his scoring stats, plus/minus and time on ice in a given game. Using this metric — which we’ll call “simple goal value,” or SGV — Crosby has been worth 1.1 fewer goals than a replacement-level scrub during this miserable 11-game streak. If you broaden the window slightly beyond his scoreless streak to look at his last 15 games, this has been the only 15-game period of Sid’s entire career where he performed at a below-replacement clip. Jonathan ToewsCHI2017145-3-0.04 Sidney CrosbyPIT2018437-11-0.17 Thomas VanekBUF2012224-8-0.48 So, a streak like this isn’t all that uncommon, even among the league’s cadre of great players. But it’s still worth dissecting what’s wrong with Sid the Kid during this particular slump.For starters, the Penguins just aren’t lighting the lamp when Crosby is on the ice. In 19 games this season, they’ve scored only 23 goals during his shifts, and 14 of those have been on the power play. At 5-on-5, they’re notching only 1.5 goals per 60 minutes with Crosby in the game, which ranks 12th-worst among forwards who’ve logged at least 200 minutes. And defensively, the numbers have somehow been even worse — the Pens are yielding a staggering 4.4 goals per 60 minutes with Crosby on the ice during 5-on-5 play. Among that same group of qualified forwards, only his fellow Penguin Conor Sheary ranks worse. (It’s beginning to seem like the Pens have some defensive issues.)But the more troubling sign for Crosby is that he’s just not generating the same level of possession metrics we’ve been accustomed to seeing from him over the years. Crosby’s expected +/- — the plus/minus rating we’d expect a player to have based on the volume and quality of shots his team (and opponents) took while he was on the ice — is easily the worst of his career so far in 2017. For the past three seasons,2The stat is new, so it has only been calculated back to 2014. Crosby’s expected +/- has hovered around 15, but in 2017 it has dipped below zero. And it’s not just a quirk of one model: Crosby’s expected goals +/- at Corsica Hockey has also been in the red. Which is to say that, remarkably, in 2017, Crosby’s play appears to be hurting the Pittsburgh Penguins.To Crosby’s credit, he seems unfazed by his scoring dearth. “No matter who you’re playing against, just try to keep doing the right things and trust they’ll go in,” he told NHL.com.But it’s not like Crosby hasn’t had chances to score: In 2017, 61 percent of his possessions have begun in the offensive zone. That’s good for the second-highest percentage of his career, trailing only last year. The number of faceoffs you take in opposing territory can have an immense effect on your possession rates, so Crosby doesn’t have much of an excuse for not not converting some of those scoring opportunities into goals.During a season where goals are up and goaltending is down, you’d expect the most prolific scorer of his generation to be reaping the benefits — but so far, Crosby has been a ghost. As a result, his Penguins are reeling — they’ve lost more games than they’ve won, and if they hope to win a third consecutive Stanley Cup, they’ll need their captain to score some goals. Although some of Crosby’s woes will probably reverse themselves eventually, Pittsburgh will hold its collective breath until that happens. read more

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neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): The NBA is now two games in to every second-round series, and each matchup is currently tied at 1-1 … except Warriors-Rockets, which was the series most people had circled as the most competitive (and compelling) of Round 2.So what better place to start our chat than that matchup, which the Warriors lead 2-0 heading back to Houston for Game 3 on Saturday. The Rockets have done a lot of Rockets-like things in the first two games: They’re making almost 16 threes and 22 free throws per game. Yet they were unable to steal away home court in the series late in either Game 1 or Game 2. Do the Rockets still have a realistic chance at knocking off Golden State, or were we all just foolishly trying to convince ourselves that we might see a different outcome this year?chris.herring (Chris Herring, senior sportswriter): I think it goes without saying that 2-0 against a team of that caliber is a tough place to be. We talked about it before, but the fact that Houston is Houston might have been enough to get the Warriors playing their hardest and most focused early on.Draymond Green has been a beast, in particular.natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): I mean, they lost two games by 4 points and 6 points. And they have some excuses: the officiating in Game 1, and they were without James Harden for parts of the first half in Game 2, and then he was not entirely himself.I don’t think Game 2 felt quite as close as the final score, but Game 1 was pretty even.I guess all I’m saying is that we have had nine high-stakes playoff games between these two teams, and it feels like the Warriors are the better team, but hardly a dominant team.tchow (Tony Chow, video producer): I feel like what’s going to happen at the end of all this, if the Warriors do end up winning it all (which is very likely — our predictions still give them a 49 percent chance), fans and basketball critics alike are going to come out and say, “See? Why even watch basketball? We all knew the Warriors were gonna win.” And they will all forget how unlikely it did seem at times. It is far from a sure thing still.neil: And that was definitely the case last year as well. The Warriors were far from assured winners, even though in the end they won, as expected.chris.herring: I think the challenge is that so much of what Houston does is tied to Harden, who hasn’t played poorly at all, despite the eye issue in Game 2.I thought it was really noteworthy that, after he got none of those calls in Game 1, he simply didn’t kick his legs out in Game 2.But the real story is that Golden State is forcing him into more floaters, a bit higher up, than he normally likes to take his shots.tchow: I’m gonna be honest. I only watched the first quarter of Game 2 and maybe five minutes of the second quarter because the game started at 10:30 p.m.!! I have a 1-year-old. I can’t do this sh*t anymore.natesilver: The competition from the East should be a lot stiffer this year. But, again, we’re getting a liiiiiittttle ahead of ourselves. Our algorithm says the Warriors have a 77 percent chance of reaching the NBA Finals, which is high but also sort of in the Hillary Clinton zone of not a done deal. I do think Kevin Durant flipping the switch into looking like an MVP++ player is a big deal, though.chris.herring: I am kind of shocked Steph Curry continues to have the foul issues this far into the playoffs. It’s been bad for a hot minute now.But you’re right, Nate: It’s given Durant a chance to showcase what he’s capable of. (Honestly, my favorite versions of the Warriors are when KD gets to play without Steph and when Steph plays without KD — those guys are unbelievable scorers, but we rarely get to see them at their best because they play so many of their minutes together.)neil: Well, I want to talk officiating in general. As you guys alluded to, it’s been a huge theme in the series so far, whether over Draymond Green’s arguable contact with James Harden at the end of Game 1, the Rockets’ “audit” of missed calls in last year’s Western Conference finals, or Green’s comments that the officiating talk itself was embarrassing for the NBA. Does Houston have a case? Or is that just a natural consequence of how the Rockets play? Is there something inherently limiting about relying on drawing fouls in the playoffs, when it’s tougher to get a whistle?natesilver: A “natural consequence” doesn’t seem like quite the right phrase because I’d imagine that a lot of this is fairly deliberate — exploring the boundaries of the rules, especially in terms of Harden’s shooting form.chris.herring: Like I was saying a minute ago, I thought it was pretty interesting that Houston fell to the ground so much in Game 1 but, from what I remember, essentially didn’t do that at all in Game 2. I’d have to go back and watch the close-outs, but to me that signals that the Rockets might have known they were waging a losing battle.natesilver: I do think, if the game is called by the book, they got screwed out of a couple of three-shot shooting fouls in Game 1.chris.herring: Oh, absolutely.At least two or three, which, in a game that close … I’d be upset, too. You have to call the fouls the same way you would have during the regular season. I didn’t even think some of those were debatable in the first half.The crazy thing: In watching Game 2, it makes me wonder whether the Rockets are better off just trying to stand up straight as opposed to drawing fouls.It might have merely been a Game 2 improvement, with no reason for it, but they were great from the perimeter, and it happened on a night where they weren’t flailing or kicking their legs out, which I imagine changes the shot’s rhythm some.natesilver: Part of it is that awarding three free throws is such a high-stakes decision. It’s not quite like awarding a penalty in soccer, but you know what I mean.If all shooting fouls were two free throws instead, save maybe for the last two minutes when a team might try to maul a guy to prevent him from taking a 3-point shot, that might help.Or if referees were allowed to call nonshooting fouls in the event of incidental contact. Sort of the difference in a roughing the kicker penalty vs. running into the kicker.chris.herring: I’ve never seen something be such an enormous story for one game, then just not be a factor at all in the following oneI’m sure the league loves that it died down during Game 2. But it almost felt like the Rockets realized they weren’t going to get anywhere with that hope that they’d get more calls.neil: And yet, most of the fan reaction I was reading online was that the Rockets basically need to be quiet. That Harden has cried wolf too many times, etc. And remember, these are people siding with the Warriors, a team that has become hated over the years as it’s won so much. That kind of speaks volumes about the distaste for Houston’s foul-drawing strategy.natesilver: Yeah, I thought the “Rockets-are-sore-losers” narrative, while understandable, maybe made people less objective in evaluating the situation.chris.herring: I felt like I was seeing a lot of that the last few days, too.tchow: Yeah, Nate, on the latest Hot Takedown podcast, we had Kirk Goldsberry on as a guest, and he made the point that from an economical standpoint, drawing three free throws percentage-wise is worth more than a wide-open Steph or KD 3-pointer. In that sense, it would make sense to try to draw those so often.chris.herring: But here’s my thing:If the Rockets pour over the missed-calls report and find that the refs missed a bunch of those last year — which suggests it’s either not easy to catch, or that refs don’t like to call it — why make it such a big part of the strategy as you start another series with Golden State now?tchow: To prove themselves right?chris.herring: Idk. Part of me feels like the basketball world is too worked up about this series, when in reality, it’s the only one that’s not tied up at 1-1.It’s been a good second round so far.natesilver: I dunno, one thing about basketball is that there’s not usually a lot of luck.In a seven-game series, the better team wins a large majority of the time.But I wonder if Daryl Morey feels a little tilted (in the poker sense of that term) how his series have gone against the Warriors.They’ve had some bad luck with injuries, some bad luck on 3-point field-goal percentage — and whether you want to call it “luck” or something else, some frustrating games with the officials.And it’s also, like, if the league designs a bad set of rules and incentives, you shouldn’t get blamed for taking advantage of those incentives.There should be better incentives instead. The rules should be changed.chris.herring: That’s been the story of James Harden’s career: Fantastic player who’s always been fantastic at taking advantage of what’s there, whether fans like it or not.I really love watching that dude ball. It’s not his fault the loopholes are there.neil: As Kirk writes in his book, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”Either way, right now we give the Warriors an 84 percent chance of moving on to the conference finals.tchow: The good news is that Game 3 is at 8:30 p.m.!neil: On behalf of all of us East Coasters, thank goodness.In the other series out West, the Trail Blazers evened things up with the Nuggets with a 97-90 win Wednesday night. Portland stole-home court advantage, but our model still gives Denver a 61 percent chance of advancing. Are the numbers still too low on the Blazers?chris.herring: Probably. I have no idea, honestly.The Nuggets might be the most inconsistent team left in the playoffs. Last night was extremely rough for them — one of their worst shooting nights of the season. Their offensive rebounding was unreal, and so it left them with an outside chance to win late.I feel like they may have the better team, but their inconsistency scares me a bit. The 61 percent probability sounds about right to me for now.Quietly feel like the Moe Harkless ankle injury could be a tough one for the Blazers depending on how hurt he actually is going forward.I have it going seven games, and I won’t be surprised at all if and when it actually goes the distance.natesilver: I’m going to reiterate that this part of the bracket feels like the NIT to me. Unless whoever emerges from GSW-HOU does so with an injury, I don’t expect the Western Conference finals to be super competitive.neil: Yeah, conditional on making the conference finals, the Warriors have a 92 percent chance at the NBA Finals in our model; Houston has an 81 percent chance.natesilver: I almost feel like, narrative-wise, Portland has become a little bit underrated just because they’re facing off against two other very flawed teams. That Portland team with Jusuf Nurkic is pretty interesting, but they have a pretty low ceiling IMO without him.neil: I have been surprised at how well Enes Kanter continues to play. He’s averaging 21 points and eight rebounds in this series. (As someone who hated on him as an empty stat-padder early in his career…)natesilver: The knock in him (I almost typed “the Knick on him”) has always been his defense, though.What’s his +/- in the series?neil: It’s minus-4. But the team as a whole is in the red anyway.chris.herring: He’s useful for them, without a doubtI think he actually might be even more useful in a playoff series, depending on the opponent.Against OKC, for instance: Leaving him in the paint, without an easy way for Westbrook to get around him, was great for Portland. Westbrook wasn’t good or comfortable shooting his jumper in that series.So it mitigated the concerns about Kanter’s pick-and-roll defense.And in this series, you’re dealing with Jamal Murray, who’s a hot-and-cold shooter in the pick and roll, too.Kanter’s offensive rebounding is massive a lot of the time.natesilver: I guess mayyyyybe you could say that Kanter has never been in a position before to have teams take advantage of his skill set. OKC has never really been expert at maximizing its role players. And the Knicks, well, are the Knicks.tchow: For what it’s worth, in Game 2, Nikola Jokic went 1 for 8 when guarded by Kanter.chris.herring: I’m interested to see what happens as they shift to Portland.neil: Your point about defense is well-taken, Nate. Portland’s key might be to continue to play so uncharacteristically well at that end.Right now, they’re holding the Nuggets to 41.9 percent shooting from the field, including 31 percent from three.chris.herring: I feel like I’m so in and then so out on Denver. They have had some really rough performances.But the fact that they were still in it last night despite how poorly they shot was encouraging. Jokic has been playing out of his mind.neil: OK, since this is the NIT series of the playoffs, let’s leave Denver and Portland and move over to the East.tchow: In our playoff preview chat, I think we all agreed that the Eastern Conference playoff bracket looked a lot more interesting than the West, and I think that’s still pretty much true. I have no idea who will make it out of the East of the remaining four teams and could easily see both series going seven games.neil: Yeah, things have not really gotten clearer since either series opened. Let’s talk first about the semifinal series between the Raptors and Sixers, which resumes tonight with Game 3. Philly gritted out the win Monday night to even up the series, despite Kawhi Leonard going off again for 35 points. What has stood out about each team so far that might swing the series going forward?chris.herring: In the chat last week, we talked about the question of who Tobias Harris could realistically guard.The answer in Game 1 was nobody, which was problematic, as the Raptors’ two best scorers did serious damage.The difference in Game 2 was Philly’s adjustment to play Harris on Marc Gasol, and to have Joel Embiid and the other centers guard Pascal Siakam. It paid really, really nice dividends for them, and that’s the thing I’m really curious to watch in Game 3.natesilver: I guess those defensive matchups sort of make sense but also the sort of thing that you could counteradjust to, especially with an extra day off to scout and strategize.chris.herring: Exactly.neil: That shows up in the stats, too: Harris was a game-low minus-23 in Game 1 but was plus-6 in Game 2.chris.herring: In both series, I think, it’s going to be a question of whose adjustments are better.Because each set of changes and adjustments have pretty clear counters.tchow: Btw, I don’t know if Neil is doing this on purpose but we have NBATV on at the office right now, and Neil is moving the chat along at the same exact pace as Grant Hill and company are moving along their playoff coverage. They just wrapped up DEN-POR and moved on to PHI-TOR before cutting to commercial break. Uncanny.neil: LOL, Tony. Definitely a coincidence… 😒chris.herring: I did think the put-the-big-on-Siakam adjustment was smart, though.When Siakam is in the middle of the floor, you can give him some space, because he shoots really terribly from the top of the key. By contrast, he’s solid from the corners. (And when he’s in the corner, you have the help of the baseline as a second defender.)tchow: It definitely made a difference. Siakam shot 80 percent from the floor and 75 percent from three in Game 1. In Game 2, he shot 36 percent from the floor and 29 percent from three.chris.herring: The Sixers don’t have but maybe one guy who can credibly guard Siakam (and Ben Simmons is doing his best to guard Kawhi), so that shift was really important for them.It may not work going forward, but you had to try it.natesilver: What if Gasol decides to take more shots? He’s been pretty passive, offensively, since joining the Raptors. But he is capable of scoring, either in the post or from downtown.chris.herring: If Gasol ends up being the guy to torch you, I think you can live with that more easily than Siakam.Also, I’d expect for the Raptors to do more to get Siakam rolling, and to use him in pick and rolls in hopes of having Philly switch them. That would nullify the Harris/Embiid stuff they’re doing.Again, the countermoves are going to be fascinating.To Neil’s initial question, too: The other thing that stands out is just how damn good Kawhi is.The guy is Terminator in a basketball uniform.He couldn’t do it all by himself in Game 2. But he’s just having his way from a scoring standpoint.neil: He’s probably been the best player of the playoffs so far, at least by the advanced metrics.chris.herring: Check out our latest NBA predictions. I’m surprised Toronto is at 24 percent and Milwaukee only 14 percent. (Although a lot of that is due to head to head Toronto-vs-Milwaukee odds.)natesilver: I mean, there’s a case to be made that Toronto is just super good.chris.herring: Yeah. I think almost 70 percent sounds about right in that case.natesilver: They won 58 games in the regular season while missing a bunch of Kawhi and Kyle Lowry. And with Gasol only on the roster for the last third of the season.chris.herring: The matchups still favor them, and I think they’ll figure out a way to get Siakam going. Just not guarding him at the top of the key isn’t going to be enough.Am interested to see whether Kawhi can keep doing this for the whole series, though. He’s completely wrecking Philly.natesilver: Kawhi looks like an MVP in the playoffs, and neither of the two losses they’ve taken in the playoffs (to Orlando in Game 1 or Philly the other day) seemed to expose particularly exploitable problems.Our model also thinks Philly is quite good, by the way. It gives them a lot of credit for being good “on paper.”So I think our prices are relatively fair, but if I had to pick one, maybe it’s the over on Toronto. natesilver: Are people stretching a little too hard to call this an even series? Game 1 really wasn’t all that competitive, the Raptors have the best player, they were the much better team in the regular season, and all the adjustments and counteradjustments are gonna cancel out.I mean, there are only five games left and the Raptors have lost home-court advantage, but I feel like if this is a nine-game series, or an 11-game series, the Raptors are a huge favorite.chris.herring: I dunno. On the one hand, yeah: Toronto should have the upper hand. But we haven’t seen Nick Nurse under all that much pressure before. I assume they’ll counter well, but if they don’t … it’s not as if Philly doesn’t have talent.There are pretty clear things that could happen to tilt this in the Sixers’ favor, though I wouldn’t put my money on those things.And the next two are in Philadelphia. I think this is about all the Sixers could ask for at this stage.I would like to see Embiid do a bit more offensively. He was sick during the last game, but if he can’t find advantages against Gasol (which has been the case for a while now), it becomes harder to see how Philly can beat them four times. Unless the Raptors have no counter whatsoever for what happened to Siakam in Game 2.tchow: Nate, are you proposing we make the postseason even LONGER to ensure the best team wins?natesilver: I think it should vary based on how enjoyable the series is.Like if people find GSW-HOU annoying, just make it a three-game series.neil: We should develop a metric: The SILVER (Series’ Ideal Length Varied by Enjoyability Ratio)chris.herring: Oh, Lord.natesilver: Neil.tchow: According to SILVER, Sixers vs. Raptors should be best-of-11 and Bucks vs. Pistons should have been a one-game playoff.neil: LOLSo while we workshop our latest backronym metric, let’s end the chat by focusing on the Bucks and the Celtics. After disappointing at home in Game 1, Milwaukee can breathe again thanks to a 123-102 win in Game 2.Was that Game 1 loss just a blip on the radar for Milwaukee, or something to legitimately worry about for them as the series shifts to Boston?tchow: Giannis Antetokounmpo had a +/- of minus-24 in Game 1. What happened?(FWIW, he did bounce back fine. Game 2, his +/- was plus-20.)chris.herring: I think it’s actually pretty similar to Toronto-Philly. The Bucks punched back with a different strategy in Game 2, and now the ball is seemingly in Boston’s court to try and adjust to it.natesilver: Gordon Hayward was pretty nonexistent in Game 2 and not great in Game 1, which is bearish for Boston because I really think they need him to be pretty good to compete at an elite level.neil: Also, Kyrie scored 26 on 57 percent shooting in Game 1. Had 9 points on 22 percent in Game 2.natesilver: It did feel a bit like maybe the Celtics were gonna steal one game in the series because of Brad Stevens and their coaching/analytics/scouting staff, and maybe Game 1 was that game.chris.herring: We touched on it last week, when we discussed the Bucks being ranked No. 1 in the league on defense but doing so with a drop strategy in pick and roll coverage. They got torched with that in Game 1, and Boston had a field day from deep. But they moved to a completely different scheme in Game 2 and switched everything (something they almost never did in the regular season).And for what it’s worth, Boston was the least-efficient team in the NBA against switches during the regular season, according to data from Second Spectrum.So I’m interested to see what they counter with, because the Bucks certainly have the length and versatility to make life difficult for them with that strategy.To Tony’s question from before, we did some writing on what went wrong for Giannis in Game 1.The truth is, Giannis kind of lives off of open-court opportunities. He’ll score plenty without them, but if he has them, it showcases how and why he’ll likely be the MVP. It’s nearly impossible to stop him with just one guy (and sometimes even two) in the open floor.But Milwaukee wasn’t forcing enough misses in Game 1 for that to even be a real possibility for him. And even when it was, the Celtics set up a wall against him. Was something they did effectively against Giannis all year.natesilver: So are you saying that Giannis is liable to be less effective in the playoffs, when it becomes more of a half-court game?chris.herring: Yes and no.I think he will still score, and if you overcommit to trying to stop him, he’s unselfish and will find his teammates, who finally hit shots in Game 2The other thing that’s interesting: Giannis’s struggles as a jump-shooter are well-documented. He was the worst wide-open shooter in the NBA from three on 150 or more attempts.But he started knocking them down at a somewhat respectable clip after the turn of the new year. And when Boston dared him to shoot them in Game 1, he shot 3 of 5.He’s 5 of 9 from three for the series!I imagine that if you’re Boston, you’re simply going to make him prove he can hit that shot. But the idea that he’s begun to figure out how to hit threes should be terrifying for everyone outside of the state of Wisconsin.natesilver: I’m happy to let him shoot as many threes as he wants.I don’t think you learn how to shoot threes in one series. Maybe if it’s a big offseason focus of his, sure.neil: Either way, the model currently gives the Bucks a 70 percent chance of winning. In fact, it also gives Toronto exactly the same 70 percent chance against Philly, despite both series being 1-1.Do those probabilities seem right to y’all? If you had to take the over or under on one, which would it be?chris.herring: I feel like Milwaukee’s is a touch high, even though they’re my favorite to come out of the East.tchow: Interesting, I was going to say I would pick the Bucks to be too low.neil: I’m in the same camp, Tony. Really more based on looking at our title odds for each: read more

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first_img In the current political climate, it serves as an epiphany. As a glimmer of hope. As a hammer to break up conformity.Yes, that is a sad commentary upon the state of our discourse, but sometimes you need to celebrate the small victories. So when David Gellatly, chairman of the Clark County Republican Party, channels his inner Ronald Reagan and says, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor,” you take note — and not solely because he pulled off the rare accomplishment of accurately quoting a historical figure.Gellatly was speaking about a controversy surrounding conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, a 24-year-old rising star of the right wing who has garnered a massive following through social media and through segments on Glenn Beck’s conservative platform, The Blaze. Like all notable political commentators these days, Lahren has used incendiary partisan speech as the currency to purchase her fame.She once, for example, said of young black men being shot by police: “The term unarmed black man may be literally accurate, but it doesn’t tell the whole story in most cases. In a number of cases, if the victim ended up being unarmed, it was certainly not for a lack of trying.” Which on the scale of racist dog whistles rates about a C8. Ah, who are we kidding? It’s not even a dog whistle; it’s a trumpet blast.Lahren has generated many fans and just as many detractors, many of whom try to dismiss her as “white power Barbie” — which is just as sexist as some of her comments are racist.Room for dissentAnyway, Lahren has been tabbed as the keynote speaker at this summer’s Lincoln Day Dinner — an annual gathering and fundraiser for the local Republican Party. So it is no surprise that her recent comment about being pro-choice has caused many conservatives to clutch their pearls. Greg Jayne, Opinion page editorlast_img read more

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first_imgThe unadjusted gender pay gap for employees in Iceland was 16.1% in 2016, according to research by Statistics Iceland.Its gender pay gap analysis, which is based on the Structure of earnings survey and represents the difference between average gross hourly earnings of male employees and female employees as a proportion of men’s hourly earnings, including paid overtime and regular bonuses but excluding non-regular payments, also found that the unadjusted pay gap for employees working in the private sector in Iceland is 16.4% for 2016, compared to 15.9% for those working in the public sector. In 2015, the unadjusted gender pay gap the private and public sectors was 16.7% and 14.6% respectively.The unadjusted gender pay gap, which has not been adjusted according to individual characteristics, may explain differences in earnings for men and women. For employees working for central government in the public sector in 2016 was 16.3%, compared to 8.3% for those working within local government. For 2015, the unadjusted gender pay gap for staff working in central government was 14.9%, compared to 7.2% for local government staff in 2015.On average, total earnings, which are based on the Icelandic survey on wages, earnings and labour costs and relate to the total remuneration per month excluding payments in kind, for women were 22% lower than the total earnings for men in 2016, averaging 582,000 ISK compared to 742,000 ISK. Approximately 15% of men in Iceland and 6% of women had total monthly earnings above one million ISK in 2016. The median earnings for men in 2016 were 643,000 ISK, compared to 525,000 ISK for women.last_img read more

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first_imgThe SSGT Robert T. Kuroda is docked at the Port of Anchorage. It’s the largest boat in the Army and sailed from Hawaii to be part of simulation exercises meant to test the readiness of the military to respond to a disaster situation where the port is rendered inoperable.  (Jolene Almendarez/APRN)More than 550 military personnel from around the country are gathered at the Port of Anchorage this week for an Alaska Shield exercise, meant to test the readiness of the military to provide emergency support to areas impacted by natural or human-caused disasters.Download Audiolast_img read more

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first_imgNayanthara.PR HandoutAfter Radha Ravi’s distasteful comments on Nayanthara at the audio launch, Kolaiyuthir Kaalam is in the news for a wrong reason. Producer Mathialagan has now slammed Vignesh Shivan for his comments on the Tamil movie. The producer has raised objection over Vignesh Shivan’s comment that Kolaiyuthir Kaalam is an incomplete film and Nayan’s partner’s statement has resulted in big loss for him. He says that his comment has forced the distributors to back out of the project.The producer claims that he was on the verge of signing a deal over the digital streaming rights of the movie and Vignesh Shivan’s comment has put the talks in trouble.Now, Mathialagan is planning to take legal route against Vignesh Shivan demanding compensation for the losses occurred due to his comment.The movie was in the news last week when Radha Ravi made a distasteful comment against her Speaking at the audio launch function of Kolaiyuthir Kaalam, Radha Ravi said, “Nayanthara acts as a ghost, and also enacts the role of Sita. Earlier, filmmakers used to approach KR Vijaya if the characters are about Goddess. Now, anybody can do such roles. They can cast any respected women, they can also rope in those whom you would like to sleep with. Nayanthara, of late, acts in horror films. If the ghosts comes aross her, they will be scared away.”His comments have come under severe criticism from public and celebrities on social media sites.  The first look of Nayanthara’s Kolaiyuthir Kaalam is out.PR HandoutKolaiyuthir Kaalam is a mystery thriller, directed by Chakri Toleti.last_img read more

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first_img Explore further © 2013 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Do bats know voices of friends they hang out with? (w/ video) Citation: Researchers find bats use curled leaves for sound amplification (2013, October 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-10-amplification.htmlcenter_img Spix’s Disk-winged Bat (Thyroptera tricolor). Credit: antonsrkn/Flickr (Phys.org) —A pair of researchers, one from Universidad de Costa Rica, the other North Dakota State University has found that a type of bat that hides from predators inside a curled leaf plants, gains acoustic advantages from doing so. In their paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Gloriana Chaverri and Erin Gillam describe recording experiments they conducted with the types of plants the bats hide in and found that the plant served as both megaphone and ear horn. Prior experiments by researchers studying Spix’s disc-winged bats (Thyroptera tricolor) have found that the tiny creatures oftentimes have difficulty differentiating calls from family members and others in their group. This is important because the bats are social—they form clans that stay together for years. Intrigued, Chaverri and Gillam wondered if the sound problems might be due to the environment in which the bats live when they are not flying—in the curled leaves of Calathea and Heliconia type plants that grow outside their caves (in South America). To find out, they collected several plant specimens and brought them into their lab. There they affixed tiny microphones and speakers that played bat calls in and around the plants to study their acoustic properties. In doing so, they discovered that the curled plants caused several changes to the sound around them.Most impressively, they found that sound emitted outside of the plant becomes condensed as it makes its way inside the funnel shaped leaves—by the time it reaches the bottom the sound on average was increased by ten decibels. This means that those hiding inside the leaves can hear calls from their family members who are much farther away than if they were not in the leaf. The researchers found that the leaves also worked as a megaphone, increasing the volume of sounds emitted from inside the leaves by 1 to 2 decibels (by focusing the sound as it leaves). They also found that because different sound frequencies were impacted in different ways by the shape of the leaves, bat calls heard inside would be nearly impossible for the hiding bats to distinguish between family, friend or stranger. More information: Sound amplification by means of a horn-like roosting structure in Spix’s disc-winged bat, Proc. R. Soc. B. Published 16 October 2013 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2362AbstractWhile sound is a signal modality widely used by many animals, it is very susceptible to attenuation, hampering effective long-distance communication. A strategy to minimize sound attenuation that has been historically used by humans is to use acoustic horns; to date, no other animal is known to use a similar structure to increase sound intensity. Here, we describe how the use of a roosting structure that resembles an acoustic horn (the tapered tubes that form when new leaves of plants such as Heliconia or Calathea species start to unfurl) increases sound amplification of the incoming and outgoing social calls used by Spix’s disc-winged bat (Thyroptera tricolor) to locate roosts and group members. Our results indicate that incoming calls are significantly amplified as a result of sound waves being increasingly compressed as they move into the narrow end of the leaf. Outgoing calls were faintly amplified, probably as a result of increased sound directionality. Both types of call, however, experienced significant sound distortion, which might explain the patterns of signal recognition previously observed in behavioural experiments. Our study provides the first evidence of the potential role that a roost can play in facilitating acoustic communication in bats.last_img read more

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first_imgKolkata: Senior officials of the Building department of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will visit the Traders Assembly building on Monday to assess the quantum of damage of the structure.Mayor Firhad Hakim who visited the spot on Sunday morning said the debris will be cleared once the forensic experts collect the samples from the site. The preliminary investigation by the civic officials show that cracks have appeared in different parts of the building. The officials will see whether the adjoining building has also been affected or not. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalThe officials said the maintenance of the building is poor. It has not be painted for several years and the cracks that had already appeared on the structure have not been repaired. The fire has widened the cracks. Also, the structural stability of the building will be tested. It may be recalled that the civic authorities had urged the owners of the buildings that are more than 50-years-old to examine the health of the houses by empanelled structural engineers. But few owners have obeyed the KMC’s request. “Once the heat is controlled, we will examine the structure and then take decision whether the burnt out portions will be pulled down or not,” said a senior civic official. They felt that the health audit of all the private markets that are more than 30-years-old should be conducted and necessary steps should be taken.last_img read more

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first_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 4 min read April 7, 2015 Register Now » As people we are always on the lookout for a car that’s more fuel efficient, roads that are more durable, services that are more user friendly. ‘More’. That’s the theme of our lives in the new millennium.The quest to make everything ‘faster’, ‘larger’ or ‘stronger’ means that the focus is squarely on improving efficiencies and make the most of every bit of the resources available to us. A quick way to improve efficiencies and up our productivity is by employing the right tools at the right time.Here’s my pick of three interesting productivity tools that promise to offer your business that boost it truly deserves.NutcacheThey say “Time is money.” If time is as important as money, isn’t it time we spent some money on managing both better? Nutcache is a nifty little tool that helps you stay on top of all your invoicing and expense-related needs, simultaneously.With Nutcache, you can design, create and send out invoices to clients for no charge, at all. It also allows you to accept payments from customers online via a plethora of payment options. You can track all your expenses –like taking a client out for dinner or cab fare to your last meeting — in one place. Attach invoices or receipts as bills that can be claimed later from the client. But that was all about money. How about time?Nutcache’s time tracking feature helps businesses that get paid by the hour. Employees, or even individual freelancers, can log in the exact number of hours they devote to each project via Nutcache’s mobile app. Not only is this extremely useful from a human resources point of view, it also helps in offering clients proof of work done as a support for invoices in their name. Nutcache has a very able free version, while the pro-version offers a bunch of extras over and above these. Pro benefits include completely custom invoices without Nutcache branding on them, zero payment processing fees on transactions, no advertising and the like.Related: 10 Affordable Tools to Help Online Entrepreneurs SucceedDueAs an entrepreneur, you are most likely doing many things at once, which often can make it difficult to know if you are really being as productive and profitable as possible. That’s why it helps to have a tool that can track all your projects and deliver a report of where you might be able to improve how you spend every hour of your work day.WIth Due, you can not only track your time with their handy app, but you can also incorporate those findings directly into their customizable invoice templates and quotes for a more accurate record that benefits you and your clients. That means you can estimate projects more accurately while clients are assured that the invoices how much time you actually spent on their account.Due offers this time tracking tool with its free online invoicing and a low-cost payments platform, providing additional value for the small business owner. Related: 6 Things They Don’t Tell You When You Leave the Big Corporate World for Your Own BusinessAcuity SchedulingHow frustrating is it, after all the work you put into creating a great service and finding a willing client who wants your services, to have all those efforts come to naught thanks to holes in your calendar and appointment schedule?Enter Acuity Scheduling. With Acuity’s multi-platform scheduling system, you will never again miss an appointment with a client or forget to send out an invoice or collect payments for invoices already sent out. Acuity works well with your existing calendar tool – Outlook, Google, whatever your choice. Clients can directly see your live calendar, spot an opening and chalk themselves in instantly. When there is a new appointment created or a cancelation has been made, the tool automatically makes the relevant changes across all your calendars so there is no chance of a missed opportunity for your business.What’s more, you can even send out reminders automatically to clients about upcoming appointments via SMS or email, while you will yourself receive a reminder yourself about the same. You even have the ability to process payments via this app, right at the time of booking an appointment.The measure of a productive business is how much time it spends on activities that add direct value to the business. These are three tools that power my business and its productivity. What about yours?Related: This New App Wants to Optimize Your Schedule by Running It Through an Algorithm Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more

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first_imgShare this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… While the number of LGBTI people running for office is growing, the community is still underrepresented The number of LGBTI people who are standing in elections for public office in the US has reached a record high. eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) So far 2018 has seen over 400 LGBTI political candidates standing for office in America, according to a study by The Victory Institute.Thought the LGBTI remains highly underrepresented in US, the numbers show a positive development, the Victory Institute’s political director Sean Meloy said.‘It’s a really exciting time,’ Meloy told Reuters. ‘We believe that representation is power and when someone is in the room and helping to make decisions, they will automatically bring an LGBTQ perspective.’However, the Victory Institute noted earlier this year that only 559, or 0.1 percent, of all elected public officials currently serving were openly LGBTI.More LGBTI people, women and people of colorThe majority of LGBTI candidates are standing in elections for the Democratic Party, a high number of whom are standing in the November midterm elections.The midterm elections are critical for the Democrats to reestablish their position in American politics, as the Republicans currently hold the three main houses of government (the presidency, the senate and congress).center_img The increasing number of LGBTI candidates also corresponds with higher number of women and people of color running for office.Several high-profile cases of LGBTI politicians have been making headlines.In June politician and businessman Jared Polis won a Democratic primary contest which could pave the way for him to become the first openly gay governor in US history.A successful businessman with a reported net-worth of around $388m, Polis is running to be the next governor of Colorado. If he is successful, the 43 year-old will take up residence in the Colorado state governor’s mansion with his husband and their two children.In November 2017, Danica Roem made history by becoming the first transwoman elected to state office in the US.Democrat Roem was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates District 13 seat, by beating Republican candidate Bob Marshall. During his time in office Marshal had put forward a number of anti-LGBTI bills, and had described himself as Virginia’s ‘chief homophobe’.Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . GAYSTARNEWS- LGBTI women running for US Congress up 160% since 2016Democrats adopt new gender non-binary language into party rulesFirst trans governor nominee Christine Hallquist is receiving death threatsRead the full article on Gaystarnews:  :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/record-high-number-of-lgbti-people-running-for-public-office-in-us/last_img read more

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