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Allegations on oilforfood will be probed very seriously Annan says

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said that he will soon name the members of an independent panel to investigate allegations of corruption and fraud within the United Nations Oil-for-Food programme, and pledged that the probe will take the charges “very seriously.”“We are quite close and I’m in touch with panel members who would investigate this in an independent manner,” the Secretary-General told reporters as he entered UN Headquarters in New York. “I hope to be able to make the announcement in the course of the week.” Mr. Annan emphasized that the probe would be comprehensive. “We are going to investigate these allegations very seriously and with a very thorough, independent investigation.” Responding to allegations in the press, the Secretary-General announced last month his intention to set up an independent, high-level inquiry – a move later endorsed by the Security Council. Begun in 1996, the UN Oil-for-Food programme allowed Iraq to use a portion of its petroleum revenues to purchase humanitarian relief. The effort was monitored by the Security Council “661” committee, which included representatives from all 15 countries on the Council. Until its termination in November 2003, the programme oversaw the delivery of some $39 billion worth of humanitarian assistance to about 22 million people, many of whom were largely dependent on outside aid to survive since normal economic activity was severely constrained by sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The aid served to slash negative health indicators, including child malnutrition rates, which fell by half between 1996 and 2002. read more

UN officials urge Governments to ensure natural resources fuel development not conflict

“In too many countries, a wealth of resources – such as timber, oil, coal, diamonds and precious metals – fail to translate into equivalent wealth for the people,” said Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson in his remarks to the Council’s day-long thematic debate on conflict prevention and the extractive industries.Instead, communities and individuals pay a terrible cost in terms of corruption, human rights abuses and environmental damage, he said, emphasizing: “The primary responsibility for preventing conflict and transparently and equitably managing resources lies with Governments.”Mr. Eliasson noted that when managed properly, extractive resources do not need to be a ‘curse’ but can instead be the foundation for sustainable development and lasting peace.“Political leaders are to ensure that extractive industries generate employment and tax revenues which support economic development and the provision of basic services,” he said. “And leaders are to be held accountable by national institutions which promote social cohesion and inclusion, based on rule of law and an independent judiciary.”He added that while Governments play a central role in natural resource management, the private sector, civil society and international organizations are also important in ensuring the equitable, transparent and sustainable exploitation of extractive resources.Mr. Eliasson highlighted examples of how the UN is working with Governments to prevent conflict related to resources. UN political and peacekeeping missions, for example, support dispute resolution through their rule of law programmes, which count with mediators with an expertise on natural resource issues.In addition, the world body is working with financial institutions to develop capacity on taxation policies and regulations pertaining extractive industries to address the impact of inflation and currency fluctuations, Mr. Eliasson said.“Ultimately, all parties need to recognize – and act upon – the links between poverty, inequality, conflict and sustainable development,” he said. “As demand for extractive resources increases, so will competition and rivalry. This must not lead to more violent conflicts in fragile nations but, rather, to cooperation and a sense of shared responsibility.”In his capacity as Chairperson of the Africa Progress Panel, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Council that conflict related to extractive resources is preventing many African countries from developing their full potential.“For years, we have seen that natural resources have been a presence in – and at times a driver of – internal of regional conflicts in Africa,” Mr. Annan said.He said that Africa has been benefiting from high demand for natural resource from China and other emerging markets, but warned that Governments must ensure the profits of this demand are invested in development and do not lead to tensions in the region.“The starting point is for all countries to develop national strategies that set up the terms under which their natural resources will be developed, including fiscal policies, contractual arrangements and tax regimes,” he said. “Above all, national strategies have to set out how the extractive sector fits with plans for poverty reduction, inclusive growth and social transformation.”Mr. Annan also underlined the international community’s responsibility in creating a safe and transparent environment that encourages cross-border collaboration as well as environmental protection.The Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Rebecca Grynspan, outlined how the agency is helping countries such as Tanzania, Liberia and Sierra Leone to establish concrete actions plans and best practices to manage their resources. The agency is working not just with Governments, but also with communities and civil society groups to diffuse tensions and address misunderstandings that could lead to conflict.Managing Director of the World Bank Caroline Anstey also addressed the Council, and stressed the importance of transparency, and collaboration with the private sector. read more

Ban presses for sustained support from international community amid tenuous Mali peace

Speaking at the High-level meeting on the Malian political process, on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York, the Secretary-General reminded those present that they had gathered to support Mali’s political process as it is the country’s “cornerstone of stability.”“Mali needs peace and stability so that refugees can return home; so that human rights can be protected, and public services restored; so that development can advance and justice and security institutions can be reformed to play their essential role,” declared Mr. Ban. He warned, however, that the security situation in the Sahel country remained “extremely fragile” as armed groups in the north continued to fight despite numerous agreements. In addition, Mr. Ban noted, UN peacekeepers and Malian civilians have been subjected to ongoing attacks from terrorists who sought “to disrupt the political process and prevent the return of normalcy that the north so desperately needs.”“These attacks will not alter the determination of the United Nations to support the Malian people in their search for peace,” he continued. “Persistent insecurity only underscores the urgency of a negotiated settlement.”Recalling the 18 June 2013 Ouagadougou Agreement between the Government and armed groups, the Secretary-General expressed concern that the tenuous peace agreement risked falling apart due to “difficult moments” such as reported fighting in the country’s north-eastern Kidal Region. The Agreement, signed in the capital of Burkina Faso last year by Tuareg rebel groups from northern Mali and the Government, allows the Malian regular army, as well as its civil administration, to gradually return to the region of Kidal, held by rebels since 2012.In addition, Mr. Ban also urged movement for the ongoing negotiations currently being held in Algiers, Algeria, adding that despite an encouraging start, progress had been slow. To that point, he emphasized the UN’s readiness to assist in the implementation of the peace agreement that “we all hope can result from the Algiers process.”“We will mobilize our expertise on the political, security, development, justice and reconciliation issues that must be part of that agreement,” he stated, adding that the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was “ready to play a key role in supporting the implementation of an agreement that is sustainable and inclusive.”“Mali needs sustained and coherent support from the international community,” the Secretary-General concluded as he reminded Member States of their commitment to helping Mali end its conflicts and move towards peace. “We must speak with one voice and we must be persistent during the negotiations, as well as afterwards for the implementation of an agreement.” read more

Week in Westminster – week ending Friday 19 September 2014

DOWNLOAD1. Scotland votes ‘No’ to independence2. Diversity initiatives for science and engineering announced3. Government responds to the new Climate Economy report4. Manufacturing employment rises in 2Q 20145. Major funding announced to improve Bristol’s public transport6. Week aheadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

Drew Brees Gets Record Contract From Saints

Quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have reached an agreement on a five-year, $100 million contract that includes a first-year take in 2012 of $40 million,  league, players union and the team sources told ESPN.For all practical purposes, the guaranteed money is considered by all parties involved to be an NFL-record $60 million, though there are contractual, but unlikely, outs for the Saints before he would receive all of that sum.The accord was struck Friday morning in the latest round of negotiations between Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and Brees’ agent, Tom Condon.Brees had until Monday at 4 p.m. ET to reach a long-term contract with the Saints or his only option would have been to play in 2012 under the terms of his franchise tender of $16.371 million. But he had no plans to report to training camp without a long-term contract, sources said.Brees’s 2012 salary of $40 million is fully guaranteed. In 2013, the Saints will have a three-day window to release him after the waiver period begins (five days after the Super Bowl); if not, Brees gets another $15 million of fully guaranteed earnings, bringing his two-year total to $55 million.In 2014, the same three-day waiver scenario is in place before Brees is fully guaranteed another $5 million, with an additional $1 million in salary. Under the assumption Brees is the team’s quarterback for the next three years, he would make $61 million during that stretch, with $60 million fully guaranteed, the highest guaranteed total an NFL player has ever earned. Calvin Johnson’s deal with the Detroit Lions, signed earlier this year was initially reported to guarantee $60 million, but a closer look found it only fully guaranteed $48.75 million.While the waiver window gives the Saints an out, both the league and union view the $60 million as “guaranteed” because of the extreme unlikelihood that the Saints would want to have paid Brees $40 million for one year or $55 million for two years.The remaining $39 million to be earned in 2015 and 2016 is subject to the same waiver formula, bringing the potential grand total to $100 million over five years. No player in NFL history has averaged $20 million per year.Source: ESPN read more

Worlds first wireless Bluetooth Sensor Bow a hit with musicians

first_imgFor all you geeky musicians out there, you can now bring technology to your traditional violin, viola, cello, and bass in the form of the Keith McMillen Instruments K-Bow, a Bluetooth sensor bow capable of mimicking the wood and gut that have been used in the past.Created so that modern string musicians could integrate computing with their art form, the K-Bow communicates directly with studio software allowing an artist to wirelessly record music in electronic format. As seen above, the kevlar and graphite bow has a suite of sensors that are able to pick up even the slightest movements and pressures, achieving for the first time the ability to pick up the small nuances of the musician. These nuances are processed via hardware contained in the device, and transmitted using a Bluetooth antenna. Sensors measuring pressures, speed, and grip make this a precision device.It is certainly a feat of engineering to be able to produce such a fine-tuned piece of equipment, and the price reflects that as the K-Bow package right now runs around $4,300. Obviously this is something for professional musicians rather than hobbyists.The quality of the K-Bow is legit, this is not just some drug store discount toy. Professional cellist Jeffrey Zeigler has commented that it feels as good as the high end traditional wood bow that he uses to perform with, allowing him to control and manipulate the sound of the instrument without losing the technical aspect of his playing. This is certainly a key point, for if the K-Bow was something that needed special movements rather than already naturally trained bow strokes, the acceptance of it would certainly be less and the results nowhere near as good.The first piece of music ever composed just for the K-Bow system is going to be played on November 9th in Syracuse, New York. Called “Polar Suite”, it is a string quartet that integrates the sound of traditional instruments captured by the K-Bow, then processed through its software suite.Take a look at the K-Bow video demo below:More at Keith McMillen Instrumentslast_img read more

Une chaire sur les réseaux sociaux créée par Télécom Ecole de Management

first_imgUne chaire sur les réseaux sociaux créée par Télécom Ecole de Management Le mardi 29 novembre, Télécom Ecole de Management a inauguré la toute première chaire française de recherche sur les réseaux sociaux. Dirigée par Christine Balagué, enseignante et chercheuse au sein de l’école, elle basera ses axes de recherche sur l’intégration des réseaux sociaux dans les stratégies des entreprises.Une chaire dédiée aux réseaux sociaux a été inaugurée mardi à Paris par Télécom Ecole de Management. Mise en place en partenariat avec les groupes La Poste, PagesJaunes, Danone comme les autres écoles de l’Institut Télécom, et soutenue par la Fondation Télécom, cette chaire baptisée “Réseaux sociaux : création de valeur économique et sociale”, est inédite en France.À lire aussiShort video : le phénomène de la vidéo courte débarqueQuinze chercheurs consacreront leurs travaux à l’intégration des réseaux sociaux dans les stratégies des entreprises, afin que celles-ci ne subissent plus ces nouveaux outils en apprenant à les connaître et les exploiter. La chaire est dotée d’un budget d’un million d’euros sur trois ans. “C’est le changement de paradigme”, qui a inspiré la mise en place de ce projet, a expliqué Christine Balagué, l’enseignante-chercheuse qui dirige cette nouvelle chaire, citée par l’AFP. “Malgré la crise, l’économie numérique et la vie digitale n’ont cessé de se développer, avec une explosion mondiale des réseaux sociaux, du nombre d’internautes et des achats d’équipements. De nouveaux concepts et usages émergent, et il y a presque un phénomène d’addiction, vu le temps passé sur ces réseaux”, a-t-elle expliqué lors de l’inauguration de la chaire.Une récente étude menée par le cabinet Gartner affirme qu’à l’horizon 2015, “les entreprises généreront 50% de leurs revenus en ligne via les réseaux sociaux”, a souligné Christine Balagué, quand Francis Jutand, le directeur scientifique de l’Institut Télécom, évoquait “une véritable métamorphose (…) qui crée des fonctionnalités nouvelles et influe sur tous les secteurs de la société”. Et d’affirmer : “Il ne faut pas subir ces nouveaux outils qui se développent”.Le 1 décembre 2011 à 15:00 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Surveillance Kenwood et JVC sur un système 3D et tactile

first_imgSurveillance : Kenwood et JVC sur un système 3D et tactileLes premiers pas vers la surveillance en 3D ont probablement été faits. Un logiciel permettra un rendu 3D obtenu grâce à plusieurs caméras de surveillance, de changer d’angles de vue, de faire pivoter les appareils de prises de vue…À l’instar de Sony ou d’Hitachi, JVC et Kenwood travaillent aussi sur le futur de la surveillance. Les deux firmes collaborent à l’élaboration d’un système permettant de faire figurer dans un environnement 3D les images obtenues en multicaméras. Ce qui permet de disposer de la vision d’un immeuble ou d’un parking entier. Le système, une fois mis au point, offrira une vue d’ensemble d’une zone large. Ensuite, ce logiciel permettra d’isoler des parties de cet espace en 3D en faisant des zooms précis. Un pavé tactile permettra de contrôler plusieurs caméras à part et de manière individuelle afin de les diriger vers une action ou une région souhaitée.Selon Ubergizmo, ce panneau tactile permettra de faire varier les angles de vues aussi bien que pour switcher entre les caméras donc. Comme avec une vue panoramique, il sera possible de recadrer à l’envi le résultat en 3D observé. Les contrôles de cette interface pourraient aussi bien se faire par l’intermédiaire d’un écran multitouch. Le logiciel peut tourner sous Windows 7 et un GPU proposant un rendu 3D et une ou plusieurs caméras VN-V685 IP. Pour l’heure, aucune date de sortie d’un tel système n’est avancée. Le 1 avril 2012 à 18:00 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Météo France un site pour donner des prévisions jusquen 2085

first_imgMétéo France : un site pour donner des prévisions jusqu’en 2085Météo France lance un portail internet qui permet de visualiser les grandes tendances climatiques des soixante prochaines années. Des prévisions à long terme destinées à aider les élus ou les agriculteurs à mieux anticiper les conséquences du changement climatique.La France dispose depuis un an d’un plan national d’adaptation au changement climatique. Il s’agit de 230 mesures à mettre en œuvre d’ici à 2015 pour commencer à se préparer à une température moyenne plus élevée de 2, 3 voire peut-être 4°C d’ici à la fin du siècle. Plusieurs secteurs sont ainsi concernés, pour ne pas dire tous : les villes, le littoral, l’agriculture, l’économie… Pourtant, se préparer efficacement n’est possible que si on sait plus ou moins à quoi s’attendre. Ainsi, le développement d’un “site de référence pour diffuser les informations scientifiques” figure parmi les mesures phares du plan national d’adaptation. Un site qui vient tout juste de voir le jour et fournira des données issues de plusieurs modèles et de différents scénarios d’émissions de CO2. Présenté hier par Météo France, ce tout nouveau portail Internet donne des projections régionalisées réalisées dans les laboratoires français de modélisation du climat. Il devient ainsi possible de savoir à peu près combien de jours de gel, de pluie ou de canicule sont à attendre dans 60 ans à Lyon ou à Toulouse par exemple. Le portail sera étendu à l’Outre-mer en 2013.En effet, pour que ce site soit une véritable aide pour les élus ou les agriculteurs les climatologues s’attellent à la “régionalisation” de leurs projections. Présentées de façon particulièrement précise via des cartes nationales et régionales, certaines projections utilisent même une résolution de seulement 8 kilomètres. “C’est une première internationale avec ce niveau de précision, on ne va pas loin de chez soi”, remarque Pierre-Franck Chevet, directeur général de l’énergie et du climat au ministère de l’Ecologie. Néanmoins, ces innombrables données s’adressent en premier lieu à un public averti.Des fiches explicatives pour mieux comprendre les prévisions À lire aussiCanicule : Comment se protéger efficacement contre la chaleur ?En France, le réchauffement global moyen attendu fait consensus. Ce n’est toutefois pas le cas en termes de précipitations, de grandes variations étant observées entre le sud-ouest, la Bretagne ou l’est du pays. “L’échelle régionale est intrinsèquement difficile”, a rappelé à l’AFP le climatologue Hervé Le Treut, directeur de l’Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, l’un des laboratoires associés à cette opération. “La notion de précision est délicate, cette connaissance est assortie d’incertitudes”, souligne-t-il. Néanmoins, “en tant que laboratoire public, c’est un devoir de diffuser ce que l’on sait. Il faut simplement, quand on sort des informations de manière brute, les accompagner d’efforts de traduction”. Pour cela, de nombreuses fiches explicatives ont également été mises en ligne.Pour en savoir plus, rendez-vous sur le site Drias, les futurs du climat Le 25 juillet 2012 à 16:13 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Autonomous Bar Will Drive Up And Mix You Drinks

first_img New Florida Law Nixes Need for Autonomous Vehicle OperatorsScania Unveils Multi-Purpose Autonomous Vehicle Concept Robot mixologists have been serving up drinks to cruise passengers and bargoers for a while now. They’re incredibly cool to see in action, but they have one major downside. They don’t come to you when you call them.Now there’s an Italian design firm that wants to change that. Carlo Ratti Associati want to stick a bartending robot in an autonomous vehicle to create an app-enabled bar on wheels, which its creators have lovingly named Guido.The studio previously worked with Coca-Cola, Bacardi Rum, and MIT to create Makr Shakr, a one-armed bot that can do just about anything a human bartender can. Minus the socializing, anyway. Makr Shakr has the ability to mix and pour 120 drinks per hour.Instead of using an app to hail a driverless shuttle and heading down to a bar to see Makr Shakr in action, you’d just cut out the middleman and hail the whole high-tech bar.Once Guido rolls up the app will allow you to place your orders. That’s after you’ve verified your age with a valid form of ID, of course.The Guido concept features the Makr Shakr system in an open-sided self-driving vehicle. (Photo Credit: Carlo Ratti Associati)What you drink is limited by two things: your imagination and a list of 60 ingredients. According to Makr Shakr, that gives you more than 10100 (one googol) possible combinations.Make your selections and the bot goes to work. Its movements are impressively fluid and its concoctions are on par with those created by the world’s best bartenders, according to the company.Makr Shakr is already a big hit, having served up more than 1.2 million drinks. They’re working on Royal Caribbean cruise ships and in bars and hotels on three continentsPutting the robots on the road, CR Associati believe, is “a way of imagining new social opportunities in cities.” We say let the autonomous good times roll!More on Geek.com:Fully Driverless Grocery Deliveries Have Started in ArizonaThese Robot Delivery Dogs Bring Packages Straight to Your DoorIs This Robotic Hotel Room on Wheels the Future of Travel? Stay on targetlast_img read more

Rusev suffers arm injury at 1027 WWE Main Event tapings

first_img Cesaro Now Playing Up Next Roman Reigns is in Remission Pinterest Seth Rollins Now Playing Up Next Now Playing Up Next Kurt Angle Jason Namako RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Videos Articles Ronda Rousey Highlighting WWEs Problems Videos Articles Ronda Rousey On WWE: I Love This Job, But I Dont Need It Fenix suffers leg injury at independent show, AEW All Out Ladder Match may be in jeopardycenter_img Courtesy of WWE.com:Rusev injured during WWE Main Event tapingsRusev sustained a proximal bicep tendon rupture during his match with Neville at the WWE Main Event tapings Tuesday night, WWE.com can confirm. The match was called due to the injury, and the former U.S. Champion’s recovery time is currently slated at three to four weeks.Please continue to check back with WWE.com as more updates become available.Recommended videosPowered by AnyClipSeth Rollins Defends WWE On Two Separate OccasionsVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 0:30/Current Time 0:03Loaded: 100.00%0:03Remaining Time -0:27 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list Videos Articles Now Playing Up Next Is WWE Losing Its Audience? Impact World Champion Brian Cage undergoing stem cell treatment for injured back Twitter Now Playing Up Next Seth Rollins Defends WWE On Two Separate Occasions Google+ WWE announces Elias will withdraw from the King of the Ring tournament due to injury Facebook WhatsApplast_img read more

Formerly homeless Evergreen alum reshapes her hopes to whats possible

first_imgPORTLAND — Latte Harris seems like a typical college student. She reads and listens to music voraciously, gets involved in the occasional protest, and stops people on campus who have cool-looking outfits. She’s declared her sociology major at Portland State University, but not her minor in black studies.However, the 19-year-old’s path to the downtown Portland campus was not typical. She had planned to attend Arizona State University.But the best-laid plans don’t always happen when you’re a poor, homeless high school student.In 2015, when Harris was a senior at east Vancouver’s Evergreen High School, the district identified 765 students as homeless, including her and her two younger sisters. This last year, the number of homeless students went up about 40 percent to 1,075. Total enrollment in the Evergreen School District has remained about the same, it’s just the proportion of homeless students that’s increased.Harris got accepted to Arizona State, had her classes picked out and took a Greyhound bus the 1,300-some miles to orientation. A bookworm who took honors and Advanced Placement classes in high school, Harris planned to be a pre-med student.“I just didn’t have enough money to attend there,” she said. “It got me thinking, this should not be the case.”Although Harris worked part-time during high school, her paychecks went to housing. Her family struggled to find and keep housing for years, since losing the house they owned off Division Street in Portland. Her mom spent a year in prison, after which her parents separated.So, Harris went from the Parkrose School District to David Douglas to Hudson’s Bay High School and finally Evergreen. Her mom thought they would fare better in Vancouver.last_img read more

Asia Bibi leaves Pakistan in blasphemy row

first_imgThis undated handout photo released to AFP on 1 November 2018 via the UK charity British Pakistani Christian Association shows a portrait of Asia Bibi, who had been on death row in Pakistan since 2010, at an unknown location. AFP File PhotoAsia Bibi, the Christian woman at the centre of a decade-long blasphemy row, has left Pakistan, local media said Wednesday, months after her death sentence was overturned to mass protests by Islamist hardliners.If confirmed, it will be the latest chapter in a saga that has sparked violent demonstrations and high-profile assassinations while spotlighting rising religious extremism across wide sections of Pakistani society.It was not clear when Bibi may have left or where she may have gone. Her daughters are believed to have already fled to Canada.Her departure was reported by Dawn, Pakistan’s biggest English-language newspaper, and Geo News, one of the country’s largest private broadcasters. Both cited unnamed official and unofficial sources.Pakistani officials did not confirm the reports to AFP. The case is extraordinarily sensitive, and multiple previous claims about her departure ended up being false.”It is a great relief that this shameful ordeal has finally come to an end and Asia Bibi and her family are safe,” said Omar Waraich, deputy South Asia director at Amnesty International.”She should never have been imprisoned in the first place, let alone endure the constant threats to her life. This case horrifyingly illustrates the dangers of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the urgent need to repeal them.”Bibi — a labourer from central Punjab province — was first convicted of blasphemy in 2010 and was on death row until her acquittal last year.Her case swiftly became the most infamous in Pakistan, drawing worldwide attention to extremism in the country where blasphemy is an incendiary issue. It carries a maximum death penalty under the country’s penal code.Mere allegations of insulting Islam have sparked lynchings in the past.Bibi has technically been free to leave Pakistan since January when the Supreme Court dismissed a legal challenge to her acquittal in October.Since then, Bibi has been widely believed to have been held in protective custody by authorities as she awaited an asylum deal in a third country.In this file photo taken on 2 November 2018 a Pakistani supporter of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), a hard line religious party, stands on an image of Christian woman Asia Bibi as they march during a protest rally following the Supreme Court`s decision to acquit Bibi of blasphemy, in Islamabad. Photo: AFPMany blasphemy cases in Pakistan see Muslims accusing Muslims, but rights activists have warned that religious minorities — particularly Christians — are often caught in the crossfire, with such accusations used to settle personal scores.Two politicians have been assassinated in connection with Bibi’s case, and she spent much of her time in prison in solitary confinement because of fears she could be attacked by a guard or another prisoner.Islamist groups regularly call for her to be executed, while activists have warned that her life would be in danger if she remained in Pakistan.Following Bibi’s acquittal in October the country was gripped for days by violent protests led by hard line group Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), which also called for mutiny in the armed forces and assassination of the country’s top judges for acquitting her.In the wake of the nationwide protests, TLP’s leaders — who paralysed the capital Islamabad for weeks in 2017 with an anti-blasphemy sit-in — were rounded up in a government crackdown months ago and remain in detention.Christians — who make up around two per cent of the population — occupy one of the lowest rungs in class-obsessed Pakistani society, largely living in slums and working menial jobs as street sweepers, cleaners and cooks.last_img

Pepco Exelon Project Massive Improvements in Customer Satisfaction with Merger

first_imgDistrict residents have long felt the need for a safety and reliability overhaul from their utility provider, Pepco. Saddled with poor reliability – the consequence of outages caused by any number of culprits from dense tree cover to equipment failures – and an equally dismal customer satisfaction rating, Pepco believes it has found a business cure-all in an impending merger with Exelon.“There is a focus within Exelon to do really well two things: nuclear plants and urban utilities. If we are going to do it, we measure it,” said Calvin Butler, Exelon’s chief executive officer. “Every day we talk about where we are on the metric by sitting down with the operations team and talking about the previous 24 hours. This is done to drill down those things that impact our numbers and determine how we can improve on a daily basis. We determine those things that feed into it, success, and that is a part of Exelon’s management mode: accountability, responsibility and follow-up.”While some District residents remain cautious about the merger, some, like Hazel Murry of Northwest,  believe that any corporation that can provide support to the crumbling infrastructure of Pepco, is worth a try. Plagued by a six outages in two years caused by storms and a fire started by Pepco attempting to repair its own wires, Murry, 80, welcomes a change.“I have had to have trees cut back at my cost, I have had to sit in the dark or cold now more times than I’d like to remember, and the way Pepco has dealt with me is sickening. I have little confidence in the Pepco I’ve known for the last few years. If Exelon can restore my confidence, I’d welcome them,” Murry said.With BGE, a subsidiary of Exelon, boasting a rank as the second most improved utility in the country for customer satisfaction, the benefits to District residents could prove stellar. “Those improvements did not happen by mistake. There are a lot of hard work practices we put into how we focus on management. Everyone knows their role in the company – who is responsible with performing what tasks and meeting which goals – and we hold each other accountable. No one can hide and no one is trying to,” Butler said.For those concerned with clean energy, Exelon is also the largest wind producer it the U.S. and boasts the largest urban solar farm on the south side of Chicago. Its subsidiary Constellation has the only urban rooftop on a school – the District’s own Dunbar Senior High School, in Northwest, which produces 25 percent of its energy from the panels.last_img read more

Lauren Hartlage Begins Play in the Inaugural Augusta National Womens Amateur Championship

first_imgHartlage qualified for the tournament behind her standing in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. The junior closed out 2018 ranked 59th in the world and 22nd among American golfers. The top 30 players from the United States received an invitation. Hartlage has performed well on the amateur circuit previously, reaching the match play rounds of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship last summer. Last week, she took fourth at the Orlando International Amateur Championship. The world ranking system ranks the top female amateur golfers on the basis of their average performance over the previous two years, during which Hartlage finished inside the top 20 in 17 of 30 events with seven top five finishes and a victory at the 2017 Cardinal Cup. NBC Sports will produce and broadcast three hours of live final-round coverage at Augusta National from Noon – 3 p.m. EDT on April 6, 2019. NBC Sports will also provide pre-event promotion across NBCUniversal’s portfolio, while Golf Channel will deliver highlights, live reports and news coverage throughout the event, including onsite during the first two competitive rounds at Champions Retreat. Additionally, Golf Channel’s “Live From the Masters” will commence on Friday, April 5 from Augusta National and wrap ANWA coverage on Saturday, April 6 and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on Sunday, April 7. Story Links Click Here to Follow Lauren The two-time All-ACC selection currently leads the Cardinals with a 72.6 stroke average for the 2018-19 season. Hartlage tallied top 10 showings in three of five tournaments and closed out the fall with a runner-up finish at the Alexa Stirling Intercollegiate. LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville women’s golfer Lauren Hartlage will begin play in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship Wednesday morning. The junior will tee off at 10:12 a.m. from the first tee. The inaugural championship features an international field of 72 women amateurs competing over 54 holes. The first two rounds, April 3-4, will be played on the Island and Bluff nines at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta. The entire field will then play Augusta National for an official practice round April 5. The final 18 holes will take place at Augusta National on April 6 and will feature the top 30 competitors who made the cut. The Augusta National Women’s Amateur was announced last April as an effort to inspire greater interest and participation in the women’s game. The winner of the ANWA will receive an invitation to the next five Augusta National Women’s Amateurs, the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2019 Women’s British Open and any USGA, R&A and PGA of America amateur championships for which she is eligible for one year. Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

Five injured including 2 children as auto overturns

first_imgKolkata: Five including two children got minor injuries as an auto-rickshaw overturned after one of its rear wheels broke off near GD Island in Salt Lake.Locals immediately rushed the injured to a nearby hospital where all of them were treated and later discharged. Local sources informed that an auto of Karunamoyee-Phoolbagan route was headed towards GD Island around 12:30 pm on Thursday. A few meters before GD island, the auto over-turned all of a sudden and two persons fell off from the auto. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe two passengers who remained inside the auto also sustained injuries as they hit the iron rod structure of the auto while it overturned. On seeing the auto overturn, other vehicles stopped by and rushed to help the injured persons. Some of them informed the traffic police personnel posted at GD Island. The injured persons were immediately removed to a local hospital. Later, police took charge of the vehicle. According to the sources, the left part of the rear axle somehow broke off and as the wheel got displaced. It is assumed that due to lack of maintenance the vehicle was in a bad shape. The condition of the tyres were not good. Later, the vehicle was handed over to Bidhannagar South police station.last_img read more

Colins Top 4 College Bowl Picks

first_img Advertisement The college bowl season is getting ready to kick off and today in The Herd, Colin picked his 4 favorite games against the spread so you can make some extra holiday cash.He’s been on fire picking NFL games with the Blazin’ 5, but bowl season is another animal because of odd match ups, missing players, and varying degrees of motivation to play in the games.Here are Colin’s bowl plays against the number:Penn State (-2) vs. Washington – Fiesta BowlWisconsin (-6.5) vs. Miami – Orange BowlMichigan vs. South Carolina (+7.5) – Outback BowlAuburn (-9.5) vs. Central Florida – Peach Bowl Watch Colin explain why:Four college football bowl game predictions courtesy of @ColinCowherd pic.twitter.com/f8yhMwQaA1— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) December 13, 2017last_img read more

Buying arts and crafts at night

first_imgAnother Night Market was held at the Old Mill in Queen Street on Friday night.A range of culinary delights were on sale, as well as many interesting arts and crafts items.Young and old enjoyed themselves as they went from stall to stall to see what was on offer this time around.The weather was perfect for ambling around town on a Friday night, doing some bargain-hunting while socialising with friends and family.The road was closed until the nighttime shopping extravaganza was over.The market was bustling with people who enjoyed the outing every bit as much as finding nifty things to buy at really great prices. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsitelast_img read more

Microsoft release emergency Windows patch

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite The emergency patch in question is MS14-066, or otherwise known as the cryptically named “Vulnerability in Schannel Could Allow Remote Code Execution,” which affects Windows Server 2003/2008/2012, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows RT.What does it mean to you and me?Well, there is a big gaping hole the size of Kimberley’s famous one, making any Microsoft Windows incredibly vulnerable to attack!It affects everything running a modern version of Windows.The answer is simple: Patch or get hacked…Click HERE to see what Microsoft have to say and see a link to the patch.last_img read more