Global Ports Signs Concession Deal for Croatian Cruise Port

first_imgTurkish cruise port operator Global Ports Holding has signed a 20-year concession agreement for the operating rights of the Gazenica cruise port in Zadar, Croatia.The deal was signed between the company’s subsidiary Zadar International Port Operations d.o.o. and the Port Authority of Zadar.Under the terms of the contract, starting from the fourth quarter of 2018 GPH will manage all of the cruise port operations at Gazenica port over the life of the concession.The concession includes cruise ship passenger port and terminal services, an international ferry terminal, Ro-Ro services, vehicles and passenger services. It also contains a commercial area of 2,400sqm, with leasable retail and office space.The cruise ports infrastructure includes a maximum draft of 13m and 1170m of total pier length to accommodate big ships.Gazenica cruise port is the second new cruise port GPH has signed in 2018, increasing the number of ports the company operates to 17 ports in 9 countries.last_img read more

Tributes pour in for Canadian standup comedy legend and icon Mike MacDonald

first_imgAdvertisement It’s a sad day in the comedy world.. The legendary Mike MacDonald passed away. I am very thankful to have performed with him, and to have personally know him. #MikeMacDonald #CanadianComedian #RIP #RIPMike— Shawn Lawrence (@_ShawnLawrence_) March 18, 2018 R.I.P. #MikeMacDonald Canadian Stand-Up Comedian.Thanks for all the laughs…— TK-16942 (@xXxtraevil) March 18, 2018 We are so saddened to hear of the passing of comedy legend Mike MacDonald. He was a dear friend and influence on comics new and old will not be forgotten. Much love to his family and friends. Thanks for the laughs Mike, you will be missed greatly.— Yuk Yuk’s (@yukyuks) March 18, 2018 Saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend and Canadian comedy legend Mike MacDonald. Over the years he has graced our stages more than any other comic and will be greatly missed. #RIPMike— Just For Laughs (@justforlaughs) March 18, 2018 If there was a Mount Rushmore for Canadian comics he’d be on it. RIP Mike MacDonald.— kevin BANNER (@BannerComedy) March 17, 2018 RIP Mike MacDonald – Canada’s first domestic stand-up star. The first comedian to do a stand-up special on Canadian television. A giant of North American clubs during the Comedy Boom. An icon of Just For Laughs. A big influence on most Canadian comedians.— Kliph Nesteroff (@ClassicShowbiz) March 18, 2018 Man, sad news. I literally had 4 channels from 1977-2000. Guys like Tom Green and Mike MacDonald helped me develop an intensely warped sense of humour, albeit thanks to VHS recordings courtesy of @newty99.— Chris (@atackc) March 18, 2018 Just last month, @NTWLukeEdwards interviewed Mike Macdonald, who spoke of staring down death and his hope to keep telling jokes until the end. RIP.— Niagara this Week (@NiagarathisWeek) March 18, 2018 It is with great sadness we share the news that legendary Canadian comedian Mike MacDonald has passed away.We loved having Mike on our stage and as part of our #HFXComedyFest family for so many years.— Halifax ComedyFest (@HfxComedyFest) March 17, 2018 Advertisement Mike MacDonald (June 21, 1954 – March 17, 2018) was a Canadian stand-up comedian and actor. He wrote and starred in many movies, including Mr. Nice Guy. In addition to his successful and well received live performances all over North America, MacDonald appeared in such TV shows as the Late Show with David Letterman and The Arsenio Hall Show.Mike MacDonald has passed away. I can’t wrap my head around it. Part of me wants to yell IT’S NOT TRUE!!! The rest of me is numb. Spent so many nights (late80s/early90s) into the morning, playing cards & laughing ourselves sick. And fighting. Then laughing more.Goddammit.— Brent Butt (@BrentButt) March 17, 2018center_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend and Canadian comedy legend Mike MacDonald. Over the years he has graced our stages more than any other comic and will be greatly missed. #RIPMike— Just For Laughs (@justforlaughs) March 18, 2018 Twitter Sad to hear of the passing of Mike Macdonald. One of the greats of stand up comedy, a Canadian from my hometown of Ottawa, and a friend. Rest in Peace Mike. Say hello to Carlin and Pryor for us. I’m sure you are already making them laugh up there.— Tom Green (@tomgreenlive) March 18, 2018 Sad to hear Mike MacDonald passed away today, a true Canadian comic legend. I got to chat with Mike a few times while he was in #Kamloops for a few days @KamloopsKomedy in 2016. He was quiet in the Green Room but would come to life on stage. He’ll be missed.— Allen Douglas (@ADouglasPhotos) March 18, 2018 Advertisement Login/Register With: Mike MacDonald – Award-Winning Comedian via @YouTube— Helen Ann Cornett (@MccanirishHelen) March 18, 2018 Mike MacDonald probably did more to popularize stand-up in Canada than anyone else of his generation. He inspired many comics in the 1980s & 90s to enter comedy. For most of us, sharing the stage with him for the first time was a really big deal.— Kliph Nesteroff (@ClassicShowbiz) March 18, 2018 Facebooklast_img read more

State of small business more mixed than administration says

NEW YORK — As Small Business Week approaches, the nation’s smallest companies in the aggregate are by many accounts doing fairly well. They’re not, however, thriving en masse in direct response to Trump administration and Republican policies.Small business hiring is erratic, according to numbers released by payroll provider ADP. Small businesses typically struggle to add jobs when the unemployment rate is very low, as it is now, at 3.8%. They often can’t pay as much as larger companies or offer the comparatively robust benefits that big companies do, thereby leaving them at a disadvantage when workers are scarce.Meanwhile, surveys by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Capital One and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife show small business owners have been losing some of their optimism as doubts linger about the strength of the current economic expansion. The new tax law has had a mixed impact on small businesses and the trade war that began with Trump administration tariffs is hurting small manufacturers and retailers.“Business is good, OK, but no different from how it’s been throughout the bulk of this expansion,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody’s Analytics. “It’s hard to argue that the president’s policies have led to some kind of renaissance for small businesses that’s going to mean great things forever.”The administration believes otherwise. Former Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, in an opinion piece published last week on, credited the administration’s policies for helping the economy and in turn, small companies. She noted that she met with small business owners throughout her SBA tenure.“I don’t need a spreadsheet to tell me the president’s America first program of tax, trade, regulatory and energy reform is supercharging our economy,” says McMahon, who resigned last month to work on President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. “I saw it and continue to see it with my own eyes — and through the eyes of the hundreds of business leaders I have met.”In a letter released last month by the SBA, Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian said, “we see small business owners taking advantage of the tax cuts and deregulation efforts led by President Trump to invest in their companies and their employees by raising wages, providing bonuses, increasing benefits, and creating more jobs. The economy is strong, and small businesses are thriving.”Economists and industry group officials see administration and GOP policies as having a mixed impact on small businesses — how a company is affected depends on the policy and the business’s individual circumstances. But even if a company has benefited from one policy, it might be hurt by another.“It’s been one step forward and one step back,” says David French, senior vice-president of government relations at the industry group National Retail Federation. “A lot of the positive gains we’ve seen out of tax reform have been given back in lost sales and lost opportunities because of higher tariffs.”The administration’s tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese and European products have sent costs higher for small businesses including manufacturers and retailers.It can be a mistake to generalize about the companies that will be the focus of National Small Business Week May 5-11. The expression “small business” is used to describe companies with relatively few employees and small revenues compared to large companies with thousands of workers and hundreds of millions or billions of dollars coming in annually. But there is no typical small business — a retailer, dry cleaner, restaurant, manufacturer, dental office or auto mechanic can be a small business. Because these companies have vastly different structures, products and services, they have widely divergent needs and priorities, and government policies have a varying impact on them.The tax law has had an uneven impact. Not all sole proprietors, partners and owners of what are called S corporations can take a new 20% deduction against their business income; the provision excludes some industries and depends on filing status. For example, an owner of a small business whose spouse had high earnings from a job or other source might not qualify for the deduction. Nor could many people with professional practices such as doctors, architects and consultants. And while the law lowered the maximum corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%, the rate went up for many small corporations.Under the previous tax law, Sandra Payne’s construction equipment manufacturer had a 15% tax rate on the first $50,000 in income. Under the new law, that rose to 21%.“That was huge to us; it was a big deal,” says Payne, president of Denver Concrete Vibrator in Colorado.Michael Rogers estimates he saved about $3,100 in taxes because he was able to claim the 20% deduction for what’s known as qualified business income from his Cleveland, Tennessee, real estate company, Chandler Properties. But the money won’t be reinvested in his business; it will go to Rogers’ family of four children.Overall, it appears the tax law didn’t help small businesses as much as the GOP predicted. In a Bank of America survey of 1,504 small business owners released last week, 28% said the government’s tax policy has been positive for their companies, down from the 45% who predicted a year ago it would be positive for them. Half said it was neutral, up from 39%, and 21% said the policy was negative for their companies, up from 15%.Meanwhile, although Trump contends his trade policy is helping business, billions of dollars in taxes on Chinese and European imports and retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods have driven up prices for small companies and their customers. In the Federal Reserve’s most recent Beige Book, its assessment of regional economies, eight of the 12 regional Fed banks reported businesses were affected by or concerned about tariffs that run as high as 25% on some products. While the April 17 report did not identify any of the companies as small businesses, it does show tariffs are an ongoing issue.The tariffs are also negating some tax benefits under the new law, the NRF’s French says.“If retailers benefit by consumers having more disposable income to spend, a portion of that disposable income has gone to tariffs,” he says.In a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in February, researchers found that tariffs already in place on Chinese imports have added 0.1 percentage point to consumer price inflation, a relatively small amount, and that the contribution of Chinese imports to overall personal consumption and business investment are also small. However, the report said, “when faced with tariffs as high as 25% on a broad set of product categories, even these small shares can lead to sizable upward pressures on prices.”Payne’s company, which uses steel and other raw materials that have been hit by tariffs, is paying higher prices to suppliers.“All of our vendors are getting ready or have already increased prices in anticipation of the tariff issues,” she says.The U.S. economy grew at a solid 3.2% in the first three months of the year, but economists don’t expect the current April-June quarter to match that performance. Many are looking for gross domestic product growth to slow to around an annual rate of 2% in the current quarter. A weakening economy can lead to a drop in hiring, which has been inconsistent at small businesses. While ADP counted 77,000 new small business jobs in April and 20,000 in March, that compared to an average 52,000 per month in 2018. Although many businesses say they’re unable to find skilled workers — a problem Zandi says is exacerbated by the administration’s immigration policies — some business owners have said they’re cautious about taking on the added expense of new hires._____Follow Joyce Rosenberg at . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.comJoyce M. Rosenberg, The Associated Press read more

At least a million Haitian earthquake survivors receive emergency shelter – UN

13 April 2010More than a million survivors of the massive earthquake that struck Haiti three months ago, or nine of out 10 of those in need, have now received emergency shelter materials, the United Nations reported today. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the distribution of shelter material is on target to achieve the goal of reaching 1.3 million people by 1 May.However, OCHA noted that distribution of emergency shelter must continue beyond that date because pre-positioned stocks will be necessary to cover increased needs anticipated as a result of the approaching rains and hurricane season.Meanwhile, to support people to return to their home areas where possible, the UN and partners are working with the Haitian Government to identify the home areas of the people living in spontaneous settlements. The objective is to assess the safety of the houses for those who wish to go back and prioritize removing the rubble and debris from those areas to facilitate return.Humanitarian agencies estimate that 3.5 million survivors of the earthquake have received food assistance, 1.3 million are receiving daily water distributions and some 510,000 have benefited from hygiene kits. More than 500,000 adults and children have been vaccinated against common diseases.On funding, OCHA reports that the revised appeal for Haiti is 51 per cent funded as of today, having received $766 million of the $1.4 billion requested.Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, meanwhile, wrapped up a two-day visit to Haiti today after joining a night patrol by UN and Haitian police in a camp for people displaced by the earthquake. During the patrol, she spoke with camp residents about night-time conditions at the sprawling settlement in Port-au-Prince, the capital.She also spoke with women running informal businesses in the camp, who said they feared being robbed or sexually assaulted. She witnessed how the overstretched UN and Haitian police were implementing strategies to provide security in the camps.Ms. Migiro yesterday visited the town of Léogâne, close to the epicentre of the earthquake, and delivered remarks three months to the day after the tragedy. She later met with Haitian parliamentarians and discussed issues of governance and electoral planning in the aftermath of the quake.Before departing Port-au-Prince for New York, she also held meetings with the heads of UN agencies and the Haitian minister for women’s affairs.In a related development, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) requested $12.5 million to enable it provide assistance to quake survivors living outside of formal camps and those who went to the neighbouring Dominican Republic.The agency has been supporting protection and camp management programmes for those who were made homeless by the quake on 12 January, sending emergency teams specializing in protection, logistics, registration and profiling.In the Dominican Republic, UNHCR was asked to lead the protection response and deployed an emergency team to work with the Dominican authorities to help Haitians there. UNHCR has conducted assessments to identify the needs of those displaced outside of Port-au-Prince and recognized camps.The agency and its partners aim to implement 85 projects that will target displaced people who have received less humanitarian assistance than the population living in camps and Port-au-Prince. Twenty-five of those projects will focus on the displaced population living near the border with the Dominican Republic. read more

Gordon Murray Design announces partnership to design low cost fuel cell vehicle

Gordon Murray Design has today announced that it is partnering with ACAL Energy, based in the North West of England, to take the first steps towards designing an affordable fuel cell vehicle. The project is part of a 12-month feasibility study supported by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).Gordon Murray Design were one of fourteen innovative British companies to receive government support to carry out studies into the development of disruptive low carbon vehicle technology that will challenge current thinking.“As a part of the low carbon vehicle Integrated Delivery Programme, we are exploring new technologies and testing innovative thinking,” said Andrew Everett, Head of Transport at the TSB. “Through these studies, we aim to draw out innovative technologies being developed within the UK that have the potential to redefine the current automotive industry view.”As lead partner, Gordon Murray Design will use its revolutionary iStream chassis concept – winner of the 2010 Award for Automotive Innovation – which reduces the amount of energy and financial investment required to manufacture a vehicle, in combination with the ACAL Energy ‘fuel cell engine’, which uses their Flowcath technology to eliminate expensive platinum from the cell. Together these innovations will significantly reduce the cost and deployment timeframe for an affordable fuel cell vehicle.Professor Gordon Murray added, “The team at Gordon Murray Design are very excited to be working with ACAL Energy in another new area where we can continue to push the boundaries of innovation.”All of the feasibility studies, supported by a £1.6m programme, will be completed within twelve months. The TSB intends to run a further competition in 2012, creating an opportunity for follow-on funding.Click on the play button below to watch Gordon Murray, CEO and Technical Director, talk about the iStream concept, which won the 2010 SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Womens Basketball Kelsey Mitchell era ends with stunning 9578 loss to Central

Central Michigan redshirt freshman guard Micaela Kelly shoots a layup during the first quarter of the Chippewas’ win against Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA tournament at St. John Arena on March 19. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorIn a stunning upset, the third-seeded Ohio State women’s basketball team fell 95-78 to 11th-seeded Central Michigan Monday in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Along with the loss comes the final game for five seniors on the Buckeyes’ roster, including senior guard Kelsey Mitchell.The only silver lining for Ohio State came when Mitchell scored her 20th point with 6:59 remaining in the fourth quarter, which moved her into second place all-time in NCAA women’s history for career scoring. Mitchell struggled to find her shot all night, finishing with 28 points on 11-of-29 shooting.Central Michigan’s 14 3-pointers and 25 made free throws played a huge part in its victory. Along with its relentless defense that held the Buckeyes to just 40 percent shooting, Central Michigan ensured nothing went right for Buckeyes during their final game.Central Michigan fell behind after the first quarter, but blew the door off with a 25-6 second quarter. After a 15-9 Ohio State first quarter lead, the Chippewas went on a 14-0 run to start the second quarter. The Buckeyes did not score their first second-quarter field goal until there was three minutes remaining. “I thought for a stretch there we got really good shots,” head coach Kevin McGuff said. “We missed probably four layups at the beginning of the second quarter, shots that we normally make. Then we just didn’t handle it very well cause I think we let that spill over to the defensive end. We lost a bit of focus and intensity.”Senior guard Cassie Breen and junior guard Presley Hudson combined for 19 of the Central Michigan’s 25 points in the quarter. Breen’s 12 points came in all sorts of fashion. She went 3-for-4 from the field, making 2-of-3 shots from 3s, and made all three attempts from the free-throw line. As is often the trend with the Buckeyes, when Mitchell struggled, so too did Ohio State. Mitchell shot 2-of-8 in the second quarter with her team finishing the quarter 2-of-13 from the field — with six turnovers on top. Redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga couldn’t find any offense either, shooting 1-of-3 and splitting a pair of free throws.It didn’t get any better in the third quarter with Central Michigan’s onslaught continuing. Any glimmer of hope vanished when the Buckeyes were outscored 33-25 in the third quarter. Central Michigan’s seven 3-pointers put the game away for good, for it maintained a 67-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter.“We tried to play hard and compete,” Mavunga said. “Central Michigan did a good job capitalizing off of our mistakes. we had a lot of turnovers which is really unlike us. That really showed, it hurt us down the stretch. We had good possessions here and there, but Central Michigan did a good job capitalizing off what we did wrong.”Central Michigan held the lead throughout the fourth quarter, even with a valiant push from the Buckeyes. Senior forward Tinara Moore’s 20 points, along with Breen’s 22 and Hudson’s 28 points were enough to sustain its lead throughout the game. Ohio State finished Mitchell’s final season as both Big Ten regular season and tournament champions, posting a 28-7 overall and 13-3 conference record. read more

Boris Johnson has misconduct allegations quashed in High Court

Referring to the £350 million figure, the barrister told the court: “There is ample evidence that (Mr Johnson) did know it was a false and misleading figure.” “It is not for the CPS, judge and jury to determine the misconduct of this claim and it is not for the interested party either.”Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Supperstone, hearing the case, were being asked to quash the decision of District Judge Margot Coleman, made on May 29, to issue a summons.Mr Darbishire submitted the judge’s decision was an error of law and said the attempt to prosecute Mr Johnson was “politically motivated”. Marcus Ball Mr Johnson did not have to appear and did not attending the current hearing.Mr Ball, 29, claimed Mr Johnson lied during the 2016 referendum campaign by saying Britain gave £350 million a week to the European Union.He crowdfunded more than £300,000 through an online campaign to bring the prosecution.Speaking to reporters before the hearing, he said: “I’ve spent three years of my life working ridiculous hours for, per hour I believe, the minimum wage to bring this case because I believe in the merits of it.”Somebody who was doing this to create a stunt would not act like that.”In a written decision on May 29, District Judge Margot Coleman said she was satisfied there was a proper case to issue a summons.The £350 million figure was emblazoned on the red campaign bus used by Vote Leave during the referendum, with the slogan saying “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead”. He told the court: “This case clearly represented on the face of it – I will be neutral – a politically-originated … attempt to prosecute a senior politician using a common law offence for false statements in the course of public debate, a use to which that offence had never been put in this country or any common law jurisdiction.”He added: “Standing on the hustings is not the exercise of state power, and doing something naughty on the hustings is not capable of being an abuse of state power.”The barrister said an attempt to use the criminal justice system for “a political purpose” was an “extremely grave and troubling thing to do”.In written submissions before the court, he said: “In drawing upon freely-available public statistics for the purpose of a political argument, Vote Leave, and those who supported and spoke for that campaign, were clearly not acting as public officials, nor exercising any public power. Boris Johnson and the Vote Leave bus “They made no claim to special knowledge of the sums expended by the UK, they exercised no official power in promoting that message and the assessment and publication of the level of the UK’s total EU spending formed no part of Mr Johnson’s official duties.”He added: “It is abundantly clear that this prosecution is motivated by a political objective and has been throughout.”Mr Ball’s lawyers contended Judge Coleman’s decision was not unlawful and say the attempted prosecution of Mr Johnson is a matter of “significant public interest”.Jason Coppel QC, for Mr Ball, said in written submissions: “The prosecution raises an issue of significant public and political interest, interest which has been heightened by recent political events – including the candidacy of the claimant for leadership of the Conservative Party.”But that does not establish that the motivation of the interested parties as prosecutors is improper, whether because it is a purely political motivation or otherwise.”The entirely proper motivation for the prosecution is to hold to account a high-profile politician and holder of public office for what is alleged to be significant misconduct in relation to an issue of great public importance.” Boris Johnson has won a High Court challenge against a court summons to face allegations of misconduct in a public office over claims made during the referendum campaign that the EU receives £350 million a week from the UK. The claims were disputed during the referendum campaign and voters could choose to ignore them, the High Court heard earlier.Giving the court’s decision, Lady Justice Rafferty, sitting with Mr Justice Supperstone, said: “We are persuaded, Mr Darbishire, so you succeed, and the relief that we grant is the quashing of the summonses.” Lawyers for Boris Johnson told senior judges the MP, who is currently the front runner in the Conservative Party leadership contest, he denied acting improperly or dishonestly when campaigning to leave the EU ahead of the historic 2016 vote.The former foreign secretary challenged a summons for him to attend Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where campaigner Marcus Ball was attempting to prosecute him for three allegations of misconduct in public office. Adrian Darbishire QC, for Mr Johnson, told a hearing in London on Friday that the £350 million a week figure was disputed “as soon as it was said” and remains the subject of public debate.He said: “It was just a political claim open to, and available for, contradiction and debate, and it was, and is, for the good sense of the electorate to discount it if they choose so to do. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Marcus Ball Boris Johnson and the Vote Leave bus read more

Barbados PM denies thousands of civil servants to be laid off

Prime Minister Mia Mottley(Barbados Nation) Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has dismissed rumours that thousands of civil servants will be on the breadline as Government starts its International Monetary Fund-backed restructuring process.In fact, she said it was unlikely that as many as 1500 people would be sent home.And in any case, she said a household mitigation unit would be set up to ensure no one fell below a minimum standard of living.The Prime Minister, who made the comments in a live Address To The Nation last evening, said this would be the first time she had had to go through the process of layoffs.She promised, however, that those severed from the Civil Service would be on a last in, first out basis, and Government would use a scalpel rather than the axe approach to its paring down of the public sector. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMottley’s BLP wins all 30 seats in Barbados electionMay 25, 2018In “latest news”Bajan PM eases squeeze for pensionersNovember 15, 2018In “latest news”CCJ represents “one of the best examples of independence” – newly-elected Barbados PMMay 29, 2018In “latest news” read more

No decision yet on extra water charges for families

first_imgTHE GOVERNMENT HAS yet to finalise what extra water charges will be applied outside of the free allowance, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said.Speaking during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, the Tánaiste said that ‘no decision’ has yet been made on whether families will be charged extra, as a report in today’s Irish Independent suggests.“The story… is without basis”, he said, responding to questions from Fianna Fáil leaders Micheál Martin.“The regulator has to set out what kind of charging, on an economic basis, is to be perused, and then based on what the regulator has said, the government will then make a decision as to the level of the free allowance”.Irish Water bonusesMartin also pressed the Tánaiste on the government’s previous knowledge of bonuses being paid within Irish Water.The Tánaiste said that a government decision had been made to not pay bonuses to the chief executives of semi-state bodies.Michéal Martin this afternoon. (Image: Screenshot via Junior Minister Brian Hayes has said he cannot see any justification for the payment of bonuses to staff at Irish Water.As many as 300 staff at Irish Water can be paid performance-based bonuses, an Oireachtas committee was told.‘Insulting’The question of transparecy at Irish Water was also called into question by the Fianna Fáil leader, who called it ‘insulting’ that the government insists all information is available.“The only reason they are before the committee today is because [RTÉ Radio 1 presenter] Sean O’Rourke asked a question”, he said.“The government was kept in the dark”, he added, and that ‘no one knows what to believe’.A retort by the Tánaiste was met minutes of disorder in the chamber after he said that ‘Irish Water could have been founded three times over’ under consultancy fees incurred by Michael Martin during his time as Minister for Health.HSE recruitment moratoriumHe also addressed a query from Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn over the HSE recruitment moratorium.The TD said that staff at Letterkenny General Hospital were performing ‘heroically’ in the face of widespread flood damage to the hospital, but that A&E services at the hospital were struggling through a shortage of staff.However Gilmore responded that all staffing arrangements can be dealt with under conditions outlined by the Haddington Road Agreement and gave no date as to when the moratorium would be lifted.Concerns raised by People Before Profit TD Joan Collins over cuts to grants affecting the disability and the elderly from living in their own home was met by the Tánaiste reiterating that extra allocations and increased funding had been made available in these areas to local authorities.Collins described the cuts an ‘onslaught on fundamental humans rights’.Read: How transparent is Irish Water? >last_img read more

Android browser beta battle Chrome vs Firefox

first_imgIt wasn’t all that long ago that Mozilla and Google started making web browsers that, in their own ways, completely changed the way we interact with websites. The goal for both companies was pretty simple — get people away from Internet Explorer and make a better web. Since then, Mozilla and Google have been consistently leap-frogging each other in terms of the best browsing experience. The fastest load times, the most features, and interaction between computers have all been mini battlefields that these two companies have fought on. Now, they are taking the fight to mobile, in an attempt to bring a faster, smarter web to our phones and tablets.Now, both Google and Mozilla have released beta versions of their incredibly powerful, PC-class browsers to Android. Which is the better beta though?Most browsers are tested side-by-side using what are generally accepted to be the best benchmarks for determining performance levels. There are so many different things that happen in a browser — especially a modern one — that there’s not really any one definitive test. So, both of these browsers were given Sunspider 9.1, Acid3, and HTML5 benchmarks to see how well they held up against one another. All of the tests were performed on a Verizon Wireless Samsung Galaxy Nexus.Click to enlarge Sunspider 9.1 is a Javascript test designed to provide results that best reflect real world usage. The benchmark tests everything from 3D capabilities to code decompression, even cryptography tests. It is widely considered to be the best test for determining how well a browser will handle regular daily browsing. While the overall score for both of these web browsers is very close, you can see specific areas in which Chrome and Firefox demonstrate strengths and weaknesses. For example, Firefox takes significantly longer than Chrome in tests like 3D raytracing, but id well over 100ms faster than Chrome in code decompression. As a result, basic websites will load noticeably faster on Firefox than on Chrome, but Chrome will handle more complex tasks and animations better.The Acid3 test measures how well a browser follows the standards for the web that have been assembled by the W3C. This is a simple visual test that will plainly show whether or not a browser is complying with these standards. As you can pretty plainly see, Firefox is just shy of being entirely W3C compliant, while Chrome maintains the same 100% compliance seen in the desktop version of the browser.One percent isn’t a huge difference at all, but in the instance demonstrates that websites that are built to W3C standards might not look exactly like they should on Firefox.The HTML5 test is purely designed to test a browsers ability to adhere to the new technologies and standards that currently make up the HTML5 specification. This test isn’t really a demonstration of performance or compliance, but a demonstration of how the browser will handle some basic HTML5 tasks. Since the HTML5 specification is still incomplete, this test isn’t quite as relevant as the other two, but it gives you a good idea of which company is planning for the future. Unsurprisingly, both Firefox  beta and Chrome for Android performed pretty well, though Chrome managed to wind up just a bit above Firefox.Benchmarks are a lot of fun, but what about the real world? At the end of the day, both of these browsers deliver a superior browsing experience, and they both have critical strengths and weaknesses. Firefox beta loads most websites much faster than Chrome beta, but Chrome is able to deliver things like search results much faster. Additionally, the Firefox Beta is available on far more devices at the moment that Chrome, which is still limited to Android 4.0. Much like my home computer, I see myself having both installed for awhile, switching back and forth as I try to decide which browser I like better.last_img read more

Microsoft suggests tethering Xbox One to a phone for activation checks

first_imgOne of the limitations of the Xbox One is the requirement of an Internet connection in order to play your games. If you are playing on your own Xbox One, an Internet connection will be required to activate each game, and then once every 24 hours after that. If you are at a friend’s house, the Internet requirement jumps to once an hour if you want to play your games there.Not everyone has an Internet connection, or one good enough for the Xbox One. GameInformer got some time with Microsoft Studios’ corporate vice president Phil Spencer to clarify what that actually means for gamers.Having the Internet available classes as a connection rated at 1.5MB or better according to Microsoft. But a key point has been made by Spencer that should open up the Xbox One to more players. Apparently, activating a game and performing the daily phone home check only requires sending a few kilobytes of data to Microsoft’s servers. With that being the case, you can actually tether to a smartphone or other mobile device with a 3G/4G connection to perform the check.Chances are if your Internet connection is down, too slow, or non-existent, you still have access to a phone meaning you can carry on playing. Although that’s better than nothing, it’s still not great and won’t be enough to stop some gamers opting for the more relaxed environment of the PS4 ecosystem. It also won’t class as a full experience if you are relying on mobile tethering as there’s no way you’ll be downloading games or playing online without racking up a huge phone bill.Spencer went on to state the same fact about the Xbox One Don Mattrick made a few days ago. If you don’t have an Internet connection, Microsoft’s new console isn’t for you and you should go buy yourself a redesigned Xbox 360 instead.last_img read more

Enda Kenny says its impossible to negotiate Brexit within two years

first_img 9,384 Views Friday 25 Nov 2016, 6:23 PM Image: Sam Boal Had a good conversation with @faisalislam @SkyNews at the #BICwales— Enda Kenny (@EndaKennyTD) November 25, 2016 40 Comments AN TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny has told Sky News that it would be ‘impossible’ for Brexit to happen within the allocated two year period.This is contrary to the provisions of Article 50 – which when triggered, leaves the country two years to negotiate their departure from the European Union (EU).Speaking to Sky News, Enda Kenny said:“I think it will be impossible to do the negotiations within the contemplated two-year period. Source: Enda Kenny/Twitter Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Nov 25th 2016, 6:23 PM That’s why I think there’s a growing feeling in Europe that there should be a transition period, and that the transition period will be longer than those two years – I think it will be.Enda Kenny made the comments at the British Irish Council (BIC) in Wales. The Council was set up in 1988 to discuss matters in relation to Ireland, the United Kingdom, and its surrounding islands.This year, the forum’s interests are focused on Brexit and its implications for the economy, trade, and sectoral areas such as agriculture, agri-food and fisheries; the common travel area and relations with the EU.He added that Europe had “not yet” seen a coherent Brexit plan as there had been “different statements made by different people”.He suggested some ministers might be in the process of discovering that “it’s more detailed and [includes more] unforeseen issues than people might have imagined”. Share137 Tweet Email Enda Kenny says it’s impossible to negotiate Brexit within two years Enda Kenny made his comments at the British Irish Council in Wales. By Gráinne Ní Aodha Also at the meeting was First Minsiter of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Sturgeon is due to travel to Ireland next week to “strengthen relations” between the two Celtic nations, and address Seanad Éireann – making her the first serving foreign leader to do so.Enda Kenny met with the Scottish First Minister at the summit, where they discussed “mutual Irish-Scottish interests, both cultural and economic”.“The British Irish Council was an important opportunity to call on the UK Government to work harder to protect our interests in Europe in the face of an impending Brexit.“In the post-Referendum landscape, it has become even more important that Scotland and Ireland work together to further strengthen our shared economic, cultural and social ties.”British Prime Minister Theresa May did not attend the forum, which was criticised by both Northern Ireland Deputy Minister Martin McGuinness who called it a “missed opportunity”, and the first minister of Wales Carwyn Jones, who called it “unfortunate”.Jones added: “We do need to see the prime minister here in future so she can answer directly some of the points that are made.”Read: Move to recognise Traveller ethnicity after long campaign shows ‘Ireland’s commitment to human rights’Read: Zappone’s adoption laws will see thousands able to access their birth certs Short URL Image: Sam Boallast_img read more

Animal Control Looking for Exotic Pet Cat On the Loose in Virginia

first_img“It’s likely he’s had his fair share of seagulls along the way,” Conti said. “He has a level of sociability, but its instincts don’t go away. It’s still a wild cat and has all the ability to take care of himself.”The cat was spotted near First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach Wednesday morning and Animal Control officials have identified paw prints as his.“We know he’s in the area,” Conti said. “We’re in contact with the owner and we’re putting out humane traps to try and capture him.” Hankins is said to be traveling to Virginia Beach to help Animal Control locate the cat.Although Hankins said Rocky is “very friendly,” officials are urging people not to approach or interact with it. Anyone who sees Rocky is asked to call Animal Control dispatch at 757-385-5000.More on 41-Pound Feline Wonder Is Up for Adoption in NYCWatch: Flamingo Hold Up Airplane on Airport RunwayThis Giant Technicolor Squirrel That Can Jump 20 Feet Is New Instagram Star The cat  was wearing two collars with a GPS tracker, but the batteries have since died, Hankins said.Rocky is apparently known for his frequent escapes. His last escape was six months before this latest outing, and it lasted a few months, according to the Outer Banks Voice.Animal Control supervisor Meghan Conti told the Associated Press Rocky likely traveled up the Atlantic Coast and ate a fair share of seagulls along the way. The route includes parks and wildlife refuges. Animal control officials are on the hunt for a big African pet cat on the loose in Virginia Beach.The serval cat, named “Rocky,” actually roamed from his owner’s house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to Virginia Beach, a distance of about 80 miles.The cat’s owner, Brian Hankins told Virginia Beach Animal Control that Rocky has been missing since October, the Virginian-Pilot reported. Hankins said Rocky can walk up to 20 miles a day.Rocky is a serval cat, native to Africa, that can grow anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds, standing as high as 23 inches, according to the African Wildlife Foundation. With spotted markings like a leopard or cheetah, he stands out as very unusual. Stay on target Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferWatch: Deep-Sea Octopus ‘Billows Like a Circus Tent’ last_img read more

Photographer Captures Photo of Whale With SlicedOff Tail After Boat Strike

first_imgStay on target Vessel strikes continue to be one of the biggest threats to the survival of whales, and one photographer’s recent image of a whale with its tail severed captured the threat in “horrific” detail.The image was taken by photographer Francis Pérez off the Canary Islands and shared to Instagram Wednesday by fellow photographer Cristina Mittermeier.(WARNING: Graphic Image Below) Watch: Humpback Whale, Sailboat Almost Collide in CaliforniaWatch: Great White Shark Bumps Into Boat Near Whale Carcass center_img Pérez responded to the scene with a wildlife veterinarian and a marine biologist who were called after onlookers heard the  “shrilling calls of pain and fear” of a young pilot whale, which was struck by a propeller boat, according to Mittermeier’s post.However, the biologist and veterinarian were unable to help the pilot whale with its severe injury, and the animal was euthanized.“All they could do was pull it out of the water and, with the kind of sorrow that can only be understood by people with enough empathy to do what they had to do, they euthanized it,” said Mittermeier, who posted the “horrific image” as a “wake-up call.”Mittermeier works with the organization SeaLegacy, which aims to raise awareness about ocean conservation through media and art.According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), many species of whales feed, play, migrate, rest, nurse, mate, give birth, and socialize in urbanized marine highways, putting them at risk of being struck by passing vessels.The WDC says strikes are difficult to avoid because sometimes a whale can surface abruptly for air or swim just feet below the surface with barely a ripple visible to alert passing boaters to their presence.While a number of technological efforts have been researched to reduce the risk of striking whales, none have yet proven viable. Some may even increase risk to whales, as they respond by surfacing, putting them further in harm’s way.The most effective means to reduce collisions between whales and vessels is to separate them, and when that can’t be done, slow the vessel down to a speed of 10kts or less, according to the WDC.More on Whales Killed By Ship Strikes in San Francisco Bay AreaWatch: Russian ‘Spy Whale’ Saves Woman’s Phone That Fell Into OceanWatch: Humpback Whales Swim With Dolphins Off Irish Coastlast_img read more

Lloris backing no justification for drink driving Pochettino

first_imgTottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino never considered stripping skipper Hugo Lloris of the captaincy amid recent drink-driving charge.However, Pochettino revealed his support for the French World Cup winner is no justification for his actions.Lloris, 31, was arrested in the early hours of Friday before being released on bail and will face a magistrates’ court hearing on September 11.But he played a key role in helping Spurs defeat Manchester United 3-0 by keeping a clean slate in the game.Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“I never considered that,” said Pochettino when asked about rumours Lloris could be replaced as captain by Harry Kane.“I was in contact with him. So bad experience for him, he apologised (to) our fans, us, the club, he showed his regret and apologised (to) all the country because the responsibility is massive.“It is a massive lesson for everyone; he is punishing himself, he feels so sorry and so bad because he knows he made a big mistake.“But, in the same way, I think it is out of character, and we are going to of course support him, but we cannot justify (it).”last_img read more

Iowa Soy Grower Starts Blog to Highlight the Ups Downs of Agriculture

first_imgDave Walton checks on expectant ewes on his Iowa farm. Photo courtesy of Dave Walton’s FacebookAn Iowa soybean grower is ready to get real about agriculture, science and life on the farm.Dave Walton operates Walton Farms in Wilton, Iowa, where he grows soybeans, corn, alfalfa, grass hay and raises beef – cow/calf with a small feedlot, sheep, along with custom work, mainly hay, planting native grass and harvesting.He recently started the blog Welcome to the Intersection of Agriculture, Science, and Real Life, where he plans to pen an honest take on farm-life—including the good and the bad days.Read his first post Farm life isn’t always sunshine and roses here.Walton is a member of the American Soybean Associations Advocacy Communications Team (ACT), a second-tier of first responders who engage with the public, reporters and social media followers on matters of modern agriculture. He is also a 2003 graduate of the ASA DuPont Young Leader Program.Walton feels most comfortable talking about GMO’s, farming practices such as no-till, herbicide use and farmer-to-consumer communication.  He enjoys the challenge of speaking to groups who may not know much about farming or may not be friendly toward modern production agriculture.Walton is a guest columnist for the Genetic Literacy Project, who has advocated for agriculture in a variety of ways, from local radio station round-table discussions, to presenting a farmer’s perspective on GE crops to a public forum in Davis California for the Institute for Food and Ag Literacy. Last year, he participated in an online news show, The Stream on Al-Jezeera via Skype.last_img read more

What Went Wrong with the Postal Rate Hike

first_imgTodd Black, Time Inc.’s assistant director of postal operations, working in conjunction with Brown Printing and Time customer service, has developed an innovative plan for Essence magazine and other large circulation monthlies. It begins when Time customer service determines Essence’s presort. The label data for the carrier route copies is sent to Brown Printing in its usual fashion and the copies are produced using selective binding. Following production, the carrier route copies are included in Fairrington Transportation’s co-palletization pool and drop-shipped. Essence also has a number of copies that do not lend themselves to co-mailing (polywrapped, personalized wraps, etc.) and these copies are also included in the co-palletization/drop-ship pool. The balance of the non-carrier route labels are not presorted and customer service produces a SLIR file that is transmitted to Brown for inclusion in their co-mail pool. After manufacturing (using conventional binding) the copies are co-mailed, entered into the Fairrington pool-shipping program, and drop-shipped to 96 ADCs. As a result of this combination of co-mailing and co-palletization, virtually 100% of Essence is drop-shipped with very few sacks and a significant presort improvement.Time Inc.’s weekly titles have also been reviewed and improvements have been made. Since these weekly magazines have large circulations and carrier route percentages in the 75% to 85% range, there is little opportunity for co-mailing and drop-ship improvement. However, certain editions of the magazines do quality for co-palletization. The best example of this is an edition of People magazine that is produced in one plant for a national distribution. Prior to the implementation of the new rate structure, this edition was placed in sacks and entered into the postal mail stream at the printing plant. Today, these copies are included in the Fairrington co-palletization pool and drop-shipped. As a result, these copies have shifted from “100% sacks and zero drop-shipping” to “nearly zero sacks and 100% drop-shipping.”Co-Binding In addition to the co-palletization, Time magazine co-binds its Life and Style supplement along with its regular issue four times per year. Entertainment Weekly will co-bind a special issue along with one of its regular issues in May.When the changes have been completed on the Time Inc. magazines, Black estimates that 23 Time Inc. titles will be using co-mail or co-palletization for all or a portion of their print order. Black states that, “There are cost savings out there for everyone, regardless of your size or vendor. My advice to other mail owners is to dig deep into each mailing to find what portions you can better presort and drop ship right now. For the portions that can’t, ask why and keep asking why until each mailing is optimized.” In addition to the changes being made by the Time Inc. titles, the printing/logistics industry is opening new co-mail facilities and adding new machines to handle a wide variety of products. Black recentlyvisited the new R.R. Donnelley & Sons co-mail facility in York, Pennsylvania. In response to increases in customer demand, Donnelley already has expansion plans for this new facility. York complements Donnelley’s existing facility in Bolingbrook, Illinois. In March, Blackwill visit the ALG Worldwide Logistics facility also located in Bolingbrook. ALG is a logistics firm that provides co-mailing and drop shipping for the print industry.Quad/Graphics has developed a multifaceted program that now includes: Multi-Mail (co-mail); Multi-Wrap (offline for poly wrapped Periodicals); Multi-Bind (co-binding); and Multi-Blend (inline combination of previously bound Periodicals with magazines that are being bound). These options provide a great deal of mail-piece design and production schedule flexibility for their clients while still creating volume that maximizes presort and drop ship efficiencies. Quebecor World Logistics continues to invest in solutions that will enable them to co-mail a greater range of product (specifically thin and poly wrapped mail pieces). By the end of 2008 they will double their capacity with new state of the art co-mailers.Fry Communications in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania is now offering its customers onsite co-mailing, selective binding, blended mail at the mail table level, and co-production (co-binding). Fry reports that they are seeing substantial growth in the number of copies co-mailed and increasing interest from clients who previously were not interested in taking advantage of the reduced distribution costs. In addition, Fry now has customers who use them as a co-mailer but not as a printer. As Fry’s pool size increases, the opportunity for savings increases as more copies move from a 3-digit sort level all the way to carrier route presort. If the changesat Time Inc. and the printing/logistics industry are representative of more global Periodical Class change, we will most likely see a significant reduction in Postal Service costs and a corresponding improvement in cost coverage throughout 2008. Such changes will go a long way toward keeping Periodicals Class mail well within the CPI rate cap in future years.[EDITOR’S NOTE: If your company has a co-mailing or co-palletization success story that you’d like to share, please send it to] Recent data from the Postal Service indicate that Periodicals Class mail only covered 83% of its costs in fiscal year 2007. This news comes on the heels of the “cost based rates” that went into effect last July and were designed to reduce the Postal Service’s costs. Many people in the industry are now wondering “What went wrong?” The answer is that “nothing went wrong,” once three basic facts are understood:Since the new Periodicals Rates went into effect on July 15, 2007, the USPS’ data only reflected 2-1/2 months of mailing under the new rate structure (the USPS fiscal year ended on September 30, 2007). In an effort to mitigate the impact on smaller mailers, the July, 2007 rates only reflected 40% of the actual bundle and container costs. As a result, mailers did not receive accurate pricing signals and some companies actually reduced the number of drop-ship entry points. This reduction resulted in increased USPS transportation costs. Many mailers focused 100% of their attention on implementing the new rate structure and spent very little time reviewing their mailing practices an implementing changes in 2007. As a result of these three factors and others, the Postal Service did not reduce its costs in FY 2007. With this as a backdrop, the question now becomes, “Will the new rate structure have a positive impact on Postal Service costs in 2008?” To drive costs from the system, mailers need to make changes. Here are a few changes that are taking place at one mailer and in the printing industry.Changes at Time Inc. Time Inc. is making a number of changes to its mailing behavior and these adjustments may be of use to other publishers. For starters, each title has been analyzed to determine if all or a portion of its circulation can take advantage of co-binding, co-mailing, and/or co-palletization. Today, six Time Inc. titles participate in co-mail pools and the company will soon begin to co-mail a portion of their large circulation monthly magazines. Most people think that large circulation titles are not good candidates for co-mail because they have little to gain in presort improvement, but that perception may soon change.last_img read more

Iran slams genocidal taunts Trump downplays threat

first_imgIranian women walk under a bridge in the capital Tehran on 20 May. US president Donald Trump issued an ominous warning to Iran yesterday, suggesting that if the Islamic republic attacks American interests, it will be destroyed. Photo: AFPIranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday the “genocidal taunts” of US president Donald Trump will not “end Iran”, as tensions spike between the two countries.”Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran’,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.”Never threaten an Iranian. Try respect — it works!” he added.In another tweet, Zarif accused Trump of allowing his team to “trash diplomacy” and “abet war crimes — by milking despotic butchers via massive arms sales”.The riposte by Iran’s top diplomat followed an ominous warning by Trump, who on Sunday suggested the Islamic republic would be destroyed if it attacked US interests.”If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again,” Trump tweeted.On Monday evening Trump, who is seen on blowing hot and cold on Iran, appeared to play down the immediate threat posed by Iran while saying he is ready to talk if Tehran takes the first step.Trump’s latest comments appeared aimed at dialling back fears that his administration is pushing for war.”We have no indication that anything’s happened or will happen,” he told reporters at the White House when asked about the Iranian threat to US interests, adding: “We have no indication that they will.”A Senator close to Trump, Lindsey Graham, warned Iran of an “overwhelming military response” for any actions against US interests.Rising rhetoricRelations between Washington and Tehran plummeted a year ago when Trump pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and imposed tough sanctions.Iranian officials have repeatedly slammed the unilateral US sanctions as “economic terrorism,” saying that they have impeded the flow of essential goods.Tensions have risen further this month with Washington announcing more economic measures against Tehran, before deploying a carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf over unspecified alleged Iranian “threats”.The Trump administration last week ordered non-essential diplomatic staff out of Iraq, citing the danger posed by Iranian-backed Iraqi armed groups.On Sunday a rocket was fired into the Green Zone of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which houses government offices and embassies including the US mission. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.While the US claim of Iranian “threats” has been met with widespread scepticism outside the United States, the mounting tensions have sparked growing international concern.”I would say to the Iranians, do not underestimate the resolve on the US side in the situation,” British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt told reporters on Monday in Geneva.”They don’t want a war with Iran, but if American interests are attacked they will retaliate,” he added.The United Nations expressed concern about the “rising rhetoric”.”We would ask all parties to lower the rhetoric and lower the threshold of action as well,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.Goaded’ into warUS media reports say Trump’s hawkish national security adviser John Bolton is pushing for war with Iran, but others in the administration are resisting.Zarif’s tweet said Trump is being “goaded by B Team,” a term he coined to refer to Bolton as well as Israel’s prime minister and the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who are all pushing a hard line on Tehran.Before Trump’s Twitter threat, Zarif had downplayed the prospect of a new war in the region, saying Tehran opposed it and nobody was under the “illusion” the Islamic republic could be confronted.Iran is exercising “maximum restraint” in the face of an “unacceptable” escalation by the United States, Zarif said on Thursday.Tehran has threatened to gradually withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal unless partners still in the agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — help it to circumvent US sanctions.Saudi Arabia on Saturday called for emergency regional talks to discuss the mounting Gulf tensions.It came days after mysterious sabotage attacks on several tankers in highly sensitive Gulf waters and drone strikes on a Saudi crude pipeline by Yemen rebels, who Riyadh claimed were acting on Iranian orders.Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, said Sunday his country does not want to go to war with Iran — but would defend itself.Saudi Arabia “does not want a war, is not looking for it and will do everything to prevent it,” he said.”But at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will respond with strength and determination to defend itself and its interests.”last_img read more

Study Even SelfDriving Cars Are Racist Now

first_imgStay on target Even a future where amoral machines seemed poised to wipe out everyone, certain groups of already marginalized people are apparently going to suffer even more even earlier. It turns out the problem with robots isn’t that they are cold and unfeeling compared to humanity, it’s that their flawed thought processes are too similar to the people who make them. That’s really the biggest takeaway for me personally after seeing this study on how self-driving cars are racially biased against people with darker skin.The study, “Predictive Inequity in Object Detection,” comes from Benjamin Wilson, Judy Hoffman, and Jamie Morgenstern at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In the report they test the accuracy of object-detection systems in autonomous vehicles when it comes to seeing different skin tones. The experiment takes into account different lighting, time of day, other objects in view, and other real-world factors a self-driving car might face in the real world.The results? These systems were five percent less accurate when detecting darker-skinned people on average. Granted, that doesn’t sound that much worse. And to be brutally honest it is probably safer compared to how human drivers would fare when looking out for pedestrians of color. But it would be a real infuriating tragedy if that five percent made the difference between being fatally struck by a self-driving car or not just because of the color of your skin.Being hit by a self-driving car is a more extreme example of the potential dangers of racial bias in “objective” artificial intelligence. Those cars are basically facing constant trolley problems, with other reports saying they take into account someone’s age or gender or apparent wealth when deciding who to avoid in an event when a collision is inevitable.But racism in tech like this can be seen in even more benign examples like early Xbox Kinect cameras not seeing Black people or even the entire history of photography favoring lighting that flatters white skin. Still, racism in self-driving cars presents potentially more life-threatening issues, so hopefully that gets worked out in-between the snack robots and coal mine trucks.Although it’s March, this racist self-driving car news would’ve fit right in last month as part of the most cursed Black History Month yet. It’s not all bad news though. Check out our Black History Month coverage to be reminded of cool things happening with Black people in geek culture. Aston Martin Will Build You Your Very Own Supervillain LairSony Crammed a 9-Inch Touchscreen Into a Single-DIN Car Stereo last_img read more

Contact Lens Prototype Zooms in When You Blink Twice

first_imgJuly 30, 2019 2 min read If you wear contact lenses, but would love for them to be more useful, your wish may come true in a few years. Researchers have created a new lens that can zoom in when you blink your eye twice.As CNET reports, researchers at the University of California San Diego developed a soft biometric lens that can detect electrooculographic signals. Our eyes generate these signals when moving, be that the eye moving in all directions within its socket or the simple act of blinking. It’s also possible to differentiate between the type of movement detected and the number of blinks.The new lens is set up to detect a double blink and respond by changing its focal point between two states: normal and zoomed in. It means blinking twice would allow wearers to focus in on small text they otherwise would struggle to see, for example. Another couple of blinks and they return to their more natural state of vision.Wearing such lenses could easily backfire if you accidentally blink twice without meaning to, which would be especially dangerous while driving or doing some other task that requires focus. However, it’s useful and wearers would soon learn to control the lenses with blinks (and quickly revert them back to normal vision if necessary). It’s also important to point out the lens works regardless of whether the eye can see or not because it’s purely triggered by movement signals.There’s no word on when these lenses will be available to use; it could be several years. The research team talks about using them in remotely operated robotics, so that sounds likely to be the first use case followed by adjustable glasses, visual prosthesis, and even an artificial eye eventually. This story originally appeared on PCMag Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »last_img read more