Home » Archive by category "kzuthlnm"

Two military members charged with sexually assaulting other personnel

first_imgOTTAWA – Two members of the Canadian Forces have been charged with sexually assaulting other military personnel in separate incidents.National Defence says Cpl. George MacLeod of 36 Combat Engineer Regiment reserve unit in Sydney, N.S., was charged in relation to an alleged incident during a training exercise at Base Gagetown in New Brunswick in August.The National Investigation Service offered no other details, saying only that the incident involved another member of the Armed Forces.In a second case, Master Cpl. Maxime Demers of the Canadian Forces Health Services at Canadian Forces Base Borden, is also facing a charge of sexually assaulting another member at a private residence in Halifax in June 2014 when he was posted to HMCS Charlottetown.The investigation service says the charges could go before military court martials.Dates and locations for the hearings have not been determined.last_img read more

Continue reading »

Kahnawake youth are learning to code

first_imgtfennario@aptn.ca@tfennario Tom FennarioAPTN NewsIndigenous people are not entering the technology workforce at the same rate as Canadians.But one community south of Montreal is aiming to change that.By offering the young people of Kahnawake Mohawk territory an opportunity to learn about data and artificial intelligence.last_img

Continue reading »

NewsAlert Ottawa says federal deficit for 201617 was 178 billion

OTTAWA — The federal Finance Department says the government ran a smaller deficit than it was expecting in the spring budget.Ottawa ended its 2016-17 fiscal year with a deficit of $17.8 billion.That compared with a $23-billion deficit that was forecast in the spring budget.Government revenues were down $2.0 billion or 0.7 per cent compared with the previous year due to a drop in personal income tax revenue, employment insurance premium revenue and other revenues, offset in part by an increase in GST revenue.Program spending rose by $16.2 billion or 6.0 per cent due to increases in major transfers to individuals, major transfers to other levels of government and other transfer payments. Public debt charges were down $1.3 billion or 5.2 per cent due to lower interest rates.The federal debt was $631.9 billion at March 31, 2017, up from $616.0 billion a year earlier. read more

Continue reading »

Leaders of small island developing states call for bigger voice in UN

President Baron Divavesi Waqa of Nauru addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Kim HaughtonThe President criticized what he called the current “piecemeal approach”, where a donor’s political interests determine aid priorities but fail to successfully address the underlying issues.“What is needed is long-term, in-country engagement, backed by real resources that leaves behind durable domestic institutions run by nationals,” Mr. Waqa said.He noted that if the international community wants its efforts to be successful over the long-term, it needs to build a foundation that develops global citizens and gives them the tools they need to succeed in a global world. “We must move beyond ‘capacity building’ to ‘institution building’,” the President said.He called on Member States to invest more resources and a level of cooperation that the international community has thus far not countenanced. At the same time, he said the small island developing nations “cannot and should not wait for others to decide what is best for us.”As an example, he highlighted the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), which is taking the lead in successfully managing their tuna stocks, through such measures as curbing illegal fishing and sustainable harvesting.Sustainable use of ocean resources and conservation of underwater heritage was also a major theme for Tommy Esang Remengesau Jr., whose country of Palau strongly supports ocean management efforts led by the Pacific Islands Forum. As the first head of a small island developing state to today address the annual General Assembly debate in New York, Gaston Browne called for a democratization of the United Nations to give a greater voice to countries that are marginalized “because we are considered too small to make a difference.” The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Mr. Browne told the 69th Assembly that his country relies on the UN to protect it against incursions on its sovereignty and disregard for its rights. “My small country has no military might, no economic clout,” he said. “All that we have is membership in the international system as our shield, and our voice in this body as our sword.”He also called for comprehensive reform of the 15-member Security Council, where five permanent members hold the “anachronism” of a veto, “a system that has no legitimacy in fairness and in global balance” and one which has paralyzed the body from acting “in a manner that would command worldwide support and acclamation.” Speaking as a member country of a group of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Mr. Browne called for an end to the United States’ embargo on Cuba, which prevents that island nation from “exercising its right to freely participate in the affairs of the hemisphere.”Addressing the theme of this year’s debate, which focuses on a “transformative post-2015 development agenda,” Mr. Browne detailed a list of challenges facing Antigua and Barbuda, including declining aid; poor terms of trade; the imposition of high costs for regulation of financial services; and the costs of curbing drug trafficking and stopping refugees.He called for the UN to step up action, through military and humanitarian terms, to help the international community curb such trials. Also addressing the General Assembly, President Baron Divavesi Waqa of Nauru stressed the importance of overfishing, climate adaptation and waste treatment as some of the areas most in need of attention, even as new and distracting issues emerge. President Tommy Esang Remengesau Jr. of Palau addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Kim Haughton President Remngesau called on United Nations to ensure that a stand-alone sustainable development goal on oceans is part of the post-2015 agenda that is currently being established. He noted that the Pacific region is on the frontlines of climate change, and its people – who are seeing first-hand the pollution in the oceans and the depletion of their fish – “will not go down without a fight.” The Palauan President also stressed the importance of establishing long-lasting global partnerships that include developed and developing countries, as well as other actors. “We can continue ‘business as usual’… or we can choose a different road, one that will enable our critical habitats a chance to recover and thereby ensure their continued ability to sustain us,” he proposed to the audience, quipping: “Am I a foolish dreamer or a simple pragmatist? I guess only time will tell.” read more

Continue reading »

SMMT Update – 14 February 2014

SMMT’s weekly round-up, including all the latest news from UK automotive and a message from SMMT’s Chief Executive.CLICK HERE: SMMT Update 306 online.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

Continue reading »

AGSI say Shatter is disconnected from reality of peoples lives

first_imgTHE ASSOCIATION OF Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has said it won’t return to the Croke Park extension talks unless “rational proposals” are offered.It also responded to comments by Justice Minister Alan Shatter, calling his latest comments “diversionary” and a “clear indication he is disconnected from the reality of people’s lives on the ground”.Rational engagementMinister Shatter had called on the garda associations to take part in “rational engagement” and return to the extension talks. AGSI General Secretary John Redmond said that “a continual reduction in Garda resources coupled with Government’s intention to cut pay is detrimental to service delivery to the public”.Redmond also refuted suggestions that his members may be in danger of losing public support. A deep fear is enveloping our members and their families against the backdrop of further pay cuts. I am now calling on Minister Shatter to address those concerns and to reconsider the savage nature of the cuts proposed.Redmond said they will not be returning to the talks “today, tonight or tomorrow unless the government remove from the table the proposed cuts to our members’ pay and until we hear some rational proposals for frontline members”.The AGSI said Minister Shatter’s “inability to connect with their members” is sparking anger and upset. They say they are expecting large numbers to travel to Dublin on Monday evening for the 24/7 Frontline Services Alliance rally, in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght at 6pm.UnfortunateSpeaking at the garda reserve graduation earlier today, Minister Shatter said that “it is unfortunate that members of An Garda Síochána feel they are being targeted in the context of talks” and that “expressions of anger and personal abuse or condemnation are no substitute for rational engagement”.I am urging the Garda representative bodies to re-engage in the talks process as it is only by doing so that they can influence the outcome of the talks.  I acknowledge that members of the Force have genuine concerns but these can only be fully considered and properly addressed by participation in the talks process.He also said he fully supports the Garda Commissioner and those working with him. “It is my role in Government to be supportive in the context of ensuring as best as I can in the difficult financial circumstances confronting the State that the maximum possible resources are available to An Garda Síochána to facilitate its important work,” said Shatter.For 2013, €1.4 billion has been allocated for An Garda Síochána and it is of crucial importance that the resources available are efficiently used both in the interests of the Force and in the interests of the general public.  Insofar as this requires modernisation and change based on a sound operational assessment, it is important that change is embraced and not resisted.Read: Garda Commissioner to meet GRA as plans for industrial action get underway>Read: Garda body passes motion of no confidence in Shatter>last_img read more

Continue reading »

Hackerturnedinformer spared more prison time

first_imgA COMPUTER HACKER who helped the government disrupt hundreds of cyberattacks on Congress, NASA and other sensitive targets and cripple the hacktivist crew known as Anonymous got a hero’s welcome at his sentencing in federal court, where prosecutors hugged him after he was spared more prison time.U.S. District Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska credited Hector Xavier Monsegur’s “extraordinary cooperation” before saying he won’t serve more than the seven months he spent in prison two years ago.Federal sentencing guidelines had called for more than 20 years in prison.“It was truly extraordinary,” she said of his cooperation, noting he worked around-the-clock for months, disrupting or preventing at least 300 computer hacks over the last three years.“We don’t often hear of this.”She also marveled that Monsegur, 30, of Manhattan, showed “extreme care” for a young cousin for whom he served as a guardian even as Monsegur was subjected to personal threats so severe that the FBI relocated Monsegur and some family members.Afterward, a relieved Monsegur hugged prosecutors who had urged leniency.“I’m not the same person as four years ago,” said Monsegur, who was arrested in June 2011 and pleaded guilty two months later.Prosecutors said he helped disrupt or prevent hacks against divisions of the U.S. government including the armed forces, Congress, courts and NASA; international intergovernmental organizations; and several private companies, including a television network, a security firm, a video game maker and an electronics conglomerate.Prosecutors said he prevented millions of dollars in losses and also pointed out vulnerabilities in infrastructure, including at a U.S. water utility and at a foreign energy company.In one instance, Monsegur saved the government substantial time and resources by quickly establishing that a claim by Anonymous that it had hacked the U.S. electrical grid was a hoax, prosecutors said.According to court papers, Monsegur first began hacking in 1999, breaking into thousands of computers over the next four years before trying to grow a legitimate computer security firm from 2004 to 2006.In 2006, he began to hack into computers for personal gain, stealing credit card information, prosecutors said.In a 2011 interview with the online magazine New Scientist, Monsegur said he joined forces with Anonymous because he was upset over the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.Starting in early 2011 and using the alias Sabu, Monsegur led an Anonymous splinter group called Lulz Security, or LulzSec, which hacked the computer systems of Fox television, Nintendo, PayPal and other businesses, stole private information and bragged about its exploits online.After his arrest, Monsegur immediately cooperated, giving the FBI a tutorial on the inner workings and participants of LulzSec and Anonymous, prosecutors said.Read: Police and FBI arrest 100 hackers over BlackShades malware caseRead: Spotify suffers security breach, but only one user was affectedlast_img read more

Continue reading »

Allwood Splinter Bike gears up to set land speed record

first_imgWho knew a simple bet could lead to 1,000 hours of tinkering and an attempt to break the land speed record? Friends Michael Thompson and James Tully made a bet for 1 pound, or $1.61 US, as they watched the stream of bikes zip past them during the Tour of Britain. The bet wasn’t who was going to win the race, but, instead, was made by Thompson that he could build a bike entirely out of wood, and Tully would be the one to ride it.After about 42 days worth of work, Thompson came out with the Splinter Bike. As promised, its wheels, frame, gears, bolts, and even its seat are made out of wood. An all-wood seat can lead to an uncomfortable bottom after a long ride, but this isn’t exactly the type of bike to take on a leisurely ride in the country side. In fact, the bike was built with the intention of setting the land speed record. Thompson and Tully are in luck, however, there is no land speed record for an all-wooden bike as of yet.It’s not the first wooden bike ever to be made, but Thompson said it’s the first all-wooden bike capable of reaching an estimated 31mph. At a little over 68 pounds, the Splinter Bike weighs a bit more than an actual wooden splinter. Thompson used ekki for the axels, and ironwood for the the barrings, both of which are particularly hard woods. The cogs, wheels, and frame are all made out of birch. As for the handlebars and pedals? Those are made of an old broom stick that Thompson had laying around in his shed.So what about the chain? It seems making a chain out of wood would be pretty tricky so Thompson created two giant 128-tooth cogs, which work with a handful of other cogs to connect the pedals to the back wheel. Obviously, the bike wasn’t built for switching gears, and making breaks would be very difficult let alone add much more unwanted weight to the bike. The only solution was to make it a fixed-gear bike with a 4:1 gear ratio.Fixed-gear bikes, or fixies, as they’re often referred as, is a bike whose pedals are always moving when the bicycle is moving. In other words, you can’t coast. And, since when the back wheel turns, the pedals turn in the same direction, the cyclist can stop without using brakes. Of course, this can be somewhat dangerous if you need to stop abruptly, since the only way to stop is to resist the rotation of the cranks.The duo want to go down in history by setting the land speed record with the bike. But, breaking the record isn’t as simple as just riding the bike with someone in a car beside Tully gauging his speed. The Speed Record Club is needed to make it official with timekeeping and moderating the run. Unfortunately, it will cost 7,500 pounds, or $12,532.50 to get the Speed Record Club to do this. So, to raise this kind of money, the Splinter Bike needs a sponsor. Thompson and Tully are still looking for a big sponsor to add to its collection of smaller sponsors.They haven’t actually tested it out yet because they have yet to find a surface that’s smooth enough for the bike’s delicate wheels. Once they raise enough money, they plan to test the bike and set the record, as well as raise money for ShelterBox, a charity for disaster relief.Via Wiredlast_img read more

Continue reading »

United Airlines Covers Creepy SeatBack Cameras

first_imgJust found this interesting sensor looking at me from the seat back on board of Singapore Airlines. Any expert opinion of whether this a camera? Perhaps @SingaporeAir could clarify how it is used? pic.twitter.com/vy0usqruZG— Vitaly Kamluk (@vkamluk) February 17, 2019“These cameras have been disabled on our aircraft,” and there are no plans to develop any features using [them],” the firm promised.American Airlines released a similar proclamation, telling Geek that “while these cameras are present on some American Airlines in-flight entertainment systems as delivered from the manufacturer, they have never been activated and American is not considering using them.”If that’s true, though, why not start by covering the lenses? Or at least informing passengers of their existence and inactivity, instead of hoping no one will notice.Otherwise, more photos (like the one that launched recent headlines) will go viral. And we all know how much damage overzealous online trolls can do to prominent airlines.High-tech devices, like in-flight entertainment screens or smart home security systems, have a lot of moving parts. Enough that companies sometimes forget to mention certain bits of hardware.Google was forced in February to admit its Nest Secure features a “hidden” microphone, which is built into the system, but not disclosed in the product specifications.More on Geek.com:United Airlines Pays Out Millions in Miles for Finding Security FlawsAirline Refuses to Board Artist and Her ‘Emotional Support’ PeacockGoogle Now Tells You If Airlines Are Ripping You Off Google Now Tells You If Airlines are Ripping You OffChrome Extension Helps Fliers Boycott United Airlines Stay on targetcenter_img Privacy doesn’t end once you reach cruising altitude.Following backlash over cameras installed in some planes’ seat-back screens, United Airlines reportedly covered the tiny lenses embedded in its premium pews.“None of these cameras were ever activated and we had no plans to use them in the future,” a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “However, we took the additional step to cover the cameras.”During a recent United flight, Sri Ray, a former site reliability engineer at BuzzFeed, snapped a photo of a sticker covering the installed lens.The mini shooters (like those you’d find above a laptop display) are apparently standard among in-flight entertainment systems, built in by the manufacturer for future uses like seat-to-seat video conferencing.At least, that’s what Singapore Airlines said earlier this year when an image showing the candid camera caused an uproar online.last_img read more

Continue reading »

House approves National Identification and Registration Bill

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Jamaica, September 21, 2017 – Kingston – The House of Representatives on Tuesday (September 19) approved the National Identification and Registration Bill with 100 amendments.   The Bill seeks to facilitate the establishment and regulation of a system for the registration, verification and authentication of the identity of citizens and other persons residing in Jamaica; and establishment of a National Civil and Identification Database to generate national identification cards.It also provides for the establishment of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) as the National Identification and Registration Authority, which will have responsibility for the project’s implementation.In his contribution to the debate, Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips, while acknowledging the importance of the Bill, raised concerns about the protection of sensitive data received from persons.Similar concerns were raised by Opposition Spokesman on Information and the Knowledge Economy, Julian Robinson, who questioned how soon the Data Protection Bill will be brought to the House.In his response, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in emphasising the importance of the Bill, noted that too many persons are unknown and undocumented, and, as a result, are “invisible to the State”.“This legislation is not intended to take away people’s rights; it is not intended to limit their ability to access service.   It is not intended to take away their right to privacy. This Bill is about empowering people to interact and interface with the State in an orderly way.   That is all the Bill is proposing to do,” he explained.Regarding the protection of data, the Prime Minister informed that the cyber-security that will be placed around the National Identification System (NIDS) database would be “what they call military grade”.“This means that it will not be commercial-level security.   We will have the highest level of security around it,” he said.He also informed that the Data Protection Bill is ready and will be tabled in the Lower House within two weeks.“Data protection is not just for the National Identification System; this is needed for every single thing we are doing now.   Jamaica has to become a digital society, and we are well placed to become an example in this region as to how we can become a digital society,” Mr. Holness said.“This move to uniquely identify all individuals and set up a process by which identity can be verified places us way ahead of all other countries within this region in terms of the transition to becoming a digital society,” he added.To be rolled out in 2018, NIDs will provide a comprehensive and secure structure to capture and store the personal identity information of all citizens.Under the system, which will have anti-fraud features, every Jamaican will have a unique nine-digit identification number that will support identity authentication and verification in a consistent way across government agencies as well as for the benefit of the private sector.Release: JISlast_img read more

Continue reading »

Karan Johars gang ran smear campaign against me by paying reviewers says

first_imgKaran Johar; Kangana RanautVarinder ChawlaKangana Ranaut has till date made several controversial remarks on Karan Johar. The actress in a fresh set of salvo, said that KJo had run a “smear campaign” against her during the release of Manikarnika.In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, the outspoken actress said that Karan had carried a campaign against her and the film Manikarnika by paying reviewers. She made the statement while talking about a leaked video from the sets of the film that had showed Kangana riding a wooden horse. She was much ridiculed and trolled for that on social media.”I know who released that video. Two other actors of the nepotism gang were also learning horse-riding at the same place as me. They practiced for one day and got so sore that they didn’t return. I was galloping and doing all sorts of stunts. The wooden horse was only used for close-up shots. Just because they cannot ride a horse they got jealous of me and released the video.”I rode a horse in Rangoon too, it’s not new for me. Mishti said she was asked to speak up, but who is making her speak? It’s all about ganging up against me. Sonu and I share a personal trainer. Again, situations were manipulated to force people to speak against me. Some trade experts were forced to show our film’s collections as half of the actual numbers. All the people who pretend that they don’t have PRs send the maximum number of emails against others. One smear campaign was started by Karan Johar’s gang against me by paying reviewers. When I talk about it, people think I sound like a loony character, but what option am I left with?” she told the publication.Well, looks like Kangana is no mood to make peace with Karan, and apparently same is the situation on the other side.last_img read more

Continue reading »

HDFC Bank employee strength falls sharply between Q2 and Q3 in FY2017

first_imgAn HDFC Bank branch office in Mumbai.Reuters fileHDFC Bank, India’s second-largest private sector lender, saw its headcount fall by 4,581 between the second (September 2016 or Q2) and third quarters (December 2016 or Q3) this fiscal. The Mumbai-based bank attributed the decrease to a trinity of factors, including rising automation, lower pace of hiring and attrition in the normal course.Read: RBL Bank spurts on buoyant Q3 results; Sensex IPO opensThe bank had 90,421 employees as of December 31, 2016, down from 95,002 it had at the end of September 2016.The bank had reported 15 per cent rise in Q3 net profit at Rs 3,865.3 crore in comparison to Rs 3,356.8 crore in the corresponding quarter last fiscal, while net interest income rose 17.6 per cent to Rs 8,309 crore from Rs 7,065 crore in the year-ago period, according to a statement released by HDFC Bank on Tuesday (January 24). The net interest margin fell 20 basis points YoY to 4.1 per cent.The bank’s gross non-performing assets (NPAs) and net NPAs stood at 1.05 per cent and 0.50 per cent, respectively, as of December 31, 2016. Deposits, aided by demonetisation, grew 21.1 per cent to Rs 634,705 crore. The spurt was significant in current account, savings account (CASA), with both rising by about 37 per cent individually. CASA deposits accounted for about 45 per cent (Rs 287,873 crore) of total deposits at the end of Q2, according to the bank.The bank’s domestic loan portfolio grew 17.5 per cent YoY to Rs 477,415 crore, with retail loans accounting for about 55 per cent, according to Basel 2 classification.HDFC Bank shares closed 1.58 per cent higher at Rs 1,287 on the BSE on Wednesday (Jan 25). The BSE Sensex closed 333 points, or 1.21 per cent, at 27,708.ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector lender, will be declaring its Q3 results on January 31, 2017. The share price of the bank closed at Rs 259 on Wednesday, up 1.03 per cent from its previous close.Axis Bank declared its December quarter results on January 19. The overall numbers were weak, with net profit falling sharply on a year-on-year basis. The third-largest private sector lender reported a fall of 73 per cent in net profit to Rs 579.60 crore in the December 2016 quarter (Q3) as against Rs 2,175.3 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal.last_img read more

Continue reading »

RBI limits withdrawals to 1000 per account for City Cooperative Bank

first_imgRBI places curbs on City Co-operative BankReutersThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Wednesday imposed a restriction on Mumbai-based City Co-operative Bank. According to the central bank’s order, it’s customers can not withdraw more than Rs 1,000 from their account.”Depositors will be allowed to withdraw a sum not exceeding Rs 1000 (Rupees One Thousand only) of the total balance held in every saving bank or current account or any other deposit account by whatever name called, subject to conditions stipulated in the RBI Directions”, said RBI in a release.The RBI also barred the City Co-operative Bank from issuing or renewing loans, liability or accepting fresh deposits. The RBI’s order came after the bank reportedly failed to pay back customers’ loan, resulting in an increase in its NPA (non-performing assets).”The City Co-operative Bank Ltd., without prior approval in writing from the Reserve Bank, will also not be able to grant or renew any loans and advances, make any investment, incur any liability including borrowal of funds and acceptance of fresh deposits, disburse or agree to disburse any payment whether in discharge of its liabilities and obligations or otherwise, enter into any compromise or arrangement and sell, transfer or otherwise dispose any of its properties or assets except as notified in the RBI directions dated April 17, 2018″, the release added.However the statement said that City Co-operative Bank would continue its banking business till there’s an improvement in its financial position, and the Reserve Bank may consider modifications in them depending upon circumstances.The City Co-operative Bank is owned by Shivsena MP Anandrao Vithoba Adsul.last_img read more

Continue reading »

Malaysia school fire kills 25

first_imgPolice and fire department work at the religious school Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah after a fire broke out in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: ReutersA fire at an Islamic boarding school killed at least 25 people, most of them students, in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur after breaking out in a dormitory early on Thursday morning, officials said.The fire at Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, a “tahfiz” boarding school where students learn to memorise the Koran, was reported around 5.40 a.m. local time (2140 GMT Wednesday), according to a statement from the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department. The blaze began in the sleeping quarters on the top floor of the three-storey school building, the statement said. Two wardens and 23 students died in the fire, fire department officials said in a notice put on a whiteboard at the school. Seven people were taken to a nearby hospital for injuries, while 11 others were rescued, the notice said. Tahfiz schools usually teach students between the ages of 5 and 18.Such schools, which are unregulated by the education ministry and fall under the purview of the religious department, have been under scrutiny since earlier this year when an 11-year-old boy died after reported abuse in Johor, north of Singapore.last_img read more

Continue reading »

IS caliphate crumbles as Raqa falls

first_imgRojda Felat, a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander, walks with her group`s flag at the iconic Al-Naim square in Raqa on 17 October, 2017. Photo: AFPThe fall of Raqa has boxed the Islamic State group into a small “rump caliphate” straddling the Iraqi-Syrian border, a remote but strategically key area its enemies are keen to seize.But even as its proto-state crumbles in the face of multiple assaults, experts warn IS remains a potent threat whose ideology is likely to endure long after its “caliphate” is gone.After more than four months of fighting to retake Raqa, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declared the city liberated on Tuesday, seizing what was once the jihadists’ de facto Syrian capital.The loss is only the latest in a string of blows against IS, which has lost swathes of territory to the SDF, the Syrian regime and to Iraqi forces the other side of the border.With the loss of Raqa, the “would-be caliphate of IS that at its height in 2014 threatened to rule all of Syria from Aleppo to the Iraqi border will be cut down to a dwarf territory in Deir Ezzor,” said Nicholas Heras, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security.The eastern Syrian province, which borders Iraq, “will be the centre of gravity for IS in Syria,” he said.”IS always intended for Deir Ezzor and its neighbouring area… to be the last stronghold of the caliphate.”The province’s remote location in “harsh desert” far from both Damascus and Baghdad makes it the perfect place for a last stand, he added.But the jihadists are already under attack across the province, and losing territory to two separate campaigns.The first, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river that slices diagonally across the province, is being waged by the SDF with US-led coalition support.The second is a Russian-backed Syrian regime operation, which has already broken a nearly three-year siege of government-held parts of provincial capital Deir Ezzor city and seized the strategic town of Mayadeen.- Impact for ‘years to come’ -“I think the Iraqi and Syrian governments will work to secure the whole border, knowing that neglect of the porous border area will only abet IS in the future,” said Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, an expert on jihadists.For Syria’s regime and its ally Iran, a victory in the area would be doubly valuable, cutting off further advances by the US-backed SDF and ensuring Washington cannot block Iran’s land route through Iran into Syria and neighbouring Lebanon.Despite suffering major losses of territory, IS will remain a dangerous threat for the foreseeable future, experts say.”The awful truth is that IS will be just as deadly as an insurgency and a terrorist network as it was as a state-like actor,” Heras said.Tamimi said the group would likely use raids, sleeper cells, improvised explosive devices and suicide bombings even after its core territory has disappeared.”Attacks in Europe will continue for some time. I think the defeat of IS as a state project does diminish its appeal, but there will be supporters for a long time to come,” he said.Charlie Winter, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, warned that the ideology of IS would linger long after its “caliphate” was gone.”I don’t think it’s simply a question of taking away the Islamic State’s territory and the Islamic State’s idea disappears,” he said.He said the group saw itself as successful, having “managed to declare a caliphate and keep it going” — something unprecedented in modern jihadism.That, he added, “will have an impact on the global jihadist spectrum for years and years to come.”last_img

Continue reading »

British Airways still keen on Australia

first_imgBritish Airways says Aussie travellers hoping to hop on the Kangaroo route to Europe can still do so, despite the carrier’s recent decision to terminate its 17-year Joint Services Agreement (JSA) with Qantas. BA has stressed it is “still committed to the Australian market” and is currently weighing up options for when its JSA with Qantas ends on 31 March 2013.Among those is the possibility of the development of numerous existing codeshares with Qantas throughout Asia and Europe as part of Oneworld.“British Airways is very proud of its long history with Australia and we remain committed to providing customers with the best of British service when travelling to the UK and Europe,” British Airways South West Pacific regional commercial manager, Neil Ager said. “We know we have many loyal customers in Australia, and they can continue to fly with confidence when they choose British Airways.”Meanwhile, BA said it would continue to fly its daily service from Sydney to London via Singapore, adding that customers affected by changes to the JSA would be contacted to discuss alternative arrangements. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Exploring alternatives: BAlast_img read more

Continue reading »

Go back to the enewsletter Following 10 weeks of

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterFollowing 10 weeks of extensive refurbishments, Grand Hyatt Seoul has announced the launch of a host of renovated premium guestrooms and executive suites.Under the auspices of leading Australian design firm Bar Studio, all guestrooms and executive suites on floors 15 to 18 underwent a significant upgrade to reinvent the rooms for modern travellers while embracing and maintaining the integrity of the original design by famed interior architect John Morford.Room layouts have been adjusted to reflect changes in contemporary guest expectations and room design, but the distinctive golden-oak finish and clean lines of Morford’s original design have been retained, with subtle references to Korean culture introduced. The renovations were also an opportunity for the hotel to integrate the latest technology into the rooms to provide modern travellers with convenience, efficiency and comfort.Today, the guestrooms are more open, allowing natural light to flood the space and envelop guests the moment they enter. By the window, a sofa and generously sized table encourages guests to work or dine while admiring the spectacular views over Seoul.A custom-designed white-painted glass panel between the bathroom and bedroom connects the two areas and maximises the overall sense of space while allowing natural light and views to penetrate the bathing area. Based on geometric patterns found in traditional Korean bojagi wrapping cloth, the striking panel adds a local, artisan element to the space and acts as a glowing lantern at night.Fish are a symbol of good luck in Korea and fish-themed ink-brush paintings from the original guestrooms have been reinstated. They served as inspiration for local artist Chang Eung-bok who was commissioned to create aquatic cushion designs. Fish also appear as unique lamp bases in the executive suites.“At Grand Hyatt Seoul – alongside exemplary service – our ultimate goal is to provide innovative, indulgent facilities to our guests,” says general manager Adrian Slater. “With our newly renovated guestrooms and suites, Bar Studio has retained the spirit of the original design while bringing about a subtle but significant shift in the way guests interact with the space, and also included engaging elements of detail and craftsmanship. Our hope it that guests find our new guestrooms a splendid space to rest and recuperate in after a busy day of work or sightseeing in Seoul.”Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more

Continue reading »

Michelle Wolf to headline White House corresponden

first_imgMichelle Wolf to headline White House correspondents’ dinner by The Associated Press Posted Feb 22, 2018 1:28 pm PDT Last Updated Feb 22, 2018 at 2:00 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – The White House Correspondents’ Association says comedian Michelle Wolf will entertain at its annual dinner in April.Wolf is known from her work as a contributor on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.” She recently premiered an hour-long HBO special, “Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady,” and she’s set to star in a new weekly comedy show on Netflix later this year.The dinner attracts journalists, politicians and celebrities. The president traditionally attends.President Donald Trump boycotted last year’s dinner. The White House hasn’t said whether he’ll attend this year’s event on April 28.The White House Correspondents’ Association was founded in 1914 to represent the White House press corps. Dinner proceeds support scholarships for aspiring journalists, along with awards recognizing excellence in news coverage of the White House.last_img read more

Continue reading »

Delek raises Cyprus gas estimates

first_imgBy Elias HazouNoble Energy’s Israeli partners have raised their estimate for the amount of natural gas in Cyprus’ Aphrodite (Block 12) reservoir by 14 billion cubic meters (bcm), although the increase falls well short of rendering viable a land-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.Delek Group’s Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling Limited Partnership reported the estimate upgrade to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Tuesday.The firms also raised the estimated number of barrels of condensate (a liquid by-product of natural gas production that can be sold separately) at the Aphrodite field.The increase resulted from an exchange of information between Israel and Cyprus, or more precisely, between the partnership in the adjacent Israeli Ishai prospect and the partnership in Aphrodite in Cyprus.The new estimates are 127bcm of gas, up from 113bcm, and nine million barrels of condensate, up from 8.1 million.The new gas estimate corresponds to roughly 4.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf). Despite the 12 per cent increase, the revised numbers still do not come close to the minimum amount of gas which Noble Energy – operator of the Aphrodite prospect – says is needed to make an onshore LNG plant commercially feasible.During a conference call with the media in December last year, Noble’s Senior Vice Chairman for the Eastern Mediterranean Keith Elliott said the threshold would have to be “well north of 5.5 tcf…preferably between 6 and 7 tcf.”As Israeli news outlet Globes – which first reported the Aphrodite field upgrade – observes, the quantity is not enough to justify the development of the reservoir for domestic use. In order to justify its development, some of the gas produced must be exported.“Constructing a facility for producing liquefied natural gas (LNG) is very expensive; the cost could reach $10 billion…On the one hand, gas consumption in Cyprus does not justify development of Aphrodite; on the other hand, exporting the gas in liquid form requires larger quantities,” Globes said.According to Noble’s latest official estimate of the Aphrodite play, the reservoir holds gross resources ranging from 3.6 trillion tcf of natural gas to 6 tcf, with a mean of approximately 5 tcf.This leaves pipelines the principal option for Cyprus at the moment. During a conference in Nicosia earlier this month, the Texas-based company itself said it is now favouring regional pipelines over land-based or marine-based LNG.In a related development, the Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA) will reportedly be concluding soon its assessment of tenders received for natural gas supplies to Cyprus – known as the interim solution.Phileleftheros reports that the three remaining bidders – M&M, Vitol and Delek – will submit their final financial offers later this week.According to the daily, DEFA’s board is to meet next Tuesday to open the financial offers.Through DEFA, Cyprus is seeking natural gas supplies for domestic power generation until the island’s own reserves become available. Under the tender, the date of first gas supply must fall between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. The supply period is between seven years, with the option of extending this to up to 10 years.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Continue reading »