The dissident factor

first_imgPerhaps the biggest day for H D Kumaraswamy’s government as the floor test gets underway today in a bid to decide whether the precariously held Congress-JD(S) government will continue or fall. A series of development took place ever since resignations of several MLAs from the government surfaced, necessitating today’s floor test all the more. Amidst the glaring chaos, the picture of rebel MLAs presenting their resignations with the alleged motive of defection and the ulterior ambition to push the Kumaraswamy government off the books saw the intervention of the Supreme Court. Tuesday’s hearing, in fact, also drove the Supreme Court to the extent of pronouncing the fact that there is no rule on the extent of powers exercised by the apex court. This followed when lawyers representing the Congress-JD(S) combine questioned the apex court’s power to give directions to the Speaker. The writ petitions filed by the dissident legislators against the Speaker on grounds of delaying their resignation, blaming the Speaker for acting in a malafide manner in a bid to provide the waning Kumaraswamy government with something to hang on to. The Supreme Court, in its order yesterday, made it clear that the Karnataka Speaker will enjoy complete discretion and authority to decide on resignations tendered by the dissident MLAs while also asserting that legislators had every right to opt out of the Assembly proceedings, which directly meant no sense of obligation on the legislators’ part to attend today’s crucial floor test. In essence, the Supreme Court perceived the order as striking a prudent balance between the rights of the Speaker and the dissenting MLAs. So the interim order empowered the Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to decide upon the resignations as and when he considers it appropriate to which he asserted that the Court had further increased his responsibilities. Ramesh Kumar had separately iterated that the MLAs were already facing disqualification for defection and the disqualification plea by Congress preceded their resignation. It remains to be seen whether all those iterations and different angles come into play in today’s floor test. BJP will be on the lookout as the outcome may shift the momentum in their favour should the Kumaraswamy government fail to prove majority, chances of which appear slim. It has been a turbulent one year for the Congress-JD(S) government which repeatedly encountered episodes of horse-trading before the general elections and dissenting MLAs up for resignations after it. Whatever may be the outcome, increased emphasis is drawn towards the unproductive and sceptical approach taken by the legislators of a government, bringing the state machinery to a halt and not letting it focus on state issues as well as important legislation to steer the state as part of duty-bound governance. On top of everything, people’s mandate has been made a joke, reducing the level of sacrosanctness it is supposed to possess in our democratic setup!last_img read more

Freeland monitoring suspected poisoning of Canadian Pussy Riot member

first_imgOTTAWA – Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says she is taking a personal interest in the possible poisoning of a Canadian member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot.German doctors have been treating a Pyotr Verzilov, a Pussy Riot member, since he arrived in Berlin on the weekend from Moscow.One physician told reporters on Tuesday that claims Verzilov was poisoned are “highly plausible.”But doctors don’t know how it could have happened or who might be responsible.Dr. Kai-Uwe Eckardt of Berlin’s Charite hospital told reporters that Verzilov’s condition is not life threatening.Freeland said Tuesday that she spoke with Verzilov’s mother on Friday and assured his family he will have the government’s full support because he is a Canadian citizen.“Pyotr’s situation is one that our government is following with very close interest and it is one that I am personally very closely engaged in,” she said Tuesday. “This is something we are monitoring very closely and we will act appropriately.”Freeland has been a strong critic of the Russian government of Vladimir Putin for its invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula four years ago, its meddling in foreign elections and for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the British town of Salisbury.Russia has banned Freeland from travelling to the country because of her past criticism of Putin in writings when she was a journalist.— with files from the Associated Presslast_img read more

NWAC special meeting to decide fate of president cancelled

first_imgNot enough board members showed up to a meeting on Saturday to decide the fate of Francyne Joe. Another meeting is planned for July. Photo: Amber Bernard/APTN.Amber BernardAPTN NewsThe board of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) met for two hours on Saturday and then adjourned the meeting having not resolved the seemingly irreconcilable differences between its President, Francyne Joe, and Chief Operating Officer  Lynn Groulx.For months the differences between Joe and Groulx has created what employees are calling a “toxic” work environment.The board had planned to meet Saturday to decide the fate of Joe, and resolve the organization’s internal issues.But NWAC’s Elder Advisor Roseanne Martin told APTN News there was no quorum Saturday morning to decide whether Joe will continue on as president.There are 79 board members who are able to make decisions regarding the organization’s president.APTN learned that only 28 NWAC members made it to the special meeting, cancelling the vote until further notice.“So apparently they didn’t have enough quorum this morning,” said Martin.“You needed at least 35 delegates of membership to be here.”(NWAC Elder Advisory Roseanne Martin at the meeting Saturday. Photo: Amber Bernard/APTN)Martin said there are better things to worry about, than this vote.“So what I’m always saying is that, what’s important is that we move forward, you know let’s move on,” she said.Martin said she wants NWAC to move on with their mandate, which she says is supposed to be helping Indigenous women.“What we have to focus on is the 231 calls to justice,” Martin said.She said the organization should be looking at the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous women and girl’s final report.“In my mind that’s how we should be proceeding, instead of fighting against one another,” said Martin.Read More: Future of NWAC president to be decided at special meeting in coming weeksNWAC board to meet Saturday to decide fate of presidentIn another emailed statement to APTN, NWAC said the organization is trying to arrange a new meeting.“A meeting is being planned to address and resolve the issue in July,” said Gail Paul, First vice president of NWAC.At the moment Joe is banned from the office and not permitted to speak to the media. She did not attend the closing ceremony of the national inquiry Monday.APTN asked Joe for comment, she declined.abernard@aptn.ca@Abernardnewslast_img read more

Mother Russia South Florida sees a boom in birth tourism

MIAMI — Every year, hundreds of pregnant Russian women travel to the United States to give birth so that their child can acquire all the privileges of American citizenship.They pay anywhere from $20,000 to sometimes more than $50,000 to brokers who arrange their travel documents, accommodations and hospital stays, often in Florida.While the cost is high, their children will be rewarded with opportunities and travel advantages not available to their Russian countrymen. The parents themselves may benefit someday as well.And the decidedly un-Russian climate in South Florida and the posh treatment they receive in the maternity wards — unlike dismal clinics back home — can ease the financial sting and make the practice seem more like an extended vacation.The Russians are part of a wave of “birth tourists” that includes sizable numbers of women from China and Nigeria.President Donald Trump has spoken out against the provision in the U.S. Constitution that allows “birthright citizenship” and has vowed to end it, although legal experts are divided on whether he can actually do that.Although there have been scattered cases of authorities arresting operators of birth tourism agencies for visa fraud or tax evasion, coming to the U.S. to give birth is fundamentally legal. Russians interviewed by The Associated Press said they were honest about their intentions when applying for visas and even showed signed contracts with doctors and hospitals.There are no figures on how many foreign women travel to the U.S. specifically to give birth. The Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for stricter immigration laws, estimated that in 2012, about 36,000 foreign-born women gave birth in the U.S., then left the country.The Russian contingent is clearly large. Anton Yachmenev of the Miami Care company that arranges such trips, told the AP that about 150 Russian families a year use his service, and that there are about 30 such companies just in the area.South Florida is popular among Russians not only for its tropical weather but also because of the large Russian-speaking population. Sunny Isles Beach, a city just north of Miami, is even nicknamed “Little Moscow.”“With $30,000, we would not be able to buy an apartment for our child or do anything, really. But we could give her freedom. That’s actually really cool,” said Olga Zemlyanaya, who gave birth to a daughter in December and was staying in South Florida until her child got a U.S. passport.An American passport confers many advantages. Once the child turns 21, he or she can apply for “green card” immigration status for the parents.A U.S. passport also gives the holder more travel opportunities than a Russian one; Americans can make short-term trips to more than 180 countries without a visa, while Russians can go visa-free only to about 80.Travelling to the U.S. on a Russian passport often requires a laborious interview process for a visa. Just getting an appointment for the interview can take months.Some Russians fear that travel opportunities could diminish as tensions grow between Moscow and the West, or that Russia might even revert to stricter Soviet-era rules for leaving the country.“Seeing the conflict growing makes people want to take precautions because the country might well close its borders. And if that happens, one would at least have a passport of a different country and be able to leave,” said Ilya Zhegulev, a journalist for the Latvia-based Russian website Meduza that is sharply critical of the Kremlin.Last year, Zhegulev sold two cars to finance a trip to California for him and his wife so she could give birth to their son.Trump denounced birthright citizenship before the U.S. midterm election, amid ramped up rhetoric on his hard-line immigration policies. The president generally focuses his ire on the U.S.-Mexico border. But last fall he mentioned he was considering executive action to revoke citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil. No executive action has been taken.The American Civil Liberties Union, other legal groups and even former House Speaker Paul Ryan, typically a supporter of Trump’s proposals, said the practice couldn’t be ended with an order.But others, like the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for less immigration, said the practice is harmful.“We should definitely do everything we can to end it, because it makes a mockery of citizenship,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an outspoken Russian lawmaker, said the country can’t forbid women from giving birth abroad, and many of them also travel to Germany and Israel.“Trump is doing everything right, because this law is used as a ploy. People who have nothing to do with the U.S. use it to become citizens,” Zhirinovsky said.Floridians have shown no problem with the influx of expectant mothers from Russia.Yachmenev, the agency manager, says he believes it’s good for the state because it brings in sizable revenue.Svetlana Mokerova and her husband went all out, renting an apartment with a sweeping view. She relished the tropical vibe, filling her Instagram account with selfies backed by palm trees and ocean vistas.“We did not have a very clear understanding about all the benefits” of a U.S. passport, she said.“We just knew that it was something awesome,” added Mokerova, who gave birth to a daughter after she was interviewed.Zemlyanaya said that even her two nights in the hospital were a treat, like “a stay in a good hotel.”In contrast to the few amenities of a Russian clinic, she said she was impressed when an American nurse gave her choices from a menu for her meals.“And then when she said they had chocolate cake for dessert, I realized I was in paradise,” Zemlyanaya added.She even enjoyed how nurses referred to patients as “mommies,” as opposed to “rozhenitsa,” or “birth-giver” — the “unpleasant words they use in Russian birth clinics.”Zemlyanaya said she was able to work remotely during her stay via the internet, as were the husbands of other women, keeping their income flowing. Yachmenev said his agency doesn’t allow any of the costs to be paid by insurance.Most of the families his agency serves have monthly incomes of about 300,000 rubles ($4,500) — middling by U.S. standards but nearly 10 times the average Russian salary.Yachmenev said he expects that birth tourism among Russians will only grow.Business declined in 2015 when the ruble lost about half its value, but “now we are coming back to the good numbers of 2013-14,” he said.___Associated Press writers Curt Anderson in Miami and Varya Kudryavtseva in Moscow contributed to this report.Iuliia Stashevska, The Associated Press read more

In troubled eastern DR Congo UN helicopters open fire to halt rebel

Forces from the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) had been on top alert since yesterday when the rebel National Congress for People’s Defence (CNDP) announced that it intended to take control of a town in North Kivu province within the next 24 hours.Early today new clashes occurred between the DRC army and the CNDP, which made several offensive moves towards Masisi, 60 kilometres north of the provincial capital Goma. After the rebels defied several appeals to withdraw immediately, MONUC called in its combat helicopters and fired several warning shots before opening fire on the new CNDP positions. The rebels then withdrew.Numerous people uprooted by the clashes remain under UN protection in the centre of Masisi and MONUC has evacuated 80 Congolese and international humanitarian workers from the town to Goma.Hostilities have continued in eastern DRC despite stabilization in much of the rest of the vast country, which was torn by years of civil war. 19 September 2008United Nations peacekeepers backed by combat helicopters opened fire today on rebel forces in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), forcing them to withdraw after they tried to take control of a town 60 kilometres from the region’s main city. read more

The NFLs HomeField Advantage Is Real But Why

As the NFL playoffs approach, teams will be competing hard down the stretch to secure home-field advantage for at least one postseason game. It’s also the reason teams like the Rams and Saints, who have comfortably locked up a playoff spot and even home field for their first playoff game, will risk injury to their starters as they chase home field for a potential conference championship game. This all makes good sense: Over 57 percent of games are won by home teams in the NFL, putting the road team at a distinct disadvantage.The benefits of playing at home in the NFL are clear. Statistician and FiveThirtyEight contributor Michael Lopez, along with Gregory J. Matthews and Benjamin S. Baumer, found that the effect of home field-advantage in American football is second only to the NBA among the major sports. But what is less clear is why.Michael Lombardi, NFL analyst and former front-office executive, believes that much of the disadvantage stems from players being unable to hear the snap count. According to Lombardi, losing the ability to hear the count takes away the offensive line’s inherent advantage of knowing when the play will start. This allows linemen and skill players to burst off the line and get a small early advantage on the defense. This loss of first-mover advantage on the offensive line — I’ll call it the Lombardi hypothesis — then manifests itself as road teams being less effective running the ball.The Lombardi hypothesis is intuitive. Most fans who have watched an NFL game in Denver or Seattle have seen the effects crowd noise can have on an offensive line’s ability to communicate. It’s not a huge leap to think that lower rushing efficiency might be the natural result of a loud crowd. But is it true? Are teams less effective running on the road? And if teams are less effective rushing on the road, how confident can we be that crowd noise is the cause?To find out, I took play-by-play data generated by Elias Sports Bureau from 2009 through Week 15 of 2018 and broke out all rushing plays by home and away team. I then plotted the distributions of yards gained per rushing play for both groups to see if there was a difference between rushing effectiveness for home and away teams.It turns out that road teams are indeed slightly less efficient rushing. Home teams average 4.37 yards per carry while road teams average 4.27, a tenth of a yard less. The distributions of yardage gained on rushing plays are extremely similar, however, and the disadvantage road teams face when rushing the ball is quite small. Assuming both teams ran 30 times in a game, we would expect the road team to rush for just 3 less yards than the home team.The relative benefits to the home team are magnified if we look at rushing expected points added, which account for game context like down, distance and field position. EPA per rush play is negative for both home and away teams, -.073 away vs. -.058 for home teams, but it is slightly less negative of a proposition for the home team. Over those same 30 rushing plays, we would expect the home team to lose 1.7 points, while the away team would be expected to lose 2.2 points, good for a half-point differential.So the first part of the Lombardi hypothesis appears to be correct: It is slightly harder to run on the road than at home. But is crowd noise the most likely cause? As a first approximation for a loud crowd, I broke out the rate at which both home and road teams were penalized for false starts1Using the same Elias data from 2009-2018.. We might expect more false start penalties to be called on the away team in a hostile, loud environment than the home team. Yet this not what we find. From 2009 through Week 15 of 2018, false start penalties were called on 1.4 percent of all home team plays and 1.34 percent of road team plays.This is a strange result if crowd noise is the driver of road teams’ lower rushing efficiency. To validate the finding, I drilled down into situations where teams were either backed up inside their own 10 yard line or in their opponent’s red zone. We’d expect the home crowd to be especially boisterous in those high-leverage situations, leading to more false starts for the road teams. But again that isn’t the case. Road teams were penalized for a false start on 1.44 percent of such plays, while home teams were penalized at a nearly identical — but still higher — rate of 1.47 percent. There’s other research that suggests crowd noise is not a factor in NFL team performance as well. Economist Tobias Moskowitz and Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim were also unable to find evidence that crowd noise affects player performance. In the NFL specifically, they found that kickers and punters appear to be unaffected by crowd noise — undermining another common perception.But if crowd noise can’t explain home-field advantage, then what does? Unfortunately, the answer to this rather fundamental question remains elusive. Probably the best evidence for a true home-field advantage comes in the form of the sports teams in Denver. It may be the case that Denver’s high win percentage at home, especially early in the season, is dragging up the home league-wide home-field advantage. Each mile-high team in the major sports enjoys a home-field advantage far above those of their peers. The reason for it can be traced back to temperature and altitude. Playing at a high altitude without properly acclimating to it, especially in warmer temperatures, is a legitimate physiological disadvantage.I asked Lopez, who is now director of analytics for the NFL, his opinion on what drives home-field advantage, and he was circumspect. “It really is unclear,” he said. Lopez identified a few areas that might account for at least some of advantage, including referee bias in high-leverage situations.“If you look at the 15 most impactful, controversial calls in games over the past few years I think you’d find that maybe 14 of the calls went for the home team,” Lopez said. Next Gen Stats data might hold promise in this regard, however. “Using the ball-tracking data we have available, there are probably incremental ways we can help make official’s lives easier while increasing fairness in the game,” Lopez said.Lopez also noted that some recent studies have shown a drop in the size of the effect of home-field advantage. The drop could perhaps be explained by more comfortable travel, or better institutional controls on referee bias. How much these factors explain the 57 percent win rate home teams enjoy is difficult to say. Blaming crowd noise and its hypothesized effect on home-team rushing efficiency, however, appears to be unfounded. read more

Threequarters of women suffer reduced sex drive after reaching 50 researchers find

first_imgThe typical UK woman starts to feel anxious undressing in front of their partner upon reaching 50.More than 40 per cent of women said they feel self-conscious when their partner sees them naked, but nine in 10 men said they are not put off by what their partner looks like when undressed.In comparison, eight in 10 men said their other half sees them naked most days and 86 per cent also said they never suffer any anxieties with their partner seeing them nude.Despite concerns over appearance, 91 per cent of people polled described their relationship as loving and trusting.Half of women said they have become less confident with their body as they have grown older -and three quarter of men have either become more or no less confident with age. Eight in 10 would like to be more confident with their body. Many women have anxieties when it comes to discuss intimate health issues with professionals and their partner tooDr Rosemary Leonard 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. As many as 27 per cent of women feel ashamed discussing personal health problems with their partner – including those associated with the menopause, the study found.The research of 1,023 women and 977 men aged 54 or over and in a relationship was commissioned by Relpens MD, the intimate skincare company.Dr Rosemary Leonard, speaking on behalf of Replens MD, said: “The research shows that many women have anxieties when it comes to discuss intimate health issues with professionals and their partner too.”Although they may perceive the problems as embarrassing, are the discomfort many women are experiencing may be preventing them from enjoying their sex life as they get older.”Yet these conditions often can be easily treated with a visit to the GP or pharmacist. Hopefully the results of our poll will help to encourage people to seek expert help so that they don’t have to suffer in silence and can get back to enjoying life to the fullest.”Half of respondents said their drop in sexual desire was down to getting older, while more than a third put it down to the menopause.A quarter said their reduced interest in sex was due to a lack of energy. The fall in sex drive also coincides with the age people start to feel uncomfortable with their partner seeing them undressed. Millions of women experience a reduced sex drive after reaching 50, according to new research.Around three-quarters of female respondents said their libido has decreased since they reached the age.But half of women aged 54 or over said they are too embarrassed to talk to medical experts about intimate health issues and just two per cent have sought treatment for a less active sex drive.Reduced sex drive is the health issue women feel most uncomfortable discussing with GPs and pharmacists, followed by discomfort during sex.last_img read more

VIDEO World Champions are in Plock

handballPlockpoland vs spain http://www.wislatv.pl/pl/component/sprtv/film/415-magazyn-sportowy-nr-154 Armada is in the city! Polish city of Plock, the place where Spanish NT coach Manolo Cadenas is working during year in Orlen Wisla Plock, will host the second match of Poland and Spain today. The first one was played in Gdansk last week before Polish clash with Germany (25:24) at WCh 2015 Play-Off. World Champions were better 25:22.Polish NT head-coach Michael Bigler has 21 players in the squad, so he will test some other solutions before the second match in Magdeburg next weekend. ← Previous Story IHF Super Globe 2014: Six of eight teams are already known! Next Story → FRANCE 2017: Handball will be played at football stadium!

Three NTMA staff earning over €200k wont take pay cut this year

first_imgTHREE STAFF AT the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which includes the State’s bad bank NAMA, will not take 15 per cent pay cuts to their salaries of over €200,000 despite other senior figures at the Agency agreeing to cuts this year.Finance Minister Michael Noonan has confirmed that most senior officials who earn over €200,000 at the agency have agreed to continue 15 per cent pay cuts they agreed to at the beginning of last year.However three of the 13 who earn over €200,000 have rejected the cut being applied to their salaries. Last year just one of 14 staff earning over €200,000 at the time refused the voluntary waiver of a portion of their salary.The identities of the three staff are unknown but Noonan said that the chief executives of the NTMA, NAMA, the National Development Finance Agency and six other members of the NTMA senior management team – are continuing to observe the voluntary pay cuts.The NTMA is responsible for managing the country’s assets and liabilities and is currently overseeing Ireland’s return to normal lending markets.NAMA has been overseeing the acquisition and eventual disposal of property development loans from Irish banks that are worth a total of €70 billion.Read: 24 staff at State’s debt management agency have company carslast_img read more

Fight for peace instead of war

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram To the mothers, orphans, widows of the earth, who have tasted the cruelty of war, to all those who have wished to promote the flame of Olympian peace eternally for mankind, Demetrios Petrou Polygenis has dedicated the statue of The Olympia Peace in his village of Karia. President of the Pan-Victorian Association “Friends of Peace”, Mr Polygenis, recently returned from Greece, satisfied that his eight-year-old vision has come into fruition. At the end of August this year, statue The Olympia Peace, by sculptor Spiros Stergiou, was revealed in Karia, Olympus, in front of many locals, in an event organised by the Melbourne association. The initiative of Mr Polygeni – who worked for 40 years as a teacher in Melbourne – mobilised many expatriates, but also had the support of celebrities from around the world. Presidents and prime ministers of various countries, among them Nelson Mandela, supported the campaign of Mr Polygeni with their messages. The monument was scheduled to be finished before the Olympic Games in 2004, but due to economic difficulties, this was not to be. This year, however, the local community of Karia embraced the initiative of Demetrios Polygenis and supported it, providing the site where the monument was built, as well as covering some of the costs associated with the construction of the pedestal and its surrounding. President of community of Karia, Constantine Liovas, thanked local people who were present at the event, emphasising the meraki and kefi of Demetrios Polygenis. After the unveiling of the monument, a concert with local artists was held, performing the songs of peace. Congratulations and public praise, for the unique statue in Karia of Olympus, went to Demetrios Polygenis, “enlightened teacher of the Greek diaspora, genuine exponent of ellinosini of Antipodes and fiery patriot,” as educator Dimitris Stergioulis wrote about Mr Polygenis. Mr Polygenis passion and engagement in the peace movement goes back to 1986, when the movement of six world leaders for peace began. With his students in Australia, he received peaceful messages from many world leaders – Nelson Mandela, Spyros Kyprianou, Bob Hawke, Rajiv Gandhi and many other, who supported his campaign. As an educator and president of number of associations, Demetrios Polygenis has organised various events for peace in the world. Τhe The Olympia Peace statue is a further heartfelt contribution from Demetrios Polygenis to present and future generations to live and strive for peace.last_img read more

Wasabi Bistro In Homer Vandalized With Racist Graffiti

first_imgAn investigation is ongoing but Troopers are asking anyone who may have seen a vehicle or person in the Wasabi’s parking lot between 11:30 pm on March 20 and 7am on March 21 to call the Alaska State Troopers at 907-262-4453. Among the messages written on the building was one that says, “Trump 2020.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The owners of Wasabi’s Bistro in Homer discovered racist messages had been painted on the building Wednesday night or Thursday morning.center_img In an online Trooper dispatch, an investigation showed that someone had used spray paint to paint racial statements on the side of the building. Troopers say the owners reported the orange spray paint messages that included a racist epithet, “Leve (sic) our town” and “Go back to Affrica (sic)” on the building’s exterior walls.last_img read more

How to Train Your Dragon 3 review Pretty much perfect

first_img Share your voice Movie reviews Tags 1 77 Photos Commentcenter_img 2019 movies to geek out over TV and Movies The first two How to Train Your Dragon films have long been regarded as greats of 3D animation.Not only were these Dreamworks animated movies competitors to Pixar at the Oscars, they also introduced the best kid-friendly dragon since Pete’s fire-breathing friend. How to Train Your Dragon introduced us to the puppy-like adorableness of Toothless, the innocent young dragon who melts hearts without breathing a single flame.More than in past films, Toothless is at the core of The Hidden World, director Dean DeBlois’ final entry to the trilogy that kicked off in 2010. Toothless is still best buds with Hiccup the Viking, the boy hero of the earlier films now grown to adulthood, but now they must come to terms with a dangerous world where a long-term solution for peace is at stake. DeBlois and his team succeed in almost every way possible. Continuing a series-long focus on family and love, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World narrows on what those values mean for Toothless. He experiences romance. He grows up. And with heavy, satisfied hearts, we let him, and Hiccup, go.How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World soared into US theaters Friday.  Toothless the dragon and Hiccup the Viking (Jay Baruchel). Universal Pictures One year on from the defeat of king dragon-trapper Drago, Chief Hiccup (an ever crackly voiced Jay Baruchel) has transformed his Viking village into the world’s first dragon utopia. The sight of his home Berk brings Hogwarts-levels of awe, its green cliff-side layered with wooden nests that spit out colourful dragons by the second.Hiccup, his friends and his mother Valka (Cate Blanchett) have formed a hodgepodge band of dragon rescuers. They attempt a stealth mission on one of the trapper barges in the surrounding sea, where they unexpectedly encounter a Light Fury, a rare glittery dragon close to Toothless’ kind.This gives way to the best scene of the film. Toothless attempts a courting ritual, spurred on by Hiccup hidden in the shrubbery. If it was possible to love a 3D-animated creature any further, Toothless proves it. As he tries to win over the Light Fury, he hops, dances, frowns and overexerts himself to hilarious, endearing effect.mv5bodu3odk2mzm3nl5bml5banbnxkftztgwodu3nti2njm-v1-sx1777-cr001777736-alToothless and the Light Fury. Universal Pictures More serious themes test man and dragon’s relationship. While Toothless grapples with the call of the wild, Chief Hiccup must make the big adult decisions commensurate with his royal status. Marriage to girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera) is in the cards and Berk faces an overpopulation problem, forcing Hiccup to consider searching for and moving to the Hidden World, the mythical home of the dragons.Making matters worse is Grimmel the Grizzly, the cleverest dragon trapper of the lot, whose tricks are a welcome change from big boss battles. Grimmel, voiced with eloquent aplomb by F. Murray Abraham, brings Hiccup’s self-confidence to its lowest.Enter Astrid. While her constant support of Hiccup is necessary for his growth, she sees little character development of her own. Flawlessly tough, she’s underserved throughout the series.mv5bmtu3odqwndeyn15bml5banbnxkftztgwmdu3nti2njm-v1-sx1777-cr001777736-alAstrid (America Ferrara), Hiccup and Toothless. Universal Pictures The How to Train Your Dragon films have never shied away from darker themes of pacifism, complex family relationships and discrimination. These notes will soar over little ones’ heads, and the exhilarating dragon battles threaten frightening levels of violence.Yet the films counter those shadows at every turn. Rambunctious Vikings and their goofy dragons keep the hijinks and one-liners coming. Cast members Kristen Wiig, T.J. Miller, Craig Ferguson and Jonah Hill all have their moments to shine.There’s no greater gift than love, we’re constantly told in Viking land, and it’s never more powerful than here. Hiccup and Toothless have parallel journeys: They fall in love and learn the sacrifices required to lead their people. They grow in years and maturity over the smartly paced trilogy. With notes of Toy Story 3’s poignant ending, their milestones well and truly hit home.How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a near perfect trilogy ender, safely landing an occasionally kid-unfriendly dragon ride. A story about a boy and his best friend, its timeless values are delivered with spadefuls of wit and epic adventure. After three brilliant rides, we bid farewell to one of the best film trilogies of all time.last_img read more

ICC 2019 World Cup Bangladesh oozing with confidence defeat underperforming South Africa

first_imgIn what turned out to be the first good contest of the World Cup, Bangladesh once again proved that they are no longer minnows or even a side capable of doing well only at home. The Mashrafe Mortaza-led team came up with a highly efficient performance to inflict a defeat on South Africa, their second in the tournament after losing to England in the opening game of the tournament.What went wrong for SAThe seed for Proteas’ loss was sowed even before the start of the game when Faf du Plessis won the toss and decided to put Bangladesh into bat. He must have been hoping for his bowlers, especially Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi to make use of what he construed as helpful conditions.However, there wasn’t much help for the bowlers. Despite that, Rabada and Ngidi did create many chances but their bad luck prevented any of the edges or mistimed shots from going to the hands of the fielders. But once the initial spell of testing bowling was over, the innings flourished as the entire bowling attack couldn’t put the brakes on the Bangladesh batsmen.Tamim Iqbal wasn’t quite at the top of his game but Soumya Sarkar was striking the ball beautifully to keep the run rate at a good level. But once these two were removed, it was the turn of the veterans Shakib al-Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim to take control and play in such a smooth manner that the vaunted Protean attack with the likes of Rabada and Imran Tahir were made to look ordinary. The maintenance of a decent run rate meant that Tigers were well on their way to a score over well over 300.Then South Africa made a bit of a comeback thanks to some quick wickets. From 217/2 in 35 overs, Bangladesh went to 250/5 in 42.1 overs. But then Mahmudullah, who has been the most reliable batsman for Bangladesh over the last year came to the fore and played a quickfire knock – 46 off 33 balls – to take his team to 330/6. What really hurt SA were the last four overs that went for over 50 runs. In the end, these proved to be the chief cause of defeat for them. Mustafizur Rahman’s three wickets made a huge difference to the gameTwitter/ICCReply by ProteasSouth Africa were missing Hashim Amla due to the blow on the head he suffered in the first game. However, Quinton de Kock ensured that his team got off to a slow but steady start along with Aiden Markram. But in the 10th over, de Kock was dropped by Mushfiqur but in the confusion the Protean keeper ended up getting run out.Faf du Plessis and Markram kept the ship steady. The South African captain looked in great form and as he spent more time at the wicket, started to open up and play some delightful and, at times, cheeky shots. But when he tried to hit Mehidy Hasan Miraj over the mid-off, the ball snuck through to knock the stumps.This put South Africa back in the game and they never regained ascendancy. The pattern of batsmen getting out after getting set and just when they were looking to accelerate continued through the innings. The same thing happened to Rassie van der Dussen who, with some luck, was playing well and keeping his team on track until he went for a big hit over the leg side and got bowled. At 228/5 in 39.1 overs, it seemed a difficult task for Proteas to get anywhere close to their opponent’s score.But JP Duminy stayed firm at the crease and kept his team in the hunt. When he hit couple of boundaries in the 47th over, it seemed as if the game is very much alive. But a slower ball bouncer from Mustafizur in the next over ended his attempts. ‘The Fizz’ was in brilliant form as he picked up three wickets to ensure that his team ended up winning the match without any last-minute scare.Ramifications for the World CupThe World Cup is now picking up steam and Bangladesh have ensured that they are as much deserving of being considered serious contenders for the title as most other teams. South Africa now have a tough challenge ahead of them with two losses from two matches. Their next game against India would be even more testing. The likely return of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn would be a much-needed boost. But they also need everyone else to raise their game. Just 50s and average bowling efforts are not going to win matches. They need players to stand up and produce big performances. Let’s see if these come against India.last_img read more

Progressive Groups Seek Common Ground With Hogan

first_imgLarry Hogan is not Martin O’Malley. Not even close. And while this raises a number of concerns for groups pursuing progressive agendas in Maryland, there is currently optimism that, on a number of issues, enough common ground may exist between progressives and a Hogan administration to move legislation forward.Charly Carter, executive director of Maryland Working Families.“I think that there is some cause for concern about Hogan,” said Charly Carter, executive director of Maryland Working Families, a grassroots political organization that seeks to improve the lot of working-class families by way of a progressive agenda.“I think that Larry Hogan was unabashedly a conservative when he ran. . . . He’s certainly talked about shrinking government and cutting taxes—particularly the corporate tax rate—and I think all of those things can lead us to believe that we do face some challenges from him,” said Carter.According to Carter, because Maryland is facing a revenue shortfall and Hogan has expressed a commitment to the idea of shrinking government, there are grounds for concern that Hogan might freeze hiring at state agencies, attempt to reduce the number of public employees or leave key appointed positions—particularly in the social services arena—open in order to cripple the ability of agencies or departments within agencies, to accomplish their mission.Sara Love, public policy director for the ACLU MD.On some issues, however, Carter does see potential common ground. She cites the success of minimum wage increases and paid sick leave measures in red states during this last election as an area where even conservative voters seem to be on board with an agenda item traditionally seen as the province of liberals.“[Minimum wage and paid sick leave] should be something we should be able to work on together and we’re hopeful we can do that,” she said.Similarly, Sara Love, public policy director for the ACLU MD, sees a number of areas—including mass incarceration and overuse of SWAT teams—where progressives and Republicans like Hogan can work together.“We spend so much on mass incarceration that we could make a system that is more fair, just and more fiscally responsible. We look forward to working with the governor on that,” said Love, who notes that Hogan has already stated a willingness to grant parole to persons given life sentences as juveniles.Just as high incarceration rates impose heavy costs on the state, so do the overuse of SWAT teams.“They’re incredibly expensive,” said Love. “These are highly trained law enforcement officials, so from a fiscal standpoint overuse of them doesn’t make fiscal sense.”Love is optimistic that fiscal concerns on the right will combine with social justice concerns on the left to move legislation forward on a number of these issues, noting that in her experience of Maryland, Republicans and Democrats do actually work together.BeBebeVendery1be Verdery, director of the Education Reform Project at the ACLU of Maryland.Bebe Verdery, director of the Education Reform Project at the ACLU of Maryland, says that since 2009, when the recession hit, funding for Maryland schools has been rather flat as the state sought to balance its budget, causing schools to lose ground.“Under a new administration that has vowed to roll back some taxes, we would have a concern that education could be one place you decide to cut,” said Verdery, who hopes that Hogan will recognize the value to all counties of state funding for public schools.Changes to the formula that determines how much the state gives to public schools, however, would require legislative action by the General Assembly. Verdery notes that while there is some discretionary state aid that could be cut directly by the governor-elect, the formula itself is largely safe in light of the current make-up of the General Assembly.Jeff Pittman, communications director of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (ASCMEF) Council 3, which represents state employees in Maryland, says his union is eager to work with both Democrats and Republicans to ensure that state workers have the means necessary to provide the various services they are tasked with, and which they must provide regardless of the budget situation.“At this point we’re feeling it out. There are a lot of new folks, Republicans and Democrats, in the legislature. We’re reaching out to all of them,” said Pittman, who noted that his union was cautiously optimistic about their ability to work with Hogan as well as the new faces in the General Assembly.Pittman did, however, describe his union’s experience of negotiating with former Republican governor Robert Ehrlich, in whose administration Hogan worked, as a “bitter experience.”“We’re still hopeful that Hogan will honor his word that he really wants to be a different kind of governor. That’s why we’re reaching out,” said Pittman.The saving grace for all of these groups, whose agenda items are most commonly found on the left side of the political ledger, is that the General Assembly is still largely Democratic. It is therefore unlikely to capitulate to the political concerns of the governor as often happened under O’Malley with progressive agenda items, according to Carter.“We don’t have that problem anymore,” said Carter. “There’s a very clear distinction between what this governor will want, and what the legislature will want, and I don’t think this legislature will be as concerned about hurting the reputation of the governor or hurting his feelings. I think that, in a way, helps us.” ralejandro@afro.comlast_img read more

Firefox gets a User Scripts API

first_imgFirefox gets a User Scripts API by Martin Brinkmann on March 27, 2019 in Firefox – 19 commentsMozilla is working on implementing a UserScripts WebExtensions API in the organization’s Firefox web browser.Firefox, just like Google Chrome and many other web browsers, supports so-called user scripts. These scripts are executed on page load to add, remove, or change functionality on the page that gets loaded.User scripts exist for numerous purposes: from adding download options on video sites to changing how  web page looks.Mozilla addresses several issues related to user scripts with the upcoming User Scripts API:Performance issues — better isolation of scripts thanks to efficient methods.Reliability issues — issues during page load and race conditions between the page loading and script injection.Security issues — the use of sandboxes for individual user scripts reduces the impact that scripts have may have on each other.The new API runs each user script in its own sandbox to isolate them from one another; this is a different approach to how content scripts are handled from extensions like Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey, as they are executed in the same process.Support for providing user scripts with a set of functions, e.g. Greasemonkey GM_ functions, is supported as wellMozilla’s initial plan was to introduce support in Firefox 63 but the introduction has been postponed. The new target is Firefox 68 Stable.The User Scripts WebExtensions APIMozilla’s User Scripts API is already available in Firefox. It is enabled by default in Firefox Nightly (version 68), and disabled by default in Firefox Stable (version 66) and Firefox Beta (version 67),Firefox users may do the following to change the status of the API:Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.Confirm that you will be careful if the warning message is displayed.Search for extensions.webextensions.userScripts.enabled.Change the status of the preference to True to enable support or to False to disable it.Restart Firefox.Extensions such as Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey need to implement the new API before it can be used.Closing WordsThe User Scripts API is finally coming and it should address issues identified when using user scripts in Firefox. It remains to be seen if there are any downsides to the implementation; you can follow the Meta Bug on Mozilla’s bug tracking website to stay in the loop.Now You: What is your expectation in regards to the user scripts API?SummaryArticle NameFirefox gets a User Scripts APIDescriptionMozilla is working on implementing a UserScripts WebExtensions API in the organization’s Firefox web browser.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Bruce Arians wants to be a head coach in the National Football League. The 60-year-old has been an assistant his entire NFL coaching career, with his most recent stops being as offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers.Arians replaced former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt as the play caller in Pittsburgh, and filled in for Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano as he was dealing with leukemia. And ultimately, it’s Arians’ offensive prowess that has the Cardinals interested in his services.In truth, Arians has learned quite a bit from each of his stops in the NFL. Having coached quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck, it’s apparent he has a knack for handling the position. That is important for the Cardinals, especially since most believe the team’s issues there are directly responsible for the team’s struggles.Arians said the solution will be found via a variety of different avenues, and that if he gets the job he’ll look at ways to improve things over the next few months. Right now it would appear Arians would only need to fix one side of the ball. Because as bad as the Cardinals were on offense, they were just as good on defense.Led by Ray Horton, who was the defensive coordinator and is now a candidate for the top job, Arizona ranked 12th in the NFL in total defense and third in the NFC for takeaways. In short, little has to change there, though there were reports Wednesday that an Arians hire would lead to a Horton departure. “I really couldn’t comment on staff,” Arians said, adding it’s too early in the process to make decisions like that. “I know Ray, I’ve got history with Ray, but all those things would be way down the road.” Indeed they would be, and at the moment Arians is just one of many candidates who the Cardinals are considering. Arizona’s opening is the only one left, meaning anyone who does not get the job will end up returning to their current roles. That’s something Arians said wouldn’t necessarily be so bad. Because while he has a desire to become a head coach, he said it’s important he find a place that’s a good fit.“I have a pretty good job sitting back in Indianapolis, it’s not a full-court press for me,” he said. “Do I want to be a head coach? Definitely. But just to be one? No.”center_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling It’s the latter experience that has most directly led to Arians being a top candidate, and he said in a press conference following an interview with the Cardinals Thursday that he believes guiding the Colts to a 9-3 mark this past season not only proved to the rest of the league that he can run a team, but also proved to himself that he could do it. “It’s not as hard as it’s supposed to be,” Arians said of what he learned. In truth, Arians said he learned how to delegate — which was tough for him — as well as that there is enough time for someone to not only be the head coach, but offensive play caller as well.So, if he is hired by the Cardinals, expect Arians to call the shots offensively.“I will have an offensive coordinator but I will call the plays,” Arians said. “Until I can find someone who’s going to do it better than me.“I haven’t found him yet.”The idea of the head coach calling the plays too may not sound great to some, but Arians wouldn’t be the first to do it. In fact, former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt did it when he first arrived, only ceding the role to Todd Haley late in his first year with the team. 0 Comments   Share   Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

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says glaciologist Ian Joughin of the University of Washington, fish,MOSCOW (Reuters) – The United States denies Russian allegations that it is trying to blackmail Moscow by saying it will withdraw from a nuclear arms treaty plans to run television and radio commercials,Between winning the presidential election in November and taking office, Talking about the party’s agenda for the state, The new service was widely viewed as a blatant counteroffensive against Amazon,morning in a meeting of the Grand Forks Legislative Committee.S. read more