first_imgFor winter-weary Canadians, today is the day when a pair of celebrity rodents are called upon to offer a sign that spring-like weather is just around the corner — or not.The two, pug-nosed critters — Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia and Wiarton Willie in Ontario — will be roused from their shelters just after dawn to take part in Groundhog Day. Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil will also make an appearance with his top-hatted handlers at Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside of Punxsutawney, Pa., about 100 kilometres northeast of Pittsburgh.Folklore has it that if a groundhog sees its shadow on Feb. 2, it will retreat into its burrow, heralding six more weeks of cold weather — not bad by most Canadian standards.However, spring-like temperatures are thought to be on the way if there is no shadow to be seen.The centuries-old tradition has something to do with Feb. 2 landing midway between winter solstice and spring equinox, but no one knows for sure.Some say it started with Candlemas, a Christian custom in February named for the blessing of candles during the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary.Other sources trace its origins to medieval Europe, where farmers watched for hedgehogs emerging to catch insects — a sign that the land was warming up.One Scottish couplet succinctly summed up the superstitions of the time: “If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, There’ll be two winters in the year.”When Europeans settled in North America, they looked to the groundhog for their spring predictions.However, groundhogs are not native to British Columbia, where the role of four-legged forecaster has been handed to a Vancouver Island marmot named Violet.The experts say the odd ritual has a terrible record when it comes to predicting the weather.In his book, “The Day Niagara Falls Ran Dry,” climatologist David Phillips cites a survey of 40 years of weather data from 13 Canadian cities, which concluded there was an equal number of cloudy and sunny days on Feb. 2.During that time, the groundhogs’ predictions were right only 37 per cent of the time.“Given that 33 per cent accuracy can occur by chance, a score of 37 per cent is nothing to boast about,” Phillips says.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

The real estate board prefers to use a “benchmark” price, which adjusts for the high and low ends of the markets, and that figure was $976,200 for a detached house last month and $422,500 for an apartment.The market started really heating up in the beginning of 2015, said board president John Barbisan.Barbisan said he uses the sales-to-active-listings ratio, referring to the number of sales compared to active listings, as a thermometer. In a balanced market, the ratio sits around 18 per cent, meaning almost two in 10 homes are selling. The higher the ratio gets, the more advantage to the seller, and in 2016 it was 60 per cent, he said.Things began to cool in the spring of this year, he said, and now the sales-to-active-listings ratio is 14 per cent.“It was like a tap turned off,” he said. “It’s as if all the buyers got together in a hall one night and decided nobody’s going to make an offer anymore.”The federal mortgage stress test initiated in January appears to be a major factor, he said. The stress test requires mortgage-seekers to prove they would be able to make payments even if interest rates rose substantially, reducing borrowing power by as much as 20 per cent.“That has to come out somewhere. They’re either buying cheaper homes or they’re not making the offers they would be,” he said.Provincial government measures, including a 0.5 per cent speculation tax on secondary homes left vacant and a 20 per cent foreign buyers tax, have had a “negligible” effect compared with the stress test, Barbisan said.But he said he’s “not at all” concerned about the slowdown, noting that he has spoken with mortgage brokers who say relatively similar numbers of people are still coming to get pre-approved. People still want to buy homes, but they may not be finding what they’re looking for or are waiting for prices to decrease further, he said.“I’m not sure what they’re waiting for, but when you want to buy a home you’re only putting it off for so long,” he said.Barbisan added he hasn’t heard of anyone being underwater on their mortgage, as prices have still risen so much that owners have a fair bit of equity in their homes.Steve Saretsky, a Vancouver real estate agent, said the market across the region is going through a downturn but it’s not “major,” and it’s to be expected after the run-ups of the past few years.“Any time you have that kind of growth, eventually it’s going to swing the other way,” he said. “Has it gone too far? I think a lot of people who are complaining about housing affordability would probably tell you it hasn’t gone far enough.”Government policies have helped move the pendulum, but it was more or less inevitable, and global housing markets are also slowing down, Saretsky said. People are quick to criticize the stress test and new provincial taxes while forgetting how easy regulators have gone on the housing market for years, he added.“Everyone in the world talks about how indebted Canadian households are. There’s no question that it’s definitely been a pretty lenient borrowing spree over the last 15, 20 years,” he said. “Now, all of a sudden everybody’s upset because the punch bowl’s been taken away. But parties don’t go on forever.”He acknowledged that it’s hard on real estate agents because sales volumes are down and they’re making less money.“But, again, I think we’ve had it pretty good for a number of years.” VANCOUVER — A tempting bright-red advertisement for a new condo development in a Vancouver suburb circulated online this fall, sparking excitement from first-time homebuyers and concern among long-standing real estate observers.The developers of The Landing, a 78-unit complex in Langley, were offering to pay the mortgages for a year of the first 20 buyers and give remaining buyers a $10,000 discount.It looked like a sign of the times: had provincial and federal government measures to cool the market been too successful? Were developers stuck with a glut of inventory as sales and prices dropped off a cliff?Not really, according to the marketer behind the promotion.Does rent control stifle construction? Until there’s more data, the jury’s still outMost Montreal condo investors are paying out more than they make in rentWhistler condo prices soar over 26 per cent as baby boomers snap up winter getaway properties“The way we run our sales programs is we run basically a different promotion almost every week. I’ve been working in suburban markets for a long time and honestly, what I’m seeing right now is it’s not even at a normal market. It’s still a lot better,” said Trevor Street, CEO of the Partners Marketing Group.“What’s normal for me is having four or five other sites that are active, that are open, that buyers can go to and shop around. I remember a time marketing developments when I ran out of registers to call in our database and started cold-calling rental buildings.”That was back in 2013 or 2014, he said, before Vancouver’s real estate market exploded and a ripple effect moved through its suburbs and the rest of British Columbia. By 2016, Street definitely didn’t have to run any promotions — he even told developers not to bother building sales centres.The Fraser Valley, east of Metro Vancouver, has long been considered a more affordable haven for first-time homebuyers.After prices and sales climbed across the Lower Mainland in 2015 and 2016, the B.C. and federal governments stepped in to attempt to cool the market. In the past nine months, sales have slowed and prices have curbed their meteoric rise. But while the market is softening, it’s not over-correcting, just returning to a more normal state after a wild few years, experts say.Street said he realized about six months ago that suburban developers needed to bring back promotions to entice buyers. But while amateur investors are sitting out, professional investors are jumping on board, he said.“They’re coming in right now and it’s a feeding frenzy,” he said. “These guys know this isn’t going to last. These downturns last nine months to a year, and we’re already nine months into it.”The average price of an apartment in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board coverage area, which includes Surrey, White Rock, Langley and other communities, was $383,204 last month, still up from $359,053 in November 2017. In the same month in 2014, it was $200,952.As for detached housing, the average price was $1,017,754 last month, up from $1,011,787 in November 2017 and considerably higher than $653,426 in November 2014.They’re coming in right now and it’s a feeding frenzyTrevor Street, CEO of the Partners Marketing Group read more

“The aggressor is Russia – a neighbouring country, former strategic partner that legally pledged to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Ukraine,” President Poroshenko declared.“In February 2014, Russia conducted an open and unprovoked aggression against my country, having occupied and annexed Crimea,” he continued. “Bluntly and brutally violating international law and shocking the whole world community […] Despite the fact the until now Russia refuses to officially admit its direct military invasion, today there is no doubt that this is an aggressive war against my country.”Since the conflict began in eastern Ukraine in mid-April 2014, the UN reports that close to 8000 people– including Ukrainian armed forces, civilians and members of the armed groups– have been killed, and more than 17,800 injured.The Ukrainian leader warned that to mislead the world community, Russian leadership orders that insignias be taken of its military servicemen and identification marks of its military equipment, to abandon its soldiers captured on the battlefield, and to “cynically use mobile crematoriums to eliminate traces of its crimes in Ukrainian soil.”He noted that over the past few days, the global community heard “conciliatory statements from the Russian side” in which it called for the establishment of anti-terrorist coalition.“Cool story, but really hard to believe! How can you urge an anti-terrorist coalition if you inspire terrorism right in front of your door?” President Poroshenko asked.Meanwhile, he said he was taking the opportunity during his address to express his gratitude to the international community for the considerable efforts in providing necessary assistance to the people in need in his country.“However, we must recognize that in the 21st century our Organization lacks an effective instrument to bring the aggressor-country to justice, which has stolen the territory of another sovereign State,” he added.Since the beginning of the conflict, Russia has used its veto right twice while the Security Council was considering questions related to Ukraine.“At the outset, Russia blocked a draft resolution condemning ‘fake referendum’ on Crimea’s annexation in March 2014,” he stated. “The second time, Russia put its shameful veto on the draft resolution on establishment of the International Tribunal to investigate and bring to justice all responsible for Malaysian MH17 plane crash.”President Poroshenko insisted that Ukraine stands for the gradual limitation of the veto right with its further cancellation.“I welcome the initiative of my French colleague President Hollande, supported by President Peÿa Nieto of Mexico, on the Political Declaration to restrain from the veto right among the ‘P5 members’ [of the UN Security Council, United States, France, United Kingdom, China, and Russia] in case of mass atrocities.”Furthermore, the Ukrainian leader said combatting terrorism should be one of the top priorities for the General Assembly 70th session, adding that he strongly believes that one of the most important aspects of fighting against terrorism is keeping and sharing the memory of the victims.“In this context, I propose that [the] 70th Session of the General Assembly consider the establishment of the International Day of Commemoration of Memory of the Victims of Terrorist Acts,” he stated.He also called upon the UN to launch a worldwide campaign to pressure Russian authorities to immediately release all Ukrainian citizens who have been held hostage or sentenced. He said this includes Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Olexandr Kolchenko, as well as Oleg Sentsov, a respected filmmaker sentenced to 20 years in prison “only for being Ukrainian patriot.” read more

“We are beginning to see an emerging consensus among parties. 2017 must be a year of decisions and political breakthrough,” Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), told the UN Security Council. He noted that 2016 was spent seeking to implement the agreement and begin the re-establishment of State authority across the country. Despite some gains, “Libyans are not in a position to address the root causes of divisions,” he cautioned, stressing that some important decisions must be taken, including on possible amendments to the political agreement, on ways to form a strong army and police force, and on how best to utilize the revenues from oil and gas exports for the benefit of all Libyans and end the dire humanitarian situation in the country. Mr. Kobler said many meetings have taken place to discuss amendments to the agreement, including the question of the Supreme Commandership of the army and the future composition and role of the Presidency Council. On the security front, he said that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) terrorist group, which one year ago was expanding its territory in Libya, now controls none. However, it still poses a threat and the fight against terrorism is far from over, he added. “The country’s borders remain porous. Terrorists, human and weapons traffickers and criminal gangs continue to exploit the security vacuum,” he warned, welcoming the initiative of the neighbouring States to form a panel of experts to develop recommendations on how to improve regional border security. The on-going formation of the Presidential Guard is a step in the right direction but is a transitional measure until a unified Libyan army is formed. Turning to the economy and finance, he said that despite its wealth and abundant natural resources, the country saw living conditions and public services deteriorate over the past years. However, oil production has increased to over 700,000 barrels per day, and the 2017 budget has been agreed at 37.5 billion Libyan dinars (about $26 billion). “This is an opportunity to address much-needed service delivery,” in particular in the area of health, he said. Mr. Kobler also voiced concerns about the human rights abuses against migrants, especially those in detention centres. In January, a workshop was held in Malta with Libyan experts and activists, to establish a roadmap for national reconciliation. “A process is needed to heal the wounds of years of conflict and oppression,” he said. “I am hopeful that with bold decisions and actions we will witness a political breakthrough that can place Libya on the path of peace, prosperity and stability,” he concluded. AUDIO: Martin Kobler, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), told the Security Council that 2017 “must be a year of decisions” where political deadlock in Libya is broken in order to restore basic services to the people. read more

first_imgCanada’s Yukon Mine Training Association (YMTA) has taken its training initiative to the next level with the introduction of two new ThoroughTec Cybermine surface and underground mining simulator systems. Recognising the value of simulators for safety (a theme of IM’s June issue), the YMTA has purchased four ‘plug-and-play’ interchangeable simulator cabs to cover four critical mining processes; hauling, drilling, digging and loading. The cabs chosen by YMTA to provide a complete training solution include the:Komatsu PC1250 ExcavatorCaterpillar 773F Haul TruckSandvik DD420 Drill RigSandvik EJC115LP Load Haul DumperThe YMTA is a partnership between the Yukon’s mining- and resource-related industries and the First Nations. YMTA is committed to working together to maximise employment opportunities emerging from the growth of mining and related resource sectors in the North for First Nations and other Yukoners. The YMTA also ensures that safety training is developed and delivered, meeting industry standards.Tracy Thomas, Executive Director at the YMTA said, “… the key criterion that allowed the YMTA to make its decision was the availability of cabs from ThoroughTec for equipment used in the Yukon and Northern BC. ThoroughTec had the advantage in terms of specific kits for the Yukon market, having both underground and surface simulators.”The two surface simulator cabs will operate on a six degree-of-freedom motion platform whilst the two underground simulator cabs operate on a three degree-of-freedom motion platform. Both platforms are based on latest generation electric actuators which impart accurate self motion perception cues such as acceleration, braking and suspension effects.Cybermine simulators offer a feature rich instructor station giving the instructor the ability to set up and modify a set of standard exercises, inject faults randomly or on command, view historical and real-time graphs of sub-system states, view the students’ operating violations as they occur and then replay exercises for after-action review and student debriefing.In training mode, for in stance, the drill rig simulator shows students the correct drill placement position and drilling path. The student is then scored and assessed according to correct operational procedures. Historical reports can then be compared to assess a student’s progression.The entire simulator system is housed in a well-appointed, self-contained ISO container that includes the motion platform and simulated cab, surrounded by a wide-angle projection display system and surround sound audio. The instructor station is situated next to the simulated cab for one-on-one student/instructor interaction.According to Chris Magistrale, North American Business Development Manager at ThoroughTec (Canada), “Cybermine simulators perform a crucial function in training students efficiently and cost effectively. The simulators allow students to apply the theory learned in the classroom to practice, without endangering lives and increasing unnecessary wear and tear on the real machinery.”Due to the continuous demand for increased production, operators are often forced to operate heavy machinery without sufficient training in extracting the optimum performance out of the equipment being operated. Although this brings short term revenue gains, the consequential losses in the long term are enormous, yet often unseen and misunderstood by production management teams. Simulators bridge the gap between theory and optimal operation of the actual equipment, without the reduced efficiencies (and therefore loss of production) in training on the real thing. Not only that, but simulators offer the unique capability of training the operator to react safely and efficiently to emergency situations such as brake failure or engine fire, with no safety hazard – impossible to execute in any other manner.The YMTA has big plans for simulators according to Tracy Thomas, “The simulators are going to be integrated into other programs, such as the Heavy Equipment Operator training program, in order to facilitate complete learning for the students. Students will be able to graduate with classroom, simulator and then hands on training, which will increase their employability to the Yukon industry.  There will be an open house arranged with the simulators on show, inviting industry, students and the media in to visit and experience the simulators and broadcast their arrival.”ThoroughTec has been designing and manufacturing simulators for over 20 years and is the number one simulator systems supplier to the South African military and claims to be “the largest supplier of both surface and underground simulators to the mining and construction industries globally, with over 490 simulator units deployed worldwide.”last_img read more

first_imgThis MINExpo is the first time that Manitou group has presented its full range of dedicated mining solutions (from skid-loaders through telescopic rotating handlers to high capacity telehandlers) on US soil. This is an opportunity for the “New Business” team (mines, environment, defence, etc.) to prove its expertise in dealing with the specific needs of mining, a high-growth segment for the Manitou Group across a full range of applications.“The expertise which the New Business team has built up over the past 20 years means that we can offer innovative solutions to mining professionals. The versatility of the solutions proposed by the Group contributes directly to a reduction in ‘service costs’ throughout the life of a mining site, be it in terms of machinery maintenance, construction of infrastructure or day-to-day operational tasks, while at the same time improving safety and profitability”, says François Piffard, VP New Business.The machine/attachements/services combination provided by the Manitou, Mustang and Gehl brands confirms the Manitou Group’s leadership in the provision of solutions that combine maximum safety and outstanding versatility in the highly demanding mining sector. A full range of of fully certified dedicated attachments (such as cages, winches, jibs, forks, clamps, buckets, etc.) has been developped.The new MHT 10225 (the high capacity telescopic handler) has a capacity of 22.5 t and is ideally suitable for the requirements of mining companies. It was shown equipped with a new tyre clamp capable of changinga 12-t tyre and a cylinder handler capable of handling cylinders from 152 to 572 mm.Equipment to displayed at the show included:MRT 2150 – Rotating Telescopic HandlerMHT10225 – Telescopic handler including live demonstrations of the CylinderHandler & Tire HandlerM50-4 masted fork liftMT732 telescopic handlerMLT625 telescopic handlerMustang 2056 skid loaderlast_img read more

first_img People who agree with #womenagainstfeminism are missing the whole point of modern feminism.— Randi (@RandiLindsay) July 29, 2014 Whoops! We couldn’t find this Tweet Source: Randi/Twitter Source: BambiKhan/Twitter And now the latest retort is Confused Cats Against Feminism….Who are these cats and why are they confused?Well, mostly because they’re cats, they can’t read, they don’t know what feminism is, and they don’t know what the signs they’re ‘holding’ say.Okay, why are the cats ‘confused’ then?The cats of Confused Cats Against Feminism are ‘holding’ signs because:Cats need a place where they can post pictures of themselves holding signs denouncing feminism for assorted weird reasons that  that don’t seem to have anything to do with what feminism is actually about.Okay, show me these catsHere’s a selection: Source: Tumblr Source: Tumblr Source: TumblrWhat are these ‘assorted weird reasons’ for denouncing feminism that they’re poking fun at?Confused Cats Against Feminism is undeniably having a go at the practice of posting the ‘I don’t need feminism because…’ images on Tumblr and Twitter.Images like: Source: Tumblr Source: Tumblr Source: TumblrAnd what’s the reaction to the cats been?Fairly positive.Was all reaction to ‘Women Against Feminism’ negative?Not at all. A Time opinion piece by Cathy Young detailed that:… while the anti-feminist rebellion has its eye-rolling moments, it raises valid questions about the state of Western Feminism in the 21st century.Young goes on to say that historical anti-feminism was “invariably about defending women’s traditional roles” and that much of 2014’s anti-feminism reflects that. She also acknowledges that some anti-feminists are against the practice of ‘belittling and demonising men’ and encouraging women to see themselves as victims.An article in the Scottish student newspaper The Journal details that:The experiences of the members of Women Against Feminism paints a picture of feminism as a bullying and aggressive force that you can disagree with at your peril. They have experienced feminism as an isolating clique who dictatorially enforce one radical party line on matters feminist and political and who brand those who disagree with them as bullies and traitors.What’s all this about ‘western Feminism’?Some of the postings under the #WomenAgainstFeminism umbrella have made a distinction between ‘modern’ or ‘western feminism’ and feminism as a whole. Source: TumblrYoung, writing in Time refers repeatedly to “western feminism” and states that:Women Against Feminism are quite willing to acknowledge and credit feminism’s past battles for women’s rights in the West as well as the severe oppression women still suffer in many parts of the world.The I Wanted Wings blog provides “fictionalised accounts of real events that have happened to real women living in our world today” – women in India, Pakistan, Niger. Women living with injustice. It details the past “250 years of women and men campaigning for women to be given equal rights to men to prevent these kinds of injustices and abuses on the grounds of gender taking place” and asks for the Pakistani woman, the Indian woman and the little girl in Niger to be considered:Every second, a child will be born female in a country where she will persecuted for this random biological occurrence for the rest of her life. So before you hold up your anti-Feminist placard proudly and smile at your own sense of empowerment, think not what Feminism can do for you, but what it can do for that one girl. She needs someone to stand up for her. That someone could be you.What’s going on with #WomenAgainstFeminism right now?The blog is still accepting submissions daily, and the Facebook page is up to over 16,000 likes.However the hashtag has been overtaken somewhat by people decrying its existence: Waiiiiit…. I thought #WomenAgainstFeminism was an internet cat joke. ITS A REAL THING?!?— BambiKhan (@BambiKhan) July 29, 2014 What about this meerkat?Undecided.Read: The ‘Hairy Legs Club’ is telling women it’s ok not to shave – and it’s causing uproar> Whoops! We couldn’t find this Tweet LAST WEEK YOUR eyes may have been drawn to news about a Tumblr blog called Women Against Feminism.It was accompanied by a hashtag on Twitter and a growing number of images of women holding signs which read ‘I don’t need feminism because…’.Anti-feminist blogger Janet Bloomfield explained to the BBC that she saw it as:A space on the internet where all these young women are coming together to say “ok, hold up, we have some issues here and we want to discuss them without being called stupid, without being called ignorant, without being called uneducated”.The creator of the Women Against Feminism Tumblr meanwhile gave several reasons (you can read them all here) for being against feminism, including: Believing that equal rights already exist, and feminists want more, and want to be victimsBelieving that feminism is about censorshipBelieving that feminism promotes a ‘helpless victim cult’Believing that feminism is discriminatory, hypocritical, elitist and so on.While the movement was quick to experience a surge in popularity, it was also the subject of online derision and disbelief, Twitter discussions and numerous media reports.Blog posts were written in response… Source: I Wanted Wings Retaliatory mages were posted on Tumblr and Twitter…last_img read more

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Themi Adamopolou, formerly the bass player of iconic 1960s rock group The Flies, became a missionary after a dramatic conversion to Christianity, but his latest journey – challenging the Ebola disease in Africa – is perhaps his most important act to date. The Ebola virus has killed at least 3,900 people in his adopted home of Sierra Leone.Until recently, he refused to leave his Holy Orthodox mission in the country, preferring to stay at his post to help people protect themselves from the virus, rather than taking a much-needed break in Australia.Father Themi has also taken on a new quest – offering support to white African albinos, who are outcasts in African society. He is taking care of group of albinos at his mission, demanding equal rights, jobs and scholarships, to help them fight discrimination.Albinism is a congenital lack of the melanin pigment in the skin, eyes and hair which protects from the sun’s ultraviolet. As well as social discrimination across Africa, albinos are vulnerable to medical complications At its inaugural meeting recently, attended by more than 300 people, the Sierra Leone Albino Association (SLAA) said albinos in the West African country were “facing stigmatisation, marginalisation and harassment”.Since late-2007, more than 60 albinos, including children, have been killed, their limbs hacked off and sold to witch doctors who concoct charms their clients believe will make them rich and powerful. Indicative of the Sierra Leone government’s poor record on the issue, it still has no records indicating how many albinos live in the country.Amnesty International’s Solomon Sogbandi said the formation of the SLAA was a vital step forward to “provide an enabling environment for their cause and act as a pressure group on government to ensure their social and human rights are enhanced”.When he heard of their plight, as ever, Father Themi couldn’t stand aside. “No, they are not Europeans visiting our mission in Sierra Leone, they are indigenous Sierra Leoneans who happen to be albinos,” says Father Themi.“Albinos not only suffer severe social isolation, discrimination and provocations, but also experience associated physical ailments – extreme skin sensitivity to the sun’s rays leading to infections and even cancer. They may also be afflicted with low vision or blindness. In Tanzania they’re actually hunted and killed for witchcraft purposes.”With the SLAA launched, Father Themi is finally on his way back to Australia, touching down on August 21. But the trip isn’t simply a rest. With fundraising events for his projects in Sierra Leone taking place in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the work goes on. For more details on Father Themi’s work and his Australian fundraising events (Brisbane 22 August; Melbourne 12 September, Sydney, TBC) go to* THEMI’S JOURNEY Themistoclese Anthony Adamopoulo was born in 1945 in Alexandria, Egypt into a Greek family, but anticipating developments in Egypt at the time, his parents made the decision in 1956 to migrate to Melbourne.Arriving in Australia before his teens, Themi attened Williamstown High School. Gifted academically, he won a scholarship to Melbourne University, where he began a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 1964.During the 1960s, Themi became a founding member of a rock band called The Flies, deferring his studies to pursue a career in the music industry and gaining intense local and interstate popularity. After completing a Masters of Education, Themi went on to teach, but after reading the Gospels countless times, he sold everything he had, gave it to the poor and began a walk from Melbourne to Brisbane “seeking God’s will”.Accepted into the Greek Orthodox Church, Father Themi took up theological studies in Australia before heading to the USA where he completed a Master of Theological Studies. He returned to Australia, and in 1986 was one of the founding lecturers at St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College in Sydney. His work in Africa began in Kenya in the mid- 1990s.last_img read more

first_imgΤο γεγονός ότι οι νέες γενιές βρίσκουν όλο και πιο δύσκολο να πλησιάσουν τη σημερινή τιμή των σπιτιών και η κτηματαγορά τους «πετάει» έξω αδιάφορα, δεν εμποδίζει αρκετά μεγάλο αριθμό συμπολιτών μας να χρεώνονται και να χτίζουν κατά πολύ μεγαλύτερα σπίτια από αυτά στα οποία πέρασαν τα παιδικά τους χρόνια.Τα σπίτια, όσο και αν φαίνεται περίεργο, με τη ραγδαία αύξηση του πληθυσμού και τις τιμές των σπιτιών να ακολουθούν -σφυρίζοντας αδιάφορα- την ανιούσα, ζητούν όλο και περισσότερο χώρο.Και όχι μόνο αυτό, αλλά ποιοτικά υλικά που πριν μερικές δεκαετίες, διεκδικούσαν μόνο ελάχιστες από τις μανσιόν του Τούρακ και του Μπράιτον. Δηλαδή, κουζίνες πολυτελείας με μαρμάρινες ή πέτρινες επιφάνειες, πολυτελείς επενδύσεις κουφωμάτων και, φυσικά, ό,τι το καλύτερο και πιο αναπαυτικό για το πάτωμα, όπως τα καλύτερα χαλιά και μάρμαρα.Πολλοί από τους σημερινούς νέους δεύτερης γενιάς, αν κοιτάξουμε ανάμεσά μας, που όταν ήταν παιδιά ζούσαν σε σπίτια του Ρίτσμοντ ή του Περάν, με άλλες τρεις ή τέσσερις οικογένειες μαζί, σήμερα διεκδικούν την απόκτηση πελώριων σπιτιών που ορισμένοι από τους χώρους τους είναι απλώς για το θεαθήναι.Οι καιροί, βέβαια, άλλαξαν και ό,τι ήταν «φυσικό» και «σύνηθες» χθες, σήμερα φαντάζει αδιανόητο και απωθητικό.ΤΙ ΛΕΝΕ ΟΙ ΑΡΙΘΜΟΙΣύμφωνα με έρευνα οικονομολόγων του CommSec, η έκταση του πατώματος ενός μέσου σπιτιού που χτίστηκε το 2015-2016 ήταν 231 τετραγωνικά μέτρα, δηλαδή κατά 0,7% περισσότερο από ό,τι τον προηγούμενο χρόνο.Η Αυστραλία, σύμφωνα με τους ίδιους μελετητές, κτίζει τα μεγαλύτερα σπίτια στον κόσμο και μόνο οι ΗΠΑ προηγούνται στην κούρσα αυτή.Το ενδιαφέρον είναι ότι οι τάσεις αυτές στην πέμπτη Ήπειρο δεν σχετίζονται με τα χαμηλά επιτόκια, όπως θα υπέθετε κάποιος, υποστηρίζουν οι οικονομολόγοι της ComSec.Στο ερώτημα «γιατί ένας μεγάλος αριθμός νέων οικογενειαρχών δεν μπορούν να αγοράσουν σπίτι σήμερα», η απάντηση που δίνουν ορισμένοι είναι ότι «τα θέλουν όλα δικά τους». Καλά αυτοκίνητα, μπρέκφαστ σε ακριβά στέκια και απαιτητικές εξόδους.Τις τελευταίες εβδομάδες ο ομογενής οικονομολόγος Στίβεν Κουκούλας, δέχτηκε σκληρή κριτική στα μέσα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης, όταν εξέφρασε την άποψη ότι η πρόσβαση στην απόκτηση στέγης δεν είναι χειρότερη σήμερα από ό,τι ήταν για την περασμένη γενιά, η οποία είχε χαμηλότερο εισόδημα και ήταν επιφορτισμένη με πολύ υψηλότερα επιτόκια.«Ποτέ δεν ήταν εύκολη η απόκτηση ιδιόκτητης στέγης και ούτε πρόκειται να είναι μελλοντικά. Σήμερα όμως παίρνεις πολύ περισσότερα για τα χρήματα που πληρώνεις» είπε ο κ. Κουκούλας, αναφερόμενος στο μέγεθος και την ποιότητα των νέων σπιτιών.Όσον αφορά το μέγεθος των σπιτιών, τα στοιχεία της CommSec δείχνουν ότι η Αυστραλία έχει χάσει την πρώτη θέση που αφορά το μέγεθος των σπιτιών.Από το τέλος του 1990 η μέση κατοικία στην Αυστραλία ήταν μεγαλύτερης έκτασης από αυτή της ΗΠΑ. Από το 2013, εντούτοις, η ΗΠΑ έχει ξεπεράσει την Αυστραλία στο θέμα αυτό, αλλά η Αυστραλία εξακολουθεί να προηγείται κατά 7% της Ν. Ζηλανδίας και του Καναδά.ΣΥΡΡΙΚΝΩΣΗ ΤΩΝ ΔΙΑΜΕΡΙΣΜΑΤΩΝΑντίθετα από τα σπίτια που μεγαλώνουν και απλώνονται σε βάρος της αυλής και των λουλουδιών, τα διαμερίσματα που χτίζονται σήμερα είναι όλο και πιο μικρά, ιδιαίτερα στους χώρους των υπνοδωματίων που σε μερικές περιπτώσεις μόλις και χωρούν ένα κρεββάτι.Πιο συγκεκριμένα, ενώ τα διαμερίσματα που χτίζονταν το 2000, ήταν κατά μέσο όρο 140 τετραγωνικά μέτρα, σήμερα πλησιάζουν τα 130.Ο επικεφαλής του CommSec, Craig James, δίνει την εξήγηση ότι «αυτό οφείλεται, κατά πάσα πιθανότητα στο γεγονός ότι υπάρχει ανάγκη για περισσότερα σπίτια, προκειμένου να στεγαστεί ο ταχύτατα αυξανόμενος πληθυσμός της Αυστραλίας.Εν τω μεταξύ, τους οικονομολόγους αλλά και την Αποθεματική Τράπεζα Αυστραλίας, φαίνεται να απασχολεί το γεγονός ότι η πληθώρα των διαμερισμάτων που χτίζονται σήμερα, ενδέχεται να προκαλέσει κάθετη πτώση των τιμών στην κτηματαγορά, τα επόμενα χρόνια.Δεν εκλείπει βέβαια και η άποψη ότι αυτό δεν πρόκειται να συμβεί, για το λόγο ότι οι νέοι, αλλά και πολλοί από τους ηλικιωμένους ζητούν να αγοράσουν μικρότερα σπίτια. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

first_imgSPOKANE — The Spokane Valley City Council has decided to take a position on whether Washington should be split into two states.A proposal was recently filed by three Republican state representatives to split the state and create the new state of Liberty out of Eastern Washington.Spokane Valley City Councilman Ed Pace won support Tuesday night for the city to take a position on the plan. A vote could happen as early as January.Pace says starting from scratch with a “fresh state government” might be the right thing to do.The Spokesman-Review says Pace’s proposal drew groans from the audience.Similar efforts to split the state have been mounted as recently as last year, and as long ago as 1915.last_img

first_imgMIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Police are investigating after several parking pay stations were stolen at different locations in Miami Beach.Miami Beach Police believe the thieves are backing into the machines with a pickup truck, knocking them down and then loading them up in their truck before speeding off.The most recent incident occurred near Sheridan Avenue and West 42nd Street, Thursday morning.Six stations have been stolen so far across Miami Beach.City officials said the credit card information collected onto the machines is encrypted and of no use to the crooks.Authorities continue to search for a dark colored Dodge Ram connected to the thefts.If you have any information on these thefts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward. Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

first_imgMore on this topic NOOK Newsstand Adds More Titles From Meredith and Time Inc. Report: Meredith Wants to Expand Mag Stable; Predicts Low to Mid-Single Digit Ad Growth Circ Down 1.9 Percent Through 1H The Convergence of Print and Digital Brands Meredith Launches Women’s Online Network Time Inc.’s Maghound LaunchesJust In Four More Execs Depart SourceMedia in Latest Restructuring This Just In: Magazines Are Not TV Networks Shanker Out, Litterick In as CEO of EnsembleIQ PE Firm Acquires Majority Stake in Industry Dive BabyCenter Sold to Ziff Davis Parent J2 Media | News & Notes Meredith Corp. Makes Digital-Side Promotions | People on the MovePowered by Meredith Corp. joins the growing ranks of publishers who have reached subscription agreements with Apple and will start offering annual subscriptions ranging from $9.99 to $14.99 and monthly subscriptions of $1.99/month for three titles: Better Homes and Gardens, Parents and Fitness. Print subscribers will have free access to their current subscription, while single-copy sales are also available through the App Store. Subscriptions and single copies for Better Homes and Gardens, Parents and Fitness are already available for the Android tablet via Next Issue Media, and for Family Circle and More on the NOOKColor. Zinio offers subscriptions and single issues for Meredith’s Special Interest Media, Creative Collection and Hispanic brands. Since Apple unveiled its subscription plan in February, major publishers including Conde Nast, Time Inc. and Hearst have struck subscription deals for iPad editions of select titles. Earlier this month, Time Inc. announced that all 21 of its titles will be available on tablets by year-end. last_img read more

first_imgWashington: The US Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favour of President Donald Trump, allowing him to proceed with plans to divert billions of dollars in Pentagon funds towards the construction of his border wall with Mexico. “Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall,” Trump tweeted in reaction to the ruling. “Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!” Also Read – UK, EU Brexit teams to meet twice-weekly in September Advertise With Us Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2019Trump declared a national emergency earlier this year in a bid to bypass Congress and obtain funding for his signature project after the standoff led to the longest government shutdown in US history. Also Read – Climate change: Australia downgrades outlook for Great Barrier Reef to ‘very poor’ Advertise With Us But about 20 US states along with rights and environmental groups and border communities are backing lawsuits that claim the emergency declaration violates the constitution. Last May, a federal judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in their favour, issuing a temporary injunction against using Defense Department funds for wall construction. Advertise With Us On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court decision with a 5-4 ruling, writing that the government had “made a sufficient showing at this stage” that the groups did not have the standing to challenge the allocation of funds. The ruling will allow Trump temporary access to some USD 2.5 billion for the project while the legal battles play out. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately vowed to seek an expedited decision from the Ninth Circuit “to halt the irreversible and imminent damage from Trump’s border wall.” “Border communities, the environment, and our Constitution’s separation of powers will be permanently harmed should Trump get away with pillaging military funds for a xenophobic border wall Congress denied,” said Dror Ladin, an attorney with the ACLU’s national security project. Trump made the construction of a wall to stem illegal immigration from Latin America central to his successful 2016 campaign for the presidency.last_img read more

first_imgGold prices plunged to over three-month lows and ended below the Rs 26,000-mark on Friday tracking the fall in metal prices overseas amid growing fears of an impending interest rate hike by the US central bank in December.The yellow metal prices fell Rs 300 to close at Rs 25,950 per 10 gram at the bullion market, while silver prices slumped by Rs 500 to close at Rs 34,400 per kg.In the overseas markets, the precious metal prices traded just above $1,080 per ounce, touching the lowest levels not seen since 2010.”In technical terms all precious metals look badly affected, so further selling should be expected which will presumably exacerbate or prolong the price slide,” said Commerzbank Corporates & Markets in a note.Sentiments in the precious metal markets was dampened after a slew of economic data in the US showed that the country’s labour market remains robust enough for the US Federal Reserve to raise policy rate as early as next month.Last week, in her Congressional testimony, US Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen had hinted at monetary tightening next month.Amid growing indications of a rate hike in December, the US dollar has appreciated to multi-month highs, weighing on safe-haven assets like gold.”The Fed has been a key driver of precious metals over the recent weeks and this will likely continue in the weeks and months ahead,” the Bullion Desk quoted Georgette Boele, co-ordinator FX and precious metals strategy at ABN AMRO.”Our above-consensus Fed call should push gold prices towards $1,000 per ounce this year and $900 per ounce in 2016 mainly because of investor position liquidation,” she added.last_img read more

first_imgThe Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai’s Dalal Street. The markets may fail to find a way up during the week ahead because of global and domestic uncertainties.REUTERS/Danish SiddiquiAfter the 11,760-level breakout failed and the benchmark index fell through multiple supports, traders expect further weakness. The index closed in the red for eight successive sessions. Any likely dead-cat bounce will accord an occasion to sell, according to market observers. Technical experts see a strong resistance zone in the 11,500-11,550 zone.The market has given much of the gain since is the rally began October last year. If the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty fails to hold above the 11,000-level, a fall to 10,000 level could be expected, according to some technical experts. The domestic equity market continued to correct through the week ending in the red for eight sessions. Volatility index India VIX rose again last week by 9.58 percent to 26.33 touching the 2015 levels. Nifty’s net loss during last week was 433 points or 3.70 percent. Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) benchmark Sensex closed at 37,462 points on Friday, down 1,325 points or 3.42 percent for the week.Growing caution ahead of the May 23 result of the general election to the Lok Sabha could enhance the market’s volatility and bearish pressure. The growing perception that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might return to head a minority government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has added to market concerns. The week ahead will be crucial for the market after eight successive sessions of the market closing in the red. Domestic and global uncertainties will guide the market. Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE) benchmarks Sensex and Nifty respectively are showing signs of weakening further with RSI and MACD indicators on the decline. The price action is entering the Ichimoku cloud indicating market uncertainty. Zerodha KiteThe premium on Nifty 50 futures has shrunken to about 10 points or 0.08 percent from an average of nearly 0.5 percent two weeks back. Nifty 50 May FUT closed on Friday at 11,288, about 0.41 percent down from the day’s opening. In comparison, Nifty 50 closed at 11,278 points, shedding 0.2 percent during intraday trade. Studies show the relative strength index (RSI) on the weekly chart at 52.32, emphasizing a lack of trade momentum and does not show any appreciable divergence from price action. The moving average convergence divergence (MACD) indicator for the same frequency is still bullish, but the converging 9-day and 26-day moving averages signify a likely turnaround.Foreign portfolio investors (FPI) pulled out a net Rs 3,207 crore from the market in May hastening the market decline, according to an agency report. The worsening US-China trade wars and India’s rising political uncertainty are to blame for the reversal of the trend during the first four months of the calendar year. FPIs had poured a net Rs 16,093 crore in April, Rs 45,981 crore in March, and Rs 11,182 crore in February into both equity and debt markets.The continuing results season offers room for stock-specific play while companies with exposure to western markets may be on shaky ground. More than 400 companies are scheduled to report their FY19 Q4 results this week. FMCG major ITC will come out with its March quarter earnings on Monday. The market expects ITC to report about Rs 3,226 crore net profit, up 10 percent year-on-year (up 0.5 percent from the previous quarter). Net sales are projected to rise by 8 percent Y-o-Y (up 2.1 percent over the previous quarter) to Rs 11,460 crore. HDFC, scheduled to declared its March quarter earnings on Monday, is another keenly watched scrip. The market expects robust growth in the company’s market share.last_img read more

first_imgAfghan victims receive treatment at a hospital following a suicide attack in Jalalabad on 10 July 2018.At least 10 people, mostly civilians, were killed and four others wounded on Tuesday in a suicide attack on a security checkpost in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.A rebel detonated his suicide vest around 10:00am in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar, the regional governor’s spokesperson Attaullah Kogyanai told Efe news.The attack, which also damaged nearby shops and civilian vehicles, had targeted a security post for checking and registering vehicles passing through the area.Nangarhar public health directorate spokesperson Inamullah Myakhil said the wounded, including two members of Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, were moved to the hospital.Police spokesperson Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal confirmed that the incident was a suicide attack and added a probe was on. No insurgent group claimed the attack.Nangarhar is a hotbed of insurgency with the presence of many terror groups, including the Taliban and the Islamic State.On 1 July, 19 people — mostly from the minority Hindu and Sikh communities — were killed and 21 were wounded in another suicide attack in Jalalabad, which coincided with a visit by president Ashraf Ghani.The Afghan government has increasingly lost ground to the Taliban since the end of the NATO combat mission in 2015, and now controls just 56 per cent of the country, according to the US government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.last_img read more

first_img I could be playing more Red Dead Redemption 2 right now. I should be playing Red Dead Redemption 2 right now. Rockstar’s cowboy opus is right around the corner, and we’ve been playing our review copy as much as possible within an ethical work week. But we still have some ways to go before delivering final thoughts, as we explained this morning.But you don’t have to sink hours and hours into Red Dead Redemption 2 and its horseback conversations before the game gets your brain churning. Even just the first few hours we’ve played so far have offered plenty to chew on thematically as well as new gameplay systems to hogtie into submission like a runaway snitch. So here are some early thoughts on Red Dead Redemption 2’s hateful, grateful opening hours.I say hateful not necessarily because of the game’s tone, although surprising no one these 1899 outlaws have less-than-stellar things to say about non-white members of the gang. Rather, because cowboy movies are so much more influential than cowboy histories, the narrative players are first thrust into reminded me a lot of Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 cowboy chamber piece The Hateful Eight, a comparison I’m sure Rockstar loves considering the strong cinema envy throughout pretty much its entire output.Don’t worry, the whole game isn’t about you being stuck in a snowy cabin. But the beginning sure is. A sharp contrast from sparse deserts of the Mexico-border setting in the first Red Dead Redemption, the sequel initially has you trudging through the snow in our cowboy boots spotting targets by oil lanterns during shootouts. The opening also has a similar desperate paranoia as your gang huddles together to stay warm and tell whatever lies are necessary to seize the nearby shelter. And it looks gorgeous in a wide, pastoral, 70mm way. The setting sun obscured by blizzard winds make this journey feel doomed even if you don’t have the haunting context of the first Red Dead, which this is a prequel to.Once your camp is established, the first camp of several we set up as we moved across the game’s slowly opening map, you’re then tasked with not just surviving but thriving. Dutch’s commitment to living free that he bestows on the rest of the gang, including player character Arthur Morgan and Red Dead 1 hero John Marston, is why they view themselves as more honorable than lesser gangs like the O’Driscolls even as their way of life fades away. The next few missions are meant to make you feel grateful for what you have like camaraderie with the gang as you skillfully shoot your way through a ramshackle O’Driscoll hideout or hunting skill to find fresh deer meat on the treacherous mountain to feed your starving people with.The gameplay systems used to make these points aren’t revolutionary but feature the polish and craft you expect from Rockstar’s undervalued employees. I still don’t enjoy the touchy horse-riding controls but respect the confident methodical pace they force on you. The old-timey guns (after you clean them) still cut down foes with the dramatic heft of a spaghetti Western movie, even if you don’t slow down time with dead-eye. And maybe it’s because these earlier linear tutorial missions are set on a multi-tiered mountain instead of more expansive open-world, but the fact that general combat and navigation totally holds up with action-adventure games like the new Tomb Raider is a real improvement for Rockstar.Now that I’m off of the mountain (which also has shades of Skyrim’s opening) and in greener pastures, I don’t know yet how the rest of Red Dead Redemption 2 will play out, what it’ll feel like or which movies it will remind me of. But the opening was powerful enough that, again, I really should be playing more right now. Not that many more people need convincing about this game, but if you were on the fence, hopefully you have a better idea of what to expect at the start. Look out for more Red Dead Redemption 2 thoughts as we play more of it.For more on Red Dead Redemption 2, to tide you over until you can play for yourself, check out the latest gameplay trailer and character portraits and fancy special edition.View as: One Page Slides1/121. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Stay on target ‘Red Dead Online’ Finally Fully LaunchesThe Actual Pinkertons Are Suing the Makers of ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ last_img read more

first_imgLast Friday’s uncontrolled spread of horrific videos on the Christchurch mosque attack and a propaganda coup for espousing hateful ideologies raised questions about social media. The tech companies scrambled to take action on time due to the speed and volume of content which was uploaded, reuploaded and shared by the users worldwide. In Washington and Silicon Valley, the incident crystallized growing concerns about the extent to which government and market forces have failed to check the power of social media. The failure highlighted the social media companies struggle to police content that are massively lucrative and persistently vulnerable to outside manipulation despite years of promises to do better. After the white supremacist live-streamed the attack and uploaded the video to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms across the internet. These tech companies faced back lashes from the media and internet users worldwide, to an extent where they were regarded as complicit in promoting white supremacism too. In response to the backlash, Google and Facebook provides status report on what they went through when the video was reported, the kind of challenges they faced and what are the next steps to combat such incidents in future. Google’s report so far… Google in an email to Motherboard says it employs 10,000 people across to moderate the company’s platforms and products. They also described a process they would follow when a user reports a piece of potentially violating content—such as the attack video; which is The user flagged report will go to a human moderator to assess. The moderator is instructed to flag all pieces of content related to the attack as “Terrorist Content,” including full-length or sections of the manifesto. Because of the document’s length the email tells moderators not to spend an extensive amount of time trying to confirm whether a piece of content does contain part of the manifesto. Instead, if the moderator is unsure, they should err on the side of caution and still label the content as “Terrorist Content,” which will then be reviewed by a second moderator. The second moderator is told to take time to verify that it is a piece of the manifesto, and appropriately mark the content as terrorism no matter how long or short the section may be. Moderators are told to mark the manifesto or video as terrorism content unless there is an Educational, Documentary, Scientific, or Artistic (EDSA) context to it. Further Google adds that they want to preserve journalistic or educational coverage of the event, but does not want to allow the video or manifesto itself to spread throughout the company’s services without additional context. Google at some point had taken the unusual step of automatically rejecting any footage of violence from the attack video, cutting out the process of a human determining the context of the clip. If, say, a news organization was impacted by this change, the outlet could appeal the decision, Google commented. “We made the call to basically err on the side of machine intelligence, as opposed to waiting for human review,” YouTube’s Product Officer Neal Mohan told the Washington Post in an article published Monday. Google also tweaked the search function to show results from authoritative news sources. It suspended the ability to search for clips by upload date, making it harder for people to find copies of the attack footage. “Since Friday’s horrific tragedy, we’ve removed tens of thousands of videos and terminated hundreds of accounts created to promote or glorify the shooter,” a YouTube spokesperson said. “Our teams are continuing to work around the clock to prevent violent and graphic content from spreading, we know there is much more work to do,” the statement added. Facebook’s update so far… Facebook on Wednesday also shared an update on how they have been working with the New Zealand Police to support their investigation. It provided additional information on how their products were used to circulate videos and how they plan to improve them. So far Facebook has provided the following information: The video was viewed fewer than 200 times during the live broadcast. No users reported the video during the live broadcast. Including the views during the live broadcast, the video was viewed about 4,000 times in total before being removed from Facebook. Before Facebook was alerted to the video, a user on 8chan posted a link to a copy of the video on a file-sharing site. The first user report on the original video came in 29 minutes after the video started, and 12 minutes after the live broadcast ended. In the first 24 hours, Facebook removed more than 1.2 million videos of the attack at upload, which were therefore prevented from being seen on our services. Approximately 300,000 additional copies were removed after they were posted. As there were questions asked to Facebook about why artificial intelligence ( AI) didn’t detect the video automatically. Facebook says AI has made massive progress over the years to proactively detect the vast majority of the content it can remove. But it’s not perfect. “To achieve that we will need to provide our systems with large volumes of data of this specific kind of content, something which is difficult as these events are thankfully rare.” says Guy Rosen VP Product Management at Facebook. Guy further adds, “AI is an incredibly important part of our fight against terrorist content on our platforms, and while its effectiveness continues to improve, it is never going to be perfect. People will continue to be part of the equation, whether it’s the people on our team who review content, or people who use our services and report content to us. That’s why last year Facebook more than doubled the number of people working on safety and security to over 30,000 people, including about 15,000 content reviewers to report content that they find disturbing.” Facebook further plans to: Improve the image and video matching technology so that they can stop the spread of viral videos of such nature, regardless of how they were originally produced. React faster to this kind of content on a live streamed video. Continue to combat hate speech of all kinds on their platform. Expand industry collaboration through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). Challenges Google and Facebook faced to report the video content According to Motherboard, Google saw an unprecedented number of attempts to post footage from the attack, sometimes as fast as a piece of content per second. But the challenge they faced was to block access to the killer’s so-called manifesto, a 74-page document that spouted racist views and explicit calls for violence. Google described the difficulties of moderating the manifesto, pointing to its length and the issue of users sharing the snippets of the manifesto that Google’s content moderators may not immediately recognise. “The manifesto will be particularly challenging to enforce against given the length of the document and that you may see various segments of various lengths within the content you are reviewing,” says Google. A source with knowledge of Google’s strategy for moderating the New Zealand attack material said this can complicate moderation efforts because some outlets did use parts of the video and manifesto. UK newspaper The Daily Mail let readers download the terrorist’s manifesto directly from the paper’s own website, and Sky News Australia aired parts of the attack footage, BuzzFeed News reported. On the other hand Facebook faces a challenge to automatically discern such content from visually similar, innocuous content. For example if thousands of videos from live-streamed video games are flagged by the systems, reviewers could miss the important real-world videos where they could alert first responders to get help on the ground. Another challenge for Facebook is similar to what Google faces, which is the proliferation of many different variants of videos makes it difficult for the image and video matching technology to prevent spreading further. Facebook found that a core community of bad actors working together to continually re-upload edited versions of the video in ways designed to defeat their detection. Second, a broader set of people distributed the video and unintentionally made it harder to match copies. Websites and pages, eager to get attention from people seeking out the video, re-cut and re-recorded the video into various formats. In total, Facebook found and blocked over 800 visually-distinct variants of the video that were circulating. Both companies seem to be working hard to improve their products and gain user’s trust and confidence back. Read Next How social media enabled and amplified the Christchurch terrorist attack Google to be the founding member of CDF (Continuous Delivery Foundation) Google announces the stable release of Android Jetpack Navigationlast_img read more

first_imgAn ongoing strike in the Caribbean port city of Limón hasn’t kept President Luis Guillermo Solís from traveling to Canada Sunday to drum up foreign investment from a country that has largely overlooked Costa Rica. The president has a difficult backdrop to the pro-business narrative he planed to tell on this trip as the longshoremenstrike enters its sixth day and seven former public officials go on trial for corruption in a canceled gold mining concession to a Canadian company on Monday.Solís and his delegation will meet with some 100 potential Canadian investors and business representatives who already have operations in Costa Rica, in several meetings Monday in Toronto. The Costa Rica Investment Agency, CINDE, targeted possible investors in clean technology, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, agro-industrial, and light manufacturing. On Tuesday, Solís will speak at the Toronto Global Forum to some 400 business representatives from Canada and the United States.The president is accompanied by Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Mora, Foreign Minister Manuel González and CINDE General Director Jorge Sequeria. The delegation is joined by representatives from the Union of Private-Sector Chambers and Associations, including its vice president, Víctor Ruiz.“I’m convinced that the resources that come from foreign investment reflect the interest and belief of these companies in Costa Rica’s human talent, the spectacular conditions that our country has to move forward, and also in the incentives we offer investors,” Solís said.“This is why we need to respect contracts, why we need to guarantee the legality of contracts, like the case of APM Terminals in Moín,” Solís continued, anticipating how the strike might play abroad. “Without this guarantee, it’s impossible to convince these businesses that we are a serious country,” he added.“Costa Rica doesn’t need violence, it needs jobs; not to block the port but to open the country to more possibilities,” Solís said to applause at the Lito Pérez Stadium in Puntarenas on Sunday.“We have a relationship with a lot of potential for growth in the areas of commerce and investment. Only in the last five years, Canadian investment has totaled $173 million,” Mora said, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.That $173 million lagged behind investment from Costa Rica’s larger trading partners. In 2013, Canada invested only $41.9 million in Costa Rica, significantly less than the United States ($1.24 billion) and Mexico ($132 million), according to figures from the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX). Costa Rica and Canada have had a free trade agreement since 2002.The Canadian mining company Infinito Gold, however, has been arguing that Costa Rica violated the terms of that agreement when it annulled its concession for a gold mine. The government and the company have been embroiled in a conflict over the Crucitas gold mine since in 2010. Infinito filed a Request for Arbitration with the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes seeking $94 million in damages from the Costa Rican government.Former President Óscar Arias’ (2006-2010) Environment Minister Roberto Dobles and six other public officials go on trial Monday for an alleged conflict of interest in granting the concession. If found guilty, the defendants could face between two and six years in prison. Facebook Comments Related posts:UPDATE: Atlantic ports paralyzed after dockworkers go on ‘indefinite’ strike Solís administration, striking dockworkers at loggerheads over port concession Costa Rica’s Solís calls for revival of free trade agreement with Canada Costa Rica attracts over $2 billion in foreign direct investment in 2014last_img read more

first_imgJERUSALEM (AP) – An international rights group condemned Gaza’s Hamas rulers Thursday for failing to investigate the public killing of seven Palestinian men accused of spying for Israel.A Hamas government spokesman called the condemnation “biased” and said the incident had been investigated.The Human Rights Watch condemnation comes the same day Hamas is ending an amnesty for suspected collaborators to turn themselves into authorities. A countdown on the Interior Ministry’s website shows the hours nearing zero. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Comments   Share   Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories Gaza’s Interior Ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan said Hamas security forces would conduct large-scale arrests of suspected collaborators as soon as the weekslong amnesty period ended on Thursday evening.Hamas has executed six men for collaboration since seizing power of the territory in 2007, but 32 others were killed by Hamas gunmen without trials.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The New York-based Human Rights Watch said Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh promised an investigation after masked Hamas gunmen killed the suspects and dragged their bodies through the streets four months ago.“Hamas’s inability or unwillingness to investigate the brazen murders of seven men makes a mockery of its claims that it’s upholding the rule of law in Gaza,” said Sarah Leah Whitson of HRW.Some of the men were shot, tied to motorcycles and had their bodies dragged through the streets as bystanders spat and hurled shoes at the corpses. A note pinned to a nearby pole said they were killed by the Hamas military wing, the Qassam Brigades.The men were imprisoned by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, but it appeared they were handed over to the gunmen during a November bout of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.Collaborators are widely loathed in Palestinian society, seen as people who undermine Palestinian efforts to achieve national liberation.Hamas government spokesman Ihab Ghussein said a committee had investigated the incident and submitted recommendations to the government, which he said were implemented. He would not say what those recommendations were. He said Human Rights Watch had not acted professionally in condemning Hamas without seeking further clarifications.last_img read more