Stipend for girls, sops for farmers in Assam budget

first_imgAssam government on Sunday announced an annual stipend for girls in the State to purchase sanitary napkins and scholarships for those belonging to minority communities, besides a zero-interest crop loan for farmers and debt relief for those unable to replay loans.Presenting the State’s first e-budget available on Google App, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said suggestions from citizens via official portals had helped the government prioritise the needs of people and to allocate funds.The Rs 2,149-crore deficit budget presented in the State Assembly was heavy on schemes for girls and farmers besides allocations and incentives for making the State corruption and foreigners-free.The budget proposed an annual stipend of Rs 600 to be transferred to bank accounts of 500,000 girls aged 12-20 years and belonging to families with annual income of less than Rs 5-lakh. The block development offices would register the girls for the scheme linked to their date of birth so that it stoped automatically when they reached the age of 20.“I have earmarked Rs 30-crore for this scheme for ease of access to disposable sanitary napkins and ensuring better hygiene,” Mr Sarma said.The budget had proposed four slabs of annual scholarship of up to Rs 10,000 for ensuring girls belonging to minority communities pursue education beyond class 10. Eligible girls would need to self-certify that they were unmarried and pursing their education to avail the scholarship that would peg the government back by Rs 250-crore.The government had also budgeted Rs 25-crore for providing two-wheelers to the top 5,000 girls who passed this year’s higher secondary examination. Rules had been tweaked for allowing unmarried daughters of pensioners, who did not have other sources of income, to continue receiving pension in the event of her parent’s death. A monthly pension of Rs 250 for “each and every senior citizen of the State irrespective of whether they are above or below the poverty line” was also proposed.Farm debt reliefAssam’s budget had proposed schemes to offset a farm crisis as experienced elsewhere the country. “The contribution of farmers to the nation’s economy is unparalleled. The needs of the farming community must be given top priority,” Mr Sarma said.The government had thus proposed measures such as zero-interest crop loans to farmers and financial incentives for farmers using Kisan Credit Cards. Farmers who renewed the card would get one-time cash incentive of Rs 3,000.The government would also give banks 25% of outstanding dues, subject to a maximum limit of Rs 25,000, in each loan account. Mr Sarma said adding that Rs 500-crore had been allocated for this scheme expected to provide debt relief to farmers.“We will continue to reward the prompt repaying farmers by extending 4% interest subsidy, so that they get all short-term interest-free crop loans up to Rs 1-lakh,” he said.Other schemes include Rs 5,000 as financial assistance per farmer for encouraging farm mechanisation.For tea plantation workers, whom the government said had been “trapped in weekly cash cycle”, the Chah Bagicha Dhan Puraskar Mela was announced. This entailed transferring Rs 2,500 to the bank accounts of 721,485 tea garden workers across 752 estates in 26 districts. The first tranche of Rs 2,500 had been paid in the current fiscal.The scheme was to insensitivise the digitisation of payment to tea plantation workers who have been receiving wages in cash by the week, Mr Sarma said.The State Government would also be paying Rs 342 annually for life and accident insurance of the each tea plantation worker. The sum assured was Rs 2 lakh.GI tag for local liquorThe budget also promised efforts for obtaining geographical indication (GI) tag for “indigenous items that have seldom got their due recognition”.These included laopani and saaj, two varieties of local liquor made from fermented rice and a variety of exotic rice such as komal saul, joha saul and bora saul.Komal saul, once proposed for the armed forces, was a kind of soft rice that needed no boiling. It could be consumed after a few minutes of soaking in water. While joha was an aromatic rice, bora was a sticky rice.Among other items for which GI tag was being pursued were kopou (local orchid), fulaam jaapi (decorative headgear) and endi silk.The government, Mr Sarma said, had also proposed to develop a world class botanical garden at Kaziranga National Park with an initial budget of Rs 8-crore.last_img read more

Claudio Ranieri closes in on Hollywood ending with Leicester City

first_imgThe Premier League trophy arrived in Leicester on Friday for a promotional tour. It will surely be back next month with Leicester City etched into the solid silver for the first time. (Glorious summer in sight for Leicester after many winters of discontent)The leaders can wrap up their improbable pursuit of the biggest prize in English football on Sunday with a victory at Manchester United.Delivering the 132-year-old club’s first title at the home of the record 20-time English champions would be the Hollywood ending craved by manager Claudio Ranieri.”It’s unbelievable, it’s history and we know this,” Ranieri said Friday. “It is important to finish the story like an American movie. Always in the final it is OK, a happy ending.”It’s a good opportunity but for this reason we have to be focused. Let me be calm, wait, we have time.”The trip to Old Trafford is the first of three opportunities to claim the required victory as Leicester has a seven-point lead over Tottenham. Even if Leicester fails to beat fifth-place United, the title can be clinched by Monday:- If Leicester lose at United, they need Tottenham to also lose at Chelsea- If Leicester draw at United, Tottenham have to win at Chelsea to keep the title race going.Leicester, who have been unbeaten in the league since February, will again be missing 22-goal top scorer Jamie Vardy as the striker serves the second match of his suspension. But the Foxes more than adequately coped without Vardy last weekend as Stoke was routed 4-0.advertisementTOTTENHAM’S TARGETBy the time Tottenham travel across London on Monday to Chelsea, keeping hold of second place could be the remaining target. Leicester beating United would ensure Tottenham cannot drop out of the top four, ensuring a return to the Champions League after six years.A young, developing Tottenham team was not expected to be so high up in the standings at this stage of the season. Now the second-place London club remains on course for its highest finish in more than 50 years.And manager Mauricio Pochettino is ready to commit his future to Tottenham, disclosing Friday that he has verbally agreed to stay with the club until at least 2021.Chelsea, which is preparing to hand the Premier League trophy over to Leicester, has not lost at home to Tottenham in any competition since February 1990.ARSENAL UPROARArsene Wenger is on the defensive, trying to dampen the mutinous mood among some fans’ groups.Anger has mounted now the team has gone a dozen years without lifting the Premier League trophy.”Some groups of people try to manipulate our fans,” Wenger said ahead of Saturday’s game against Norwich. “And I believe apart from an agenda, a personal agenda, a big ego, there’s not a lot behind it.”This team has character and attitude. Some people question them. I know them well, and they have less character than this team have. I saw them play and I know them very closely, and they shouldn’t question this team’s character.”Top at the start of 2016 entering the second half of the season, Arsenal is fourth entering the final three games of the season. Now the priority is slipping any further and falling out of the Champions League places.”When a club cannot enjoy anything anymore, it’s in trouble,” Wenger said. “In football you go down very quickly and come up very slowly. We have to stick together.”CITY’S CHASEManchester City’s priority is progressing in the Champions League, with Manuel Pellegrini’s side locked at 0-0 in their semifinal with Real Madrid which resumes in the Spanish capital on Wednesday.But City’s players have to face Southampton on Sunday, while Madrid’s domestic fixture is on Saturday, ensuring an extra day’s rest before the second leg.Pellegrini failed to get the Southampton game brought forward from Sunday afternoon to Saturday. It’s still a significant game for the club, with City only ahead of Arsenal due to its superior goal difference. United is five points behind them but with a game in hand.”In the Premier League, I don’t understand why when having so many games, and they all have the same interest, that we can’t play one day before to have 24 hours (more rest), at least having the same as Real Madrid,” Pellegrini said.City will be without David Silva for the second leg as the playmaker recovers from a hamstring injury.RELEGATION BATTLESunderland can stay out of the relegation zone by beating Stoke. Behind the north-east club in the drop zone, due to an inferior goal difference, is Norwich. Newcastle is a point back as it prepares to host FA Cup finalist Crystal Palace.advertisementlast_img read more

Will be on the tour for a long time: Maria Sharapova

first_imgRussian tennis star Maria Sharapova has insisted that she has many years ahead of her on court if she remains fit and healthy.After suffering a number of early exits, Sharapova recently won her first title since making her return to tennis in April following a 15-month doping ban.The Russian tennis star defeated Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 7-6 (8) on Sunday to win the women’s singles title in Tianjin.The victory boosted her world ranking to 57 and she still has every chance at qualifying for the Australian Open in January – where former world number one Williams also plans on making her return after she gave birth last month.”If strength and health are there, I will still be on the tour for a long time,” Sport24 quoted Sharapova said on court after her first round exit at WTA Moscow this week.”You can see my love for the sport. I am trying to improve and win. Me and Serena have many years ahead of us,” she added.The five-time Grand Slam champion admitted that she had to struggle to get full-match fitness after 15 months on the sidelines.”I had a difficult period due to the ban,” she said.”And then physically, it’s always difficult to get used to the routine of matches and practice sessions again if you didn’t do it for a long time,” she added.last_img read more

Bureau Veritas to Class Yamal LNG Carriers

first_imgzoom International classification society Bureau Veritas is to class the series of Arctic-capable liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers which will be built by South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) to service the Yamal LNG project in Russia’s high Arctic.A series of fifteen vessels will be built, each capable of transporting 172,000cbm of LNG, and operating year-round in second year ice up to 2.5 m thick.Yamal LNG has awarded Sovcomflot, MOL, Teekay and Dynagas one, three, six and five vessels respectively. They will be built to dual Bureau Veritas/Russian Register class.Philippe Donche-Gay, Executive Vice President and head of BV’s Marine and Offshore Division, said: “We have made extensive investments in research into ice loads and navigation in ice, working with major Russian institutions and Asian shipyards. This effort, coupled with our world-leading expertise in large LNG carriers gives us a strong technical base to class these highly sophisticated vessels.”The 300m long vessels will carry 172,000cbm of LNG in four membrane tanks of the GTT NO 96 type. The hull form is designed with a moderate ice bow forward and a heavy ice-breaking profile aft.The ships are dual-acting, navigating in light ice or open sea bow first, then navigating astern to break heavy ice. The astern ice breaking mode is assisted by a podded propulsion system which consists of three pods delivering around 45MW of power. Separate engine rooms housing the diesel generator power plants will be encased in a double hull to give protection from the ice and a high level of redundancy.The ships will be built to Russian Register Arc7 standard, equivalent to an intermediate level between Polar Class 3 and Polar Class 4 of Bureau Veritas rules. The vessels will be highly winterized with Bureau Veritas winterization notation COLD (-45,-52), which means that the hull is prepared for operation in -45 Celsius ambient temperature and the equipment should be able to work at -52 Celsius.last_img read more

Seven Cirque Du Soleil Shows Collide For Charity

first_imgFor one extraordinary night, and in an unprecedented manner, seven Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas resident productions became one for ONE DROP, the non-profit organization established by Cirque du Soleil Founder Guy Laliberté.Walk for Water act choreographed by Sonya Tayeh in One Night for One Drop at Bellagio Las Vegas.Credit/Copyright: Bryan Steffy/Getty Images via multivu.comTo share the experience around the world, an exclusive broadcast of the full-scale production is available for online viewing at ONEDROP.org through March 31, with a donation of $5 or more to ONE DROP.Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps supports water conservation at One Night for One Drop.Credit/Copyright: Bryan Steffy/Getty Images via multivu.comONE DROP partnered with MGM Resorts International and Lamborghini to present One Night for ONE DROP, a global philanthropy event to raise funds and awareness to ensure water is accessible across the globe. The evening featured more than 230 artists from the seven Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil productions in a once-in-a-lifetime performance on World Water Day, Friday, March 22, 2013, at the “O” Theatre at Bellagio Resort & Casino.Celebrities joining the night’s blue carpet event and after-party at the Bellagio pool included Guy Laliberté; Olympic gold medalist swimmers Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin; Britney Spears; Shania Twain; Pamela Anderson; Criss Angel; recording artist/actress Jackie Evancho; Danny Elfman; musician Tom Higgenson (pop-punk band Plain White T’s); actress Hana Mae Lee (Pitch Perfect); performance painter David Garibaldi; vocal quartet The Canadian Tenors; supermodel Oluchi Orlandi; Olympic gold medalist rowers Mary Whipple and Erin Cafaro; Holly Madison; Coco Austin.Special guest performers, including platinum-selling recording artist Jackie Evancho and performance painter David Garibaldi performed alongside the incredibly talented Cirque du Soleil artists to celebrate the earth as an artistic creation and highlight water as the essence of life. Victoria’s Secret model Orluchi Orlandi dazzled the audience in an original gown designed by Roberto Cavalli specifically for the performance. A breathtaking dance piece choreographed by Sonya Tayeh from “So You Think You Can Dance” and an original composition by award-winning composer Danny Elfman were also featured in the extraordinary extravaganza created and directed by Krista Monson.Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil and Chair of ONE DROP, said, “I was deeply touched by the performance. I know the amount of work and dedication all the performers and employees put in to touch our hearts and they accomplished this in a phenomenal manner. I truly wish to thank them for volunteering their time and talent for ONE DROP and creating the most unbelievable ripple effect. I am also very humbled by the generosity of the Las Vegas community and partners. For 20 years they have made us part of their community and they have now embraced our dream of water for all today and forever.”Through April 4, there is an online auction – with proceeds benefitting ONE DROP – offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences, art, memorabilia, VIP event packages and more. Auction items will include a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster, a watch from the private collection of Prince Albert II of Monaco, jet-setting trips around the world, original sculptures by Richard MacDonald and Rabarama and the couture gown designed by Roberto Cavalli and worn by Oluchi Orlandi. Items can be viewed and bid on at charitybuzz.com/ONEDROP.One Night for ONE DROP culminated a week-long effort for the charity by Cirque du Soleil and MGM Resorts International. During that week, ONE DROP presented ‘Walk for Water,’ a 22-mile walk from Lake Las Vegas to the Bellagio Fountains to underscore the difficulty faced by millions of people who spend several hours each day collecting water. With more than 150 participants, their journey ended with a water-pouring ceremony at the Fountains and a proclamation read by Mayor Carolyn Goodman to ONE DROP founder Guy Laliberté.ONE DROP is a non-profit organization established in 2007 by Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil. The charity strives to ensure that water is accessible to all, today and forever. From its inception, ONE DROP has significantly and sustainably improved the living conditions of 300,000 people worldwide.Source:Multivu.comlast_img read more

Trump turns back to tax overhaul pitch aimed at truckers

first_imgMIDDLETOWN, Pa. – President Donald Trump pitched his tax plan as a boost for truckers at an event Wednesday in Pennsylvania, saying, “America first means putting American truckers first.”Trump appeared before about a thousand cheering people at an airplane hangar dramatically draped with American flags. Two big rigs were in the background.“It will be rocket fuel for our economy,” Trump said of a plan that would dramatically cut corporate tax rates from 35 per cent to 20 per cent, reduce the number of personal income tax brackets and boost the standard deduction.Trump said a cut to business taxes would help truckers because there will be “more products to deliver and more contracts to fill.” He also said his plan would benefit middle-class families by lowering rates, creating new jobs and making it easier for business owners to pass companies on to their children.“So many people have come up to me and said give it to the middle class, give it to people who need it,” Trump said.Trump is diving back into the tax fight after weeks in which his attention has shifted to rapidly emerging crises — including the mass shooting in Las Vegas and the hurricane recovery effort in Puerto Rico — as well as dramas of his own making, such as his escalating feud with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and public tension with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.Taxes are the chief legislative priority for Republicans hungry for a major legislative achievement. With the 2018 campaign year looming, GOP lawmakers want something to show for their time as the majority party, and tax legislation remains their best hope.Trump has left it up to Congress to fill in many specifics of his plan, which omits details such as the income levels for his new tax brackets. The outreach to truckers in Pennsylvania is an attempt to give a blue-collar appeal to a framework that outside tax analysts say would largely favour the wealthy.About two-thirds of trucking firms are structured as small businesses in which the profits double as the owners’ income, what’s commonly known as “pass-through” companies, said Chris Spear, president of the American Trucking Associations.The framework would cut the tax rate for these firms to 25 per cent from 39.6 per cent.“It’s pretty critical for our membership,” Spear said.But the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said few truckers would benefit from this preferential rate because the majority of truck drivers are employees rather than pass-through business owners, based on its analysis of Census data.During his speech, Trump hailed truckers as a barometer for the nation’s economy, and praised them as unsung heroes.“You’re going to make more money. You’re going to do better than ever before. And we truly admire you. You are our heroes, believe me,” he told them. “You are our heroes.”Republicans in Congress aren’t solidly behind Trump, with some from high-tax states balking because the framework calls for eliminating the federal deduction for state and local taxes. That deduction is claimed by an estimated 44 million people and costs the government an estimated $1.3 trillion in lost revenue over 10 years.Fractious Republican lawmakers, especially those from New York, New Jersey and California, are wary of the potential financial hit to their constituents. They contend repealing the deduction would subject people to being taxed twice.“They need our votes” on the tax plan, said Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a member of the group.Discussions with House leaders on a possible compromise took place last week but are on hold, Collins and other lawmakers in the group said Wednesday. They said they were confident of a compromise.Trump highlighted the tax plan’s provisions aimed at encouraging international companies to bring back, or repatriate, cash that they’ve kept overseas. All told, there’s more than $1 trillion in cash held abroad by S&P 500 companies, according to Deutsche Bank.“We will totally eliminate the penalty on returning future earnings back to the United States and we will impose a one-time low tax on money currently parked overseas so it can be brought back home to America, where it belongs and where it can do its job,” he said. He added that his Council of Economic Advisers estimates that the change, along with a lower tax rate, “would likely give the typical American household a $4,000 pay raise.”“Could be a lot more than that, too,” he said.The $4,000 in additional income estimate comes from a back of the envelope calculation by White House economics adviser Kevin Hassett based on companies returning 71 per cent of their foreign profits over the course of eight years.This estimate appears to assume that the returned profits would flow to workers in the form of higher wages. But many economists say much of it would likely be returned to investors in the form of stock dividends and buybacks.Trump also said he would help truckers with a yet-to-be-announced infrastructure plan that he said would have “a special focus on roadways and highways.”“They will be smooth, beautiful highways again,” he said.___Associated Press writers Marcy Gordon and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.___This story has been corrected to show that Rep. Chris Collins is from New York, not New Jersey.last_img read more

Himachal Poll notifications today stakes high for CM Jai Ram Thakur

first_imgShimla: The ruling BJP has much at stake in the Lok Sabha polls, slated for May 19 as the process for filing of nominations will begin on Monday – the day when formal notification will be issued by the Election Commission (EC).More than the BJP, it’s Jai Ram Thakur whose leadership will be at the test as first-time Chief Minister as most earlier Lok Sabha and assembly polls were fought under Prem Kumar Dhumal. Dhumal– a two-time Chief Minister, lost his assembly election 2017 and missed his chance to became Chief Minister. The party chose five-time MLA Jai Ram Thakur to Chief Ministerial position. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The state has 50.96 lakh registered voters in the four Parliamentary constituencies viz Mandi, Kangra, Hamirpur and Shimla (Reserve)— all won by the BJP in the 2014 elections, mainly due to Modi wave. The BJP has now given a call for ‘Mission4’ to retain its dominance in the state. Of four sitting MPs, the party has denied ticket to the 84-year old BJP senior Shanta Kumar in Kangra and two-time MP Virender Kashyap from Shimla (R). Three-time MP and former BCCI president Anurag Thakur is contesting his traditional bastion Hamirpur — a seat even his father Prem Kumar Dhumal also had won thrice. Incumbent Ram Swaroop Sharma is back in Mandi — being considered as a hot seat since Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur hails from Mandi. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe opposition Congress is making a determined bid to regain its foothold in the state. The party had performed badly in 2009 and 2014. It could win just one seat in 2009 and drew blank in the last poll. The Congress has fielded new faces in Mandi and Kangra. Though initially, it had plans to field Virbhadra Singh or his son Vikramaditya Singh (first-time MLA ) in Mandi but eventually gave the ticket to 32-year old Ashray Sharma, grandson of Sukh Ram. Both joined the Congress at the last moment as the BJP chose not to oblige Sukh Ram lobbying for his grandson’s ticket. In Kangra, Pawan Kajal, an OBC leader and sitting MLA has been fielded against incumbent cabinet minister Krishan Kapoor. Kapoor is close confident of Shanta Kumar. Ram Lal Thakur, who had twice lost in Hamirpur, is Congress candidate. Col (Rtd) Dhani Ram Shandil will contest against BJP’s new face Suresh Kashyap in Shimla. As the party’s show of strength, the Chief Minister has decided to remain present during nominations of all four candidates during the next four days. Similarly, Virbhadra Singh has also announced his plan to stay with party candidates during nominations. The last date for filing nominations is April 29.last_img read more

Belgian Fast Food Quick to Open Two Restaurants in Morocco

Rabat – Belgian fast food company Quick Restaurants will open two restaurants in Morocco by the end of the year, reports say.The chain of hamburger fast food restaurants headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium is planning to open the two outlets in the cities of Casablanca and Rabat.The plans are in collaboration with Ténor Group, a holding company that operates in the field of services such as insurance and distribution, African Economic Information Agency Ecofin reported. The announcement was made by Quick CEO, Cedric Dugardin, at the opening of the chain’s first outlet in the Tunisian capital on April 20.Quick was already present in Morocco in 2003. However, the Belgian company had to terminate its franchise agreements with local partners after it had complained of brand counterfeiting.Founded in 1971, Quick is one of Europe’s largest fast food restaurant chains. By December 31, 2010, the group operated over 400 restaurants in France, Belgium Luxembourg, Algeria and Russia. read more

UN official condemns deadly bomb blasts in Iraqi city

25 September 2011The acting head of the United Nations mission in Iraq strongly condemned today’s terrorist attacks that targeted Government buildings in the city of Karbala, killing over a dozen people and injuring many others. Jerzy Skuratowicz, who is also the deputy head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), extended his sincere condolences to the bereaved families and wished full and speedy recovery to those who were injured.Media reports stated that four explosions were detonated in Karbala on Sunday morning killing some 15 people and injuring more than 100 others.Three of the blasts occurred as police and members of the emergency services responded to the first explosion.

National Audit Bill found to be consistent with Constitution

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) had in March raised concerns over the amended provisions in the National Audit Bill. There were three major areas of concern – 1. the surcharge powers, being the power to recover monies related to any fraud, negligence, misappropriation or corruption, have been vested in the Chief Accounting Officers (e.g. Secretary to a Ministry or Department Head) instead of the Auditor General 2. Vast discretionary powers have been vested in Chief Accounting Officers in determining the final surcharge 3. Persons subject to an inquiry by the Auditor General are entitled to nominate others to appear on their behalf. (Colombo Gazette) The National Audit Bill has been found to be consistent with the Constitution by the Supreme Court.The determination was conveyed to Parliament by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today. The cabinet has already approved the amended National Audit Bill. read more

UN and regional organizations must redouble efforts to ensure peace – Annan

Declaring that people and states look to the United Nations for security in an era of ever greater global insecurity, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for the world body and regional organizations to work together with redoubled vigour to fulfil their “cardinal mission” of ensuring peace based on international law.“The feeling of global insecurity has seldom, if ever, been greater than it is today,” Mr. Annan said in opening remarks to a joint meeting of the UN Security Council and regional organizations on the theme “Facing New Challenges to International Peace and Security.”“Equally, there has never been a more keenly felt desire among peoples and nations for a peace and security framework based firmly on the international rule of law,” he said. “That framework must be capable of responding swiftly and effectively to the challenges of our rapidly changing world.”Among organizations taking part in the session chaired by Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez of Mexico, which holds the Council’s Presidency for April, were the Organization of American States, the Arab League, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Commission of the African Union, the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States. Noting that “we are clearly at a crucial juncture in the development of international relations,” the Secretary-General recited a litany of challenges – the co-existence of unprecedented wealth and terrible deprivation, opportunities brought by globalization yet marred by the exclusion of far too many, the unprecedented promise of science in the shadow of the death of a child every minute from AIDS.To these he added the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the trafficking of small arms, climate change, the emergence of new deadly viruses, all with “the potential to threaten not only our stability, but our survival.”These issues were not new, he said, “but for many they were brought into more acute and painful focus by the events of 11 September 2001, and now even more so by the war in Iraq, which people across the globe have been following in real time on their television screens.”Despite all this sense of vulnerability, however, people and nations retained the hope of strengthening stability and uniting “around our common humanity,” and they look to the United Nations, Mr. Annan declared.“Our Organization – for all its imperfections, real and perceived – has built up unique experience in dealing with a range of crises, by bringing humanitarian relief to millions in need, helping people rebuild their countries from the ruins of armed conflict, promoting human rights and the rule of law, and many other activities that have come to be seen as essential parts of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding,” he said.Stressing that in all these endeavours the UN relied on regional partners he concluded: “Now, we need to redouble our efforts to find such common ground and purpose again. We need to move towards creating a network of effective and mutually reinforcing mechanisms – regional and global – that are flexible and responsive to the reality we live in today.“The United Nations stands ready to work together with you, the regional organizations, in that cardinal mission. Your meeting today promises to inject new momentum into our partnership. For the sake of the world’s people, we must make that partnership succeed.” read more

Apple signs Universal Music as last major label to iCloud

first_imgWe’re just five days away from Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The big news being talked about for months is the addition of a cloud service to Apple’s offerings. Apple confirmed on May 31 that Steve Jobs would be talking about the iCloud service during his keynote. Apple also just gave Google Earth the go-ahead to unveil its massive $1 billion North Carolina datacenter on the map.Apple has been vying to sign contracts with the four major music labels, including Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI Music, and Universal Music Group. According to CNET, Apple has just acquired its last license needed by sealing the deal with Universal. Apple will now be able to offer songs from all four labels. CNET’s source said the labels would be getting 58 percent of the revenue from iCloud sales, while publishers will get 12 percent, leaving Apple with 30 percent.The details are still a little iffy, but the source said that Apple will only store music that was bought in the iTunes store in its digital locker and that, sometime in the future, it will store songs obtained outside of iTunes. If this is indeed true, many people will probably be disappointed by the fact that they can only stream music bought in iTunes via iCloud. I for one have maybe purchased one or two songs from iTunes, yet I have thousands upon thousands of songs in my iTunes library.In any case, the crew over at San Francisco’s Moscone Center West is gearing up for next week’s conference, which starts on June 6. AppleInsider got some snapshots of the event center where huge banners hang showing the new Apple iCloud logo, as well as Mac OS X Lion, and iOS 5. There are still other banners that have gone unseen and may stay that way until the day of the keynote.Read more at CNET, AppleInsiderlast_img read more

244 9v batteries pack a punch but dont try this at home

first_imgIt’s a problem you probably run into at least a few times a week. You’ve got hundreds of spare 9v batteries, and nothing to do with them. That’s not a problem for one brave electronics modder that decided to wire up a couple hundred spare batteries he had to see how much voltage they would pump out. The resulting video contains a remarkable absence of tragic death.It should go without saying that you should never attempt to replicate what is going on in the video. Sure, a single 9v battery seems like nothing, but when wired in series, the voltage adds up fast. The video starts with shorting a single battery, which produces a small electrical arc. Each successive unit makes things more and more risky.In all, the battery rig had 244 individual 9v batteries, although some of them were used and produced less voltage. Using a voltmeter, your intrepid modder determined that all those batteries were outputting almost 2,000 volts of DC power. By shorting the positive and negative from the first and last batteries in the series, he produced a massive glowing arc of electricity.The video shows the terrific power of this used battery rig being brought to bear on various items. A DVD is partially incinerated, an LED immediately blows out, and a small resistor actually manages to stay intact. 2,000 volts is a heck of a lot of power.Just so you have a frame of reference, any power source of over 600v is considered very high voltage, and quite dangerous. Voltage this high can cause severe burns and lower the body’s resistance sufficiently that current flows across the heart, potentially causing a heart attack. Luckily, you probably don’t have a few hundred 9v batteries laying around.via The Custom Geeklast_img read more

Melco Resorts sponsors televised public service video promoting responsible gaming culture in

first_img RelatedPosts Load More Macau casino operator Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited has announced the debut of a Melco-sponsored public service video, to be aired on local television station Teledifusão de Macau (TDM) from today, promoting responsible gambling in Macau. Melco likely to pass Australian regulatory inquiry, target full Crown acquisition: Bernstein Evan Winkler appointed President as Melco Resorts implements latest management overhaul Melco Resorts defers acquisition of second tranche of Crown shares until conclusion of regulatory inquiry The film, titled “Our Wishes”, explores the relationship between a father, his wife and young daughter and the importance of family in looking out for their loved ones.“Responsible gaming has been and continues to be a top priority for Melco,” said Melco Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho of the video. “The healthy expansion of the industry is of utmost importance to the sustained development of Macau and Melco is fully supportive of government policies encouraging responsible gaming.“As an initiative of the company’s Responsible Gaming Steering Committee, the public service video aims to raise awareness and highlight the social importance of responsible gaming culture.”Melco Resorts established its Responsible Gaming Steering Committee in 2007, with the aim of pursuing the healthy development of the industry to raise awareness and reinforce a responsible gaming culture among employees, patrons and the general public.The Committee’s primary responsibilities include safeguarding compliance and implementation of the company’s responsible gaming policies.last_img read more

Congress let CHIP expire Denali KidCare OK for now

first_imgPhoto of U.S. Capitol by Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public MediaFunding for CHIP, the low-income children’s health insurance program, expired at the end of September. If Congress doesn’t renew the program, several states are projected to run out of money by the end of the year. In Alaska, the issue isn’t quite so urgent. The Division of Health Care Services says the state has enough money to continue funding its CHIP program, called Denali KidCare, until April.Listen nowIn Congress, both parties say they want to renew it, and the House is expected to vote on its bill this week.House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., blames Democrats for dragging their feet; even they know a deadline is about to hit a number of states.“They cannot wait for a lack of action here. So yes, I’m upset by this,” McCarthy said.House Democrats take issue with the “offsets,” the cuts the bill would make elsewhere to pay for children’s insurance. The House CHIP bill would cut a public health fund established by the Affordable Care Act. It would also shorten the grace period for people to pay for plans they buy under the ACA. And the bill would increase Medicare premiums for seniors earning more than $500,000 a year.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Republicans are willing to sacrifice public health to pay for CHIP but aren’t requiring such sacrifices to pay for tax cuts.“So tax cuts for the rich don’t have to be offset. They can increase the deficit,” Pelosi said. “Children’s health, which has its own benefit to our economy, has to be paid for by other children’s health.”The Senate’s CHIP bill doesn’t specify offsets. Unless both chambers move their bills soon, children’s health insurance could get wrapped into the end-of-the-year spending negotiations.last_img read more

NHS sued for not offering fertility treatment to trans patients

first_imgThe UK’s equality watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), has announced it will begin a judicial review action against the National Health Service (NHS) England for not offering fertility treatments to transgender patients. The flag for trans rights (Photo: David Hudson) The NHS has counter-argued that it is not a national institutional responsibility, but rather a choice that should be made by individual clinical commisioning groups (the bodies which buy services for patients).The move by the EHRC may also not be a popular one among many people. A high-profile legal case is likely to prove controversial as it comes at a time when the NHS is dealing with budgetary set-backs and struggling to provide core services.Increase in numbersThe case is expected to highlight the rapidly increasing numbers of people seeking treatment for gender dysphoria.In under ten years, the number of girls seeking treatment has seen a 4,400% increase, with 1,806 seeking treatment in 2017 compared to only 40 in 2009.Minister for women and equalities, Penny Mordaunt, has launched an inquiry into this increase, examining the role of social media and education on transgender issues in schools.In May, transgender rights activists wrote an open letter to Mordaunt, requesting she prioritize a consultation on the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which would potentially give adults the right to change gender without a doctor’s approval.Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… The commission would argue that not offering fertility treatments to patients restricts their options for reproduction, which is discriminatory against transgender patients.However, the legal move against an already resource-stretched NHS could prove controversial, the Guardian reports.More young people seeking treatmentThis comes at a time which has seen a rapid increase in the number of teenagers in the UK who are seeking treatment for gender dysphoria on the NHS.Last month, the EHRC had advised the NHS to offer fertility treatment to transgender patients before they undergo gender affirmation treatment, which normally makes patients infertile.By storing eggs or sperm, this would give transgender patients the option of having biological children via surrogacy later in life.However, an increasing number of young people are keen to proceed with treatment while they are teenagers, and may not have the resources to pay for the storage.By not offering the fertility as a standard procedure, the commission argues, discriminates against transgender people and restricts their choices to bear biological children later in life.center_img eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) New York City substance abuse centers charged with discriminating against trans patientsUK non-binary people could win legal recognition as NHS shakes up trans servicesChristian doctor sacked by NHS for bigotry against trans patientsRead the full article on Gaystarnews:  :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/nhs-sued-for-not-offering-fertility-treatment-to-trans-patients/ GAYSTARNEWS-last_img read more

Britain bedeviled by binge drinking

first_imgAssociated PressLONDON (AP) – The girls slumped in wheelchairs look barely conscious, their blond heads lolling above the plastic vomit bags tied like bibs around their necks.It’s an hour to midnight on Friday, and the two girls, who look no older than 18, are being wheeled from an ambulance to a clinic set up discreetly in a dark alley in London’s Soho entertainment district.They’re the first of many to be picked up on this night by the ambulance, known as a “booze bus,” and carried to the clinic _ both government services dedicated to keeping drunk people out of trouble, and out of emergency rooms. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Binge drinking has reached crisis levels in Britain, health experts say, costing the cash-strapped National Health Service 2.7 billion pounds (US$4.4 billion) a year, including the cost of hospital admissions related to booze-fueled violence and longer-term health problems. Unlike all other major health threats, liver disease is on the rise in Britain, increasing by 25 percent in the last decade and causing a record level of deaths, according to recent government figures.Doctors believe rising obesity is combining with heavy drinking to fuel the spike in liver disease, which is hitting more young people than ever.“Undoubtedly professionals are seeing more (patients) in their late-20s to mid-30s, which would have been unusual 20 years ago,” said Chris Day, a liver disease specialist at Newcastle University.On the streets of Soho, most people are too busy drinking to notice passed-out partyers. The streets, lined with pubs and nightclubs, are just beginning to get rowdy: Men chasing each other and shrieking like teenagers; women stumbling and falling over in their too-short skirts and high heels. Soon the sidewalks are littered with empty beer bottles and reeking puddles. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   center_img Quick workouts for men Such public displays of extreme drunkenness are inexplicable and shocking to many foreigners living in Britain, even those who hail from heavy drinking cultures.“(At home) it’s embarrassing to be drunk. Here it’s kind of something you brag about,” said Kaisa Toroskainen, a Finnish graduate student in London having a beer with her friends.The headline-grabbing figures about ever-younger liver disease victims may seem to suggest that Britain has quite recently turned into a nation of raging alcoholics. But it’s not news that the British like their tipple. This is, after all, a nation known around the world for its ales and its pubs, the default venue for any British social gathering from a quiet date to after-work networking.Despite that, most experts agree that Britons, on the whole, don’t drink more than other Europeans _ in fact, overall alcohol consumption levels here have come down since the mid 2000s.But that’s the average. The problem seems to lie with a minority of hard-core drinkers who tend to down a huge amount in a short time.“The key point is the ways in which we behave when we’re drinking _ it involves very public displays of reckless drunkenness,” said Jamie Bartlett, a researcher at the London-based think tank Demos who has written about alcohol abuse. Cut-price booze has been blamed for the increasingly popular practice of “pre-loading,” where drinkers indulge in shop-bought drink at home before they head out to bars and pubs, where the drinks are much more expensive.Prime Minister David Cameron has declared binge drinking a national “scandal,” and the government is seeking to curb the excess by introducing a minimum price for each unit of alcohol sold. Scotland, which has long struggled with a dire alcohol abuse problem, announced Monday it wants to set a minimum price of 50 pence (80 U.S. cents) per unit _ which would mean an average bottle of wine could cost no less than about 4.70 pounds ($7.55).The proposals have sparked lively debate _ not least because of the unusually interventionist stance taken by the Conservatives. More to the point are questions about whether higher prices will actually cut excessive indulgence.Simon Antrobus at the drug and alcohol treatment charity Addaction is hopeful that the proposals will increase public awareness.“We’re beginning to see people thinking, `I have to do something about this,’” he said. “The challenging bit is getting people to understand the potential harmful consequences of alcohol. People need to know their limits.” Top Stories “It’s not an issue of consumption. It’s an issue of behavior.”Anyone who’s gone out on a Friday night in any of Britain’s larger towns and cities will be familiar with boozed out groups of people shouting, brawling and causing a scene as they spill out of bars and pubs. Commuters aren’t immune to the antics _ especially on evenings when soccer matches are on.“We are the whites, we are we are the whites!” one clearly intoxicated young man was heard relentlessly singing on a train carriage on a recent night, urging wary strangers to join in.The problem isn’t confined to a particular class, and even members of the social elite can be caught in embarrassing drink-fueled trouble. In 2000, the teenage son of then Prime Minister Tony Blair was arrested for being “drunk and incapable” when he was found semiconscious and vomiting on the sidewalk in London’s Leicester Square.The event was remarkable only because of his father’s prominence.The legal drinking age in Britain is 18, compared to 21 in the U.S., but many drinkers start younger. Social workers say lax control of retail sales and cheap alcohol _ commonly available for less than 70 pence ($1.10) a can in supermarkets and liquor stores _ makes it easy for young people to experiment with liquor. 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Go back to the enewsletter Australian jetsetters

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterAustralian jetsetters flying with Malaysia Airlines can now experience a new level of luxury with the launch of its revamped Business Class set to delight local passengers as the national carrier continues to rebuild from the inside out.The new Business Class seat is a 43-inch seat pitch converting into a fully flat 76-inch bed. It comes with 90 per cent more working space, extra stowage for personal items and the majority of seats have direct aisle access thanks to the 1-2-1 and 1-2-2 seat layout.Each seat is equipped with a 16-inch touch screen in flight entertainment system and every aspect of the Business Class cabin has been carefully designed with passenger comfort and needs in mind.Paul Simmons, Chief Commercial Officer at Malaysia Airlines, said the new seating is a reflection of the airline’s commitment to offering its customer base only the best to enhance their overall experience.“The introduction of the A330 Business Class seat will make us more competitive against other full-service carriers and is part of our push to make Malaysia Airlines the preferred carrier to, from and around Malaysia,” Mr Simmons said.“This is the start of an exciting roll-out of new, innovative and personalised products and services that we can’t wait to share with our guests.”Business Class passengers can also take advantage of Malaysia Airlines’ award-winning satay stick appetisers served with delicious peanut sauce in flight or the ‘Chef-on-Call’ dining service, providing advance meal selection from 25 options consisting of Malaysian specialities, chef specials and healthy choice dishes, providing you book at least 24 hours ahead.The new-look seats touched down in Sydney on 23 March 2016 and other Australian destinations will follow suit between April to September. The A330 also flies to Malaysia Airlines’ destinations in New Zealand, Japan, Korea, China and India.Malaysia Airlines is the national carrier of Malaysia and one of Asia’s largest, serving 40,000 guests on 330 flights to more than 50 destinations daily. Malaysia Airlines operates flights from its home base, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and offers great connectivity across the globe; including oneworld hubs.Malaysia Airlines is a part of oneworld, which brings together 15 of the world’s biggest and best names in the airline industry and 30 affiliate airlines serving more than 10,000 daily departures. Through this global alliance Malaysia Airlines offers the best connectivity with seamless journeys to almost 900 destinations across 150 countries and access to over 550 airport lounges worldwide.Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more

by The Associated Press Posted May 13 2019 10

first_img by The Associated Press Posted May 13, 2019 10:13 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Felicity Huffman arrives at federal court Monday, May 13, 2019, in Boston, where she is scheduled to plead guilty to charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) The Latest: Huffman arrives to plead guilty in college scam BOSTON — The Latest on the plea of actress Felicity Huffman in the college admissions bribery scheme (all times local):1:10 p.m.“Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman has arrived at federal court in Boston, where she is set to plead guilty in the college admissions cheating scheme.The 56-year-old actress didn’t speak as she walked into the courthouse Monday with her brother Moore Huffman Jr.Huffman is expected to admit to allegations that she paid $15,000 to have someone correct the answers on her daughter’s SAT.She is among 14 prominent parents who have agreed to plead guilty since dozens of people were arrested in March in the case named “Operation Varsity Blues.”Huffman has apologized and said her daughter was unaware of her actions.Prosecutors have said they will seek a prison sentence on the low end of a range between four and 10 months.___6 a.m.Actress Felicity Huffman is set to plead guilty to participating in the sweeping college admissions bribery scheme.The “Desperate Housewives” star is scheduled to appear Monday in Boston federal court.Huffman was among 50 people charged in March in what authorities have called the largest college admissions cheating scandal ever prosecuted in the U.S.The Emmy-award winning actress was accused of paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct the answers on daughter’s SAT exam.Huffman has said she takes full responsibility and will accept the consequences.Prosecutors say they will seek between four and 10 months in prison.Thirteen other parents have also agreed to plead guilty.Parents still fighting the charges include fellow actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli.The Associated Presslast_img read more