In Addis Ababa, UN staff members are planting up to 2,000 trees in a national park above the Ethiopian capital and holding their traditional flag-raising ceremony as part of a series of events to observe the Day. Professors and students at Kabul University in Afghanistan held a question-and-answer session about the role of the UN in which the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative Christopher Alexander participated. In Bangkok, 22 UN entities and international organizations with offices in the Thai capital are taking part in a bilingual exhibition in CentralWorld, the city’s largest mall, to show the many ways in which the Organization tries to improve the lives of people in the region. Musical performances and other events will also take place during the life of the three-day exhibition. Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told a separate ceremony to mark the Day that for the UN to maintain its rightful place on the world stage, continuing reform was necessary.“But we the Member States also have to do our share,” he said. “We need to have the political will to empower the UN to take action as and when necessary. We need to provide the UN with sufficient resources.”In Vienna, the UN Information Service (UNIS) in the Austrian capital organized a student forum bringing together more than 80 students from universities in Austria and Slovakia. Classical music concerts were also held tonight in both Geneva and New York. In the Swiss city, Luigi Cherubini and Maurice Ravel performed at Victoria Hall, while the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the General Assembly Hall in New York.Speaking at the concert in New York, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said the music being performed, which included the works of Verdi, Puccini and Brahms, offered a reminder that the UN “must serve and preserve our highest human potential for centuries to come.”He said: “While it is essential that we respond to the realities of the day, the actions of the UN must be guided by longer-term wisdom, solidarity, and justice. Our work is for posterity, and we should be mindful of our legacy.”In his first UN Day message as Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon said that although the world was turning in favour of the UN, the world body needs to strengthen its ability to respond to key global challenges on peace and security, development and human rights. “More people and governments understand that multilateralism is the only path in our interdependent and globalizing world,” Mr. Ban said in his message. “Global problems demand global solutions – and going it alone is not a viable option.” He stressed that the demands on the UN were “growing every day,” and warned that “we will be judged in the future on the actions we take today – on results.” In a separate message, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Timor-Leste Atul Khare stressed that the UN peacekeeping mission in the South-East Asian country (UNMIT) was striving to transform the collective goodwill of the international community towards the small nation into practical action. “We are dedicated to accomplishing the mandate entrusted to us by the Member States of the United Nations: promotion of peace, democracy and human rights, while supporting efforts to secure food, clean water, health care and the right to education and employment for all,” Mr. Khare said. The UN Country Team in Myanmar issued its own statement saying the Day should serve as an opportunity to “reflect on the importance of ensuring development, prosperity, peace, security and dignity for all” and stressing that all peoples deserve to have these rights and freedoms. “In Myanmar, the peaceful demonstrations that followed the sudden hike in fuel prices on 15 August highlighted that many of these aspirations are not yet a reality for the people here,” the statement noted. Tamrat Samuel, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative in Nepal, said UN Day should be used in the Asian country as a time to reflect on what can and should be done in the year ahead to foster peace and development, regardless of any recent setbacks.In Sudan, a televised debate was held to discuss the UN and climate change, the theme of this year’s Day, while in Kenya more than 500 people attended a ceremony awarding the “UN in Kenya Person of the Year” to Abbas Gullet, Secretary-General of Kenya Red Cross Society.Many UN Information Centres (UNICs) around the world held their own activities, including an exhibition of the works of young painters in Bahrain and the opening of the “UN Alphabet” exhibition in Prague, the Czech Republic, in which schoolchildren contributed short stories, essays, drawings, photographs and other art works about issues from A to Z, ranging from AIDS and fair trade to land mines, refugees and climate change.Indonesian children took part in a quiz on UN activities and watched animated films on the work of the world body, while in Togo a ceremony was held to mark the symbolic destruction of arms and weaponry.In Haiti, UN peacekeepers organized a series of humanitarian activities in commemoration of the Day, including providing medical care, food and water to hundreds of orphans and others in need in various parts of the country.Elsewhere, special events were also staged in Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Congo, Romania, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Turkey, the United States, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.UN Day has been celebrated on 24 October every year since 1948, exactly three years after the UN Charter entered into force when China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other signatories had ratified the document. In 1971, the General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending that the Day be observed as a public holiday by Member States. 24 October 2007From the planting of some 2,000 trees in Ethiopia to the opening of an exhibition inside one of Asia’s largest shopping malls to a public forum in Afghanistan to the staging of classical music concerts in New York and Geneva, people around the world are marking United Nations Day, which celebrates the day in 1945 when the Organization was born.
Areas surrounding the Kuda-oya in Wellawaya were flooded after water began to overflow from the dam following heavy rain last night.Meanwhile three people in the Galle area were dragged away by strong currents and the bodies of two of them was later recovered. Over 200 people have been affected and two peopled killed following the bad weather which affected parts of the country last night.The Disaster Management Center said that 271 families were affected by the bad weather in Monaragala and Hambantota.
Nominations are being sought for an annual award recognizing exceptional Graduate Studies mentors.The Faculty of Graduate Studies Graduate Mentorship Award is an opportunity for students to celebrate Brock University faculty members who have had a significant impact on their life.Established in 2011, the award honours and recognizes the essential role faculty supervisors play in mentoring graduate students.It is presented in two categories: Mentorship of master’s students only and mentorship of both master’s and PhD students.Nominations close March 10.For more information, visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.
Brazil, the World Cup host and the clear favorite (in our view), will start off the tournament Thursday with a match against Croatia. Soon after, 30 other countries will take to the pitch with varying prospects of achieving their World Cup dreams. See the FiveThirtyEight World Cup predictions for more on that.But first: a brief tour of World Cup history. We wanted to answer a few basic questions: How often do favorites win? How often do host nations win? Is the spread of soccer talent throughout the world becoming more top-heavy or more even?The 20 charts below provide some answers. They rank each team that entered the World Cup based on its Elo ratings before the tournament.These Elo ratings, which were adopted from a system developed for chess, have relatively little meaning in an absolute sense. We could say, for example, that Italy has an Elo rating of 1879 — but it’s not clear what you’d do with that.The Elo system is set up such that the average team has a rating of 1500. There are more than 200 countries that field national soccer teams, however, so being average (as Cape Verde or Trinidad and Tobago are, according to Elo) won’t normally get a team into the World Cup field, much less win it the trophy.So instead we’ve compared each team’s rating with that of the 32nd-best team in the world, according to Elo (whether or not team No. 32 qualified for the World Cup), at the time the World Cup began.1We only collected Elo ratings data on the teams that qualified for the World Cup. Sometimes, the team ranked No. 32 in the world was not among them. Therefore, we extrapolated the rating for the No. 32 team by looking at others ranked close to that threshold — for example, by taking the average of the Nos. 30 and 34 teams’ Elo ratings if both teams qualified. The 32nd-best team has gotten quite a bit better over the years, having gone from an Elo rating of 1540 in 1930, to one of 1707 this year. (The 32nd-best team in the world is currently Costa Rica, according to Elo.) Of course, the field has also expanded — from 13 teams in 1930 to 32 in World Cups played since 1998.The charts include one other important adjustment: We’ve given a 100-point bonus, in accordance with the Elo system’s recommended value, to the host nation.2This adjustment may be too conservative, especially for the earlier years of the competition.The 1930 World Cup, the first on our tour, was one where the home-nation adjustment makes a difference. Held in Uruguay, it was composed mostly of teams from the Americas; few European nations were willing to make the journey. Argentina and Uruguay were the two best teams in the field by some margin, with Argentina just slightly ahead in the Elo ratings. But Uruguay’s home-nation status was enough to make it the favorite. The two met in the finals in Montevideo, with Uruguay winning 4-2. More surprising: The United States and Yugoslavia won their groups and advanced to the semifinal, ahead of the higher-rated Brazil and Paraguay.Italy played host to the 1934 World Cup. Several South American teams, including Uruguay, declined to participate, as did the countries of the United Kingdom. Overall, however, the field was deeper and had more parity than four years earlier. Italy, Argentina and Austria would essentially have been co-favorites before the tournament began, with Italy slightly ahead on the basis of the home-country effect. Indeed, Italy won.Italy was also the favorite in the 1938 World Cup, which was played in France under the cloud of creeping European fascism. Italy was a clear favorite because Argentina, No. 2 in the Elo ratings at the time and disappointed that Europe had hosted two World Cups in a row, refused to participate. Italy won, keeping the streak alive for Elo favorites.But when the World Cup returned in 1950 after a 12-year hiatus because of World War II and its aftermath, there was a surprise in store. Brazil hosted the tournament and, with its home-country boost, would have been the slight favorite per Elo. But it was a deep field — with England participating for the first time, and strong entrants from Italy, Sweden and several other countries (although Argentina again declined to enter). Uruguay, just the ninth-best team in the field, according to Elo, prevailed in a famous upset.We’ll accelerate our pace a bit now that we’ve gotten the hang of this. The 1954 World Cup, held in Switzerland, featured another famous upset in the final, with West Germany defeating heavily favored Hungary in the so-called Miracle of Bern.The 1958 World Cup featured a deep and competitive field. Hungary or Argentina would probably have been the favorite, but Brazil and England were not far behind them. Brazil won for the first time.This touched off Brazil’s golden era, helmed by its star Pelé. The team entered the 1962 World Cup in Chile as the favorite, and it won — marking the last time a team has won two consecutive World Cups.By 1966, Brazil’s Elo rating had slipped closer to the rest of the world. Among a deep group of contenders, England would have been the Elo favorite because of its host-nation status. And just this once, England won.The 1970 World Cup, held in Mexico, featured one of the deepest fields ever. England was nominally the favorite again, according to Elo, but five other countries were within 100 points of it — including the eventual winner, Brazil.The 1974 World Cup, by contrast, had a relatively clear favorite. West Germany and Brazil were the best teams in the world by some margin, but West Germany, led by Franz Beckenbauer and having built momentum by winning the 1972 European Championships, played host to the tournament and won.The 1978 World Cup, held in and won by Argentina, is one of the least fondly remembered. Argentina was ruled by a military junta, which had come to power in 1976 after the overthrow of Isabel Perón. That World Cup has also long been associated with accusations of match-fixing. Was Argentina’s home-country advantage, for whatever reason, larger than usual? It’s hard to say; Argentina was a good team on its football merits, and the customary 100-point home-country boost would have put it in a group of front-runners that included West Germany, the Netherlands and Brazil.Spain hosted the World Cup in 1982; West Germany and Brazil would have been the favorites, according to Elo. Instead, it was Italy — just the 12th-best team in the field — that won.The 1986 World Cup initiated an era of relative parity. It would have been hard to pick a favorite: 14 teams, including the host, Mexico, were stacked within 140 Elo points of one another, and they weren’t that far ahead of some of the also-rans. Argentina won, not uncontroversially, on Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal.The 1990 World Cup also featured a fairly flat distribution of talent, although the host, Italy, would have been the nominal favorite on the basis of the home-country advantage. West Germany won instead after a low-scoring and poorly played World Cup.The World Cup returned to the Americas in 1994, when it was held in the United States. This was perhaps the first time that the host nation had no real chance of winning; the U.S. was rated as just the 18th-best team, despite its home-country boost. Much like the 1986 tournament, there was a large group of good-but-not-great teams atop the field. The Brazilian team, led by Romário and Bebeto, won in Pasadena, California, after Roberto Baggio’s penalty kick sailed over the crossbar.The 1998 World Cup featured co-favorites, according to Elo: France and Brazil were tied in Elo entering the tournament (after giving France its 100-point home-country bonus). Those two teams met in the final, and France won 3-0.The 2002 World Cup, co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, was one of the oddest tournaments. France was the best team entering the tournament, according to Elo, but it went winless in the group stage. The final featured some customary names — Brazil and Germany, with Brazil winning — but neither the Brazilian or German teams were especially strong by the Elo ratings. Turkey took third place despite being just the 23rd-best team in the field.The 2006 World Cup also featured a great deal of parity, with at least 10 plausible winners, including the host, Germany. It was Italy who prevailed over France on penalties in a final remembered for Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt.The past two World Cups, however, have seen a reversal in the trend of greater equality among footballing nations. Brazil and Spain entered the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as the front-runners, with Brazil just two points ahead of Spain in Elo entering the tournament. In the final, Spain defeated the Netherlands, ranked third in the world per Elo.That brings us back, finally, to this year’s tournament. Here are the Elo ratings, and then a few closing observations.Brazil is the best team in the world, according to Elo, as it is in our Soccer Power Index. There have been several other times when a home country was close enough to the top in Elo that it would have been the favorite after accounting for its home-country bonus. However, this is the first time the No. 1-ranked Elo team also played host.That gives Brazil a significant edge on the rest of the field. In fact, the 506-point gap between Brazil (accounting for its home-country bonus) and the 32nd-best team in the world (Costa Rica) is the largest ever in the World Cup. The 127-point gap between Brazil and the second-best team, Spain, is the second-largest after Italy in 1938.That’s not to say Spain, Argentina and Germany are poor teams. Spain’s Elo rating — 379 points ahead of the No. 32 team — would have made it the favorite in any World Cup played from 1986 through 2010. Argentina and Germany are strong enough that they would have been the favorites in a number of recent World Cups as well. Any of them would be a worthy champion, but they’ll have to get by Brazil.
Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Links to what we discussed are here:Neil Paine on what last weekend’s wild-card games really mean.Neil Paine writes about why there is no Super Bowl favorite.FiveThirtyEight’s college football coverage.Neil Paine reports on the quality of goalkeeping in modern hockey.Ben Morris explains why Lionel Messi is impossible. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Jan. 12, 2016), we look at whether Alabama’s onside kick won the Tide this year’s college football championship. We try to work out who the heck is going to be crowned Super Bowl champion. Plus, we ask whether Alex Ovechkin is the best hockey player of all time. And we give you a Significant Digit on the awesome Lionel Messi as he secures his fifth Ballon d’Or. Also, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump makes his Hot Takedown debut. Hot Takedown If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong.
The miniature organs are being made from human skin cells, which are transformed into neurons and 3D printed into clusters so that they resemble the structure of the brain. Tiny human brains are being grown in the laboratory by British scientists who say they could one day be used to repair damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease. But they also believe it may be possible one day to grow new brain tissue which can be transplanted back into damaged areas. Although it could never bring back old memories it may stop further degeneration and allow new memories to form. The scientists want to use them as models to test out new treatments or watch the progress of dementia. Professor Edik Rafailov, of Aston…
Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ieUpdated 5:51pmAS POLITICAL PARTIES began to step up the pressure on the government over the controversy surrounding the new National Maternity Hospital, a protest was held this afternoon outside the Department of Health.Organised by the Workers’ Party, protesters called on the government to reverse the decision that would see religious order the Sisters of Charity owning the new National Maternity Hospital.Today, Fianna Fáil, Labour and other parties demanded the government provide answers surrounding the ownership of the new hospital, which will cost the State €300 million but will be owned by the Sisters of Charity.In a statement this evening, Health Minister Simon Harris has sought to clarify the government’s position, saying that there was no question of “religious interference” in the new National Maternity Hospital.Protect our investmentHarris said that there are three key criteria that must be in place before the hospital progresses beyond the planning stage.These include “clinical, operational and financial independence, with no question of religious interference”, and that no private entity or religious order can profit in any way.He said that he had discussed this matter with the HSE Director General and was confident that these would be addressed.He also addressed questions surrounding the financial benefits to the Sisters of Charity.Harris said: “Questions have been raised about financial benefits to the Sisters of Charity due to the maternity hospital being developed on their campus. The opposite is the case.“The St Vincent’s Healthcare Group is making available very valuable land at no cost to the State, to facilitate the relocation of the National Maternity Hospital. In doing so, they have foregone the opportunity to put this land to alternative use.Let me be very clear: there will be no financial gain to any religious order from the development of this hospital. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 165 Comments 19,699 Views Thursday 20 Apr 2017, 5:10 PM By Sean Murray Share Tweet Email1 Apr 20th 2017, 5:10 PM http://jrnl.ie/3349971 I have heard people say that nuns will be running the hospital. Not true. I have heard that nuns will be gifted the hospital. Not true.The Minister said that the urgent need for the new National Maternity Hospital was separate to that of the redress for abuse survivors, which he says is “long overdue”.“I think it is wrong to conflate redress with the decision to build the desperately needed new maternity hospital,” he said.Protest Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ieThe Workers’ Party claimed that 300 people attended the lunchtime demonstration outside the Department of Health. Councillor Éilis Ryan said that the turnout reflects the anger at the government’s decision.She said: “The fact that 300 people took time out of their lunch to send Simon Harris a message speaks for itself.The issue has crystallised what people have been feeling for a long time – for a supposedly secular republic, Ireland’s public services continue to be dominated by a private church.Speaking at the event was activist Denise Kiernan, who set up a petition which has received 60,000 signatures to block the Sisters of Charity owning the hospital. Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie“People are confused”Political parties have been ramping up the pressure today, with Fianna Fáil saying that the public deserves answers as to how the situation arose, and Labour saying that it is “unacceptable for that volume of public money to be allocated and owned by any private entity”.In a statement, Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said that detailed information must be provided on how the decision was reached.He has requested that the master of the maternity hospital, Dr Rhona Mahony, and Dr Kieran Mulvey, who facilitated the negotiations between the new maternity hospital and the Sisters of Charity, appear before an Oireachtas committee.Kelleher said: “People are confused over the decision to allow the new €300 million publicly funded National Maternity Hospital to be handed over to the religious Sisters of Charity upon completion.The public deserve answers as to how this situation arose. People also need reassurance that the best interests of the patient will at all times be the primary driver of decision-making at the hospital.Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Labour leader Brendan Howlin said it was “an anachronism” to allow a religious order to own a modern maternity hospital built using public money.He said: “It is unacceptable for that volume of public money to be allocated and owned by any private entity. The St Vincent’s Group is a private entity.It should be in public ownership, democratically controlled.GuaranteeAlso speaking on Today with Sean O’Rourke, the current Master of National Maternity Hospital Dr Rhona Mahony said that there is a “triple lock” which guarantees the independence of the new hospital.“There is a triple lock in place to guarantee absolute autonomy and independence of the clinical services we deliver,” she said.If this does not go ahead, and if we’re going to mix this really important critical development for women with redress scheme, are we going to punish women further in this country by actually interfering and getting in the way of building a hospital that is so urgently needed for women.She added that the location of the new maternity hospital right beside St. Vincent’s Hospital is safer for women and represented “the future of healthcare”.Read: Ex-hospital master to Simon Harris: ‘Ask nuns about their plans for €300m hospital’Read: Over 60,000 sign petition to prevent Sisters of Charity becoming owners of maternity hospital Short URL Health Minister: ‘I have heard people say that nuns will be running the hospital. Not true’ It was claimed that 300 people attended today’s lunchtime protest outside the Department of Health.
According to reports from the DEC, the contaminated soil was from a truck accident that took place back in February. The stretch of roadside was located near Quartz Creek Road intersects with the Sterling Highway. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Department of Environmental Conservation worked to clean up roughly 4 yards of contaminated soil near Kenai Lake over the weekend. Alyssa Murphy with the ADEC: “The accident occured on February 26, and was reported to DEC February 29, by a concerned citizen. We went out on site that day that is was reported, and observed no stain on the ice or snow. But, a follow-up site inspection on April 13 revealed staining on the shoreline.” According to Murphy crews from the National Response Corporation arrived on scene the afternoon of April 13, to begin clean-up response efforts. Murphy: “On April 17, a crew removed the stain areas using an excavator and 4 cubic yards of contaminated material were removed and taken to Anchorage for treatment and disposal.” Murphy said DEC crews will be on scene this afternoon for another on-scene inspection and continue any necessary clean-up efforts.
New Delhi : The National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi Development Authority to rejuvenate the Neela Hauz lake in South Delhi without any delay. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has written to the Public Works Department to arrange fixing of iron meshes and create vertical gardens or to issue a NOC to it to undertake the work. Also Read – Man held for slapping woman employee at Gurgaon toll plaza booth Advertise With Us “In view of the damage being caused to the environment by illegal dumping of waste, we direct DDA to undertake the requisite remedial measures without waiting for further response from PWD. If PWD has any objection, it may move this tribunal,” the bench said in a recent order. The tribunal had earlier directed the DDA to furnish action taken report on rejuvenation of the Neela Hauz lake. According to the report, commuters passing through Aruna Asif Ali Marg Road Bridge over the lake are dumping plastic bags, bottles, glass framed photographs, polythene bags and other waste including bio-medical waste which is removed by the staff of Neela Hauz Bio-diversity park managed by DDA. Also Read – One arrested for firing outside Satna college in Madhya Pradesh Advertise With Us The tribunal’s order came after taking note of a newspaper report which said the lake is becoming a dumping ground. Waste so dumped is being retrieved daily by the DDA but no preventive or remedial action against illegal dumping is being taken which adversely affects conservation of the lake, it said. “As the lake lies on Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, commuters just park their vehicles on the side of the road and dump waste directly into the waterbody. This ranges from municipal solid waste, plastic bags and bottles, glass to puja material and often includes biomedical waste like syringes, according to officials of the DDA,” the report said.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced a sweeping proposal aimed at better protecting people from human trafficking as well as tackling sexual misconduct allegations at the Texas Capitol and throughout state government.Abbott’s “Preventing Crime, Protecting Texans, Punishing Criminals” plan includes allocating $22 million to the Department of Public Safety for the creation of regional squads to investigate human trafficking cases and for training local law enforcement. He also wants to target the state’s backlog of sexual assault evidence kits, calling for lawmakers to allocate an additional $14 million in the next two-year budget to clear the backlog.“You have my commitment that I will continue to work to heal victims, to help prevent these despicable crimes and to punish the criminals who commit them,” said Abbott in a news release. Abbott also waded into ongoing efforts to address a pervasive culture of sexual misconduct at the Texas Capitol. His plan includes a recommendation to designate the Texas Rangers as an entity that could collect reports of sexual assault and other “sexual offenses” by legislators, statewide elected officials and other Capitol employees. Laura Buckman for The Texas TribuneTexas Gov. Greg Abbott Share For years, sexual harassment claims in the Texas House and Senate have been handled by officials with little incentive or authority to enforce them, particularly in cases of harassment by lawmakers. In recent months, lawmakers and experts have called for a more impartial body to be able to deal with such complaints.Under Abbott’s proposal, the Public Integrity Unit of the Texas Rangers would carry out criminal investigations related to those allegations. Other proposals in the governor’s plan include using GPS monitoring for repeat sex offenders and perpetrators of family or domestic violence and creating a “do-not-hire” registry for school employees placed on probation or convicted of improper relationships with students. He also wants to make it illegal for a sex offender to be in the same car as a minor who is not a family member. Last year, The Texas Tribune’s Sold Out series examined how state policies — including a severely underfunded child welfare system — failed to help child sex-trafficking victims. And in November, the Tribune reported on on how sexual harassment policies at the Texas Capitol offered little protection to victims facing degrading comments, groping and unwanted sexual advances, prompting immediate calls by state leaders to better address the issue. Abbott’s plan Tuesday mentioned both reports.
The rumor is that Amazon is getting ready to launch a games console at some point this year. It has been hinted at several times with Amazon’s Lab 126 handling the design (it’s meant to look a lot like a PSOne) and Android being used as an OS for the machine.Now we have concrete proof Amazon has got its eyes firmly set on the games industry: Jeff Bezos’ company has just acquired an established game developer in the form of Double Helix Games.Double Helix is known most recently for the Xbox One-exclusive launch title Killer Instinct and its forthcoming release Strider across multiple platforms. But the studio has been releasing games since 2008, with notable titles including Silent Hill: Homecoming and Front Mission Evolved.Although as a developer it has no valuable IP of its own, there’s certainly a lot of experience within the company (it was formed through the merger of Shiny Entertainment and The Collective back in 2007). That combined with releases across all the major consoles and PC us probably what made it a viable acquisition for Amazon.If you’re going to release a new console on the market, you need some exclusive games with which to hit the ground running. It seems unlikely Double Helix could have a brand new console-quality game ready before 2014 is over, but Amazon may be looking for smaller game experiences to help launch its machine. A couple of those from the studio this years is certainly possible.
Financial technology has been all the rage these days, and there’s no shortage of fintech startups popping up across the globe. However, investments have been slowing down, indicating that the industry is reaching saturation for certain verticals. As such, startups should expect stiff competition.In addition to increasingly fierce competition and possible consolidation in the horizon, many fintech first-timers fail to take data seriously, especially when it comes to the many question marks surrounding the booming industry. One of the elements fintech actors should consider is of course data and its plethora of applications.Writing in a blog post about the importance of analytics, Hagit Ben Shoshan, VP of customer success at digital intelligence platform CoolaData, encourages startups to embrace analytics early on. “Don’t wait until your startup is big to start implementing analytics. Understand your user behavior as early as possible to be better prepared for your next high stage of growth.”Businesses must ensure that they are making smart and guided decisions in order to be competitive. Today, such a level of decision-making is made possible through big data.”Today’s data-driven professional needs the ability to navigate a wide variety of disparate data sources in a self-service environment, and derive insights before making a decision,” notes Sisense CEO Amir Orad in a recent blog post. “Enterprise data tools should empower business units to be data-driven in this sense, rather than retroactively justifying decisions with canned reports,” he added.Indeed, analytics isn’t some buzzword or novelty anymore, and data advocates believe that tech startups must be making data part of their organization’s foundation. Data has proven capable of revealing potential areas of both risk and opportunity that aren’t overtly noticeable.Data’s importance is even more amplified in industries that revolve around numbers such as finance. The large volumes of data that can be tracked and analyzed in fintech should prove a very rich resource that fintech companies would surely benefit from. This need for analytics cuts across verticals.Related: What Fintech Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Big Tech CompaniesHere are five fintech verticals where smart analytics are crucial to success.1. TradingThe emergence of data and machine learning has given rise to robo-advisors where artificial intelligence is used to provide customized investment advice to individual users. Fintech ventures such as Betterment and Wealthfront both leverage analytics in order to track user behavior and improve their customer experiences. Betterment cites how analytics helped it introduce a tax impact preview feature that allows users to see their potentially incurred taxes in advance.Other trading platforms are integrating analytics as well. Recently, CoolaData introduced an integration with the MetaTrader platform that allows brokers to track performance and generate reports quickly. This allows brokers to readily monitor their performance and provide interventions when necessary.Related: 7 Things to Consider Before Launching a Fintech Startup2. InsuranceInsurance has always been a numbers game. Insurers base the price of insurance premiums on actuarial tables. With the explosion of data, insurance companies can now factor in more information in generating their tables. For insurers, implementing smart analytics allows them to be on top of trends.The increased connectivity of smartphones, internet of things devices and cars allows for more data about customers to be gathered and used for risk analyses. For instance, geolocation and telemetry data can be used by auto insurers to identify higher risk motorists. A Deloitte paper sees this use of big data and analytics as good for consumers since pricing would better reflect risk.3. PaymentsPayments is possibly the most competitive fintech segment today. More markets are aspiring towards going cashless, and companies from traditional institutions such as banks, tech giants like Google and Apple, incumbents like PayPal and up-and-coming startups are now competing for relevance. There is much demand for real-time transactions in B2C, B2B and even peer-to-peer segments. Forty-three percent of small- and medium-sized businesses around the world claim that receiving real-time payments is crucial to their organizations.Related: How Fintech and Payments Innovations Will Disrupt Global EcommerceBut, beyond speedy transaction, merchants are actually looking for other potential sources of competitive advantage. Payment providers can offer value-added services such as transaction data reports for use in monitoring market trends and creating spending profiles. Merchants and marketers can use these for marketing campaigns and personalization efforts.4. Real estateReal estate appears to be one of the less talked about verticals in fintech but it is a major vertical nonetheless. Real estate is a $217-trillion industry worldwide, and 75 percent of that is from residential property. New ventures could very well explore this as a blue ocean market for fintech.Like many other industries, analytics has steadily changed the real estate game. It isn’t enough to go by the age-old real estate adages of “location, location, location.” Analytics now allows smarter ways for homebuyers to locate their perfect investments. Services such as Zillow and Trulia have been using information such as census data, property listings, crime statistics and geographic information systems data (GIS) to generate accurate information about properties.Related: Access to Data is Great, but It’s How You Communicate It That Matters5. SecurityFintech is a prime target for cybercriminals due to the nature of the information and assets that it handles. As such, fintech companies must put security at the core of their operations. Use of stolen credit card information still plagues many payment processors and merchants. This year, there has been a 200 percent rise in testing or using card information to purchase cheap items to confirm that they work. There’s even a rise in the use of stolen bank account information to purchase goods and pay bills online.Behavioral analytics play a very large role in fraud detection. Through the combination of analytics, algorithms and artificial intelligence, fraud prevention systems can identify fraudulent behavior with a fair degree of accuracy. These systems can even use historical data from existing consumers to flag unusual activities that are usually attributable to fraud.Moving aheadWhile fintech is still some time away from global breakthrough and dotcom bubbles are a constant threat, the industry enjoys the benefit of data and smart analytics. With that said, fintech can avoid the many pitfalls of other industries thanks to advancements in data collection and the consequent ability to understand consumer behavior. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 6 min read Register Now » July 7, 2017 Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals
Top Stories It’s hard to imagine a worse start to the Steve Wilks era in Arizona than how the season opener went for the Cardinals on Sunday.Wilks’ team was thoroughly dominated in a 24-6 loss to the Washington Redskins.Here are the rapid reactions from the 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station staff.Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & MarottaYou’d think it would be unfathomable for a team playing its first game under a new head coach in a sold-out stadium with what seemed to be a beatable opponent in town to come out flat, uninspired and unprepared. Related LinksArizona Cardinals’ first impression against Redskins was a debacleAfter extension, Johnson takes blame in Cardinals’ loss to RedskinsBooed in opener, Cardinals focus on improvement after loss to RedskinsWell, that inkling is unfathomable no more.That’s exactly what the Cardinals put forth Sunday in Steve Wilks’ NFL coaching debut in a 24-6 loss to the Washington Redskins at State Farm Stadium.Sam Bradford, also making his Arizona debut, looked tentative and reluctant to throw the ball down the field. If you’re the Cardinals, you’ll take the dink-and-dunk offense from a quarterback if he’s accurate – and that was certainly Bradford’s reputation when he got to town. He wasn’t accurate Sunday, completing 20-of-34 passes for only 153 yards and a pick.David Johnson showed glimpses of what he’s capable of, but the Cardinals were inept on offense for the first three quarters of the game. Larry Fitzgerald was himself, but the preseason concern about the rest of the receiving corps was warranted – the rest of them combined for one catch and four yards.Defensively, the Cardinals’ line got pushed around and yielded 182 rushing yards. A lack of playmaking ability at linebacker (also a preseason concern) was evident, and Jamar Taylor, this year’s candidate to fill the gap opposite of Patrick Peterson at corner, committed three penalties.Yeah, it was ugly. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson, center, is hit by Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tre Boston, left, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Kevin Zimmerman, reporter and editorThe question of the day: Which is more concerning, the offense or the defense? Washington quickly figured out how to stuff out David Johnson. The receivers outside of Larry Fitzgerald didn’t give quarterback Sam Bradford much of a reason to look their way. And when he did, inaccuracy plagued the quarterback who was touted as quite the accurate passer.But the defense — the unit expected to produce with familiar returning faces and a defensive head coach — might be the bigger worry. A new-look Washington attack used Adrian Peterson as a battering ram but mixed that cleverly with Chris Thompson, who via run and pass stretched the Cardinals side-to-side. Arizona’s line didn’t get much push, but its linebackers and safeties couldn’t fill the gaps on the outside, either.Throw in nine penalties, seven of which gave Washington a first down, and Arizona ticked few boxes when it came to playing to an identity or first-year coach Steve Wilks’ expectations.Jordan Byrd, host of Arizona Sports Saturday and producer of Burns & GamboI was fully expecting a culture shock when it came to the Cardinals offense this season, but that was ridiculous. The defense deserves their share of the blame for poor tackling and few quarterback pressures, but this loss is on the offense. What I expected to be a methodical, time-consuming unit turned out to be nothing more than David Johnson runs and five-yard passes. The Cardinals said they didn’t show much of their offense during the preseason and if this is what they will look like the rest of the year, I can understand why they wanted to hide it. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling It’s not just that the Cardinals lost, it’s the way they lost. Three legitimate concerns entering the season played out in pretty disturbing fashion on Sunday. For one, this really isn’t a team that’s built to come from behind. Sure, everyone’s going to have games where they find themselves down seven to ten points in the first half. But this just isn’t a roster that’s constructed in a way where they can spot the opponent two touchdowns and then get into a shootout. They need to control the line of scrimmage and win with defense and a heavy dose of David Johnson. If they can do that, they can have some success. But they didn’t do that at all today.Beyond that, there were whispers well before this game that stopping the run could be an issue in 2018. The secondary looks decent, and Arizona has one of the best pass rushers in football in Chandler Jones. But containing opposing running backs might very well be a problem. Washington ran for 182 yards today. Oh, and Todd Gurley’s up next week.Finally, there’s the issue of who’s going to make plays in the passing game beyond Larry Fitzgerald. That’s an undeniable concern that’s exaggerated when the Cards fall behind. In a game where they had to throw a lot, Arizona wide receivers not named Fitz managed one catch for four yards. That’s not going to get it done. The old saying is “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and that opportunity was thoroughly squandered by Wilks, his staff and Bradford. In reality, it’s only one game, but you’d have to comb over this one pretty hard to come up with anything resembling a positive.Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & GamboAside from some devastating season-ending injury, you’d have a hard time conceiving of a more lackluster season opener for the Cardinals. They got thumped in a way that the final score doesn’t even come close to reflecting.Rapid fire takeaways from the 24-6 loss to Washington:The first half numbers were astonishingly bad. 22-2 in first downs. 44-14 in plays run. 261-36 in total yards. That it was only a three-touchdown deficit was miraculous. All of this coming against a team that many thought was roughly the Cardinals equal. Some of the locals were surprised this offseason to see that national pundits weren’t giving the Cards enough credit. Today, with the first half in particular, it appeared the national experts knew exactly what they were talking about.The defense was routinely gashed. The Cardinals played a lot of nickel coverage throughout the preseason. After watching the Washington offense clear out the Cards they way they did the initial concern is the Cards are just too small with that personnel. Or perhaps the defensive line, with all their nagging injuries, needs to get healthy in a hurry. Robert Nkemdiche got his first NFL sack, but Washington ran for 182 yards for the game on 42 carries. Just the kind of run-oriented offense the Cards were hoping to inflict on opponents. Running backs Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson combined for 294 yards from scrimmage. Was Peterson motivated by playing a former team? Who cares. It was up to the Cards to stop him and they routinely failed. 86 Comments Share Kellan Olson, reporter and editorThe Redskins did exactly what Wilks wants the Cardinals to do. They dominated the game early on the ground to dictate the tempo and the defense held strong.Washington quarterback Alex Smith wasn’t asked to do much at all, but controlled and managed the game well, as usual. The story was Washington’s rushing attack, an area of the game where the Cardinals could have offered some resistance, but the Redskins finished with 182 yards on the ground. On the other side, superstar David Johnson was limited to nine carries and 37 yards, but who can blame him with how the offense played as a whole.Some will say the defense was the most concerning, but the Cardinals just paid Sam Bradford $20 million and how lost the veteran quarterback looked at times was unacceptable. He finished with a quarterback rating of 57.6 in his debut. Yikes. – / 35 Sam Bradford’s legendary accuracy was neither legendary or accurate. A 58.8 completion percentage for the game, which is a far cry from the “ball never hits the ground” version of Bradford we saw throughout camp. Balls were routinely off target. And the wide receiver problem is still very much a problem. The only wideout not named Larry Fitzgerald to have a catch was Christian Kirk and he just had one catch for four yards. Too early to call for Josh Rosen but a couple more like this and there will be no reason not to play the rookie. I had assumed all along that as long as Bradford was healthy, he’d be good. Sunday proved me wrong for at least one game.Luke Lapinski, co-host of The Rundown and reporterAt the end of the day, it’s just one game. Steve Wilks stressed that the Cardinals can’t let one loss define them, and Sam Bradford pointed out that they can’t get so caught up in this result that they let it beat them twice. There’s something to that.On the other hand, you only get 16 of these. This isn’t baseball where you can throw a few away here and there. And it was a home game against – on paper, at least – one of Arizona’s few “easier” opponents. If things get better this season, they’re going to look back and wonder why this game went so bad so quickly. And they’re going to want it back. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2001, file photo, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. carries the Olympic torch down Brevard St. in Charlotte, N.C. Earnhardt Jr. has barely had time to ease into retirement before NBC Sports gave him a full workload. Earnhardt will be part of the network’s pregame show before the Super Bowl, then head to South Korea for NBC Sports’ coverage of next month’s Olympics. At the Olympics, he’ll visit the speed skating venue and accept a recent social media invite from American bobsled team pilot Nick Cunningham to ride in a bobsled. (Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer via AP) CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Nearly every day brings a new experience for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who spent the first 43 years of his life living in a bubble that consisted of NASCAR and not much else.Now that he has retired from full-time racing, he’s got time to experience new adventures. Just last weekend, he went to brunch — his first brunch ever — with his wife and friends, then was convinced to get his first pedicure .The best is yet to come.NBC Sports announced Tuesday it will use Earnhardt in its pregame show before the Super Bowl, then send him to South Korea for the network’s coverage of next month’s Olympics. Earnhardt retired from driving in November and signed on to be an analyst for NBC Sports, a gig that begins in July.“It’s not going to be putting me anywhere outside of my comfort zone, obviously I’ve never been to a Super Bowl or South Korea,” Earnhardt told The Associated Press. “What they are asking me to do is just go out there and be myself and hopefully get people interested in tuning into NASCAR.”NBC plans to use Earnhardt at the Super Bowl in outdoor events and activities taking place in Minneapolis in the days before the game. At the Olympics, he’ll visit the speed skating venue and accept a recent social media invite from American bobsled team pilot Nick Cunningham to ride in a bobsled.“We can’t wait to get Dale’s take on what is one of the most compelling aspects of the Winter Games — sports that offer a mix of speed with the prospect of danger, an equation that he knows very well,” said Jim Bell, president of NBC Olympics Production and Programming.“Instead of the turns at Daytona, it’s the downhill, the luge, and the short track oval. And I think he will have something unique to offer about the need for speed on snow and ice.”Earnhardt, a third-generation NASCAR driver, is the son of Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Sr. He grew up around racing and its grueling 11-month schedule that has drivers on the road and away from home at least three days a week. Although the Super Bowl is typically held before NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona 500, rabid Washington Redskins fan Earnhardt said he never had a desire to go to the game.“Not everybody goes to the Super Bowl,” he said. “I was too young when the Redskins were going, I was still in school, and they haven’t been since 1991. I definitely would have gone if they had played in one. But as a fan of a particular team, it sort of feels wrong to go to another game. I’d have a hard time even going to see the Redskins play in an opponent’s stadium. If I had no purpose to be at the Super Bowl, besides to just see a game, it was hard to make that kind of time commitment.”And the Olympics? Well, that’s a dream trip that Earnhardt never had the time to even dream of making. Asked Tuesday where he’s been outside the United States, he listed Germany and France — trips he took with his now-wife — as well as Mexico, Canada, Japan and Australia. He also once spent 24 hours in Monaco.“When I was driving, I didn’t want to do anything else,” Earnhardt said. “Someone would say, ‘Wow, I’ve got some time, let’s go have some fun,’ but I wouldn’t want to do anything. If I had a day to myself, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere or do anything.”Then he was sidelined for the second half of the NASCAR season with concussion symptoms, and Earnhardt was forced to expand his lifestyle.“When I started peeling away the layers, I started losing some of that habit and getting more comfortable doing things,” he said. “When we weren’t in the car, you weren’t supposed to be focused on anything else. When you went and did something, go to a concert, visit another city, you almost felt guilty for doing it. Like, we already have a pretty good lifestyle as race car drivers and can afford just about anything. So I just felt bad enjoying yourself.“But when I was out of the car for so long, my doctor encouraged me to put myself in a lot of complex situations. That meant going to concerts and places I’ve never been and situations where I could push my anxiety. I’ll tell you, I was like: ‘Wow, this is what retirement is going to be like.’”He’s not nervous about transitioning into his new television career, or that his first real appearances as an NBC Sports analyst will be on two worldwide stages. Earnhardt, who recently learned to ski while in Aspen with Jimmie Johnson, is planning on bringing boots and a helmet to South Korea to try out the slopes. He’s also eager to try the cuisine.The only drawback is that pregnant wife Amy can’t make the trip, and Earnhardt said he doesn’t sleep well when they are apart. He figures worrying about her as she awaits their first child will make for long nights in South Korea.He’s confident, though, the network won’t let him look like a fool and he’s leaned heavily on former crew chief Steve Letarte, and former driver Jeff Burton, both members of NBC Sport’s current NASCAR booth, for advice.After his time at the Olympics, he’ll head to Daytona Beach, Florida, for the season-opening Daytona 500. Earnhardt is the grand marshal for the race.“I definitely wouldn’t miss the first race of the year,” he said. “I feel like I should be there.”___This story has been corrected to show that Earnhardt is 43, not 42.___More AP Auto Racing: https://racing.ap.org by Jenna Fryer, The Associated Press Posted Jan 16, 2018 7:15 am PDT Last Updated Jan 16, 2018 at 10:40 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Earnhardt Jr. to help NBC Sports at Super Bowl and Olympics
French Michael Jackson fans sue ‘Leaving Neverland’ accusers by The Associated Press Posted Jul 4, 2019 12:03 pm PDT Last Updated Jul 4, 2019 at 4:38 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Three Montreal radio stations have stopped playing Michael Jackson songs as a result of child-molestation allegations against the late musician aired Sunday in an HBO documentary. Jackson emerges after his third day in court for his child molestation trial at the Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, Calif., Wednesday, March 2, 2005. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Damian Dovarganes PARIS — Three Michael Jackson fan clubs in France are suing two men who accused the singer of sexual abuse in the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland.”The lawsuit accuses Wade Robson and James Safechuck of unfairly blackening the reputation of the King of Pop, who died 10 years ago.A lawyer for the fan clubs, Emmanuel Ludot, said he is seeking conviction under a French law against the public denunciation of a dead person.The fan clubs are asking for one euro each in symbolic damages.A court in the French city of Orleans held a hearing Thursday. A lawyer represented Robson and Safechuck, who in the documentary described years of alleged sexual abuse when they were boys and teens.Jackson’s estate denies the allegations and sent a letter supporting the lawsuit.The Associated Press
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