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first_imgHouston players run our onto the field on game day.YouTube/UHAthleticsMany had high expectations for Tom Herman as head coach. As became very apparent this season, Herman was instrumental in turning Ohio State into an offensive juggernaut despite all kinds of injury issues at quarterback last season. I don’t know that anyone realistically thought Herman would elevate Houston to this level in just one year, though. At 12-1, with an AAC title under their belt, the Cougars are off to the Peach Bowl for a New Year’s Eve showdown with ACC powerhouse Florida State. Houston fans shouldn’t need any help getting excited for this one, but just in case, Houston put together a quick 30 second teaser trailer for the game, and it is quite epic.The Cougs and ‘Noles kick off in Atlanta at noon on December 31.last_img


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first_imgAPTN National NewsA man in British Columbia who preyed on vulnerable young women has been declared a dangerous offender.It’s considered a victory by advocates who say there will be one less predator on the streets.APTN’s Tina House has this story.last_img


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first_imgCALGARY – Western Canadian farmers are using proceeds from a good harvest last year to buy more new agricultural equipment after years of settling for used as prices of U.S.-made machinery rose due to the stronger American dollar.Both Cervus Equipment Corp. and Rocky Mountain Dealerships Inc. are reporting increased earnings thanks to higher profit margins and manufacturers’ incentive payments on sales of new equipment in 2017 versus 2016.Cervus CEO Graham Drake says the company expects strong sales of new equipment to continue in 2018 after sales leaped ahead by 20 per cent last year, driven by good harvests and “windows” of favourable currency exchange rates.He cited the improved outlook in announcing an increase in the quarterly dividend from seven to 10 cents per share.CEO Garrett Ganden says Rocky Mountain Dealerships is also banking on Canadian farmer optimism this year, noting continuing good prices on solid crop production and a harvest last fall that wasn’t hampered by late-season wet conditions as it was in 2016.Cervus reported revenue from new equipment sales rose 20 per cent to $447 million in 2017, while Rocky Mountain noted a 5.7 per cent increase to $436 million.Both companies are based in Calgary.Rocky Mountain, which sells Case IH and New Holland equipment, says it is Canada’s largest agriculture equipment dealer with 35 dealerships across the Prairies.Cervus, which sells John Deere machinery, has interests in 35 dealerships, 20 in Western Canada, nine in New Zealand and six in Australia.last_img read more


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first_imgSurat: A sessions court here Friday convicted Narayan Sai, son of jailed self-styled godman Asaram Bapu, in a rape case filed against him by a former woman devotee in 2013. The sentence will be pronounced on April 30. Besides Sai (47), who is lodged at Lajpore Jail here since 2013, the court held four of his aides, including two women, guilty of various offences. Sai was convicted under IPC sections 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 323 (assault), 506-2 (criminal intimidation) and 120-B (conspiracy). Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh Of the 11 accused, six were acquitted. Additional Sessions Judge P S Gadhvi will pronounce the quantum of punishment on April 30. The minimum punishment for rape is 10 years in jail, while the maximum punishment is life imprisonment. Sai’s aides–Dharmishtha alia Ganga, Bhavna alias Jamuna and Pavan alias Hanuman–were held guilty for being part of a conspiracy. Sai’s driver Rajkumar alias Ramesh Malhotra was held guilty under IPC section 212 (harbouring an offender). Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad Ganga and Jamuna, also called “sadhika” (women disciples), were accused of putting the victim in illegal confinement and thrashing her at Sai’s behest. They were also accused of trying to brainwash her into agreeing to have a relationship with Sai. Hanuman, a loyal “sadhak” (disciple) of Sai, was accused of abetment, including taking the victim to Sai’s room. Surat Police had filed a 1,100-page charge sheet against Sai in 2014. In 2013, after Asaram was arrested for raping a girl in Rajasthan, two Surat-based women accused Asaram and his son of sexual exploitation. The elder sister accused Asaram of sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006 when she lived at his Ahmedabad ashram. The younger sister accused the godman’s son of sexual assaults when she lived at Asaram’s ashram in Jahangirpura area of Surat between 2002 and 2005. Sai was arrested from Delhi-Haryana border in December 2013. When he was in jail, Surat Police claimed to have unearthed Sai’s plans to bribe police officers, doctors and even judicial officers to weaken the case against him. Asaram, meanwhile, was convicted by a Jodhpur court for rape. The trial against him in the case filed by the Surat-based woman is going on at a Gandhinagar court.last_img read more


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It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for another edition of FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings. The least you need to know about how these numbers work: Each team is ranked according to a projection of its strength over the upcoming week — and the upcoming week only — using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. For more details on the ratings, see our introductory rankings post.(Note: These ratings were calculated before news broke that Chicago’s Jimmy Butler would miss three to six weeks with an elbow injury. Butler carried a strong +3.2 RPM rating, so replacing his 26 minutes per game with a replacement-level player would drop the Bulls from 11th place to a tie for 19th with the Pistons. Chicago’s saving grace might be that the average player below Butler on the team’s depth chart is significantly better than replacement level, but there’s no doubt that this news reduces the Bulls’ rating.)Some observations about the rankings this week:The Oklahoma City Thunder climbed more in the rankings from last week than any other team, leaping from No. 13 to No. 6. The biggest reason? The expectation that Kevin Durant will return in some capacity this week, even if in reduced minutes, was worth 1.7 points per 100 possessions to OKC’s overall rating. The ripple effects of Durant’s return extend beyond his own increased minutes. Our playing-time projections also see Dion Waiters (whose extremely negative RPM falls below the replacement level) getting fewer minutes on the wing — a boon of 0.8 points/100 to the Thunder’s rating. More minutes may also go to plus-minus darling Andre Roberson,1Relative to other metrics at least; from his awful 9.9 Player Efficiency Rating (PER), you wouldn’t expect his RPM to be a strong +2.4. and fewer minutes will go to guard D.J. Augustin, an additional 0.6 point boost for OKC’s rating. The mix of very good and very poor players on the Thunder roster makes the team a great case study in how much effect playing-time reshuffling can have on a team’s overall talent rating.The Atlanta Hawks dropped four spots in this week’s rankings, largely because Al Horford (+2.3 RPM rating), Jeff Teague (+1.3), DeMarre Carroll (+1.2) and Pero Antic (+0.8) are all listed as day-to-day in the team’s injury report. Those slight playing-time downgrades gave more minutes to a host of negative RPM players; chief among them are Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore.Joining the Hawks with a four-slot decline this week are the Toronto Raptors. More than half of Toronto’s 1.8 point ratings drop is driven by an injury to Kyle Lowry — and the resulting uptick in playing time for the man behind him on the team’s point guard depth chart, Lou Williams. Williams’s box-score numbers are very good, and Toronto has played much better with him on the court this season. But Real Plus-Minus isn’t convinced despite his great 2014-15 season to date. His long-term predictive RPM is currently -1.9 — with a -3.6 defensive mark — numbers only slightly improved from his -2.0/-3.7 ratings from the end of last season.For all the changes just outside the league’s top tier — in addition to the rise of OKC and declines of Atlanta and Toronto, the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets both moved up a pair of spots — the top four in our rankings stayed constant. This marks the first time that’s been true since we introduced the rankings in mid-January.With Oklahoma City’s gains, the Western Conference playoff picture is all but set. Seven teams have postseason probabilities in excess of 97 percent, and the Thunder don’t sit too far behind, at 92.7 percent. As for the East, it boasts six teams with playoff odds of 99.6 percent or greater, although there’s some drama to be had with six teams battling for the conference’s final two playoff berths. The Indiana Pacers have the inside track for one of the slots, with a 62.7 percent playoff probability, but none of the five teams behind them are any more than 40.2 percent likely to qualify, which ought to bring at least some tension to the final month and a half of the season.Related to the previous point, it’s worth mentioning that the Utah Jazz have a zero percent probability of making the playoffs despite ranking 12th in talent. What happened? Utah’s record has undershot its Pythagorean expectation by three wins, but the team has also improved its talent rating recently (granted, by too little and too late) by jettisoning Enes Kanter and his -2.5 RPM in a three-team trade with Oklahoma City and the Detroit Pistons.Finally, who on earth is Joffrey Lauvergne? Our projections had the French big man down for 2.8 minutes per game for the Denver Nuggets last week, but he ended up averaging 21 minutes per game instead (and even got a starting nod against the Jazz on Friday). Denver might be toning down Lauvergne’s playing time after he shot 38 percent from the floor and posted a -36 plus-minus in that lone start, but his expected role increase — and -4.4 RPM rating — is still enough to help the Nuggets drop by five slots in the rankings. They’re still not New York Knicks bad, but after their mass talent exodus at the trade deadline, the Nuggets now bring up the rear of the non-Knicks/Philadelphia 76ers division of the power rankings. read more


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OSU co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell walks out of the Buckeyes’ locker room before a game against Maryland on Nov. 12. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorWhen Urban Meyer was hired as Ohio State’s head coach at the end of the 2011 season, many saw the possibility for a dynasty. Meyer’s MO had been his ability to implement a high-octane, prolific offense to whichever program he was coaching. He is one of a few coaches that reshaped the offensive landscape of college football, primarily switching to a spread from a pro-style offense. Since the OSU football program’s earliest days, the Buckeyes have been viewed as a team that excels on the defensive end. Since 2002, when Luke Fickell joined the OSU staff, the characterization of a tough, blue-collar defense stood out in the program’s seven Big Ten championships, four national championship berths and two national titles. The offensive firepower of an Urban Meyer offense combined with the traditionally stout Buckeyes’ defense was a formula many thought would put OSU in the running for a national championship every season. But Meyer came close to making his own recipe.During Meyer’s first two years at the helm for OSU, the Buckeye defense wasn’t the same. After 24 consecutive victories, OSU dropped the Big Ten Championship game to Michigan State and the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl to Clemson. OSU allowed an average of 377 passing yards over the last three games. The Scarlet and Gray ranked 118th out of 125 teams in passing defense.“I did not want to keep (Luke Fickell) when I got here,” Meyer said. “We weren’t very good on defense for a couple years and that stressed things out just a touch around here.”Fickell served as interim head coach before Meyer arrived in Columbus in 2011, going 6-7. Fickell was retained by Meyer as co-defensive coordinator, sharing the duties with Everett Withers, who also coached safeties. After coming within earshot of playing for a national title in 2013, it was clear to Meyer that a change had to be made on defense.In 2014, Fickell was the one who stayed and Withers took another job while current Rutgers head coach Chris Ash was hired by Meyer to replace Withers. The Buckeyes’ secondary underwent a complete overhaul, improving to 15th in passing defense and picking off 25 passes on its way to a national championship. Fickell, in charge of the linebackers, transformed Darron Lee into a freshman All-American after switching from safety.Fickell has produced 12 NFL draft picks so far in his coaching career, as well as dominated the state of Ohio in recruiting — a couple reasons why the University of Cincinnati hired him as its next head coach.“You do not have to be on the best terms at all times,” Fickell said. “Sometimes discomfort breeds growth. To push somebody deep down inside, you gotta know it’s for a reason. That’s the thing I can say, at times, we’ve had these discussions before we’ve had tough times. That’s a part of the game and what you really do is step back and able to realize how much you respect him because of it.”In the midst of preparing for OSU’s national semifinal bout against Clemson on Dec. 31 in Glendale, Arizona, Fickell accepted an offer from Cincinnati to become the Bearcats next head football coach. The long-tenured Ohioan — the one who played for St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus, played for John Cooper for four years and coached under Jim Tressel — now will attempt to create his own legacy in the same state that he has built his career.A career that Fickell said wouldn’t be anything without his wife, Amy, and their six children.“Sometimes you take advantage of the people you love the most,” he said. “My family understands that. My wife understands that, my kids understand that, I hope, to some extent. For right now, those are the things that suffer the most. I couldn’t do that without a great wife.”Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell celebrates with junior cornerback Doran Grant (12) following an interception during a game against Purdue Nov. 2, 2013 at Ross-Ade Stadium. OSU won, 56-0.Credit: Lantern File PhotoIf Fickell had left after 2013 for another job, he said that it wouldn’t have felt right not leaving on a high note. When former OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman was hired at Houston during preparation for the College Football Playoff in 2014, he chose to coach throughout the playoff with the Buckeyes. Fickell will do the same this year, preparing for the CFP semifinal against the No. 2 Clemson Tigers (12-1), while trying to balance his position at Cincinnati.“I told them even when I was introduced down at Cincinnati, I wanted to look at every kid and make them realize why I’m doing what I’m doing,” Fickell said. “I’m doing what I’m doing because we started something and I would never start something without finishing it.”One of the players that Fickell has impacted the most is junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan. A five-star recruit from Hinesville, Georgia, that Fickell recruited, McMillan said the best quality about Fickell is his trust in his coaching, sticking with one defensive philosophy since McMillan’s freshman year in 2014.McMillan was an impact player on the national championship team and soon will be another member of Fickell’s linebackers in the NFL. In his time at OSU, Fickell said he hasn’t seen a player that means more to a unit than McMillan.“He’s been able to guide me through all my blessings I’ve been given here at Ohio State and put me in the position I’m in today,” McMillan said. “Through the ups and downs, he stayed on my side, and even the guys beside me, nurtured us and have us become men.”In his last days as a an assistant coach at OSU, Fickell is facing one of his most difficult tasks yet as a defensive coach. Clemson averages 505.5 yards per game on offense, led by Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson.In 2014, when Clemson put up 40 points and over 500 yards against the Buckeyes, some thought that result would spell the end for Fickell’s time in Columbus. Since then, Fickell has turned into one of Meyer’s most trusted colleagues the past three seasons.“One of the greatest things I’ve ever done was keep Luke Fickell,” Meyer said. “He’s a loyal, good man and a very good friend of mine. We’ll be very close for a long time.” read more


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first_imgThe Merseyside Police does not have enough evidence to prosecute the Liverpool Egyptian star but has given advice on mobile phone usageA video showing Liverpool Egyptian star Mohamed Salah texting while ignoring the team’s fans was published a few weeks ago.In the clip, he is seeing using his mobile phone while driving out of Anfield earlier in the 2018-2019 English Premier League season.And Merseyside Police have confirmed today there is not enough evidence to prosecute the professional footballer.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“We can confirm a 26-year-old man was spoken to following an incident on Arkles Lane in Liverpool on Sunday 12 August,” the police department said in a press release published by Goal.“Inquiries have taken place and there is insufficient evidence to support a prosecution and as such no further action will be taken.”“The man has been spoken to by officers and given advice and guidance around mobile phone use in a vehicle,” the Merseyside Police concluded.last_img read more


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first_imgLeicester City manager Claude Puel has confirmed that Jonny Evans is fit and will be in the matchday squad for Saturday’s trip to Wolves.A toe injury sidelined Jonny Evans for Leicester’s 2-1 home defeat to Southampton last weekend.But according to Leicester boss Claude Puel, the defender will be available for selection as they prepare to travel to Wolves for Saturday’s clash.“Evans can come back in the squad, it was not a serious injury,” Puel told the club’s website during Thursday’s pre-match press conference.Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedLiverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“He will be in the squad on Saturday. Of course, I am happy when a player can come back in the squad.”Leicester will be without Daniel Amartey who is still nursing an ankle injury he sustained in their 1-1 draw with West Ham in October.As they go in search of their first win in three Premier League matches, the foxes have no other injury concerns aside from Amartey.last_img read more


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first_imgSo you’ve hired a Cadillac of a photographer and there’s a celebrity or maybe some high-strung supermodel. A few photo assistants are futzing with (rented) lighting in a (rented) space. An art director and assistant have flown in for the shoot, There’s a hair stylist, a makeup stylist, a fashion stylist, maybe someone’s built a set, maybe a couple of people styled that set. And god knows how many hours went into orchestrating the event—scheduling, catering, and putting out fires. No doubt, a high-end national magazine cover shoot can put you back quite a few more Benjamins than a fancy wedding or sporty car. Oh, jeez, did I forget about digital delivery fees, retouching and color correction? Did someone budget for any of that?Considering how over-the-top it can all be, one has to admire a major glossy that routinely pays closer to 50 cents for its covers. Wired’s Scott Dadich is the current master of the all-type cover.Of course, Wired’s covers must cost a bit more than 50 cents. They doubtlessly take a bit of time to pull off and Wired has a tradition of using multiple metallic and florescent inks, which all add a bit of cost. But considering that this magazine frequently goes to war on the newsstand with nothing but a few colors, shapes and words cobbled together, it’s all still pretty impressive. Even when there is an image, such as is the case with the Electric Car cover above, it’s still only a minor component of the package. Wired has been taking chances with it’s cover since its inception, and looking at the magazine’s content one can see why. When you contemplate the future of online media or the next Ice Age, there isn’t much to photograph that isn’t going to look trite. Powerful, surprising imagery may sometimes be possible when you’re writng about, oh, industrial applications for 380 digit prime numbers, but it’s not a sure thing.[EDITOR’S NOTE: Buy Jandos’ new book!]last_img read more


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first_img Convertibles Performance Cars null 8 Photos Ferrari’s SF90 Stradale shows the shape of the modern hypercar Share your voice 1:36 Now playing: Watch this: Tags Ferrari Ferrari 2019 Maserati Levante GTS: Heart of gold 0 Enlarge ImageLike this, but with less roof. Andrew Hoyle/CNET The Ferrari 812 Superfast is one hell of a car. I mean, it’s called the freaking Superfast. The one thing that it’s missing, though, is the ability to hear that absolutely bananas V12 yowl without having the sound muffled by a roof — that is to say, it’s missing a Spider version.Though, that may not be the case for long. According to the website FerrariChat, several Ferrari owners have received invitations to see the unveiling of the new model in early September at one of two events. According to a separate report by Motor1 published on Wednesday, all of these invites have gone to European owners, so either there will be a separate series of events for US buyers, or we won’t get this thing stateside, though the latter seems unlikely.As far as official details on potential specs for a Spider-ized version of the 812 go, there basically aren’t any. Seriously, we’ve heard nothing from the folks in Maranello on this one. If we were to put on our thinking caps and hazard an educated guess, we’d expect to see a folding hardtop roof like the Portofino and/or 488 Spider have. We’d be shocked to see any kind of change in power output, given just how potent the standard 812 is already, thanks to its 6.5-liter V12 engine.In any case, we can’t be bothered with the idea of a convertible 812 because the Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 already exist and those are — as far as we’re concerned — the coolest Ferraris to roll out of Maranello in decades.Oh, and we’re journalists, so we don’t have Ferrari 812 Superfast Spider money anyway. That’s the other reason we can’t be bothered. More From Roadshow Ferrari’s new SF90 Stradale is a 986-horsepower hybrid… 2019 Lamborghini Urus review: Part SUV, part supercar 2020 Audi R8 first drive: Improving an already fantastic supercarlast_img read more


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first_imgRam Charan and Varun Tej in CaliforniaInstagramThe recent picture of Ram Charan which was posted by his cousin, Tollywood hero Varun Tej, has drawn huge attention from all over. It appears like Ram Charan is having a vacation before he starts shooting for RRR.Varun Tej, who got very famous with his movies Mukunda, Fidaa, Tholi Prema etc, posted a picture on his social media profile a while ago and captioned it “‪Randomly bumped into Mr.C in Cali!”. In the picture, Varun Tej is seen posing with Ram Charan, with his stunning new look, which is probably for his upcoming movie RRR.Ram Charan, who was praised for his natural looks in the blockbuster movie Rangasthalam, sported a ribbed body for his latest movie Vinaya Vidheya Rama. Now that he is all set to start shooting for the upcoming movie RRR, Ram Charan seems to have worked on his looks.It is a known fact that SS Rajamouli is all set to create another sensation with his upcoming movie RRR. Tollywood’s top heroes NTR and Ram Charan are slated to play the roles of two freedom fighters in this fictional movie. Ram Charan will play the role of Alluri Sitharama Raju, a freedom fighter.Ram Charan’s look with the moustache looks apt for the role he will portray in the movie RRR. The much-awaited information regarding star director SS Rajamouli’s directorial- RRRwas announced recently. SS Rajamouli and his team members had organized a press meet to reveal the details of RRR.It was revealed that RRR is a movie with a fictional representation of the life of Alluri Sitharama Raju and Komaram Bheem, the unsung heroes. It was also revealed that star heroes Ram Charan and NTR will be appearing as Alluri Sitharama Raju and Komaram Bheem respectively.last_img read more


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first_imgAt least 20 people were injured when a portion of a dilapidated building collapsed during a temple procession in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district on Wednesday. #BIGNEWS: A part of house falls off during a fair in #Tumakuru injuring 20 people. The incident took place in Kunigal when Goddess Chowdeshwari’s idol was being taken on a procession. pic.twitter.com/3NlrV8niiW— NEWS9 (@NEWS9TWEETS) April 24, 2019According to reports, the incident occurred in Kunigal town when people gathered on the streets and on top of buildings to watch the procession of Goddess Chowdeshwarai’s idol.Several people had gathered on the terrace of the collapsed building to watch the procession when the incident happened. the injured were immediately taken to nearby hospitals.A case has been registered at Huliyurudurga police station in Kunigal.last_img read more


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first_imgIn this undated photo provided on 2 July 2018, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, visits Sinuiju Chemical Fibre Mill in Sinuiju, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: `KCNA` which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. Photo : APAs secretary of state Mike Pompeo prepares to travel this week to North Korea, experts cautioned that the Trump administration’s plan to dismantle the North’s nuclear weapons and missiles in a year is both unrealistic and risky.The State Department said Pompeo would arrive Friday on his third visit to Pyongyang in three months. It will be the first visit by a senior US official since president Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Kim Jong Un on 12 June in Singapore, where the North Korean leader committed to “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula.Trump’s questionable claim afterward that the North was no longer a nuclear threat was soon displaced by doubts about how to achieve denuclearisation, a goal that has eluded US administrations for the past quarter-century since Pyongyang began producing fissile material for bombs.The president tweeted Tuesday that talks on the next steps with North Korea are “going well” and claimed his efforts had defused any nuclear threat.”If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!” Trump tweeted. He said: “no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months. All of Asia is thrilled.”But experts say there is no proof North Korea’s halt of nuclear and missile tests means the North will take concrete steps to give up such weapons. They also say the US has an unrealistic approach to North Korea’s denuclearisation.Less than three weeks ago, Pompeo said the United States wanted North Korea to take “major” nuclear disarmament steps within the next two years – before the end of Trump’s first term in January 2021. Even that was viewed as bullish by nonproliferation experts considering the scale of North Korea’s weapons program and its history of evasion and reluctance to allow verification of disarmament agreements.On Sunday, Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, publicized the more ambitious one-year plan that he said Pompeo will be discussing with the North Koreans. Bolton, who has expressed hardline views on North Korea, said that if Pyongyang has decided to give up its nuclear weapons program and is cooperative, then “we can move very quickly” and they can win sanctions relief and aid from South Korea and Japan.The rapid timeline he proposed contrasts with more measured, methodical strategies that most North Korea experts insist are needed to produce a lasting denuclearisation agreement. They say any solid deal will require Kim to be completely transparent about his program – at a time when intelligence reports suggest he will try to deceive the United States about the extent of his covert weapons or facilities.The one-year plan is predicated on the North Koreans “rolling over and playing dead,” said Joel Wit, a former State Department official who helped negotiate a 1994 agreement that temporarily froze Pyongyang’s nuclear program. “If it’s our going-in position, it’s fine. We should give it a try and see where it goes. If it’s our bottom line, it’s dead on arrival and then provides a pretext for John Bolton to make mischief.”To date, Kim has halted nuclear and missile tests and has destroyed tunnels at the North’s nuclear test site, but the authoritarian nation has yet to take concrete steps toward abandoning its weapons programs. Recent think tank analyses using satellite imagery suggest that Pyongyang may even be expanding some facilities linked to its missile and nuclear programs.The Washington Post on Saturday cited unnamed US intelligence officials as concluding that North Korea does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile. Evidence collected since the summit points to preparations to deceive the US about the number of nuclear warheads in North Korea’s arsenal as well as the existence of undisclosed facilities used to make fissile material for nuclear bombs, according to the report. Some aspects of the updated intelligence were reported Friday by NBC News.A US official told The Associated Press that the Post’s report was accurate and that the assessment reflected the consistent view across US government agencies for the past several weeks. The official was not authorised to comment publicly on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.North Korea and Washington have yet to negotiate the terms under which the North would relinquish its weapons, so Pyongyang can be expected to seek leverage in those discussions. But those reported activities could add to misgivings in the United States, which has seen agreements with the North flounder before, often amid allegations of evasion or cheating. Pyongyang has often had its own complaints about Washington over slow delivery of aid and imposition of sanctions.”Denuclearisation is no simple task. There is no precedent for a country that has openly tested nuclear weapons and developed a nuclear arsenal and infrastructure as substantial as the one in North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, wrote in a commentary published Monday.A strategy by David Albright at the Institute for Science and International Security suggests the US needs to get Kim to disclose a complete list of all his nuclear program sites and materials, including uranium and plutonium. He also said Trump and Kim should decide whether to move the nuclear weapons out of North Korea to dismantle them or do it inside the country.Even if North Korea is cooperative, the magnitude of dismantling its weapons of mass destruction programs, believed to encompass dozens of sites, will be tough, according to Stanford University academics, including nuclear physicist Siegfried Hecker, a leading expert on the North’s nuclear program.The Stanford team has proposed a 10-year roadmap, based on its belief that “North Korea will not give up its weapons and its weapons program until its security can be assured.”last_img

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first_imgSri Lanka`s ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe speaks during a media conference in Colombo on 13 November. Photo: AFPSri Lanka’s parliament will meet under tight security Wednesday, after the top court ruled its dissolution illegal and opened the door to a vote on which of two rival prime ministers has the support to rule.Sri Lanka has been locked in a power struggle since the president sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on 26 October and replaced him with former strongman president Mahinda Rajapakse.On Tuesday the Supreme Court overruled president Maithripala Sirisena’s dissolution of parliament, and halted preparations for a snap election, in a major boost for the ousted prime minister.Wickremesinghe is confident he can command a majority and wants a vote on the floor of the 225-member assembly to determine the legitimacy of the government installed by presidential diktat.”Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ordered the police to ensure that MPs have free access to parliament,” a spokesman for the Speaker told AFP. “There will be tight security.”Thousands of armed police have been deployed along the key approach roads to parliament, which is located on a man-made lake island, with several anti-riot units on stand by.Parliament officials fear that supporters of Rajapakse’s party may try to stop legislators getting to parliament.However, by early Wednesday there were no large crowds and only small pockets of Wickremesinghe supporters gathered near the parliament complex.Rajapakse’s party was divided Tuesday on facing a test in parliament. His legislator son Namal Rajapakse said they will attend the legislature, but other party seniors said they would not.Sirisena sacked the legislature after his party admitted that they did not have an absolute majority despite engineering the defections of eight legislators from Wickremesinghe’s party.Since then, at least two legislators have ditched Rajapakse and joined Wickremesinghe’s UNP party which insists it has a comfortable majority in the House.Wickremesinghe, who insists he is still the prime minister, has refused to vacate the official Temple Trees residence which is a symbol of state power in the island.The power struggle has crippled the work of the administration, according to lawmakers on both sides.last_img

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first_imgBell Biv DeVoe, an R&B music group that branched off from New Edition, will be performing at The Howard Theatre, 620 T St NW, on Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Group members Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ron DeVoe, will perform hits, including “Poison,” “Do Me,” and “When Will I See You Smile Again?” among others. The performance at Howard is part of the group’s east coast tour. Tickets for the event costs $42.50. Tickets can be purchased at thehowardtheatre.com/show/2015/10/23/bell-biv-devoe-2/.last_img


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first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. April 30, 2014 Orthotics can be sexy.Kegan Schouwenburg really thinks it’s possible. “We’re not there yet,” she admits. “We’re getting there, though. We’re well on our way.”If anyone can convince you of the latent sexiness of an insole, it’s Schouwenburg. She’s the founder and CEO of SOLS, which creates custom 3-D printed orthotic insoles by scanning customers’ feet. Yesterday, the company announced that it has raised $6.4 million in a Series A round of financing.“Until now, our focus has been on engineering,” Schouwenburg says. With the influx of additional cash, she can hire a branding agency, focus on product management and concentrate on making her insoles look…well, sexier.Kegan Schouwenburg, founder and CEO of SOLSImage credit: Kegan SchouwenburgSchouwenburg is something of a 3-D printing pioneer – before founding SOLS, she was the director of operations and industrial engineering Shapeways, a 3-D printing marketplace which prints objects designed and uploaded by users. While there, she oversaw the 3-D printing of everything from egg cups to lampshades to shoes.So why leave to found a company that just makes 3-D printed insoles?Schouwenburg predicts that as the 3-D printing market evolves, value will shift away from novelty towards usefulness. “Things will really start to get interesting when we stop looking at 3-D printing as technology for the sake of technology and start thinking about how it can impact the things in our lives that matter to us,” she says.Related: 5 Steps to Take Your Product From Concept to RealityA 3-D printed custom coffee mug may be novel, but its impact is small. The ability to walk more comfortably and reduce pain? Schouwenburg is betting that’s something people care about. Our feet are all unique — since founding the company, “I’ve become acutely aware of how different they all are…frankly, I’m amazed shoes even work at all,” she says – and yet the orthotics industry struggles to provide customized orthotics at a reasonable price point. 3-D printing may be the solution, providing a more seamless, accurate and quick solution than traditional manual processes.Image credit: Kegan SchouwenburgHow it worksFor now, SOLS is focusing on working with podiatrists, orthopedics and physical therapists; the company provides each doctor with an iPad equipped with the SOLS app that, using a process called photogrammetry, takes hundreds of photos of a patient’s feet and knits them together to create a detailed virtual model. (“It’s great, because you don’t need expensive equipment, just a camera,” Schouwenburg says.)Doctors can then use a web-based tool to assess problems and make alterations to the 3-D model in order to biometrically correct a patient’s walk. When they’re done, the model is sent to the SOLS manufacturing facility to be printed.Currently, SOLS is working with 50 doctors, a number it hopes to see grow to 200 by the end of the year. (Each doctor, Schouwenburg predicts, should prescribe between 20 to 40 insoles a month.) At $300-$700 – SOLS’ suggested retail price is $500, but the actual price will depend on the doctor — the insoles don’t come cheap, even when you subtract the 15 percent that can be billed to insurance providers. At this point, they’re really only meant for “people have more advanced foot problems and need hands on knowledge of medical professional,” Schouwenburg says.Related: How 3-D Printing Startups Are Shaping the FutureBy next year, however, SOLS plans to offer a separate service for anyone who “feels discomfort, or just wants to feel less tired at the end of the day.” Consumers will be able to scan their feet from home using an smartphone app, and the insoles will cost around $100.Image credit: Kegan SchouwenburgWhat’s nextThe way Schouwenburg tells it, orthotics is simply the first, biometrically correct step along the winding and exciting road of 3-D printing.While Schouwenburg doesn’t envision a world where we’ll all have 3-D printers, she does believe the technology will make our lives more comfortable. “For so long we’ve been shoving our feet and our bodies and our hands into products that don’t fit us because that’s what we have to do,” she says. “You have a set amount of sizes, and so you pick the size that mostly fits you.”We may get hung up on the technology’s ability to print figurines, but the real revolution lies in its potential to dramatically lower the cost of customization. In the near future, everything from intricately customized prosthetics, safety helmets, braces, to shoes will be available at an affordable price point, Schouwenburg predicts. “Mass customization is something that the market wants.”Related: 3-D Printers Take a Step Toward the Mainstream Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 5 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now »last_img read more


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first_imgBarring the Google+ security incident, Google has had an excellent track record for providing exceptional security services to protect different levels of users’ data with ease. Android 9, now aims to provide users with more options to protect user data. To enhance user data security, Android will now be combining Android’s Backup Service and Google Could’s Titan technology to protect data backups while also maintaining the required privacy. Complete backed-up users’ data is essential for rich user experience A lot of time and efforts may be required to create an identity, adding new data, and customizing the users’ settings based on their preferences for an individual app. Whenever the user upgrades to a new device or re-installs the applications, preserving the user data is a must for smooth user experience. A huge chunk of data is generated when using mobile apps, thus adopting proper techniques is necessary to backup the required data. Backing up a small amount of data can be frustrating for users especially when they open the app on a new device. Android Backup service + Titan technology = Secured data backups With Android Pie, devices can now take advantage of a new technique where backed-up application data can only be decrypted using a key. This key is randomly generated at the client. You can encrypt the key using the user’s lock screen PIN/Pattern/passcode, which isn’t known to Google. The password-protected key is encrypted to a Titan security chip on Google Cloud’s datacenter floor. The titan chip is configured in such a way that it will release the backup encryption key only when it is presented with a correct claim derived from the user’s passcode. The titan chip must authorize every access to the decryption key, thus it can permanently block access after too many incorrect attempts at guessing the user’s password. This will mitigate brute force attacks. The number of legal attempts is strictly set by a custom Titan firmware. The number cannot be updated or changed without erasing the contents of the chip. This implies that no one can access the user’s backed-up data without knowing the passcode. Android team hired an external agency for security audit The Android Security & Privacy team hired global cybersecurity and risk mitigation expert NCC Group to complete a security audit, in order to ensure this new technique prevents anyone (including Google) from accessing users application data. The result received positive outcomes around Google’s security design processes, code quality validations, and easing known attack vectors. All these aspects were taken into account prior to launching the service. The engineers corrected some issues quickly which were discovered during the audit. In order to get complete details on how the service fared, you can check the detailed report of NCC Group findings. These external reviews allow Google and Android to maintain transparency and openness which allows users to feel safe about their data, says the Android team. For a complete list of details, you can refer the official Google blog. Read more Google takes steps towards better security, introduces new API policies for 3rd parties and a Titan Security system for mobile devices Facebook says only 29 million and not 50 million users were affected by last month’s security breach Facebook finds ‘no evidence that hackers accessed third party Apps via user logins’, from last week’s security breachlast_img read more


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first_img Thursday, January 18, 2018 Busabout boasts 80% growth in 2018 trade bookings; gets ready to offer USA product in 2019 Posted by Travelweek Group TORONTO — Busabout hosted a fun trivia evening in Toronto last night, during which the company shared news of exciting developments with its travel agent partners. According to Busabout, agents are largely responsible for an 80% increase in bookings for 2018, a year that will include new itineraries, price reductions and FAM incentives.Even more exciting was news that the company will soon offer USA product for the first time starting in 2019, which will complement its existing Europe and Asia offerings.Busabout offers clients complete autonomy on their trip, allowing them to do Europe their way, with a unique hop-on, hop-off network that links up 47 European destinations across 15 countries. A similar Busabout system also exists in South East Asia aimed at independent travellers who want the ultimate in flexibility, freedom and value. They then have the ability to decide where to visit and for how long, creating their own adventure.Canadian bookings for 2018 departures are up 80%, while overall sales are up 103%, undoubtedly due to the hard work of regional team members Damien Bennett, Vice-President of Sales in North America, and Adam Bubowsky, National Sales Manager.“Agents don’t have a massive amount of products they can use for FIT. We are a great option because we allow all the flexibility of FIT, but you also get the social, guided and safety elements of more traditional tours, so we really are the best of both worlds,” says Bubowsky. “We really try to get agents to focus on the value that Busabout can add for their clients.”Busabout has some serious savings to consider for 2018 travel, with many price reductions announced. For example, the two-week pass for Europe is down 8% in price, while the one-month pass is down 20%. Also on offer for Asia is the Unlimited Pass, where for $5,999 clients can travel once on all Busabout Asia trips within a three-month period. Finally, the Early Booking Deals booking incentive has been extended until the end of January where an additional 15% savings in possible.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJTo incentivize agents, Busabout is offering a spot on the All-Star Greece FAM with all expenses paid, including flights. The trip will include both a mainland itinerary as well as island hopping. The top two selling agents from the region will be invited, plus another three wildcards.“We don’t hold anything back on this FAM and it is a ton of fun,” says Bennett. “The agents love it because it’s a multi-region FAM, so it’s not just Canadians with Canadians, but you get to experience the Busabout product, the Busabout way, which is with people from all over the world having a good time.”The company recently announced that it will be entering the USA market in 2019, offering a similar hop-on-hop-off bus network for independent travellers who are looking for flexibility. No details on destinations, routes or pricing have been announced at this time.“85% of our product operates in Europe, which is where we started, then South East Asia, and now we are planning to move into the U.S. in 2019,” says Bennett. “This will be a brand new destination for us, and again this is market driven. We have customers who have done Europe then Asia, they love the product, love the brand, love the way we operate, and they are looking for more so we are expanding our destinations.”New winter ski itineraries will also be on offer for the 2018-19 ski season.Other highlights from the new 2018-19 program include:NEW 2-day Croatian Adventure: A much sought-after itinerary with travellers, this trip visits the iconic Plitvice National Park and its spectacular waterfalls, as well as Krka National Park where visitors are able to swim amongst the waterfalls. As these magnificent sites are difficult to visit independently, Busabout takes out all the hassle.NEW Ultimate Eastern Adventure (+ Eastern Highlights and Eastern Trail): This incredible 15-day itinerary explores not only the highlights of Eastern Europe, but some truly off-the-beaten-path gems across Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia.NEW Ski Festivals – Above & Below Ski Adventure and Rise Festival: For the 2018/19 winter season, Busabout is offering the ultimate freestyle Winter Adventures – passengers can ski down the pristine slopes of the French Alps, party in mountain bars and check out those incredible views.NEW Hop-On Hop-Off destinations: Bologna, Austrian Alps, Zakopane, Evora, Santiago de Compostela; now featuring 47 destinations in 15 countries across Europe.5-day Southern Thailand Adventure – Embrace the heat, swim in jungle rivers and explore the everchanging culture and landscapes of Thailand. Busabout guests will stay on floating riverside bungalows, visit a sustainable elephant sanctuary, explore Bangkok’s off-the-beaten track sights such as Chinatown, discover the incredible Wat Arun and Wat Pho temples and spend lazy days on the beach.6-day Southern Vietnam Adventure – Gain insight into the daily life of this previously war-torn country. Now including an overnight train from Hoi An to Nha Trang, meaning Busabout travellers gain a whole extra day in Hoi An, making sure there is enough time to enjoy this amazing UNESCO town and all the intoxicating street food it has to offer.10-day Thai Island Hopper – Gorging on curries, dancing until dawn and chilling out on amazing beaches, travellers should be ready for the perfect balance of party and relaxation. This year, Busabout has built in twin-share accommodation into this island-hopping trip, with the option to upgrade to hotel and resort stays. Not only that, they are taking travellers to islands with fewer crowds, visiting the next big thing in the Thai Islands, the hidden gem, Koh Lanta.24-day Vietnam and Cambodia Adventure – Ready to fall in love with traditions, tastes and temples? In 2018 guests will gain two extra nights in Phnom Penh before they move onto a countryside bike tour in Battambang, visiting several local homes throughout the Cambodian village to learn about the livelihoods of the community.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthFor more information, visit busabout.com.center_img Share Tags: Busabout << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more


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first_img Alberto Font No related posts. Fabián Echeverría, genetic improvement program coordinator for the Costa Rican Coffee Institute’s Coffee Research Center, CICAFE, shows off one of the varieties under development at the center’s experimental farm in San Pedro de Barva, Heredia.  SAN PEDRO DE BARVA, Heredia – Wandering among neat rows of bushy green coffee shrubs, Fabián Echeverría surveys the plots through his tinted glasses. As genetic improvement coordinator for the Costa Rican Coffee Institute, ICAFE, Echeverría is studying the health of the coffee on the experimental farm CICAFE in San Pedro de Barva in Heredia.Coffee plants in one plot stand at attention, demonstrating a uniformity of height and size seldom seen outside a Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. These are well-established varieties of Arabica coffee, the heart of Costa Rica’s high quality coffee production for decades. Despite their pedigree, though, these plants might not have what it takes to flourish in the future as climate change mounts an attack on growing regions.By 2050, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua all could lose more than 40 percent of their land suitable for planting Arabica, considered a superior bean to the hardier but less refined Robusta species, according to a policy memo from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, CIAT by its Spanish acronym.CIAT noted that a one-two punch of decreased precipitation and hotter climates could reduce Nicaragua’s potential Arabica-growing land by 85 percent, leading to an expected income loss of more than $74 million in 2050 alone.As the threat of a changing climate looms on the horizon, Central America has a dearth of researchers working on the development of new, hardier coffee varieties. Today, there is only one fulltime researcher in the region dedicated to developing new plants that can thrive in this changing environment: Echeverría.His work has taken on a sense of urgency in recent years as climate change and other factors combined to unleash a devastating outbreak of fungus hemileia vastatrix also known as leaf rust, or “roya” in Spanish, across the isthmus.Roya has decimated harvests across Central America, dropping production in many plantations to its lowest point in 30 years. Leaf rust has damaged more than 60 percent of Costa Rica’s coffee crops. ICAFE Executive Director Ronald Peters last month estimated an 18 percent decrease in production for the 2013-2014 harvest season.The geneticist attributed Costa Rica’s success fending off pests and disease to good management by farmers, but changing conditions are taking their toll.  “Things that have served us well for 40 years are losing their potency,” Echeverría told The Tico Times. One of the lesser-publicized aspects of the roya outbreak is how the lack of genetic diversity in much of the coffee planted in Central America contributed to the fungus’ rapid spread. In Costa Rica, for example, two varieties, Caturra and Catuaí, make up 90 percent of the country’s prized coffee production.New types of plants referred to as hybrids could help Costa Rica overcome looming challenges for the coming decades.Using coffee plants from Costa Rica and around the world stored at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, in Cartago, Echeverría assess the challenges to Costa Rica’s coffee crop and looks for traits in other Arabica varieties that might offer a solution.The term “hybrid” might spark concerns about genetically modified java, but Echeverría said that CICAFE uses selective breeding, the “natural” way to steer the plant’s development. The team uses cross pollination and grafts, among other techniques, to develop hybrids from two separate varieties of Arabica.Resistance to drought, heat and leaf rust are among his top priorities.Echeverría offered one variety, Catimor, as a successes story and cautionary tale. Created by joining Caturra, a variety widely planted in Costa Rica, with another variety grown on the Pacific island of Timor, this hybrid showed impressive resistance to leaf rust, and farmers planted it with zeal.Catimor successfully fended off roya but farmers at higher altitudes reported seeing more cases of another fungus, mycena citricolor, known as “ojo de gallo” in Spanish, rooster’s eye. “It’s difficult to come up with one solution for the entire country, so we need to come up with alternatives that work for different regions,” said Echeverría.“We’re running the risk that we don’t know how [the plants] will react in the field and we won’t know if by making them resistant to one disease, we’re making them more vulnerable to another,” he added.Identifying a successful trait, like roya resistance, is the first step. But the creation of a stable variety like Catimor, well, that’s another story.This is where the patience comes in. There’s no way to gauge the hybrid’s success until the plant has come to full maturity, roughly five years. And that’s if they get it right at all. Echeverría said it’s not uncommon to put years into a project and just walk away from it.Long term projects like genetic research, however, run up against short budgets, especially when exports are down.“Unfortunately, because of a lack of funding, many investigators have had to leave. This weakens the research and, as a result, slows our progress,” Echeverría said.ICAFE’s funding depends on a 1.5 percent tax on Costa Rica’s coffee exports. This means when the harvests are good, there’s more money for ICAFE and ostensibly for research. But there’s another edge to that sword: When exports are down, research budgets get a close shave.  Costa Rica has so far managed to dedicate resources to genetic diversity research, but Echeverría was concerned about the lack of coinciding research in the isthmus, adding that a lack of research and maintenance in other Central American countries could create conditions or nourish diseases that could jump the borders and threaten Tico coffee.“If we don’t do research, if we don’t realize that things can be better, we stall, we don’t grow,” he said.  Back in the fields of CICAFE’s experimental farm, Echeverría stops to chat with some of the coffee pickers combing the branches of mismatched plants for the plump red fruits.Compared to the uniform shrubs in the first plot, this one seems more like a ragtag group of underdogs: short chubby plants sit low to the ground, their branches bow under the weight of bright red coffee cherries, while others tower high above, some with full green waxy leaves, and others with brittle, dry fruit.Echeverría said that this was an example of what happens when they plant the seeds from one of their hybrids. Like apples and other fruits, the seeds of a coffee plant do not necessarily recreate the parent plant.Despite their looks, the next big thing in coffee could be coming out of these misfits.Postscript Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013:After the publication of this article, Fabián Echeverría wanted to stress that his work on coffee plant genetics is one part of a larger effort both here in Costa Rica with ICAFE and at a regional level within the PROMECAFE group of countries. While Echeverría is the only person dedicated fulltime to genetic research on coffee in Central America, other countries in the region do conduct research and work to improve their coffee industry through the development of new hybrids and better farming practices. Facebook Commentslast_img read more