Aimia reviewing strategic direction reports 217M thirdquarter profit

first_imgCompanies in this story: (TSX:AIM, TSX:AC, TSX:TD, TSX:CM)The Canadian Press MONTREAL — Aimia Inc. says it has launched a review of its future strategic direction as it works to complete the sale of its Aeroplan program.The loyalty rewards company says the board of directors has asked management to present it with alternative visions and plans regarding the company’s future after the sale of Aeroplan.The review came as Aimia reported it earned $21.7 million or 11 cents per share in its third quarter, compared with a loss of $40.3 million or 29 cents per share in the same period last yearRevenue totalled $372.7 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $350.5 million in the third quarter of 2017.Aimia signed a $450-million deal in August to sell the Aeroplan loyalty program to an Air Canada-led group, which includes TD Bank, CIBC and Visa Canada Corp.The future of Aeroplan had faced questions after Air Canada rolled out plans to start its own loyalty rewards program in 2020 after its partnership with Aimia expired.last_img read more

Over 3000 customers without power in Fort St John

first_imgFort St. JohnJun 228:10 p.m.Crew status: Not assignedNorth of 79th AVE, East of OLD FORT RD, West of 84th ST, South of 117th AVEView on map2493Under investigationJun 228:19 p.m. Fort St. JohnJun 228:11 p.m.Crew status: Not assignedWest of 116 ST, South of RD 246View on map566Under investigationJun 228:13 p.m. UPDATE as of 9:40 p.m. – B.C. Hydro says it will take until 2:30 a.m. Saturday before power is restored to the remaining 583 customers.  The outage happened Friday night and affected over 3,000 customers.  The remaining 583 customers are mostly in the Clairmont and Grandhaven areas outside of Fort St. John.For more updates on the outage, visit as of 9:05 p.m. – Power has been restored to 2,500 customers.  There are still over 600 customers without power.  This outage is mostly affecting Grandhaven and Clairmont.  There is no estimate on when power will be restored.center_img FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Over 3,000 customers in Fort St. John and Grandhaven are without power.The outage started at around 8:10 p.m. Friday and was caused by a downed power line.  As of 8:26 p.m., Hydro has assigned a crew to restore the outages, but there is no estimate on when power will be restored.As we get more information about the outages, we will post updates.  You can also find updates at following information is from B.C. Hydro. This was posted at 8:19 p.m.last_img read more

Army sergeant arrested over grenade explosion on bus

An Army sergeant has been arrested over the recent grenade explosion on a bus.The Army sergeant was arrested for having in his possession the grenade which exploded in the bus injuring 19 passengers. A explosion and a fire destroyed the passenger bus travelling from Jaffna to Diyatalawa while it was plying in the general area of Kahagolla, Diyatalawa last month. Reports claimed that after reaching Bandarawela town the bus had transferred the passengers bound for Diyatalawa to another private bus before the incident took place.Among the passengers were seven Army personnel and five Air Force personnel. The condition of two Army personnel was reportedly critical. (Colombo Gazette) The Police said that the Army sergeant was remanded till March 16. read more

Onex signs agreement to buy WestJet in deal valued at 5B

Onex Corp. has signed a friendly deal to buy WestJet  in an all-cash transaction it valued at $5 billion, including assumed debt.Under the agreement, Onex will pay $31 per share for WestJet, which will continue to operate as a privately held company. The price represents about a 67% premium to the shares, which closed at $18.52 on Friday. The stock shot up 61% or $11.23 to $29.75 in mid-morning trading Monday.WestJet founder and chairman Clive Beddoe said Onex is an ideal partner for the airline. In a statement he said, “I am particularly pleased that WestJet will remain headquartered in Calgary and will continue to build on the success that our 14,000 WestJetters have created.”The deal comes after Onex, a Toronto-based private equity firm, approached the airline in March. read more

Indigenous child welfare discrimination award the first of many steps toward healing

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination Federal government discriminated against First Nations children through welfare funding: human rights tribunal Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand understands the effects of breaking up families.Raised by his great-grandparents since the age of seven months, Arcand said the generational gap made connecting with his culture and finding his identity difficult.The effects of discrimination against Indigenous children in the welfare system in Canada, confirmed by a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling three and a half years ago, systemized that trauma, he said.“When you talk about those things — language, culture, identity — our kids are devastated because of the family breakdowns,” Arcand said. “They’re broken.”The tribunal awarded more than $2 billion to people affected by the on-reserve welfare system on Friday, the first of many steps toward healing broken Indigenous families in Saskatchewan.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.The tribunal ruled there was clear discrimination by the federal government, saying the government “wilfully and recklessly” discriminated against Indigenous children living on reserves by not providing anywhere near the funding non-Indigenous children received for child welfare services.It awarded $40,000 — the maximum damages — for each child taken away under a list of circumstances.Indigenous leaders say the system had more Indigenous kids living in foster care than at the height of the residential schools era. The Assembly of First Nations says as many as 54,000 people could be eligible for the compensation.In a statement, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Vice Chief Morley Watson said the decision means “the government of Canada must start recognizing the safety, protection and the best interest of children and families.”Fewer than 10 per cent of Canadian children are Indigenous, but more than half of children in care are Indigenous. That number is significantly higher in Saskatchewan, where about 80 per cent of children and youth in care are Indigenous, according to the Saskatchewan Child and Youth Advocate’s annual report for 2018.Arcand said there’s a feeling of relief people he’s spoken with. While the tribal council commends the tribunal’s work, the news doesn’t reverse the “devastating” impact family separation has had on Indigenous communities in the province, he said.“This type of ruling is not going to solve our problems,” he said. “It’s going to help us try to rebuild all of those things that have been negatively imposed on us. We look at all of these situations that need to be dealt with and we need more opportunities for people to heal.”The effects of the discriminatory system on Indigenous youth are apparent in overrepresentation in correctional facilities and institutions and high rates of addiction and mental illness, he said, adding more needs to be done to prevent the cycle of trauma from continuing.“This investment should have a focus on education and employment, so we can break intergenerational trauma so that no other kids and families have to go through this.”— With Canadian Press filesamshort@postmedia.comRelated read more

US wages benefits rise 06 per cent in third quarter

WASHINGTON – Wages and benefits paid to U.S. civilian workers grew at a steady pace in the third quarter.The Labor Department says total compensation rose 0.6 per cent from July through September, same as it did from April through June. Wages and salaries increased 0.5 per cent, benefits 0.7 per cent.In the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, compensation increased 2.3 per cent, up from an annual gain of 2 per cent a year earlier.Wages and salaries, which account for 70 per cent of compensation, were up 2.4 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier, and benefits rose 2.3 per cent.But state and local workers got their biggest gain from an increase in benefits, up 3.7 per cent over the past year; their wages and salaries rose just 2 per cent, the department said Friday. by Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press Posted Oct 28, 2016 6:41 am MDT Last Updated Oct 28, 2016 at 7:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US wages, benefits rise 0.6 per cent in third quarter read more

Space science now a fundamental pillar of 21st century human development top

UNIS ViennaUNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo speaks at the opening of the UNISPACE+50 symposium.‘New’ directions and thinking needed – Committee ChairAlso on Monday, David Kendall, the chairperson of the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space said that the increasing involvement of UN Member States in the Committee, was a reflection of the increasing importance that countries around the world attach to the frontier science.“Member States are now realizing more and more that space is an essential element in delivering their programmes to their citizens,” he said.The need, therefore, is to develop “new directions and thinking” in relation to the governance of outer space, he added.Mauritius Research Council selected for third round of KiboCUBEFurther on Monday, UNOOSA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced the selection of a team from the from the Mauritius Research Council for the third round of their joint KiboCUBE programme.Launched by UNOOSA and JAXA in 2015, the KiboCUBE initiative offers educational and research institutions from developing countries the chance to develop “cube satellites” (CubeSats) for deployment from the International Space Station.Through KiboCUBE, the small Indian Ocean island’s research body will deploy the first ever Mauritian satellite, MIR-SAT1, that will include a longwave infrared thermal camera, allowing the collection of thermal images of Mauritius and areas around it. The team also aims to test the onboard communication capabilities of the CubeSat by studying the satellite’s capacity to transfer information using satellite radio waves.UNOOSA head Simonetta Di Pippo highlighted the importance of the programme, especially for developing countries.[This is] another exciting step [to] close the ‘space divide’ between those that have access to space and its benefits, and those that do not – UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo “The third round of the KiboCUBE programme is yet another exciting step towards increasing the space capabilities of countries and ensuring we close the ‘space divide’ between those that have access to space and its benefits, and those that do not.” In the first round of the KiboCUBE initiative, the University of Nairobi in Kenya launched Kenya’s first satellite. This was also the first space hardware deployed under the auspices of the UN. The second round selected Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, which is expected to deploy its satellite in 2018, subject to the ISS operational requirements and progress of the CubeSat development.Coming upMonday and Tuesday feature the UNISPACE+50 symposium, focusing on debate and discussion involving a wide range of stakeholders on the future of international space cooperation and the peaceful uses of outer space. The symposium will be followed by the high-level segment of the forum (Wednesday-Thursday).Alongside the main events, an exhibition featuring more than 40 participants will be held in the Rotunda of the Vienna International Centre from 18-23 June. The exhibition will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until 12.30 p.m. (local time) on Saturday, 23 June.UN News is on location in Vienna covering UNISPACE+50 and its associated events. Follow us at @UN_News_Centrefor news and highlights. Speaking at the opening of UNISPACE+50 symposium in Vienna, Simonetta Di Pippo, the Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, said that space technology had become a “fundamental pillar” of 21st century society, driving development worldwide.The forum commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the ground-breaking 1968 UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, or UNISPACE for short.“What remains to be seen, however, is how we can work collectively to organize our efforts across the board to deliver the full potential of space for sustainable development,” she said.In her remarks, Ms. Di Pippo said that space is the vital enabler to realize the ambitions set by global goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework to reduce the risk and impact of disasters across the world.When policy makers need to see the big picture to make well-informed policy decisions, they are turning to space – UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di PippoThe impact of global cooperation in using space for sustainable development cannot be overstated, she added.“From city halls to the UN General Assembly, when policy makers need to see the big picture to make well-informed policy decisions, they are turning to space,” said Ms. Di Pippo.“The challenge is to ensure the tools and information space can provide are helping to make effective policy in all corners of the world.”These are the precise issues which will be explored further in the coming days at the conference, she added. read more

Athens to get direct rail link between Piraeus port and the airport

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Athenians and tourists passing through the Greek capital have been waiting for the direct link connecting the port of Piraeus to the Eleftherios Venizelos airport since the summer of 2015. After almost three years of delay the direct link is ready to connect the two major locations.The port of Piraeus will finally be connected to the Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos, as of 1 February 2018.The long awaited metro station of Piraeus will become a terminus for the Proastiakos suburban railway, connecting travelers to and from the islands with the Spata airport in 60 minutes.The same route will also link the cities of Corinth, Halkida and Kiato to the port. The service is expected to run every 15-20 minutes.last_img read more

Vancouvers River Maiden coffee opens drivethru

first_imgRiver Maiden Artisan Coffee dies hard.The cafe, known as much for coffee as for Vancouver pride and a penchant for 1980s culture, announced this week that it will open a drive-thru location on MacArthur Boulevard while it looks for a new, permanent home.The new location is a stone’s throw from its previous home at 602 N. Devine Road, where it had operated since December 2005. Cafe owners Melissa Layman and Aaron Flies couldn’t agree with landlords on a new, 10-year lease before it expired at the end of June.Layman and Flies said Friday they were happy to be close to where their regulars knew to find them.“It feels like we’re coming back home again after being displaced,” Layman said. “This feels really good.”The new location opens Monday and comes with a few changes. For now it is exclusively a drive-thru, but Layman said they hope to add outdoor seating sometime soon. Hours are abbreviated, as well: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends.“This is just going to help us get going,” Layman said.River Maiden had expected to lay off its seven employees while on hiatus, but Layman said they’ve all been hired back now after two weeks off.Layman and Flies are still looking to land a permanent spot. They said they have found some opportunities in west Vancouver, where they would like to stay, but nothing official.Wherever they land, Layman said they will keep dishing out the ’80s nostalgia. The pair announced the new location with a picture of Patrick Swayze’s character from the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing” that read “Nobody puts River Maiden in a corner.”last_img read more

Man suspected of stealing from Miami dentists office

first_imgMIAMI (WSVN) – A man was charged with burglary and theft after, police said, he stole from a dentist’s office in Miami.Police arrested Alex Knight after he was caught on camera in the worker’s area of the office right before a wallet was stolen.The incident happened in a building in the area of Coral Way and Southwest 27th Avenue, July 13.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img

The 2020 iPhone is already stealing the spotlight

first_img Best Buy Comments See It $999 Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Boost Mobile Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors See it $999 See It Mobile Phones $999 Sprint 2020 iPhone rumors predict uptick in salesBut at this point, it’s 2020’s iPhone models that already started stealing the spotlight. With two months to go until the next iPhone launch, we’re already getting bombarded by rumors about their successors. A report from JP Morgan analysts, cited by CNBC this week, backs up a lot of the existing rumors about the 2020 iPhone models and adds a few new insights into the lineup.  The 2020 iPhones are rumored to come in three sizes: a smaller 5.4-inch model that would replace the current 5.8-inch, the same 6.1-inch option as the XR and a larger 6.7-inch Max version. And all three will have OLED displays this time around. The report says at least two out of the three models will be equipped with 5G connectivity, if not all three. That would mean the 6.1-inch model would come in both 5G and non-5G options, the latter of which would be cheaper. The analysts also suggest that the rear-facing camera module on the 2020 iPhones will have some kind of 3D-mapping technology similar to the current depth-sensing Face ID setup on the front camera. This would greatly enhance its AR and VR capabilities. Early rumors had mentioned this as a feature for the 2019 lineup but that it wouldn’t be ready in time for launch.  In a separate report on Chinese tech site MyDrivers, longtime Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple will also reduce the footprint of the TrueDepth camera in 2020, which would then shrink the size of the notch. All these new features and the promise of a 5G iPhone would result in an uptick in iPhone sales, according to the JP Morgan report, following a slowdown in iPhone sales (and sales of phones in general) over the past two years. Waterproof AirPods 3 on the horizon Apple’s release of the second generation AirPods back in March pretty much dashed all hopes of there being a more exciting update later this year. But this week the idea is back on the table.According to MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives says Apple will launch its third generation AirPods (AirPods 3) before the end of the year. And apparently, they’re shaping up to be everything we hoped the AirPod sequels would be. The report mentions design changes. This could mean a totally different look, or something less drastic, like color options or the addition of noise cancelation and water resistance. Even without an official IP rating, though, the existing AirPod models have already proved themselves capable of handling their share of water exposure. Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? See All Apple iPhone XS Tagscenter_img Here’s a preview of the new features that could make the 2020 iPhone Apple’s top seller according to the rumors — and more bad news about TouchID on this year’s iPhone 11. In this week’s Apple Core roundup we’re also looking at the next-generation AirPods, which could launch a lot sooner than we expected, and the latest MacBook updates Apple just announced. 3D Touch is on the chopping block… againThe rumors about Apple eliminating 3D touch on the iPhone 11 keep on coming. A new report from DigiTimes this week, citing industry sources, suggests the manufacturers who build the touch units will make less money this year as Apple switches to lower-cost components. This would support what longtime Apple analyst Ming-Chi Quo suggested a few weeks back about eliminating this feature. Based on the recent iOS 13 beta code, it would seem as though the functionality will remain to some extent, but it may be a haptic touch-like function similar to what we saw in the iPhone XR rather than a proper 3D Touch.  • CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Apple Share your voice $999 6:10 Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Aug 31 • Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Sprint: Choose the best 5G carrier See It This is by no means the first we’ve heard about the AirPods 3 coming in 2019. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman talked about the possibility earlier this year as did Ming-Chi Quo and Taiwanese site DigiTimes.All the MacBook news This week, Apple had some good news, and some not so good (depending on whether or not you were in the market for a 12-inch MacBook) for its laptop lineup.The bad news is that Apple is no longer selling the 12-inch Macbook or the old-school Macbook Air with a non-Retina screen and a $999 price tag.On the flip side though, Apple updated the 2018 MacBook Air with a True Tone display and dropped the price to $1,099 or $999 for students. Apple also updated the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro with a brand new 8th-generation quad-core processor, Apple’s T2 security chip and added the TouchBar and TouchID which was previously found only on pricier models.Apple launched a Back To School promotion for university students. They can get a pair of free Beats headphones with qualifying Mac and iMac purchases as well as a six month free trial for Apple Music. As part of the promotion, students can also get the new MacBook Air for just $999 and the new baseline MacBook Pro for $1,199. Now playing: Watch this: 34 New AirPods on the horizon reading • The 2020 iPhone is already stealing the spotlight Rumors Applelast_img read more

In Palmer Surgeon General says preventing addiction requires looking at larger community

first_imgA panel discussion at the Prevention Summit in Palmer. From left: Stephanie Allen, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Jay Butler, and Elizabeth Ripley.The Surgeon General is touring parts of Alaska this week talking about solutions to the opioid epidemic. He spoke at the Alaska Prevention Summit in Palmer on Tuesday.Listen nowSurgeon General Jerome Adams told the crowd at the Glenn Massay Theater that he sees some progress in combating the epidemic. Doctors are prescribing opioids less frequently, but the drugs are still available.“The first drug dealer for the majority of folks isn’t some bad guy out on the street,” Adams said. “It’s grandma, it’s aunt, it’s uncle. It’s the next-door neighbor. It’s you all. It’s us, who have left medications in our cabinets.”To solve that, the state’s Department of Health and Social Services is distributing drug disposal bags that make opioids unusable. Medications can also be taken back to pharmacies and police departments.Elizabeth Ripley, CEO of the Mat-Su Health Foundation, said her organization is trying to prevent opioid addictions by partnering with other groups to address childhood trauma. That means getting at the root of some community problems, like racism and the unequal representation of people of color in the foster care and criminal justice systems.“A crucial part of what we have to do is go upstream and say ‘We’re causing stress for certain segments of our community in disproportionate ways, and we have to break down those barriers,’” Ripley said.Organizations in the Mat-Su region are hosting Undoing Racism workshops and conversations around race to begin the process.U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, shown here testifying before a Senate committee in 2017, says President Trump’s top health priority is addressing opioid addiction. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)During an interview after the panel conversation, Surgeon General Adams said addressing the opioid crisis has opened the door for larger conversations.“When you look at untreated mental health issues, when you look at un-wellness in our communities, all those lead to substance use disorder,” Adams said. “And if we use this tragedy as an opportunity to address those upstream causes then we’ll solve not only the opioid epidemic but so many other health woes that are affecting our country.”Part of the strategy is helping people understand that health affects all aspects of our society, including the economy.“Investing in health is also investing in jobs,” Adams said. “It’s also investing in safety and security. It’s investing in the things that they care about and they vote on. And if we don’t invest in those things it’s going to continue to be a drag on our economy, on our safety, and our ability to devote resources to the things that we care about.”Adams said to accomplish these larger goals, communities need to focus on developing new partnerships with businesses, the faith community, and treatment providers that the use limited funding more efficiently and effectively.Adams will be a guest on Line One: Your Health Connection Wednesday at 10 am on Alaska Public Media.last_img read more

Maruti Suzuki under investigation for anticompetitive pricing policy

first_img Close The CCI has been reviewing the allegations against Maruti for about 10 months, the sources told the agency. It’s not clear during which years the alleged malpractice happened.Maruti Suzuki and the CCI have not respond to questions on the development.The charge against India’s largest automaker is that it controlled the dealer discounts in such a way that end customers did not benefit as much as they would have in the absence of the company’s active tweaking of the discount policy. The CCI hasn’t made the final call on whether charges should be framed against Maruti, the report added.’Customers left with fewer options’Under Indian laws, carmakers aren’t allowed to resort to the practice known as “resale price maintenance”, under which limits are enforced on the discounts dealerships can offer to customers. The Indian anti-competition watchdog maintains that any stipulation that causes “appreciable adverse effect on competition’ is unlawful, the report says. First hybrid car from Maruti Suzuki-Toyota collaboration to roll out in 3 years: Key points IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:02/1:04Loaded: 0%0:02Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-1:02?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading …center_img Fully accessorized Maruti Suzuki Dzire (representational image)IBTimes INThe Competition Commission of India (CCI) is investigating charges that top car maker Maruti forced its dealers to limit the discounts they offer to customers, Reuters has reported citing sources. The CCI had fined Hyundai $12.5 million after it found that the India operations had violated the resale price maintenance norms and placed cap on dealer discounts.”Maruti has the market power, if such a big player restricts discounts of dealers, customers are left with fewer options,” an unnamed antitrust official told the agency.last_img read more

Putin attacks protectionism on eve of G20

first_imgRussian President Vladimir Putin attacked sanctions against his country and called for an end to trade protectionism, in an editorial published in Germany Thursday ahead of the G20 summit.Sanctions against Russia “are not just short-sighted but go against the principles of the G20 for cooperation in the interests of all countries”, Putin wrote in the business daily Handelsblatt.”I am convinced that only open trade relations, based on uniform norms and standards, can stimulate the growth of the world economy and promote an improvement in relations between states,” he added.The two-day Group of 20 summit, starting in Hamburg on Friday, will bring together the leaders of the world’s biggest developed and emerging economies.The United States and the European Union (EU) and other countries have imposed a raft of sanctions against Russia for its seizure of Crimea in 2014 and its backing for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.Russia has responded with measures of its own, including a ban on western food imports.Last month, the United States added 38 individuals and entities to its sanctions list, prompting Russia to cancel a meeting with senior US diplomats and its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to warn the new measures “seriously threaten the whole relationship” between Moscow and Washington.Putin is scheduled to meet with US President Donald Trump in Hamburg on Friday.last_img read more

Sirisena dissolves parliament orders snap vote 5 January

first_imgA general view of the Sri Lanka parliament building in Colombo on 10 November 2018. Sri Lanka will hold a snap election in January, the country`s president announced 9 November 2018 hours after dissolving parliament when it became clear his prime minister nominee did not have a majority. Photo: AFPSri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena on Friday dissolved parliament and called a snap election after failing to gain enough support for his nominee for prime minister, deepening the island’s political crisis with a gamble deemed illegal by the ousted premier’s party.Sirisena sparked the two week-old drama last month by sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and naming Mahinda Rajapakse — the country’s authoritarian president from 2005 until 2015 — as his replacement.But Wickremesinghe has refused to back down, and the move to dissolve parliament came hours after Sirisena’s party acknowledged that Rajapakse was eight MPs short of a majority needed to end the power struggle.Sirisena signed a decree dismissing the island’s 225-member assembly and scheduled parliamentary elections for 5 January, nearly two years ahead of schedule.International concern has grown over the mounting turmoil, with Wickremesinghe refusing to leave the premier’s official residence while the president also suspended parliament to head off any revolt against his action.There was no immediate comment from Wickremesinghe, but his United National Party (UNP) said it will challenge Sirisena’s sacking of the legislature.”This dissolution by the President is illegal and goes against the constitution,” the UNP said on Twitter. “We will be fighting this to ensure that democracy reigns supreme in the country.””He has robbed the people of their rights and the democracy that we have enjoyed,” the UNP said.- ‘Against the constitution’ -Sirisena’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) admitted ahead of the president’s stunning announcement that they had failed to secure enough cross-over MPs to win a confidence vote in the House.By avoiding a test of his majority on the floor of the House, Rajapakse will remain caretaker prime minister until elections are concluded and a new parliament meets on 17 January.Before signing the order sacking the parliament with effect from Friday midnight, Sirisena also inducted more ministers into his cabinet.”At the moment we have 104 or 105 MPs,” UPFA spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters, adding that the Sirisena-Rajapakse group hoped to secure support from “crossover” legislators.The admission, which came despite Sirisena’s earlier claim that he had the support of 113 legislators when he sacked Wickremesinghe, had fuelled speculation that he would go for snap elections.The leftist People’s Liberation Front (JVP), which regards the sacking of Wickremesinghe as unconstitutional, accused Sirisena of trying to consolidate his power grab.”Dissolving parliament at this time is illegal and goes against the constitution,” JVP general secretary Tilvin Silva told reporters.Sirisena suspended parliament to give himself more time to engineer defections, according to the opposition.Several legislators have said they were offered millions of dollars to switch allegiance and at least eight have already jumped to the president’s side.Wickremesinghe, who has not left the Temple Trees residence since his sacking, maintains that the action against him was unconstitutional and illegal, and insists his group can muster a majority.- Image damaged -Under pressure from the United Nations, United States and the European Union to allow a parliament vote, Sirisena agreed three times to lift the suspension but changed his mind each time.The EU said Friday, before the dissolution, that the crisis had scarred the Indian Ocean island’s international reputation.The EU, in a joint statement with Norway and Switzerland, called for parliament to reconvene and hold an immediate vote.”Any further delay could damage Sri Lanka’s international reputation and deter investors,” the statement said.Wickremesinghe late Thursday thanked his supporters and urged them not to give up in the showdown.”You have not let this country be plunged into the darkness of dictatorship. For this inspiring effort, I want to thank everyone who has risen to fight for democracy and justice,” Wickremesinghe said in a video posted on Facebook.The power struggle on the island of 21 million people has paralysed much of the administration, according to legislators on both sides of the dispute.last_img

Wonder Woman is No Longer a UN Ambassador

first_img 11 Groundbreaking Female Comic Book ArtistsToy Tuesday: 11 Coolest Toys of 2018 Stay on target Despite being sworn in as a United Nations Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls in October, Wonder Woman will soon step down from her post.The appointment, which would have the iconic comic book character be the symbol of an empowerment campaign launched in accordance with her 75th anniversary, will end on Friday. This comes after a public backlash in the weeks since the announcement.Multiple people had been critical of the decision. At the time of this writing, nearly 45,000 people had signed a petition calling on Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the UN, to reconsider the decision.The petition, organized by “Concerned United Nations staff members,” said that the institution should focus on electing a real person as an ambassador, instead of a fictional character with, as they put it, “an overtly sexualized image.”“Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent ‘warrior’ woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit,” the petition read.The petition echoes a point that was made by others, saying that its decision to appoint a fictional character as an ambassador instead of a real person who’s championed for gender equality undermined the point the UN was trying to make. On Oct. 21, which was Wonder Woman Day at the UN, protesters lined the lobby with signs that said “I’m not a mascot” and “Let’s get real.”“The bottom line appears to be that the United Nations was unable to find a real life woman that would be able to champion the rights of ALL women on the issue of gender equality and the fight for their empowerment,” the petition continued.Some of the points made here are valid. The UN chose gender equality as one of its Millennium Development Goals, and the plan includes expanding education options for women and girls. If we want a symbol of female empowerment to lead a campaign to promote this, it could be a real flesh and blood human. There are many to choose from.Plus, having a woman or other champion spearheading any UN campaigns would be more universal than a Western comic book character.However, to focus on her appearance and her clothing is the opposite of empowerment. Wonder Woman’s outfits have been varied throughout the years, all depending on who is drawing her. It has nothing to do with how the character itself has inspired girls and diminishes the acts that made her a symbol.Jeffrey Brez, the UN’s chief of NGO relations and advocacy, said that Wonder Woman’s role was never meant to be permanent.“From the UN’s side, there was no plan for it to be much longer than this,” he said.It’s also the longest amount of time a fictional character has been an ambassador. Remember the time that Winnie the Pooh was an honorary ambassador for friendship? Or when one red bird from Angry Birds was one for climate change? How did that workout?last_img read more

Meet Vikram Seth the artist

Art is a natural extension of novelist-poet Vikram Seth’s literature. The writer says he likes to paint­­­— both in words and colours — to create organic shapes with distinct calligraphic identities and poetic sensibilities.The author of A Suitable Boy, who went public with his mastery over the intricate art of Chinese, Arabic and Devnagari calligraphy in his anthology of poetry, The Rivered Earth last year, unveiled three word paintings for Absolut Vodka’s creative art brand in the capital.The acrylic paintings with multi-dimensional surface textures in basic earth colours of orange, green, blue, gold and black, were conceived around the impressionist motifs of Absolut Vodka bottles framed by calligraphy for a new-media text-art effect. Below each canvas were etched two lines of Seth’s poetry to capture the essence of the visuals.‘I have studied Chinese calligraphy for 15 years from my master Zhao Yizhou. When I was in China [early in his career], I used to write calligraphy with a ball pen. That is how it happened,’ Seth recalled during the unveiling of his paintings.Green is the theme of Seth’s Pyasa Pyala [The Thirsty Cup] that takes off on Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s Madhushala in Devnagari calligraphy. ‘The canvas represents the shringar rasa [love],’ the writer said.The third canvas, Na Main, Na Mai in Urdu and Nastaleeq script, painted in a palette of blue and gold, is ‘shanta [peace] rasa’.‘In Blue and Gold, I watch the evening sky/Darken, till neither remains nor I,’ Seth says of the canvas in a rush of nostalgia. It was Arab Spring when Seth was painting the canvas and his teacher, Nasser Mansour in Jordan, had to vet the writer’s calligraphy before he decided to exhibit it, the author recalled.The writer shifted home to England after buying a country home, the old Rectory in Salisbury owned by maverick 17th century metaphysical poet George Herbert, in 2003.Currently the writer is waiting for A Suitable Girl [sequel to A Suitable Boy] to emerge ‘as and when she chooses to’. read more

Festival of Dance and Music enthralls connoisseurs

first_imgThe Parampara Series, which is conducted right after the soothing monsoon and just before the withering autumn, has stood firm for the last 18 years and is now synonymous with Delhi’s annual cultural scene. Over time Parampara has blended concerts by presenting classical geniuses under creative themes giving uniquely fresh approach to otherwise traditional arts forms.This year Natya Tarangini presented Parampara Series from September 25 to 27 which was performed from 7 pm to 10 pm at Kamani Auditorium.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The festivals represented some of the most successful dance productions of recent times in addition to musical concerts by legendary artists.  As always the Parampara Series showcased two concerts every evening (Dance and Music).On day one, Dr Raja Radha Reddy and his group performed the Kuchipudi Ballet titled Mahanatyam and Pt. Sanjeev Abhayankar hit the soul of the audience through his music and provided a soothing experience for the listeners.Dr Raja Radha Reddy and Kaushalya Reddy’s efforts are always to bring new concerts and themes while promoting traditional art forms.last_img read more

Firefox 62 Google added to Top Sites

first_imgFirefox 62: Google added to Top Sites by Martin Brinkmann on August 20, 2018 in Firefox – 58 commentsThe next stable version of the web browser Firefox, Firefox 62, comes with a number of search related changes on the browser’s default New Tab page and Home page.Users of the browser may notice that Google Search has been added to the list of Top Sites on these pages. I don’t know whether this will happen only for new Firefox installations or profiles, or whether the new Google icon will also be added to user modified Top Sites.On Firefox Nightly, Google Search was added to the existing list of top sites. Google Search became the default Firefox search provider in 2017 for most regions after Mozilla decided to end the contract that it had with Yahoo.The Google Search icon was placed at the very top of the listing as the first pinned item.New search icons in Firefox 62Firefox displays a search symbol on the icon to indicate that the particular icon is for search. Additionally, the Amazon icon was brought back from the dead and placed right next to the Google icon in Top Sites. Amazon is one of the default search engines that Firefox includes.Firefox users can unpin or dismiss the icons by moving the mouse cursor over them, selecting the menu icon that is displayed on hover, and selecting the unpin or dismiss option from the context menu.What happens when you click on the icon? Is the search bar activated automatically so that searches can be run from it right away without additional clicks? No, that is not the case.Mozilla added new keywords for each of the built-in search providers. Firefox displays @keyword in the address bar so that users can type the search term to run searches right away.The keywords are available globally so that you may run searches typing  @google or  @amazon in the address bar followed by the desired search term. Existing keywords are untouched and work just like before.Firefox users can add other default search engines to the Top Sites listing as well. All that it takes is to hover the mouse over the Top Sites section on the New Tab page and select the menu that is displayed at the top right.There you may select “add search engine” to do so. Firefox displays all default search engines and you may add any to the Top Sites listing by clicking on it. You can use the same menu to hide specific search engines from Top Sites.Note that you can use the new keywords automatically even if you don’t add the search engines to the Top Sites.@google — Google search.@bing — Bing search.@amazon — Amazon search.@duckduckgo — DuckDuckGo search.@twitter — Twitter search.@wikipedia — Wikipedia search.The new feature is only available for default search engines and not for any other search engine that you have added manually to the browser.Tip: You can add keywords to any search engine that you add to Firefox to run searches from Firefox’s address bar using those keywords.Closing WordsThe addition of search engine icons adds another search option to Firefox’s New Tab page. Firefox users can use the integrated search field on the New Tab page, the address bar, or the search bar if it is visible for searches already.I don’t know why Mozilla felt the need to add yet another search option to the New Tab page of the Firefox browser. The focus on Google Search and Amazon provides a possible explanation: Google is the main revenue source for Mozilla; the more searches Firefox users make on Google Search the better for the next negotiations.Amazon is simpler to explain as Mozilla is an Amazon affiliate partner; means, Mozilla is paid whenever Firefox users buy things on Amazon after having clicked on the Amazon link in Firefox.Now You: Good addition or not? What is your opinion on the change? (via Sören Hentzschel)SummaryArticle NameFirefox 62: Google added to Top SitesDescriptionThe next stable version of the web browser Firefox, Firefox 62, comes with a number of search related changes on the browser’s default New Tab page and Home page.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

PostGIS extension pgRouting for calculating driving distance Tutorial

first_imgpgRouting is an extension of PostGIS and  PostgreSQL geospatial database. It adds routing and other network analysis functionality. In this tutorial we will learn to work with pgRouting tool in estimating the driving distance from all nearby nodes which can be very useful in supply chain, logistics and transportation based applications. This tutorial is an excerpt from a book written by Mayra Zurbaran,Pedro Wightman, Paolo Corti, Stephen Mather, Thomas Kraft and Bborie Park titled PostGIS Cookbook – Second Edition. Driving distance is useful when user sheds are needed that give realistic driving distance estimates, for example, for all customers with five miles driving, biking, or walking distance. These estimates can be contrasted with buffering techniques, which assume no barrier to travelling and are useful for revealing the underlying structures of our transportation networks relative to individual locations. Driving distance (pgr_drivingDistance) is a query that calculates all nodes within the specified driving distance of a starting node. This is an optional function compiled with pgRouting; so if you compile pgRouting yourself, make sure that you enable it and include the CGAL library, an optional dependency for pgr_drivingDistance. We will start by loading a test dataset. You can get some really basic sample data from In the following example, we will look at all users within a distance of three units from our starting point—that is, a proposed bike shop at node 2: SELECT * FROM pgr_drivingDistance( ‘SELECT id, source, target, cost FROM chp06.edge_table’, 2, 3); The preceding command gives the following output: As usual, we just get a list from the pgr_drivingDistance table that, in this case, comprises sequence, node, edge cost, and aggregate cost. PgRouting, like PostGIS, gives us low-level functionality; we need to reconstruct what geometries we need from that low-level functionality. We can use that node ID to extract the geometries of all of our nodes by executing the following script: WITH DD AS ( SELECT * FROM pgr_drivingDistance( ‘SELECT id, source, target, cost FROM chp06.edge_table’, 2, 3 )) SELECT ST_AsText(the_geom)FROM chp06.edge_table_vertices_pgr w, DD dWHERE = d.node; The preceding command gives the following output: But the output seen is just a cluster of points. Normally, when we think of driving distance, we visualize a polygon. Fortunately, we have the pgr_alphaShape function that provides us that functionality. This function expects id, x, and y values for input, so we will first change our previous query to convert to x and y from the geometries in edge_table_vertices_pgr: WITH DD AS ( SELECT * FROM pgr_drivingDistance( ‘SELECT id, source, target, cost FROM chp06.edge_table’, 2, 3 ))SELECT id::integer, ST_X(the_geom)::float AS x, ST_Y(the_geom)::float AS y FROM chp06.edge_table_vertices_pgr w, DD dWHERE = d.node; The output is as follows: Now we can wrap the preceding script up in the alphashape function: WITH alphashape AS ( SELECT pgr_alphaShape(‘ WITH DD AS ( SELECT * FROM pgr_drivingDistance( ”SELECT id, source, target, cost FROM chp06.edge_table”, 2, 3 ) ), dd_points AS( SELECT id::integer, ST_X(the_geom)::float AS x, ST_Y(the_geom)::float AS y FROM chp06.edge_table_vertices_pgr w, DD d WHERE = d.node ) SELECT * FROM dd_points ‘)), So first, we will get our cluster of points. As we did earlier, we will explicitly convert the text to geometric points: alphapoints AS ( SELECT ST_MakePoint((pgr_alphashape).x, (pgr_alphashape).y) FROM alphashape), Now that we have points, we can create a line by connecting them: alphaline AS ( SELECT ST_Makeline(ST_MakePoint) FROM alphapoints)SELECT ST_MakePolygon(ST_AddPoint(ST_Makeline, ST_StartPoint(ST_Makeline))) FROM alphaline; Finally, we construct the line as a polygon using ST_MakePolygon. This requires adding the start point by executing ST_StartPoint in order to properly close the polygon. The complete code is as follows: WITH alphashape AS ( SELECT pgr_alphaShape(‘ WITH DD AS ( SELECT * FROM pgr_drivingDistance( ”SELECT id, source, target, cost FROM chp06.edge_table”, 2, 3 ) ), dd_points AS( SELECT id::integer, ST_X(the_geom)::float AS x, ST_Y(the_geom)::float AS y FROM chp06.edge_table_vertices_pgr w, DD d WHERE = d.node ) SELECT * FROM dd_points ‘)),alphapoints AS ( SELECT ST_MakePoint((pgr_alphashape).x, (pgr_alphashape).y) FROM alphashape),alphaline AS ( SELECT ST_Makeline(ST_MakePoint) FROM alphapoints)SELECT ST_MakePolygon( ST_AddPoint(ST_Makeline, ST_StartPoint(ST_Makeline)))FROM alphaline; Our first driving distance calculation can be better understood in the context of the following diagram, where we can reach nodes 9, 11, 13 from node 2 with a driving distance of 3: With this,  you can calculate the most optimistic distance route across different nodes in your transportation network. Want to explore more with PostGIS, check out PostGIS Cookbook – Second Edition and get access to complete range of PostGIS techniques and related extensions for better analytics on your spatial information. Read Next Top 7 libraries for geospatial analysis Using R to implement Kriging – A Spatial Interpolation technique for Geostatistics data Learning R for Geospatial Analysislast_img read more