Lance Bass to Serve as Love is Love Ambassador at Historic Beach

first_imgFormer *NSYNC member and Dancing with the Stars alum, Lance Bass, will be the official “Love is Love” ambassador during a landmark sunrise beach wedding and vow renewal for 100 LGBT and straight couples from across the country and around the world.Hosted by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), the “Love is Love” destination wedding on Thursday, February 5th, commemorates marriage equality in Florida, and coincides with Bass making TV history the same day with the broadcast of his wedding with Michael Turchin in the E! network special, Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding – the first American television broadcast of a celebrity marriage between two men.Bass and his new husband, who married on December 20 last year, will celebrate the Greater Fort Lauderdale special day with lucky couples representing 18 U.S. states, as well as London, Italy, and South America. The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, W Fort Lauderdale, Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, Jet Blue and other area partners have joined together to make it a celebration to remember.“Lance shares the same pioneering spirit of advocating for LGBT equality that we embody here in Greater Fort Lauderdale,” said Nicki E. Grossman, president and CEO, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We’re thrilled to have him be part of our historic moment on the same day he shares his own personal wedding with the world.”As “Love is Love” ambassador, Bass will welcome couples on the beach and share his personal thoughts on the significance of the day. The wedding and marriage vow renewal ceremonies will be presided over by Reverend Dr. Durrell Watkins, senior minister, of the Sunshine Cathedral.For more information on the “Love is Love” wedding celebration, visit www.sunny.org/loveislove.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

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Northern Ireland enters fight to defend Bombardier in dispute with Boeing

first_imgMONTREAL – The United Kingdom is allying itself with Canada in the fight to persuade U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing to abandon its complaint against Bombardier regarding the CSeries.Days after a phone call on the issue between British Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump, politicians in Northern Ireland have taken up the cause.In a letter sent to U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence on Tuesday, the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein warned Boeing’s actions could affect social peace in the country.“For a small economy such as ours, the significance of the contribution that Bombardier makes cannot be understated,” reads the letter signed by Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill, members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) is the largest employer in the country with its Belfast factor, where 4,200 people work. That facility manufactures the wings for the CSeries.The letter explains how the consequences of Boeing’s complaint could threaten the fragile political balance in the country.“The security of our economy has and continues to be a crucial part of our efforts in delivering peace through prosperity,” the letter continues.“At a time when we are striving to take the next steps in our work on the peace process, and resolve our current political difficulties, this issue creates a new and potentially critical factor.”Boeing claims Bombardier’s subsidies allow the company to sell its planes cheaper than competitors.The U.S. Commerce Department is currently investigating Boeing’s complaint and could impose tariffs or fines on Bombardier if it finds against the Canadian company.It is expected to release its preliminary findings Sept. 25.The Trudeau government revealed Tuesday it held secret talks with Boeing in hopes of persuading the U.S. aerospace giant to drop its case.Boeing spokesman Dan Curran said the company is not against competition.“No one is saying Bombardier cannot sell its aircraft anywhere in the world,” Curran said by email. “But sales must be according to globally accepted trade rules.“Any claimed economic threat to Bombardier…can be attributed to that company’s decision to flout U.S. trade rules. Boeing could not stand by given this clear case of illegal dumping, which could hurt American workers.”May is scheduled to arrive in Canada for an official visit next week during which the trade dispute will likely be on the agenda.Aside from the London-Ottawa partnership against Boeing, two U.S. carriers — Spirit Airlines and Sun Country Airlines — have recently written to the United States International Trade Commission and the Commerce Department defending Bombardier.Hundreds of Bombardier employees protested in downtown Montreal on Wednesday to denounce Boeing.last_img read more

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Thousands line up in Halifax as Ikea opens first of 12 new

first_imgHALIFAX – Several thousand people lined up early Wednesday to enter Ikea Halifax, as the firm launched the first of its 12 openings across Canada amidst circus performers, political speeches and a Swedish flag raising.Hundreds had secured places at the front of a line that wound around the store in the Dartmouth Crossing retail district, while the shop’s 1,100-car parking lot was nearly full as people stood wrapped in blankets in a cool Nova Scotia mist.Some of the shoppers were there for gift certificates, others for opening sales, while some people were just there to take it all in.Jocelyn Adams said she and a friend had been in line since about 3:30 a.m.“We’re looking for bedding and side tables,” she said. “It’s going to be fun exploring and checking things off our list. … We hear there’s a shelving unit on sale.”Ikea’s return to the region had the city abuzz — the opening dominated social media and other conversations, including one Twitter user who joked so many people lined up “because not a lot happens in Halifax.”Liane Clouthier, a Dalhousie University student from Kitchener, Ont., joined her friend Amy Sutherland for over 16 hours in line to witness the ribbon-cutting, yet she was uncertain she’d actually purchase anything.“It was spontaneous,” she said of her decision to wait in line.“We were driving by and we said ‘We might as well stop and join them.’ I’m actually going to class soon, so I’m not even going inside.”Ramesh Venkat, an associate business professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, said in an interview that the chain is benefiting from months of media hype leading up to the event.“It’s really unusual. I can’t recall a situation like this where a retailer opens to such a large number of people,” he said, comparing it to the major sales in the United States.Smith said that during travels with a curling team, she’d frequently stopped into the Montreal Ikea. She is the kind of shopper that the firm’s research had suggested would make Ikea’s return to the city viable after it closed a smaller shop three decades ago.“We know people in the area already shop online and some even travel to Montreal. We’re super happy we can bring Ikea a little closer to them now,” said Marsha Smith, the president of the multinational’s Canadian division, in an interview.Smith said she couldn’t provide an exact estimate on the number of people who were shopping on the store’s opening day, but said it was over 2,000 people by 9:30 a.m. local time.After Mayor Michael Savage cut the ribbon, people rushed inside. As in a similar hyped opening in Winnipeg five years ago, several hundred staff emerged to clap noisemakers with the Ikea logo on them.Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.last_img read more

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Insurance claims for Northern California wildfires reach 9B

first_imgSACRAMENTO, Calif. – The wildfires that ravaged Northern California wine country two months ago have generated $9 billion in insurance claims, far more than the single costliest fire in U.S. history, officials said Wednesday.The figure is not likely to increase much more, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said. It represents residential, commercial, automobile and other property claims filed with 260 insurers by Dec. 1.“And behind those staggering numbers are personal stories of tragedy and loss, and 44 individuals whose lives were lost,” Jones told The Associated Press.A 1991 fire in Oakland Hills is the costliest single fire in U.S. history, prompting $2.7 billion in claims in today’s dollars, according to data from the Insurance Information Institute.Nearly two dozen fires broke out in Northern California in mid-October. The state hasn’t provided a cost breakdown by each fire, but officials say one of the largest damaged far more buildings than the 1991 blaze.People have filed insurance claims on more than 18,000 homes that were partially or fully destroyed, most of them in Sonoma County, where a blaze decimated several neighbourhoods, Jones said. There were nearly 2,300 business property claims, nearly 5,000 vehicle claims and 650 claims for other property, including boats.Despite the staggering losses in a short period of time, Jones said there’s “no question” insurers have the money available to pay claims.Some Californians have reported receiving inaccurate information from their insurance companies, Jones said. He also warned that people should vet any contractors they plan to work with on rebuilding.One person reported to Jones’ office that they were told insurance money could only be used to rebuild on the same property. The law allows for using that money to build or buy a home anywhere, Jones said. Another was told they had 12 months to resolve their claims, not 24 as the law allows for a declared disaster like the wildfires.The inaccuracies may stem from the fact that insurers have brought in staff from other states to handle the influx of claims, he said.“If one person is told the wrong thing by an insurance company, it’s not acceptable,” Jones said.Disputes over claims are likely to increase in the coming months as consumers move through the process, Jones said.The FBI has created a task force to work with state and local agencies to investigate and prevent fraud in relief efforts. Intelligence gathered about fraudulent activities in other natural disasters this year, including hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, will help serve as a guidepost for ferreting out schemes in California, the FBI’s San Francisco division said in a statement.Consumers in other areas of California claimed an additional $400 million in wildfire-related losses in October, including 376 residential property claims totalling $71 million from a fire in Orange County.last_img read more

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Sale of BC hydroelectric project boosts Fortis Q2 profit to 720 million

first_imgThe Canadian Press ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Canadian utility company Fortis Inc. says the sale of its share of a B.C. hydroelectric project helped boost its second-quarter profit to $720 million — nearly three times what it had in the same period last year.However, adjusted earnings and revenue for the Newfoundland-based company were below analysts’ estimates.The quarter included a $484-million after-tax gain on the sale of a 51 per cent interest in the Waneta Expansion hydroelectric project in British Columbia. Fortis says its net profit attributable to common shareholders including the unusual item amounted to $1.66 per share, up from $240 million or 57 cents per share in last year’s second quarter.Excluding the Waneta Expansion sale and the impact of natural gas derivatives, Fortis had $235 million of adjusted earnings, or 54 cents per share, down from $251 million or 59 cents per share in last year’s second quarter.The electric and gas utility company’s revenue was $1.97 billion, mainly from businesses in Canada and the United States, up from $1.95 billion a year ago.Analysts had estimated $2.06 billion of revenue and 57 cents per share of adjusted earnings, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.center_img Companies in this story: (TSX:FTS)last_img read more

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To help foreigners at IGIA, cops learn different English accents

first_imgNew Delhi: The police personnel from Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport Unit have been trained for the understanding of various English accents used by foreign nationals particularly from Africa, America, British, European and Middle East countries.According to police, it was observed in the recent past that due to strong local accent used by foreign nationals as mentioned above, a considerate amount of help was being denied to them without any fault on either side as the personnel posted at helping counters were unable to decipher the problem or statements of these foreign nationals because of their voice and accents during the conversation. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic items”To cope up the situation, the IGI-Airport staff under the overall supervision of DCP-IGI Airport along with stakeholders of Delhi Airport worked together and started a five days training program aimed to understand the accents of foreign languages and to identify communication gaps and its possible solutions,” police said. Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI) Sanjay Bhatia stated that the training course on voice and accent communication covered different topics based on Sounds, Received-Pronunciation which is ‘Standard English’ or Queen’s English, accents and differences of different countries. Questioning techniques, cultural sensitisation activity, difference in vocabulary have also been imparted in the training. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”Also, the officers were given various tasks and assignments like Country Presentations on countries like Afghanistan, Congo, Nigeria, Somalia to enhance the knowledge and presentation skills of the officers” said DCP Bhatia. In English speaking countries such as USA and UK have different words for the residence or house. “In USA it is called ‘Apartment’ and in UK it is called ‘Flat’. Moreover, you are on ‘Vacation’ in USA and on ‘Holiday’ in UK,” police said. Active listening through vowel sounds and consonant sounds are another major part of the course. It is good to know that only five vowels in the English language have 20 different sounds. As many as 50 police personnel from IGI-Airport Unit have been aimed for understanding various accents used in speaking English. These will act as trainers to further train the staff posted at IGI-Airport Unit. The ‘Training of Teachers’ (TOT) course was well received and appreciated. Further, such courses would be continued in future also.last_img read more

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King Mohammed VI’s Royal Message To Crans Montana Forum

Dakhla, Morocco – King Mohammed VI addressed, this Friday, a message to the annual meeting of Crans Montana Forum, held in the southern city of Dakhla on March 12-14.Here follows the full text of the Royal message read out by Government Chief Abdelilah Benkirane:Praise be to God May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and KinYour Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,It gives me great pleasure to send this message to the current session of the Crans Montana Forum on Africa, which is being held under my high patronage, and which has brought together eminent international figures from various walks of life.I wish you all a pleasant stay in Morocco, particularly in Dakhla, the pearl of Morocco’s southern region.I congratulate you on your choice of theme for the Forum’s meeting.Indeed, the new development model for the Sahara region adopted by Morocco aims to turn this region into a hub between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. In this respect, the city of Dakhla will be at the heart of the future African economic hub, which will be devoted to serving peace and stability in the sub-Saharan region.This new development model is the result of an ambitious policy made possible by a new generation of institutional reforms based on advanced regionalization.Indeed, the Kingdom of Morocco’s ambition is to showcase local specificities, to foster good governance at local level and to devise public policies at regional level that guarantee efficient state action as well as partnerships with local governments.In this respect, the city of Dakhla is destined to become a platform for multi-form exchange relations between the Atlantic region, the Maghreb and the Sahel.Therefore, the presence in Dakhla of participants from all walks of life – representing government, civil society, economic stakeholders… – coupled with the important themes to be discussed by the Forum confirm the pertinence of the choices we have made to make sure Africa embraces solidarity and looks resolutely to the future.I see this as a tribute to the relentless action I have been spearheading in favor of our Continent. Indeed, Morocco has been working untiringly to help forge a modern, bold, entrepreneurial and open Africa; an African continent which is proud of its identity, which derives its vibrancy from its cultural heritage and which is capable of transcending outdated ideologies.Therefore, I would like, today, to pay a warm tribute to Mr. Jean Paul Carteron, who has successfully drawn on his rich, wide-ranging experience to serve lofty causes through dialogue and sharing.The reasoned, logical decision made by the eminent institution he represents to convene in the Moroccan Sahara will undoubtedly be a factor for success.Your Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,The theme “South-South cooperation and the development of Africa”, which you have selected for your conference, is both topical and highly pertinent. It reflects a shared ambition to place Africa at the heart of major global geopolitical concerns.In this regard, the underlying concepts of South-South cooperation should integrate new 21st century perspectives, given the significant impacts of globalization as a multi-faceted phenomenon.  Consistent with the same line of thinking, we have been calling for efficient, solidarity-based cooperation that makes the most of the opportunities offered by triangular cooperation, at regional level as well as with the countries of the North. Needless to say, such cooperation must be rooted in mutual esteem, be based on balanced approaches and show that the interests of the various partners concerned are duly taken into account.Having made South-South cooperation one of the pillars of its foreign policy, the Kingdom of Morocco has adopted a proactive policy to develop fruitful partnerships with its European, North American and Asian partners. This is precisely the multidimensional partnership model involving several actors that we need to pursue resolutely in order to achieve greater development in Africa.Our continent bore the brunt of colonization and the Cold War. Sadly, it continues to grapple with the fallout to this day.In Africa, the borders inherited from colonization often continue to be a major source of tension and conflict. It is up to us – Africans – to innovate in order to turn them into open spaces where fruitful exchange and interaction can flourish between African societies.Africa is also a continent with many economic, political and cultural fault lines producing multi-faceted crises, at a time when Africa’s tremendous human and natural resources should, instead, be a powerful catalyst for regional integration and complementarity to overcome the consequences of the fragmentation Africa was subjected to during the colonial era, and which led to political and ethnic strife.Furthermore, Africa is a continent with growing and unsettling security issues. Alarmingly, new transnational perils – including terrorism, organized crime, trafficking in drugs and human beings as well as religious extremism – are on the rise in many parts of our continent. These are major challenges which call for transnational responses and underscore the need for collective and concerted reflection on the security issue.However, one of the reasons for hope, motivation and a firm belief in our common goals is that Africa today is the continent that has the most significant multi-dimensional assets to embody the future of the world.– The African continent has had the fastest growing economy since 2000; over this same period of time, its trade with the rest of the world has increased by more than 200 per cent.– By the year 2050, Africa will have a population of approximately 2 billion people, and our continent will have to harness this tremendous demographic asset properly – particularly African youth – in order to consolidate the continent’s standing in the global economy.– Africa is the continent with the largest potential for natural resources; they should be used to foster sustainable human development for the benefit of African populations.– Africa is also the continent in which democracy and good governance have been developing and reinforced day after day.To this end, Africa should free itself from the shackles of the colonial past, look resolutely to the future, be more self-confident and believe in its own capabilities.Africa needs to develop and support win-win partnerships.It needs to bolster its share in the global wealth creation chain.Africa needs to push forward regional economic integration and develop common areas for shared prosperity that allow for the free movement of goods and people.Africa needs to invest massively in infrastructure and improve the living conditions of African citizens.Africa must also meet tremendous energy needs to support its development agenda successfully. It has huge potential for renewable energy production which should be tapped to promote sustainable development.In this respect, the idea of a project devoted to renewable energy in Africa is especially pertinent, given the vast wind and solar energy production opportunities available in African countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean.Just as pertinent is the need to muster the levers of inter-African cooperation. One of the lessons of history is that economic, political and social interdependence is a prerequisite for progress. That is why we firmly believe in Morocco that isolated development will not succeed.Your Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,Morocco has made Africa one of the strategic priorities of its foreign policy. This choice is partly due to geography, since Morocco is part of Africa, but also to history, given its deep, time-honored bonds with Africa, which have shaped Morocco’s African culture and identity. This has naturally reinforced Morocco’s African calling as a hub for regional advancement, stability and cultural development.The various visits I have paid to African countries attest to my firm desire to strengthen cooperation with sister African nations. Those visits have led to concrete projects and many cooperation agreements have been signed in different fields.The Kingdom of Morocco, which has consistently rejected Afro-pessimism, advocates resolute, proactive and solidarity-based action to forge a “new Africa”. This is a most cherished wish, and we shall continue to try and pool efforts to fulfil it.Morocco’s African policy is based on a comprehensive, integrated and inclusive approach designed to promote peace and stability, encourage sustainable human development and safeguard the cultural and spiritual identity of our populations, while respecting the universal values of human rights.This policy derives its originality from the fact that state and institutional actors no longer have an exclusive monopoly over it. Quite the contrary, it is increasingly devised and conducted by private economic operators, with the involvement of civil society organizations.Morocco’s action in this respect aims to support sister African nations in their efforts to build strong economies, through the transfer of know-how, human resource training, investment in key sectors of the economy and the pooling of resources.Furthermore, and considering the importance of sub-regional groupings, Morocco has been calling for fresh momentum to be injected into the Arab Maghreb Union, which celebrated its 26th anniversary this year. The Kingdom of Morocco has also been a particularly active member of the CEN-SAD, which will hold its next summit in Morocco. Furthermore, my country has been developing closer relations with several other regional groupings in West and Central Africa.Your Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,We welcome the initiatives undertaken by your Forum to promote cooperation among African countries bordering the Atlantic. The setting up, on the sidelines of this meeting, of the “Atlantic Africa Club” reflects a shared desire to support development and regional integration in Africa and foster a more proactive policy regarding the Atlantic coast.Indeed, for many years, this important dimension of Pan-African action has been neglected. Far from being an obstacle, the Atlantic Ocean is a key element conducive to development; it can be a bridge for fostering more openness, interaction and integration between African countries bordering the Atlantic.Another initiative which deserves to be lauded is the “African Women’s Forum”, which will serve as a platform for exchange and debate among women participants. This will also be a fitting opportunity for African women to plead in favor of their full rights and to encourage their active contribution to the development of their respective countries. Indeed, our continent needs to pool all available resources and energies in order to achieve the desired objectives.In this respect, I have always attached special importance to promoting the status of women and advocated greater participation of women in various political, economic, social and cultural spheres. Gender parity, which is enshrined in the Kingdom’s new Constitution, is a goal we are seeking to achieve.Your Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,Before concluding, I wish to pay tribute to the Crans Montana Forum and its President, Jean-Paul Carteron, for devoting the theme of the Forum’s annual conference to Africa and Africans. I commend them on their dedicated, untiring efforts over more than three decades to promote closer cultural bonds and coexistence.The Crans Montana Forum will always find in the Kingdom of Morocco the support needed to promote and expand its action to serve the just causes of peace and development.I also wish to commend ISESCO and its Director General, His Excellency Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, for having actively contributed to the organization of this important event and for their commendable efforts to ensure its success.I wish you a successful conference and a pleasant stay in your second home.Thank you.Wassalamou alaikoum warahmatoullahi wabarkatouh. read more

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May meets with political parties in NIreland on Brexit

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to meet with Northern Ireland’s main political parties as she seeks to break the impasse over her European Union divorce deal.May is signalling she will seek changes to the deal rather than outright removal of the so-called backstop, designed to preserve the open border between Northern Ireland and EU member state Ireland. The border area was a flashpoint during decades of conflict, and the free flow of people and goods across the frontier underpins the region’s peace process.May, during a speech Tuesday in Belfast, restated her “unshakeable” commitment to avoiding a hard border and said she didn’t plan to remove the “insurance policy” entirely.“What Parliament has said is that they believe there should be changes made to the backstop,” she said.The Associated Press read more

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Morocco Spends $1.38 Million in Lobbying in 2018 to Beat Algeria…

Washington D.C. – According to the same source, in addition to money spent to lobby both branches of the US government (the Executive and both Houses of Congress), the Moroccan government signed a  contract of $480,000 per year with ThirdCircle to promote Morocco as a film destination as well as “world-class golf destination.”  Since January 2018, JPC Strategies has become Morocco’s main lobbying arm in the United States. According to FARA, JPC has been paid $75,000 a month to lobby in favor of Morocco.JPC has subcontracted three other lobbying firms: Iron Bridge Strategies, the Glover Park Group and SGR Government Relations & Lobbying. They aim to promote Morocco-US relations, defend Morocco’s strategic interests, educate US officials and lawmakers about the depth of the strategic alliance between the two countries and promote American investments in Morocco. Though it is not included specifically in their lobbying contract, the Western Sahara is at the heart of these firms’ advocacy work in favor of Morocco.Algerian LobbyingFor decades, Algeria has claimed that it has no vested interests in the Western Sahara conflict and only seeks to help the Saharawis to exercise their right to self-determination. Despite their claims,  $480,000 was spent in 2018 to block Morocco’s attempts to achieve any breakthrough in the conflict.For the past two decades, Foley Hoag has been Algeria’s main lobbying firm in Washington. The Washington-based firm has a $420,000 per year contract to Algeria.The registration form that Foley Hoag submitted to FARA shows that the lobbying firm has received $210,000 between October 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019.Foley Hoag held more than 40 meetings and exchanges with members of Congress, the State Department, as well as the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan caucus of the House of Representatives that includes 37 US representatives. The main topic of those meetings was “the promotion of Algeria-US relations and respect for human rights, including the rights to self-determination.”Foley Hoag executives had three exchanges with Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and Patrick Lehay (D-VT), the most vocal supporters of the Polisario in the US Senate, as well as Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), one of the top rated US lawmakers in the defense of human rights.In a new push to prevent Morocco from swaying US officials and lawmakers into supporting its position on the conflict, Algeria signed a $360,000 per year contract with the Keene Consulting Services as of November 1, 2018.  Keene Consulting Services is owned by David Keene, a former head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and a close friend of the US National Security Advisor John Bolton.Read Also: ‘The Bolton Effect’: Will US’s ‘Impatient’ John Bolton Broker Western Sahara’s Stalemate?According to the contract, Keene’s lobbying tasks included: mobilizing media and public support for Algeria, promoting Algeria’s peacemaking role in regional and global affairs, advancing Algeria’s trade and business interests with the US government, and enhancing Algeria’s image in the American public discourse. The overarching goal was to work with several branches of US policymaking to “facilitate a greater understanding of Algeria’s concerns and positions on various issues.”Keene’s statements suggest that the contract included aggressive anti-Moroccan public relations efforts on the Western Sahara issue. In opinion articles and other public statements, Keene repeatedly referenced Morocco’s “occupation” and “colonization” of Western Sahara.One notable example is a December 2010 op-ed from the Hill in which Keene accused “Moroccan forces” of disregarding the UN-imposed status quo in Western Sahara by resorting to police violence to threaten “our friends in the desert.” Keene claimed that Morocco twisted historical facts to convince the US and the international community of its “little more than fiction[al]” claims over Western Sahara.Morocco’s responseBased on the latest developments in the Western Sahara, it appears that Algeria has failed in creating a setback for Morocco’s diplomatic efforts to garner wider international support to its position on the Western Sahara.While there is no way to measure whether Morocco’s lobbying firms have fulfilled their mandate to the fullest, the fact remains that Morocco’s diplomatic efforts have demonstrated to be successful. Morocco has succeeded in preventing any negative development that would have otherwise negatively impacted Morocco’s stance on the Western Sahara issue.  Morocco succeeded in maintaining its diplomatic achievements in recent years, despite Algeria’s counter-attempts to promote its position in the Trump administration through Bolton. Morocco succeeded in swinging the momentum in its favor in the second half of 2018 through increases of lobbying budgets and relentless efforts in the realm of public relations.Real Also: ‘Compromise’: How SC Resolution 2468 on Western Sahara Is DifferentThe success of Morocco’s response to Algerian lobbying is most visible in the UN Security Council’s latest resolutions, which upheld Morocco’s frequent requests to regard Algeria as a party in the Western Sahara conflict.   In Resolution 2440 of October 2018, the UN referred to Algeria 3 times, suggesting a gradual shift to considering Algiers as a full-fledged party in the Western Sahara conflict, rather than a neighbor or observer state as it has claimed to be in the past.Resolution 2468, the latest UN resolution on Western Sahara, is perhaps the most Morocco-friendly UN document in decades.  In addition to further acknowledging Algeria’s primary role in the conflict and the settlement process, Resolution 2468 adopted almost the same language as Moroccan diplomacy, pointing out that pragmatism, realism, and compromise are the only way to achieve a long, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution to the conflict.Because it emphasizes a compromise-based solution, many analysts have suggested, Resolution 2468 is also a validation—albeit diplomatically articulated—of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan.For all the pro-Morocco discussion currently surrounding the Western Sahara dossier, it remains to be seen whether Algeria, which Morocco reportedly outworked due to a raging domestic crisis, will easily surrender to the current momentum in the UN-led process. read more

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Who has the rights A look at how streaming services are confusing

TORONTO — Marie Conception was three seasons into the TV series “Gossip Girl” when Netflix yanked the entire show from its lineup.Left hanging in the middle of the teen drama’s juicy plot twists, the Burnaby, B.C. resident says she questioned why she signed up for Netflix in the first place.“You commit to purchasing Netflix or CraveTV because they have certain shows,” she says. “It’s a little upsetting when they pull stuff out for whatever reason.”The frustration is all too familiar for many TV viewers. You’re invested in “Mad Men” or “The West Wing” when the shows suddenly disappear from streaming services overnight. Fans still complain about how “Lost” can’t be found, and “Friday Night Lights” went dark.The reason TV shows or films are removed from streaming platforms can vary, though it almost always comes down to content licensing “windows,” the set periods of time a company gets the rights for a program.Those contracts between a streaming company and a TV or film distributor are nothing new — they exist for traditional broadcasters, too. But in an era where many people stream much of their entertainment, what’s available is suddenly a bigger part of the conversation.How long a streaming licence lasts will vary depending on the show or movie. Many contracts are signed for around a year, especially for films, which guarantees services like Netflix have a steady rotation of content from some of Hollywood’s big studios.TV series can have an even longer licence that stretches for several years and covers a number of seasons. Sometimes, those rights switch to another service; other times they expire and disappear into the digital ether, especially in Canada where many popular shows aren’t available to stream.The confusion over where to watch their favourite TV shows isn’t likely to subside for Canadians any time soon. Next year, CBS Corp. plans to enter the market with CBS All Access, potentially holding onto certain licences for TV shows it has a stake in, including “The Big Bang Theory.”When Disney rolls out its streaming platform in the coming years, there’s a good chance it’ll eventually keep its most valuable new content for itself, rather than license it to Netflix Canada. Those negotiations are still open, and Netflix could make Disney an offer too attractive to refuse.All of these decisions are part of ongoing talks that don’t affect viewers until they notice something has gone missing from their streaming library.Mike Cosentino, senior vice-president of content at CraveTV, often hears the message loud and clear when he makes the call on what to stock on Bell Media’s platform.“At the end of the day, if we do our jobs well enough, we’re renewing content that has a consumer appetite and reinvesting in new content,” he says.But it isn’t always up to CraveTV, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video which entertainment they can license.For instance, viewers have urged Netflix Canada to stock up on past seasons of “Game of Thrones,” but the blockbuster TV show is owned by HBO, its biggest competitor. Bell Media owns the licences the HBO content in Canada, but hasn’t made them available on any standalone streaming service.Confused yet?Things get even more complicated when you turn to Netflix Canada, who bought licences for TV series like “Riverdale,” which appear on the platform shortly after they air on U.S. television.Those licences aren’t cheap, and the battle for content is getting more expensive.Josh Scherba, executive vice-president of distribution and content at DHX Media, says the Toronto-based kids TV maker watched the value of its shows climb over the past five years as more streaming companies bulked up their virtual shelves. With more companies entering the market, the bidding increases.“We think for the foreseeable future that’s going to continue,” Scherba says.Ultimately, consumers will probably foot the bigger monthly bill. Netflix Canada is already raising its monthly subscription by a dollar or two saying it’s partly due to rising costs for buying content and making its own original series.But streaming companies might have some explaining to do when the licenses for some of their “original series” end in the coming years.Netflix brands a selection of its content as “Netflix Originals” even though it doesn’t actually own all of them outright. Both “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” are owned by outside studios who licence multi-year windows to the streaming service.Once those terms end, the shows are free to be sold elsewhere, which means they will almost certainly land on broadcast TV or other streaming platforms. It’s already happened with Amazon Original series “Transparent,” which began airing on cable channel Showcase earlier this summer.None of these shifts make it any easier for viewers to figure out where shows like “Gossip Girl” can be seen these days. Some websites like justwatch.com aim to help streamers find what they’re looking for. But that didn’t give Conception any idea if the show was returning to Netflix.“They do this weird thing where they sometimes take (a TV series) out, but they bring it back a few months later,” she says. “But with ‘Gossip Girl’ they didn’t.”She eventually gave up and bought the show on DVD.Follow @friend on Twitter. read more

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Committee to submit report this week on fuel issue

The committee appointed to look into the recent fuel crisis is to submit its report this week.Head of the committee, Minister Sarath Amunugama said that the report is expected to be submitted on Tuesday. President Maithripala Sirisena had appointed the committee when the fuel issue turned into a crisis last week.A shortage of fuel turned into a crisis with fuel sheds running out of petrol for days. The situation was resolved with an oil tanker arriving from the UAE and India sending stocks following a request from the President. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Syria At least seven children killed in yet another airstrike

“This latest outrage adds to the mounting child casualties caused by intensifying violence over the past few weeks, including in Al Wadihi, southern Idlib, northern Aleppo and northern Hama,” said UNICEF chief, Henrietta Fore, in a statement released on Sunday.At least 140 children have been killed in northwest Syria since the start of this year. “The obvious disregard for the safety and well-being of children evident in these attacks is appalling,” stated Ms. Fore who added: ”My heart breaks for the young lives lost and for all the children in the area who remain in harm’s way”.The UNICEF Executive Director “strongly and unequivocally” urged the parties to the conflict and those who have influence over them “to ensure that children in the northwest and across the country are protected from the ongoing violence.” read more

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Geekout on air The Xbox One Edition

first_imgHave you heard enough about the new Xbox One? We didn’t think so, in fact we’re still talking about it as you read this.We’ve known about the unveiling of the next Xbox console for quite a while now, and after all the rumors and speculation there is now a big new console on the block. The Xbox One was met with equal parts excitement and frustration as Microsoft opted to show more of the consoles features than actual gameplay and capabilities. The console focuses heavily on better voice interactions and a new Kinect sensor for what looks to be an all around better experience, but there’s still a significant number of potential users left unhappy about the experience.It wasn’t just people on social networks, either. Sony’s stock saw a significant spike during Microsoft’s presentation. Microsoft promised 15 new titles at E3, and already many upcoming games, like Watch Dogs, have pledged support for the console. If Microsoft dedicates E3 to showing off some high quality exclusive titles, it is likely these hard feelings will be forgotten.Microsoft will also need to answer some hard questions soon about whether or not their console will always be on, how exactly the console listens for you to say “Xbox, on” in order to wake, and what the rules will be for secondhand games. We know already that there are mandatory installs for games on the console, and there’s going to be some sort of payment needed to play the game across accounts. The potential for this to hurt used game markets is significant, unless handled correctly. We’ll be covering this in more detail as these questions get answered.Be sure to check out our other Geekout sessions, and keep an eye on our Google+ page for future events.last_img read more

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Olympic Airlines in for Marfin good time

first_imgThe sale of Olympic Airlines to Greece’s Marfin Investment Group has been agreed to by the Greek Government and is expected to be put forward to the Greek Parliament for approval this week.The Greece-based investment holdings company Marfin was chosen to buy Olympic after three weeks of negotiations, in preference to bids from the carrier’s main domestic rival, Aegean Airlines, and U.S.-based Chrysler Aviation.Development Minister Costis Hadzidakis said MIG would acquire full control of the carrier by the end of September.“There will be no visible effect on passengers regarding ticket bookings or other such matters during the transition period,” he said, adding that Olympic would continue serving Greece’s dozens of far-flung islands, and other unprofitable destinations.“We will have a new Olympic, for which Greek taxpayers will not have to pay 350 million euros per year,” said Hatzidakis. “Instead, we will receive 150 million euros per year in taxes.”MIG has offered 45.7 million  euros for Olympic’s flight operations and 16.7 million euros for the company’s technical maintenance assets. The total sum paid will include the price of Olympic’s share capital.“There will be no visible effect on passengers regarding ticket bookings or other such matters during the transition period,” Hatzidakis said, adding that Olympic would continue serving Greece’s dozens of far-flung islands, and other unprofitable destinations.A decision on the sale of Olympic’s ground handling services has been postponed, pending negotiations between MIG and Swissport, which has offered 44.8 million euros for that section of the company. The government says MIG has committed to pay the same sum for the ground handling services if the talks fail. Olympic’s 8,100 employees have been offered early retirement or transfers to other public sector jobs with their rights to a pension and social insurance preseverved in legislation.The European Commission approved the sale as it would offer the best chance to recover some 850 million euros in illegal state subsidies given to the airline and its predecessor over the past years. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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San Diego Swift Water Rescue team training for dangerous rainy season

first_img Dan Plante, Ed Lenderman, February 13, 2018 Dan Plante, Ed Lenderman Posted: February 13, 2018 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings San Diego Swift Water Rescue team training for dangerous rainy season Updated: 6:08 PM 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) —  It’s the most dangerous job a lifeguard can do and no, it’s not saving swimmers from big waves and rip currents.The toughest job is the “Swift Water Rescue Team,” the men and women who dive into flooded, rushing rivers to save lives.“Just last year, we saved 62 people from a flooded hotel and another 25 people from the river,” said Chief Rick Wurtz from the San Diego Lifeguards. “It’s dangerous, with rushing currents and all those obstacles in the water.”As of today, those rescues were made a little bit easier, at least getting access to the river.“It’s going to be much easier to save lives and much safer for our first responders,” said Council Member Scott Sherman.Making it easier was seemingly simple. They created seven new access points to the San Diego River. This allows first responders much better access to hard to reach places.In the past, the lifeguards themselves would use machetes to cut the brush and trees, then drag their boats and equipment to the river’s edge.“Our Swift Water Rescue Team needs that access to save lives, this is a very big deal for us,” said Chief Fennessy.This is not only a big victory for the lifeguards, it’s also a big ‘political victory’. Simply getting the ‘permits’ to clear a path took years. “What may look easy on the outside, can be very difficult. In government, nothing’s easy, right? Right!But they got ‘er done and the next time it rains, The Swift Water Rescue Team will be even swifter. Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

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Feds challenge Wash mental health system

first_imgOLYMPIA — The federal government has indicated there are problems with the system Washington state uses to deliver mental health services, and officials say hundreds of millions of dollars could be at risk unless changes are made.The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a recent letter that state officials aren’t going through a proper bidding process for regional networks. If the state doesn’t change course, federal support could be pulled.“CMS has a fair amount of power in this relationship,” said Jane Beyer, assistant secretary for behavior health issues at the state Department of Social and Health Services.Regional Support Networks in Washington administer mental health services in the state, with many counties joining together to operate within the same regional network. The idea behind the networks is to keep mental health services at the local-government level, since there is a close relationship between mental health problems and local courts, law enforcement and jails.Democratic state Sen. Jeannie Darneille said she sees pitfalls of moving away from that model and providing open bidding. The winning provider may not be aligned with the same goals as local officials, and some regions of the state may not even draw bids.last_img read more

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Uber Copter helicopter service to get added US rival in Airbus Voom

first_imgVoom’s on-demand helicopter service is reportedly taking off in the US this fall. Airbus/Voom Uber’s helicopter service hasn’t even taken off yet, but it already has a new competitor. Airbus-owned Voom will reportedly begin offering its on-demand helicopter shuttle service in the US this fall. It previously offered the service only in Latin America. Voom hasn’t shared which cities it’ll be available in or how much it’ll cost to use the service, according to Fast Company, but it’s said the price will be “competitive with ground alternatives.” The company also reportedly said it plans to operate in Asia this year, and aims to be in 25 cities worldwide by 2025. The app-based offering would compete with Uber Copter, the ride-hailing platform’s helicopter service that takes flight in New York City next month. When it launches, Uber Copter will take passengers between Lower Manhattan and JFK International Airport, with average rides reportedly costing between $200 and $225 a person. Ride-hailing company Blade also provides a similar helicopter service.Voom didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Rylo Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. $999 Sarah Tew/CNET See at Amazon Share your voice See at Turo Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X See it Read the AirPods review Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Best Buy $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) 7 Apple iPhone XS See It $59 at eBay $999 Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express Read DJI Osmo Action preview Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) $210 at Best Buy TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Sarah Tew/CNET Read Google Home Hub review Angela Lang/CNET Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Chris Monroe/CNET Share your voice Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. Tags Uber,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout.center_img Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) $520 at HP Tags $155 at Google Express Turo $999 Boost Mobile Sarah Tew/CNET DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) The Cheapskate JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Sprint What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. See It $299 at Amazon See It Comments Sarah Tew/CNET Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Read Lenovo Smart Clock review $60 at Best Buy Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) CNET may get a commission from retail offers. $999 Tech Industry Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) 0 Read the Rylo camera preview $6 at Tidal Post a comment Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Amazonlast_img read more

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43 killed in Syria tanker bomb blast

first_imgImage taken from a video obtained by Reuters at the scene where a fuel truck exploded in the centre of rebel-held Azaz, Syria. Photo: ReutersA massive tanker truck bomb ripped through a market by a courthouse in the rebel-held Syrian town of Azaz on Saturday, killing 43 people and wounding dozens near the Turkish border.The attack appeared to be the deadliest yet in the town in northern Aleppo province, which has been regularly hit by bombing targeting rebels and civilians.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least six rebels were among the dead, but most of those killed were civilians.Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said identification of the dead was being hampered by the fact that some bodies were completely burned in the blast.Video from the scene showed huge clouds of smoke rising from a street filled with debris and twisted metal, which bulldozers were working to clear.Raging fires were burning in several vehicles, and the fire brigade was battling to put them out with a giant water tanker and hoses.Civil defence workers, rebels and civilians picked through the rubble of a building, half of which had tumbled into the street.Azaz has been repeatedly struck by bomb attacks, including in November when rebels said 25 people—civilians and opposition fighters—were killed in a car bombing of a rebel headquarters.The rebels accused the Islamic State group of being behind that attack.The jihadist group is present elsewhere in Aleppo province and has sought to advance on Azaz in the past.In October, at least 17 people were killed in a car bomb attack on a rebel checkpoint, the Observatory said.IS suspectedThere was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday’s attack, but Osama al-Merhi, a lawyer at the scene of the blast, pointed the finger at IS.“These kinds of crimes are only committed by the terrorist group Daesh,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.“They are the ones who target civilians and the cadres who are building this country,” he told AFP.The blast comes during a fragile nationwide ceasefire brokered by government ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey.The truce came into effect on December 30, and is intended to pave the way for new peace talks in Kazakh capital Astana, which regime ally Iran is also helping organise.But the ceasefire and the planned talks have been threatened by ongoing violence in the rebel-held Wadi Barada region outside Damascus, which is the main water source for the capital.Overnight, the Observatory said seven Syrian soldiers and two civilians were killed in clashes, though the fighting appeared to have calmed by late Saturday morning.Fighting in the region has continued despite the truce, which does not apply to IS or former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front, known previously as Al-Nusra Front.The government says Fateh al-Sham is present in Wadi Barada, and blames rebels there for cutting water to Damascus since December 22.Rebels deny the jihadist group is in the region and say the mains supply was severed after government strikes hit pumping facilities in the area.‘Millions without water’The damage has left 5.5 million people in Damascus and its suburbs without water, according to the UN.On Saturday, state media said maintenance teams had arrived in the area 15 kilometres (10 miles) northwest of Damascus and were “prepared to enter” to begin repair work.A source close to the regime said a temporary ceasefire had been agreed to allow the repair crews to enter, though it could take days before the mains supply is restored.But there was no official confirmation of a deal or the entry of the repair crews.More than 310,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.The fighting has displaced more than half the population, internally or abroad, and proved stubbornly resistant to international attempts to broker a political solution.Turkey and Russia want to convene negotiations in Astana later this month, but rebels have suspended participation in preparatory talks, blaming regime “violations” in Wadi Barada.Elsewhere, an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters backed by US special forces moved to within four kilometres of the Tabqa dam held by IS, the Observatory said.The monitor said the Syrian Democratic Forces had taken the last IS-held village between them and the dam on the Euphrates, which is the country’s largest.The dam is just 500 metres (yards) from the town of Tabqa, where many senior IS commanders have been based.last_img read more

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Wastewater Overflows After Heavy Rain And Flooding Residents Advised To Boil Water

first_imgGail DelaughterCity of Houston works to unclog drains at White Oak Drive and Quitman Street.Untreated wastewater spilled into three area bayou locations after high water created widespread flooding Wednesday, The City of Houston says.The incident happened at the 69th Street Wastewater Treatment Plant located at 2525 S. Sgt. Macario Garcia Drive.The estimated volume of released wastewater as of 6 p.m. Wednesday was approximately 500,000 gallons at Halls Bayou at US 59 at Parker Road; approximately 160,000 gallons at White Oak Bayou Near Interstate 45 N. at Wrightwood Street; and approximately 500,000 gallons at Buffalo Bayou near the University of Houston Downtown, officials said.Clean-up activities were underway as The Department of Public Works and Engineering was monitoring the facility and the situation.More information from the city:Residents using private drinking water supply wells located within half-mile of the spill site or within the potentially affected area should use only water that has been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute for all personal uses including drinking, cooking, bathing, and tooth brushing.Individuals with private water wells should have their well water tested and disinfected, if necessary, prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling. Persons who purchase water from a public water supply may contact their water supply distributor to determine if the water is safe for personal use. The public should avoid contact with waste material, soil, or water in the area potentially affected by the spill. If the public comes into contact with waste material, soil, or water potentially affected by the spill, they should bathe and wash clothes thoroughly as soon as possible.  Sharelast_img read more

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Watch These Movies Before Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

first_img Vintage Shelf: Spike Lee Brings the Heat in ‘Do The Right Thing…Top Movie and TV Trailers You Might Have Missed This Week Reservoir DogsGo back and watch Reservoir Dogs to see that pretty much everything that makes Tarantino Tarantino was there from the start. Cool gangster action that gets quickly subverted. Lots of pop culture talk. Fading actors getting well-deserved reinventions. There’s a reason why this inspired so many 90s bros to go to film school.Pulp FictionArguably still the most memorable Tarantino movie, Pulp Fiction really solidified his various tropes and tics along with starting long-lasting partnerships with actors like Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson. What’s in that briefcase???Jackie BrownJackie Brown is a dark horse candidate for best Tarantino movie because it might be the least Tarantino movie. Based on an existing Elmore Leonard novel, you’d think the title and casting of Pam Grier would make this an over-the-top blaxploitation bonanza. But instead Jackie Brown is the most grounded and heartfelt movie in Tarantino’s whole canon, getting soulful performances from Grier and Robert Forster and Michael Keaton, plus some great comedy from Robert De Niro. Your mom will dig it!Kill BillTarantino’s martial arts saga is so epic it had to be split into two parts. But while some people have a preference for one Kill Bill volume over another, honestly the best way to enjoy them is as the one big nonlinear film it is. The Bride’s quest for vengeance is thrilling to watch, packed with a surprising amount of emotion, and cements Uma Thurman as Tarantino’s creative muse (which he unfortunately soured through his own harmful directorial negligence.)Death ProofDeath Proof is kind of a bad movie. It’s full of boring filler than seems to exist only to pad out an awesome trailer premise “killer stuntman Kurt Russell murders hot girls with his car” into a full-length movie. But in that regard it’s absolutely true to the schlock exploitation movies it’s supposed to evoke, way more so than its Grindhouse double feature partner Planet Terror. I respect it as an almost academic work.Inglourious BasterdsBetween it’s love of movies, alternate take on a brutal real-world historical event, and presence of Brad Pitt, Inglourious Basterds may be the Tarantino movie that gets you most prepared for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Plus these days we need some good Nazi killing more than ever.Django UnchainedHow pissed must Will Smith be to not have had his career rejuvenated by this movie? With Django Unchained Tarantino remixes the classic Western genre by moving it to the American South and zeroing in on the horrors of slavery. That horror then segues into righteous action movie catharsis as Django slaughters every evil white person he can find, spilling their blood on the cotton, to reunite with his love. Plus Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio are just aces.The Hateful EightTarantino’s second stab at a Western wound up being a lot more polarizing, mostly because of how gross and unlikable the Hateful Eight characters actually are despite the excellent actors playing them. But I think it’s cool he used the widest film stock he could to shoot what’s essentially a stage play in a cramped cabin set. Plus I appreciate any movie this long that includes an intermission. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the ninth and potentially penultimate film from Quentin Tarantino, is here. And if it’s anything like literally every other movie in Tarantino’s unmistakable filmography, it’ll be cool, tense, talky, violent, funny, and bursting with love for classic cinema. It’s just straight-up set in Hollywood this time. Tarantino’s film knowledge is definitely deeper than ours, and watching the movie itself will give you more than enough hints as to what other movies you should watch for context. So all we can really do here is suggest you watch other Tarantino movies.center_img Stay on targetlast_img read more

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