BoC survey finds business sentiment down slightly but remains positive

first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — A new survey by the Bank of Canada suggests overall business sentiment has weakened slightly, but continues to be positive.The central bank’s business outlook survey indicator decreased slightly, but remains elevated as responses to almost all the survey questions were holding above their historical averages.The survey results come ahead of the central bank’s next interest rate decision set for Jan. 9 when it will also release its updated outlook for the economy.Over the next 12 months, the survey suggested that firms expect sales growth to stabilize, while those linked to western Canadian oil prices and to housing in some regions expect demand to weaken or remain subdued and sales growth to moderate.The indicator of investment spending on machinery and equipment pulled back slightly, but the survey found intentions are still solid.On balance, plans to hire more workers continue to be widespread and similar to the previous survey.The survey based on interviews with senior managers of about 100 firms was done from Nov. 5 to Nov. 28.last_img read more

US Congress Turns Its Back to Saudi Arabia

By Hinna SheikhRabat- The US congress votes in favor of the controversial law to give families of 911 items to sue Saudi Arabian government.US Congress have taken the decision to override President Obama’s veto powers, to pass the 9/11 bill, which will allow US families to sue the Saudi Arabian government over the 9/11 bombings. The vote came earlier this morning, with both the Senate and the House of Representatives voting to pass the bill, which won an overwhelming majority. They voted to override the President’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).The House of Representatives voted 348-77 against the veto after the Senate rejected it 97-1, meaning JASTA will come into place as law.Since the vote, the US President has come out and said the decision to override his veto is a mistake and could set a “dangerous precedent” that could put US interests at risk.Senators argued in favor of justice for the victims, whereas they feel that the White House is too concerned with diplomatic relations and US interests.The vote is a blow to one of the US’ oldest allies in the Arab world. The question now remains regarding US-Saudi relations.Families and senators alike have rejoiced over the bill, as they believe justice can now be sought for the victims of the horrific attack of 9/11.The majority of the attackers of the 2001 attacks were Saudi nationals. The victims’ families have been lobbying and campaigning for years lawmakers for the right to sue the Saudi government. Despite Saudi Arabia’s constant denial of any involvement in the attacks, victim’s families have pushed for the bill to be passed.The Saudi embassy in Washington is yet to comment of the bill. But the future of Saudi-US relations may be in jeopardy and the coming months will be most interesting to see how events will unfold. read more

Vote counting begins in India Modi expected to hold power

NEW DELHI — Indian election officials have begun counting votes that were cast in the country’s mammoth general elections.The count began Thursday morning and was expected to conclude by the evening. Voters cast ballots on some 40 million electronic voting machines.Half a dozen exit polls showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party remaining in power for another five years.In the world’s largest democratic exercise, some 900 million people were registered to cast ballots for 542 seats in India’s lower house of Parliament in seven phases of polling staggered over six weeks.The election has been seen as a referendum on Modi, whose economic reforms broadly haven’t succeeded but whose popularity as a social underdog in India’s highly stratified society has endured.The Associated Press read more

New leader charts plans to rejuvenate UN Economic and Social Council

18 January 2007The newly-elected President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today proposed ways to revitalize that body by involving a wider variety of people in its work, from government ministers to activists to academics to business executives, as it reaches for a more prominent role in 2007. “We have,” Dalius Cekuolis of Lithuania said in a press briefing at UN headquarters in New York, “a very interesting and challenging year ahead.”This year, ECOSOC will be tasked with two new functions aimed to strengthen the body. Firstly, the Annual Ministerial Review will assess the progress, or lack thereof, that ECOSOC has made in reaching objectives such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight targets for tackling poverty, hunger and other social ills by 2015.The second, the Development Cooperation Forum, aims to have the voices of people at different levels – governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia and the private sector, among others – heard in discussions on international development and aid cooperation.ECOSOC, comprised of 54 members elected by the General Assembly, is a UN body which meets yearly to further economic and social cooperation and development. Its mandate was enhanced during the UN 2005 World Summit to improve the effectiveness of aid and monitor the implementation of targets, such as the MDGs, agreed upon by Member States.When asked by a journalist to cut through the jargon in explaining ECOSOC’s work, Mr. Cekuolis pointed to the Annual Ministerial Review and the Development Cooperation Forum as the body’s means to “coordinate the international community’s effort for the development agenda… and there for to maybe make it stronger and [increase] its authority on those issues.”Referring in particular to the Review, set to take place this July, Mr. Cekuolis stated that he hopes it will “soberly assess the progress of implementation, see the gaps, lacks of progress and therefore make recommendations.” Earlier this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told ECOSOC that its work for development is an integral part of the UN’s mission. “Together with security and human rights, it represents our core aspirations for a peace and better world,” he stated. read more

Donor fatigue cynicism could lead to millions of deaths in Ethiopia UN

Preventable diseases and malnutrition on average kill up to half a million Ethiopian children a year – more than the entire population of Edinburgh, close to the site of the G8 Summit of the world’s most industrialized nations, which kicked off today.“It is becoming increasingly difficult to persuade people that this is a global scandal,” said Bjorn Ljungqvist, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia, stressing that major donors are not stepping up fast enough to provide vital funding for a package of life-saving treatments, screenings and other interventions.Following an additional surge in severe acute malnutrition cases, up to 170,000 Ethiopian children will die from this condition alone by the end of the year if not treated, UNICEF estimates.“A cloud of cynicism has settled over Africa – cynicism caused by everything from corruption to armed conflicts, cynicism felt by everyone from donors to the general public. But this cloud hides the fact that innocent children are dying unnecessarily. There are simple things that we can do and must do to save these children.”He spoke out as UNICEF was preparing to release an urgent update appeal to major donors, asking them to fill a $42 million gap in funding.“In total, 7 million Ethiopian children suffer from some form of malnutrition every year, with serious consequences for their health and development. But there is a growing idea that these are ‘normal’ levels of child deaths and malnutrition for Ethiopia – that this is the ‘usual’ situation,” he said.“There is nothing ‘normal’ about 500,000 children dying every year. That is more than the population of Edinburgh in Scotland or Las Vegas in the United States. It would be an unimaginable tragedy if this happened in any country in the developed world.”Earlier this year UNICEF Ethiopia appealed for just short of US$54.7 million to support Ethiopia’s most vulnerable children during 2005 – US$15 million for water and sanitation work, US$39.7 million for health and nutrition.But today – more than half way through the year – the 2005 Emergency campaign is still almost US$42 million or 76.6 per cent short.Health and nutrition services – designed to save the lives of the country’s most vulnerable children with everything from anti-malaria mosquito nets to measles shots – have received just over a quarter of the necessary funds.Research shows that something as simple as vitamin A supplements every six months has the potential to reduce mortality by 23 per cent in the youngest children. Treatment of severe acute malnutrition, where it happens in Ethiopia, is reducing fatalities in severely malnourished children from 25-50 per cent to below 5 per cent. read more

In wake of clashes UN envoy calls for restoring calm along DR

Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUSCO), called for a de-escalation of tensions and a halt to any further acts of violence. “I appeal for calm from both sides and urge them to take immediate steps to re-establish security in the border area,” Mr. Kobler said in a news release, in which he also deplored the loss of life during the clashes. MONUSCO called on the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the incident. The Mechanism is a technical body, comprising military experts from both DRC and Rwanda, and supported by the African Union and the UN, to address DRC-Rwanda border security issues, amongst other tasks.“I also encourage both sides to re-engage on resolving border demarcation issues through peaceful means,” stated Mr. Kobler. He added that MONUSCO continues to stand ready to support any initiative that would restore stability in the area. read more

Asylum seeker who won right to live in UK after Lib Dem

first_imgSuganthan, a father of two, was bailed on condition he has no contact with the complainant and co-operates with the writing of the report.When Suganthan was released from detention in 2011, Caroline Beatty, manager of the Refugee Welcome Centre, said: “We wanted to thank Mr Williams for his help and are sure that it was his intervention that meant Siva was released.”We are hoping that we can count on his support in the future when he makes his fresh claim.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. An asylum seeker who avoided deportation after a public campaign headed by an MP is facing jail after admitting sexual assault.Sri Lankan-born Sivarajah Suganthan spent 37 days in a detention centre before being allowed to remain in the UK thanks to Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams.Mr Williams lobbied then-immigration minister Damian Green to grant him asylum and presented an 800-name petition to Parliament calling for the deportation threats to end.Suganthan, 31, went to live with friends in Bristol in 2011, but three years later he sexually abused a 21-year-old woman while staying at a night shelter. Mr Williams, MP for Bristol West, said at the time: “It was wonderful to meet Siva in person and to see that he was happy and smiling and delighted to be back among friends in Bristol.”I am pleased that I and my staff were able to be of help.”Suganthan came to the UK in 1999 at the age of 14. His initial claim for asylum was refused in 2003, and dismissed a second time in 2004 following an appeal. Sivarajah Suganthan meets Stephen Williams MP in January 2011 to thank him for his supportCredit:Bristol Post/SWNS.com It was wonderful to meet Siva in person and to see that he was happy and smiling and delighted to be back among friendsMP Stephen Williams after the campaigncenter_img Sivarajah Suganthan meets Stephen Williams MP in January 2011 to thank him for his support He was to face trial at Bristol Crown Court, but pleaded guilty to sexual assault by penetration.Anjali Gohil, defending, said the guilty plea was on a full facts basis.Record Peter Towler ordered a pre-sentence report and adjourned the case for sentence on September 14.He told Suganthan: “I won’t be the sentencing judge. I would have thought a custodial sentence is inevitable.”The offence of sexual assault by penetration has a sentencing guideline ranging from a community order to 19 years in prison, depending on how it is categorised. Protesters against the deportation of Sivarajah Suganthan in Bristol in December 2010 Protesters against the deportation of Sivarajah Suganthan in Bristol in December 2010Credit:Bristol Post/SWNS.comlast_img read more

German mining equipment manufacturers expect record in sales amounting to €4 billion

first_imgThe VDMA reports a 10% increase in turnover makes 2009 the best year in history ever for Germany’s mining equipment manufacturers. While much of the engineering sector has been strongly affected by the economic and financial crises, the current year has been a bonanza for German mining equipment companies. The sector expects the increase of turnover to bring sales to approximately €4 billion. The reasons for this increase are the high level of orders of last year and the successful opening of new markets especially in Central and South America, according to Dr. Paul Rheinländer, Chairman of the VDMA Mining Equipment Association. “Our intensive market development, especially by several local visits, was highly successful.” In this way, the companies succeeded in compensating for decreases of turnover in traditional sales markets. Many of them even grew during the crisis. For instance, in Central America, mining equipment manufacturers expect the year-end figures to show an increase of 110% in turnover to €55 million, and in South America by 100% to €52 million.Despite this success “there is no reason to be euphoric”, Dr. Rheinländer warns. He refers to incoming orders that declined by 50% this year. However, the mining sector does not expect that this slump will reflect in the turnover. It is more likely the case that at least part of the orders cancelled in the recent past due to the economic crisis will be re-instated within the next year. The companies therefore hope to maintain their turnovers in 2010.last_img read more

Newtrax Technologies on the importance of data contextualisation

first_imgLouis-Pierre Campeau, an AI expert with Newtrax Technologies was recently interviewed by the company about how he sees his work impacting the mining industry over the next 5-10 years. He was first asked his opinion on how the algorithms he is involved are developing impact safety for the underground mines of the future? “The new reality will make it easier to foresee possible risks and prevent them. Predictive maintenance would be the best example of this,” explained Campeau.According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, companies with a 9% reactive maintenance rate had a recordable incident rate of .1%, while those with a 64% reactive maintenance had a recordable incident rate of 4.3%. These statistics highlight how having reliable equipment is safer. Interpreting real-time data on your equipment and how they interact in the mining environment keeps everyone safer in the mine. These algorithms are preparing today for the future needs of safety compliance in safety and prevention.On underground mining productivity and profitability and the impact of technology Campeau argued that productivity in mines is lower than in other industries, and that working underground creates a gap of knowledge transfer between supervisors of different areas of the mine in real-time. “Decisions are made while there are still variables which are unknown. Solutions like what Newtrax offers makes it possible to have a global view of situations for better decision making.” He believes that there are serious cost savings when you can make important decisions with a full and clear picture in mind.Finally on data collection for mining, once mines are collecting data and digitising their systems and fleets, what’s next? “Mines have started digitising their fleets and collecting data. This is where data contextualisation comes in. Through the fleet and network agnostic systems at Newtrax, the data collected can be connected and contextualised. Being able to have the full context of any data will bring more possibilities. Using trends and algorithms trained by multiple mines to predict events in any given mine.”Newtrax argues that mining will be much more calculated in the next 5 to 10 years, this means knowing exactly what is going on under the surface from to make the mine safer, more profitable and understanding how all of these elements interact with each other to have the most productive operation possible.last_img read more

Grand Theft Auto on iOS Chinatown Wars vs GTA III

first_imgFew video game franchises compare to Grand Theft Auto. In terms of sales, critical acclaim, and overall fun factor, Rockstar’s sandbox crime series is rivaled only by Mario, Zelda, and perhaps Final Fantasy or Call of Duty. With this week’s release of Grand Theft Auto III for mobile devices, there are now two GTA games available for the iPhone and iPad. How do the iOS versions of GTA III and GTA: Chinatown Wars stack up? Let’s take a look.VisualsBoth games have sharp, vivid visuals, but there’s a huge difference: GTA III has a traditional 3D third-person view, while Chinatown Wars has a retro top-down perspective.As GTA: CW was originally developed for the limited hardware of the Nintendo DS, the old-school look was both a stylistic choice and a practical necessity. Chinatown Wars gave Rockstar the chance to revisit the franchise’s roots with modern gameplay and story elements.If you somehow missed GTA III the first time around, this is the title that started it all. Every Rockstar sandbox game you’ve played in the last ten years — GTA: San Andreas, GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption, or L.A. Noire — is a direct descendant of GTA III. The game’s visuals will look familiar to everyone, and need no explanation.GameplayDespite the dramatically different appearances, the two titles have nearly identical core gameplay. You’ll be visiting goofy criminal contacts to get missions, stealing cars, running from the cops, respraying your ride, and shooting lots of guns — all the staples of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. It’s a golden formula, which works brilliantly in both games.Freedom is at the core of any GTA title, and these two exemplify that perfectly. Missions are fun, but you can just as easily get caught up messing around, racking up a wanted level (more stars, more cops) and seeing if you can get away. Missions give the games linear structure, but you can craft your own action-packed games in between each assignment.Starting in GTA IV, Rockstar refined weapons’ targeting system, but neither of these games have that benefit. Both consist of locking onto a target, pushing the attack button, and seeing red. This is the biggest thing that separates these games from the current generation of GTA console titles.ControlsRockstar implemented similar controls in the iOS versions of both games. Both will fill your display with semi-transparent buttons, but it’s never distracting. On foot, you get an analog stick for movement, and separate buttons for attacking, stealing cars, and switching weapons. Behind the wheel, you have left/right arrows, gas, brake, handbrake, and weapon buttons.Both games give you some control customization in the settings menus. GTA III also gives you the option of using your device’s accelerometer (motion controls) for driving.There are some areas where Chinatown Wars is better suited to touch controls. Tasks like making and throwing molotovs, hot-wiring cars, and smashing locks take advantage of the touchscreen. It sounds gimicky, but there’s something inherently fun about using various swipes and twists on the screen to assemble a sniper rifle.Story and DialogueGrand Theft Auto has always brought heavy doses of satire, sarcasm, and goofiness, but starting with GTA IV it also took on a heavier, more thematic tone. Neither of these games carry that weight. Both GTA III and Chinatown Wars feature narrative and dialogue that is positively cartoon-like and over-the-top. But don’t mistake this for a sign of poor writing (try Gameloft’s Gangstar series for that); here it’s a deliberate style.One striking difference between GTA III and Chinatown Wars is in the cutscenes. GTA III has animated and fully-voiced (aside from Claude, the silent protagonist) cutscenes, while Chinatown Wars opts for subtitled storyboard dialogues. It’s another area where GTA: CW is a throwback game: it borrows from the cutscenes of old 8-bit and 16-bit games.PriceGTA III is currently $4.99 in the App Store, and is a universal game for all iOS devices.Chinatown Wars has a separate iPad-optimized version (Chinatown Wars HD). Both it and the iPhone/iPod touch version cost $9.99 each.OverallGTA: CW‘s bird’s-eye view turned off some gamers, and led to relatively weak sales for the game on the DS and PSP. This is unfortunate, as Chinatown Wars is among Rockstar’s finest. The graphics are simple, but the developer’s customary tight gameplay, unapologetic violence, and wicked humor are all there in full force.If you have to pick one, you’ll want to go with GTA III. It’s a bigger, more visually-impressive game. Just ten years ago it was a breakthrough for consoles; now it’s a breakthrough for mobile devices. Its cheaper App Store price only seals the deal.But when you’re finished, be sure to look into Chinatown Wars. It’s an underrated classic, and one of the best portable games of all-time.More: Hands on with GTA for iOS, AndroidNote that the screenshots are from the iPad.last_img read more

Batista on acting career, issues with his last WWE run

first_img Batista talks about AEW not being legitimate competition, tripping during WrestleMania entrance Stephen Parsons passed along this interview Chris Van Vliet conducted with Batista (Dave Bautista) discussing his new role in the new James Bond film “Spectre”, advice he got from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson about transitioning from WWE to acting and some of the issues he had with WWE during his last run. Dave Bautista Doesnt Want To Be Compared To Other Wrestlers Turned Actors Dave Bautista defends his Fast and Furious comments Recommended videosPowered by AnyClipTop 3: Comic-Con MomentsVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 3:03/Current Time 0:00Loaded: 26.68%0:01Remaining Time -3:03 FullscreenUp NextThis 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.Replay the list “It was just butting heads with the company. I just constantly was butting heads, creatively. Which is something we talked about well beforehand.  I was promised things that weren’t delivered to me.  For one, I didn’t want to go back as a babyface.  I said, ‘It’s not going to work, man.’  They don’t want to see me as a babyface.  Nobody wants to see Batista as a babyface.  I’m the worst babyface ever!  But I’m a good heel.  I know how to be a heel.  I’m comfortable being a heel.  They tried to shove me down everybody’s throats.  It was just horrible.” WhatsApp In regards to a possible return to WWE down the line, he stated he would only come back with WWE and sees wrestling anywhere else as a step down adding, “I would love to go back.  They are just very hard to deal with.” Jason Namako RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR You can check out the full interview in the clip below. Tom Hiddleston Videos Articles Pinterest Videos Articles Now Playing Up Next Dave Bautista Announces His Retirement From WWEcenter_img Now Playing Up Next Top 3: Comic-Con Moments Impact reportedly returning to New York City for TV tapings this November Videos Articles Upcoming Dave Bautista Comedy Adds To Its Cast Google+ Now Playing Up Next Stan Lee Zoe Saldana Twitter Now Playing Up Next Dave Bautista appears on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” to promote his new movie “Stuber” Facebook Now Playing Up Nextlast_img read more

If Only Magazines Didnt Build Web Sites

first_imgI’m all for the idea of supplementing online article content with videos, but doing it just for the sake of having some ‘multimedia’ can stretch the point a bit too far. Take the case of an otherwise great Atlantic story by contributing editor Michael Hirschorn called ‘The Newsweekly’s Last Stand.’ In it, Hirschorn describes The Economist’s teflon resistance to the ad crash and Time and Newsweek’s struggles with obsolescence. Embedded in the middle of the story is a video interview between Hirschorn and Bob Cohn, Atlantic.com’s editorial director, which follows the familiar format of editor and writer revealing a behind-the-scenes look at the story. The trouble with this approach is sometimes the conversation veers out of the safe confines of the reporting and into nutty conjecture. (Admittedly, the story and video have been up for almost a month, but I’m just getting around to them now.)In other words, this interview could have been about 44 seconds shorter. At the 5:45 mark, Cohn asks Hirschorn why The Economist didn’t get “clobbered by the Web” like the other newsweeklies. This is where things get sketchy. Hirschorn goes on to say that because The Economist’s Web strategy was so bad, people valued the print version more. Got that? The magazine is thriving today because it didn’t jump on that crazy Internet train like all those other suckers.But wait, it gets better. Hirschorn continues by asking semi-rhetorically, “What would have happened if newspapers and magazines had not embraced the Web?”Amazingly, the video concludes as he answers his own question this way: “It’s entirely possible that if newspapers and magazines had not embraced the Web, that newspapers and magazines would be doing a lot better right now.”last_img read more

Game of Thrones star Kit Harington in trouble the actor has issues

first_imgKit Harington as Jon Snow with Liam Cunningham as Davos SeaworthHBOGame of Thrones has come to an end and though it did disappoint a lot of fans. The show seems to have had a much more severe effect on one of its cast members. Kit Harington who plays Jon Snow on the hit HBO TV shiow reportedly checked into a rehab facility in the U.S. to be treated for stress and alcohol use as the last season of Game of Thrones was airing.The 32-year-old British actor arrived at the luxury Privé-Swiss wellness retreat in Connecticut a month ago, sources told the New York Post. His publicist confirmed to DailyMail.com that he had checked into the facility. ‘Kit has decided to utilize this break in his schedule as an opportunity to spend some time at a wellness retreat to work on some personal issues,’ his publicist said.  Daenerys and Jon in conversation.Game of Thrones/ TwitterApparently, the facility, which costs more than $120,000 a month, teaches its clients how to deal with stress and negative emotions. Game of Thrones seems to have taken a toll on the actor. Kit Harington has gotten in trouble before for causing trouble at a bar. News of his check-in to rehab comes Apparently, a year ago, the Game of Thrones star was so drunk at a New York City bar that he had to be dragged out by staff. The Jon Snow actor was reportedly filmed arguing with bouncers and patrons after trying to take over a game of pool in the cozy neighborhood pub Barfly. He was reportedly physically restrained by members of the public, then shown to the door by staff and thrown out.Harington is allowed to come and go from the extremely private facility near the small town of Madison. In a two-hour documentary about the show released by HBO, the actor revealed that his heart was breaking and he confessed that he loved the show more than anything. That it was more than a job to him, it was his life. Maybe the actor hopes that rehab will help him get over Game of Thrones. We wish him well.last_img read more

Gunmen kill 17 in Nigeria

first_imgMap of NigeriaGunmen at the weekend killed 17 people in the latest attack on villages in northern Nigeria’s Zamfara state, witnesses and police said on Monday.The assault came just days after 25 people were killed in similar raids on two villages in the region.Gunmen on motorcycles stormed Magami village in the Maradun district area of the state on Saturday, shooting indiscriminately as residents fled.”After the attack, we collected 17 dead bodies which we buried,” Magami resident Kasimu Bello told AFP.”The gunmen entered the village on several motorcycles, shooting people as they tried to flee,” he said.Another resident Umaru Bawa confirmed the attack, saying “the bandits pursued people like chickens and shot them dead as they ran into the bush.”Zamfara state police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said his operatives would arrest and “bring to justice the perpetrators of this dastardly act”.He also vowed to end the rampant armed attacks in the state.On Wednesday, 25 people were killed when gunmen raided two villages in Birnin Magaji district of the state.Farming and herding communities in Zamfara have for years been wracked by cattle rustling and kidnapping for ransom, prompting villagers to form vigilante gangs as a protection force.However the villagers too are accused of carrying out extra-judicial killings of suspected bandits, leading to tit-for-tat violence.In April, troops were deployed to Zamfara to fight the gangs and police banned the civilian militia in an attempt to curb the cycle of reprisals.Last month the police claimed to have killed 104 bandits in Birnin Magaji district during a clash in which 16 policemen were killed.Early this month, an influential traditional ruler in the state called for civilian militia members to be given assault rifles to defend themselves.The continued raids by cattle thieves in Zamfara and the resource conflict between farmers and herders in central Nigeria have added to Nigeria’s security challenges as the military battles Boko Haram jihadists in the northeast.Troops have repelled attacks on bases in northeast Nigerian Borno state where Boko Haram has in recent months targeted posts.Late Friday troops fought off an attempt to over-run a base in the town of Damasak on the border with Niger after an hours-long fight in which one civilian was killed.On Saturday, the troops also foiled jihadist attempts to take over two bases in Logomani near the border with Cameroon and the town of Gajiram.Several jihadists were killed in the fight and their vehicles destroyed, sources said on condition of anonymity.last_img read more

Blizzard says Titan probably wont be a subscription MMO

first_imgThe number of gamers who subscribe to World of Warcraft is steadily in decline, with another 600,000 players leaving Blizzard’s MMO in the last quarter. Even so, WoW remains a huge hit with 7.7 million people playing it today. Still, Blizzard needs to look to the future, and in terms of an MMO that future looks to be the game code named Titan.We first heard details about Titan back in 2011 when it was leaked in a Blizzard document. The plan was to release the new game in 2013 to co-exist with WoW. But things didn’t go to plan and during the Activision Blizzard 2013 second quarter earnings call, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime has stated the team are looking for a new direction.Apparently this isn’t an uncommon thing to happen to projects at Blizzard and it’s just an iterative design process. However, Titan is clearly taking years to perfect, but does now have more resources being allocated to it, including people from both the WoW team and Blizzard All-Stars–the free-to-play game that’s coming out.The MMO market has changed quite significantly in recent years. Many games launched as subscription games have switched to a free-to-play model and seen more success. Blizzard sits in the enviable position of charging a subscription and having millions of players willing to pay a monthly fee, but that seems unlikely for Titan. Morhaime has clearly stated that the game “is unlikely to be a subscription-based MMORPG.”With a new direction only just being decided for Titan it seems unlikely we will get to play it any time soon. I’d be surprised if 2014 was even possible now for a release if they really are starting again. If we’re lucky, then maybe a Titan beta will appear next year.last_img read more

New analysis of DNA evidence contradicts claims of Yeti brownpolar bear hybrid

first_img(Phys.org)—A pair of researches are challenging claims made by a British scientist last year that DNA samples of animal remains found in the Himalayas were from a brown/extinct polar bear hybrid that is still alive and wandering about in the mountains—and is likely the source of rumors of a Yeti. Now, Ross Barnett and Ceiridwen Edwards of the Natural History Museum of Denmark and Oxford, respectively, have published a paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggesting that an analysis they conducted on the same animal remains shows that one came from a modern polar bear and the other from a rare type of brown bear that is still alive today. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: New analysis of DNA evidence contradicts claims of ‘Yeti’ brown/polar bear hybrid in Himalayas (2014, December 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-12-analysis-dna-evidence-contradicts-yeti.html Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Last year, Bryan Sykes, a genetics professor at Oxford, and colleagues, claimed that a DNA analysis of two hair samples, one found by itself, the other as part of the frozen remains of an animal—found at two sites far from each other in the Himalayas—revealed that they’d come from a hybrid animal—a brown bear and a supposedly extinct polar bear relative–and that it was clearly still alive today. His claims were covered by the BBC and eventually wound up in a paper also published by the Royal Society.Now Barnett and Edwards are suggesting that Sykes and his team made a mistake during their analysis—matching DNA from a sample with an ancient extinct polar bear, instead of a modern polar bear, which is what they found. They concluded that the other DNA sample came from a sub-species of brown bear that is still alive today living in very remote locations high up in the mountains. Thus, there is no evidence of a hybrid animal and reports of a Yeti, they maintain, are likely made by people mistaking a brown bear for something more ape or human-like.In reviewing the findings by Barnett and Edwards, Sykes and his team acknowledged, via the BBC, that they had made errors in database searchers. But they still maintain that their conclusions suggesting that the Yeti is still likely a modern unknown primate of some sort is likely correct. They’re also suggesting that the true identity of the Yeti still needs to be “refined” by analyzing other samples that were not part of either study. © 2014 Phys.orgcenter_img Undated photo made available by Britain’s Channel 4 television Thursday Oct.17 2013 of Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes posing with a prepared DNA sample taken from hair from a Himalayan animal. Sykes says he may have solved the mystery of the Abominable Snowman—the elusive ape-like creature of the Himalayas also known as the Yeti. He thinks it’s a bear, based on two samples sharing a genetic fingerprint with a polar bear jawbone found in the Norwegian Arctic that is at least 40,000 years old. His findings, yet to be published, will be aired in a TV show in the UK Sunday. (AP Photo/ Channel 4) Explore further More information: Himalayan ‘yeti’ DNA: polar bear or DNA degradation? A comment on ‘Genetic analysis of hair samples attributed to yeti’ by Sykes et al. (2014) C. J. Edwards, R. Barnett , Published 17 December 2014. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1712 . http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1800/20141712 DNA links mysterious Yeti to ancient polar bear (Update 3)last_img read more

How social isolation may increase stress

first_imgResearchers have found that long term chronic isolation cause the build-up of a chemical in the brain, that increases stress, aggression and fear. The mice isolated for two weeks showed behavioural changes like, increased aggressiveness towards unfamiliar mice, persistent fear, and hypersensitivity to threatening stimuli.When encountering a threatening stimulus, mice that have been socially isolated remain frozen in place long after the threat has passed, whereas normal mice stop freezing soon after the threat is removed, the research said. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAlthough the study was done in mice, it has potential implications for understanding how chronic stress affects humans and has potential applications for treating mental health disorders, said lead author Moriel Zelikowsky, postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology in the US.Previous studies have determined that social isolation for two weeks in mice resulted in the upregulation of the signalling molecule neuropeptide, tachykinin 2 (Tac2)/neurokinin B (NkB) – a short protein molecule. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveIn the new study, published in the journal Cell, the team found that chronicsolation leads to an increase in Tac2 gene expression and the production of a neuropeptide called neurokinin B (NkB) throughout the brain. But, administration of a drug that chemically blocks NkB-specific receptors enabled the stressed mice to behave normally, eliminating the negative effects of social isolation. On the other hand, artificially increasing Tac2 levels and activating the corresponding neurons in normal, animals led them to behave like isolated and stressed, the research showed.Suppressing the Tac2 gene in certain different brain parts, increased fear behaviours, or aggression accordingly, implying that it must increase in different brain regions to produce the various effects of social isolation, the researchers said.last_img read more

12 polling personnel injured in mishap near Pathanpara

first_imgBALURGHAT: At least 12 polling personnel including Central Force jawans were injured when the vehicle in which they were returning after poll on Tuesday night, rammed into a bike coming from the opposite direction. The incident took place near Pathanpara in Banshihari block at around 8 pm. According to a source, the injured were returning from booth no. 138 with EVMs and other voting material. They had to deposit the items at the receiving centre in Buniadpur. Locals rushed to the spot after hearing the sound of the collision, rescued the injured and admitted them to a local health centre. The condition of five among them is serious. The police were also informed. As the condition of pillion rider Pabitra Mohanta turned critical, he was later shifted to the nearby Raiganj District Hospital. The vehicle’s driver has been admitted to Gangarampur Sub-Divisional Hospital.last_img read more

Large number of Android VPN apps insecure

first_imgLarge number of Android VPN apps insecure by Martin Brinkmann on January 31, 2017 in Google Android – 24 commentsVirtual Private Networks (VPN) have evolved from a technology used mostly by businesses to one that is used by more and more home users as well.Reasons are manifold, but improved privacy and security are certainly two key features that make a growing number of home users use VPN services and apps.Without going into too much detail; a VPN protects a device’s IP address as traffic flows through it instead of directly to the user’s system.Google’s Android operating system supports native VPN clients since Android 4.0 released in October 2011 through the Android VPN Service class.When enabled, VPN applications on Android intercept and take full control of a device’s traffic.A team of researchers analyzed more than 280 Android VPN applications for privacy and security issues. The results, revealed in a research paper, reveal that many free and premium VPN applications on Android are insecure.Key findings include67% of Android VPN applications promised to protect user privacy. 75% of those used third-party tracking libraries, and 82% requested permissions to access user information such as text messages.37% of Android VPN applications had more than 500K downloads, and 25% at least a 4-star rating. Over 38% of those applications showed signs of malware on Virustotal.18% of all VPN applications implemented tunneling protocols without encryption.84% of VPN apps do not tunnel IPv6 traffic.66% of VPN apps do not tunnel DNS traffic.18% of VPN applications don’t reveal “the entity hosting the terminating VPN server”, and 16% of apps may forward traffic using peer-to-peer forwarding.16% of VPN applications deploy non-transparent proxies that modify HTTP traffic, for instance by injecting or removing headers. 2 of those inject JavaScript for advertisement and tracking purposes.4 of the analyzed VPN apps perform TLS interception.The research paper does not include the full list of tested Android VPN applications, and the issues identified in each of them. That’s unfortunate, as it would have helped users make an educated decision on which Android VPN application to install on their device, and to verify that installed VPN apps are not misbehaving.Some VPN apps are mentioned however. The research paper lists all VPN apps that were flagged as potentially malicious by Virustotal, and apps that have “egress points in residential ISPs”.The researchers suggest that Google needs to rethink the VPN permission model, as the current one is putting users, who are mostly unaware, at risk.The ability of the BIND_VPN_SERVICE permission to break Android’s sandboxing and the naive  perception that most users have about third-party VPN apps suggest that it is urging to re-consider Android’s VPN permission model to increase the control over VPN clients. Our analysis of the user reviews and the ratings for VPN apps suggested that the vast majority of users remain unaware of such practices even when considering relatively popular apps.Now You: do you use a VPN application on your mobile device?SummaryArticle NameLarge number of Android VPN apps insecureDescriptionA team of researchers analyzed 283 Android VPN apps for privacy and security issues, and came to the result that a large number are insecure or have issues.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

Reps Bellino Sheppard will continue fight to lower auto insurance rates

first_img03Nov Reps. Bellino, Sheppard will continue fight to lower auto insurance rates Categories: Sheppard News State Reps. Joe Bellino and Jason Sheppard said they would continue the fight to bring lower auto insurance rates for all Michigan drivers.Bellino and Sheppard both voted in favor of House Bill 5013, which would guarantee lower rates for all drivers in Michigan – the state with the highest car insurance rates in the nation. The bill would have offered personal injury coverage options, fought fraud and abuse and addressed medical costs.The bill fell short in a vote late Thursday.“Instead of empowering the powerless, the exact opposite happened,” said Sheppard, of Temperance. “People will continue to suffer under the current no-fault insurance system. This fight is not over. I will continue to fight for lower auto insurance rates.”Michigan’s costs are so high largely because it’s the only state mandating unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance. The House plan allowed those currently using the coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it – while providing more affordable options.“Lansing proved today that special interests still controls daily-business,” said Bellino, of Monroe. “I am disappointed in how the vote ended up going. Not one special interest liked this bill. It’s because the bill was for the people – not them.”The bill remains in the House.last_img read more