Killer of BC gang leader gets life without parole for 18 years

first_imgKELOWNA, B.C. – A man who admitted to killing a British Columbia gang leader in August 2011 has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for 18 years.B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allan Betton sentenced Jason McBride on Wednesday for the second-degree murder of Jonathan Bacon.McBride will serve a consecutive 15-year sentence for the attempted murder of four others who were inside a vehicle peppered with over three dozen shots.Sgt. Brenda Winpenny with the Combined Special Enforcement Unit said the six-year investigation into the murder “was one of the largest and most complex in B.C.’s history” with policing costs of over $9 million.“Today will hopefully bring a form of closure to all those adversely impacted by the violence that took place here,” she said outside court on Wednesday.Betton also sentenced two other men who admitted to planning the murder to 18 years in prison, minus credit for time they already served while awaiting trial.Michael Jones and Jujhar Khun-Khun pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to murder Bacon, Hells Angel Larry Amero and James Riach, who the court heard was a member of the Independent Soldiers gang.Bacon, Amero, Riach and two women were in a Porsche Cayenne in busy tourist area in Kelowna when masked gunmen riddled the vehicle with bullets. One of the women was left paralyzed in the shooting.Bacon was the oldest of three brothers which police have said had links to the Red Scorpion gang.Kelowna RCMP Superintendent Brent Mundle said outside court that the 2011 attack was “a brazen daytime shooting that was directly related to organized crime.”“The shooting which left one person dead and four wounded took place in a public space and put others in the area at risk,” he said. “While thankfully rare, I recognize that these violent and public crimes can have a dramatic impact on the people who live, work in and visit our communities.”Crown lawyer Dave Ruse told the court on Tuesday that the three accused had actively searched out Bacon, Amero and Riach with the intention of killing them in the summer of 2011.Ruse said the shooting was in retaliation for the murder of Gurmit Dhak, the leader of the Dhak Group gang, who was killed in October 2010.The court heard that McBride has 35 previous convictions from 1990 to 2007 for crimes ranging from weapons offences to attempted robbery.Khun-Khun was previously convicted of kidnapping and fraud.Jones has no previous criminal record.— With Files from Andrea Peacock, Kelowna Daily Courierlast_img read more

APTN Investigates North of Hope

first_imgAPTN InvestigatesMelissa Pasqua-Matte died by suicide after returning to the tiny northern community of Fort Simpson, NWT from Carleton University one Christmas break. Her family was left behind looking for answers.Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs explores how the lack of mental health resources impacts remote communities and puts Indigenous youth at risk in North of Hope.last_img

Sentence Reduced for Two Moroccans Accused of Homosexuality

By Sapha BouamaraRabat – Two Moroccans were sentenced to prison for “homosexuality”in Fqih Bensaleh. Their sentences were reduced after their defense lawyer said his clients were “victims of society.”Last May, a tribunal in the north-western city of Fkih Ben Saleh, 120 miles (200 kilometers) from Casablanca, sentenced six Moroccan men to three years imprisonment for “homosexuality.” On July 3, two of the defendants had their penalties reduced, according to the Spanish News agency EFE. The two defendants won the right of appeal against the judgement of the court, while Mr. Hadda Maidar, the lawyer representing the two defendants, demanded that his clients be freed. He claimed in his argument that the defendants are “ill”and need to be “treated”in a rehabilitation center and that they are “victims of their society.”The lawyer didn’t speak about the other four men. One of the convicted men received a reduced penalty of ten months instead of three years, while the other received a penalty of six months instead of two years.The Spanish news agency noted that no Moroccan NGO, not even the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH), which is the most active in defending people’s freedom, had cared about defending these men.The May incidentIn May 2014, the six unidentified defendants were charged with “homosexuality,”“prostitution,”“public intoxication,”and “driving while intoxicated.”They were arrested after one of their fathers filed a complaint with the police. The father accused his son’s friends of “encouraging”him of“having deviant behaviour.” Later the police found text messages on the defendant’s phone that allegedly substantiated the “crime.”Articles 71 and 489 of the Moroccan penal code punish all sexual acts between members of the same sex with a penalty of three years imprisonment. read more

UN refugee chief set to celebrate successful repatriation of over 400000 in

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will embark on a four-day trip this weekend to Angola where he will attend a ceremony commemorating the fact that over 400,000 refugees who have returned home to the southern African nation which is recovering from an almost three-decade-long civil war that sent almost half a million people fleeing across its borders and displaced millions internally.High Commissioner António Guterres will arrive in Angola on Sunday, and his itinerary includes meetings with Prime Minister Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos and other government authorities, representatives from the country’s neighbours, donors and UNHCR’s partners on the ground, the agency’s spokesperson Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva today.Mr. Guterres will also visit Viana refugee camp on the outskirts of Luanda, which houses thousands of Congolese refugees who have been residing in Angola for nearly four decades. UNHCR is currently working with the Angolan Government to grant these refugees permanent residency.The repatriation event, which will take place next Tuesday in the capital Luanda, marks the official end of the organized voluntary repatriation programme. Of the 457,000 Angolans believed to refugees in the country’s neighbours when the peace accord was reached at the end of the civil war in 2002, nearly 410,000 have returned home.UNHCR launched the assisted return programme with the help of neighbouring countries in 2003. The agency and other Governments, in particular Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which housed the majority of Angolan refugees, coordinated the returns. Other refugees returned home from Namibia, the Republic of Congo, Botswana and South Africa.During the four-year UNHCR repatriation scheme, the agency organized the return of almost 140,000 refugees in total, with the last of the refugees arriving this month by air from the DRC.UNHCR also aided over 100,000 Angolans who returned to their country on their own, while an additional 154,000 are believed to have repatriated and re-integrated without the agency’s assistance.Approximately 47,000 Angolans did not accept UNHCR’s offer of voluntary repatriation and the agency is seeking other solutions for them.Within Angola, UNCHR is concentrating on efforts towards sustainable reintegration of refugees, both internal and from abroad, through the construction or rehabilitation of 75 health posts, clinics and nurses’ houses, in addition to 60 schools and teachers’ homes. Microcredit has been extended to 10,000 people.“Securing the future of the returnees – as well as the millions of internally displaced who have come home – is a long-term development need that is beyond the resources or mandate of UNHCR,” Mr. Redmond said, calling on the Government of Angola and its development partners to spearhead rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. 23 March 2007The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will embark on a four-day trip this weekend to Angola where he will attend a ceremony commemorating the fact that over 400,000 refugees who have returned home to the southern African nation which is recovering from an almost three-decade-long civil war that sent almost half a million people fleeing across its borders and displaced millions internally. read more

UN envoy concerned over mysterious illnesses of girls in Afghan schools

According to media reports, dozens of girls have been hospitalized after suspected gas poisoning. “Thankfully I understand the children have recovered relatively quickly from their symptoms,” Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, said in a statement about the incidents in the capital, Kabul, as well as Kunduz in the north and Daikundi in central Afghanistan. Blood samples have been sent to be tested outside of the country, since there are no facilities in Afghanistan which can thoroughly test them. “At this point the investigations have not revealed any conclusion as to the nature of source of these incidents of illnesses,” Mr. de Mistura pointed out. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have been helping Afghanistan’s public health and education ministries and others look into these reports, treat sick children and seek ways to prevent security breaches in the country’s schools. WHO is assisting the Ministry of Health with its investigations by providing technical guidance and information, and is also consulting with technical experts on conducting environmental analyses and on testing blood samples. For its part, UNICEF is providing medication and actively pursuing measures to ensure school safety with the Ministry of Education. “As the senior UN official in Afghanistan, I have asked all relevant UN entities to remain vigilant in the protection of schools and of all children’s right to education,” Mr. de Mistura, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said. A new report released earlier this year by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) found that the number of attacks against schools in Afghanistan almost tripled from 242 to 670 from 2007 to 2008. With politically and ideologically motivated attacks against teachers, students and schools on the rise, the publication called for greater community involvement to reduce such incidents. 12 May 2010The top United Nations envoy to Afghanistan today sounded the alarm over the illnesses of girls attending schools in parts of the country, allegedly due to chemical contaminants. read more

Displaced civilians in South Sudans Upper Nile at risk of further violence

“Civilians in Aburoc are at serious and imminent risk of gross human rights violations, inter-ethnic violence and re-displacement,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. He said these people fleeing from towns like Tonga and Kodok were forced to walk through the bush for up to 150 kilometres in searing temperatures. Many reportedly died along the way, but the rest ended up in Aburoc where they face grave violence and shortages of food, water and healthcare.“These are women, children and men at the mercy of military commanders, on both sides of the political divide, who have consistently shown little or no regard for the protection of civilians,” he added.RELATED: UN calls for protection of civilians sheltering in South Sudan’s Upper Nile areaDespite the August 2015 peace agreement, South Sudan slipped back into conflict due to renewed clashes between rival forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing former First Vice-President Riek Machar.Aburoc, a town on the west bank of the River Nile, holds between 35,000 and 50,000 people, most of whom arrived in recent weeks after SPLA attacks on areas to the south. Civilians in Aburoc now find themselves in areas controlled by the opposition armed group, facing a military offensive by the Government forces.The High Commissioner urged the Government to adhere to the pledges made by President Kiir on 25 March, when he committed to declare a unilateral ceasefire, and to work towards political engagement to bring the conflict to an end. Mr. Zeid called on all parties to the conflict to comply with international humanitarian law, including taking all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties. He also called on the Government to grant the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) access to Aburoc and Kodok, and to ensure that humanitarian agencies are able to deliver crucial aid to the internally displaced population. read more

Rapid largescale coordinated action needed to beat pollution – UN chief

“We already have much of the knowledge and technical solutions we need to prevent, mitigate and manage pollution,” said the Secretary-General, in a message to the UN Environment Assembly, currently under way in Nairobi, Kenya. “Beating pollution will help reduce poverty, improve public health, create decent jobs, address climate change and protect life on land and sea,” he added. Being held from 4 to 6 December, the UN Environment Assembly brings together Governments, entrepreneurs, activists and others to share ideas and commit to action to protect on environment.In his remarks, Mr. Guterres noted the assembly’s focus this year on tackling pollution and said that important successes have been achieved towards that target, including the entry into force of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury), as well as the announcement that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will enter into force on in January 2019, having obtained the required threshold of 20 ratifications.“Making our planet pollution-free is a long-term necessary endeavour. The world counts on this Assembly to show strong leadership by sounding the alarm and calling on all Governments to act to beat pollution,” he said. Discussions at the Environment Assembly are focused on a new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report, Towards a Pollution-Free Planet, that urges greater political leadership and partnerships at all levels; strengthened environmental governance ; improved resource efficiency and lifestyle changes; low-carbon tech investments; and advocacy to combat pollution in all its forms. According to UNEP, environmental degradation causes nearly one in four of all deaths worldwide, or 12.6 million people a year, and the widespread destruction of key ecosystems. In addition to the impact on health and environment, pollution also extracts a high economic cost – estimated at over $4.6 trillion (equivalent to 6.2 per cent of global economic output) each year in welfare losses due to pollution. Opening of the plenary of the third United Nations Environment Assembly. Photo: UNEP/Natalia Mroz Opening of the plenary of the third United Nations Environment Assembly. Photo: UNEP/Natalia Mroz Erik Solheim, the head of UNEP, speaks at the UN Environment Assembly opening. Photo: UNEP/Cyril Villemain ‹ › “Given the grim statistics on how we are poisoning ourselves and our planet, bold decisions from the UN Environment Assembly are critical,” said Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of UNEP. “That is as true for threats like pollution as it is for climate change and the many other environmental threats we face,” he added, noting that all global processes linked to the environment, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change distil to one simple message, “we must take care of people and planet.” read more

Rare crocodile shark found for the first time on UK beach could

first_img 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. shark  A family were stunned when they came across the shark Credit:ROSS SPEARING/APEX “For all sharks, but especially the less common ones, any information that we can get is useful so its great that this one has been reported and identified. Other scientists, however, do not believe the animal could propelled itself so far into cold waters. hope cove  “Because it was so unusual we consulted our local aquarium to confirm what species it was.”Paul Cox, managing director of the Shark Trust, said the species was currently listed as “Near Threatened” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened species.“The Crocodile Shark is too small to be valuable in fisheries,” he said, but added: “However, they are caught, like many other sharks, as bycatch in high seas fisheries which will likely impact on their future status.center_img Last year, this mysterious object washed up on a beach in New Zealand. While this ‘sliced’ sea turtle was found dead on a Singapore beach.  The shark was discovered on a beach at Hope Cove near PlymouthCredit:KAYLA WILLIAMS/APEX However, some experts have said it is “impossible” the shark could have voluntarily swum that far north, and suggested it could have fallen victim to exotic wildlife traders.The smallest example of the mackerel family of sharks, which also includes the great white and the mako, the crocodile shark was at first mistaken for a juvenile porbeagle shark, which is common in UK waters.But once inspectors from the National Marine Aquarium examined the specimen more closely, they realised it had characteristics never seen on any native British sharks.James Wright, Curator at the Aquarium, said the species had never been recorded in the UK before.“This time of year, with UK waters are at their coldest, this occurrence is very unusual,” he said.“With the crocodile shark accustomed to much warmer waters travelling so far and reaching colder waters would have caused a shock to its system and account for the cause of death.” A source with knowledge of the illegal trade in exotic animals said it was more likely that the shark had been caught alive in order to be sold, possibly into a private collection, and then dumped overboard.“It is incredibly unlikely that the shark could have made it this far under its own steam,” he said.“The risk is that it was caught and illegally transported to be an exhibit.”With their spindle-shaped bodies, short head, bulbous pointed snout and large eyes, crocodile sharks tend to grow to a maximum of three and a half feet and usually weigh less than a stone.Not considered dangerous to humans, the species takes its formal name, Pseudocarcharias kamoharai, from the Japanese expression for “water crocodile”.Steven Greenfields said he and his family were “stunned” when they spotted the shark during a walk on the beach and contacted their local aquarium.“I have experience with sharks whilst swimming and diving overseas, but, despite a fair amount of fishing and swimming in the UK all my life, have never seen any shark in UK waters other than dogfish,” he said. Mystery is surrounding the discovery of the first example of a rare species of tropical shark found on a British beach.The scientific community has expressed bafflement after the body of a deceased crocodile shark was found washed up on a picturesque Devon beach by a family out for a stroll.Normally expected to be found in the warmer waters around Brazil and Australia, at first glance the one-meter-long animal appears to have strayed out of its normal environment by thousands of miles.last_img read more

Prison warder smuggled in racy snaps and Terrys Chocolate Orange for inmate lover

first_imgA Terry’s Chocolate Orange, broken into segmentsCredit:John Giles/PA Andrusjak, 25, fell for 24-year-old Shane BoydCredit: MEN Media A prison warder who had a six-month affair with a killer serving life for murder was caught smuggling in racy pictures of herself and a Terry’s Chocolate Orange for him.Former Royal Navy sailor Kiah Andrusjak, 25, broke down and wept in court as she was jailed on Wednesday.She was detained after having a secret romance with Shane Boyd while he was languishing at Manchester Prison, formerly known as Strangeways.They had met in the prison canteen where he smiled at her and she smiled back, before swapping up to 600 text messages using an unauthorised mobile phone 24-year-old Boyd kept hidden in his cell. Last Christmas Boyd even arranged for his sister to give his lover a Christmas card containing £150 in cash during a meeting at a Nando’s restaurant.At Manchester Crown Court, Andrusjak, of Hindley Green, Wigan, sobbed as she admitted misconduct in a public office and was jailed for eight months.It is thought she will serve her sentence at HMP Styal in Cheshire, ten miles from her lover’s cell.Boyd, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, had been jailed for life for murder in 2009 after he stabbed a 16-year-old student to death after a petty argument over an Xbox console. Then also 16, Boyd plunged a knife into Conor Black as he stood outside a house party after first stunning him by smashing a beer can over his head.After the stabbing he went back into the party bragging that he was “the man” and threatening to kill anyone who named him to police. She did not benefit from experience and she was young, immature and naiveAlex Leach, in mitigation 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. He was ordered to serve a minimum of 11 years behind bars before he would be considered for parole. He met Andrusjak in March 2016 when she was training as a prison officer. Andrusjak, 25, fell for 24-year-old Shane Boyd A Terry's Chocolate Orange, broken into segments “She did not benefit from experience and she was young, immature and naive. She has exhibited a high level of remorse from the moment she was challenged about her offences.”She was vulnerable at the time she was working and was struggling to cope in her new role – losing 12kg in weight. She had made it known to her supervisors that she wanted to leave her position and seek employment elsewhere. Strangeways Prison, Manchester, where Andrusjak and Boyd had a six-month affairCredit:Cavendish Presscenter_img “These text messages suggest an intense romantic relationship between the defendant and Mr Boyd and well over 200 messages were recovered with a suggestion that there could be over 600 messages in total. Andrusjak supervised inmates working on cleaning duty at the Manchester high security prisonCredit: MEN Media Strangeways Prison in Manchester where Kiah Andrusjak a female prison warder had a six month affair “The defendant confirmed that the male in the photographs was her boyfriend and when asked how long the relationship had been going on she claimed she had known him before but the relationship had only started when she was working on G wing.”She said that she was in the middle of requesting a transfer to another prison because both knew the relationship was wrong. She said she had not been in touch with Shane by phone.”Her iPhone was seized and items were recovered such as Terry’s Chocolate Orange and a further eight photos.”The phone used by Shane Boyd was never recovered. Her phone was examined and on it were found to be a very large number of text messages and calls between the two of them between the 6th of November 2016 and the 12th of December. Kiah Andrusjak, 25, supervised inmates working on cleaning duty at the Manchester high security prison “These offences committed by you did involve a serious breach of trust. You maintained that relationship knowing that it was illicit and could have ended it at any time.”You were of a young age but had served for five years in the Royal Navy and have considerable experience within public services. Your betrayal of the trust placed in you as a serving prison officer can only be punished with an immediate custodial sentence.” “The defendant felt incapable of being taken seriously by the prisoners. She felt threatened and on one occasion Mr Boyd stood up for her in front of other prisoners and that is when she began to develop feelings for him.”She didn’t take drugs or SIM cards but chocolate and photographs and did not undermine the security of the institution she was working in. She joined the Royal Navy when she was 16. The impact of a custodial sentence for her would be crushing.”Passing sentence, Judge David Stockdale QC told Andrusjak: “You formed a romantic relationship with a prisoner who was a convicted and it evolved over a six-month period.”You brought into the prison confectionary and cigarettes for him. More significantly you communicated with him by text message, many many messages in this case.”The precise number of text messages exchanged is not entirely certain and some say as many as 690 were sent, but it is at least 200 which indicated that the relationship between the two of you was an intense one.”The fact that you are communicating by text messages when you knew that access to a mobile phone is prohibited means you were complicit. You knew that your relationship with Boyd was illicit and you maintained that relationship.”Your contact compromised the security obtained within the prison and made you vulnerable to blackmail and put you in danger. Public confidence in the security of prisons is undermined whenever a prison officer breaches the trust in this way. “The defendant was aware that Shane had access to a mobile phone and she was complicit in that. In interview she confirmed she had been finding the job stressful and had found another job and there is reference in those text messages to her looking for another job.”She first met him when she was a cleaning manager and he was a cleaner in a canteen and he smiled at her and she smiled back. After meeting him in G wing she realised that he had access to an unauthorised phone.”They messaged 100s of times and at Christmas Shane arranged for his sister to give the defendant a Christmas present. The defendant met his sister in a Nando’s restaurant where a card containing £150 in cash was handed over.”In mitigation, defence lawyer Alex Leach said: “Although the defendant claims she was groomed into this relationship and she may not have felt manipulated but it may be that the experience of this court can look to see the motives that this prisoner may have had with this young woman. The court heard the warder’s training included a 10-week course including “anti-corruption training and instructions on the appropriate level of contact with prisoners”.Andrusjak – who is thought to have previously served at HMS Raleigh – also received a further two-week training course at Strangeways before being assigned to the G wing on June 26.Maria Brennan, prosecuting, said: “Six months later in December 2016 the prison received three separate allegations that he was involved in a romantic relationship with a member of staff. One of these allegations named the defendant.”She would bring in items such as chocolate and tobacco. A meeting was arranged with senior prison staff and the defendant for her to be challenged.”The defendant was searched and on her a packet of cigarettes were found and an envelope containing nine photos, six featuring the defendant in her underwear and photos of her stuck next to a picture of him.last_img read more

England bowl Curran Ambris given debuts

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedUPDATE: WI v England 3rd ODI: Match abandoned due to rainFebruary 25, 2019In “latest news”England win toss, bowl against West Indies in rain-delayed 3rd ODIFebruary 25, 2019In “latest news”England beat Windies as Bairstow’s hundred sets up stroll to 4-0September 29, 2017In “Sports” Toss England won the toss and chose to bowl v West IndiesTom Curran claimed a wicket with his second ball (Getty Images)(ESPNcricinfo) England gave an ODI debut to Tom Curran having won the toss and chosen to bowl in the fifth and final ODI. England had already wrapped up the series with victory on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern at The Oval on Wednesday night.Chris Woakes missed out, Eoin Morgan saying he “didn’t pull up that well” after the fourth match, and England were again without Ben Stokes and Alex Hales – both currently not considered for selection – but resisted the temptation to rest players.West Indies also included a debutant, in Sunil Ambris, and brought in Kyle Hope for Evin Lewis, centurion at The Oval, after he suffered a hairline fracture to his right ankle. Jason Mohammed was captaining the team in Jason Holder’s absence, after Holder returned home to Barbados for the funeral of his uncle.The toss had been delayed by a wet morning around Southampton, with the covers left on until the scheduled start time of 12.30pm. It was eventually held at 12.50pm, for a 1.15pm start.England 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Sam Billings, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Tom Curran, 10 Liam Plunkett, 11 Jake BallWest Indies 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Kyle Hope, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Sunil Ambris, 6 Jason Mohammed (capt), 7 Rovman Powell, 8 Ashley Nurse, 9 Alzarri Joseph, 10 Jerome Taylor, 11 Miguel Cummins read more

Donegal teenager loses battle for life in Cambridge hospital

first_imgConor had been working in England after completing his Leaving Cert in June.This article was originally posted at 4.46pmRead: Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar: ‘The words of the Quran have given me strength’ > Updated at 11.06pmDONEGAL TEENAGER CONOR Boyle has died from injuries sustained in a car crash in England two weeks ago.The 18-year-old was left in a critical condition after his car hit a tree in Peterborough on Friday 6 September.Conor was moved to a specialist neurological hospital in Cambridge this week for treatment for severe head injuries. Speaking to the London-based Irish Post newspaper earlier this week, Conor’s father Hugh said the family would have needed a miracle for the teenager pull through.He remained in a coma and on life support, and passed away earlier today.Members of Conor’s GAA club, Naomh Mhuire, have been paying tribute on Facebook following today’s tragic news.Words can’t describe how we feel this morning in the club, the news we prayed and hoped would never come has hit us and its a terrible feeling to lose one of our own so young.To Sheila, Hugh and the boys and extended family we extend our deepest sympathy.RIP Wee Conor Boyle you were one of our own and you will be deeply missed, but will be remembered always by us.last_img read more

Go on a trip and enjoy the clouds with this superb timelapse

first_imgIf the holiday season has started to stress you out, we have just what the doctor ordered. The above time-lapse, by David Coiffier, is a great example of travel videography, with multiple awesome location shots stitched together into a single video. Some of the locations featured in the lapse include Paris (the most obvious one) New York City, Tuscany, and the cliffs of Normandy.Watching the time-lapse a few things really popped out at me. First off is the color. Coiffier’s colors really pop, and it’s clear he did a lot of post production work on this (in a good way — the images seem super crisp and have HDR-like, but not surreal color). I also noticed the time-lapse’s use of cars. In a few different scenes the video uses moving automobiles to create a really incredible effect. I never thought traffic could be so beautiful. He is clearly a technical shooter, there’s some dolly work (but it’s not overdone), tilt-shift effects, and incredibly clarity throughout the video.By the way, if you don’t want to watch the whole video, fast forward to the 3 minute mark. The movement of the clouds behind the yellow house is mesmerizing, almost like an avalanche was approaching.On the technical front, Coiffier told me that he shot primarily with a Canon 5D MKII, in RAW, but used a Canon 400D (Rebel XTi) for some scenes as well. His lens selection includes a 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm, 200mm, 24-7mm, and 16-35mm (all Canon L series glass).His post production workflow was: Camera > Adobe Lightroom > Apple Shake > Final Cut > export.He further explained the process saying that Lightroom was used for adjusting the RAW images (as well as cataloging I’d imagine) and that LRTimelapse was used to correct flicker and adjust any parameter (such as white balance) over time. After Lightroom things were sent to Shake where they were perfected — namely they were cropped, stabilized, resized, color corrected, unsharp masked, and given all the other little things professional-quality images need.Coiffier, a professional videographist for over 20 years, highly recommends working with RAW files and avoids working with bracketed HDR shots not just because bracketing is a pain, but because he doesn’t like the “overlook” effect found in most (overdone) HDR. That’s one reason he really liked still frame time-lapse, because “you can apply grades to get different settings for land and sky, and doing so, use all the available dynamic range contained in raw data, what gives an HDR “feeling” without the ugly HDR look.Watch at Vimeo, via Pixel’s Revenge.last_img read more

Brexit cannot stop the European Union on its march to the future

first_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Image: PA Brexit ‘cannot stop the European Union on its march to the future’ Juncker laid out five possible scenarios including reducing the European Union to just a single market. 13,534 Views Image: PA By AFP Mar 1st 2017, 10:53 PM Wednesday 1 Mar 2017, 10:53 PM http://jrnl.ie/3266287 Share22 Tweet Email1 59 Comments Short URL EUROPEAN COMMISSION CHIEF Jean-Claude Juncker said today that Britain’s departure would not hold the EU back, as he unveiled plans for the bloc’s post-Brexit future.Juncker laid out five possible scenarios including reducing the European Union to just a single market, returning some powers to member countries and creating a “multi-speed” Europe.“However painful and regrettable Brexit may be, it cannot stop the European Union on its march to the future,” Juncker said as he presented his White Paper to the European Parliament in Brussels.Juncker also urged national governments to “stop the Brussels-bashing” in a bid to win over increasingly eurosceptic voters, saying the commission had stopped meddling in issues like “toilet flushes or the height of children’s swings”.EU leaders will now consider Juncker’s options ahead of a summit in Rome on March 25 marking the bloc’s 60th anniversary, where they will make their own declarations about the way forward after Britain’s expected departure in 2019.The foreign ministers of France and Germany signalled that Juncker’s “multi-speed” option had their backing, saying it would allow some members to move forward with projects like closer defence cooperation without waiting for reluctant countries to get on board.“Without calling into question what we have accomplished, we must also find ways of better taking into account the different ambition levels of the member states so that Europe can respond better to the needs of European citizens,” Jean-Marc Ayrault and Sigmar Gabriel said in a joint statement.Since the shock Brexit vote last June, the other 27 EU states have been soul-searching about how to deal with challenges including rising populism, the election of Donald Trump in the United States and an increasingly assertive Russia.Rome should “not simply be a birthday celebration, it should also be the birth moment of the European Union at 27,” Juncker said.ElectionsLeaders will discuss Juncker’s blueprint at the Rome summit but will not go into depth as “we can’t create divisions” at this stage, a European source told AFP.The 27 EU leaders are eyeing a further summit in Brussels on April 6 after British Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggers the two-year divorce process, EU sources said.Analyst Janis Emmanouilidis, of the European Policy Centre, said Juncker’s White Paper was an attempt to have a say in the discussion “before the hot phase starts.”“Before November or December not much can be decided because of the elections in France and Germany,” Emmanouilidis told AFP.© – AFP 2017Read: ‘I am not guilty’ – Women who face death penalty over Kim Jong-Nam murder appear in court>last_img read more

PM DPM Lead Verification Process for Cabinet Ministers

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, August 16, 2017 – Nassau – Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Kevin Peter Turnquest led the verification process for Members of Parliament prior to participating in the weekly Cabinet Meeting on Tuesday (August 15, 2017).Prime Minister Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest were two of 15 Cabinet Ministers to take advantage of the opportunity provided by officials from the Public Treasury Department who were on hand at the Cecil V. Wallace-Whitfield Centre to conduct the verification process for public service employees there.Other Cabinet Ministers undergoing the verification process included: the Hon. T. Brent Symonette, Senator, the Hon. Carl W. Bethel, the Hon. Desmond T. Bannister, the Hon. Jeffrey L. Lloyd, the Hon. Marvin H. Dames, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, the Hon. Dionisio J. D’Aguilar, the Hon. Michael C. Pintard, the Hon. Darren A. Henfield, Senator, the Hon. Dion A. Foulkes, Senator, the Hon. James Kwasi Thompson and the Hon. Elsworth N. Johnson.Cabinet Ministers, the Hon. Romauld S. Ferreira, the Hon. Lanisha T. Rolle and the Hon. Brensil D. Rolle are off island. Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Duane E.L. Sands had already completed the verification process.The verification of the Cabinet Ministers/Members of Parliament is part of an ongoing national verification exercise for Government Monthly and Weekly Employees and Senators and Members of Parliament.Verification Centres were established at Ministry of Education schools in New Providence and at Government/Administrator’s Offices in Grand Bahama and the Family Islands since the process began on Tuesday, August 8, 2017. Verification ends Thursday, August 31, 2017.The five Verification Centres in New Providence — H.O. Nash High School, T.A. Thompson Junior High School, C.C. Sweeting High School, C.R. Walker High School and Doris Johnson High School – will cease operations as of the close of business on Friday, August 18, 2017 in preparation for the upcoming school year. Operations will be relocated to the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.Treasury officials say Public Officers who are assigned to the Ministry of Foreign and the Ministry of Tourism overseas offices, are expected to verify at their respective locations, “following the procedures that have been forwarded directly to them by the Treasury Department.”Persons who fail to present themselves to be verified will have their salaries interrupted – not ceased — beginning September, 2017, until such time as they comply with the verification and reinstatement process.Treasury officials further say the 2017 Verification Process is not new in Government, as “some form of the process has been undertaken by all serving Treasurers.”“The verification process actually protects the public service employee because in addition to ensuring that they are legitimate public service employees, it also ensures that we have the correct data on each employee.”Officials say not having up-to-date data can, for example, affect employees’ current and future National Insurance benefits and also their Treasury Pensions.Allowances have been made for public service employees on vacation within and outside of The Bahamas. Those traveling outside of the country whose return date will not allow them to return to The Bahamas ahead of the August 31 deadline, can verify at any Bahamas Tourist Office (BTO) or Foreign Affairs Mission abroad while those within The Bahamas can verify at the Administrator’s Office in any Family Island, along with the Public Treasury (Central Abaco and Freeport, Grand Bahama).Story by: Matt Maura (BIS)Photo Caption:Prime Minister Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest lead the verification process of members of the Cabinet, assisted by Mrs. Donna Delancy, Deputy Treasurer and Coordinator of the  Verification of Government Monthly and Weekly Employees, Senators and Members of Parliament process. Related Items:last_img read more

Scientists connect a human brain and rat cyborg brain together

first_img Share your voice CES 2019: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show.NASA turns 60: The space agency has taken humanity farther than anyone else, and it has plans to go further. 17 Photos Comments Tags Meet all the cute, friendly, useful robots of CES 2019 fotografixx/Getty Images A Chinese research team has developed the ability to mind control a rodent, building a wireless brain-to-brain system that enables a human to move the “rat cyborg” through a maze.The research, published in Nature’s Scientific Reports on Feb. 4, details a brain-to-brain interface (BBI) that connects a human brain to a computer, which then decodes and stimulates the rat brain to move. The researchers detail their methodology in a delightful section of the published paper called “rat cyborg preparation”, explaining how they implanted electrodes in two sections of the rat brain.The researchers then “trained” the rats by using the electrodes to produce certain movements, which they wirelessly sent to the rat’s brain via a tiny rat-backpack containing the stimulator.Their first test for the rat cyborg involved a maze shaped like an eight-armed asterisk. The rat started in one arm of the maze and was tasked with moving into another arm. The human controller was fitted with a device known as an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure brain signals. The EEG was connected directly to a computer. The computer would then decode the human brain signal and pass it through a model to stimulate the rat’s brain and tell it to move in a particular direction.Using the EEG to measure the human brain signal means the researchers don’t have to directly connect electrodes to a human brain — that’s a good thing, but it makes the signal weaker.”EEG measures electrical activity in the brain, through the skull. EEG gives us a fast signal, but because the skull and skin are not very conductive, and are quite thick, it doesn’t give a good spatial signal from the brain,” says Angus McMorland, a biomedical engineer at the University of Auckland and not associated with the study. McMorland compares the signals from the EEG to reading a book “through several layers of frosted glass.” Using such a method prevents information from being parsed quickly from human brain to rat brain — which means there’s a type of input lag that humans need to account for when guiding the rat through the maze. The brain signals for left and right can be decoded, but to move the rat forward, the researchers used an eye blink. However, on average, the rat cyborg still moved through the maze in around three minutes.The rat cyborg was also subjected to a slightly more complex maze with a predetermined route. On average, moving the six rats through a predetermined route through the maze was successful 90 percent of the time, over 10 consecutive tests. The rat cyborg is fitted with a device that stimulates its brain, telling it to move in certain directions. In this GIF, up (green) and right (blue) signals are sent to the rat. Zhejiang University Researchers have worked on brain-to-brain interfaces before with varying degrees of success. In 2013, a BBI linked a human brain with a rat, enabling the human to influence the movement of the rat’s tail. In 2016, a human brain was linked up to a cyborg cockroach and enabled the human to move the cockroach through an S-shaped track with limited success. This is the first time that a brain-brain interface has been used to complete a complex navigation task. In a previous paper, the team suggested that rat cyborgs may have great potential in search and rescue operations. The rats would be able to slip in and out of danger zones, potentially controlled by a human from a safe distance. “Could they use this technology to navigate a rat carrying a small walkie-talkie and camera through a collapsed building looking for survivors? Yes, it looks like that would work, but a hand-operated remote control would be a lot more reliable,” says McMorland.For now, the technology remains in its infancy, but it does begin to raise ethical questions about the use of mind control on another species. In the study published on Monday, the team notes that all experimental protocols were approved by the Ethics Committee at the university. 3 Sci-Techlast_img read more

Fairbanks CleanAir Advocates Slow Regulatory Startup Encourages Opponents

first_imgState and borough air-quality regulators are working to develop programs and staff to help clean up air pollution that sets in on cold winter days in Fairbanks. (Credit KUAC file photo)Clean air advocates say they’re disappointing that local and state regulators haven’t made more progress in getting the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s air-quality program up and going. Citizens for Clean Air members are worried the slow-moving process could jeopardize the local program, because opponents are already working to get an initiative before voters in the fall.Download AudioCitizens for Clean Air coordinator Patrice Lee told the regulators and two top Assembly members at a meeting Tuesday that the slow process of establishing the local program may give the public a perception that it’s not going to improve the area’s air quality. She cites the example of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s review of the ordinance adopted by the borough Assembly on Feb. 27 that established the program.“We found out that it takes more time than what has happened for ADEC to go through the ordinance and decide which parts would actually strengthen the SIP,” Lee said.The state implementation plan, or SIP, spells out how the DEC intends to improve the Fairbanks area’s air quality enough to bring it into compliance with federal law.Cindy Heil, with the DEC’s Air-Quality Division, says her agency intends to complete its review of the ordinance soon, then add portions of it to an amended version of the state plan.“We’re hoping to do that this summer,” Heil said. “That’s still our intent.”Heil says it takes time to conduct a thorough review and the followup public comment period.Borough Air Quality Manager Ron Lovell says his agency can’t do much yet because it’s still awaiting funding.“We don’t have the resources at this point,” Lovell said. “I mean, I’m barely getting by with what I’ve got.”Lovell says the borough administration will propose funding for the program at the April 9th Assembly meeting, and that he hopes to have a budget by the end of the month.Lee says the clean-air advocates also were disappointed to learn that five months after voters defeated a measure that would’ve kept the state in charge of local air quality, the borough still has only one operator for its one vehicle equipped with a mobile device that measures air quality. And that the borough air-quality staff lacks training to determine the opacity of smoke – a measure of how dark it is coming out of the stack.“We defeated Prop 2 in October. And it’s now April,” Lee said. “And no one has been to opacity training. That’s been something that’s integral to any kind of an air-quality plan.”No opponents of borough air-quality management were at Tuesday’s meeting at the DEC office in Fairbanks. Assembly Presiding Officer Karl Kassel and Deputy Presiding Officer John Davies both were present. Davies agrees it’s important to show progress on the air-quality program as quickly as possible. He says the work that’s been done since the Assembly adopted the ordinance on Feb. 27th  has come at the bureaucratic equivalent of the speed of light.“A lot of what we heard was frustration and it doesn’t appear that we’re moving fast enough,” Davies said. “And I think that most of us on the Assembly share that concern – that it takes a long time to get these wheels moving.”But Citizens for Clean Air member Joan Franz says advocates are worried that without solid progress on the local air-quality effort, would-be supporters might not vote to keep the borough in charge of the program if opponents again succeed in placing it on an upcoming ballot.“We may lose those people to – ‘Well what difference does it make? What difference did it make?’ And I’m afraid of losing some of those people,” Franz said.Davies agrees that the support of who he calls the “middle-of-the-road” voters will be essential if the issue again ends up on the ballot. He says he’s been assured that opponents are determined to get a citizens initiative before voters in the fall.last_img read more

Arjun Rampal shares daughter Mahikaas photo on Instagram and leaves everyone jawdropped

first_imgArjun Rampal with daughter Mahikaa RampalInstagramArjun Rampal may have been in the news of late for his alleged affair with Gabriella Demetriades after getting divorced with wife Mehr but there are more than two sides to his personality. Apart from being a passionate actor, a party animal, a deep thinker and an advisor, Arjun is also a doting father to his two daughters – Mahikaa and Myra. The 46-year-old showed his yet another side of being a family man as well when he introduced his 17-year-old daughter Mahikaa to the world of social media.Sharing a stunning image of Mahikaa, a proud Arjun, who is also a man of few words, showed off his unconditional love to his daughter wondering how time flies and kids grow up in a blink of an eye. In the picture, Mahikaa was looking ravishing in red one shoulder gown with a thigh-high slit while daddy Arjun was looking dapper in grey suit. “All grown up this love of mine ♥️ love you @mahikaarampal #daddysgirl,” Arjun captioned the image.The moment Arjun uploaded the picture with his daughter Mahikaa on Instagram, online users couldn’t stop gushing about how the father-daughter duo looked stunning together. Many people said that the duo looked more like siblings adding how Arjun has aged gracefully. Mahikaa, on the other hand, has always been away from the limelight but it looks like daddy is looking forward to introduce her into the world of glitz and glamour as well.Take a look. In June, Arjun Rampal and wife Mehr Rampal announced that they are parting ways, putting an end to their 20 years of marriage. Although they did not mention the reason for their split, Arjun and Mehr requested privacy to adjust to the changes in the life and said they won’t speak any further about it.”After a 20-year-long beautiful journey filled with love and beautiful memories, we would like to share, that all journeys have different paths. We feel that it is time for us to move on to different destinations henceforth. We have always been solid when it has come to us, we will continue to be solid for each other and our loved ones, as we embark upon a new journey,” the couple said in the statement.last_img read more

Gold Prices May See Free Fall on US Fed Rate Hike

first_imgThings seem to be getting worse for precious metal gold and its prices are likely to fall more rapidly than expected in the coming months.The prices of the yellow metal have plunged to five-year lows recently, as worries over imminent interest rate hike by the US central bank triggered the sell-off.At its July meeting, the US Federal Reserve has indicated that it is moving closer to raising rates for the first time after keeping them at record low since the financial crisis of 2008.”The July statement highlighted the progress the US economy has made towards meeting the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC’s) conditions to start normalising rates,” said Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank in a note.Due to rising expectations on Fed rate hike, a firmer US dollar has been weighing heavily on the gold prices for the past two weeks and the metal prices are heading towards their worst monthly decline in two years.In the international markets, gold prices plummeted by $100 to $1,100 per ounce in the past one month, as concerns intensified over the Fed rate hike in September, which is seen as a major negative for the metal prices.In the Indian markets, the prices slipped to below Rs 24,600 per 10 grams, marking their lowest level since 2010. The prices have fallen by over 27% in the past nine months, declining from a high of Rs 34,000 per 10 grams.The prices are estimated to see a drastic fall to Rs. 20,500 per 10 grams once the US Fed begins raising later this year, according to India Ratings and Research.”Gold is out of fashion like flared trousers: no one wants it,” Robin Bhar, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in London, told Bloomberg.A Bloomberg News survey showed that the gold prices could fall to $984 an ounce before January next year.Besides concerns over a rate rise in the US, gold prices are expected to remain under pressure due to its losing appeal as safe-haven and slowing demand for the metal in the world’s second largest consumer China.Recent crisis in Greece and a crash in Chinese stock market failed to give a lift to the gold prices.Earlier in July, China reported that its gold reserves rose to 1,658 tonnes by the end of June, up 57% since April 2009, which is far below the market expectations.last_img read more

Student of the Year 2 movie review It leaves you wondering Why

first_img Student of the Year 2 Student of the year 2 reviewTwitter The proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is very much true but all play and no work is also not an ideal situation for a student. The movie Student of the Year 2 showcases a similar situation with a decent dose of entertainment but hardly any sense.STORYLINERohan (Tiger Shroff), who hails from a middle-class family and studies in a mediocre college, is elated to get admission in a high profile institution under sports scholarship. His biggest reason to be excited about his admission is his ‘girlfriend’ Mridula (Tara Sutaria) aka Mia, who studies there.While Rohan is extremely happy to be alongside Mia, the latter starts feeling uncomfortable due to his “small town guy” personality. Rohan and Mia have been in a relationship since their childhood but Mia starts deviating after she joins the “ultra-cool” college. Mia starts falling for the most popular guy there – Manav (Aditya Seal), who is not only the son of the college’s trustee but also the ‘student of the year’ for the past two years. Student of the year 2 stillYouTube ScreenshotIn the meantime, Rohan starts getting quite popular in the college as well, first, because of his athletic abilities and secondly, for his constant bickering with Shreya (Ananya Panday), Manav’s sister.Things turn extremely hard for Rohan when he gets cheated by Mia and Manav, followed by an insulting expulsion from the college. However, the hurt young man with Shreya’s support pulls himself up, and eventually challenges Manav head-on for the ‘student of the year’ title. One who outshines all other students in dance and sports bags the title.To know what happens in the fight for self-respect, and in Rohan’s love life, you have to watch the film. Student of the year 2 stillYouTube ScreenshotPERFORMANCESTiger is yet again impressive in dance, stunts and flaunting his chiselled body. However, it is high time that the actor should do something new on-screen. Ananya is the biggest surprise package in SOTY 2. She plays the character of a rude but lonely girl, who is considered a jinx by her rich father, pretty well. Tara is good too, but her character limits the scope to showcase acting skills. Aditya did a commendable job, playing the role of an arrogant spoiled brat who can stoop to any level in order to win. Student of the year 2 stillYouTube ScreenshotPOSITIVESStudent of the Year 2 has a decent dose of entertainment in terms of action and romance. The sports battle towards the climax is good to watch. The director manages to keep the narration fast-paced. Student of the year 2 stillYouTube ScreenshotNEGATIVESThere are a number of loopholes in the film, which is hard to ignore by any sensible mind. One of the weirdest aspects of the film is the qualities that a student should possess in order to become ‘student of the year’. A student has to be the best in dance and sports, but academics is not even a criteria to bag the title. It is understandable that showing characters shining in academics might not be thrilling enough, but the director could at least include a debate competition for that purpose. Student of the year 2 stillYouTube ScreenshotSecondly, it is amusing to see a college where a student is beaten black and blue, thrown out of the campus by some other students, and nobody stops them or take no action against the offenders.The students are seen doing almost everything under the Sun like dancing, romancing, fighting, playing, but not studying. Overall, the film badly lacks in terms of logic, and by no way appears to be the story of any college student. Student of the year 2 stillYouTube ScreenshotVERDICTStudent of the Year 2 is one film that is entertaining but suffers from too many illogicalities. It also is predictable in certain parts. In the end, you will be left wondering – is there really a college and students like this?center_img Ratinglast_img read more

Consumer goods and automobile sales gather steam in rural India

first_imgA salesman carries items in a basket inside a family-run grocery store in New Delhi September 18, 2012 (representational image).Reuters fileConsumer products and automobiles purchases in rural India has gained momentum and witnessed the fastest pace of growth in over three years, during the July-September period driven by surging demand and higher sales, as good monsoon also lifted farm income.Rural sales of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) both by value and volume increased 13 percent during the quarter from a year earlier, the Economic Times reported.The rural market accounts for more than a third of all consumer goods sold. But in contrast, the urban market expanded only 4 percent by value and 1 percent by volume during this period.For the rural FMCG market this is the second consecutive quarter of double digit growth. This pushed the overall fast-moving consumer goods sector to grow by 7 percent compared to 4 percent last year.”Companies have become proactive by increasing direct distribution in rural areas as the headroom for penetration is very high compared to urban, which is saturated,” said Abneesh Roy, senior V-P, institutional equities, Edelweiss Securities.The surging demand in the rural market is in line with the expectations that FMCG companies had at the start of this year. In 2016, the FMCG companies have faced a tough time due to demand slowdown and demonetisation, but the players expected a turnaround by the last quarter of FY 2017 on the back of rural demand revival.Future of rural marketAccording to a Neilsen research report, the FMCG sector in rural and semi-urban India is estimated to cross $100 billion by 2025 (it will hit the $20 billion mark by 2018).Amongst the leading retailers, Dabur generates over 40-45 percent of its domestic revenue from rural sales. Hindustan Unilever rural revenue accounts for 45 percent of its overall sales while other companies earn 30-35 percent of their revenues from rural areas. A pedestrian walks past the Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) headquarters in Mumbai April 29, 2013.Reuters fileThe government has also planned various initiatives to provide and improve the infrastructure in rural areas which can have a multiplier effect in increasing movements of goods, services and further improve earnings potential of rural areas subsequently improving consumption.In addition, like urban India, consumers in the rural regions are also expected to embrace online purchases over time and drive consumption digitally. According to a research report by McKinsey Global Institute forecasts the annual real income per household in rural India will rise to 3.6 oercent 2025 from 2.8 percent in the last 20 years.”The company expects rural to contribute nearly 40 percent of sales in the next few years,” said Saugata Gupta, managing director at Marico.last_img read more