15 Oct

Kanye West a cowriter on Drakes Kid Cudi diss track

first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Kanye West is listed as a co-writer on Drake’s controversial track which disses Kid Cudi.According to credits on streaming service Tidal, Kanye is listed as a writer and co-producer of the Canadian star’s song Two Birds, One Stone, in which he describes Cudi’s depression a “phase.”“My numbers are out of the world, no wonder they got me feeling so alienated/You were the man on the moon, now you go through your phases/Live for the angry and famous,” raps Drake in the track. But in a new curve ball, it has been revealed that Kanye is listed alongside Drake and frequent collaborator Noah “40” Shebib as a co-composer and co-lyricist on the tune.His involvement is especially interesting given his most recent support for his former GOOD Music label colleague and protege. Last month, Kanye called Cudi “the most influential artist of the last 10 years.” More recently, he asked his fans to sing Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1 in the singer’s honour during a recent stop on his Saint Pablo tour. Login/Register With: Twitterlast_img read more

13 Oct

Toronto stock market near flat and loonie up with US markets closed

first_imgTORONTO – Canada’s main stock index finished on a near flat note Thursday, as U.S. stock markets were closed for their Thanksgiving holiday.The S&P/TSX composite index scraped out 0.72 of a point to advance to 16,074.30.Earlier in the day, the materials and energy sectors had helped push the Toronto market up modestly, as the health-care and consumer staples groups lost ground.“The positive performance this morning was the result of the resource sector. Both energy and materials were stronger on the day,” said Candice Bangsund, vice-president and portfolio manager at Fiera Capital.“In energy markets we’re seeing encouraging signs toward the rebalancing of the crude market. So we saw energy prices soar to a two-year high this week after a report that indicated a decline in U.S. stockpiles, while there’s also been a disruption in the Keystone pipeline that has helped to sort of boost that optimism that the market is going to find a better balance.”In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.65 cents US, up 0.09 of a U.S. cent. That marked the loonie’s third straight day of gains.Key drivers of the currency’s recent upswing are the weakening U.S. dollar and bullishness around the price of oil, which rose $1.19 at the closing of markets Wednesday.Commodities markets were also closed for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.On the Canadian marijuana front, Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s (TSX:ACB) stock was up about five per cent amid news that the Vancouver-headquartered pot producer intends to use its ownership of greenhouse design firm Larssen Ltd. to pressure other cannabis producers to enter partnerships that will further its aggressive growth plans.In a news release, Aurora said Larssen is involved with more than 15 cannabis industry clients globally, including five Canadian licensed producers. Shares of Aurora gained 32 cents or about five per cent to close at $6.74 on Thursday.In economic news, Statistics Canada reported retail sales in September were up 0.1 per cent to $49.1 billion for the month, boosted by sales at gasoline stations as prices climbed due to disruptions caused by hurricane Harvey.Economists however said it appears consumer spending has cooled after a hot start to the year.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.last_img read more

13 Oct

AMC Theatres unveils 20amonth rival to MoviePass

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – AMC Theatres, the world’s largest movie theatre chain, on Wednesday unveiled a $20-a-month subscription service to rival the flagging MoviePass.The theatre chain announced a new service to its loyalty program, AMC Stubs, allowing subscribers to see up to three movies a week for a monthly fee of $19.95. That’s more expensive than the $9.95 monthly fee for MoviePass, but AMC’s plan gives access to premium format screenings like IMAX and 3-D.The new subscription model is the latest salvo in a heated battle for what the movie business most craves: frequent moviegoers. AMC, which has blocked MoviePass sales at some of its theatres, has been a vocal opponent of MoviePass’ model. But subscription services are popular among Millennials, who have proven difficult for theatres to attract.AMC Theatres chief executive Adam Aron pointedly noted Wednesday that AMC’s program was set at “a sustainable price.” Since MoviePass slashed its monthly fee, questions have mounted over the long-term viability of its economics.“AMC Stubs A-List is being taken to market at more than double the price of that charged by some of our competitors,” Aron said in a conference call with investors. “A good deal to consumers to be sure, but being done at a sustainable price point where we can be very confident that we will be profitable across the membership base and in turn, that we can share that increased profitability with our studio and premium format partners.”Added Aron: “Other discounters, by contrast, will continue to be hemorrhaging cash.”MoviePass has attracted 3 million members, but the stock price of the service’s parent company, Helios and Matheson, has dropped from $38 a share to 44 cents a share. MoviePass pays for full-priced tickets and sells them at a discounted rate in order to capitalize on user data.AMC Stubs A-List membership plan, which also features concessions discounts, will debut Tuesday. Unlike MoviePass, subscribers will be allowed to see all three movies on the same day, and can watch the same movie repeatedly. Movies won’t carry over if a subscriber sees fewer than three films in a week.AMC is estimating that subscription members will see an average of 2.5 movies a month. The theatre chain expects the service could cost the company $5-10 million in ticket revenue in the next six months, but that those losses are worth future gains.last_img read more

12 Oct

Zimbabwe UN cuts back food aid to millions amid serious funding crisis

“WFP still requires $140 million to fund its operations in Zimbabwe until the end of March 2009 – with a shortfall of approximately 145,000 tons of food, including 110,000 metric tons of cereals and 35,000 metric tons of other food commodities,” the agency said in an update detailing its first month of large-scale distributions in October.“There is currently no food in the pipeline for distributions in January and February – just when the crisis is reaching its peak and when WFP is aiming to assist over 4 million people each month.”In October WFP distributed 29,000 tons of food to around 2 million vulnerable people across the southern African country and plans to double the beneficiaries in November by scaling up its operations to reach almost 4 million hungry people in rural and urban areas. But it will have to cut back on the individual rations so as to provide something for all beneficiaries.“In the worst affected communities, people are surviving on one meal a day – at most,” WFP said. “There are widespread reports of people skipping meals for an entire day or eating wild foods such as baobab seeds and amarula fruit. Hungry families are being forced to exchange their precious livestock for buckets of maize.“Other families have no option but to beg for help or to resort to other desperate measures to survive – selling their few remaining household assets, migrating in search of work and food, pulling children out of school, etc.”In November, WFP aims to distribute around 46,000 tons to more than 3.3 million people under the vulnerable group feeding (VGF) programme and around 600,000 under the safety net programmes but will not be able to provide every beneficiary with a full food basket.“WFP needs additional donations urgently since it takes between six and eight weeks to transform a cash contribution into food on a beneficiary’s table,” the agency said. The November cereal ration has been cut from 12 kilograms to 10 kilograms per person per month and the pulse ration from 1.8 kilograms to one kilogram for all VGF beneficiaries and for people receiving take-home rations under the safety net programmes.“These cuts will allow WFP to stretch its available resources as far as possible but they will leave greater numbers more malnourished and more susceptible to disease,” the agency said.According to the latest UN figures, the number of people needing assistance will rise to 5.1 million, or 45 per cent of the population, at the expected peak of the crisis in early 2009, and WFP plans to provide aid some 4 million every month until the end of March – as long as there are sufficient resources. 11 November 2008The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that it is facing a serious funding crisis in providing life-saving aid to over 4 million people in Zimbabwe suffering the effects of a disastrous harvest, and it has already been forced to cut rations. read more

8 Oct

Protesters prevent Wigneswaran from entering NPC

Wigneswaran assured that he will look into their issue but the protesters were not satisfied.As a result Wigneswaran left after being unable to enter the Northern Provincial Council for its session today. (Colombo Gazette) A group of protesters blocked Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran outside the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) today.The protesters who were said to be unemployed degree holders, demanded answers from Wigneswaran for the issues they face.

30 Sep

The BCS Wasnt Any Worse Than A College Football Playoff Will Be

Modern life has become the algorithmized life, a data-rich dreamscape in which the solution to nearly every problem lies somewhere inside a spreadsheet. Every problem, that is, except for college football’s.On Tuesday night, the new College Football Playoff (CFP) Committee will release its ranking of the best teams in college football. It’s a list generated by 13 human experts1Minus Archie Manning. — they’ll have the aid of simple statistics, sure, but ultimately the committee and its members’ human biases are the ones accountable. College football has moved the onus from the machines to the men.But only because the machines got them in trouble. In an unlikely marriage,2For a sport that still clings to the distinctly 19th-century notion of amateurism in the face of furious resistance. college football became an early adopter of numerically driven policymaking in 1998, when it ratified the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) to determine its consensus national champion.3To the extent that such a thing exists; Division I-A football is famously the only NCAA sport whose postseason is not governed by college athletics’ chief organizing body. Billed as an enlightened merger between the old-guard media polls — thus preserving the sport’s strong sense of tradition — and the computer rankings that so easily proliferated in the tech-boom ‘90s, the BCS was supposed to use data to help usher in a new era of college football.Instead, all it produced was controversy, revolt and a system so universally loathed that its demise was one of the few initiatives for which President Obama was able to marshall bipartisan support. A great deal of the criticism centered on “the computers,” a faceless army of machines that supposedly wouldn’t know a 3-4 defense from a 4-3. One of the biggest selling points of the College Football Playoff has been that it involves people who do know defensive formations.Yet there’s evidence that the switch from BCS to CFP won’t matter much, at least in terms of actually picking a champion with more efficiency. The big leap forward may simply be a lateral move.College football’s champion has always been more beauty-pageant winner than undisputed warrior. There are far too many teams — playing far too few games — to be able to rely on wins and losses alone as sole arbiters of worth. NFL teams make the playoffs through their records alone,4And, when necessary, an incredibly arcane tie-breaking process. but college football teams, marooned in various conferences, play schedules of vastly differing quality. Any endeavor to pick a truly national champion has to, by necessity, grapple with the balance between performance and strength of opposition.Originally, the media and coaches were the arbiters of who was great and who wasn’t, through the Associated Press Top 25 and the Coaches’ Poll. In theory, those who followed the sport most closely should produce a relatively equitable ranking of the country’s best teams. But the rankings became fraught with controversy and accusations of regional bias. The two major polls couldn’t always agree about which team was No. 1, producing a number of years in which multiple schools “won” the national championship. And college football’s longstanding system of bowl games, which act at once as postseason contests and meaningless exhibitions, occasionally complicated matters even further by contractually preventing the best teams from facing off even when there was clarity atop the polls.The BCS, which mixed polls with the supposed objectivity of computers, was supposed to fix all that. The existence of mathematical ranking systems in college football dated back at least 70 years prior, but since the AP began continuously issuing polls in 1936 these systems had never been the game’s preeminent selectors.It didn’t go smoothly. The computers became an easy punching bag for everything that fans and media hated about the BCS as a whole. “I think over the years, the computers were a scapegoat,” algorithm-maker Richard Billingsley told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach in August. “If there was an issue or if somebody didn’t like the results, it was the computers’ fault, and that wasn’t fair at all.”“Humans had more to do with the BCS than the computers did, but people were just wrong about it,” former BCS director Bill Hancock added. “I think the computers got a bum rap.”Even so, computer ratings played a large role in the BCS, and there were a number of reasons why the foray into data-crunching failed. First, the formula concocted by BCS creator Roy Kramer was inelegant, stirring the polls and computer ratings into an arbitrary statistical mishmash that included team loss totals and an arcane strength of schedule calculation. Also, it was badly overfit. As Stewart Mandel writes in “Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls,” Kramer “had his minions test the formula by applying it to past seasons’ results and making sure it spit out the correct two teams each year.” When future seasons5The ultimate out-of-sample test. failed to play out as tidily as the test sample did, the BCS endlessly tweaked its formula to retroactively “fix” whatever the previous year’s controversy was, rather than anticipating future fusses.And perhaps the BCS’s biggest sin of all was banishing computer rating systems that took into account a team’s margin of victory in its games. It was seeking to reduce the incentive for coaches to run up the score on overmatched opponents, but in doing so it also deprived the computer ratings of key data points. One of the most crucial findings in sabermetrics, across virtually all sports, is that the average margin by which a team wins or loses conveys more information than wins and losses alone. This is especially true in a sport like college football, where the sample of games is so small.Perhaps a computerized system could work if it were deployed with more skill. But college football’s decision-makers have decided instead that using no data — or at least a fuzzy interpretation of what’s available — is better than rigidly adhering to a defective model.And it may not make much of a difference.There will likely be a great deal of crossover between the playoff committee’s selection and the teams the BCS would have listed in its top four slots. In the estimation of SB Nation’s Bill Connelly, no fewer than 75 percent of the top four teams in the BCS rankings each year from 1998 to 2012 — and probably closer to 85 percent to 90 percent — aligned perfectly with the teams a hypothetical playoff committee would have selected had the current system been in place over those years.There also isn’t much distinction between the BCS’s and the CFP’s accuracy in determining the nation’s true best team. The CFP’s four-team bracket would be more likely to feature the deserving champion (a four-team playoff system has about a 45 percent greater chance of including the best team than a two-team setup like the BCS). But the CFP loses that advantage by forcing the top team to play an additional game, opening it up to becoming the victim of bad luck. According to past research of mine, a two-team playoff is won by the best team in the country about 29 percent of the time, while a four-team playoff crowns the best team at a 31 percent clip — hardly any improvement at all.The debut of the College Football Playoff is being celebrated as progress because it returns to the simplicity of human debate. But data and formulae ultimately weren’t to blame for the BCS’s woes, and it’s unlikely that its committee-based successor will reduce the number of college football controversies. Only an emotionless algorithm would have it any other way. read more

28 Sep

No need for Buckeyes to panic

This was supposed to be the year of eight for the Ohio State football team. The team seemingly had all the pieces to go 12-0 during the regular season and win the school’s eighth national championship. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor would also become OSU’s eighth recipient of the Heisman Trophy, thrusting him into Buckeye lore. Then, after the Buckeyes were beaten and battered by Wisconsin Saturday night, most fans gave up hope on the season. Everyone together now, take a deep breath. Through seven weeks of the season, three teams have ascended to the No. 1 ranking (Alabama, OSU and now Oregon). Verdict? No dominant college football team exists in 2010. Here’s a rundown of what the apparent national title contenders face the rest of the season. Oregon still has to play at Southern California, home versus Washington, home against No. 18 Arizona (who has already beaten Iowa) and at Oregon State. Its defense has put up good numbers but hasn’t faced a team as physical as USC or a quarterback with the shake-and-bake of Washington’s Jake Locker. No. 2 Oklahoma travels to No. 18 Missouri and No. 17 Oklahoma State before its regular season ends. It’ll likely face Missouri or No. 14 Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. The Sooner defense gave up 24 points to lowly Utah State and 351 rushing yards to Air Force. It isn’t going undefeated with a cupcake defense. After they face each other next week, all No. 5 Auburn and No. 6 LSU have to do is take on No. 7 Alabama, as well as the SEC East winner in the SEC championship game. Auburn gave up 332 yards passing and four touchdowns to Arkansas’ backup quarterback last weekend — in a little more than one half. LSU can’t decide who its quarterback is. Enough said. There will be a mid-major elimination game on Nov. 6 as No. 9 Utah and No. 4 TCU square off. The loser of the game is immediately eliminated from the title picture, and the winner isn’t guaranteed anything even if it doesn’t lose a game. Although it’s already beaten Wisconsin and won’t have to play OSU, I’m not sold on No. 8 Michigan State. One, it hasn’t played a game outside the state of Michigan yet. Two, it travels to No. 13 Iowa a week from Saturday. If the Spartans are still undefeated in two weeks, go ahead and crown them. The only team that will go untested the rest of the season is No. 2 Boise State. With that being said, a lot has to go right for OSU to re-enter the national title picture. On the other hand, the 2010 college football season is a masterpiece that is far from finished. And if recent history in college football has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected in a season with no clear-cut top team. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the chaos of the 2007 college football season. Week One: Appalachian State stuns No. 5 Michigan in the Big House. Week Five: No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 Florida lose to unranked Colorado and Auburn. Week Six: No. 2 USC loses at home to 41-point underdog Stanford. Week Seven: OSU and South Florida rise to No. 1 and No. 2 after previous No. 1 and No. 2, LSU and Cal, lose to division foes. Week Eight: South Florida’s stay at No. 2 is short as it falls to Rutgers. Week 10: New No. 2 Boston College falls to unranked Florida State. Week 11: OSU suffers embarrassing loss on Senior Day to Illinois. Week 12: Not only is No. 2 Oregon defeated by Arizona, but it loses its quarterback, likely Heisman winner quarterback Dennis Dixon, to a season-ending injury while No. 4 Oklahoma is beaten by Texas Tech. Week: 13: No. 1 LSU is topped by Arkansas in a wild triple-overtime loss, and No. 4 Missouri beats No. 2 Kansas to move within one win of playing for the school’s first national championship. Week 14: No. 1 Missouri and No. 2 West Virginia choke in the final week of the season, giving rise to No. 1 OSU and No. 2 LSU, which ended up being the first national champion with two losses. The Buckeyes need to win their remaining games, preferably quite handily, to stand any chance. Furthermore, they need a ton of help. I’m convinced Oklahoma, Oregon and Michigan State will each lose at least once. It would help OSU tremendously if Oklahoma and Oregon lost twice. Then, OSU needs the three SEC West teams to take each other out and produce only one one-loss team. Utah and TCU also both need to lose. If all of that shakes out, and depending on the voters, OSU might stumble upon another national champion game berth against an SEC team. Far-fetched? Yes. Impossible? No. As college football fans are well-aware of by now, nothing’s impossible with the BCS. read more

24 Sep

Diesel particulates potential underground health hazard

first_imgIn June 2012, the World Health Organisation (WHO) classified diesel engine particulate matter as carcinogenci (Class 1) to humans; based on evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.  This puts diesel particulate matter (DPM) in the same category as silica dust and asbestos.  The classification by the WHO has significant implications for mining, particularly where diesel engines are used in underground confined spaces.  Mitigation approaches include: the use of low emissions engines and source capturing techniques.  Managment of underground ventilation systems can be used as an additional layer of control mitigation.In this regard AMIRA is currently seeking expressions of interest in a potential proposal that would make use of the combined renowned tracer gas expertise of the ChemCentre and BBE-Snowden’s mine ventilation modelling and design expertise to optimize underground mine ventilation systems, particularly to maintain diesle particulate level below recommended concentrations. For more information please contact Chris Du Plessis chris.duplessis@amirainternational.comlast_img read more

22 Sep

Handball smarter than Swimming in Egypt

handball egyptQatar 2015 Political tension between the countries in Arab world caused many problems not only in handball world. FINA World Championship will be held also in Doha in December, but without Egypt national team which declined to participate due political conflict between two countries:– The decision was taken due to the political position of Qatar vis-s-vis Egypt since the revolution of June 30, 2013 –  federation head Yasser Idriss explained.Idriss also said that the Egyptian swimming federation was prepared to accept any punishment for its decision not to compete in the championships scheduled from December 3 to 7.Situation with swimmers want be repeated in case of Handball World Championship 2015 in Qatar. The Egyptian Handball Federation (EHF) has confirmed the Pharaohs will play at the World Handball Championship in Qatar.– Egypt will play at the World Championship taking place in Qatar – Dr Khaled Hamouda, head of the federation, told Ahram Sport following a meeting with Sports Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz. ← Previous Story Ademar Leon looking for defensive specialist Next Story → VIDEO: Jeffrey M’tima knocks down Dominik Klein! read more

21 Sep

DataGuardian flash drive includes nohassle password protection

first_imgThere are a number of systems that allow for the data on a USB stick to be protected. Some manufacturers automatically encrypt all the data, others have software that can be installed for restricting access. But Super Talent has decided to make it incredibly easy to protect your USB drive without the need to install or do anything extra other than plug your stick in.The DataGuardian USB flash drive comes password protected out of the box. There is nothing to install or setup other than deciding what you want the password to be. This has been achieved by placing the password protection in the firmware of the drive. That way, every time the drive is inserted into a computer the password request pops up. Remove it and the data is protected again.As the protection system is in firmware you cannot accidentally delete it, and no one can remove or disable it. Super Talent also state that the DataGuardian protects against Autorun malware ensuring even if you put a malware-infected file on your drive it won’t be able to infiltrate a system.Three DataGuardian USB 2.0 models are available offering 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB of storage space. Super Talent has yet to release pricing details.Read more at the Super Talent press releaseMatthew’s OpinionEveryone wants their data protected and this seems like the simplest way to add it to the drive. The user need do nothing, but every time the drive is inserted it requires a password. While a little annoying if you are constantly inserting and re-inserting, it gives you peace of mind that no one is accessing the data on it without your say so.What we don’t know is how easy it would be to bypass the security. Super Talent clearly list it as “consumer-grade security”. Does that mean in the right hands this password system can be bypassed? You could say that about any drive with any level of security measures. The DataGuard should be viewed as a deterrent for most people who come into contact with your flash drive.I’d actually like to see this solution expanded to larger USB sticks and to the USB 3.0 range too. If it could be setup to allow a user to choose to use it or not it would make for a great standard feature across Super Talent’s entire range going forward.last_img read more

21 Sep

Sonys new 3D headmounted display costs a whopping 2025

first_imgThe Oculus Rift is getting a lot of attention as developers continue to make interesting experiences designed for the virtual reality head-mounted display. Sony has been making similar products for a few years, but they’re not exactly a consumer success. Sony’s newest VR headset, the HMZ-T3W suffers from a flaw more serious than the boring name — the price. This display is priced at £1299, or $2025.You do get a lot for your money with the HMZ-T3W. This face display has two 720p OLED screens, one for each eye so as to create a 3D effect. That’s much higher than the Oculus. The headset has both 2D and 3D modes. It uses a wireless HD signal to playback video content, but can also be connected via an HDMI. Audio is reportedly “high-definition” and in virtual 7.1 surround. Additionally, it looks pretty nice.For power, it has a small battery that can be tethered to the headset, but Sony didn’t say what the expected battery life is. There’s an AC adapter as well if you don’t mind being connected to a wall. Frankly, you shouldn’t be up walking around while wearing a VR headset anyway.Sony is rumored to be working on a 3D head-mounted display for the PS4, but this is a separate product line. Anything produced for the PS4 would be lower quality, and probably much bulkier. The HMZ-T3W would work for PC games, but it’s more expensive than most gaming PCs. Still, if a little DNA from this product gets into the PS4 headset (if it’s real), that could be a compelling product.last_img read more

19 Sep

Jayne All we have to fear is fear itself

first_imgGreg Jayne, Opinion page editor Call it a hunch, but they seem to be running out of ideas.Republicans that is. Or at least Republicans in Washington, D.C. Or at least some Republicans in Washington, D.C. It would be unfair to paint all members of the GOP with the same brush; political parties are vast collections of people with diverse viewpoints.But in the current landscape of 24/7 media and pervasive social media and “gotcha” politics, it is trendy to seize upon the most outrageous fringe of a particular belief system and pretend it represents all members of a particular group. So we apologize in advance to those Republicans who remain reasonable, thoughtful and willing to argue policy on its merits.Unfortunately, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, does not fit into that category. Rather than engage in a nuanced discussion of policy, Stewart is resorting to dog whistles and fear-mongering and scare tactics. Because that is what you do when you run out of ideas.Stewart proudly announced last week that he has received approval to form an “Anti-Socialism Caucus” in the House of Representatives. “So much time has passed from the fall of the Iron Curtain that many have internalized — or never experienced — socialism’s ultimate price,” he said. “If we fail to recall those dangerous times, the primitive appeal of socialism will advance and infect our institutions.”Ultimate price? Dangerous times? Primitive appeal? Infect our institutions? Sounds scary. And yet it seems to be all that Republicans have these days. Well, that and tax cuts for the wealthy. In his State of the Union address in February, President Trump declared, “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country” — as if that really needed to be said.last_img read more

13 Sep

Members of New Yorks Congressional Delegation Oppose BRAC

first_imgTwo New York lawmakers said they will oppose a new round of base closures, partially to protect installations such as Fort Drum.“I take the threat of BRAC very seriously and will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure the stability of Fort Drum and all of our units,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Watertown Daily Times.“This base is also the single biggest economic driver in the region and the loss of jobs that would stem from BRAC would have devastating effects,” Gillibrand added.Rep. Elise Stefanik (R) echoed Gillibrand’s comments, telling the paper she would oppose a new BRAC round and work “against any push that would harm our military readiness.”“In the North Country, we saw firsthand the devastating effects that BRAC can have on the military and our local community when Plattsburgh Air Force Base was closed,” said Stefanik, “and I will continue to fight in Congress against another round of BRAC.” Stefanik serves on the House Armed Services Committee.The Obama administration’s fiscal 2017 budget request calls for a new BRAC in 2019. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

10 Sep

Amazons facial recognition software can now spot fear

first_img Amazon How a facial recognition ban could come to your city soon Facial recognition: Apple, Amazon, Google and the race for your face Facial recognition is a bipartisan concern on Capitol Hill Now playing: Watch this: 1 Amazon says its Rekognition software can track and analyze hundreds of people in a photo using a database with tens of millions of faces. Critics have expressed concerns about the technology, and the American Civil Liberties Union says it could be abused by law enforcement, posing a “grave threat to communities, including people of color and immigrants.” The ACLU on Tuesday said its test of Amazon’s Rekognition software wrongly flagged 26 California lawmakers as criminals. Amazon, however, says the ACLU is misrepresenting its facial recognition software.In July, the Orlando Police Department officially ended its Amazon Rekognition program after a bumpy ride. The department had temporarily stopped using Rekognition in June 2018 after the city’s pilot program with Amazon ended and after the ACLU penned an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos highlighting privacy concerns. Amazon employees have also protested the sale of Rekognition software to police. The Washington County Sheriff Office in Oregon is currently the only law enforcement listed as an Amazon Rekognition customer.Originally published Aug. 14Update, Aug. 15: Adds more background on Amazon’s Rekognition software. Comment Advances in AI and the proliferation of surveillance cameras have made it increasingly easier to watch and track individuals. Getty Images Amazon’s controversial facial recognition technology, called Rekognition, has a new skill. It can now spot fear. The company says it recently launched updates to Rekognition’s facial analysis features, including improved age estimation and the addition of fear to its emotion detection.”We have improved accuracy for emotion detection (for all 7 emotions: ‘Happy,’ ‘Sad,’ ‘Angry,’ ‘Surprised,’ ‘Disgusted,’ ‘Calm’ and ‘Confused’) and added a new emotion: ‘Fear,'” according to an update from Amazon on Monday. “Lastly, we have improved age range estimation accuracy; you also get narrower age ranges across most age groups.”center_img Tags Facial recognition Facial recognition is going to be everywhere 3:28 Security Share your voicelast_img read more

30 Aug

Monitoring Your Employees EMail

first_img It might seem Big Brother-like for you to monitor employee e-mail, but there may be good reasons for doing so. You might suspect an employee is disclosing trade secrets, violating company policy, downloading pornography or harassing another employee via e-mail. Or you may want to make sure that communication with clients is always professional.The Electronic Communication Privacy Act, also known as the Stored Communications Act, prohibits interception of electronic communications under most circumstances. However, it allows companies to monitor employees’ e-mail stored on company-owned servers and in cases when employees consent to employer access to e-mail.On top of federal law, some state courts have held that employees have a basic expectation of privacy that employers can’t violate. “The most obvious legal concern is making sure you’re not setting yourself up for an invasion-of-privacy claim,” says attorney Maureen O’Neill, partner at Paul, Hastings, Jenofsky & Walker in Atlanta. To avoid that, make it clear that company e-mail is not private communication. “Set it up so the employees have no expectation of privacy.”O’Neill notes that a simple, practical way to do that is to put a notice on the login screen that the system is the property of the employer, and that by logging on to the employer’s system, employees agree that any e-mail communications and web use may be monitored by the employer. Likewise, include a similar notice in the employee handbook.Use common sense, though, in monitoring employee e-mail and web use. Before monitoring em-ployees, make sure there is a good business reason to do so. Good employees can feel mistrusted by learning that the company may be checking up on them.Jane Easter Bahls is a writer in Rock Island, Illinois, specializing in business and legal topics. 2 min read This story appears in the January 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals January 1, 2006 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more

19 Aug

Murder of union leaders in Colombia among problems facing Alabama coal tycoon

first_imgWith power and money came scrutiny. In 1979, a federal grand jury indicted Garry Neil, two other Drummond executives and three Alabama lawmakers in an alleged scheme to influence the legislators by, among other things, providing them with prostitutes. Judge Frank McFadden dismissed the case without letting it go to the jury. McFadden declined to comment and suggested looking up his rulings in the docket. But the entire record of the case has been sealed, according to the U.S. District Court in Birmingham.In election years, the Drummond family donates tens of thousands of dollars. In the 2012 cycle, Garry Neil alone gave $67,800 to candidates and political action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington. The company is the third-biggest donor to Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., behind power generator Southern Co., a big Drummond customer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.War and death as businessIn the 1980s, Garry Neil started prospecting in Colombia, during a civil war. Soon after Drummond opened his first mine, the FARC started bombing the railway that carries coal to Drummond’s Caribbean port. In 1999, according to Collingsworth’s complaint, Drummond began paying the paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia) for protection, a charge Drummond Co. denies in court papers.Other companies have acknowledged paying the AUC, designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization in 2001. Chiquita Brands International pleaded guilty in 2007 to U.S. charges that it paid the AUC more than $1.7 million to protect its banana plantations from 1997 to 2004 and agreed to a $25 million fine.AUC gunmen first arrived in the town of Becerril, about 15 miles from one of Drummond’s mines, in 1997 or 1998, according to Victoria Sánchez, 32. She fled in 2003 after a death squad murdered her father, a butcher with no connection to the Drummond union.Yameris Herrera, 45, ran in 2002 after the murder of her father, a farmer, and her uncle. Herrera’s mother discovered their tortured bodies after returning to the family farm from a trip to town. Her husband had been cut to pieces. Her brother’s head was severed.“They thought all the farmers were guerrillas,” Herrera said in an interview.Sánchez and Herrera are among 600 plaintiffs in Collingsworth’s lawsuit, all people who lost family members to the AUC’s reign of terror in towns along the rail line, a campaign that the complaint said was heavily funded by Drummond. Collingsworth says he hopes to win his latest fight by using the testimony of the AUC members who have given depositions under Colombia’s 2005 Justice and Peace Law, which rewards those who confess to their crimes with reduced sentences.Alcides Manuel Mattos Tabares is one who talked. In a March 2012 deposition, he said Drummond Co. paid his AUC unit to provide security along the rail line.“We used lethal force,” Mattos said. “We would just kill anyone who was said to be a guerrilla around those parts.”In January, Jaime Blanco Maya, who had run a food concession at Drummond Co.’s mines, was convicted in Colombia of arranging for the AUC to kill Drummond union leaders Valmore Locarno, Soler’s predecessor, and Locarno’s deputy, Victor Orcasita. He was sentenced to 38 years in prison.In a 2009 motion to dismiss Collingsworth’s complaint, Drummond Co. denied any link to any of the killings anywhere in Colombia. The company never hired the AUC to do anything, its lawyers said. In a June 2012 deposition, Garry Neil said, “I was never in charge of anything in Colombia.”There have been no convictions in Gustavo Soler’s murder, said his widow, who supports herself by giving manicures and pedicures. After Garry Neil reneged on his promise to pay for her children’s education, Nubia Soler said, she paid for it herself by selling cattle and jewelry.“It’s 12 years without justice,” she says.With assistance from Margaret Newkirk in Atlanta, Andrew Willis in Bogotá and Mario Parker in Chicago. Adapted from Bloomberg Markets magazine.© 2013, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments “It’s 12 years without justice,” says Nubia Soler, the widow of Gustavo Soler, union president at a Colombian coal mine owned by Drummond Co. After his murder, CEO Garry Neil Drummond promised to pay for her children’s schooling but “never paid for a pencil,” Soler says. David Nicolas/Bloomberg Markets BOGOTÁ, Colombia – Gustavo Soler knew he was in trouble. In 2001, Soler was union president at a Colombian coal mine owned by Drummond Co., controlled by the wealthiest family in the U.S. state of Alabama.Soler’s predecessor, and his deputy, had been killed seven months earlier. Now Soler was getting threats, Nubia Soler said. He told his family to pack, that they would leave as soon as he got home from the union office in Valledupar, a city in Colombia’s coal belt.He never made it. Armed men stopped his bus, asked for him by name and abducted him. He was found under a pile of banana leaves with two bullet holes in his head, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports.Afterward, Nubia Soler said, Drummond Chief Executive Officer Garry Neil Drummond sent a taxi to bring her to company offices near the coastal town of Santa Marta. He promised to put her children, then 14 and 9, through school.“He never paid for a pencil,” Soler said.Garry Neil, as he’s known, declined to comment and did not answer questions sent to spokesman Steve Bradley of Stephen Bradley & Associates.Drummond faces many challenges related to the mining operations he began in 1995 in Colombia. That first mine came under attack from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a group at war with the government since the 1960s.Currently, workers at Drummond, Colombia’s second-biggest thermal coal producer, may strike as early as Saturday after rejecting the company’s latest pay offer.And labor lawyer Terry Collingsworth has filed four civil suits against Drummond Co., two demanding compensation for the families of union leaders killed in Colombia while representing workers at its mines.In 2007, Drummond won one case brought by Collingsworth after a U.S. District Court jury in Birmingham, Ala., concluded the company didn’t aid or abet the killers. Another suit was dismissed in 2012.In the current case, filed in 2009, Collingsworth charges that Drummond Co. paid right-wing paramilitaries to terrorize the population along the 120-mile rail line from Drummond’s two mines to its port on the Caribbean, torturing and killing innocent people to keep them from giving haven to the FARC. Collingsworth sued Garry Neil personally for the same allegations in February.Collingsworth, now a partner at Conrad & Scherer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, made his claims in part under the 1789 Alien Tort Statute, which gives federal courts jurisdiction to hear complaints from non-U.S. citizens for violations of international law. He said he is suing in the U.S. instead of Colombia partly out of concern for the safety of the plaintiffs.In numerous filings in the case, Drummond Co. and its CEO have denied any links to murders in Colombia. Its lawyer in the Colombian matters, William Jeffress of Houston-based Baker Botts, declined to comment.Vaulting into international marketsThe Colombian mines are crucial to Drummond Co., which had 2012 revenue of $3 billion, based on the volume of its coal shipments. On its website, the company estimates its coal reserves at 2.2 billion tons, 2 billion of which are in Colombia.In 2011, when coal prices were higher, Drummond Co. sold a 20 percent stake in the Colombian operations to Tokyo-based Itochu Corp. for $1.5 billion. Based on that sale, the Colombian mines were worth $7.5 billion. Two years later, the fall in the coal price makes them worth less than $3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg comparing Drummond with publicly listed coal companies.Garry Neil, 75, is one of two surviving heirs of Heman Drummond, who founded the company in 1935 and died in 1956. Today, Garry Neil owns 100 percent of the capital stock in Drummond Co., according to an April report by Dun & Bradstreet, meaning that he is a billionaire. Spokesman Bradley declined to comment on the company’s ownership.It was Garry Neil who vaulted the regional miner into international markets. He earned a civil engineering degree from the University of Alabama in 1961, and in 1969 negotiated a five-year, $100 million export deal with Japanese trading company Ataka & Co., now part of Itochu, Drummond’s partner in Colombia. He became CEO four years later, leapfrogging his older brothers. Drummond Co. now sells its coal in more than 30 countries.In 1976, Drummond signed a 15-year contract with Alabama Power, a unit of Southern Co., to deliver 2 million tons of coal a year to the utility, according to Drummond’s website. It filled it by stripping coal from the Alabama hills.center_img No related posts.last_img read more

18 Aug

Brazil police detain American tourist in Rio

first_imgMendonca says Scott’s relatives in the United States paid his bill after police contacted them and that he will be allowed to fly home Thursday night.The U.S. consulate said it had no comment.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Police in Brazil say an American tourist was detained for several hours after trying to leave Rio de Janeiro without paying his hotel bill of more than $7,000, including $3,000 for “caipirinhas” _ Brazil’s national cocktail of sugarcane rum, lime, sugar and ice.Police inspector Marcio Mendonca says 63-year-old Robert Scott from Murietta, California, was detained Wednesday night at Rio de Janeiro’s International Airport. He says Scott claimed he could not pay the hotel bill because his credit card had been cloned.center_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system The difference between men and women when it comes to pain New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories last_img read more

17 Aug

Jetstar apologises for refusing to book guide dog on flight

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X Only just recovering from being criticised over its wheelchair policy, Jetstar has now had to apologise to a visually impaired couple who were not allowed to book their guide dog onto their flight.Melbournians Glen Bracegirdle, who is visually impaired but does not require a guide dog, and Kathryn Beaton, who does require a guide dog, were recently denied their guide dog when attempting to book a Jetstar flight.This is despite the fact that in Jetstar’s own terms and conditions declaring “we [Jetstar] do provide limited special assistance services to accommodate customers who… need to travel with an accredited service dog”.Jetstar stipulates that that those intending to travel with a guide dog must “advise Jetstar that they have a disability” and the couple claim that was exactly what they did when they contacted the Jetstar call centre but were told “no dogs, no dogs, no dogs” by the Jetstar reservation team member.Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard Simon Westaway, Jetstar Manager Corporate Relations, said that the airline “unreservedly apologises” for the incident and that a “miscommunication” had taken place.“It’s a one off that shouldn’t have happened… we’ve conducted an investigation and we have taken appropriate action… We have always taken registered guide dogs on our flights.”Mr Westaway adds that he has personally spoke to Mr Bracegirdle on the phone “and apologised on behalf of the company”.“He’s a decent man who has flown with us before.”Jetstar is aware that the couple have formally complained to the Human Rights Commission. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1fa93/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

17 Aug

eNett to honour existing Moneydirect fee structure

first_imgRival of the closing payment platform Moneydirect, eNett International, has advised Moneydirect’s current customers (who are not already using eNett) that it will honour Moneydirect’s existing fee structure for the first 12 months.Amadeus’ and Sabre’s closing of Moneydirect and their subsequent recommendation to their Australia and New Zealand customers of their rival to is expected to bring a substantial list of new customers to eNett.Dubbed a “strategic relationship” by eNett International, both Moneydirect and eNett will be working together to ensure a smooth transition between the companies, expected to be completed by 30 September 2011. According to eNett International chief executive Anthony Hynes, both companies will be contacting customers over the next few weeks.“With a substantial client base in Australia and New Zealand already, eNett has the capability and market expertise to seamlessly transition Moneydirect’s customers to its state-of-the-art payments platform,” Mr Hynes said.eNett International offers credit card processing, electronic funds transfer processing and the recently launched vNett virtual card solution for supplier payments.Moneydirect customers have been directed to subscribe to eNett’s offerings by visiting www.enett.com (click on ‘Register an account here’) or by emailing the eNett International Client Support Centre at support@enett.com for more information.Meanwhile, Tramada Systems yesterday announced “mature integrations” with the eNett payment system to ensure “Tramada clients will be able to move seamlessly to the eNett solution for their supplier payments without significant change management issues”.  Stay tuned to e-Travel Blackboard to find out how the closing of Moneydirect will likely impact your business. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more