Mediocrity as a raging epidemic

first_imgThe dictionary describes mediocrity as a low degree of merit, an unresponsive attitude imbued with a general apathy, a middle state of existence.To say that we live in a time of mediocrity is to give mediocrity a bad name. We aspire to very little, we are satisfied with nothing, and we live without expectation. Part of the decline stems from the daily dose of political rot meted out by the media, the incessant air waves and sound bytes of mediocre men who control and charge the atmosphere with daily venom.And they are everywhere. Replacing genuine heroes like Gandhi, Tagore and Einstein, they rush in and out of the television frame, people with 10 minutes of fame, casting aspersions on each other, men and women with rasping opinions but no vision, spewing volumes of self-righteous indignation.The daily face of the politician, the cricketer, the bureaucrat, the journalist, the film hero and the Godman- those interchangeable personalities of India.The movie star’s opinion on trade, the minister’s opinion on art, the journalist’s view of nuclear energy, the cricketer on corruption, the bureaucrat’s participation in the Literary Festival, all contaminate daily life to a point of distraction and diversion.Public domainA minister for agriculture controls a private cricketing body; a cricketer joins the Rajya Sabha; a Communist party leader writes a regular newspaper column; a film actress wins elections in Rajasthan, a convict in Uttar Pradesh. Substitutions can be made between politics, sport, religion, film, smuggling.In the relentless public view of the power game, the nation’s daily debates take place from uncertain, immoderate positions. Everyone must have a say; everyone must disagree; everyone must express their belief in public forums.advertisementEveryone must be known for their volubility, their public presence, their hits on Facebook, the number of followers on Twitter, the number of disciples at a public fast, the number of cars in the garage.Amorphous and always deliberately vague, visibility imparts a renewed sense of purpose. Even in their most private moments, the TV cameras must be on.Public service means continual public consumption; the strange sight of agitated men, shunting in and out of cars with blinking red lights, between Parliament house and jail, between hotel conference and airport, descending from the sky to inspect a flood.The hollow faith of position, status and national enterprise moulded into a daily and charged practice.Without responsibility or achievement, the mere act of maintaining position becomes responsibility, even achievement.It rankles first with the lack of political idealism, bordering on polemical confusion.The Communists still call each other Comrade and their meeting, a Politbureau, but are the first to propound theories of private investment as progress.NGOs bask in a halo of goodness, keeping up the theme of Gandhian austerity, all the while keeping a hand firmly in the deep pockets of their foreign benefactors.Economists reel under the pressure of urgency for poverty line solutions, but must make time for the summit at Davos. The Godman speaks less of God than of more pressing mortal things like corruption, and if elected, to find a cure for black money through the rigorous practice of yoga.Corruption Pampered by idleness and inaction, on air and in the press, in country maidans and at India Gate, emotions run high- a convenient substitute for decisions.But they are relentless in their plunder.One hundred thousand crore, three lakh thousand crore, the figures are meaningless.In the far reaches of burnt out cities, at the edge of treeless forests, bloated bodies come up for air, gratifying their appetites in lust and treasure- a little rape here, a bauxite mine there.But they must daily pamper their dead weight with a high diet, squeezing their servers with gold-studded fingers, and letting others bend to their immodesty.Their true ideals- of uncontrolled prejudice and savage division- are a new form of life’s inspiration.Change Even the false ambitions of the young, the verbal fluency of the intellectuals, and the oscillating conviction of the politicians leave little but a gnawing incompleteness- as if the scale of ordinary life can only be viewed in a flash of personal viewpoints.It is rhetoric of mindless populism, where everything hinges on the economy, material output, rising aspiration, leaving a maladjusted social system, and a people unlinked to any collective desire for change.In the bleached atmosphere of the new century, it is hard to tell apart the ridiculous from the sublime, falsehood from utter falsehood.When the believers are themselves on sale, the equation hardly matters.advertisementMost people, most cultures, that live in hope, do so only because they expect life to change, and for the better. When people begin to believe that change is impossible, when even the floundering has ceased, there is little but terminal decline.The only hope for the future that fills the heart with any optimism is the quick passing of the present, and its replacement with a successor that owes nothing to the present. Something good is bound to rise from the ashes. Far away there are daily rumblings of a coming transformation.In small town, in village, a minor prophet with gentler intentions is on the rise. Living the new ideal on tamped earth, a faint hint of hope, still faint, but ready to remake the world.In an era marked by mediocre men, and a complete absence of applied ideas, is it a wonder that the old profession of leadership flounders for lack of applicants?It was Choudhary Charan Singh who said that the leader of a country of 600 million farmers should himself be a farmer. The Indian leader today is merely a repeat image of the mass he represents. He is just one of us.last_img read more

Glad Shah Rukh Khan has supported Muay Thai: Sonal Sehgal

first_imgMumbai, Feb 20 (PTI) Bollywood actress Sonal Sehgal says she is happy that a superstar like Shah Rukh Khan has extended support for the sport Muay Thai.The Kick-Boxing sport uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques.The “Aashayein” actress has been appointed as the brand ambassador for the Indian Muay Thai Federation 2016, for its Womens team.When asked if kick boxing needs to be promoted more in the country, Sonal told PTI, “From hockey to football, all other sports have faced this struggle. We now have a kick boxing team as part of the Asian Games in 2018 but many are unaware. I am glad someone like Shah Rukh Khan has supported this championship. This will help reach a wider audience.”Sonal had made her debut with the critically acclaimed “Aashayein” directed by National award winning director Nagesh Kuknoor.The actress says she practises kick boxing herself and is hopeful her association with the sports will help throw light on it.”Ive been involved with this since five years now. Ive trained under Bala Shetty – National Coach and also seven times national champion. When a sports personality does it, it seems normal.””But when an actress does it people get inspired. If she can do it, I can too. Its a great exercise and extremely helpful as self defence too.”Sonal was a popular face on TV with shows like “Saara Akash” and “Hotel Kingston”. The actress, who then went on to work in films like “Radio” and “Damadamm”, says she would love to be back on TV.advertisement”At a time when saas-bahu daily soaps were at the top, those two shows were competing with them and holding strong. Unfortunately after that I wasnt offered anything which I really liked. But I would love to come back on TV and do a show.”She has currently signed Brazilian director Lucia Baratas “Flows”.The film, set in India and Brazil, is a collection of stories. Sonal will play the protagonist in one of the stories set in India. PTI JUR ARS NDS BASlast_img read more


first_imgMumbai, May 7 (PTI) Oilseeds: Bold (in Rs.Per 100Mumbai, May 7 (PTI) Oilseeds: Bold (in Rs.Per 100 kgs) Groundnut Kernel 6050 Groundnut Bold 60/70 8000 Javas 60/70: 8950 Javas 70/80: 8700 Javas 80/90: 8450 Kardi 3200 Sesame (Whitish) 98/2/1: 7000 Sesame 95/5/1: 6850 Sesameseed crushing 48/2/4 6100 Sunflowerseed 3950 Nigerseed 9360 and Castorseed Bombay 3310.Oils & Seeds: (In Rs. Per 10 kgs) Groundnutoil 1210 Kardi Expeller 870 Sesame Expeller N/T Sunflower Expeller 675 Refined 758 Cottonseeds Refined 655 Palmolein Refined 588 Soybean Refined 638 Soybean Crude N/T Rapeseed Refined 865 Rapeseed Expeller 835 Copra White 820 Ricebran 4-7% FFA N/T Ricebran N/T Linseeds Oil 1230 Castoroil Comm 692 FSG 702 Kandla 668 Mowra N/T Neem 970 Karanji 635.Deoil Cakes: (Rates in Rs.per mt) Groundnut Extraction 45% 29,800 Kardi Extraction 13,000 Sesame Extraction N.Q. Cottonseed Extraction N.Q. Undec Cottonseed Exp 25,500 Rice Bran Extraction N/Q Sunflower Extraction 23,500 Rapeseed Extraction N/Q Soyameal 48% 38295 and Castor Extraction 4750. —- Oilcakes:- Groundnut Expeller Oilcake Rd(per met. tonne)(50%): CLOSED Kardi Expeller Oilcake Rd(per2 metric tonnes) : UNQTD. Groundnut Extraction (per metric tonne) : UNQTD. PTI JBH SBT MKJlast_img read more

Andy Murray shows comeback could yet have fairytale ending

first_imgColumn: Freedom of speech has its consequences for NBA At that point, the start of his time in China, he had yet to win an ATP Tour singles match since undergoing career-saving hip-resurfacing surgery in January.At the Zhuhai Championships two days later he got that landmark first victory.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40SPORTSBecoming his own manHe lost his next match, to eventual champion Alex de Minaur, and said afterwards that he was playing “top 70, top 60” tennis.Most observers felt that the three-time Grand Slam winner, who only returned to playing singles in mid-August, was being harsh on himself. DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers He lost in the last eight to top seed Dominic Thiem, who would go on to win the China Open, but said afterwards that the comeback was going better than expected.“I think this (week) was maybe the best in terms of how I played since I came back,” Murray said.His ranking, which had plunged to 503, jumped to 289.‘I can do much better’Murray stepped up his return at the Shanghai Masters this week, defeating 56th-ranked Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero in three sets in his opener on Monday.On Tuesday he faced his toughest opponent yet, the 12th-ranked Fabio Fognini.Murray twice served for the match but eventually went down in three sets, after which he accused the Italian of trying to put him off by shouting while he went for a volley.It was a bitter end to a day which began with the Australian Open announcing that Murray will return to Grand Slam tennis there in January.It will be a fitting return because it was in Melbourne nine months ago that Murray broke down in tears and said that his career could be over because of his troublesome hip.There were high emotions again after defeat to Fognini, but this time anger — with himself for failing to close out the match, and with his opponent’s histrionics. Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:2760-40 sharing ‘fair’ as China will spend for WPS exploration—Esperon02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue This jewelry designer is also an architect Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? Andy Murray of Britain hits a return against Fabio Fognini of Italy during their men’s singles match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on October 8, 2019. (Photo by Noel CELIS / AFP) Andy Murray exited the Shanghai Masters in a fiery defeat but three tournaments in China offered enough evidence to suggest that his comeback from major surgery could have a fairytale ending.Just over two weeks ago the 32-year-old Briton told AFP that it would be “naive” to think he will return to being the player that topped the world rankings in 2016.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics “There is a lot of things that I need to get better at and I can do much better,” a fuming Murray said.“I will go away and I’ll work on those things and be in a better position next time I play against him.”Murray told AFP in Zhuhai that success in China would be winning two matches at each of the three tournaments.He did not manage that, but on this evidence, coupled with his deserved reputation as a fighter, few would bet against Murray capping his comeback with a 46th title.Next he will play at the European Open in Antwerp, which starts on Monday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Drilon apologizes to BCDA’s Dizon over false claim on designer of P50-M ‘kaldero’ Becoming his own man Last week he moved on to the China Open in Beijing, which boasted a stronger field, and offered more proof that his comeback was moving along very nicely.In his opener Murray claimed his biggest post-surgery scalp yet, defeating 13th-ranked US Open semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini.Murray has consistently said his hip is pain-free but that he does not have the fitness to play several matches a week and needs to be quicker across the court.Nevertheless, the next day he beat fellow Briton Cameron Norrie in three sets.Victory brought another small landmark, putting Murray in the quarter-finals of a tournament for the first time in a year.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

Blatter Faces FIFA Ethics Panel

first_imgZURICH — In the waning days of his Presidency, Sepp Blatter attempted to save his job Dec. 17 at the FIFA ethics committee he helped create and whose authority he does not recognize in his case.The suspended FIFA President had been expected to tell four judges he is innocent of wrongdoing during the hearing at the headquarters of soccer’s governing body, the first time Blatter has entered the building since he was banned for 90 days in October.“Blatter looks forward to a decision in his favor, because the evidence requires it,” Blatter’s lawyer, Richard Cullen, said in a statement after the hearing.“The evidence demonstrates that President Blatter behaved properly and certainly did not violate FIFA’s Code of Ethics. This investigation should be closed and the suspension lifted.”With a large bandage on his face, Blatter arrived at FIFA headquarters. A spokesman for Blatter, Thomas Renggli, said the Swiss official has had a minor procedure to treat a skin problem on his right cheek.At 5 p.m., Blatter and lead lawyer Lorenz Erni drove away from the building without making any comment.In 2012, Blatter was key to empowering a tougher and more independent FIFA ethics committee that he now insists cannot remove an elected President.“Now it has come back to haunt him,” Mark Pieth, a former anti-corruption adviser to FIFA, told The Associated Press this week.Blatter risks a life ban if the verdict — due early next week — is guilty for approving a payment of about $2 million from FIFA to Michel Platini in 2011. Platini has also been banned for 90 days.Otherwise, Blatter could be banned for several years for a conflict of interest between the two longtime FIFA executive committee colleagues. He is also likely to be quizzed about falsifying FIFA accounts.In a Swiss television interview last month, Blatter said it is “humiliating” for a FIFA President to be barred from office by his own ethics committee. He also said the ethics committee he ushered in after a previous corruption crisis had no right to take him down.Only the FIFA congress can remove a President, Blatter said at the time.In July 2012, FIFA moved from an in-house committee monitoring unethical conduct to a two-chamber group of prosecutors and judges with freedom and funding to pursue cases.Pieth led a group of anti-corruption experts and soccer officials who steered Blatter and FIFA toward modernizing reforms from 2012-14. Not all were accepted, but the two-chamber ethics court was crucial.“It must be said that he (Blatter) was the one who pushed it through congress,” Pieth, a Swiss professor of law, said in a telephone interview. “That was the moment we all believed he is serious, at least about the letter of the changes.”Blatter complained about the ethics committee’s power to Russian news agency TASS after his 90-day ban was imposed.“They can be independent but they don’t need to be against me,” he was quoted as saying in October.Blatter was charged by the ethics committee after Switzerland’s Attorney General opened criminal proceedings against him for the payment to Platini, who is boycotting his own ethics hearing on Dec. 18.The case centers on Platini getting about $2 million of FIFA money as uncontracted salary for working as Blatter’s presidential adviser in 1999-2002.Platini asked for a salary of one million Swiss francs. Blatter has said the former France international had a contract for 300,000 Swiss francs, plus a “gentleman’s agreement” to get the rest later.Swiss law obliged FIFA only to pay the deferred money within five years but Platini, by then UEFA President, reportedly asked for the balance in 2010 and was paid in February 2011.The timing has raised suspicion, coming months before a presidential election when UEFA urged its members to support Blatter against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar. Blatter won unopposed after Bin Hammam was implicated in bribing Caribbean voters.Blatter also faced questions about false accounting because FIFA’s debt to Platini was not recorded in financial reports from 2002-2011.“The first part of the payment is in the accounts, the second no, but I am not a FIFA accountant,” Blatter said in an interview with Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport this week. “And what was or wasn’t in the accounts, was a debt to pay.”If he is found guilty, Blatter can appeal to FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.(GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

MLS Players Union denounces Trump comments

first_imgMLS MLS Players Union denounces Donald Trump’s controversial comments amid protests Goal Last updated 2 years ago 02:42 26/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Donald Trump Getty Images MLS NWSL The U.S. president called on NFL team owners to fire players for kneeling during the national anthem, and the MLS Players Union expressed its concern The MLS Players Union has responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial statements regarding protests during NFL games over the past 13 months, calling the remarks “jarring and disappointing.”Trump at a rally Friday called on NFL team owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who “disrespects our flag” by kneeling during the national anthem. He also asked for harder hitting in the league, saying “they’re ruining the game” by implementing new rules for player safety.The MLS Players Union chimed in Monday, releasing a statement of support of all professional athletes in North America. Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing “All players have every right to exercise their Constitutional rights and we will do everything in our power to defend those rights…”— MLS Players Union (@MLSPlayersUnion) September 25, 2017″To hear the President of the United States single out certain professional athletes and call for their termination of employment was jarring and disappointing, as was his disregard for player health and safety,” the statement read.”Like NFL players, and players across the North American sports landscape, MLS players spend countless hours off the field doing charitable work that makes a significant impact in the communities in which they play.”All players have every right to exercise their Constitutional rights and we will do everything in our power to defend those rights when they are challenged. It is our deepest hope that the solidarity exhibited on a daily basis by professional athletes throughout North America can serve to encourage a more tolerant and less divisive society.”If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017…our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017The defiance against Trump on Sunday included NFL players locking arms, refusing to stand for the national anthem and not coming out to the field for the pregame tradition as a protest for racial and social injustice. In the NWSL, the top women’s professional soccer league in North America, U.S. national team players Becky Sauerbrunn, Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe refused to enter the pitch for the anthem ahead of a match Sunday.last_img read more

Bayswater Beach in Lunenburg County Reopened to Swimmers

first_imgThe Department of Health and Wellness has reopened Bayswater Beach in Lunenburg County to swimming today, July 28. The oil sheen has dissipated and the water has been determined safe for swimming. Lifeguards will continue to monitor the water. To check on the status of the beach, call the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service Beach Information Line at 902-477-6168 or visit -30-last_img

AI tool predicts cell behaviours during diseases treatment

first_imgBerlin: Researchers have developed — scGen — an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered tool which promises to reshape the way we study diseases and their treatment at cellular level. The study, published in the journal Nature Methods, shows scGen will help mapping and studying cellular response to diseases and their treatment beyond experimentally available data. According to the researchers, scGen is a generative deep learning model that leverages ideas from image, sequence and language processing and applies them to model the behaviour of a cell performed on computer or via computer simulation. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year The next step for the team will be to improve scGen, make it a fully data-driven formulation, increasing its predictive power to enable the study of combinations of perturbations. “We can now start optimising scGen to answer more and more complex questions about diseases,” said the researcher Alex Wolf from the Technical University of Munich in Germany. Large-scale atlases of organs in a healthy state are soon going to be available, in particular, within the Human Cell Atlas. This is a significant step in understanding cells, tissues and organs in healthy state in a better way and providing a reference while diagnosing, monitoring and treating diseases. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India Accurately modelling cellular response to perturbations e.g. disease, compounds and genetic interventions, is a central goal of computational biology. In addition, scGen is the first tool that predicts cellular response out-of-sample. This means that scGen, if trained on data that captures the effect of perturbations for a given system, is able to make reliable predictions for a different system. “For the first time, we have the opportunity to use data generated in one model system such as mouse and use the data to predict disease or therapy response in human patients,” said Mohammad Lotfollahi from Technical University of Munich.last_img read more

Construction on new Northeast Elementarys foundation to begin immediately

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The School District #60’s Board discussed developments on the new Northeast Elementary School during its first meeting of the new school year on Monday.During the meeting, SD60 Assistant Superintendent Doug Boyd explained that construction on the new school’s foundation would start immediately, as the district already hired Yellowridge Construction LTD to manage said construction.“The Northeast school as you are well aware has received approval and will start with soil stipping,” said Boyd. “Our construction management term for this project is Yellowridge, so basically we’ve hired local contractors to do the screening.” The district will now tender a contract for work on the school’s foundation with an award coming in the next few days. Once the district awards the contract, construction will commence as soon as possible.“At this point, it’s only the weather that could give us hiccups or delays.”Boyd added that soil at the new school has already been stripped and moved to Margaret Ma Murray Elementary, where it will be used as a foundation for sod.The new school, which will be built on 86th street and 112th Avenue, is receiving $30.8 million from the province to go towards the project. Northeast Elementary is expected to be completed by the fall of 2021 and will host students from Kindergarten to Grade Six.last_img read more

Morocco Recalls its Ambassador in Nigeria for Consultation

Rabat – Morocco has decided the immediate recall of its ambassador in Abuja for consultation, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.“Contrary to the allegations made by Nigerian authorities to the ambassador of HM the King in Abuja and local media, the Kingdom of Morocco confirms, in the clearest and strongest terms, that there has never been a phone conversation between HM King Mohammed VI and the President of this country,” the ministry pointed out in a statement.“HM the King has actually declined the request of the Nigerian government because it is part of the internal electioneering and this country’s fundamentally hostile positions with regard to the territorial integrity of the Kingdom,” the statement said. “The Kingdom of Morocco expresses its astonishment and denunciation to these unethical practices that are contrary to the spirit of responsibility that must prevail in relations between States,” the ministry added.“Accordingly, the Kingdom of Morocco has decided the immediate recall of the ambassador of HM the King in Abuja for consultation”, the statement concluded.MWN With MAP read more

New UN communications chief outlines priorities for 2007

Delivering his first major policy address since assuming the top United Nations communications post earlier this year, Under-Secretary-General Kiyotaka Akasaka today described efforts to reorient the Department for Public Information (DPI) both structurally and programmatically, and said priority attention would be paid to peace and security, climate change, development and human rights. Mr. Akasaka told the UN Committee on Information, meeting in New York, that DPI aims to reform in a stable manner. “We must build on the gains made in the past, while remaining attentive to the demands of the media, to changes in the Organization’s priorities, and to new and revised mandates given to us by Member States,” he said. The Committee, which began its 2007 session today, examines the UN’s public information policies and activities in light of international relations concerns. Consisting of 110 member States, it is also tasked with the promotion of a more equitable world communications order to strengthen peace and international understanding.Opening the session today, Committee Chairman Rudolf Christen of Switzerland said that the meeting coincided with a “new phase” at the UN, under the leadership of the new Under-Secretary-General. The Department of Public Information was the Organization’s “loudspeaker,” he said, but that loudspeaker must be used to create a clear and coherent message. Under-Secretary-General Akasaka said DPI has made steady progress in meeting its mission and explained that its activities would continue to become more strategic, echoing the directive put in place by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when he took office in January. Citing the example of the General Assembly’s 2006 High-level Dialogue on Migration, he said an analysis of the media coverage of that event showed that the key messages on the UN’s role on migration framed by DPI were picked up by journalists more than 90 per cent of the time. He also pointed to the wide reach of the UN’s website, which receives over 50 million unique visits annually. In addition, over 300 million people now have access to UN Radio programmes, many of which are now available on the Internet. Mr. Akasaka also described several new outreach programmes, including one on the Holocaust. “The observance in the General Assembly Hall this year included representatives of various communities who were targeted during the Holocaust, as well as students who will carry their message of tolerance and hope to future generations.” The Department is now focusing on four priority themes: peace and security; climate change; development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of global antipoverty targets; and human rights, he said. Drawing attention to the work of the UN Information Centres (UNICs) operating in various countries, he said: “They give our global messages a local accent – and as a result they bring the UN closer to the people it serves.” Reflecting on his own career path, which included work at several international organizations and led to his appointment in March as Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Mr. Akasaka said he had long been familiar with the UN’s work through his travels. “At each place, I discovered amazing stories of people striving to make lives better. Behind those stories often lay the light footprint of the United Nations and its staff. I always admired the commitment and dedication of those people – the unsung heroes – who stood guard between enemy combatants, built tents for refugees, vaccinated children against deadly diseases, and brought food and water to the needy,” he said. “Now I have the opportunity to tell the story of the United Nations to the whole world. It is an amazing opportunity and a remarkable challenge.”Following Mr. Akasaka’s presentation, delegations began their discussion of UN information issues. Katharina Ahrendts of Germany, speaking on behalf of the European Union, began the debate by commending DPI’s efforts to develop a more strategic approach in spreading the Organization’s message, welcoming the new system of regional hubs within the network of information centres. On behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, Pakistan’s Sarukh Amil said the information centres were vital to the flow of information and helped bridge gaps between developed and developing countries and called for adequate funding for them. He also welcomed efforts to increase awareness of UN peacekeeping efforts. Peacekeepers often produced “huge success stories” and it was important to tell their stories globally and locally. 30 April 2007Delivering his first major policy address since assuming the top United Nations communications post earlier this year, Under-Secretary-General Kiyotaka Akasaka today described efforts to reorient the Department for Public Information (DPI) both structurally and programmatically, and said priority attention would be paid to peace and security, climate change, development and human rights. read more

Humanoid Robot Pepper has Canadian launch at ATB Financial

Don’t worry, it’s not taking any jobs, but a robot is coming to a Calgary bank near you.On Tuesday, ATB Financial introduced Pepper, a four-foot tall humanoid robot that will engage with customers and eventually perform other services for the bank.ATB Financial President and CEO Dave Mowat with their new humanoid robot Pepper, a unique customer service rep. #yyc— Lucas Meyer (@meyer_lucas) April 25, 2017President and CEO Dave Mowat said it’s an early look into utilizing artificial intelligence.“It’s not like we’re going to force people to deal with robots or anything like that,” he said. “But artificial intelligence lets you do some very kind of mundane things very quickly and with memory of you, and I think that’s what customers want.”Mowat said they are going to experiment with how they use the robots, although they will be at select branches starting next May.He said Pepper could ideally perform online chat with customers, answer call centre queries and help staff in back offices.“I think the biggest thing is when companies sometimes introduce technology, they do it to make our life better as a bank and the reason we’ve got Pepper out is we’re going to try and figure out how we can use artificial intelligence to make the customer experience better,” he said.A look into the future, a demonstration of ATB robot Pepper #yyc— Lucas Meyer (@meyer_lucas) April 25, 2017Along with greeting and explaining products and services, Pepper can also take selfies and dance.Pepper was developed by Softwood Robotics America in San Francisco and the robot is already in use in different parts of Asia and Europe.“It’s our first partner in Canada overall, so this a very special moment for us,” Global Product Manager Bill Lott said.Lott added Pepper has voice and face recognition and can actually detect if someone is happy and respond to questions appropriately.But wait, there more! Pepper even dances ! #yyc— Lucas Meyer (@meyer_lucas) April 25, 2017 Calgary|YYC by News Staff Posted Apr 25, 2017 1:53 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email (Lucas Meyer – 660 NEWS) Humanoid Robot ‘Pepper’ has Canadian launch at ATB Financial read more

Sunderland City Council focuses on UK automotive

In the UK we have the advantage of greater workforce flexibility, the location of existing plants, particularly with transport costs and the vulnerability of extended supply chains becoming more of a concern, as well as a hard won reputation for quality and productivity. SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt addressed a parliamentary seminar this afternoon hosted by Sunderland City Council to explore how local government can best support economic development and innovation in automotive manufacturing with the growth of low carbon technologies.Speaking alongside Trevor Mann, senior vice president for manufacturing, Nissan Europe and Michael Hurwitz from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in a panel debate entitled “What is the UK’s future in the global automotive industry?”, Mr Everitt spoke on behalf of the UK motor industry about the opportunities available through the shift to a low carbon agenda. For more on the future of the automotive industry, click here.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) In the future the demand for motor vehicles will grow. In places like China, India, Brazil and a wide range of other developing economies personal transport is now becoming available and affordable to the majority.  The demand in these markets, as in Europe, the US and Japan will be for progressively low, lower and ultra-low carbon vehicles.  This change provides new opportunities to those with the capability, technology and determination to succeed. In establishing the Automotive Council the UK Government has recognised the value of a long-term partnership with industry. It will provide a focus for the development of a national strategy to help maximise the industrial benefit that the transition to ultra-low carbon vehicles is creating.” “It is widely recognised that we need to create an economy that is better balanced, where the design, development, and manufacture of goods and services is given greater emphasis and attention,” he said. It is essential that in the UK we all work together to present the best investment case. That means focusing our resources in the areas that make the biggest impact and are closely linked to the technology roadmaps and product developments being undertaken by the key investors. The event, held in the House of Commons, brought together key players from academia, government and industry discussing technological innovation, productivity and skills, the UK’s role in developing a skilled workforce and the role of exports in the UK economy. read more

Ohio State defensive line adopting a pack mentality to replace departed starters

OSU then-redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Hubbard (6) celebrates after a fumble recovery during a game against Penn State on Oct. 17 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorThe change in seasons is not the only change this spring at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. With 22 players having departed the program, the remaining players and staff for the Ohio State football team are left trying to fill those voids. A lot of that change can be seen in the defensive line. A gaping hole at the right side of that line is leaving many wondering how OSU will fare without Joey Bosa. Bosa, a two-time winner of the Big Ten’s Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year award and a projected first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft, leaves big shoes to fill. OSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson said he believes that the new contributors don’t need to be carbon copies of the player they’re stepping in for but can find ways to make themselves successful in different ways. “My philosophy is that you don’t try to replace them, you just try and find a guy to raise their game to the next level,” Johnson said. “I think the talent is there, and they want to be very good. What I do as a coach is to try and get them to raise their game.” Redshirt sophomore defensive end Sam Hubbard is one such player expected to raise his game to the next level. The 6-foot-5 Cincinnati native is well aware that the ghost of No. 97’s shadow will be looming over the defensive line all season long, but he’s trying to avoid that pressure. “I don’t want to be Joey Bosa,” Hubbard said. “He’s a great player, but I just want to be the best Sam Hubbard.”Fortunately for Hubbard, he was able to accumulate enough experience last season to set him up for his newfound spotlight. Hubbard, who recorded 6.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman, was in the rotation, often giving Bosa a few downs off or even playing on opposite sides of the line. His biggest test, however, was when he replaced Bosa after the starter was ejected in the first quarter against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. From that point forward, Hubbard said he knew he needed to be a leader of the unit. “I used to watch the older guys, and now the younger guys are watching me,” Hubbard said. “There are great players that came before us, and if we have any drop off, then our possibility of losing the game is higher. We have to continue at the level of play that is expected at Ohio State.”One of the younger guys who could be a factor next year has a familiar surname: Nick Bosa. Before he even takes a snap donning scarlet and gray, one of the most highly touted recruits in the nation already has exceedingly high expectations. Although Nick Bosa is still on the road to recovery after sustaining a torn ACL as a high school senior, Johnson said he believes that once the younger Bosa gets back to work after his injury, the sky’s the limit.“He is so far ahead in his rehab right now, and we are talking and communicating. I am getting great video of what he is doing,” Johnson said. Johnson and his staff have yet to make a decision on where on the defensive line Nick Bosa will play. His older brother played on the outside, but the incoming freshman could find himself on the interior.“He can do both,” Johnson said. “We are going to see what’s the best fit for him and put the best 11 guys on the field. If he is a part of the best 11, we are going for it.”Alongside Hubbard is Tyquan Lewis, a redshirt junior defensive end from North Carolina. After playing through a shoulder injury last year, Lewis is spending his spring rehabilitating to get back and lead the younger guys. For Lewis, though, it’s not about one guy but the whole unit defensively. “We all have to play within ourselves but understand that we are playing together as one,” Lewis said. “The expectations for all of us are high because this is big-time football at a big-time university, so we want to make sure everyone gets a piece of the pie.”The culture that Johnson is helping bring to the defensive line is to limit the expectations of the individual but heighten expectations of the unit. This kind of collectivist thinking is influencing the players to think of themselves as one of 11. Hubbard, a primary leader of the defensive line, said he sets the example for not only the younger guys but for the entire defense.“I just want to never lose a rep, be a disruption, make plays, do my job, and be my one-eleventh part of the defense that everyone can rely on,” Hubbard said.OSU is set to make its return to the field on Saturday in the annual intrasquad spring game. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at Ohio Stadium following the men’s lacrosse game against Michigan. read more

The Decline Of New York City As An NBA Talent Generator

Now that I’m allowed to write about basketball again after my stint as a consultant for the Atlanta Hawks, I wanted to follow up on this Grantland piece by Jordan Conn about the decline of basketball in New York City, the once-great hoops mecca. Conn had a few statistical notes on the downturn — for example, on a per-capita basis, New York ranked 27th among states in 2013 at producing Division I college basketball players — but I wanted to map the change in NBA talent generated by the city.We can do that using the wins above replacement (WAR) metric developed by FiveThirtyEight’s editor in chief, Nate Silver, in his analysis of Carmelo Anthony’s New York Knicks contract. To measure the contributions of New Yorkers over the years, I plotted the change in the share of total, leaguewide WAR produced by players who were born in New York or went to high school there (according to’s high school data, which admittedly only lists the final high school a player attended).Now, we could consider everyone from the New York metro area eligible. But here were Conn’s thoughts about what constituted New York:It’s tricky to determine precisely who counts as a New Yorker, but for the purposes of this story, here are some rules: Long Island doesn’t count. Neither does Westchester, and definitely not Newark or any other part of New Jersey. New Yorkers come from the five boroughs — nowhere else.Using those standards, here is the proportion of WAR generated by New Yorkers back to the NBA-ABA merger in 1977:Looking at only NBA output, Conn is correct in his assessment of New York’s decreased basketball prominence.Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, nearly 6 percent of total NBA WAR were created by New York high school products, a long-term average that grows beyond 7 percent — hitting as much as 12 percent in some individual seasons — if you consider Michael Jordan, born in Brooklyn but raised in North Carolina, to be a “New Yorker.” But by the 2000s, New York’s NBA production started to tick downward.Some of that might be due to accounting; as Conn hints at, the rise of so-called basketball factory prep programs has regularly led players from smaller local high schools to transfer to huge national powerhouses designed to give them more scouting exposure, and a chance to improve grades or test scores. (Anthony, for example, is widely regarded as a Baltimore native but transferred to Virginia’s mighty Oak Hill Academy for his senior year, thus being listed in databases as a Virginia product.) But there’s also no doubting the impact on New York’s decline when hyped prospects like Omar Cook, Sebastian Telfair, Julius Hodge and Lenny Cooke failed to make a dent in the pros.Now, only 1.8 percent of leaguewide WAR were created by players who went to high school in the city, courtesy mostly of former Indiana Pacer Lance Stephenson (now with the Charlotte Hornets) and the Hornets’ Kemba Walker. (In 2011 and 2012, before Stephenson and Walker matured into good players, Metta World Peace was basically the only player carrying the NYC schoolboy banner in the NBA.) Anthony, Joakim Noah and Roy Hibbert — and before them, Lamar Odom — help if we lump in players born in New York who graduated high school elsewhere, but the trend is clear: New York isn’t cranking out NBA talent the way it used to. read more

Queens of Ohio Volleyball wins tourney

The Ohio State women’s volleyball team fended off fellow in-state universities this weekend to win the Sports Imports Classic at St. John Arena.Bowling Green, Cleveland State and Xavier all fell victim to the Buckeyes (12-1 overall, 3-0 in the tournament), who dropped only one set the entire weekend.Xavier (7-6) had an opportunity to win the event on Saturday night with a victory over OSU, but the Buckeyes won all three sets, pushing the Musketeers into a second-place finish at 2-1.OSU played better as the match went on, winning the final set 25-6 after more competitive bouts of 27-25 and 25-18. Junior Katie Dull led the Bucks with 17.5 points, including 13 kills.Earlier Saturday, OSU faced its toughest challenge against Cleveland State. The Vikings jumped out to an early lead, sparked by a 26-24 win in the first set. However, OSU rolled out three consecutive winning sets, 25-20, 25-22 and 25-15.Senior Kristen Dozier paced Ohio State with 17 points and 15 kills.On Friday, the Buckeyes swept away Bowling Green in three quick sets, 25-19, 25-20 and 25-13.Freshmen Amanda Peterson and Emily Danks and redshirt senior Chelsea Noble all represented Ohio State on the tournament team, Peterson being honored as the event’s Most Valuable Player.Cleveland State (11-4) finished third at 1-2, and Bowling Green (7-6) failed to record a victory, finishing up 0-3.The Buckeyes head to Illinois on Friday and Northwestern on Saturday for a pair of Big Ten road games to kick off conference play. read more

Row over Tutankhamuns tomb affair as ITV drama brings discovery to life

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. Max Irons as CarterCredit:ITV Howard Carter, Lord Carnavon and Lady Evelyn Herbert in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt, 1922. What could be more romantic than an expedition to the pyramids, solving mysteries in close quarters under the dusty heat of the Egyptian sun?But the question whether an alleged affair between two key historical figures ever actually happened has become a topic of contention nearly a century later, as the story of Tutankhamun’s tomb is brought to life for television.A new ITV drama will show Howard Carter, the archaeologist, embark on a love affair with Lady Evelyn Herbert, the young daughter of his patron the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, as they worked on the famous expedition to find the treasures of Tutankhamun.While the current Earl has protested the sexing-up of the drama’s storyline, saying “it just didn’t happen that way”, its writer argues denying the love story outright is to “dodge” the evidence of the time. Burt told the Telegraph: “I’m not saying it’s fact; it’s an interpretation of the limited facts at our disposal, from which we have to draw our own conclusions.“But I am saying that the story of the romance is emphatically not a writer’s invention; it is an elaboration of an existing, persistent rumour which if not proven by the evidence, is certainly not contradicted by it either.”The new four-part series begins on ITV this Sunday at 9pm. Amy Wren as EvelynCredit:ITV Amy Wren as Evelyn Howard Carter, Lord Carnavon and Lady Evelyn Herbert in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt, 1922. “As for claims of an affair between Carter and my great-aunt Lady Evelyn Herbert, there was no romance,” he has said. “It just didn’t happen that way.”Burt has now cited the documents the script is based on as evidence of a suspected relationship, pointing out they carry enough weight that modern historians “feel the need to address this point even if only to dismiss it”.They include a journal entry by Arthur Mace, who describes Carter and Lady Evelyn as “very thick together”, as well as the young lady’s letters to the Egyptologist signed with a “bless you dearest Howard” he believes too gushing for a simple employer-employee relationship. The team behind the discovery:  Arthur Mace of the Metropolitan Museum, Carter's secretary Richard Bethell, Arthur Callender, Lady Evelyn Herbert, Howard Carter, George Herbert, Fifth Earl of Carnarvon, chemist Alfred Lucas of the Egyptian government, and official photographer Harry Burton The team behind the discovery:  Arthur Mace of the Metropolitan Museum, Carter’s secretary Richard Bethell, Arthur Callender, Lady Evelyn Herbert, Howard Carter, George Herbert, Fifth Earl of Carnarvon, chemist Alfred Lucas of the Egyptian government, and official photographer Harry Burton The golden mask of Tutankhamun’s mummy Max Irons as Carter The golden mask of Tutankhamun's mummy One letter from Carnarvon to Carter, he added, refers to a vicious row between the two men which resulted in Carter throwing his patron out of his home.Lord Carnarvon writes: “I have been feeling very unhappy today, and I did not know what to think or do, and then I saw Eve [Evelyn] and she told me everything.“I have no doubt that I have done many foolish things and I am very sorry.” The programme promises: “Evelyn finds love with Carter: a forbidden love that crosses class boundaries, between two people who can’t possibly expect a future together.“But in Egypt, perhaps anything is possible…”The current Lord Carnarvon, whose home Highclere Castle is already well known to ITV viewers as the star of Downton Abbey, has publicly objected to the new drama, saying he has “considerable reservations” about its portray of his great-grandfather. Guy Burt, the writer of Tutankhamun, has hit back at accusations the show took liberties with the truth, saying the story of the romance is “emphatically not” an invention but a “persistent rumour” which is legitimate to dramatise on screen.Speaking ahead of the first episode, due to be broadcast on Sunday, he said: “To say categorically that there was no chance of a romance between Carter and Evelyn is to dodge some of the evidence of the time. “The television drama will star Max Irons as Howard Carter, Sam Neill as Lord Carnarvon and Amy Wren as Lady Evelyn, described as having blossomed from teenage girl to “beautiful young woman”.last_img read more

Singer Keha seeking help with eating disorder

first_img POP STAR Ke$ha entered rehab on Friday, seeking treatment for an eating disorder, TMZ reported.In a statement obtained by TMZ, the 26-year-old said: “I’m a crusader for being yourself and loving yourself but I’ve found it hard to practice. I’ll be unavailable for the next 30 days, seeking treatment for my eating disorder…to learn to love myself again. exactly as I am.”According to the, the singer was admitted to Timberline Knolls rehab centre near Chicago, which is the same place where Demi Lovato was treated for an eating disorder and other emotional issues in 2010.Column: Dying to be thin – what you should know about eating disorders> After discussing layoffs to cut costs, WeWork CEO Adam Neumann treated employees to tequila shots and a private performance by a member of Run DMC The 15 best college dining halls in America, according to students WeWork founder Adam Neumann joked about changing the United States Constitution so he could run for president ‘Why is my iPhone battery yellow?’: How to enable an iPhone’s Low Power Mode to conserve battery last_img read more

This bike has beautiful temperedsteel wheels for a super smooth ride

first_imgYou’ll never get a flat tire with the Soft-Ride Bike. This wonder uses what appears to be a normal bike frame, but instead of the standard metal rims/spokes with rubber tires, the wheels on the bike are made up entirely of sprung steel.Guests staying at the W Hotel in London’s Leicester Square will have a chance to ride the bike. Designed by Ron Arad, an Israeli industrial designer, artist, and architect, known his Well-Tempered chair series that he began in 1986. The chair is in the shape of a large armchair but was built out of tempered steel that held in tension with bolts.The sprung-steel wheels give the bike a natural bounce, acting as shock absorbers on the otherwise rigid frame. While aesthetically pleasing and possibly comfortable, they don’t look like they would offer much grips, especially when cornering.There are 18 strips of steel that are each pinned at different tension points to create one working wheel resembling a flower. The bike wheels are quite a bit larger than normal bike wheels, and the wheel’s flexibility actually gives the bike a bit of a cushion. If you’re worried about speeding on this bike, don’t be–it’s apparently more comfortable the faster you pedal.The bike is available for guests to test out between now and October 29. After that, it will be auctioned off for the Elton John AIDS Foundation along with other bike that are custom designed by British singer-songwriter and actress Paloma Faith, painter and graphic designer Natasha Law (Jude Law’s sister), and fashion designers Patrick Cox and Alice Temperley.You can check out the auction via Facebook if you’re interested in bidding on the eye-catching bicycle.via FastCoDesignlast_img read more