Month: July 2019

  • Disabled athletes and their families have given ev

    first_imgDisabled athletes and their families have given evidence to MPs about widespread cheating within the Paralympic classification system.The committee has been told of one swimmer whose father bought her a wheelchair on eBay to try to mislead the officials who would be classifying her – in a bid to compete against slower swimmers – while others took cold showers “to help stiffen their muscles” before they were examined.The written and oral evidence has been submitted as part of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee’s inquiry into sports governance.The classification system is run by the national governing body of each Paralympic sport, while athletes competing internationally also have to submit to testing by international classifiers.The process includes medical evidence, physical examinations and assessment of how the athlete functions in that sport, as well as observation of them in competition.The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) defines classification as grouping athletes into different classes according to how much their impairment “affects fundamental activities” in that sport and discipline.But misleading classifiers – known as intentional misrepresentation – can allow athletes to compete against those whose impairments have a greater negative impact on attributes such as speed, coordination and strength.Giving evidence in person to the committee this week, Michael Breen, the father of Paralympic athlete Olivia Breen, said he had been trying to raise concerns about the classification system since 2013.He said he believed the system was “not fit for purpose” and that it needed a “root and branch review”.Although he did not believe abuse was “absolutely widespread”, he said there was “a significant issue at the moment that needs to be addressed”.He added: “I think it’s not difficult to address it. I am just not convinced that the people in charge at the IPC have any interest in addressing it.”He said he believed IPC was “in complete denial” about the problem because they “want to protect the brand and they don’t want – because they think their sponsors won’t want – to have stories being written about their mistakes in classification”.In a written statement to the committee, IPC says three British athletes that Breen complained about in May 2016 were investigated and found to be “appropriately classified”.And it said that it remained “deeply concerned” about the “wellbeing of those athletes who have been subjected to third-party allegations of improper classification” and that “such unfounded allegations are causing undue stress and tension to these athletes”.IPC said it was “not unusual” for it to receive complaints about classification in the run-up to a major competition, such as the Rio 2016 Paralympics, and that “every single complaint” was investigated.On the same day that Breen gave evidence, the committee published written statements from a string of other witnesses.Former sprinter Kyle Powell said in his statement that after several years in the sport he began to realise that many of the “heroes” he had been “inspired” by appeared to be “at an unfair advantage gained due to the flaws of the classification system”.He added: “I lost trust and belief in the system and ultimately ended up quitting, partly due to not wanting to be a part of a sport with so many false idols.”Ian Jones, who competed as an athlete in the Beijing Paralympics, described in his statement how problems with the classification system also caused him to quit the sport.He said: “The whole experience had a major impact on me, practically, financially, emotionally and psychologically.“In my experience, classification has always been open to manipulation and has never been fit for purpose. It needs to be completely overhauled to make it safe and fair.”Charlie Bethel, who until July was chief executive of British Wheelchair Basketball and is himself a qualified classifier, said in his statement that when he told the chief executive of another national sports governing body that he had learned about a Paralympic athlete’s “inappropriate” classification behaviour, he was told that “everyone was at it”.Bethany Woodward (pictured) said in her written evidence that she believed that a “weak classification system together with a ‘gold medals’ at any cost mentality is excluding many disabled people from the sport and that this dynamic is adversely affecting the involvement of athletes at a grassroots level”.Woodward, who won a 200m silver medal at London 2012, described how she had “lost confidence in the integrity” of the classification system after watching other athletes in her class in the warm-up area before races and realising that “the nature of classification was changing and that it was excluding more disabled athletes”.And she said that her “greatest concern over the last two years has been the unwillingness of any of the three main umbrella Paralympic organisations [British Athletics, the British Paralympic Association and the International Paralympic Committee] to meet me and find out my concerns”.Woodward says in her evidence that British Athletics sent legal letters to media organisations that attempted to report her concerns last year.She spoke to BBC’s File on Four in September about her concerns and told the programme that she wanted to hand back a relay medal she won in the 2014 European Championships because she doubted whether one of her team-mates should have been in that category.Steve Long, father of Paralympian swimmer Jessica Long, who won six medals, including a gold, at Rio 2016, named two swimmers – one British and one Australian – in his statement who he believed were guilty of intentional misrepresentation.He said: “In the Paralympic world, doping is an extremely rare occurrence, but only because there is a better way to cheat.“This method of cheating, as some Paralympic swimmers have discovered, has no penalties for the athlete even when their dubious methods are discovered.“The swimmers have discovered that they can intentionally conduct themselves in a way that misrepresents the severity of their disability.“By doing this, they are able to scam the classifiers and compete in the wrong disability class.“There are swimmers that exaggerate their disabilities in the hope of being classed down to a class where they can dominate.”The father of swimmer Levana Hanson said he was aware of methods used by other swimmers to “mislead/misrepresent their disability to gain lower classification”.Mark Hanson named British and international swimmers in his statement, and said the International Paralympic Committee knew that such “misrepresentation” was happening, while officials from British Swimming were “complicit” in such practices.He said he knew of one swimmer whose father had bought her a wheelchair on eBay “for the purpose of misleading the classifiers”, while other swimmers took cold showers “to help stiffen their muscles prior to being examined”.The British Wheelchair Athletics Association (BWAA) raised concerns in its statement about the process of international classification.The BWAA statement said that a senior British athletics classifier had said that “if you want an easy classification – go to Dubai”, which BWAA said “would seem to be true”. It also backed concerns raised by athletes such as Woodward about the increasing number of athletes with neurological conditions other than cerebral palsy (cp) who were being allowed to compete against athletes with cp and had an unfair advantage.Pauline Betteridge, herself an international classifier – although not in athletics or swimming – told the committee in her written statement that many current classifiers “do not appear to have much clinical experience”, which means “it is easy for those determined to cheat to get away with it”.She said: “I am aware of a situation where coaching staff know that their athlete is far more able than demonstrated at assessment but did nothing about it as they were winning medals.“The fact that sport is now dependent on winning medals to gain funding means that sport is not encouraged to be honest. Pressure to perform is huge.”But Professor Nick Webborn, the British Paralympic Association’s chair, and himself a former athlete and chief medical officer for London 2012, defended the classification system in his written evidence to the committee.He said that it was “vitally important” that the classification system was “open and transparent and as scientifically based as possible”.He said: “There will always be someone just above or just below the cut-off threshold between classes who may feel advantaged or disadvantaged by this decision; however, that is the reality.”He said he did not believe there was “widespread wrongdoing within the movement and it would be inappropriate to portray it so without evidence to the contrary”.last_img read more

  • Housing Startup Managed SRO Damaged in Fire

    first_img 0% Tags: Department of Building Inspection • displacement • firefighters • Fires • sf • tech Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Up until the five-alarm fire damaged the Graywood single room occupancy hotel and left 58 tenants without a place to live, the SRO was managed by a housing startup that matches roommates and manages co-living spaces for young professionals.Under its management, the Graywood’s tenants began to include tech workers and others able to pay up to $1,400 a month for a room, compared to the $681 a month the building’s traditional low-income tenants were paying. After the fire, the Graywood’s landlord, Dipak Patel, ended the hotel’s lease with Alon Gutman and Danny Haber’s housing startup, Negev. The two-year-old company has a history of leasing SROs and renting some, if not all, of their rooms to young professionals, students, and entrepreneurs. Patel said he took over management from Negev so that he could begin repairs, which are now underway.center_img Several tenants who rented through Negev said that the company’s management was unresponsive to their inquiries and confusion arose over access to units in the hotel.“They are not talking to us,” said one younger, newer tenant,  who booked his room on a three-month contract through Negev. In San Francisco for an internship, the tenant declined to give his name, but said he only spent a week at the hotel before fire struck. Attempts to contact Negev on Monday to gain access to the building led nowhere for the intern. He said he was told by a resident manager who lives on site and “moves tenants into the SRO rooms for Negev” that he would be let into the building at 9 a.m to retrieve some of his belongings.But by 2 p.m., the displaced tenant was still waiting for the management to show. “I think the managers have as much info as we do — nothing,” he said.Carlos Velasquez, the resident manager, on Tuesday that he indeed had been unable to reach Negev. “Many tenants are asking me if they will get their rent back. I don’t know what to tell them.”Following multiple calls to Negev, a representative offered to put the intern up at one of the company’s other locations. The representative offered him a 20 percent discount on a $1,400 room that came with three roommates.The intern, who was paying $1,200 for his own room at the Graywood, said he declined the offer.The option to relocate was not extended to other Graywood tenants who rented with Negev. Instead, some said that they received emails announcing that they would be billed for June’s rent.“I wrote them and said ‘don’t charge me because the building burned down,’” said a student who resided at the Graywood for less than a week and also requested to remain anonymous. “They emailed me back and said I had to write a more formal cancellation email.” The confusion continued on Wednesday, when the SRO tenants were permitted to enter the burned building for the first time under the supervision of building inspectors. Neither Gutman or Haber were present to answer questions about the tenant’s contracts.Housing for Young ProfessionalsOn its website, Negev offers five locations throughout the city with rooms renting between $900-$2,000. The hotels come with descriptions like “social, ambitious and driven interns,” aiming to match tenants with similar interests and personality types.“People who are paying those prices are also being duped, believing that they are coming into  [tech or student] housing,” said Chirag Bakhta, who works for the Mission SRO Collaborative, a nonprofit that advocates for SRO residents.Instead, the now burned-out SRO with 26 rooms housed a mix of long-term tenants, fixed-income renters, seniors, families and formerly homeless tenants. The intern and the student said they stepped into a reality that was quite different from what was advertised.“The way they promoted it, it sounded like it was was all students living together,” said the student.Some longterm tenants of the Graywood who were “inherited” by Negev after the company took over the hotel’s management roughly two years ago said that they had been offered buyouts ranging from $2,000 to $3,000. “They offered to buy me out several times,” said Kimberly Walley, a Graywood resident of five years. “I told them that [money] did nothing for me.”Paul Miranda, a U.S. Marines veteran, and his partner, Michelle Thompson, were also offered a buyout two years ago. The couple had been living at the Graywood for some four years and paid $681 for their room. “They were trying to be a co-op thing,” said Miranda. “The refurbished rooms come with bunk beds and futons. They don’t look like our rooms.”Thompson said that the hotel is not the “cleanest,” and that she feels for the newcomers. “This place is run down, its not operated right. I wouldn’t pay $1,200 for a room here.”In recent years, Negev has faced a lawsuit over attempting to buy out long term tenants after a fire. Negev has a second location in a former religious mission dedicated to serving and housing the homeless. That location became embroiled in more trouble when the city discovered the landlord and Negev had allegedly been renting the rooms at market rate, counter to the stipulations of an interest-free loan from the city that came with the condition that the hotel be rented to low-income residents only.Earlier this year, Negev moved to purchase an Oakland SRO, where Haber told the Business Times he would do his best not to displace any low-income tenants.Under city regulations, SRO rooms may be rented at market rate to tenants beginning new leases, just like any other rent-controlled apartment. But because many consider them a last resort resource for people either on the brink of homelessness or trying to escape it, some see Negev’s conversions as questionable. “Ethically this company is taking advantage of the housing market by renting low income rooms at high prices,” said Bakhta, adding that companies like Negev are capitalizing on a trend of flipping SRO rooms by “fancying up” vacant rooms and renting them at market rate.“They’ll put in a new fancy sink, a microwave, fresh paint and a flat screen,” said Bakhta, then rent the refurbished rooms “under the veneer of housing young professionals.”When reached by phone, Gutman said that Negev aims to provide “places where you can live with friends.”“We help them find people they want to live with,” he said about his service, but declined to comment further. Haber could not be reached for comment.Graywood Owner Takes the ReinsIn April of last year, Walley, who is formerly homeless and also paid $681 for rent, said Negev attempted to evict her for a late payment on her rent.“They gave me a three days notice into the weekend. It was given to me on a Friday,” said Walley. “When I got there on Monday [I was told] they ain’t excepting my money because I’m four days late.”Walley believes she and other long term residents were targeted by the company. “They didn’t want us here, I know that for a fact.”Sanyika Bryant, a tenant counselor at Causa Justa, advised Walley and another long-term Graywood tenant facing eviction. “What’s cold about [Negev] is they are using [SROs] to fill residential units with tourists and taking away from the housing stock.”Patel, the property owner, said he is ending Negev’s lease and attempting to remedy the confusion among tenants about coordinating post-fire recovery efforts.On Thursday, five days after the fire, Patel said he would begin repairs to the building and was actively reaching out to the tenants to prorate their rents. As is mandated by law , Patel said he would give Graywood residents who contact him with the desire to move back the right to return.Patel owns several properties around San Francisco, at least one of them another SRO. He said he knew nothing about the attempted evictions of Walley or the other long-term tenant. last_img read more

  • CONGRATULATIONS to Blackbrook Royals u12s and u13s

    first_imgCONGRATULATIONS to Blackbrook Royals u12s and u13s for winning their respective Lancashire Cup finals on Sunday October 13 at Widnes Vikings.Blackbrook u12s beat Leigh Miners Rangers 25-6 with Danny Eden (2), Jack Welsby (2) and Brandon Scully grabbing the tries.Aaron Hughes and Ryan Forshaw added the conversions whilst man of the match Ryan Forshaw tagged on a drop goal.The club’s under 13s took the spoils over Newton Storm 22-0.Lewis Martin bagged two tries and won man of the match whilst Nathan Beckett and Mathew Ellaby added others.Joel Lyon with the conversions.last_img read more

  • NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher offers free admission on MLK Day

    first_imgNative fish are just one of the many exhibits you’ll find at the aquarium. (Photo: Ashley Sturm/WWAY) KURE BEACH, NC (Press Release) — The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher invites you to enjoy a day at the Aquarium for free on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Monday, January 15.Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of two holidays each year the N.C. Aquariums offer visitors free entry. The other is Veterans Day in November. All N.C. Aquariums also offer a discount throughout the year to active duty military and retired military (with ID).- Advertisement – The Aquarium will be accepting non-perishable food to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Appropriate items include canned fruits, vegetables, meats, beans soups; canned pasta with meat, mac and cheese, granola bars, fruit cups, individual juice or milk boxes, individual sandwich crackers, mixed nut packets, peanut butter, infant formula, No glass, expired items or junk food please.last_img read more

  • School system tests app that allows you to track childs bus ride

    first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — School districts are finding ways to improve the school bus system.In New Hanover County, tracking your child on the school bus and even lowering the shortage of bus drivers is a top priority.- Advertisement – Imagine if your child’s school bus trip could be in the palm of your hand.“I think it would be extremely helpful for both parents, bus drivers, babysitters, whoever is getting the kids that day,” babysitter Samantha Scott said.New Hanover County Schools is in the testing phase of adding a device to the buses. New Hanover County Director of Transportation Ken Nance said it will let the drivers put in their routes and show where the bus is at all times.Related Article: Castle Hayne mom battling cancer receives free HVAC unit“We’ll have to see how the testing goes, but hopefully it works as well as we hope it will and we’ll be able to put it in place in the fall,” Nance said.But even with this new device it is not a resolution to bus driver shortages.“It’s always been an issue, but it’s a bigger issue now then I’ve ever seen. And again it’s a common issue in North Carolina and through out the United States,” Nance said.The school board recently passed that newly hired teacher assistants will be required to get their CDL and drive a bus.“I mean that’s what we really want because no matter if you have this system or not if the buses are late, they’re still late and they’re still late getting the kids to school each day and they’re missing part of their educational opportunity,” Nance said.Meanwhile, parents are hopeful the device will be approved.“I think the idea of the bus having a GPS allowing parents to track it is a great idea,” parent Donna Kaiser said.Nance say getting additional drivers will hopefully offer a little relief that kids will get picked up and dropped off on time.Right now they have ordered two of the tablets for their testing. If approved, Nance said it will be sometime in the fall, but the biggest concern is the bus driver shortage.last_img read more

  • Grocery stores slowly reopening deliveries on the way

    first_img Lowes Foods has trucks and food vendors arriving on Wednesday. A Lowes Foods representative says they will be well stocked with bread today.Not all Lowes Foods are open, though. The stores in Murraysville and Southport are still closed. The Leland location opened at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.Other Lowe’s will be open with limited hours.Pine Grove: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.Monkey Junction: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.South College Road: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.Ocean Isle Beach (limited staff): 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.Oak Island (limited staff): 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.Hampstead: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.Related Article: NCDOT urging drivers not to return to Wilmington area, for nowLowes will provide updates here.Walmart stores in Leland, Southport, Whiteville, Burgaw and Hampstead remain closed. The company did not have a time frame on when supplies will arrive.Open Aldi stores:9410 Ploof Road, Leland, NC 28540 (Brunswick County) – Modified store hours, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closure due to local curfewFood Lion have not yet responded.Publix has reopened their stores at Ogden Market Place, Pine Valley, and Surf City. Long lines at the Harris Teeter in Leland on September 15, 2018 (Photo: WWAY) SOUTHEASTERN NC (WWAY) — Customers frustrated with bare grocery store shelves will soon get some relief, as delivery trucks are making their way to southeastern North Carolina.All Harris Teeter stores are open. A company spokeswoman says trucks had been trying to get to Wilmington and finally made it last night and today. Shelves are now being restocked.- Advertisement – last_img read more

  • McCabes showcase whimsical natural garden

    first_imgWILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — For more than 21 years, the McCabes have been enjoying outdoor living in their whimsical garden that overflows from the front to the back of their home.This is not a manicured lawn with neatly trimmed boxwood. The McCabes’ garden is casual with native and pollinator friendly plants. The couple says they are committed to designing an enjoyable yard to relax in. Beyond the plants, their garden includes two outdoor showers, a sauna, a hot tub and a fire pit.- Advertisement – “We’ve got butterflies done by Paul Hill, who is a local artist, and we’ve got two whimsy flower sculptures that were on display at Airlie Gardens a couple of years ago apart of the imagination exhibit,” Laura McCabe said. “We’ve also got 3 water features, beehives and chickens.”The garden also features a tandem bicycle ‘ribbet’ sculpture. As avid cyclists, this unique piece is the perfect addition to their garden.last_img read more

  • Two people killed in crash in Pender County

    first_imgPENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Two people are dead after a crash near Burgaw Tuesday morning.According to Trooper Sutton with the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the crash happened just before 8 a.m. on U.S. 117 near Old Savannah Road.- Advertisement – Sutton said a Dodge Ram pickup heading north on 117 crossed the center line and hit a Chrysler 300 head on.Trooper Sutton said the driver of the Dodge Ram, Lisa Nixon Mcmillan, 45, and the driver of the Chrysler 300, William Donnell Bryant, 44, both died in the crash. He said there were no other passengers involved.Trooper Sutton said speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash and the investigation is complete.Sous Chef William Bryant (Photo: Thyme Savor Catering)Related Article: Two area stores fined for overcharging customersThyme Savor Catering posted on Facebook Tuesday saying William Bryant was a sous chef for the company.“We lost one of our own friends and Sous Chef William Bryant in a tragic car accident on his way to work. If you knew Will you immediately loved him and his personality,” the Facebook post said. He was a special person to all of us in so many ways. He loved working a A Thyme Savor and it showed in his work ethic and attitude everyday.”last_img read more

  • 2 men injured in driveby shooting in Wilmington

    first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Police are investigating after a drive-by shooting in broad daylight that left two men injured Saturday.According to a news release, the shooting happened around 4:30 p.m. near New Centre Dr. and Kerr Ave. while one car was passing another. Police say someone fired multiple shots from one vehicle injuring two men in the other vehicle. Both men were driven to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries.- Advertisement – Police ask anyone with information on this shooting to please use Text-a-Tip or call (910) 343-3609.last_img read more

  • Most liked pages on Facebook

    first_imgAdvertisement One of the best ways to learn how to deal with social media is to look at the industry leaders, there are so may pages on Facebook and more are being created each and every other day.The No. 1 and No. 2 spots are still held by Facebook’s own company pages.  Facebook for Every Phone is the official page for Facebook’s feature phone app.#NameTotal Likes 1   Facebook for Every Phone231,611,4912   Facebook91,095,6043   YouTube73,705,1774   Texas HoldEm Poker70,073,0985   Rihanna69,960,0856   Eminem69,480,0747   Shakira64,027,5268   The Simpsons63,696,3719   Coca-Cola63,409,93710   Harry Potter61,298,88511   Michael Jackson58,393,35012   Lady Gaga56,822,92013   Cristiano Ronaldo56,769,01514   Justin Bieber52,927,45215   Katy Perry52,802,06016   Family Guy52,214,46117   Linkin Park52,213,65918   AKON46,883,69719   Beyoncé46,374,16520   South Park45,986,98521   Leo Messi45,009,00422   Lil Wayne44,671,71923   MTV44,476,63624   Will Smith44,028,25825   Disney43,798,69726   House43,330,30127   Bob Marley42,748,10628   SpongeBob SquarePants42,623,44129   Selena Gomez42,262,55230   Taylor Swift42,173,944Credit: PageDatalast_img read more

  • Thai government pressures Facebook Line to censor online posts

    first_imgFacebook like shown on a billboard on 1 Hacker Way. Image Credit: wikimedia Advertisement Thailand’s military government will try to persuade media companies Facebook and Line to comply with court orders to remove content it considers harmful to peace and order, a senior official said Sunday.The junta-appointed NRSA advisory council plans to meet executives from the two companies in the next three months, council member Major General Pisit Paoin told Reuters.The government has been granted court orders for the removal of content that damages the country and the monarchy and affects peace and order, which companies have rarely complied with. The firms would be asked to in future respond quickly to such rulings, he said. – Advertisement – Thailand’s junta has faced repeated criticism for what rights groups say is a deepening slide into authoritarianism since the army took power in May 2014.Its previous attempts to get social media platforms to take down political postings have been largely ineffective, although the country has blocked thousands of websites hosting lese majeste content.Numbers of people arrested under the laws against criticizing the monarchy have also risen sharply.Thai representatives for Facebook and Google could not immediately be reached for comment.Thai authorities made a similar request over content on Jan. 22 to technology giant Google, which owns the YouTube video sharing platform, Pisit said.[related-posts]Authorities have also increasingly cracked down on criticism of the junta.A former politician from the Pheu Thai party of deposed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was charged on Friday for violating the country’s Computer Crime Act for sharing on line a video mocking junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha.Download our PC Tech Android App and keep updated on the move.[Reuters]last_img read more

  • Facebook Now Available in 100 Languages Globally

    first_img(Image Courtesy:) Advertisement According to Facebook Post by CEO and Co-Founder of Facebook; Mark Zuckerberg, the social networking platform is now available in more than 100 languages with more than one billion people using a language other than English. Among the languages added include; Fula, Maltese and Corsican.“Our community makes this possible. Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have worked together to find the right translations for words and phrases in the Facebook interface. Because the idea of a “Like” in English may mean something different in Arabic or Japanese, Mark said.”According to Mark, people want to share what matters to them and see what matters to the people they care about, meaning that, they need services available in a language they understand very well. – Advertisement – Some of the languages that were added don’t have meaningful presences on the internet.Source: Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Post.last_img read more

  • Heres Whats New in Microsofts Window 10 Creator Update

    first_imgWindows 10 Laptop. Photo Credit: Microsoft Advertisement On Tuesday, Redmond-based software firm, Microsoft Corp. released the Windows 10 Creators Update — a big, free upgrade that brings new features to the operating system.It’s not a massive change, and the Windows 10 experience won’t be that different. Instead, the Creators Update brings a lot of smaller changes behind the scenes, adding a few new settings, features, and apps to your PC or tablet.Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights in the Windows 10 Creators Update. – Advertisement – 1. Windows 10 brings a new Game Mode. This helps keep your gameplay consistent by prioritizing the game you have open, devoting less processor power and memory to other apps running in the background.2. The Creators Update also brings integration with Beam — the video-game streaming service that Microsoft bought in 2016. Microsoft thinks it’ll beat Amazon’s Twitch by having a much lower latency, plus you can start streaming from any PC game with a click or two.3. Windows 10 catches up to the Mac, iPhone, and Android with the introduction of Night Light, a mode that reduces blue-light emissions from your screen to help you sleep after using your computer after sundown.4. The Cortana virtual assistant gets some upgrades, too, like “suggested reminders,” which help keep you honest with the promises you make via email.5. Microsoft Paint gets its biggest upgrade in decades with Paint 3D, a new version of the app that lets you use a stylus or your finger to easily create three-dimensional models.6. The Creators Update also brings better control over when Windows 10 will install updates. You can choose what time the updates will install, or pause them for as long as three days.7. Microsoft’s Edge browser gets some updates, too, most visibly the option to put aside a bunch of tabs for later retrieval without cluttering your top bar. It also gets new upgrades like the ability to read e-books, which you’ll be able to buy from the Windows Store.8. The Maps app gets a neat little upgrade with a handy feature that lets you sketch on the map and get the real-world distance covered by your line. That’s useful if you’re planning a hike, urban or otherwise.[related-posts]source: Business Insiderlast_img read more

  • Rwanda Poll Body Cant Curb Social Media Use

    first_imgAdvertisement The election body does not have the mandate to regulate social media use by presidential candidates, a measure seen as an assault on free speech, claimed Rwanda’s media regulator.Last month, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) suggested that once the July 14 campaigns starts, any presidential candidates’ social media updates must be submitted to them for pre-approval.On the other hand, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) which oversees the media, said in a statement that the NEC had “no mandate to regulate or interrupt the use of social media by citizens.” – Advertisement – “RURA as the statutory regulator has not had any discussions with NEC on this subject and would like to reaffirm the right of citizens to express themselves on social media … while respecting existing laws,” wrote spokesman Anthony Kulamba.The ruling created a furor with opposition leaders seeing it as a bid to block criticism of President Paul Kagame while US ambassador Erica Barks-Ruggles said it was a “very, very serious limitation on the freedom of expression.”The measure even raised eyebrows within government, with Foreign Minister Mr. Louise Mushikiwabo writing on Twitter that, “No offence to Rwanda NEC but Rwandans should express themselves freely on social media in election season.”Since the end of the 1994 genocide in which around 800,000 mostly Tutsi people died, Rwanda has been praised for its stability and economic performance. However, it often comes under fire for a lack of political freedom.Rwanda is constitutionally a multi-party system but there is practically no opposition within the country.All recognized parties generally support the policy decisions made by the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) with exception of the small Democratic Green Party which was the only one to object to 2015 constitution changes allowing Kagame to seek re-election. Only four candidates have declared their intention to run against Kagame in the 4th August poll.last_img read more

  • Musicians Take Classical Talents to Inner City Classrooms

    first_imgShare CONTACT: David KaplanPHONE:(713) 831-4791E-MAIL: mcinelli@rice.edu MUSICIANS TAKE CLASSICAL TALENTS TO INNER CITY CLASSROOMSAnderson Quartet Studying, Reaching Out to Community from Rice’sShepherd SchoolThey bring their cello, viola andviolins to Houston’s inner city to play and teach classical music to elementaryschool children. They are the Anderson Quartet, the first African Americanmusic ensemble to win a major competition in the field of classical music. Theacclaimed quartet has performed live on ”Good Morning America,” at the Kennedy Center for President Clinton’s inauguration, in New York’s Alice Tully Hall and in Paris, France.The Anderson Quartet has recently moved to Houston to studyin the Quartet Training Program at Rice’s Shepherd School ofMusic.The 10-year-old Anderson Quartet is devoted to community outreach. Working with the non-profit, educational reform group Project GRAD, they have begun teaching music classes on Fridays at Looscan, an HISD inner city elementary school. The Anderson Quartet will also give free concerts at the Houston Zoo and the Wortham Theatre, each presented by Da Camera of Houston.Anderson Quartet violinist Marianne Henry notes that thegroup formed because they were musician friends who happened to be AfricanAmerican. But when they noticed the response they were getting from minorityaudiences, they realized they were role models and soon felt that they had amission: ”Through personal interaction with the public, to create new anddiverse audiences for the field of chamber music.”When they lived in New York City, the Anderson musiciansperformed on the sidewalk for tips and drew huge crowds that spilled into thestreet. In those days they were an all-female group and when performing they’dget marriage proposals from strangers. The Anderson Quartet later studied at thefamed Eastman School of Music.On Dec. 2, the Anderson Quartet will give its first Houstonrecital, at the Shepherd School’s Stude Concert Hall at 8 p.m. On April 8, 2000,they will give a free concert at the Houston Zoo and on Feb. 2, 2000 a freelunch time concert downtown at the Wortham Theater. The zoo and Wortham concertsare presented by Da Camera of Houston.Named after legendary contralto Marian Anderson, theAnderson Quartet will be studying with renowned cellist, Paul Katz a foundingmember of the Grammy Award winning Cleveland Quartet and one of the mostsought-after cello teachers in the world.For interviews with the Anderson Quartet or more information, please call David Kaplan at (713) 831-4791 or contact him by e-mail at .### AddThislast_img read more

  • Baker Institute expert Texas should devote resources toward developing vaccines for neglected

    first_imgAddThis Share2EXPERT ALERTDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.eduBaker Institute expert: Texas should devote resources toward developing vaccines for neglected tropical diseases  HOUSTON – (Feb. 9, 2016) – Neglected tropical diseases have become widespread in the United States, particularly in Texas, which has an opportunity to devote state resources toward developing vaccines for these afflictions, according to a tropical-disease policy expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.Viruses transmitted by mosquitoes include dengue fever, the West Nile virus and, of recent heightened interest, the Zika virus. Credit: thinkstockphotos.com/Rice UniversityJennifer Herricks, a postdoctoral fellow in disease and poverty at both the Baker Institute and Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine, will testify on the topic before a Texas House of Representatives’ Public Health Committee hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10.It is estimated that 12 million Americans, most of them impoverished, live with a neglected tropical disease (NTD), Herricks said. These diseases are not household names — Chagas disease, cysticercosis, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis and trichomoniasis — and also include viruses transmitted by mosquitoes, including dengue fever, the West Nile virus and, of recent heightened interest, the Zika virus.During the 2015 Texas legislative session, Herricks testified in support of House Bill 2055, introduced by state Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place, which became law this year and provided the first step for Texas to begin to properly address emerging and neglected diseases. The law mandates that the Department of State Health Services implement sentinel surveillance for these diseases. The new law also ensures that physicians have the knowledge necessary to diagnose and treat patients. As the first state in the U.S. to enact such legislation, Texas is setting the bar for addressing these important public health issues at the state level, Herricks said.“When we think about disease control, having reliable incidence and prevalence data is certainly an important factor,” she said. “Another thing we often consider is what is the most effective way to address human disease in terms of preserving human health in a cost-effective manner. In most cases, the most cost-effective intervention is vaccination. Because of vaccination, we were able to eradicate smallpox, previously one of the most common and devastating human diseases, in all areas of the world. However, most emerging and neglected diseases have no vaccines.”This represents a public-health opportunity, Herricks said. “Texas has some of the best research capabilities in the world, including exceptional expertise in emerging and neglected diseases,” she said. However, these talented researchers need resources to develop the vaccines that will ultimately protect Texans and many others from these diseases. This is where our policymakers have the opportunity to find ways to ensure that these resources are made available.”To interview Herricks, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.-30-Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute and @BakerCHB.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Herricks biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/experts/jennifer-r-herricks.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog,http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.last_img read more

  • Rice expert available to discuss Houstons proposed plan to address pension issues

    first_imgAddThis Members of the news media interested in speaking with Fulton should contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or amym@rice.edu.-30-This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu/.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related Materials:Kinder Institute website: http://kinder.rice.edu/Kinder Institute pension report: http://kinder.rice.edu/HoustonPension/Photo link: http://news.rice.edu/files/2012/03/0302_KINDER-b.jpgPhoto credit: Rice UniversityLocated on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.If you do not wish to receive news releases from Rice University, reply to this email and write “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Office of News and Media Relations – MS 300, Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005 Share1Rice UniversityOffice of Public Affairs / News & Media RelationsAmy McCaig713-348-6777amym@rice.eduRice expert available to discuss Houston’s proposed plan to address pension issuesHOUSTON – (Sept. 14, 2016) – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner today announced a plan to address the city’s pension issues. Bill Fulton, director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, is available to discuss the mayor’s plan and the Kinder Institute’s recent report highlighting the financial state of Houston’s pensions. A full copy of the Kinder Institute report is available online at www.houstonpensions.com.Fulton said that while the plan does not include all of the options for reform that the Kinder Institute identified in their recent report, it does appear to reflect shared sacrifice on the part of all parties.“Both the employees and the mayor are giving up things they’d rather not give up,” he said.Although different versions of the “thermostat/corridor” idea (the mayor’s proposed method of ensuring a consistent level of pension funding by the city) have been used elsewhere, Fulton said that he has not seen it used in this way before.“If it is executed properly — and consistently over time — it could provide a way for both sides to share in the upside and sacrifice when times are tough,” he said.“We look forward to receiving the full details of this plan from Mayor Turner so that we can independently analyze the claims that this will solve the problem — just as we did in our analysis of his action on potholes,” Fulton said. “We are happy to continue to play an independent role in providing the public with straight-up information on this and other issues of pressing importance to Houstonians.”The Kinder Institute’s report, released Aug. 9, was created to provide the public and policymakers with an overview of the current financial state of Houston’s pensions, an explanation of why the city’s unfunded liabilities are growing and insights on possibilities for reform. The report also puts Houston’s pension situation in a national context. While the report outlines potential reform options for the city, it does not make official recommendations.The Kinder Institute will host “Houston’s Pension Future,” a public discussion of the causes of Houston’s unfunded pension liability and the options for reform, at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Brown Auditorium. To RSVP, visit http://bit.ly/2cbchRh.last_img read more

  • New US Task Force Will Investigate Suspected Sonic Attacks

    first_img US News The State Department has created a multi-agency task force that will investigate suspected sonic attacks used against U.S. diplomats in Cuba and a U.S. government employee in China.In a June 5 statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he requested Deputy Secretary John Sullivan on May 23 to “direct a multi-agency response to the unexplained health incidents that have affected a number of U.S. government personnel and family members stationed overseas.”Sonic and electromagnetic weapons fall under the category of Directed Energy Weapons (DEW), which several countries—including the United States and China—are developing. Robert J. Bunker, adjunct research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, said in a previous interview, “Like gun, missile, and bomb technologies, DEW can be utilized against people, material, and infrastructure.”U.S government personnel and their families are asked to alert a medical unit if they experience “unidentified auditory sensations,” followed by symptoms including dizziness, visual problems, hearing loss, and others.The Health Incidents Response Task Force will identify and treat those affected and their family members, investigate cases, look for ways to mitigate risk, work on messaging, and conduct diplomatic outreach. Agencies on the task force include the Defense Department, Justice Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and others.On May 16, a U.S. government employee at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, suffered mild traumatic brain injury after hearing a vague and abnormal sound. The incident was similar to another alleged sonic attack in 2016 on 24 U.S. government employees and family members at the Embassy in Havana, Cuba, where symptoms included concussion or minor traumatic brain injury.Pompeo drew a connection between the incidents, and told the House Foreign Affairs Committee, “The medical indications are very similar, and entirely consistent with, the medical indications that were taking place to Americans working in Cuba.” Follow Joshua on Twitter: @JoshJPhilipp New US Task Force Will Investigate Suspected Sonic Attacks By Joshua Philipp, The Epoch Times June 6, 2018 Updated: June 6, 2018 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses a plenary session on June 4, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Pompeo recently created a task force to investigate suspected sonic attacks on U.S. government employees. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Sharecenter_img Share this article  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Show Discussionlast_img read more

  • Brent Taylor the 39yearold North Ogden Utah ma

    first_img Brent Taylor, the 39-year-old North Ogden, Utah mayor who was shot to death Saturday by an Afghan commando he was training, urged Americans to vote in his final Facebook posts.Taylor made the post after witnessing elections in Afghanistan.“It was beautiful to see over 4 million Afghan men and women brave threats and deadly attacks to vote in Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections in eight years. The strong turnout, despite the attacks and challenges, was a success for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan and for the cause of human freedom,” Taylor wrote.“I am proud of the brave Afghan and US soldiers I serve with. Many American, NATO allies, and Afghan troops have died to make moments like this possible.”He then turned to the midterm elections in the United States, which are taking place on Nov. 6. US News Share this article  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Share Show Discussion QualityAuto 1080p720p480p360p240pRewind 10 SecondsNext UpLive00:0000:0000:00ChromecastClosed CaptionsSettingsFullscreen  click to watch video Brent Taylor, Utah Mayor Killed in Afghanistan, Urged Americans to Vote By Zachary Stieber November 6, 2018 Updated: November 6, 2018 “As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election next week, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote,” he wrote.“And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ God Bless America.”He included three pictures, two showing Afghanis voting and one posing with an Afghanistan soldier died fighting the Taliban, who Taylor called “my dear friend.”Taylor’s body was returned to U.S. Soil. His wife Jennie was there as his remains were returned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.  Rewind 10 SecondsNext UpLive00:0000:0000:00ChromecastClosed CaptionsSettingsFullscreen  click to watch video “Brent may have died on Afghan soil, but he died for the success of freedom and democracy in both of our countries,” she said in a statement that referred to her husband’s post.“It seems only fitting,” her statement said, that her husband “has come home to US soil in a flag-draped casket on our Election Day.” Maj. Brent Taylor of the Utah National Guard. Taylor, mayor of North Ogden, died in Afghanistan, on Nov. 3, 2018. (Utah National Guard/AP)Taylor also left behind his seven children, ranging from 11 months to 13 years old.Taylor, a military intelligence officer with Joint Force Headquarters, served two tours in Iraq and was on his second tour in Afghanistan.Taylor had become mayor in 2013 and had a local hero’s farewell when he was being deployed last January. Hundreds of residents of North Ogden, about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, lined the street to see him off as police escorted him and his family around the community of about 17,000.He told Deseret News that he enlisted just three days after he and his wife were engaged, a decision that solidified after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He planned on returning home from his deployment to finish his term as mayor.“I hope my kids grow up and look back at this, not as a time they missed Dad or that Dad wasn’t here or Mom needed extra help,” his wife said earlier this year before he deployed. “But as a time they can say, ‘We tried our best. We wanted to help. We answered the call because my dad was needed. My country needed me. My God needed me.’”The Associated Press contributed to this report.From NTD News Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber last_img read more

  • LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON

    first_img  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Show Discussion US News Afghan security forces patrol the town of Farah, after having driven the Taliban out, on May 19, 2018. (HAMEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images) Uzbekistan’s ambassador to the United States, Javlon Vakhabov, confirmed his government “had very substantive talks” with a Taliban delegation visiting his nation last August, reportedly to discuss the Afghanistan peace process and withdrawal of foreign forces.The Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic dictatorship, held control of Afghanistan for the five years leading up to the al-Qaida attack against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, until a U.S.-led coalition ousted them from power in response, and has battled them ever since.Vakhabov’s remarks come as U.S. and Taliban negotiators had their highest-level meetings yet in their drive for a peace agreement in America’s longest war.Asked what Uzbekistan was doing to prepare for the eventuality that the current Afghan government may not survive, Vakhabov reiterated the Uzbek government is focused on “figuring out” two issues: economic support for war-torn Afghanistan, and the ongoing peace process there.In March 2018, the ambassador noted that the Uzbeks hosted a conference in Tashkent attended by U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon Jr. Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon speaks at the American Foreign Service Association in Washington on May 4, 2018. (Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images) The Tashkent conference followed a Kabul confab, at which Afghan President Ashraf Ghani laid out a potential process for ending the conflict.In Tashkent, Shannon noted that “It is the violence of the Taliban that creates the instability that enables these terrorist groups to continue operating in Afghanistan,” saying the United States and its allies were “fully committed to ensuring that the Afghan government has the capabilities to deny the Taliban any military path to victory.”Conference participants, Shannon said, could help by “prevent[ing] materiel, financial, or political support to the Taliban.”The United States sought “a negotiated settlement that leads the Taliban to stop violence, break ties with all terrorist groups, and respect the Afghan constitution, including its protections for women and minorities,” according to Shannon.Vakhabov argued the main goal of the Tashkent conference was to develop the “key principles for peace” in Afghanistan.In July, following Tashkent, Americans expressed willingness to meet directly with the Taliban about ending the conflict, jettisoning a prior commitment such talks would include the current Afghan government.Soon thereafter, a Taliban official revealed such a meeting had taken place in Taliban-allied Qatar with Alice Wells, Washington’s top diplomat for South Asia.Taliban officials also held three days of talks with the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan in Qatar, Zalmay Khalilzad, in November. A prior report from The Wall Street Journal suggested it was the second meeting in the preceding four months.Those talks included Khairullah Khairkhwa, the former Taliban autocrat of the western Afghan city of Herat, and Mohammad Fazel, a former Taliban militant leader.Both Taliban figures were among the five that the Obama administration released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2014 in exchange for U.S. deserter Bowe Bergdahl.Last month, the Uzbek Foreign Minister reiterated an offer to host talks between Afghan government officials and Taliban negotiators.Finally, on Feb. 25, U.S. officials began the highest-level talks yet with the Taliban, including with the jihadi organization’s deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Prior talks stalled when Taliban representatives said they didn’t have the authority to discuss either a ceasefire or participation of the current Afghan government, both supposedly U.S. prerequisites for a deal.Yet direct talks with the Taliban continue over Afghan objections.According to professor Stephen B. Young, a Vietnam War-era official in the Office of Civil Operations and Rural Development Support, Americans negotiating with the Taliban “behind the backs of our allies” echoes the exclusion of South Vietnamese forces from the disastrous deal then-Nixon National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger struck with the Communist regime in Hanoi.Young argues, “Kissinger had implied in his memoirs … Nixon did all this stuff.” But Young, who approached Nixon with what he had learned about Kissinger’s diplomacy based on a review of raw cables from the time, reports that Nixon “looked surprised—maybe even a little bit shocked.”Nixon said, “No, I don’t remember any of this,” Young recalls, saying, “His face went grey.”With respect to current negotiations with the Taliban, Young concludes, “The lesson is: Don’t cut out your allies. … If you cut your allies out against a determined ideological ally, you have basically turned against your country.”Vakhabov stressed that his government’s talks with the Taliban took place after having consulted with and gained the approval of both Washington and the regime in Kabul.“In this regard, Uzbek government endeavors are fully supported by the U.S. government—even supported by very our tough neighbors,” the Pakistanis and Iranians, whom Vakhabov reported were “very supportive.”The Uzbek ambassador addressed a private luncheon at the offices of the World Trade Center of Washington in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Feb. 19.Christopher C. Hull holds a doctorate in government from Georgetown University. He is president of Issue Management Inc., distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, senior fellow at Americans for Intelligence Reform, and author of “Grassroots Rules” (Stanford, 2007). center_img Uzbek Official Confirms Taliban Talks By Christopher C. Hull March 4, 2019 Updated: March 4, 2019 Share this article Sharelast_img read more