New state laws affect birth to death – and of course taxes

Posted On Oct 13 2019 by

first_imgThe new year marks the start of numerous new state laws affecting a broad swath of life — from birth to marriage to death and, of course, taxes. Most take effect Tuesday. A look at some of them:ABORTIONStates continue to move in different directions. A new Washington law will require contraception coverage in health insurance and, if a policy covers maternity care, also will require it to cover abortions.A Kansas law, facing a court challenge, bans telemedicine abortions, in which patients seeking abortion pills consult with doctors through teleconferencing.In Tennessee, a new law says if an ultrasound is performed before an abortion, the woman must be given the opportunity to learn the results.Arizona will require increased state reporting about abortions, and providers must ask women if they were coerced into seeking the procedure or are victims of sex trafficking or sexual assault.ASSISTED SUICIDEHawaii will become the sixth state, along with Washington D.C., to legalize medically assisted suicide. The law will allow doctors to fulfil requests from terminally ill patients for fatal prescription medication. Two health care providers must confirm a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis and ability to make decisions about the prescription.CRIMINAL JUSTICEA Louisiana constitutional amendment, approved by voters, will require unanimous juries in order to convict people of serious felony crimes. It reverses a Jim Crow-era practice that had allowed as few as 10 members of a 12-person jury to convict defendants in cases not involving death sentences. Oregon will now be the only state to allow convictions under split juror verdicts.A California law will prohibit people age 15 and younger from being tried as adults for crimes.DRUNKEN DRIVINGUtah is adopting the nation’s strictest drunken driving threshold — 0.05 per cent blood alcohol content. The state’s hospitality and ski industries have expressed concern that the new law will exacerbate Utah’s reputation as a Mormon-dominated state where it’s tough to get a drink. But proponents include the National Transportation Safety Board, which says people start to become impaired with a first drink.An Idaho law will require first-time convicted drunken drivers to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles for one year.EQUALITYA new Oregon law will expand equal pay requirements. The law extends an existing prohibition on sex-based pay discrimination to also include race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability and age. Pay differences must be based on seniority, merit, experience and other factors. Employees who prevail in complaints with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries can recover back pay for up to two years.California will require corporate boards of publicly traded companies to include women by the end of 2019.GUNSOne new Illinois law will extend the current 72-hour waiting period for purchasing handguns to all firearms; another will allow relatives or law officers to ask courts to remove guns from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others.California, which already bars people younger than 21 from buying handguns, will extend that to long guns with a few exceptions for military members and licensed hunters. The state also will ban guns for people with certain domestic violence misdemeanours and require eight hours of training and live-fire exercises to carry concealed weapons.IMMIGRANTSA Tennessee law will ban local governments from having “sanctuary” policies for people living in the country illegally. It bans local government policies that restrict compliance with federal immigration detainers. The law threatens to withhold future state economic development money from those that don’t comply.Colorado will make it easier for immigrants living in the country illegally to renew state driver’s licenses. The state has been issuing such licenses since 2014, but they had to be renewed in person every three years at one of just three state offices devoted to that purpose. The law’s Republican sponsors argued the economies of their rural districts were at stake.MARRIAGEThe minimum marriage age in New Hampshire will rise to 16 — up from 13 for girls and 14 for boys. The new law was championed by Cassie Levesque, who was a senior in high school in 2017 when she began her two-year push to raise the marriage age as part of a Girl Scouts project. The experience led her to run for a state House seat, which she won in November. Another new law prohibits judges from signing off on marriages involving a person under the age of consent unless there is clear and convincing evidence the marriage is in the child’s best interest.SEXUAL HARASSMENTA new Delaware law will require employers with 50 or more employees to provide sexual harassment training to current workers within the next year, or within one year of hiring new employees. Training must be offered every two years thereafter.California employers with at least five employees will have to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to supervisors and at least one hour of training to all other employees, conducted this coming year and every two years thereafter.Another new California law will bar confidential settlements to resolve claims of sexual assault or harassment, gender discrimination or retaliation, although it still will allow the identity of the accuser and amount paid to remain secret in some cases. A new law also will bar contracts and settlements that waive a person’s right to testify about sexual harassment or criminal conduct.TAXESAt least a half dozen states will begin enforcing sales tax laws on some out-of-state retailers. Georgia, for example, will collect a 4 per cent sales tax on online retailers who make at least $250,000 or 200 sales a year in Georgia. The U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for states to collect billions in additional sales taxes from online retailers with a ruling in June. Some states began collecting those taxes before the new year.Missouri, which has not passed an online sales tax law, will cut its individual income tax rate by one-half of a percentage point. The tax cut will be partially offset by phasing in a reduction in the state tax break for taxes paid to the federal government.___Associated Press reporters David A. Lieb in Jefferson City, Missouri; Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento, California; Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington; John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas; Jonathan Mattise in Nashville, Tennessee; Bob Christie in Phoenix; Audrey McAvoy in Honolulu; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Lindsay Whitehurst in Salt Lake City; Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho; Andrew Selsky in Salem, Oregon; Jim Anderson in Denver; Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire; Randall Chase in Dover, Delaware; and Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia, contributed to this report.The Associated Presslast_img read more

World Bank Expects 41 Growth Rate for Moroccan Economy in 2017

Posted On Oct 12 2019 by

Rabat – After a poor performance in 2016, a strong rebound in agricultural production should boost Morocco’s economic growth in 2017, affirms the World Bank (WB). In its latest report, the international financial institution revised the national growth rate to 4.1 percent, up 0.3 points from its June forecast. The WB explains in the October 2017 Economic Monitoring Report that this increase in growth is due to a 14.3 percent rebound in agricultural GDP, driven by an above-average cereal harvest, against -11.3 percent in 2016, a year marked by a “severe drought.” The inflation rate is expected to reach 1 percent in 2017 and 1.6 percent in 2018, according to forecasts from the international financial institution, while the current account balance is set at -5.2 percent of GDP in 2017 and -5.3 percent of GDP in 2018.Referring to the short-term outlook, the World Bank says growth is expected to slow to 3.1 percent in 2018, with job creation remaining weak. For the bank, the good harvest in 2017 will result in a reduction in the base effects in 2018. Growth in the non-agricultural sector, estimated at about 3 percent, will not be sufficient to significantly increase the rate of economic growth.The WB also stresses that job creation in new industrial sectors and in the services sector is not sufficient to absorb new entrants. As for the budget deficit, it will continue to decline as the government seeks to reduce it to less than 3 percent of GDP and reduce public debt to 60 percent by 2021.Among the main fiscal measures taken, the WB cites the increase in VAT receipts and the reduction of tax exemptions (in the agricultural sector), with the aim of consolidating the corporate tax system and better enforcing the tax payments, by the self-employed and the liberal professions.The WB also highlighted the government’s determination to reduce the civil service payroll, including social security contributions, to 10.5 percent of GDP in the medium term, adding however that dependency on energy imports will be have a strong impact, as the energy bill is expected to increase.In the medium term, the new government is committed to implementing structural reforms to stimulate potential growth and promote more inclusive growth, strengthen the business environment, modernize public administration, and improve access to quality public services, adds the WB, noting that Morocco intends to join the top 50 of the Doing Business ranking of the World Bank by 2021.Concerning the risks and challenges facing Morocco, the WB points out spatial disparities in access to services and infrastructure, uneven economic development, and delays in the implementation of key reforms, including budgetary and structural reforms.Finally, the weak economic outlook in Europe and the persistent risk of a deterioration in the geopolitical situation in the region could slow economic activity due to a decline in exports, FDI flows and remittances.The WB’s finding come to echo those of International Monetary Fund (IMF), which also increased its forecasts for growth of the Moroccan economy, expecting a rate of 4.8 percent in 2017, instead of 4.4 percent expected there 6 months. In its latest semestrial report on the world economic outlook published two days ago, the IMF lowered its projected GDP growth in Morocco for 2018 to 3 percent, compared with 3.9 percent projected in its April estimate. read more

UN Foundation passes 1 billion mark in funds donated to key causes

Posted On Oct 6 2019 by

Eight years after its launch, the United Nations Foundation (UNF) has surpassed the $1 billion mark in delivering funds to the UN and its causes, and aims to leverage another $1 billion in support of the same goals, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has announced.UNF and its sister organization, the Better World Fund, have donated more than $600 million through its founder, the American businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner, according to a press release issued today by the UN Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP), which facilitates the Foundation’s work within the UN system.Another $400 million has been provided by individuals, corporations, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to UN programmes in the following areas: children’s health, the environment, women and population, peace, security and human rights.Announcing the milestone last night during a speech to the annual UN Association-USA dinner in New York, Mr. Annan called Mr. Turner’s 1997 pledge to donate $1 billion to the UN “a tremendous financial boost for our organization.“More than that, it has helped the UN to change – to become a partnership organization, something that has been a top priority of mine… But Ted’s act was perhaps most important for the message it sent to his fellow Americans, his fellow businessmen and women, and to the world.“Here was an iconic businessman standing up for the UN, and saying to the world that the UN and its work were worthy of support.”The Foundation also announced it intends to use the remaining $400 million from Mr. Turner’s original gift to leverage another $1 billion.UNF was created in 1998 with the aim of promoting a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the UN. Through grant-making and building new and innovative public-private partnerships, it acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socio-economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century.Mr. Turner, who is chairman of the UNF’s board of directors, said: “As we are seeing all across the globe, the UN works – for the world’s poor, for peace, for progress and for human rights and justice. That’s why I’ve always believed in the UN. That’s why I’ve always supported the UN. And that’s why I set up the UN Foundation.” read more

Unarguable case that care for elderly needs more money says NHS chief

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

first_imgdoctor  obese man  Lord McColl, a former surgeon said: “We are in the middle of the worst epidemic for 97 years – the obesity epidemic – which is, as you know, causing huge increases in diabetes, dementia, heart disease, joint disease, cirrhosis of the liver and so on.”Too much Government advice was focussed on the role of exercise in combating obesity, when “Exercise has very little to do with it. It is good for other things, but not for reducing obesity,” he said.”My reading of the evidence is the same as yours, which is that it needs to be both,” he said. “We’re not going to deal with the pressures of obesity simply by arguing for greater exercise. We have got to change dietary intake.”At the same hearing, the Health Secretary signalled that he would back tax rises for the NHS in the long-term. But Jeremy Hunt also urged young people to save now to pay for their old age.Mr Hunt said increasing spending on health and social care was a “sensible choice” he would support, if the economy is strong enough. “We are going to have to find a way of devoting a greater share of our national resources into health and social care without doubt,” he said. Jeremy Hunt  Jeremy Hunt However, he said this rested on a strong economy – with the biggest risk to the principles behind the NHS was if the economy went “pear-shaped”.“That is the thing that we all have to worry about most of all, I don’t think it will – happily we are doing better than many feared post-Brexit but that is the biggest single risk,” he said.”If the economy continues to grow then it is a choice for governments to continue with the current funding model. I personally think it is a pretty sensible choice and its probably the choice closest to what most British people want,” he told the committee.Mr Hunt said any funding increases should be made via taxation. But he said major changes were needed to help ensure the country could afford the costs of caring for a growing elderly population. “I do think we need to do some radical thinking about how we tackle that problem because at the moment we’re not in that place.”The name of the game is to find a way of getting people in their 20s and 30s to think that this is actually part of being a citizen to think about what’s going to happen when you’re much older – in a more realistic way than is currently happening.” The head of the NHS said there was an “immediacy” about the need for extra social care cash in order to relive pressure on hospitals Credit:PA  Obesity is one of the greatest problems facing Britain, peers heardCredit:PA Mr Stevens said the existing “triple lock” policy, which promises increases in the state pension, should in future be replaced by a “triple guarantee” which took account of an overall package of housing, income and care.“We need to go beyond just thinking about the health and social care funding and also think about whats happening in the benefits system, the pension system and so forth,” he said.The head of the NHS suggested that he might support long term moves to compulsory insurance to fund care for pensioners.“If we are looking at some form of insurance model it needs to be some form of social insurance model or mandatory long term care coverage, because I think you get market failure in private insurance markets for long-term care,” he told the committee.Labour peer Lord Lipsey asked him: “Surely the most immediate, now crisis-level, problem is that there just isn’t enough social care. You’ve got 26 per cent less people living at home supported by local authority carers. You’ve got 5,000 care home beds already lost in the last year and many more under threat. “So more and more, you’ve got to put up people in your hospitals because there is nowhere else to go. Isn’t that the priority crisis that faces us over the next few years?””Yes it is,” Mr Stevens told the committee.Peers also questioned the NHS chief executive on Britain’s obesity problem, with record levels of obesity among children. There is an “unarguable” case for an urgent cash injection into social care to fend off an immediate crisis in care of the elderly, the head of the NHS has said.Simon Stevens made the plea as he mooted long-term moves towards a system of compulsory insurance to cover the cost of care home fees, or care in the home.The chief executive said social care should be “first in the queue” for any extra funding available, agreeing with peers that the situation had reached crisis point.He told a House of Lords committee that the consequences of a deterioration in social care services had become “unarguable” with hospitals and elderly individuals bearing the brunt.“I think there is a very strong case for some immediate support now,” he told the committee on Long Term Sustainability of the NHS.“There is an immediacy,” he stressed.The head of the NHS urged the Government to think “more broadly” in the longer-term about the way benefits and care of the elderly is funded. 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.last_img read more

Facebook fails to remove sexual images of children and reports BBC to

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

first_imgThe US firm says it has improved this system since an investigation by the BBC last year, which led to one man being sent to prison for four years. “It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation. When the BBC sent us such images we followed our industry’s standard practice and reported them to CEOP. We also reported the child exploitation images that had been shared on our own platform. This matter is now in the hands of the authorities.”Anyone with concerns about child sexual abuse content online can report it to the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 Facebook The images included under-16s in sexualised poses, pages aimed at paedophiles and an image appearing to be taken from a child abuse video.Among the items not permitted under Facebook’s community standards is “sexually suggestive content”.When examples of the images were sent to Facebook to highlight the issue, the company instead reported the journalists who brought them to their attention to police for sharing the pictures.It subsequently issued a statement: “It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation.”Mr Collins said it was extraordinary that journalists had been reported to the authorities when it was trying to “help clean up the network”.Facebook’s rules also forbid sex offenders from having accounts but five convicted paedophiles were found to have profiles which it failed to remove when it was brought to their attention, the BBC said.Mr Collins said: “I find it very disturbing, I find that content unacceptable.”I think it raises the question of how can users make effective complaints to Facebook about content that is disturbing, shouldn’t be on the site, and have confidence that that will be acted upon.” To test Facebook’s claim, the BBC used the report button to alert the company to 100 images which appeared to break its guidelines.They included pages explicitly for men with a sexual interest in children; images of children in highly sexualised poses and an image that appeared to be from a video of child abuse. Just 18 of the 100 images were removed.According to Facebook’s automated replies, the other 82 did not breach “community standards”. They included the apparent freeze frame.Facebook said it has since taken down all images referred to it which “were illegal or against our standards”.Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, said she was “very disappointed” by the revelations.While the NSPCC said: “Facebook’s failure to remove illegal content from its website is appalling and violates the agreements they have in place to protect children.”It also raises the question of what content they consider to be inappropriate and dangerous to children?”Increasing numbers of children are contacting Childline with concerns about disturbing content they are seeing online, so it’s vital systems are put in place so social media platforms cannot play by their own rules when it comes to the safety of children.”Simon Milner, Facebook’s Policy Director UK, told the Telegraph: “We have carefully reviewed the content referred to us and have now removed all items that were illegal or against our standards.”This content is no longer on our platform. We take this matter extremely seriously and we continue to improve our reporting and take-down measures. Facebook has been recognized as one of the best platforms on the internet for child safety. facebook Among the images Facebook failed to remove was a still from a child abuse videoCredit:AP Facebook has come under fire for failing to remove sexualised pictures of children from its website – and then reporting the journalists who brought it to their attention to the police.Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, expressed “grave doubts” over the social media giant’s moderation system.The issue came to light following a BBC investigation in which it used Facebook’s “report button” to highlight sexual images but found more than 80 per cent were not removed, with an automated response saying they did not breach “community standards”. 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.last_img read more

Lap dancing club spiked customers drinks and then overcharged for dances by

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

first_imgSetting out the scope of possible criminal activity, West Midlands Police said they were investigating financial “irregularities” where “large volumes of money were being taken from people’s accounts”.Superintendent Andrew Parsons said there had been 17 separate allegations totalling £93,042, going back to 2013. In one case, a customer claimed £19,400 was put through on their credit card without their knowledge.Another alleged “bouncers threatened to beat them up if they didn’t pay”.The report also detailed how people were allegedly charged a 10 per cent flat rate on card transactions.He added that the incident caught on the club’s own CCTV “appeared to corroborate previous reports that the dancers were getting the males very drunk and then getting them to use their credit cards”.A company linked to the premises’ card transactions found £1.6 million had been “credited” to the firm since January 2017, around the time the current licence was renewed.The police report concluded: “These premises are involved in serious criminality and serious offences are being committed at the premises.” Both of Birmingham’s Legs 11 lap-dancing venues have been closed following a meeting of city licensing chiefs.  Both of Birmingham’s Legs 11 lap-dancing venues have been closed following a meeting of city licensing chiefs. Credit: BPM MEDIAcenter_img A lap dancing club allegedly spiked customers’ drinks and then overcharged them for dances by £93,000, a trading standards report has found. One punter at Birmingham’s Legs 11 lap dancing bar was so worried their drink had been spiked after £9,000 was charged to their credit card that they bought a home drugs kit which tested positive for methadone.A critical joint police and licensing report into alleged “serious criminality” at the city centre club also revealed that undercover trading standards officers “were offered sexual services” in a locked VIP rooms for £1,000.Internal CCTV showed dancers “gyrating” against a customer’s body, “whipping him in his crotch area” with his belt, and “holding his nose … as if to restrict his breathing”, trading standards officers reported.West Midlands Police also reported that “intelligence checks” had indicated a link to “organised crime groups from Albania”.The Birmingham City Council report, compiled by trading standards, is recommending the lap dancing club’s licence be suspended, with a decision due on Monday. 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.last_img read more

EHF CL Favorites win in Zaporozhye and Zagreb

Posted On Sep 22 2019 by

MVM Veszprem and Rhein Neckar Lowen are on the way to VELUX EHF Champions League quarter-finals. The “Lions” won in Zagreb 24:23 in front of more than 14.000 fans, while Hungarians had easier job in Ukraine – 29:24.HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb – Rhein-Neckar Löwen 23:24 (12:10)HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb: Stevanovic, Ivic; Sabljic, Vujic (2), Kontrec (2), Sebetic (5), Markovic, Rakovic, Horvat (5/2), Susnja, J. Valcic (1), T. Valcic (1), Mandalinic (1), Markoski, Kavacevic (1), Pavlovic (5)Rhein-Neckar Löwen: Appelgren (n.e.), Ristovski; Schmid (2), Gensheimer (7/2), Kneer, Sigurmannsson, Baena, Steinhauser, Mensah (6), Pekeler (1), Groetzki (1), Reinkind (4), Guardiola, Petersson, Ekdahl du Rietz (3)MOTOR ZAPOROZHYE–MVM VESZPRÉM 24–29 (12–12)MOTOR: Kosevoj – Kozakevics 2, Selmenko 2, Puhovszkij 1, Seveljev 1, Burka 4, SZOROKA 7 (3). Csere: Komok, Szapun (kapusok), Kurilenko, Kalaras 3, Zsukov, MALASINSKAS 4. VESZPRÉM: MIKLER – Marguc 5 (4), SULIC 5, NAGY L. 4, SCHUCH, Terzic 1, Rodríguez 3.Csere: Ugalde 1, Pálmarsson 2, Iváncsik G. 3, ILICS 4, Gulyás P. 1, Lékai. ← Previous Story Five teams are in Rio! Next Story → Furious finish for Szeged +4 before trip to Kiel read more

Disgruntled fans have a right to protest whatever way they want

Posted On Sep 21 2019 by

first_img Short URL Share7 Tweet Email1 ‘Disgruntled fans have a right to protest whatever way they want’ Tennis balls were thrown onto the pitch during last night’s game against Georgia in protest at FAI governance. Subscribe 64 Comments 22,043 Views Wednesday 27 Mar 2019, 12:00 PM WHILE ADMITTING THAT the timing of the protest initially seemed questionable, Republic of Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan insisted after last night’s game against Georgia that supporters were entitled to air their grievances.In the 33rd minute of the 1-0 victory at the Aviva Stadium, Ireland were awarded a free-kick in a promising position for a foul on David McGoldrick by Guram Kashia.As Whelan and Conor Hourihane addressed the opportunity that had presented itself, tennis balls were thrown onto the pitch by fans as a means of expressing dissatisfaction with governance of the Football Association of Ireland. A section of Ireland supporters pictured during last night’s protest. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHOIn spite of a brief delay, Hourihane was unfazed. The Aston Villa midfielder beat Giorgi Loria in the Georgia goal with a superb strike that secured the win for Ireland, as Mick McCarthy’s side made it six points from six in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. “There was something said in the press about some sort of protest,” said Whelan. “Listen, it was probably bad timing. In saying that now, Conor has gone on to score. The next time we get a free kick, hopefully [the fans] have all got their tennis balls!“The fans are disgruntled, they have a right to protest whatever way they want. We can only worry about what happens on the pitch,” the veteran midfielder added.“Obviously I play with Conor week-in-week-out [at Aston Villa], so to be honest with you, once he set the ball down I knew something was going to happen — either he’d make the goalkeeper work or it’d be a goal. It was a fantastic piece of play from Conor.”The majority of the tennis balls appeared to be launched from the stand behind Darren Randolph. The Middlesbrough goalkeeper assisted stewards in gathering up the projectiles before Hourihane scored at the other end.“We were given a heads-up yesterday so we were expecting it,” Randolph said of the protest. “We just didn’t know if it was going to be at the start of the game, the end of the game or what. I had totally forgotten until the tennis balls started coming onto the pitch.” Conor Hourihane, Shane Duffy and Glenn Whelan celebrate after Ireland’s goal. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHORandolph, who has now kept four consecutive clean sheets for Ireland, added: “It was a brilliant free-kick. Obviously the tennis ball saga worked in our favour!” By Paul Dollery Mar 27th 2019, 12:01 PM Shane Duffy explained that the players had been hoping the rumoured protest wouldn’t materialise, lest it have a detrimental impact on their efforts to pick up an important result in their bid to qualify for the European Championships.However, the Brighton & Hove Albion defender was also keen to empathise with supporters, stating that the onus was on the team to ensure that their performance wasn’t disrupted.“I think we all sort of expected it to happen,” he said. “We all read about it. We were hoping it wasn’t going to happen but we’re professionals, we dealt with it and the best response was to put the ball in the net, which is what we did. That got the crowd going again.“Everyone reads social media and newspapers these days. It happened. The fans have their opinions and rightly so. All we have to do is take care of our business on the pitch and hopefully it can distract them from whatever is going on.” Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here: Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

5th place for Guy Sebastian

Posted On Sep 21 2019 by

first_imgSweden’s Mans Zelmerlow won Eurovision, which to be honest didn’t come as a huge surprise, giving his country the opportunity to host the competition for the sixth time.“I have so much to say… I’m so extremely happy,” Zelmerlow who scored 365 points said as he accepted the award.“We are all heroes, no matter who we love , who we are or what we believe in.”Sweden’s song was a loud statement against bullying, beating Russia into second place.Italy came third and Belgium snatched fourth place. Australia’s Guy Sebastian, who was dubbed ‘budget Bruno Mars’ offered a wonderful one-off experience to the ‘Lucky Country’, which luckily or not, won’t be able to take part again next year as its only chance to return would apply if Guy won.Greece’s and Cyprus’ songs only made it in 19th and 22th respectively. It is worth mentioning that this was the first time Greece and Cyprus didn’t give each other their highest points. The Eurovision press office has announced that the jury results from the FYR Macedonia and Montenegro have been disqualified.Austria and Germany finished last without receiving any points.“The jury results of FYR Macedonia and Montenegro for the grand final have been excluded after consultation of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the contest’s independent voting observer, and upon the decision of the executive supervisor and the chairman of the reference group,” it said.“In both countries, televoting applied for 100%. The exclusion of two juries will be further discussed in the next reference group meeting in June.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Pokemon Gos punniest nicknames

Posted On Sep 20 2019 by

first_img Some want to tip a clever Bond homage.<><> Pokemon Go just keeps growing and growing. The augmented reality game lets players capture, train, and care for Pokemon culled from the real world. But, because ‘mon like Pidgey and Rattata are almost frustratingly common, players often deign to give their most special friends nicknames.I, for example, have based mine of the similarly explosive Twitch Plays Pokemon phenomenon from a couples years back. My lead Pidgeot is Bird Jesus, my Flareons (I have a couple now) are named “False Prophets,” etc. But other players have been quite a bit more creative.Some have taken to typing in the Pokemon species name and seeing what their phone’s autocorrect function spits back out, and while that’s good for a lark, it lacks the impact of some good old-fashioned puns. That said, here are some of our favorite nicknames that are clever, snarky, or just straight-up punny. I apologize in advance. Do you have any names that you’ve come up with that you really like? Show off your teams of Pocket Monsters!last_img read more

IBM Releases Diverse Dataset For Fairer Facial Recognition

Posted On Sep 20 2019 by

first_imgStay on target Amazon’s New Facial Recognition Smells Your FearLondon Police’s Facial Recognition System Has 81 Percent Error Rate Computers have advanced significantly since Charles Babbage’s day. But even the most progressive machines are only as good as the humans who program them.And by “good” I mean “moral.”IBM on Tuesday released a new large and diverse dataset aimed at helping advance the study of fairness and accuracy in facial recognition technology.“The AI systems learn what they’re taught, and if they are not taught with robust and diverse datasets, accuracy and fairness could be at risk,” IBM Fellow John Smith wrote in an announcement.“For the facial recognition systems to perform as desired—and the outcomes to become increasingly accurate—training data must be diverse and offer a breadth of coverage,” he continued. “The images must reflect the distribution of features in faces we see in the world.”Available now to the global research community, Diversity in Faces (DiF) provides annotations of 1 million human facial images. The IBM team used 10 coding schemes that include objective measures (craniofacial features) and subjective assessments (human-labeled predictions of age and gender).“Our initial analysis has shown that the DiF dataset provides a more balanced distribution and broader coverage of facial images compared to previous datasets,” Smith said.Interested analysts can request access to the Diversity in Faces dataset online. IBM urges others to contribute to the growing body of research “and advance this important scientific agenda.”The MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is doing just that: Researchers created a new algorithm that can allegedly automatically “de-bias” facial recognition data by resampling it to be more balanced.The algorithm can learn a specific task, like face detection, as well as the underlying structure of the training data—allowing it to identify and minimize hidden prejudices.In tests, the system reduced “categorical bias” by more than 60 percent, compared to “state-of-the-art” facial detection models.More on Trolls Needed: Robots Will Probably Develop Prejudice On Their OwnDid Taylor Swift Use Facial Recognition to Catch Stalkers at Concert?Study: 25 Percent of U.S. Workers At Risk of Job Automationlast_img read more

Teen gets more than 17 years in shooting

Posted On Sep 16 2019 by

first_imgDaniel Thurston received a life sentence that day in October when he was shot in the neck, his mother said in court Thursday.The 19-year-old will never stand, walk or play soccer, his favorite sport, she said.“Danny is paralyzed for life,” Deborah Thurston told a judge. “There is no reprieve, no parole.”By that comparison, his assailant got off easy. Damian R. Grover, 17, of Vancouver was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison in connection with the robbery and shooting of Thurston at a Hazel Dell apartment complex.Grover pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and theft of a firearm. Clark County Superior Court Judge John Nichols acknowledged how the sentence did little to ease the family’s sorrow or change the situation. Because of the seriousness of Thurston’s injuries and because drug activity was involved, the judge decided on a sentence near the high point of the sentencing range of 15 years to just more than 18 years, which includes a five-year firearm enhancement.Thurston’s defense attorney, Gerry Wear, had asked for a punishment of 15 years, citing his client’s youth and his relatively clean past.While the teen had no violent history, he increasingly was caught up in the drug world, the judge pointed out. Grover shot Thurston during a drug rip-off the evening of Oct. 19 at the Parklane Apartments, 10205 N.E. Notchlog Drive. Both are former students of Columbia River High School.“This is what happens,” Nichols said. “This is our lost society: drugs and guns. We are killing ourselves with a thousand little cuts.”Friends of Grover planned to meet Thurston at Sacajawea Elementary School, 700 N.E. 112th St., to obtain marijuana. After meeting up with Thurston, Grover arranged to get together with him later at a friend’s apartment complex to pay him for the drugs, investigators said in court documents.Grover stole a revolver from a family friend with a plan to rob Thurston, according to court records.When Thurston arrived at the apartment complex, Grover brandished the revolver and ordered Thurston to hand over his backpack and marijuana. After Thurston refused, Grover allegedly fired the gun at him and fled.last_img read more

CRC foes of all stripes share concerns

Posted On Sep 16 2019 by

first_imgSome were liberal, others were conservative. Some dislike light rail, others pollution. But the 15 speakers gathered near the Interstate 5 Bridge Thursday morning had one thing in common: Their concerns about the spending on the Columbia River Crossing.Made up of Oregon legislators, an Oregon Metro councilor, local business owners, real estate agents and more, the “Smarter Bridge Committee” held a press conference calling for a halt to any further funding for planning until it’s clear the states and federal government can even pay for the $3.5 billion project.About 10 supporters also stood in the morning chill, at the Vancouver Landing along the Columbia River.“We come from disparate kinds of views about the Columbia River Crossing, but we’re united in one thing — the current direction governmental systems are going is incorrect and needs to be changed,” said Oregon Metro Councilor Carl Hosticka, who emceed the event. “Please stop the bleeding.”Hosticka, who falls on the liberal side of the spectrum, later introduced John Charles of the Cascade Policy Institute, the largely libertarian think tank that is often critical of Metro’s policies.Charles said he’d prefer to see plans for a light-rail extension from Portland to Clark College eliminated from the plans than see the CRC go forward as-is. Trains, he said, will take an average of 38 minutes to reach downtown Portland, while C-Tran’s current express buses do it in an average of 18 minutes.last_img read more

Vancouver man held charged with rape abduction

Posted On Sep 16 2019 by

first_imgA 34-year-old Vancouver man appeared Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court on accusations he abducted, imprisoned and raped his married ex-lover after she broke up with him.Tony M. King was held on $200,000 bail and will face charges of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree assault and first-degree rape at his arraignment at 1:30 p.m. March 1. Clark County Judge David Gregerson appointed attorney Mike Foister to defend him.The 31-year-old victim told Vancouver police that she had been having an extramarital affair with King but had been avoiding him for several weeks, according to court records.While she was at his home at 10307 N.E. 119th St. on Friday, he indicated he was upset that she had cut off contact with him and refused to leave her husband, records state.He allegedly used duct tape to bind her wrists and ankles and to gag her. When she resisted, he allegedly slammed her down to gain control over her, the records state. She managed to get out of the bindings, but King allegedly squirted a liquid chemical in her right eye to prevent her from escaping, the records state.last_img read more

Alaska News Nightly Friday Feb 12 2016

Posted On Sep 9 2019 by

first_imgStories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @aprn.Download AudioFAA break-up bill clears US House committeeLiz Ruskin, APRN – Washington D.C.A bill to privatize the nation’s air traffic controllers cleared the Transportation Committee in the U.S. House last night. Rep. Don Young says he amended it to protect Essential Air Service and Alaska’s air taxis.Organizations call for ban of heavy fuel oil in Arctic watersEmily Russell, KNOM – NomeA group of non-governmental organizations recently sent a letter to the state department calling for a ban on heavy fuel oil, or HFO, in Arctic waters. HFO is tough to cleanup, but the widespread use of HFO throughout the Arctic makes the ban an especially hard sell.KPC graduate takes first job with BlueCrestQuinton Chandler, KBBI – HomerBlueCrest Energy pledged to hire four Kenai Peninsula College graduates to work at their drilling site near Anchor Point. The company made good on its promise. One of BlueCrest’s local hires says the job is the next step in what he hopes will be a promising career.Anchorage, Willow will host Iditarod starts despite low snowThe Associated PressOrganizers have decided that a lack of snow in the Anchorage area won’t force a route change for this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.Sass first to leave Dawson in Yukon QuestMolly Rettig, KUAC – FairbanksIt was warm and misty on the Yukon River as Brent Sass left Dawson City with fourteen dogs just after midnight. Snowdrifts, ice melt and gold mines are just a few things mushers have to look out for in the second half of the Yukon Quest.The warm weather has caused some of the glaciated hillsides to melt onto the trail.Humane society addresses uproar over Coco’s last dayLisa Phu, KTOO – JuneauA couple gave up their dog to Juneau’s animal shelter on a Saturday morning in December. That same evening, they had a change of heart and wanted the dog back, but it was too late. The dog had already been euthanized. Gastineau Humane Society, which takes in animals from around northern Southeast Alaska, called the dog aggressive and not a viable candidate for adoption. The Juneau couple wishes they’d been notified before the dog was put down.AK: Leveraging your leopard: the biz behind Alaska’s only zooZachariah Hughes, KSKA – AnchorageIf you’ve ever wanted to feed a snow leopard, a moose, or a pack of wolves, this year you’ve got a chance. Albeit, for a tidy sum.49 Voices: Laurie Fernandes of AnchorageWesley Early, APRN – AnchorageThis week we’re hearing from Laurie Fernandes. Laurie moved to Anchorage with her husband and children last June from Houston, TX.last_img read more

Eighth Australian lawmaker resigns over dual citizenship

Posted On Sep 3 2019 by

first_imgA file photo taken on October 10, 2013, shows Senator Jacqui Lambie speaking during a press conference in Sydney. AFPA constitutional crisis roiling Australian politics claimed a new victim Tuesday with the resignation of the eighth lawmaker to be felled by a once-obscure rule barring dual citizens from federal office.The departure of Jacqui Lambie, a colourful independent senator from the island state of Tasmania, comes after prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s centre-right government lost its grip on parliament as MPs were toppled by the citizenship issue.Lambie announced her resignation in a tearful speech, telling MPs she had just learned she held British nationality from her Scottish grandfather and father.”Anyone who knows my father will be shocked to think of him as anyone else than an Aussie,” Lambie told the Senate, adding, “My dad believed he renounced his citizenship years ago.”But she said that following the resignations of other politicians who held dual citizenship by descent, she made enquiries with British authorities into her situation.”It is with great regret that I have to inform you that I had been found ineligible by way of dual citizenship,” she said.The citizenship crisis came to a head on October 27 when Australia’s High Court reaffirmed a provision in the country’s 1901 constitution that forbids dual citizens from serving in federal parliament.The ruling has already sparked the resignation of several senators and two members of Turnbull’s coalition in the lower House of Representatives — deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and former tennis star John Alexander.The loss of Joyce and Alexander cost the government its majority in the 150-member house, although Turnbull has said he can continue ruling for now with the support of independents.The two men will both run for re-election next month after renouncing their second citizenships.While Joyce is expected to face minimal opposition in his rural New South Wales constituency, Alexander faces a tough fight for his Bennelong district in suburban Sydney as the opposition Labor Party looks to capitalise on Turnbull’s problems.Labor on Tuesday made the surprise announcement of Kristina Keneally, an American-born former NSW state premier and popular TV news personality, to run against Alexander.Keneally, who emigrated to Australia in the 1990s and renounced her US citizenship in 2002, said at a press conference the December 16 vote would be “an opportunity for the community in which I live to stand up and say to Malcolm Turnbull: ‘Your government is awful. Enough is enough'”.Recent opinion polls have show a steady erosion in Turnbull’s popularity. The next general election is not due until 2019.The dual citizenship rule was originally inserted into the constitution to ensure parliamentarians were loyal solely to Australia.However, critics say it is out of step with the modern reality of the country, where half the population are either foreign-born or the children of immigrants.last_img read more

Heres What Houston Shelters Are In Need Of For Harvey Victims

Posted On Sep 2 2019 by

first_imgAl Ortiz | Houston Public Media The shelter set up at The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, in Houston, on Aug. 28, 2017If you’re wondering what you can donate for the harvey victims currently housed at the George R. Brown Convention Center, here is a list from the GRBCC web page. The shelter at the GRBCC is in need of the following items. In BOLD is highest priority:WheelchairsNon-perishable foodBottled waterBaby formulaDiapersComfort kits — (soap, shampoo, toothpaste)PillowsHand sanitizerSweatsuitsTowelsL/XL clothingSocksBlanketsTo bring in your donations, you can drop-off in the back of the GRB at Hall B at the loading dock. The entrance is from Chartes Street.  Here are other ways to donate supplies:food banks such as the Houston Food Bank are asking for non-perishable items such as canned goods and cleaning supplies. open your home to flood victims through AirBnBshelters are in need of diapers; donate to Texas Diaper Bank as they help to supply local shelters with diaper kits  Sharelast_img read more

Early Data From Harvey Shows Epic Flooding

Posted On Sep 2 2019 by

first_imgSource: University of California, Davis Center for Watershed Sciences; FEMA; Texas Department of Transportation; USGS Credit: Katie Park/NPR Source: University of California, Davis Center for Watershed Sciences; FEMA; Texas Department of Transportation; USGS Credit: Katie Park/NPRScientists have produced a preliminary map of the flooding in Houston from Tropical Storm Harvey.The map doesn’t yet represent all the flooded areas, and for technical reasons, it likely understates the extent of flooding. But even this early analysis shows that flooding from Harvey extended well beyond the traditional flood plains mapped out by the federal government.The map above was drawn with data from flood experts at the University of California, Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. The researchers used radar imagery from two polar orbiting satellites taken on August 29. That imagery likely underestimates flooding because trees and buildings on the ground can obscure the view of flooding from space. The map should not be used for emergency services or insurance purposes.But what it does show is how much of the flooding occurred outside government-drawn flood zones. Two-thirds of the flooding was outside the 100-year flood zone, as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). And more than half the flooding was outside all flood zones — 100-year, 500-year or minimal hazard.Team member Nick Santos points out that Houston has had several floods in recent years that qualify as 100-year or 500-year events. Harvey appears to have topped even those. Santos says this suggests the flood zone maps may no longer represent true risk for property owners. “So we need to rethink the total risk map for areas like this,” he says.Ultimately, that in turn, that may effect both private and federal flood insurance programs.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit Sharelast_img read more

Theta Summer Line Crossing

Posted On Sep 1 2019 by

first_imgThe Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority Northern Virginia Delta Chapter will host its summer line crossing with a ritual and Probate Banquet on Aug. 29. The ritual will occur at the Women’s Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The banquet will occur from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Spates Community Center, 228 McNair Road Building 406. The banquet is being held to assist the chapter with its mission of honoring its past veterans and fallen heroes and their surviving families. The banquet is also used to unite with current service members and veterans and mentor future leaders, including Junior ROTC cadets.last_img read more

Nintendo surprised HD games development requires double the staff

Posted On Sep 1 2019 by

first_imgNintendo took a very different approach to the current generation of gaming hardware. They focused on motion control and stuck with SD graphics for the Wii while Sony and Microsoft embraced HD. Gamers may have enjoyed those higher resolution graphics, but development teams soon realized larger teams were needed and producing games for the PS3 and Xbox 360 cost significantly more.Nintendo has been shielded from such costs and workloads for its first party games until now. But with the shift to HD on the Wii U, the company is facing the same problems many third party developers had to deal with several years ago, and it has certainly surprised the Japanese company.If you’ve been wondering why there’s been a lack of first party titles on the Wii U, this is a major part of the reason. Nintendo didn’t realize you need about double the number of people working on a HD game compared to an SD title, therefore projects have been under-staffed and that has led to delays.Shigeru Miyamoto admitted this when talking at Nintendo’s last shareholder meeting, and used the delay of Pikmin 3’s release as a key example. Nintendo just needed more people, and didn’t realize this until projects were underway and falling behind schedule.Now Nintendo has had time to understand what is required to get a Wii U game completed, future projects shouldn’t suffer the same problem. The company has also started using what they are calling the Nintendo Web Framework, which allows games to be developed and run using HTML5. Such games won’t replace key Wii U releases, but should at least mean we get more games coming to the system from shorter development cycles.last_img read more