Memo Trump prodded Ukraine leader on Biden claims

first_imgWASHINGTON — President Donald Trump repeatedly prodded Ukraine’s new leader to work with Rudy Giuliani and the U.S. attorney general to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden, according to a rough transcript summarizing the call released Wednesday.In the call, Trump raised unsubstantiated allegations that Biden sought to interfere with a Ukrainian prosecutor’s investigation of the former vice-president’s son Hunter.READ MORE: White House-released memo of Trump, Zelenskiy conversation“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that,” Trump said to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.The conversation between the two leaders is one piece of a whistleblower’s complaint, which followed the July 25 call.The complaint is central to the formal impeachment inquiry launched Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Michael Balsamo And Zeke Miller, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Davey D Releases Classic Rock Inspired MercynSin

first_imgAdvertisement Long before the recent 30 Days, 30 Songs project in which major music stars are contributing songs about Donald Trump for an online playlist, Davey released “TRUMP!” The album has an inspiring theme with songs like “Otherside” and “Stick To Your Guns.” “My parents were Italian immigrants and were afraid to take risks so my dreams of becoming a rock singer was not an option early on,” Davey says. “Otherside” is about being told that you can’t, that those dreams are for other people, not us. I listened at first and followed a more traditional path, however, now I’m going for it which, brings us to “Stick to Your Guns” as people will challenge you if you go against the grain.”Davey wasn’t the only one in the family to take that risk as his cousin Johnny Dee (De Giuli) co-founded Honeymoon Suite in 1981and the band continues to record and tour in 2016.“Trump” https://youtu.be/VcS7XvDj16EWebsite: http://www.daveydrocks.com/listen-buy-musicTwitter: @DaveyDRocksFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/daveydrocks/ Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement Advertisement When Canadian rocker Davey D (David De Giuli) decided to give up the corporate world to become a rock singer he didn’t just want to sing, he wanted to be able to sing like his rock legend heroes Robert Plant, Steven Tyler, Brian Johnson and Axl Rose. He dedicated countless hours to studying and practicing so that he could reach those high notes and maintain that power on stage. It is no surprise then that his latest album Mercy ‘n’ Sin features a collection of originals inspired by classic rock anthems.The album was produced by multi-instrumentalist jazz musician and songwriter Mark Zubek, who has worked with Grammy winning jazz singer Betty Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Mark Turner, Tony Levin and has performed with Wynton Marsalis. “Having a huge jazz background is something that came later in life, my first love was rock radio,” says Zubek. “Davey’s music brought me back to my youth and gave me a chance to unleash the “inner rebel” who hasn’t seen the light of day in awhile! I think that’s what made us a perfect fit. I could take all of Davey’s song ideas and help finish them and bring them to light, especially because I grew up playing all those rock instruments.” LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitterlast_img read more

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Farmers in arid Djibouti to benefit from new UN scheme to trap

14 February 2008The United Nations agency tasked with trying to reduce rural poverty is setting up an $11.6 million project to better capture and make use of surface water in Djibouti, the small Horn of Africa nation frequently beset by drought. The new scheme aims to increase the average incomes of 6,000 households in three regions of Djibouti by 20 per cent, meet their drinking water and livestock water needs and boost nutritional standards, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said in a press release issued yesterday from its Rome headquarters.The project will introduce two surface-water mobilization techniques to Djibouti, where about 50 per cent of the rural population has no access to water either for drinking or for the needs of their livestock and where underground water capacity has been used up.In the first, small dams will be constructed in 10 selected sites across the country. In the second, cisterns, earth tanks and supplementary works for soil and water conservation will be built. There will also be reseeding and regeneration efforts in and around the Day Forest area and vocational training towards the making of forestry products will be supported. read more

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Six members of Lashkare Jhanghvi indicted over attack on Sri Lankans

In March 2009, the bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by the Taliban and LeJ militants with sophisticated weapons and grenades at Liberty Chowk, near Qaddafi Stadium Lahore. Six members of the outlawed Lashkar-e- Jhanghvi (LeJ) terror group have been indicted by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court over the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the Press Trust of India reported.The LeJ suspects who have been charged by the court are Obaidullah, Javed Anwar, Ibrahim Khalil, Abdul Wahab, Zubair and Adnan Arshad. The first three suspects were on bail while the remaining are languishing in Kot Lakhpat Jail. The suspects pleaded not guilty. Seven players including captain Mahela Jayawaredene, his deputy Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana and Chaminda Vaas had sustained injuries while six Pakistani policemen escorting policemen were killed in the attack. (Colombo Gazette) The court summoned prosecution witnesses on June 30. The court had already declared two suspects – Mohsin Rasheed and Abdul Rehman – proclaimed offenders. LeJ chief, the alleged mastermind of the attack, was killed last year during an ‘encounter’ with the counter-terrorism department. read more

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Annan praises UN nuclear watchdog agency on winning Nobel Peace prize

Hailing their “vital mission” in stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today lauded the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, on winning the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, the latest in a long series of UN laureates. “The Prize is a welcome reminder of the acute need to make progress on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament at a time when weapons of mass destruction continue to pose a grave danger to us all,” Mr. Annan said in a statement issued by his spokesman.“Since 1957, the IAEA has worked tirelessly and expertly to stem the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to promote the safe and peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Dr. ElBaradei has guided this vital mission with great skill since 1997,” the statement added.Mr. Annan noted with pleasure that the IAEA thus joined the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Peacekeeping, former UN Undersecretary-General Ralph Bunche, former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and the UN itself as Nobel Peace Prize laureates. read more

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Security Council strongly condemns recent attack at Jewish Museum in Brussels

A gunman reportedly shot dead two Israelis and a French woman at the museum during Saturday’s attack, which was also condemned by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon over the weekend. The members of the Council, in a statement issued to the press last night, expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and expressed their sympathy to all those injured in the attack, and to the peoples and Governments of Belgium, Israel and France. “The members of the Security Council strongly condemned all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, especially against an institution whose mission has always been to promote openness and tolerance,” stated the 15-member body. Council members also reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is “criminal and unjustifiable,” and underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these “reprehensible” acts of terrorism to justice. read more

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Suspended Josh Gordons Behavior Impacts More Than Just Him

In general, NFL receivers are known as “divas,” high-maintenance players who need the ball and attention—and are quick to let it be known.Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns is more that a “diva.” He’s a diva with issues, and that’s why he finds himself suspended and seeking to become a free agent, although his contract with the team is not up until 2016.For a player who has been suspended by the league for substance abuse violations and DUI arrests but is still in the league, it would stand to reason that he would be the poster child for showing up on time or anything else that depicts he appreciates his status in the league.And yet yesterday, Gordon missed a team meeting the day before the final game of the season. The Browns, who covet his immense talents, are frustrated by the uncertainty Gordon brings, and put him on the reserve/suspended list.This is significant because Gordon’s behavior impacts others who come behind him, young receivers with a controversial past that teams might back away from with Gordon in mind. Is that young player worth the potential trouble?That’s how it is—in the NFL and in business: The Black employee before you sets the standards, creates the opportunities or blows the opportunities for the Blacks that come behind you. It goes without saying that white employees don’t carry the same burden. Someone like former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito gets in trouble for being a bullying a teammate, but his misdeeds have no burden on others who come behind him because his actions are not a barometer for young white offensive lineman. That’s just how it is.Gordon, meanwhile, is on a self-destructive, selfish path, unable to see beyond his needs and into a bigger picture of leading.Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys came off originally as a “diva” who would be an issue for the team. He had legal issues and was bashed for acting out on the sideline when he did not get the ball. Bryant righted himself, however. He has had no troubles off the field and has been among the best, most lethal receivers in the NFL.Bryant’s success is being offset by Gordon’s mess. The Brown receiver is talented as all get out: He led the league in receiving last year. He’s big and fast and has sure hands. But he is unsure of his future.Gordon, who has missed 12 games due to suspensions in the last two years, was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season but needed to play six games—or be paid for six game weeks—to get the accrued season in 2014. Now he won’t become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2016 season, since players must have four NFL seasons to reach such status, unless he is successful in his efforts to get paid for his Week 17 absence.If he does not get paid for this week, he will be a restricted free agent after the 2015 season, meaning the Browns would have the right to match an offer sheet if he signed one with another team.By then, depending on what he does, the Browns might not want Gordon on their squad, which would be a shame considering his youth (23) and talent. Between then and now, maybe someone will impress upon Gordon that his behavior impacts more than just himself. Maybe if he understood that he’s influencing the impressions of others behind him he will straighten up and be a leader and abandon the nonsense. It would serve a lot of people, including himself, well. read more

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This Down Year Could Be Good For Anthony Davis After All

Dwyane Wade*2007-08+3.0+8.4-5.40.2 Richard Jefferson*2006-07-1.8+3.0-4.80.3 Ray Williams1982-83-0.4+3.9-4.31.0 Tony Parker*2009-10-1.7+3.1-4.80.4 Bill Cartwright1988-89-4.8+0.9-5.70.1 Kevin Willis1994-95-3.2+1.1-4.32.4 Donyell Marshall2005-06-0.7+3.9-4.62.1 PLAYERYEARBPMPREVIOUS SEASON BPMCHANGELIKELIHOOD OF CHANGE Chris Paul*2009-10+4.9+11.2-6.30.0 Even as Stephen Curry and LeBron James were dueling under the bright lights of the NBA Finals last season, the league’s collective presumption was that both would soon have to make room for Anthony Davis as the face of the NBA’s future. But by the time the postseason rolls around this year, almost certainly without Davis and his New Orleans Pelicans in it, that presumption may be due for a re-examination — and not just because Curry has only gotten more superlative since June.Davis has stalled out this season. The Pelicans are significantly worse than they were a year ago, and Davis’s own numbers have endured a major setback. By Box Plus/Minus, his dip from +7.1 in 2014-15 (sixth in the league) to a mere +2.5 (33rd) this year is tied for the 11th-biggest single-season decline since the NBA introduced the 3-point shot in 1979-80.1Among players who logged at least 1,500 minutes in back-to-back seasons. Bob Sura*2000-01-2.8+2.1-4.90.9 Mookie Blaylock1999-00+0.2+4.9-4.71.2 Kenny Anderson*1997-98-0.6+5.0-5.60.3 Biggest single-season drops in Box Plus/Minus Anthony Davis2015-16+2.5+7.1-4.60.2 Lance Stephenson*2014-15-3.5+2.3-5.80.0 Kevin Love2014-15+1.9+8.4-6.50.1% * = Missed 20 or more games during the seasonSource: Basketball-Reference.com Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf1996-97-3.5+1.1-4.60.7 Based on Davis’s track record going into the season, we’d have predicted there was only a 0.2 percent probability of his numbers slipping as drastically as they have.It’s not all bad or all Davis’s faultSome of these struggles can be explained, however, and some portion of Davis’s offensive drop-off — from a BPM of +4.2 at that end of the floor to +1.0 — may even be in the service of an expanding all-around game. For instance, during his first three NBA seasons, Davis scarcely ever wandered out to the 3-point line — fewer than 1 percent of his field-goal attempts came from beyond the arc those years — but this season 9.2 percent of Davis’s shots have been launched from downtown. He hasn’t been very accurate out there, converting about 32 percent of his 3-point tries (the league average is 35 percent), and it’s an obvious drain on his offensive efficiency when the alternative is making 51 percent of his 2-point attempts (the equivalent of making 34 percent on threes). But the eventual development of a reliable deep jumper would make Davis the most frightful scorer this side of Curry.And many of Davis’s statistical markers are down because he’s being asked to do a little more with a lot less. Before the 2014-15 season, a simple projection of the Pelicans’ roster would have called for their offense to be 0.3 points better than average (per 100 possessions) even if Davis were swapped out for an average player;2With Davis, New Orleans finished 2.6 points above average per 100 possessions. this season, the same process would have predicted an offense 1.3 points below average (again per 100 possessions) without Davis.3With him, the team is 0.6 points below average per 100 possessions. Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson are a solid (offensive) trio to have on your side, but Davis has also shared the floor often with a steaming pile of Alonzo Gee, Dante Cunningham, Norris Cole and Omer Asik.Downturns in the quality of a player’s teammates aren’t always associated with declines in personal offensive performance, but in Davis’s case, it does help explain some of why his usage rate has risen, his scoring efficiency is down and his turnovers are up. And in addition to Davis’s increased offensive responsibility, New Orleans has focused on getting him more low-post touches; according to Synergy Sports Technology, Davis’s number has been called on the low block about 1.3 more times per game than a year ago, with post-ups now making up over 18 percent of Davis’s total offensive plays. This helps account for why Davis isn’t notching as many helpers (per SportVU data from NBA.com, assists are about 20 percent less common on post touches) and may even explain why his rates of putbacks and other offensive boards are also down. (Anecdotally, Davis spent plenty of time following up on teammate misses last year; that has become less possible this season with the ball in his hands so often.)But what about that defense?With his combination of athleticism, mobility and length — including an albatross-like 7-foot-5.5-inch wingspan — Davis is the prototypical defensive big man for an era that favors speed over mass. It’s hardly unreasonable to expect a player with his off-the-charts attributes to at least anchor a solid defense, and during his first three seasons, Davis was on track to do just that. Over that span, he tied for the seventh-best defensive BPM of any player aged 21 or younger since 1973-74, and his defensive Real Plus-Minus4An even more accurate performance metric than BPM — but only available for recent seasons — that augments box-score stats with play-by-play data to estimate a player’s on-court impact after controlling for the quality of his teammates and opponents. was even better. He was, without question, following the same defensive path laid out by Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett early in their careers.This season, though, Davis hasn’t traced the same trajectory. At age 22, Duncan, Howard and Garnett were averaging a defensive BPM of +3.0,5That is, they were 3 points better than an average player for every 100 possessions they played. and their teams averaged a defensive rating 3.3 points better than the NBA average per 100 possessions. By contrast, Davis’s defensive BPM is only +1.5 — his RPM, at +1.9, isn’t much better — and his Pelicans are carrying a defensive rating 2.5 points worse than the NBA mean.It should not come as a surprise to hear that the rest of the Pelicans roster stinks defensively. The guards are mostly sieves (here’s looking at you, Holiday, Gordon and Norris Cole!), Davis’s frontcourt partner Anderson is one of the league’s worst defensive bigs, and the plodding Asik, the only other Pelican capable of defending the paint, has been hobbled by injuries and is logging only 17 minutes a night in Alvin Gentry’s up-tempo scheme anyway (more on this later). But Davis’s teammates were equally putrid on D last year, and the team’s overall defensive rating has only gotten worse since then.Besides, the whole point of a metric like RPM is to filter out the distorting effects of a player’s teammates using a complex, regression-based methodology to isolate individual performance. And those stats say Davis’s defense is trending in the wrong direction: Among big men with as many minutes as Davis this season, only OKC’s Serge Ibaka has seen a bigger drop in defensive RPM since last season.A redefined defensive roleSo clearly something is off with Davis and the Pelicans’ defense. But at the granular level of simply assigning plays to individual defenders and tracking the efficiency they allow, it’s tough to account for the decline. According to Synergy, the distribution of play types that Davis defends against hasn’t changed much from a year ago. More than two-thirds of his defensive tasks still involve either grappling with pick-and-rolls (he switches to the ballhandler around 70 percent of the time) or closing out on a shooter who has inched away from the paint for a spot-up jumper, and he’s improved against both on a per-play basis. And although his post defense has been slightly less efficient this year, Synergy still classifies it as “average.”In other words, Davis’s individual defensive data points haven’t changed much from last season. But that’s also kind of the point — given the seismic shift that Davis’s defensive role has undergone, his numbers should have changed. In a roundabout way, that they haven’t helps explain why New Orleans’s defense has backslid.Simply put, these aren’t the same Pelicans as last season. Led by Gentry, they’re a much smaller, faster team than they were under Monty Williams in Davis’s first three seasons, and that’s required Davis to log far more time at center than he did a year ago. Back then, Davis spent more than half his minutes sharing the floor with Asik, a highly traditional defensive center who ranked among the league’s better rim protectors. Davis himself was below average by SportVU’s rim protection metrics, but he and Asik clicked as New Orleans’s best defensive combo because each made up for the other’s shortcomings.By contrast, less than a third of Davis’s court time this season has been spent alongside Asik, often leaving Davis as the Pelicans’ sole rim-protecting presence inside. It’s a role in which he’s improving — getting close to average this season, in fact, according to Nylon Calculus’s metrics — but still one to which he’s not fully suited. The situation is made worse, of course, by the fact that nearly half of Davis’s minutes have come manning the 5 alongside a grievous defensive liability like Anderson. As APBRmetricians, we still don’t have great ways to account for these kinds of changes to a player’s role, particularly on defense, where with-or-without-you style plus-minus measures are so central to our method of evaluation.Earlier, I mentioned Duncan and Garnett as prototypes for Davis. But their best defensive teams — Duncan’s Spurs in 2003-04 and Garnett’s 2007-08 Celtics — had them playing power forward alongside lumbering behemoths like Rasho Nesterovic and Kendrick Perkins, much like Davis and Asik a year ago. Those combos worked in a league ruled by size, but they couldn’t be used for more than brief stints against, say, the 2015-16 Warriors. To compete in today’s NBA, Davis doesn’t get the luxury of playing power forward alongside a bulky pivot anymore.Instead, perhaps Howard’s 2008-09 Magic offer a template for the type of team that could eventually thrive around Davis, with a single dominant defensive center surrounded by tons of floor-spacing shooters. (Coincidentally, Anderson bridges the gap between Howard’s Magic and Davis’s Pelicans, having played a sort of Rashard Lewis 2.0 role on Howard’s final Magic squad.) Howard at 22 was much more of a rim protector and one-on-one post defender than Davis is now, so Davis still has a bit of work to do in those areas. But if everything goes right, he could blossom into a more versatile offensive player than Howard with a similar level of defensive impact.To do that, though, Davis first has to ride out the growing pains of this season. And if his game successfully adapts, Davis could find himself in the finals limelight like Curry and James sooner than we might think. read more

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WATCH Glen Hansard and Bono busk on Grafton St for Simon Community

first_imgUpdated 6.50pm GLEN HANSARD WAS back on Grafton Street today, busking to raise money for the Simon Community, and he was joined by U2 frontman Bono this evening.This has been a tradition for Hansard the last number of years, with Bono joining in on few occasions.Despite the rain and the cold winds, a festive crowd gathered to listen to the former The Frames musician who was in fine form early-on.He urged those listening in to “dig in and keep a few people off the street”.(Video: TheJournal.ie/YouTube)Later Bono arrived for a festive tune and without microphones he had to work those vocal chords hard:YouTube: Patrick PhelanFirst published 4.40pmRead: After their last one was stolen, the Simon Community get a new van>Read: Simon Community says 88 per cent rise in Dublin rough sleepers ‘frightening’>last_img read more

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Bang Olufsen Reveals 85Inch 3D TV

first_imgIf the reason you haven’t bought a 3D TV yet is because they’re not expensive enough, luckily Bang & Olufsen has stepped in.The company known for egregiously expensive consumer electronics has debuted the BeoVision 4-85, an 85-inch TV that is one of the largest 3D sets on the market.Oh, and because B&O just has to add features that sound cool but are totally useless, the TV actually moves. The motorized stand automatically lifts up the device to the ideal viewing position.Pricing details have not been announced yet, but if you know B&O you can expect it to be more expensive than my car.Via Engadgetlast_img read more

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Video captures massive solar explosion on the Sun

first_imgThe Sun can be a violent place. That couldn’t have been made any clearer than by a video demonstrating a huge solar explosion which occurred on Tuesday. Now before you start running to your bunker under the belief that the apocalypse is upon us as the result of a huge solar flare, take heart. The ejection caused by the explosion wasn’t facing us. Also, apparently the solar event didn’t even compare to some larger ones in February.AdChoices广告Nevertheless, the solar flare captured in the video is absolutely spectacular, especially when seen in UV light with two different kinds of filters. As you can see in these videos, not only is some of the surface ejected into space as a result of the explosion, some of it returns to crash back into the Sun. The videos are being provided through Helioviewer.org which is an open-source project, funded by ESA and NASA, for the visualization of solar and heliospheric data. It seems the video of the solar flare was so popular on Tuesday that some visitors to Helioviewer.org had long movie waits due to the increase in traffic.It’s incredible to imagine that the explosion viewed in the video resulted in a billion tons of material being ejected away from the Sun. Even more mind-boggling is the fact that a good solar flare can release the same amount of energy as billions of nuclear bombs exploding. One estimate puts the explosion captured in the video over an area of a million kilometers across.If you think this solar flare is something to behold chances are we haven’t seen anything yet. The solar cycle, which tracks increases and decreases in solar activity, is beginning to peak. That means there is little doubt that more solar explosions are on the way.via Bad Astronomy and Geeked on Goddard.last_img read more

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Analyst believes Microsoft will sell off Xbox division maybe even to Sony

first_imgBusiness analysts don’t always get things right, and there’s been more than a few rumors circulated based on their predictions. But this latest one from Forbes analyst Adam Hartung is a little more “out there” than usual.Hartung has predicted that Microsoft will sell off its entertainment division, which includes Xbox, in the coming years. He even goes so far as to list Sony or Barnes & Noble as potential buyers. And if the sale doesn’t happen, then Microsoft will instead drastically reduce the size of this division.Lets forget how crazy this sounds for a moment and focus on the reasons why Hartung believes such a sale will happen. It basically comes down to Windows 8, and how poorly it is selling. Combine that with falling sales of PCs, the Surface RT tablet not doing so great, the era of more than one PC in the home disappearing, and Microsoft has a big problem.The problem not only stems from the PC market not growing, but because Microsoft relies so heavily on Windows and Office for revenue. With that in mind, Hartung believes Steve Ballmer will do anything and everything to save Windows, including ditching entertainment and therefore Xbox.Hartung believes we’ll see up to 60 percent of Microsoft’s employees lose their jobs by 2016, all resources the company has refocused on Windows, and even the online division will go, which I assume means Bing, too.Getting rid of the Xbox division doesn’t seem to make much sense, though. The Xbox 360 is right up there competing with the PS3, the Xbox 720 is expected to ship this year, and Microsoft has turned the console into an entertainment center as well as a games machine. Everything seems to be moving in the right direction, however, based on last year’s finances, the Entertainment & Devices division isn’t profitable.If Microsoft were to sell the Xbox division, it would come as a massive shock to consumers, the market, and probably its stock price. If Sony were to buy it, then Xbox as a brand and product would most likely be shelved. It’s more likely some other entity would acquire it and attempt to continue operating it as a business. The Xbox name is so recognizable it would be silly to do otherwise.So, will Microsoft consider selling off the Xbox and focus totally on Windows? Your thoughts, please.Update: As you’d expect, Adam Hartung has received a lot of negative feedback about his article, and Forbes has decided to take it down. If you click the link below it takes you to an error page, but you can still view a cached version.More at Forbes, via MCVlast_img read more

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Labor asks Liberal to kick the habit

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Federal opposition have said that they will not oppose plain packaging for tobacco after the government had accused them of accepting tobacco donations. This comes after three Liberal backbenchers have asked the party to oppose tobacco donations. Labor MP Steve Georganas told Neos Kosmos he supports plain packaging as the branding on cigarette packaging is marketed to and targets young people. “In Australia we have very strict laws when it comes to the advertising of tobacco products. You can’t advertise on television, you can’t advertise at the cinema, you can’t put up billboards – there is a whole range of things. “The only marketing tool that tobacco companies have left to market to new clients is the brand, the brand name and the packaging. If you take that away, the last bit of marketing at their fingertips to try and get new clients and their new clients are who? Young people. Older people like me are giving up in their droves so it’s their only marketing tool to young people sp if this prevents young people from taking up smoking of course we should all be behind it.” Liberal MP Alex Somlyay said 15,000 Australians dying a year from smoking related conditions should be reason enough for his party not to accept donations from tobacco companies. Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbot told a press conference in Canberra that the Liberal party didn’t change their position as they don’t have a position on plain packaging because they haven’t seen the legislation. “We will seek to amend the legislation to ensure that it really does bring smoking rates down but if our amendments fail we won’t be opposing the legislation because we really are committed in opposition as we were in government to try to bring smoking rates down,” said Abbott. This issue is very close to Georganas, as a former smoker who gave up seven years ago on World No Tobacco Day and is asking the Liberal party to “kick the habit” of collecting tobacco donations. “We are calling on them to support our legislation of the plain package tobacco products and not to accept donations from the big tobacco companies,” said Georganas. “The whole purpose of this legislation is to take away the last bit of marketing that tobacco companies have left to entice young people to become addicts of tobacco.”last_img read more

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Search for missing teenager Rebecca Hatzis

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Police are appealing for public assistance to help find missing teenager Rebecca Hatzis.The 16-year-old was reported missing to police on 24 December.She usually resides with her family in Meadow Heights and Clayton and is also known to frequent the Broadmeadows area.It’s believed Rebecca may also be in the company of an older male.Police have concerns for Rebecca’s welfare given her age and an ongoing medical condition.She is described as being 160cm tall, thin build, olive complexion, long dark hair and brown eyes.Police have released an image of Rebecca in the hope someone can provide information regarding her current whereabouts.Anyone who sees her or who can provide information on her whereabouts is urged to contact Triple Zero (000) immediately.Natalie Webster Media Officer 39329last_img read more

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Property prices slide

first_imgGreek residential property prices declined at a faster pace in the second quarter than the first, data showed on Tuesday, as Greece’s slide back into recession hit household incomes and employment.Property accounts for a large chunk of household wealth in Greece, which has one of the highest home ownership rates in Europe – 80 per cent versus a European Union average of 70 per cent, according to the European Mortgage Federation.Bank of Greece data showed that apartment prices fell by 5.6 per cent in the second quarter of 2015 from a year earlier.The annual pace of decline accelerated from 4.1 per cent in the first three months of the year. The pace of price declines had begun to ease after a 10.8 per cent drop in 2013 up until the first quarter of 2015.Residential property prices have dropped by 40.5 per cent from a peak hit in 2008, when the country’s recession began.The real estate market has been hit by property taxes which the government imposed to plug budget deficits, a tight credit market and a jobless rate hovering near 27 per cent.Apart from their negative wealth effect, falling property prices also affect the collateral value on banks’ outstanding real estate loans.Greece’s economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in the first three months of the year compared with the last quarter of 2014, after emerging from a six-year recession last year.The European Commission projects Greece will fall back into recession in 2015, with gross domestic product contracting by two to four per cent.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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China military warns Hong Kong protesters through video

first_imgPolice officers react during clashes with anti-extradition bill protesters who surrounded a police station where detained protesters are being held in Hong Kong, China on 30 July 2019. Photo: ReutersChina’s military has released a slick propaganda video showing a drill of armed troops quelling a protest in Hong Kong, in a thinly veiled warning to the city’s pro-democracy movement.The video, posted to social media on Wednesday by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) garrison in Hong Kong, has a caption in which the military declares it has the “confidence” and “capabilities” to maintain security in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city.The three-minute video showcases the PLA’s tanks, helicopter gunfire, rocket launchers and other military hardware in action in Hong Kong, as well as heavily armed troops performing an anti-terrorism drill.It also features an “anti-riot” drill in which armed soldiers, armoured personnel carriers and water cannons are used to disperse a crowd of protesters.“All consequences are at your own risk,” a soldier yells into a loudspeaker at the start of the drill in Cantonese, the language spoken in Hong Kong rather than the Mandarin of mainland China.PLA troops are then seen wearing helmets, carrying long shields, marching with batons, laying out barbed-wire barricades and pointing assault rifles.An officer is also seen holding a red flag that reads: “Warning, stop charging or we use force.”The drill ends with armed troops escorting protesters, who have their arms tied behind their backs, being led to areas designated by banners as “detention points”.A police officer uses a pepper spray during clashes with anti-extradition bill protesters who surrounded a police station where detained protesters are being held in Hong Kong, China on 30 July 2019. Photo: ReutersThe release of the video came on the same day dozens of people appeared in court in Hong Kong after being charged with “rioting” for their alleged involvement in an anti-government protest over the weekend.The unrest began nearly two months ago when masses of people took to the streets to stop a government effort to introduce a law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.The protests evolved into a people power movement for democratic reforms and an end to eroding freedoms, in the most significant challenge to Beijing’s rule since the city’s handover from Britain in 1997.Beijing had largely left the city’s government to deal with the unrest.Although on Tuesday it stepped up its rhetoric with a rare press conference from the spokesman of the cabinet-level Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.“No civilised society or rule of law society will tolerate rampant violence,” the spokesman, Yang Guang, told reporters in Beijing.Thousands of PLA troops have been based at the Hong Kong garrison since the handover.The caption to its online video posted on Wednesday reinforced its core mission.“We are… confident and capable of firmly maintaining national sovereignty, safety, development interests and maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability in the long run,” it said.last_img read more

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Mayor Freezes Hiring Ahead of Pay Parity Vote

first_img Contributed by: Houston Public Media Newsroom, Houston Public Media Suspension of Hiring (Updated 9 21 18) Previous Share for “” Next p. 1 Zoom Suspension of Hiring (Updated 9 21 18) Loading Loading Original Document (PDF) » To print the document, click the “Original Document” link to open the original PDF. At this time it is not possible to print the document with annotations. CLOSE Related Article » Document Pages Notes Text Suspension of Hiring (Updated 9 21 18) (PDF)
Suspension of Hiring (Updated 9 21 18) (Text) Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has frozen hiring and promotions across city government.The Mayor instructed department directors seeking “critical” hires to meet with him or his staff in person.In a statement to News 88.7, Press Secretary Mary Benton attributed the freeze to Proposition B, a ballot measure set for November that would match the salaries of Houston’s firefighters to police officers of the same rank.Benton said if the measure is passed firefighter pay would increase by at least 25 percent, costing the city $98 million. “The impact would financially cripple the city and force layoffs and cutbacks to services,” Benton said in a statement Wednesday morning. “The mayor believes it is not prudent at this time to hire additional city of Houston employees, who could lose their jobs as a result of the election.” The fire fighter’s union has pushed back on the Turner administration’s claims the city does not have enough money.Regarding @SylvesterTurner‘s city hiring/promotion freeze and Prop B layoff threats despite strong city economy, we say, “If he is truly willing to destabilize public safety and hurt all city employees so he can further punish firefighters, that raises some troubling questions.”— Houston Firefighters (@FirefightersHOU) September 25, 2018“We believe this mayor has continually upped the ante when it comes to his vindictiveness towards firefighters,” Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Firefighter’s Association, said to News 88.7. “And I think this is just another tool that the mayor has continued to use in an effort to establish his power.”Lancton said Houston has lost 275 firefighters to other departments in the past three years. He said those firefighters voluntarily resigned, due to wages, benefits, and working conditions. Turner’s internal letter initiating the freeze states the directive will be reassessed later this year, but gives no definite date. Contentslast_img read more

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Baltimore Ravens Under Armour Donate 75k to Restore Free Bus Rides for

first_imgBaltimore city public school students will again be able to ride city buses for free until 8 p.m. thanks to $25,000 donated by the Baltimore Ravens and $50,000 donated by Under Armour, city officials recently announced.The $75,000 donation join $26,000 raised by citizens, and by City Council members at a recent bake sale, to restore the free rides for students on Maryland Transit Administration buses. Students had been allowed to ride the buses for free until 8 p.m., until school officials and the MTA cut the availability of the free rides to 6 p.m. in December.City Councilman Zeke Cohen, chairman of the council’s Education and Youth Committee, arranged the Feb. 2 bake sale and set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds needed to re-extend the free ride hours. He said the diminished hours caused students to quit after-school programs because they lacked a safe way to get home after 6 p.m.“This has caused significant hardship to children and families,” Cohen said. “Less than two years out of the unrest, this policy sends the message that children don’t matter. These programs are life-and-death for our kids.”The extended hours are scheduled to start on Feb. 20 and continue through the remainder of the school year.last_img read more

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