Increase of Unemployment Rate Despite an Invigorated Work Market: HCP

Rabat – Unemployment has risen again in the first three months of the current year, according to the High Commission for Planning’s (HCP) labor market figures for the first quarter of 2017.The HCP figures show the increase of the national unemployment rate from 10.4 percent to 10.7 percent between the first quarter of 2016 and that of 2017. The number of unemployed individuals rose from 1,233,000 to 1,296,000 people between the two periods, marking an increase of 63,000 people registered exclusively in urban areas. According to the note, this rate increased from 15 percent to 15.7 percent in urban areas and from 4.2 percent to 4.1 percent in rural ones, adding that the highest unemployment rate is recorded among young people aged 15 to 24, with 25.5 percent, and adults aged 25 to 34 with 16.6 percent. From the first quarter of 2016 to the same period of 2017, the Moroccan economy saw the creation of 109,000 jobs, with 62,000 posts in urban areas and 47,000 in rural ones, compared to a loss of 13,000 jobs a year earlier, reports the HCP.The services sector created 45,000 jobs, agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors 28,000 jobs, construction and public works 20,000 jobs, while industry including artisanat created 16,000 posts. However, these figures remain insufficient to reverse the curve of unemployment which continues on an upward trend.Increase of UnderemploymentThe note of the HCP also showed a slight increase in underemployment, with the underemployed population reaching 1,057,000 individuals, marking a growth rate of 0.1 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016, rising from 9.7 percent to 9.8 percent at the national level.From the first quarter of 2016 to that of 2017, the labor force aged 15 years and over increased by 1.4 percent at the national level, reaching 12,062,000 individual, with a 1.8 percent increase in urban areas and 0.9 percent in rural ones. As for the population of working age, it showed a 1.7 percent increase. As a result, the participation rate continues to decline from 47.6 percent to 47.5 percent between the two periods.By gender, the rate of underemployment reached 11.1 percent among men, with 9.4 percent in urban areas compared to 13.5 percent in rural ones, and 5.7 percent among women, with 9.8 percent in urban areas versus 2.8 percent in rural ones, noting that the HCP indicators also include unpaid employment.In conclusion, the number of paid jobs has risen to 86,000, with 57,000 in urban areas and 29,000 in rural ones, while unpaid employment posts are estimated at 23,000, with 18,000 in rural areas and 5,000 in urban ones.Difficult Mission for the New Government? The HCP grave figures concerning unemployment in Morocco rise another serious question: will Saad Eddine El Othmani’s new government be able to keep its promise? As soon as the new government assumed power, El Othmani promised to reduce the unemployment rate from 10 percent to 8 percent by the end of his term. No easy feast since he’ll have to bring down the current rate by almost three points in just five years. El Othmani’s government is counting on the implementation of the new 2025 Employment Strategy, which it’s intending to merge with the various existing sectoral strategies. The government will also have to the Ministerial Commission in charge of monitoring the implementation of the 2015-2025 National Employment Strategy, while evaluating the overall of employment promotion programs. Moreover, the Executive also promised to review the functioning of the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Skills (Anapec) and private sector mediation institutions. read more

China, Iran meet amid efforts to preserve nuclear deal

BEIJING — The foreign ministers of China and Iran are meeting amid efforts to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.China’s Wang Yi met in Beijing on Tuesday with Mohammad Javad Zarif, who’s leading a delegation that includes parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani and the ministers of finance and petroleum, as well as the CEO of Iran’s central bank.Germany, Britain, France, China, Russia and the European Union have been trying to preserve the 2015 deal meant to keep Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon after the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. last year.Zarif told the Munich Security Conference on Sunday a barter-type system known as INSTEX set up last month by France, Germany and Britain to skirt direct financial transactions with Iran and thereby evade possible U.S. sanctions isn’t enough.The Associated Press read more

UN refugee chief urges help for 6 million longterm displaced

The UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), António Guterres, said there were at least 30 long-term refugee situations around the world that had lasted five years or more. “The burden of hosting these refugees falls almost exclusively to developing states,” he said today at the opening session of a two-day conference on protracted refugee situations, taking place in Geneva. “It is important to recognise that the international community as a whole has not done enough to share that burden.” Guterres said that once the media spotlight turned away from refugee emergencies and international attention faded, the displaced people could go unnoticed for years. He added that much of the pressure fell on some of the poorest countries in the world, and hailed the example of Tanzania, whose Prime Minister, Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda, joined him at the conference podium. Tanzania has offered local integration, including naturalization and citizenship, to most of the Burundian refugees who fled their homeland in 1972 and who wish to remain in the country. Some 175,000 refugees stand to benefit from this programme, while others have opted to return to Burundi. For his part, Prime Minister Pinda called on the international community to recognise the impact of protracted refugee situations on host countries, including the over-exploitation of natural resources, environmental degradation, strains on social services and the spread of small arms and insecurity. 10 December 2008The top United Nations refugee official has called on the world to do more to help nearly 6 million long-term refugees, who have spent years and sometimes decades in exile, often in the poorest countries in Africa and Asia. read more

How major US stock indexes fared Monday

Stocks closed mostly lower on Wall Street Monday as losses for banks and communications companies offset gains in health care and other sectors.The modest losses came as traders turned cautious ahead of a busy week of potentially market-moving developments, including corporate earnings reports, key U.S. jobs data and a Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy announcement.On Monday:The S&P 500 index slipped 4.89 points, or 0.2%, to 3,020.97.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 28.90 points, or 0.1%, to 27,221.35.The Nasdaq composite fell 36.88 points, or 0.4%, to 8,293.33.The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slid 9.94 points, or 0.6%, to 1,569.02.For the year:The S&P 500 is up 514.12 points, or 20.5%.The Dow is up 3,893.89 points, or 16.7%.The Nasdaq is up 1,658.05 points, or 25%.The Russell 2000 is up 220.47 points, or 16.3%.The Associated Press read more

DR Congo UN envoy heads to Ituri to assess election readiness on

William Lacy Swing, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the DRC, told the press today in the capital, Kinshasa, that the UN remains vigilant but not overly anxious about the security situation ahead of Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary polls.Mr. Swing has observed repeatedly in the past that Ituri, the scene of deadly conflict for several years, serves as both a barometer of the DRC’s stability and of its readiness to hold elections.The envoy told reporters that he welcomed the fact that militias in the east of the vast African country have not disrupted the preparations so far.Approximately 25.5 million voters are expected to cast ballots on Sunday at 50,000 polling stations in an election involving some 33 presidential, over 9,000 national legislative and more than 10,000 provincial assembly candidates. It is considered to be the most complex electoral-assistance mission ever undertaken by the UN. read more

Correction Mine Waste LeakNew Mexico story

by The Associated Press Posted Jan 14, 2016 11:37 am MDT Last Updated Jan 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In a story Jan. 14 about New Mexico’s plan to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Associated Press erroneously attributed a statement by an EPA spokeswoman. The statement should have been attributed to EPA spokeswoman Nancy Grantham, not Christine St. Clair.A corrected version of the story is below:New Mexico is 1st to issue plans to sue EPA over mine spillNew Mexico plans to sue the EPA, Colorado and two mine companies over a massive spill that contaminated rivers in three Western statesBy RUSSELL CONTRERAS and SUSAN MONTOYA BRYANAssociated PressNew Mexico plans to sue the federal government and the owners of two Colorado mines that were the source of a massive spill last year that contaminated rivers in three Western states, officials said Thursday.The New Mexico Environment Department said it filed a notice of its intention to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the spill, becoming the first to do so. The lawsuit also would target the state of Colorado and the owners of the Gold King and Sunnyside Mines.An EPA cleanup crew accidentally unleashed millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater in August at the inactive Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. It fouled rivers in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico with contaminants including arsenic and lead, temporarily shutting down drinking-water supplies and raising concerns about long-term effects to agriculture.The spill sent a yellow plume through the Animas Valley and into New Mexico and the San Juan River, forcing farmers and municipalities to shut off their taps. Farmers and ranchers on the Navajo Nation were left without a key water source for their crops and livestock for weeks.The New Mexico regulators said they will sue if the EPA does not begin to take meaningful measures to clean up the affected areas and agree to a long-term plan that will research and monitor the effects of the spill.“From the very beginning, the EPA failed to hold itself accountable in the same way that it would a private business,” said Ryan Flynn, state Environment Department cabinet secretary.The federal agency is reviewing New Mexico’s plans to sue, spokeswoman Nancy Grantham said.“EPA is working closely with the states to develop a long-term monitoring plan to evaluate potential environmental impacts from the spill and will be meeting with representatives in early February,” Grantham said. “EPA is also reimbursing state and local agencies for response-related costs associated with the spill.”Larry Perino, a reclamation manager for Sunnyside Mine, said the mine was not involved in the spill and has no responsibility.“We will vigorously defend ourselves from any potential legal action,” he said.A representative for Gold King Mine did not immediately respond to an email requests seeking comment.Roger Hudson, a spokesman for the Colorado attorney general, said the office has not yet seen the notice and had no comment. Hudson did not say if Colorado also planned to sue the EPA.Flynn said Colorado balked when New Mexico asked for information about the spill’s effects on the Animas River watershed that the two states share. In fact, Colorado asked New Mexico to pay about $20,000 for a public record’s request, he said.The Navajo Nation has said it may consider legal action against the EPA but nothing formal has been filed.The spill occurred when workers for the agency and its contractor, Environmental Restoration LLC, started excavation work intended to allow them to safely drain the mine.Some criticized the EPA for failing to take adequate precautions despite warnings that a blowout could occur. But Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said a review by her agency showed the spill was “clearly unintentional.”People who live near the idled and leaking Gold King Mine say local authorities and mining companies have spent decades spurning federal help to clean up the site.The owners of the two mines have been disputing the source of the wastewater buildup for years. Colorado-based San Juan Corp., which owns the Gold King Mine, claims it stems from a project in the 1990s to plug a segment of the Sunnyside Mine. They say the plug caused the wastewater to build up and get pushed into surrounding mines, including Gold King.Canada’s Kinross Corp., which owns Sunnyside, disputes those claims.In 2011, Kinross offered $6.5 million to help clean mining waste from the upper Animas River while vowing to “vigorously contest” any effort to make Sunnyside liable for Superfund-related cleanup costs.The mine has yet to spend the money but supports a “collaborative approach” among various parties, Sunnyside reclamation director Kevin Roach said.___Associated Press writer Kristen Wyatt in Denver contributed to this report.___Follow Susan Montoya Bryan on Twitter at and Russell Contreras at Correction: Mine Waste Leak-New Mexico story FILE – In this Aug. 14, 2015 file photo, water flows through a series of sediment retention ponds built to reduce heavy metal and chemical contaminants from the Gold King Mine wastewater accident, in the spillway about a quarter mile downstream from the mine outside Silverton, Colo. New Mexico officials said Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 that they plan to sue the federal government and the owners of two Colorado mines that were the source of a massive spill last year that contaminated rivers in three Western states. An EPA cleanup crew accidentally triggered the spill in August at the inactive Gold King mine near Silverton, Colo.(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File) read more

UN chief expresses deep regret about executions of eight people in Indonesia

In a statement released today by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson in New York, the Secretary-General again urged the Government to exercise its authority and commute all death sentences, also reaffirming his belief that the death penalty has no places in the 21st century. He said that the growing majority of the international community shared his conviction, demonstrating as much in a vote in the UN General Assembly in December 2014, when a record 117 States voted for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.The sentences were carried out despite an appeal by Mr. Ban on Saturday for Indonesia to refrain from executing those convicted. In a statement issued at the time, Mr. Ban recalled that under international law, if the death penalty is to be used at all, it should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, namely those involving intentional killing, and only with appropriate safeguards.Drug-related offenses generally are not considered to fall under the category of “most serious crimes,” and today’s statement concluded with Mr. Ban urging all countries where the death penalty is still in place to join the movement and declare a moratorium on capital punishment with a view toward abolition.Echoing that sentiment, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Rupert Coleville issued statement today underscoring that the High Commissioner, the Secretary-General, and other key UN entities had urged Indonesia time and time again not to proceed with these executions. “We appeal once again most strenuously to Indonesia to reinstate its moratorium on the death penalty,” he said, noting: “Indonesia appeals for clemency when its own nationals face execution in other countries, so it is incomprehensible why it absolutely refuses to grant clemency for lesser crimes on its own territory.” read more

Ohio State wrestling sweeps Great Lakes State

OSU redshirt-senior Logan Stieber faces off against an opponent from Kent State Nov. 13 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 38-3.Credit: Emily Yarcusko / For The LanternThe fourth-ranked Ohio State wrestling team completed a sweep of Michigan schools over the weekend, defeating the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines.OSU’s (7-3, 3-1) 25-15 victory over 16th-ranked Michigan (3-3, 1-2) on Sunday gave the Buckeyes their third-straight win and some extra momentum heading into their match against Indiana this coming Friday in Norwalk, Ohio.The Buckeyes jumped out to an early 15-0 lead after the first three matches.Seventh-ranked OSU redshirt-freshman Nathan Tomasello scored a major decision victory over redshirt-sophomore Conor Youtsey, 17-6, in the 125-pound weight class. At 133 pounds, OSU’s redshirt-junior Johnni DiJulius, ranked No. 8, won, 17-2, by technical fall over redshirt-senior Zebulon Hilyard and the Buckeyes’ defending three-time national champion redshirt-senior Logan Stieber got his second fall of the weekend at 141 pounds after pinning Michigan’s redshirt-freshman George Fisher in just 1:31.The next two matches didn’t go in favor of the Buckeyes as the Wolverines were able to get back into it with wins at 149 pounds from 11th-ranked freshman Alec Pantaleo, who earned an 8-2 decision over OSU redshirt-senior Randy Languis, and at 157 pounds as sophomore Wolverine Brian Murphy ground out a 5-2 decision that included a late third period takedown.With the score at 15-6, the undefeated redshirt-freshman Bo Jordan got OSU back to its winning ways with a 2-0 decision over 10th-ranked redshirt-sophomore Taylor Massa at 165 pounds. Jordan used an escape in the beginning of the third period and over a minute and a half of riding time to secure the three points for the Buckeyes.Junior Buckeye Mark Martin returned to his spot at 174 pounds after missing the two previous dual meets and he didn’t show any signs of rust. He racked up seven points in the second period on his way to a 11-2 major decision over redshirt-senior Jeff Holm, giving the Buckeyes a 22-6 lead in the match.OSU redshirt-junior Kenny Courts dropped a 6-2 decision to 10th-ranked sophomore Domenic Abounader at 184 pounds, but freshman Kyle Snyder, ranked fifth nationally, got the Buckeyes back on track with a 5-2 decision over eighth-ranked redshirt-senior Max Huntley. The win gave OSU its final points of the match and a 25-9 lead.Michigan sophomore Adam Coon ended the match with a fall over OSU senior Ray Gordon.On Friday, the Buckeyes topped the Spartans, 25-13, after winning six out of 10 matches in East Lansing, Mich.OSU’s upcoming match against Indiana is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Norwalk High School. read more

Purple Heart Recipient Daniel Rodriguez Joins Clemsons Football Team

When Daniel Rodriguez puts on No. 83 and runs onto the field for Clemson’s football practice on Friday, he will accomplish something more meaningful than most any other player in college football.You see, Rodriguez is a former soldier in the Army, and he and a comrade stationed in Afghanistan, Pfc. Kevin Thompson, talked about what they would do with their lives when they returned to the United States. A former high school football player in Virginia, Rodriguez promised Thompson he would pursue playing football.A few days later, Rodriguez and Thompson were among nearly 40 U.S. troops attacked by about 400 Taliban. Eight were killed, including Thompson.Rodriguez left Kamdesh with shrapnel in his leg and neck, and a bullet fragment through his shoulder. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal of Valor. He also received a Purple Heart and was promoted to staff sergeant before an honorable discharge in 2010.With Thompson’s words etched in his heart, Rodriguez began his football journey with a committed workout regimen. His workouts went viral on YouTube recorded them and put posted them on the video site. Rodriguez received inquiries from about 50 schools, including Clemson and coach Dabo Swinney.Swinney, a former walk-on at Alabama who eventually became a scholarship receiver, related to Rodriguez and was eager to give him a chance. His grades were not good enough to get into Virginia and Virginia Tech was not willing to get the waivers from the NCAA and ACC for him to play. Swinney said the Tigers were committed.“He is getting the opportunity to follow his dream,” Swinney said. “We are excited to have him join our program. I have no doubt that he will become a great leader for us.”“I’m using the hardships, the horrors, the killing, the friends that I’ve lost as my fuel to (get) where I want to be,” Rodriguez said. “So I think if you can turn and manipulate anything negative in your life and use it as something good, that’s what I’ve taken into my life.” read more

Police watchdog criticises Scotland Yard over its handling of child abuse cases

Child abusers who view indecent images of youngsters online could be escaping justice because some Met Police units only have the capacity to examine two of their electronic devices for evidence, a damning report has found.A lack of resources means detectives who arrest people suspected of downloading illegal images, can only choose two of their electronic devices, such as laptops or mobile phones, at random, for full forensic examination.This means huge swathes of illegal content could be overlooked during investigations allowing suspects to avoid prosecution for appalling material they have been viewing.A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said the current system was “ineffective” and recommended the Met introduced more specialist officers who were equipped with the technology needed to fully interrogate electronic devices.The report found huge disparities in the success rate of investigations that were carried out by specialist child sex abuse officers and those conducted by regular detectives.When frontline officers carry out the investigation only 11 per cent of cases result in the suspect being charged. But in the the latest follow up report of 34 online cases examined, 29 were still deemed to be inadequate or require improvement.HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said: “Since our 2016 inspection, the Met has taken some significant steps to improve its safeguarding practice for vulnerable children. But when specialist teams were involved that figure increased to 59 per cent, because they have the digital resources to fully examine all the devices used by the suspect. “However, we are committed to addressing these challenges to improve our response in this area.” The report stated: “We found that the current arrangements for investigating online cases involving indecent images of children and sexual exploitation are not working.”We also have significant concerns that cases that are dealt with by non-specialists result in notably poorer outcomes than those that are dealt with by specialist teams.”In addition, we found that the processes the MPS has in place for examining devices that are suspected of containing IIOC [indecent images of children] are ineffective. For example, because of the limited capacity of the digital examination team, only two devices can be sent for full examination.”The Met was heavily criticised in 2016 by the official watchdog over its failure to protect vulnerable children and for delays in investigating adults who were suspected of exploiting the young.The report then found that of 384 cases that were examined by the inspectorate, three quarters were found to be substandard.Since then the Met has been working hard to improve its services and the HMICFRS report acknowledged the progress that had been made. HMIC inspectors recommended the Met has more specialist officers dealing with online child abusers Scotland Yard has been asked to make improvements in the way it handles online child abuse casesCredit:Paul Grover “This has resulted in better and more effective oversight of child protection practices across the force, but oversight isn’t everything.”But the report went on: “We remain concerned about the current service the Met provides, given the extreme vulnerability of many of the children who come into contact with the force.”We also have significant concerns about the Met’s approach to tackling online child abuse and exploitation.”Limited capacity in specialist teams, backlogs and resourcing pressures have all led to the force being overwhelmed by cases and not able to provide the service victims need and deserve.”Although we recognise that the increase in online exploitation of children is a national problem, we have made a further recommendation for the Met to address in this area.”Responding to the report,  Commander Richard Smith, the Met’s Head of Safeguarding, said: “We are pleased to see measurable improvement in our investigations since the last HMICFRS report was published.”But he added: “The scale of child abuse and sexual exploitation offending online has grown in recent years.”This increased demand on police, coupled with the need to keep up with advancement of technology and adapt our methods to detect and identify offenders, means it is a challenging area for the Met and police forces nationally. Scotland Yard has been asked to make improvements in the way it handles online child abuse cases HMIC inspectors recommended the Met has more specialist officers dealing with online child abusers 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. read more

Man due in court in connection with Rathmines assault

first_imgA MAN WILL appear in court later this morning to be charged in connection with an assault in the Dublin 6 area yesterday.At about 12.30am on 6 January, a 22-year-old woman who was walking down Effra Road was attacked by a man from behind. He punched her in the face before she managed to escape.Following the incident, a man in his late 40s was arrested and questioned at Terenure Garda Station. He will appear before the Courts of Criminal Justice.The victim was taken to hospital after the attack but her injuries are not thought to be serious.Related: Woman attacked in Dublin overnightlast_img read more

Sinodinos awaits the findings

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A move within the Abbott cabinet to establish a homeland security super-ministry, drawing together several major departments and functions, looks to have been scuttled because senior figures viewed it as an attempt by backers of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to elevate him to future leader status.The entire issue is tied up with the timing of a reshuffle that will eventually be necessary one way or the other because of the temporary and possibly permanent vacancy created by the absence of Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos.He awaits the findings of an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry due next year.Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey wants Arthur Sinodinos to eventually return to the frontbench, saying the former assistant treasurer is “a man of great personal integrity”.last_img read more

BNP confident of freeing Khaleda to contest polls

first_imgMirza Fakhrul Islam AlamgirBNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday alleged that the ruling party is once again ‘plotting’ to keep BNP away from the next general elections, reports UNB.He expressed apprehensions that the ruling camp might ‘create a chaos’ in the country.”Awami League doesn’t want BNP to join the polls. They’re trying to put obstacles in the way of BNP’s participation in the election by repeatedly talking about 1/11-like conspiracy,” the BNP leader said.Mirza Fakhrul made the allegations while talking to reporters after placing wreaths at BNP founder Ziaur Rahman’s grave, together with leaders and activists of Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal, marking its 38th founding anniversary.Fakhrul voiced his party’s resolve to join the next general election overcoming all the obstacles and freeing their chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.”We must install a pro-people government through the next election.”He alleged that the ruling party has been on a plot to create a ‘chaos’ in the country to foil people’s efforts to ‘restore’ democracy in the country.Referring to Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader’s remark that BNP has started hatching conspiracies to create a dangerous situation like 1/11 one in the country, Fakhrul said BNP has no necessity to do it.”BNP has no relation with the 1/11 (political changeover). BNP is not in the driving seat now as the steering is in Awami League’s hands. They’ve the experience of 1/11 as they’re its beneficiary,” he said.Fakhrul said the ruling party is talking about the emergence of another 1/11 like situation involving BNP with an ‘evil motive’.Fakhrul criticised the government as eid holidaymakers are going through immense sufferings in tailbacks on major highways on their way to their native homes.He also came down hard on the government for arresting the ‘innocent’ students involved with quota reform or safe roads movements, and demand the government release all of them before the Eid.last_img read more

India flatfooted in Sri Lanka after proChina leader named PM

first_imgSri Lanka`s newly appointed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa is sworn in as the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs before President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo. Photo: ReutersIndia, ‘caught flatfooted’ by the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s premier, has opened urgent diplomatic and political contacts with the strongman who drew close to China during his previous tenure as president, officials said.The tear-shaped island, located off the southern tip of India, has become an arena of tussle between New Delhi and Beijing, which has built ports, power stations and highways as part of its Belt and Road Initiative of trade and transport links across Asia.Rajapaksa had opened up Sri Lanka’s main port to Chinese naval submarines when he was president, which stoked anger in India. His return to power in a surprise move by current President Maithripala Sirisena has drawn concern in New Delhi that China would tighten its grip on the island that lies along busy shipping lanes.”It is advantage China at the moment,” said Srikanth Kondappali, a specialist on India-China ties at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University who closely tracks the regional rivalry between the Asian giants.He said Beijing had invested in Rajapaksa and in his political constituency of Hambantota in the south of Sri Lanka where it has built a $1.5 billion deep water port, an airport and also planned an industrial zone.China’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, Cheng Xueyuan, was among the first diplomats to meet Rajapaksa soon after he was sworn in as prime minister and he presented a congratulatory message from Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday and named Rajapaksa to replace him, breaking up a fragile coalition governing the island.Wickremesinghe, who was seen as pro-India, said his sacking was illegal and he has maintained that he is still prime minister and had majority support in parliament.Sri Lanka is one of a chain of countries where the India-China rivalry is playing out, stretching from Bangladesh, Nepal to the Maldives, where a pro-China leader was voted out in a surprise election result last month that was welcomed by India, the United States and the European Union.Indian diplomats were in contact with Rajapaksa’s camp, officials in New Delhi said, adding they were ready to do business with the new leader so long as his appointment was in line with the country’s constitution.”India will continue to extend our developmental assistance to the people of Sri Lanka,” an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday.Separately, leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing Hindu nationalist-led alliance, have reached out to Rajapaksa to promote ties, party sources said.PREDATORYSeshadri Chari, an RSS leader involved in the track two diplomacy, said he was confident New Delhi and Colombo will work for better relations under the new leadership in Sri Lanka.”In the changed geo-political realities, we have to be practical and pragmatic to protect our national self-interest and do better business,” he said. The RSS wields influence in the Modi administration and has acted as an unofficial intermediary with some neighbouring countries.China has in recent years faced criticism that many of its investments in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and other countries run the risk of driving smaller nations into debt and potentially impinge on their sovereignty.”We are seeing an international pushback against China’s predatory practices. It can only intensify and in that backdrop it’s hard to see Sri Lanka doling out more projects even under Rajapaksa,” said an Indian government source.China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing believes the people and government of Sri Lanka have the wisdom to “appropriately handle” the situation, and China hopes all sides can resolve differences via dialogue, to protect the country’s stability.Harinda Vidanage, director of the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies, a thinktank in Colombo, said Sri Lanka had become a greater strategic prize after the pro-China president of the Maldives, Abdulla Yameen, lost the election.”For China, both Sri Lanka and Maldives were very important in their effort to gain a foothold in the Indian Ocean. China to certain extent lost the Maldivian connection when Yameen lost the elections,” he said.Shailesh Kumar, Asia director at the Eurasia group, said the changes in Sri Lanka would benefit China.”While Beijing lost a pro-Chinese government earlier this month in the Maldives, it will make up ground in South Asia with the change of guard in Sri Lanka,” he said, adding that it came as Sri Lanka’s economy was in financial difficulties.”The decision to bring Rajapaksa back into the mainstream is likely intended to open the flow of Chinese funds, given the close relationship he cultivated with the Chinese leadership.”last_img

Timeless cast and crew reveals future pasts at NYCC

first_imgStay on target The final day of New York Comic Con is much shorter than the other three. The panels are fewer, but there are still plenty worth checking out. The cast and producers of NBC’s new time travel drama Timeless gathered in what turned out to be too small a panel room for all the fans it attracted. Once inside, the fans who were able to enter were treated to an early screening of the series’s second episode.You may recall at the end of the pilot; Lucy returned home to find that her mother was cancer-free and her sister had never been born. The second episode picks up right afterward with Lucy (Abigail Spencer) rushing back to Mason’s complex to demand answers. She doesn’t get any as the group is immediately given another mission. This time, Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic) has gone back to the day of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.Timeless is quickly becoming a history nerd’s dream show. Every episode takes us to an incredibly detailed recreation of a specific time in American history. And this show clearly has the budget and the resources to make each historical period seem real, even if they’re only used for one episode.TIMELESS — “The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln” Episode 101 — Pictured: Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)Flynn’s plot is soon revealed. The conspiracy to kill President Lincoln originally had more targets, but only John Wilkes Booth succeeded. Flynn is there to ensure every aspect of the assassination plot succeeds, including the murders of Ulysses S. Grant and Vice President Andrew Johnson. Lucy wants to preserve history, which includes ensuring Lincoln’s death. That doesn’t sit too will with Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter).After the pilot, I wrote that the characters seemed a little flat. After episode two, it’s still not perfect, but there are signs of slow improvement. The banter between the three is more natural and their individual personalities are starting to come through. The show is revealing itself to be a fun, light sci-fi adventure, and it’ll be interesting to see how the present day changes the more they alter history.Rufus’s storyline continues to address how difficult it is to be a Black man in American history. With this episode being set at the end of the Civil War, there’s some tension between the optimism felt by the free Black soldiers and Rufus’s knowledge of all the history to come. The way the show handles it can be a little ham-fisted at times, but at least they’re addressing the issue instead of pretending discrimination and prejudice never existed.After the pilot, the cast and producers told us what to expect for the next few weeks. Next week’s episode will take us to Rat Pack-era Vegas. After that, they’ll go to Germany during World War II, then the Alamo. Later this season, we’ll meet Bonnie and Clyde, visit NASA during the space race and see the French-Indian war. For now, that last one is the furthest back in time they’ll go.Co-creator Eric Kripke said his 6-year-old son, in attendance at the panel, has been asking him to write a dinosaur episode, but that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. Although saying that visibly upset the kid, so maybe he’ll have to write that episode now to make up for it.One interesting thing they discovered is when they have a historical figure that modern audiences have a lot of familiarity with, the role becomes extremely hard to cast. Early shots of John F. Kennedy in the NASA episode didn’t look right, because as good as the actor was, he clearly isn’t JFK. For figures like that, they have to be kept just out of focus or have certain scenes be shot from over their shoulder. Hopefully, it isn’t as awkward in the final product as it sounds.TIMELESS — “The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Paterson Joseph as Connor Mason, Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)There was one bit of reassuring news for those who are wary about diving into a new show: Kripke hates endless mysteries. Questions will be answered sooner rather than later, and the hope is that they’ll open up larger questions that will then become the focus of the show. Right now, the big mystery is who or what “Rittenhouse” is. Kripke says we’ll have the answer by episode six.Oh, and there is the possibility of a musical episode. It seems Abigail Spencer, who plays Lucy, has been begging for one. While they didn’t promise a full Buffy style musical, they did promise that one way or another, they’d get Spencer to sing. Timeless has fun first outing despite underdeveloped charactersTimeless Garden runs on green power last_img read more

Experts warn Apples new app will not accurately measure your penis size

first_imgResearch finds the average penis size is getting biggerOne in five gay men have rejected a guy based on their penis sizeNew gay dating app has ‘bank-level’ security for those afraid to be outedRead the full article on Gaystarnews:  : Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . Apple is allowing you to measure anything – even a big and thick breakfast burrito | Twitter And many have appeared to be already disappointed with the results.But it may not be 100% accurate.But is it accurate? Lifehacker’s Anthony Caruana, an expert on tech, has investigated and found Apple may still need to work on the app.He tested the app on a wall in his home, and then compared it with a tape-measure. The app took a lot of difficulty to get anything close to an accurate measurement.‘[This] is a first gen AR measurement app,’ Gizmodo wrote. ‘Compared to actually measuring something in the real world, there’s probably going to be some discrepancies.‘With this in mind, it may be best used for approximations, as opposed to really accurate measurements of objects. Or body parts.’Measure is only available for people who have downloaded iOS12. To find it, it’s on the homescreen. Just tap the ‘plus’ button to start and stop measuring.And for what people are truly using it for?Adam Robertson, on Twitter, came up with a great idea.‘The Measure app included in iOS 12 should detect when it is measuring a dong and upload the dong length to a worldwide leaderboard,’ he said. Experts warn Apple’s new app will not accurately measure your penis size. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Measure, the new app available with iOS12 on iPhones and iPads, is one of the new features.It boasts the ability to predict the measurement of anything – anything.The app uses AR, or alternative reality. This is similar to apps like Pokemon Go.But as soon as people downloaded iOS12, most users only had one thing on their own minds.‘The iPhone update’s Measure app begins the Renaissance era of dick pics,’ one Twitter user said.iPhone users try out new Measure app‘How many men do you think have already taken and sent out dick pics with the new iOS app?’ one woman said.A man said: ‘Every guy with an iPhone is going to be measuring his dick tonight.’Many men feared this could be the end to lying about your penis size.‘This is bad guys,’ one said. GAYSTARNEWS-last_img read more

Kickin it at La Carolina Lodge

first_imgAfter several hours of horseback riding through jungle and pasture, there is probably nothing more relaxing than kicking back in La Carolina Lodge’s fire-warmed hot tub. And after a long soak by the river and a bounteous, organic meal, this became clear: the rustic life is definitely for me.Situated far off the beaten path in north central Costa Rica, La Carolina Lodge is the perfect getaway for the adventurous, or anyone who likes relaxing in woods by a river.The lodge sits on 170 acres of land just a short hike away from Tenorio Volcano National Park and the famous Rio Celeste. Named for it’s electric blue water, Rio Celeste is one of Costa Rica’s unique but largely undiscovered tourist destinations. One of two rivers running from the Tenorio Volcano, Rio Celeste picks up minerals that create its color. The second river runs clear as glass alongside La Carolina Lodge. At the top of one hill, the lodge keeps its own organic garden. Beans, corn, rice, papayas and yuca are just several of the plants grown on the property using all-natural farming techniques. The hotel also raises its own chickens and pigs.The farm’s products show up at the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner, where heaping portions of the traditional Costa Rican fare are shared, family-style, among guests.Fried fish also makes a frequent appearance on the menu, caught by the staff or guests at the lake property just up the road, which also belongs to La Carolina’s owners. My trip into the lake in the lodge’s wooden rowboat was a relaxing experience, but maybe too relaxing, as my lack of fishing skills left me unable to contribute to the hotel’s dinner that night.Fortunately, in addition to his horse riding ability, Michael Jordan is also an expert fishermen. He somehow landed fish big enough for the dining room table. The final count: Michael Jordan: 5, Tico Times: 0.After sunset we headed back to lodge, where the path to my secluded cabin had been illuminated by candles. After a quick dunk in the private hot tub, it was time to slip under the mosquito nets and between comfy fleece sheets, where I drifted off to the perpetual rush of the river.Yes, the rustic life is definitely for me.Going there: From San José take the 27 coastal highway until you hit the connector for the Pan-American, Route 1 just before Puntarenas. Take the Pan-American north past Cañas and turn north onto the Upala Highway (Route 6). Drive 35 km until you see a sign for La Carolina Lodge where you will turn right. Continue to follow the signs for the lodge until you reach it. Accommodations range from dorm-style rooms with a shared bathroom to private cabins. In the high season rates run from $75 per person to $105 per person with all meals included. In the low season rates run from $65 per person to $95 per person with all meals included. Horseback riding and tours of Rio Celeste are not included in the rates. Horseback riding is $15 per adult and $10 per child and tours of the park are $5 for the guide and the $10 entry fee. Facebook Comments Also calling La Carolina Lodge home are 38 beautiful horses. The newest addition, Besito, was born just eight days before our arrival, and was carefully watched over by the horses’ exuberant caretaker, Alejandro Padilla.Padilla and his 14-year-old son Michael Jordan are horse fanatics. The older Padilla will happily show you his horse belt-buckle and his prized possession, a circular horse-shaped necklace carved from a horse bone. He never takes it off.“I hope when I die that they bury me with this,” he said. “I want to take a horse to the other side with me.”The lodge has horses for any skill level, and Padilla guides trips down jungle trails and across the numerous pastures of the lodge’s property, past cows, colts and the lodge’s two giant, white bulls, Indio and Palomo. An intimate riverside cabin at La Carolina Lodge.Lindsay Fendt The lodge has 4,500 feet of riverfront property, and a wooden deck overlooking a small rapid provides a spot for guests to jump in for a dip, fish or just lounge by the water. Also overlooking the river is the lodge’s innovative stone hot tub, heated by a wood-burning fire. The river water enters metal tubes that wrap around the fire, heating the water before it is released into the tub.Set back deep in the jungle, toucans, butterflies and anteaters all frequent the property. Animals are easy to spot right outside the lodge’s main dining area, where fruit atop two stone slabs attracts many vibrantly colored birds. The lodge’s friendly staff keeps a trained eye on the trees for a glimpse at one of the property’s elusive sloths.center_img La Carolina Lodge’s Alejandro Padilla pets one of the hotel’s bulls, Indio.Lindsay Fendt The deck off the back of one of La Carolina Lodge’s features a hammock and a private hot tub.Lindsay Fendt No related posts.last_img read more

New travellers new expectations

first_imgLeft, Sabah Homestay Assosciation president Jeffry Cobra with lucky prizewinner Tourism Malaysia marketing manager Aliastair Manihera with Wendy and Balljid Left, Fieldskills Adventure director Simon Amos with lucky prizewinner Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P Travellers today have a whole new set of demands and expectations that the tourism industry needs to be aware of and keep up with, according to Tourism Malaysia.Speaking at the Tourism Malaysia Adventure Backpacker cocktail seminar this week marketing manager Alastair Manihera explained that travellers are now looking for the “next avenue, that next aspect to capture their imagination”.Talking to a room of travel agents Mr Manihera introduced the travel industry to various offerings Malaysia has on hand that cater to the new traveller and suggested agents look to modern and adventurous companies including Fieldskills Adventure and Sabah Homestay Association when booking trips for their clients.“We have brought these two companies as they offer experiences that take you out of your comfort zones and allow you to experience something you can take with you for the rest of your life,” Mr Manihera said.Fieldskills Adventure offers thrill seeker travellers, families, school groups and team building groups an opportunity for adventure travel in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.Fieldskills Adventure director Simon Amos and his team specialise in mountain biking, jungle trekking, camping, kayaking, white water rafting, to name a few, the adventure company also offers low impact activities and caters for both large and small tour groups.“It’s a great experience for everyone, we take a lot of families we even had a three year old, we set up a tent for the child as most people stay in hammocks,” Mr Amos said.“It’s a popular place for team building activities and school groups.”Mr Amos added Sabah is a fantastic rock climbing destination everything from simple children’s climbs to the more adventurous 150 meters high climbs, which he added, has sparked a lot of interest as it has not yet been climbed.“Rock climbing is the new thing to do in Sabah,” he explained.  While, Sabah Homestay Association president Mr Jeffry Cobra, offers travellers a unique chance to stay among local families and be a part of their culture and daily routine in clean, modest accommodations.“From Mt Kinabalu to the depths of its oceans, travellers get to experience many of the different lifestyles and culture of the local communities,” Mr Cobra said.Mr Cobra explained how each one of the many different ethnic groups offers its own specialty including wildlife, jungles, historical sites, native festivals and cultural traditions to name a few.Tourism Malaysia, Director Mr. Shahrin Mokhtar added no trip to Malaysia is complete without experiencing six unique activities to the country; tasting rice wine while visiting a longhouse, joining a head hunter trail, a trip to the Pinnacles and bat watching in the Mulu National park, visiting the orang-utans and enjoying live music at the annual Rainforest World Music Festival all made the list.The cocktail party was on the back of Tourism Malaysia’s successful Adventure Travel and Backpacker Expo.last_img read more

Keeping it in the family

first_imgDallas and Molly: British Airways Mum and Daughter Cabin CrewKeeping it in the familyFollowing an intensive training course, the first 84 British Airways apprentices on the UK’s biggest ever Cabin Crew Apprenticeship Scheme have started flying on the airline’s largest route network in more than a decade, including new routes to Osaka in Japan and Pittsburgh in the USA.British Airways is recruiting 2,000 cabin crew this year who will all be trained at the airline’s Global Learning Academy. Cabin crew apprentices will then continue their learning journey in the air and on the ground for a further 10-months, flying both long and short-haul routes from Heathrow and Gatwick airports.Family AffairDallas Chapman, 46, was one of the first cabin crew apprentices to receive her wings at a ceremony at the airline’s headquarters near Heathrow. Her daughter, Molly, who is also cabin crew for British Airways, was there to offer her mum support.Dallas said: “Before joining British Airways I was a social worker and I also worked in sales and marketing. It sounds like a cliché but I’ve always wanted to be cabin crew. I have four children, so I’ve always had to be near home, but now is my time.“Molly convinced me to apply. She said ‘Mum, there are so many more mature people becoming cabin crew now.’ We both chose British Airways because it’s synonymous with quality and I feel so proud every time I put on the uniform. The fact I am an apprentice is exciting; I’m really enjoying learning new skills for the next phase of my career and I feel confident I’ll be supported throughout the 12 months of the apprenticeship. It’s brilliant that I’ll have a qualification I can keep forever.”Molly added: “I’m so proud of my mum. She has always wanted to be cabin crew and she is proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. We’ve just found out we’re flying to Buenos Aires together next month; I can’t wait, it’s somewhere we’ve always wanted to go, so it’s a dream come true.”Dallas and her group of apprentices will continue to be trained and supported in achieving a new industry-recognised Level 3 Cabin Crew Apprenticeship standard. The programme will see them gain qualifications in English, Maths and Digital Skills. They will also have access to a dedicated mobile app to track their progress, plus continuous development coaching from an experienced apprenticeship coach.Quality apprenticeships for allBritish Airways has a long tradition of running quality apprenticeship schemes, with apprentices currently working in engineering, airport operations, customer service and head office roles.The airline’s Global Learning Academy holds the status of registered Employer Provider of Apprenticeships, enabling it to continue delivering specialist airline learning while also offering employees enhanced skills and professional qualifications.British Airways’ Apprenticeships & Emerging Talent Manager, Karen Hewitt, said: “I’m delighted we have presented our very first group of cabin crew apprentices with their wings, as they complete the initial part of their apprenticeship. They will now serve our customers at 40,000 feet in the air, across our huge global network, while receiving our full support to achieve their qualification by the end of their first 12 months with us.“We’re proud to welcome cabin crew apprentices of all ages and backgrounds. They’re joining the airline at an incredibly exciting time, as British Airways celebrates its centenary and invests £6.5bn for customers, and I would urge anyone who thinks they would be a fantastic fit for British Airways to apply for this unique apprenticeship opportunity today.”Source = British Airwayslast_img read more