first_imgOTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been found to have broken the rules in the SNC-Lavalin affair, according to the country’s ethics commissioner, but it turns out Mario Dion’s findings may not have much of an impact on the upcoming federal election, a political scientist says.The news comes just two months ahead of the fall election, and David Moscrop with the University of Ottawa says while the controversy did cost the Liberals in the polls before, the party eventually managed to bounce back.“I’m sure it’ll affect their numbers,” Moscrop explained of the ruling. “It just means that what was going to be a close race will be an even closer race.”He adds most Canadians probably didn’t even know the country had an ethics commissioner before now, and that Dion’s findings likely won’t convert many Trudeau fans or haters.However, he notes there will likely be some attention.“Everyone’s going to use this to some political advantage,” Moscrop said. “On the other hand, when people hear ‘ethics commissioner,’ they’re going to assume that it’s significant, and that person has some credibility. So it’s going to be on the radar, and it’s going to be salient. So I suspect people will take it fairly seriously.”In his report, Dion concluded that the prime minister “contravened” Section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act by “using his position of authority over Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould to seek to influence her decision.”The Trudeau government has been accused of improperly pressuring the then-attorney general to end a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. The prime minister has insisted his government balanced the need to respect the independence of the judicial system with its concern about the potential loss of 9,000 jobs if the prosecution of the Quebec engineering firm went ahead.The controversy, which has been going on for several months, led Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott to quit the cabinet, before both women were ousted as Liberal MPs.last_img read more

first_imgBrdo (Slovenia) –  Morocco and Spain announced Tuesday in Brdo (30 km north of Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia), the organization soon of a training session on the role of women in mediation in the Mediterranean.The announcement was made by minister-delegate for foreign affairs and cooperation, Mbarka Bouaida and head of Spanish diplomacy, José Manuel Garcia Margallo during the opening session of the third edition of the meeting on the Moroccan-Spanish initiative for mediation in the Mediterranean.This third edition is organized by Slovenia whose deputy prime minister and foreign minister Karl Erjavec co-chairs this session alongside the Moroccan and Spanish officials. The organization of this training, which comes under the Moroccan-Spanish MoU adopted at the second edition of mediation in the Mediterranean, held in Rabat in 2013, was entrusted to the Moroccan Centre for Studies and Research in Social Sciences (CERSS) and the Toledo International Centre for Peace (CITpax).last_img read more

“I’m going to stress the importance of bringing this violent situation to an immediate halt, with the durable and permanent systems which can be respected fully by all the parties concerned,” he said of the upcoming meeting with Mr. Bush when asked at a press encounter about US “hindrance” to an effort by the Security Council on Saturday to issue a call for a ceasefire. He told journalists today’s meeting with Arab leaders “provided an excellent and appropriate opportunity” to discuss how to bring “this violence to an immediate end and restore peace and stability in the region, and also a durable peace process which can be fully respected by the parties concerned in the region.“We have agreed to work very closely so that the Security Council can take decisive and swift and credible action for a binding resolution to bring an immediate end to this crisis and also allow humanitarian assistance to be delivered by opening the crossings [from Israel into Gaza],” he added.Earlier, in welcoming remarks at the meeting at UN Headquarters, he called on Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, the foreign ministers of Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and other Arab representatives to help ensure that Israel end its “clearly excessive” military assault and Hamas stop its “terribly counter-productive” and “completely unacceptable” rocket attacks.“As leaders I believe we must do more,” he said. “Our task is to find fast and real solutions. It is regrettable that the call by the Security Council has not been heeded by the parties concerned. I believe that the Security Council should live up to its responsibilities under the UN charter and bring this crisis to an end and establish a durable, permanent peace in the region.”After Israel launched a ground offensive into Gaza on Saturday in addition to its then week-old air attacks, the Council held a closed meeting but reached no formal agreement, although Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert of France, which holds the Council Presidency this month, said there were “strong convergences” to express concern at the stepped up violence and the humanitarian situation in Gaza. “As Secretary-General, I want to help facilitate a speedy and effective international consensus to end this violence,” Mr. Ban told the Arab leaders, adding that the UN is doing all it can to “feed and help the men, women and children of Gaza and ease their suffering in the midst of this frightening and dangerous ordeal.“I am trying hard to use the moral authority of my office to bring an end to this trauma,” he said, voicing deep concern at “the terrible crisis unfolding before us…“We must insist that Israel end its military assault, which is clearly excessive. We must insist that Hamas end immediately its rocket attacks, which are so terribly counter-productive, in addition to being completely unacceptable. There must be an immediate ceasefire, durable and fully respected by all.”Gaza’s civilian population is “being subjected to a massive trauma that is not of their own making… I am also deeply worried about what the further escalation of this conflict could mean for stability in the region,” he added.The foreign ministers present were Salaheddine al-Bashir of Jordan, Fawzi Salloukh of Lebanon, Abdel-Rahman Shalgam of Libya, Fassi Fihri of Morocco and Mhamad Husayen al-Shali of UAE. The UN permanent representatives of Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Syria and the Palestinian representative also participated.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due in New York tomorrow as are the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Egypt to boost the diplomatic effort for a ceasefire. 5 January 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is intensifying his diplomatic drive to secure a Gaza ceasefire, meeting with Arab foreign ministers in New York today to press for an end to hostilities by both Israel and Hamas while preparing to travel to Washington tomorrow for talks with United States President George W. Bush. read more

“The Universal Periodic Review is the appropriate mechanism to discuss progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights of all countries. Sri Lanka will be presenting its report during the second cycle of the UPR in October this year. In the Council, there is no provision that permits debates and resolutions on processes that did not generate from the four corners of the institution- building of the Council,” she said in a hard hitting statement. Her statement came after Pillay referred to Sri Lanka in her statement on Friday and called upon the UNHRC to address the LLRC report and the UN expert panel report on Sri Lanka. “We have taken note of the comments made by the High Commissioner (Navi Pillay) on the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and while unreservedly dissenting with the observations of the High Commissioner on its domestic process vis a vis the UN Secretary General’s Panel,  we would like to highlight,  at the expense of repetition, that the LLRC report reflects the emblematic parameters of rule of law strategies, which have been earnestly taken note of by my Government  for speedy implementation,” Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam said.She said that a dangerous precedent is again sought to be established by way of a debate on the recommendations of a domestic process which Sri Lanka condemns as a retrogressive step that undermines the constitutional parameters of this Council. Sri Lanka, on Friday, came down hard on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay saying neither had the authority to demand a debate on the report of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) or the report of the UN panel of experts.Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, also said that the Human Rights Council itselfwas created in response to the politicization, selectivity and double standards of the former Commission. “You will appreciate that the panel report that the High Commissioner referred to, was the culmination of a private consultation that the Secretary General sought to advise himself and is not the product or a request of the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly nor any other UN body. Its mandate did not extend to fact finding or investigation. In its report the Panel also makes it patently clear that the assertions set out therein remain unsubstantiated and require a higher standard of proof,” she added. read more

Eight men, who are said to have been armed and drunk – and to include a prominent local politician with ties to the government – are accused of attacking him. Stabbed and shot, Khuram died while a female colleague who was with him was assaulted and left badly injured.The Guardian newspaper had reported last year that despite assurances from the Sri Lankan government that those responsible for his murder would “be severely dealt with even if a ruling-party politician is involved”, no charges have been brought. The Foreign Office, which has been keeping the Shaikhs informed of developments on the island, is also urging action. It said in a statement last year that “The UK cannot interfere in Sri Lanka’s legal system, but we hope that a trial occurs without any undue delay to bring the perpetrators of this terrible crime to justice.”The family’s MP, Simon Danczuk, fears “political interference” may be responsible for the lack of progress, and wants David Cameron to consider boycotting the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Sri Lanka this year. (Colombo Gazette) Both of them are to meet with the Government to share their concerns at a lack of progress with the investigation. Khuram, who had just spent months fitting prosthetic limbs in Gaza, was spending Christmas and the new year in Sri Lanka when, early on Christmas morning in 2011, he became involved in an altercation at his hotel in Tangalle. British Member of Parliament for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, is set to visit Sri Lanka this week to press for justice for his constituent, Khuram Shaikh, who was murdered while on holiday in Tangalle, Sri Lanka in 2011, the British High Commission in Colombo said.He will be accompanied by Khuram’s brother, Nasir Shaikh, who has been campaigning for Khuram’s killers to be brought to justice. read more

This follows the Sri Lankan Navy rescue of 41 people from a vessel in distress in the Indian Ocean, crime of maritime people smuggling, both before and after boats actually take to the water. Australia today warned that its policy on illegal asylum seekers remains tough as ever and Sri Lankans looking to reach Australia by boat will have “zero chance” of being accepted.Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told reporters in Colombo that following the recent elections in Australia the policy against people smuggling has not changed. There were reports that more boats were believed to be heading to Australia but the Australian Minister refused to comment on those reports.Meanwhile, the Commander of Operation Sovereign Borders, Major-General Craig Furini, said that the Zero Chance campaign is a critical component of Operation Sovereign Borders that warns Sri Lankans and other people across the region of the criminal nature of people smuggling and protects Australia’s borders. Dutton said that a boat carrying Sri Lankans had been intercepted recently and the Sri Lankans had been deported. Peter Dutton was speaking to reporters after launching the Australian Government’s new campaign to save lives at sea – Zero Chance. Through this campaign the Australian Government will continue to raise awareness of the dangers, consequences and utter pointlessness of attempting an illegal boat voyage to Australia.Australia remains committed to protecting its borders, stamping out people smuggling, and preventing people from risking their lives at sea.On 29 May, 20 people were returned to Sri Lanka from a failed attempt at a dangerous maritime people smuggling venture targeting Australia. The relationship with Sri Lanka is one of Australia’s most important partnerships in combatting people smuggling in the region, and it continues to strengthen.Operation Sovereign Borders is a military-led border security operation. Since its implementation in 2013, Australia has returned 847 people from 35 people smuggling ventures to their country of origin or departure. (Colombo Gazette) read more

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email MONTREAL – A 49-year-old potato chip plant built by Humpty Dumpty and now owned by Old Dutch was set to close Friday — affecting 216 workers in the Montreal area.Its U.S.-based company announced in May the plant had “reached the end of its economic life” and would close after Old Dutch failed to get a $20-million to $25-million subsidy from the Quebec government to renovate the plant.Built in 1964 by Humpty Dumpty, the plant in the suburb of Lachine was acquired by Old Dutch in 2006.In the mid-1990s, the facility employed about 500 workers.The Quebec market will be supplied by Old Dutch plants in New Brunswick, Manitoba and Alberta. Old Dutch plant in Montreal set to close Friday, affecting 216 workers by The Canadian Press Posted Sep 27, 2013 10:52 am MDT read more

first_imgPrime Minister Gordon Brown, First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at a reception in Stormont in May 2008 [Image: Paul Faith/PA Archive]The DUP also released a statement on the issue, saying the party was “saddened to see Lord Bannside harm his own legacy”.“In his later years as party leader, many colleagues shielded his frailty from public view, to avoid embarrassment and protect his legacy.“Those people are hurt by untrue and bitter comments contained in the documentary.” Paisley spent just over a year as First Minister of Northern Ireland, taking office in May of 2007.Despite often vowing he would never share power with Sinn Féin, he and McGuinness forged a close working relationship while in power.Images of the pair laughing and joking together earned them the nickname “The Chuckle Brothers”.The second part of ‘Paisley: Genesis to Revelation’ is on BBC Northern Ireland at 10.35pm tonight.Read: Gilmore: Dublin may get involved if there’s no progress on HaassRead: Concern over man (19) who failed to return home after night out FORMER NORTHERN IRELAND First Minister Ian Paisley has claimed he was edged out by senior figures in the DUP, after a canvass of the party found many MLAs were unhappy with his performance in the role — not least with his “chuckling” appearances alongside his deputy, Martin McGuinness.The second part of a wide-ranging interview with Paisley is to be broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland tonight. It’s the first time the former leader has spoken candidly about his departure since he stepped down in June 2008.Paisley told the programme-makers that a meeting with current DUP leader Peter Robinson and deputy leader Nigel Dodds took place soon after the canvass of MLAs was carried out.“Nigel Dodds said to me I want you to be gone by Friday,” Paisley said.“I just more or less smirked and Peter said ‘no, no, no he needs to stay in for another couple of months’.”Robinson and Dodds have taken issue with their former leader’s version of events, with the current First Minisiter saying in a statement that “there are many who believe that in agreeing to to participate in these interviews Lord Bannside will have done nothing to enhance his legacy”.“They will struggle to reconcile the spirit and tone he presents with that which they will have known and admired. This is not the Ian Paisley we knew.”Dodds said he was “personally saddened” at Paisley’s comments and that “clearly the passage of time has diminished accurate recall of events”.last_img read more

first_imgAre you in the market for a slingshot? Don’t answer yet; few people wake in the morning with a burning desire for a new slingshot, but would you mind having a totally rad one? How about a slingshot made from the finest materials, and with so much power that it might be borderline illegal? Well, Montie Gear has just the device, designed by industrial design student Nicholas Pennington.The Monie Gear Slingshot has a frame built from 0.5-inch thick aluminum plates for a combination of strength and low weight. Even if you run out of things to launch with it, you can still wield it like a club. The handle is also wrapped in a high-quality paracord for a better grip.The slingshot can use 0.5-inch or smaller ammo, or really, anything you can fit in the leather pouch. The Thera-Band Gold flat band has a 16-pound pull and 28-inch draw. This should remain stretchy and usable much longer than the rubber tubing used on similar, but less expensive slingshots.It goes without saying this is a fairly serious tool that should not be given to the young ones. Montie Gear goes to great pains to point that out, though. Still, plenty of buyers are after this unit all of a sudden. Demand in the last few days has pushed the wait time to 2-3 weeks from the date of order. If you simply must have it, the Montie Gear Slingshot can be yours for $99.95. Remember the immortal words of Spiderman: with great power, comes great responsibility.We also must point out one thing this slingshot can’t do: play Angry Birds. For that you need a USB slingshot.via Montie Gearlast_img read more

first_imgThe Obama administration released a report Wednesday detailing infrastructure investments that his American Jobs Act would bring — new bridges and expansion of public transit and highway capacity — all of which, without naming names, appears to have the Columbia River Crossing well positioned to vie for federal funding.The report, which vaunts the economic benefit of government spending on roads, bridges and light rail, comes a day after the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood told Portland’s KGW-TV that the money in the Jobs Act would be “major.”Obama’s plan calls for a $50 billion investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure and a $10 billion investment to create a bipartisan National Infrastructure Bank.Among the report’s findings is that taxpayer money is well-spent clearing bottlenecks, fixing safety hazards, investing in public transit and maintaining existing infrastructure. Project officials have said the $3.1 billion-plus Interstate 5 project will alleviate congestion, reduce accidents and reconstruct a bridge that is seismically unsound. “(The report) names four areas that are exactly the same sorts of things we’re trying to address with our project,” CRC Director Nancy Boyd said Wednesday. “It’s very encouraging.”last_img read more

first_imgNORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) – Police are searching for a bicyclist who, they said, pulled a driver out of his car in North Miami and took off in the vehicle, Saturday morning.According to North Miami Police, the thief pulled up next to the victim in the area of Northeast 15th Avenue and 135th Street, at around 6 a.m.The victim, Jose Rosales, said the crook pulled him out of his car and threw him to the ground before taking off with his car.Rosales told 7News he initially tried to fend off his assailant. “I think he tried to ask me something because he was normal. Then [he] attacked me,” he said. ” I know something about self-defense, but I fight with him, but I slipped,” he said.The carjacker left behind his bike as the only clue. Police did not specify the year and make of Rosales’ car.If you have any information on this carjacking, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

first_imgDAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) – A South Florida car dealership has been recognized as the best Honda dealership in the U.S. for the 11th consecutive year.More than 300 employees joined auto magnates Rick and Rita Case as they celebrated another milestone year, Thursday.For over a decade, Rick Case Honda has won the Honda President’s Elite Award, which makes the South Florida dealership the most awarded Honda dealership in the country.“We’re so excited about the Rick Case team, the great job they do here, taking care of our customers and selling the great Honda products we do,” Rick Case said. “We had this celebration last year at our 10th year. It’s our 11th year, and we’re gonna keep right on going.”The award was presented in front of the hardworking men and women responsible for making Rick Case Honda number one in the country.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

first_imgTUSCALOOSA, AL — Hannah Faye Brown, of Wilmington, was named to The University of Alabama Dean’s List for Spring 2018.A total of 11,347 students enrolled during the 2018 spring semester at UA were named to the Dean’s List with an academic record of 3.5 or above or the President’s List with an academic record of 4.0 (all A’s).The UA Dean’s and President’s lists recognize full-time undergraduate students. The lists do not apply to graduate students or undergraduate students who take less than a full course load.The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.(NOTE: The above announcement is from The University of Alabama via Merit.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSTUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Hannah Brown Named To President’s List At University Of AlabamaIn “Education”STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Hannah Brown Named To President’s List At University Of AlabamaIn “Education”STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Hannah Brown Graduates From University Of AlabamaIn “Education”last_img read more

first_imgBy CARYN ROUSSEAU and COREY WILLIAMS, Associated PressCHICAGO (AP) — A political outsider who campaigned on reforming Chicago’s police department after a White officer’s fatal shooting of a Black teenager said Wednesday that voters likely had the high-profile case on their minds when they advanced her to an April runoff for mayor, assuring for the first time a Black woman will lead the nation’s third-largest city.Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot’s first-place finish in Tuesday’s opening round of voting was somewhat surprising considering the 14-candidate field featured prominent state and local leaders and a member of the Daley family that had dominated Chicago politics for more than half a century.Mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot and her daughter Vivian Lightfoot appear with supporters at EvolveHer in Chicago Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune via AP)But former Commerce Secretary and White House chief of staff William Daley, whose father and brother both served two-decade stints as mayor, didn’t even make it to the runoff to succeed Rahm Emanuel, who isn’t seeking a third term.Instead, Lightfoot’s outsider candidacy will be matched up against the ultimate insider, Toni Preckwinkle — a longtime member of the City Council who now holds the top job in Cook County. They are both Black women who campaigned as progressives, but that’s largely where the similarities end.Lightfoot rose to prominence after she was appointed to lead the Police Accountability Task Force in the wake of the death of Laquan McDonald. The Black teenager was shot 16 times and killed by White police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted and sentenced to about seven years in prison.“To do honor to Laquan McDonald’s short and tragic life we have to make significant changes in the way our police department, in particular, addresses communities of color,” Lightfoot told The Associated Press.Currently, Black women serve as mayor of seven major cities. New Orleans; Charlotte, North Carolina; San Francisco; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have all elected Black women leaders for the first time in recent years. Atlanta, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., are also led by Black women.“Welcome to the Sisterhood!! Two African-American Women Are Headed for Runoff in Chicago’s Mayor Race,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted Tuesday night.Black women have had successful mayoral races in smaller cities, too. Karen Weaver was elected Flint, Michigan’s mayor as the city reeled from a lead-tainted water crisis while under state control. The issue galvanized Black voters behind a reform candidacy much in the same way the McDonald shooting helped promote Lightfoot’s campaign.“We lift each other up and share a common bond,” Weaver said of fellow Black female mayors.But Marcus Pohlmann, a political science professor at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, says the fact two Black women finished on top in a crowded race doesn’t necessarily mean the racially divided city has suddenly undergone a “progressive breakthrough.” Combined, the two candidates barely topped a third of the vote — 17.5 percent for Lightfoot and 16 percent for Preckwinkle. A third Black candidate, Willie Wilson, finished fourth in the race with 10 percent.“I call it a historic opportunity,” Pohlmann said. “Once the city recognizes that a Black woman can do the job it does break some ice, it does break that glass ceiling and opens the door for more women to seriously be considered.”Blacks make up about a third of Chicago’s population. The city has only elected one Black mayor, Harold Washington Jr., who was elected in 1983 and died months into his second term. Washington’s predecessor, Jane Byrne, is the only woman to serve in the job.“Organizers campaigned around issues of education, racial economic equity, police accountability, and really young Black women have largely been at the forefront of those community organizing efforts,” said Elizabeth Todd-Breland, assistant professor of history at the University of Illinois-Chicago.The growing Black sorority of city leadership is part of the momentum around Black women as candidates and voters across the country, as a key constituency in the Democratic Party. Black women are again expected to impact the 2020 election, with a diverse field of candidates that includes California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, who could become the first female president and second African-American.Preckwinkle now leads one of the largest counties in the country but started her career spending a decade as a high school history teacher. She then was elected a Chicago alderman and did economic development work during the 1980s when Washington served as mayor.Preckwinkle fared well, in part, in predominantly Black areas on the city’s South Side. Lightfoot, who is openly gay, got much of her support from wealthier, predominantly White areas along the northern shores of Lake Michigan.Todd-Breland said having two Black women in the runoff to become mayor of a city known for its segregated neighborhoods is historically significant, “given both the city’s history of racism and marginalization of African-Americans.”Both women are becoming role models for expanding other women’s perspectives and opportunities, Pohlmann said.“I look at it more as breaking down stereotypes than necessarily assume that a woman is going to do something differently,” he said.___Williams reported from Detroit. Errin Haines Whack contributed to this report from Philadelphia. AP video producer Noreen Nasir contributed from Chicago.last_img read more

first_imgWay back in October of 2010, Microsoft slipped up and posted an Angry Birds icon on the Windows Phone 7 site. At that time, Rovio was still playing its cards close to its chest, and was hoping to keep its plans to port the uber-popular casual game to WP7 hush-hush until it was ready to make an official announcement.But that’s the past, and Rovio finally came through and landed Angry Birds in the Marketplace. Windows users can play the game on their desktops, too — using either a native app or the web version, designed as a Google Chrome Web app.If merely playing Angry Birds isn’t enough for you and you’re looking for another way to show off your affinity for the game’s cutesy cast, Microsoft has a suggestion: install the official Angry Birds theme for Windows 7!The theme includes five wallpapers — one of the pigs hunkered down inside a structure, two full-screen birds, and two pigs (one slightly battered). It’s kinda of shame that Microsoft and Rovio didn’t cram in a few more images — the .themepack weighs in at under two megs, and I certainly wouldn’t have minded waiting a few more seconds for a larger package to download.The best part of the theme, however, isn’t the background images. No, it’s the sound scheme, chock full of .wav files that you’ll recognize as in-game sounds. It’s been a long, long time since I bothered using a sound scheme in Windows, but the Angry Birds theme is fun enough that I’ll be sticking with it for the time being.To install the Angry Birds theme on your Windows 7 computer, head on over to the Personalization Gallery and double-click the .themepack file when your download completes. Windows 7 will automatically activate it for you.last_img read more

first_imgStay on target The Cinematic Sex of Marvel’s Netflix UniverseMarvel’s Axed Netflix Shows Could Be Revived by Disney I had a blast binge watching the first season of Luke Cage, the latest piece of Marvel’s Netflix Defenders puzzle. Watching the nearly invincible Cage plow his way through mooks was as fun as any Daredevil hallway fight or Captain America kickfest. And equally enjoyable was the show’s choice to name the building said fight takes place in Crispus Attucks, after the first casualty of the American Revolution who like Cage (and like me) was a Black man.However, as the show went on all those enjoyable elements couldn’t negate my growing dissatisfaction. Luke Cage is full of admirable qualities. It’s authentic and self-aware and socially conscious and delightfully corny. But it falls short of making a strong, definitive argument and point of view on the crucial topics it raises. Luke Cage is a fun half measure.Full spoilers from here on out.This piece isn’t about criticizing Luke Cage’s story structure. Like pretty much all Netflix shows it’s too long for the story it has, but there are worse offenders. Rather, this is a criticism of Luke Cage’s frustratingly neutral politics. And if you don’t think politics belong in a discussion of a show about a bulletproof Black dude I really don’t know what to tell you.Here’s a little question that’s totally not loaded at all. According to Luke Cage (the show and the character) what is the single biggest threat facing African-Americans in the year of our lord 2016? The show traces Cage’s journey from quiet loner to community superhero. But what is Luke Cage the Defender actually defending Harlem and its rich Black history from? Is it the police? Which part of the police? The system or individual corrupt cops? Is it Black gangsters and their Black huckster politician cousins? Is it Puerto Rican gangster interlopers? Is it the personal failings of Black parents like hypocritical preacher fathers or overbearing Black mobster mothers? Is it gentrification? Or is it superpowered Snake Men?The answer is all of the above. But instead of being an examination of interlocking systems of oppression in institutions, the show just gestures towards these issues without really committing to a firm stance on any of them. It borrows plenty of texture, and actors, from The Wire, but not enough of the actual thoughtfulness.That’s a shame because the texture is great. It’s a low bar to clear, but this is a show about Black people that feels like it was made by Black people. Showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker loads the show with potent symbols. Whether it’s Cottonmouth’s Biggie Smalls picture, Cage’s copy of Ellison’s Invisible Man, shots that feel straight out of a Spike Lee movie, barbershop talk, eulogies at the Black church, bootleg copies of Avengers footage being sold on the street, or the show’s excellent use of music in the nightclub setting and beyond, Luke Cage doesn’t feel fake.Conversations about the Celtics or the Wu-Tang Clan sometimes feel canned, like you can literally see the plot stopping so characters can “Shoot The Shit,” but overall Harlem feels pleasingly naturalistic, unlike Daredevil’s absurd take on Hell’s Kitchen. Luke Cage is so unapologetically, authentically Black I’m curious to know how white fanboys who only watched it because of Avengers connections or whatever reacted to it.But the show fails to fully make an artistic statement as coherent and realized as the works it cloaks itself in. And I’m still not sure why. The show certainly recognizes and acknowledges the real-world issues and history it parallels. There’s a scene where Method Man straight-up goes on the radio to rap about how dope Luke Cage, a bulletproof Black guy, is. But why is Cage so dope? Why is that imagery so powerful?Well, it’s because innocent Black people keep getting shot to death. But why and who’s doing it? Spoilers: it’s the police. Or rather, the instances Cage’s bullet-riddled hoodie directly reference involve the police, not random gangster shootouts and certainly not showdowns with supervillains.Unfortunately, at times it feels like Luke Cage goes out of it’s way to avoid being even vaguely anti-cop. Cage is a good misunderstood ex-cop. Misty Knight (and her silky smooth voice) is a good cop who’s mistake is not trusting the system enough. The bad cops aren’t racists but rather pawns of minority gangsters.Cage was framed and sent to jail by a revenge-obsessed villain, not the police state. The cops only hate Cage when they think he killed one of them, and a big plot point involves the cops being manipulated by the Black villains like a bunch of suckers.Let’s talk some more about the villains. Theo Rossi as Shades is a great perceptive goon. Mahershala Ali’s conflicted Cottonmouth is surprisingly tragic, and Erik LaRay Harvey as arms dealers/smooth-talking preacher Diamondback brings a lot of the schlock Blaxploitation fun the show maybe could’ve used more of.However the MVP for me is Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard, and not just because she’s freakishly similar to how my mom would be if she were a supervillain. Her arc from idealistic politician to crime boss in a lot of ways feels like Kingpin’s story in Daredevil or Walter White in Breaking Bad. A bad person in denial slowly takes responsibility for and even begins to revel in their badness.Mariah is a strong character, and that’s great, but the most insidious thing about her is something I’m not sure the show even recognizes. Mariah, a murderous villain, is the only character on the show to use Black Lives Matter rhetoric. At first, she uses it in her righteous enough plan to curb gentrification through her New Harlem Renaissance Project. “Keep Harlem Black, ” she says right before cameras stop rolling and she recoils from the children.But later her use of the phrase is as disingenuous as some deplorable folks on Twitter think the phrase is in reality. As part of her and Diamondback’s plan to stop Cage, Mariah holds a rally. Diamondback literally tells her to “Get your Al Sharpton on.” At the rally, she uses a photo of a young Black boy assaulted by the police to stir outrage. However, Mariah then calls for the police to gain even more power? To protect normal police from superpowered freaks?The messaging becomes so muddled. Diamondback makes the scary, accurate point that fear of Black people has encouraged a lot of rash actions in America, and he’s trying to stoke that fear for his advantage. He wants to sell special anti-Cage bullets to the police. There’s a great scene where attorney Blake Tower, who has been made Black in the MCU, cautions against militarizing the police. He even references The Punisher. But the show mixes up actual racism with the trope of “superpowers as a metaphor for racism.”This works in something like the X-Men movies or even Zootopia (although coding minorities as literal dangerous predators is a little questionable.) But in the MCU what makes superheroes like The Avengers beloved saviors while superheroes like Luke Cage are hated freaks? And honestly, conflating irrational fear of Black people with the relatively rational fear of people with superpowers isn’t the best move either.It’s little choices like these that slowly undercut the powerful, cathartic idea of a bulletproof Black man. Cage is not struggling primarily because he lives under a racist system, he’s being targeted by other bad Black people because he is a superhero. That’s fine; I’m not saying the show should be a polemic or that Black people should never be villains. But this is what makes the show just a superhero show with cool and relevant Black iconography, not a show making a strong statement about the current Black experience through a superheroic lens. It’s a subtle but important difference.For a while, I thought the flashbacks to Luke’s time in prison would be the exception to this underlying incoherence. In these scenes, Luke is a normal Black dude forced to fight by racist white prison guards and experimented on by uncaring white scientists. That’s pretty clear cut. But then there are the therapy sessions where Reva Connors asks prisoners to accept responsibility for their actions, to see the system’s point of view because you gotta hear both sides. Even Cage, who is completely innocent, admits that he’s probably done something that he deserves to be in jail for.Finally, it’s revealed that Reva, a Black woman and Cage’s dead wife, was one of the true masterminds behind the conspiracy against him in prison. Sure this gives Cage an excuse to hook up with Claire Temple guilt-free, a relationship I don’t quite buy despite Rosario Dawson’s fine performance, but it’s another example of the show’s noncommittal stance on what the true threats and enemies are.Justin Charity over at The Ringer wrote a piece called “Luke Cage, Black Conservative.” I wouldn’t go that far in my assessment, it’s not like Jason Whitlock created the show, but the article does touch on Cage’s old-school and paternal almost to the point of condescending takes on topics like how a man should dress and talk, including the use of the N-word.“Cage dates himself with stale concerns… Any other uptown native might’ve been quicker to discover that Harlem’s greater, untouchable menace is the NYPD. But what, Luke Cage wonders, about black-on-black crime?”To go back to the question of what are the actual threats facing Black people, at times it sounds like bad language is high on the list in this universe. But while Cage is celebrated for his distaste for the word, with Mariah it’s just another example of her hollow and hypocritical respectability politics. So which is it? Again, Luke Cage doesn’t really have an answer.Luke Cage the show’s messy desire to be everything to the point of being nothing is crystallized in the character of Cage himself. Mike Colter has charm and physicality to spare, but not even the most magical negro imaginable could carry the weight of all these traits. Cage is respectable and a ladies man and strong and cool and corny and witty and quippy and meditative and humble and confident and low-key and over-the-top and loving and Luke Cage and Carl Lucas and a fighter but a reluctant one. Black people, like people, contain multitudes. Black characters should be complex and well-rounded. Just look at recent shows like Atlanta and Insecure. But Cage is forced to be so much it robs him of a core self, which could be interesting if that loss of identity was the show’s point but that’s not really the case. In the comics, Cage was Power Man, the Hero for Hire who sold his services. It was a neat twist on the genre and made the character something more than just a straightforward good guy. But while hiring Cage is joked about, on the show, the idea is jettisoned faster than Cage’s tiara and yellow shirt, presumably because it would lessen his honest heroism.As far as how the show attempts to adapt the rest of Cage’s comic canon, it sort of tries to have it both ways again. Luke Cage the comic was basically a printed Blaxploitation movie. To properly film it as a movie now you’d basically have to do a parody period piece like Black Dynamite. Luke Cage doesn’t do that. It’s thoroughly modern with references to Nicki Minaj and President Obama (who maybe only served one term in the MCU?). But every so often it throws in a moment or a sound cue of 1970s schlock straight out of that era.It’s moments like Diamondback blasting Cage into the back of a garbage truck, Cage getting dipped in acid multiple times, and Cage trashing a barn like he was Charles Foster Kane. It’s characters shouting dialogue like “Don’t call me Cottonmouth!” or “Sweet Christmas!” with complete sincerity. It’s a riot, but it’s infrequent enough that it feels a little jarring every time it crops up in an otherwise grounded crime action show. It’s another half measure. This is why I think some viewers have a problem with Diamondback. He’s living in that retro universe all the time while the show only exists there part of the time, to its detriment. In fact, if Luke Cage had fully committed to being some kind of neo-Blaxploitation piece, that would have made me forgive its seeming lack of an actual point. Tons of Blaxploitation movies borrowed relevant Black issues and wove them into their absurd urban escapades on a whim. The word “exploitation” is right there. But Luke Cage feels like it wants to have a point or it think that it does. It’s in a No Man’s Land between schlock and art.The show’s admittedly effective ending shows Luke Cage and his allies defeating the villain but then being defeated by the system. Cage gives an impassioned speech about Harlem as a symbol of Black Excellence. It’s great stuff, but it’s platitudes. What is it about the system that victimizes Cage and people like him specifically? What are the actual problems facing the Black people of Harlem and how do we solve them besides the vague idea of being good to each other? Beyond legitimate concerns and good intentions, what is the show definitively trying to say about any of this?If you think I’m being harsh about a comic book show, I’d argue that the show invites this kind of critique by explicitly presenting these political issues. And I appreciate that it even goes as far as it does. But it is possible to go further, and in fact one of its sweet sister shows already did.The first season of Jessica Jones suffers from pacing and casting and logic issues, but as far as crafting a superhero narrative that makes a coherent artistic point, it’s second to none. All of the choices, from the characters (including a less prominent but more consistent Cage himself) and their actions to the plotting to the mood, serve the central theme of trauma and its after-effects. The show is making clear arguments about the different, sometimes sadly self-destructive, ways trauma impacts people and how people traumatize others. And focusing in on the specific traumatic experience of being a female victim of sexual assault and the resulting loss of agency (a metaphor augmented and made literal by but not substituted with super powers) heightens the power of that frank and adult message. Luke Cage goes for something broader, but it fumbles its chances to deliver a statement that direct despite the numerous opportunities. Meanwhile Daredevil gets a pass because what deeper meaning could reasonably expect besides Catholic Guilt?For what it’s worth I don’t think the Black Panther movie will suffer from this problem. The character works better outside of the point in time he was created in, and the fantasy elements give the filmmakers some distance to safely address real issues. Just read the current run by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Plus, director Ryan Coogler’s last two films Fruitvale Station and Creed prove he knows how to deliver coherent artistic racial themes in both serious examinations of police brutality and feel-good boxing movies starring Sylvester Stallone. So a Black African cat king shouldn’t present a huge challenge.One of the best arguments for increased minority representation in the media is that if there were more diverse shows, there would be fewer impossible and unfair expectations placed on the diverse shows that do exist. If there were an increased array of Black superhero shows, maybe Luke Cage wouldn’t feel pressured to stretch itself thin serving disparate masters united only by skin color, straining to appear complex and multifaceted in a way it can’t fully back up.Luke Cage has killer action and a comforting feel I wanted to devour like soul food. And it does offer up real ideas about the police and white supremacy and just how inspiring the sight of a bulletproof Black man really would be. But whether it’s because the creators weren’t up to the task, weren’t interested, or weren’t allowed to by Marvel, I finished Luke Cage unsure of the show’s opinions on these topics it was thinking about. Luke Cage sells a great communal vibe, I just wish it had a stronger singular vision to match.last_img read more

first_imgThe Keio Plaza Hotel is located right in the heart of Shinjuku, less than a 10-minute walk from the world’s busiest station, which makes it extremely accessible by bus or train. However, there’s a plethora of activities on tap for travellers in the area, without having to set foot on public transport. Have a picnic in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and then visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observation deck to get a bird’s-eye view of the city for a fun and entirely cost-free afternoon. Another day, you could visit a cat or an owl cafe, go shopping and grab a bite to eat at Kabukicho and finish the day off with dinner at an exciting Robot Restaurant.RoomAs I was led to my room, I could feel my excitement growing. Of the 1,438 guest rooms across the two soaring towers of the Keio Plaza Hotel, I was lucky enough to be staying in one of the eight Hello Kitty-themed rooms. It didn’t disappoint; it was like I’d died and gone to Hello Kitty heaven. The room was over-the-top in the best way, with walls painted to resemble the Sanrio Puroland (which is 30 minutes by train from the hotel) and photos of Hello Kitty herself at the hotel’s grand opening. Sitting on the bed was a take-home special edition Hello Kitty doll, complete with trademark Keio Plaza eyelashes, rosy cheeks and miniature robe (along with a larger, matching robe for me). Moving to the bathroom, I was delighted to find a pink tub and all Hello Kitty amenities.But if the kawaii feline isn’t your thing, the hotel also offers a number of other room types such as the traditional Japanese suite with tsubosan and a Japanese cypress bath. However you choose to stay at the Keio Plaza Hotel, you will experience the sophistication and culture encompassed by the Japanese hospitality philosophy of omotenashi.FoodThe hotel is a food-lover’s dream come true, with 15 restaurants and seven bars on site serving everything from delicate French and Italian cuisine to the finest cuts of steak, to traditional teppanyaki and sushi. A recent addition is the Premier Grand Club Floors: 111 suites and premium club rooms, plus the Premier Grand Club Lounge on the 45th floor and a renovated Sky Lounge Aurora where you can enjoy your sake 160 metres above the ground. If you’re staying in a Hello Kitty suite, you will be greeted each morning with an extra-special Hello Kitty breakfast, complete with Hello Kitty-shaped sandwiches, omelette and delicious beverages.FacilitiesKeio Plaza offers a range of cultural experiences with the intention of helping guests to “experience the beauty of Japan from within the hotel”. There’s the Sado tea ceremony held in the So-fu-an tea room, the Ikebana flower arrangement workshop with flower artist Hiroki Maeno, the Yukata casual kimono experience and a range of traditional craft exhibitions. And when it’s time to unwind at the end of the day, guests are free to enjoy the sky pool or the fully equipped gym.last_img read more

first_imgNew York, New York – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle magazineThe Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) has honored Spain with 603 Blue Flag awards for the 2011 season, recognizing the country’s commitment to developing its coastline in a safe and environmentally friendly way.FEE is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that consists of 65 organizations in 60 member countries throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America. The Blue Flag trademark is awarded annually based on water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety and other services.This year the accreditation was granted to 511 beaches and 92 marinas in Spain, including 117 beach and 13 marina awards for the region of Galicia, 104 beach and 12 marina awards for the Valencia region, 86 beach and 22 marina awards for Catalonia and 66 beach and 15 marina awards for Andalusia.“Beach areas are of great importance to Spain¹s tourism,” said Notario Bodelón, Director of the Tourist Office of Spain in New York and Consul for Tourism Affairs. “We are honored to be recognized with the highest number of Blue Flag awards and will continue our commitment to eco-friendly growth and maintenance of Spain¹s coast.”Visit read more

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