first_imgWhat challenges lay ahead for 4K and high frate rate filmmaking? Is 4K really necessary?Mark Ward with BBC News posted a really interesting article about 4K filmmaking recently. In the article he talked to Bruno Mahe, technical director at studio Illumination Mac Guff (designers of Despicable Me 2, The Lorax and others). In the article Mahe poses several concerns about the move to 4K technology in the film world. As a filmmaker currently working on a film that uses both 4K and HFR (high frame rate) I have to agree that there are challenges ahead, but all may not be lost.Where Are We at Today?In 2009 portions of the films The Knowing and District 9 became the first feature films to use 4K photography. Then one year later in 2010 David Fincher’s film The Social Network became the first feature film to be shot and projected in 4K. Now, just 4 years later, we find that nearly all feature film productions are using some sort of 4K film technology. Granted not all productions are being captured in 4K…some are using even higher resolutions.In 2011 Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey became the first film to be shot in 5K resolution 3D at 48 FPS (frames per second) using the RED Epic. Then just this year David Fincher’s Gone Girl became the first feature film to be shot in 6K through the RED Epic with the Dragon Sensor. Now James Cameron confirmed earlier this year that Avatar and its sequels will be shot in 4K at 48 fps.There is definitely a trend happening here. Cinema is doing what cinema has always done, reacting to the technology available. But for this article lets just focus on the vast majority of productions which are filming in 4K or higher, as well as HFR, and ask the questions.What are the workflow challenges facing filmmakers?What are the Challenges facing the VFX community?Where are we going from here? Above Image Credit: ‘Gone Girl’ from the Hollywood ReporterWorkflow Challenges Facing Filmmakers?One of the biggest challenge facing filmmakers is storage. When filming in 4K, storage goes up considerably, but then when HFR is added into the equation it goes up even more. For example, Eric Saindon of Weta Digital told FXGuide that, “On a film like Avatar we had about a petabyte of information – for Hobbit we’re about five to six times that information.” As filmmakers wanting to use this technology we need to be keenly aware of the data storage requirements of filming in 4K & HFR.Another challenge is computing power. Sure you can offline edit at lower resolutions to reduce the editing headaches, but at some point you will need to bring back the hi-res footage for finishing. Here you’ll work through the color correction, effects, titles, etc.  and all of these processes take computing power. In a 4K workflow iMacs and Mac Pros can work, but it can be challenging. What you would really need is a computing setup with at least 16-32g of RAM, 1 or 2 powerful CUDA rated GFX cards like the GeForce GTX and a RAID Storage setup like the Promise Pegasus.If you are not handling the post production process then a third challenge is the cost of that processing. While speaking on a panel gathered by the Hollywood Post Alliance on 4K film technology, Steven Kang, Sr. Engineer at Netflix, stated that post production costs for 4K processing are 10 to 15 percent higher than the same services for high definition. Phil Squyres, Senior Vice President of Sony Pictures, added by saying “After using 4K on pilots, I’ve been telling our producers that it appears from our early experience that shooting 4K is more like shooting film negative.” Shooting in film negative was not cheap, so again this is something that needs to be considered before you make the move to a 4K workflow.While there are a few challenges to filming in 4K and in HFR, these challenges are not overwhelming and can be remedied with careful planning.What are the Challenges for the VFX Community?With more and more films using visual effects to one degree or another, how does this new workflow affect the visual effects community?You would think that moving to a 4K environment would be a huge challenge for the visual effects community, however visual effects houses are usually equipped with high-end computing workstations, massive storage systems and so on. The work of actually processing the VFX may not be as troublesome for these operations as the cost to upgrade. As Eric Saindon told FXGuide, going from 24fps to 48fps was actually a helpful move saying that with 48fps animators can, “do much better animation so the subtleties of animation are brought through the 48, whereas the 24 we didn’t have quite the ability to do that.”As someone who has worked in 3D visual effects processing, having the expanded frames is incredibly helpful. However there are some drawbacks with using higher frame-rates. By using HFR with high resolution we’re reducing the margin of error when it comes to visual effects. Since the image quality is so heightened the need to add those finite details to the models is vitally important. The one thing we don’t want is the VFX work to stand out like a sore thumb. This was a common complaint by many during initial release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I only found a few instances where it was really distracting, but I truly believe Weta Digital stepped up their game in The Desolation of Smaug. Here is a really awesome featurette from Weta Digital on the VFX process of the film:Film technology continues to expand and improve at a rapid pace. Case in point, the RED has released the Epic Dragon which captures 6K, NHK has announced an 8K camera, there are rumors of Sony working on an 8K camera, and finally a 18K camera developed by Forza Silicon is on the radar. We may not be living in a 4K universe for long.With distribution moving more and more to digital, more people are watching content on tablets, laptops and smartphones. So this begs the question, is there really a need to film in 4K or higher? For many filmmakers, especially independents, probably not.The need to have the latest and greatest 4K camera should be the top priority. The technology is getting cheaper, but it all comes down to what you are trying to accomplish as a filmmaker. Do you want your work to land you a big directing or cinematographer job? If so, then buy all means rent or find an affordable 4K camera.I was lucky enough to be given some advice by the legendary visual effects designer Douglas Trumbull. He told me that I as a filmmaker I need to be, “keenly aware of the advancements in my industry and if I don’t stay up to date with them then I’ll find myself being left behind.” As technology goes, so do the studios, for better or for worse.Have you worked with 4K HFR? Share your experiences in the comments below.last_img read more

first_imgGuangzhou Evergrande manager Luiz Felipe Scolari believes midfielder Paulinho’s proposed move to Barcelona is unlikely to happen as the Chinese Super League’s transfer regulations make it too expensive to find a replacement.The Brazilian’s form for the six-time Chinese champions has been impressive since signing for the club two-and-a-half years ago and the 28-year-old admitted last week that the Catalan club had expressed an interest in taking him to Spain.Scolari, however, dampened speculation that his fellow Brazilian was set to head back to Europe due to the difficulty his club would have to fill the gap left should he leave.”His release clause is 40 million euros ($44.80 million and none of the Chinese clubs will let their key players go because it would be difficult and expensive to find a replacement due to the new rules,” the Brazilian coach told reporters.Those new regulations see clubs charged a 100 percent levy by the Chinese Football Association on transfer fees of more than 45 million yuan ($6.58 million) for foreign players, with the additional fee redirected into youth development.As a result, the summer transfer window — which opened last Monday — has been unusually quiet, with no new foreign signings joining the country’s top flight sides after a glut of purchases in previous windows.Chinese clubs have broken the Asian transfer record on three occasions over the last 18 months, with Jackson Martinez’s move to Guangzhou from Atletico Madrid setting a new benchmark last January.That was surpassed by Shanghai SIPG last June with the signing of Hulk from Zenit St Petersburg for 55 million euros before the same club purchased Oscar from Chelsea for 60 million euros in January.advertisementFormer Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho, meanwhile, admitted to Brazilian publication Globo Esporte that the Catalans had been in contact with his representatives.”(Barcelona) contacted my agent,” he was quoted as saying at the weekend. “There is an offer, but in life and also in my career I find myself at a very happy stage now. When you are at such a stage, it’s difficult to make a decision.”I need to weigh many things and then make up my mind. One of the critical factors is my happiness. I think firstly my wife and I are very happy in China, we like it here and we like the people.”last_img read more

first_imgCoolpad is set to launch a new budget segment smartphone in India called the Coolpad Note 8. Ahead of announcement, the company has already teased the smartphone across its social media handles which has revealed that the Coolpad Note 8 will come with big display, which will offer a “bigger view”. The company has also confirmed that the Coolpad Note 8 will sport a dual camera setup on the rear panel. After the phone is launched it will be available exclusively on Paytm, the company has announced.The Coolpad Note 8 will be the successor to the previously announce Coolpad Note 6 which is available exclusively on offline retail partners. The key highlight of the Note 6 is its dual selfie camera setup. The Note 6 was launched in India for Rs 8,999. In comparison, the Note 8 will be slightly expensive and also offer better benefits compared to its predecessor.Going by the track record of Coolpad we expect the upcoming Coolpad Note 8 to be priced under Rs 10,000. As of now there are no words about the specs and pricing of the phone from the company’s side.With the Note 8, Coolpad is expected to take on the likes on other phones in the same price segment like the Redmi Note 5, the Nokia 5.1 Plus, among others.Besides the big display and dual rear cameras not much is known about the phone for now. Going via the teaser posted by the company last week, the phone is seen with pretty thick bezels on both the top and bottom. On the sides the Coolpad Note 8 has much thinner bezels compared to Note 6.advertisementThe Coolpad Note 6 comes with a single 13-megapixel sensor camera on the rear panel with f/2.2 aperture. On the front, the Note 6 packs a primary sensor of 8-megapixel and secondary sensor of 5-megapixel, for 120-degree wide angle selfies. The dual front camera setup ispaired with LED flash.In terms of specifications, the Coolpad Note 6 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD display with a 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution. The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 chipset with 1.4GHz Octa-Core processor paired with 4GB RAM and 32GB/64GB of internal storage. On the software front, the Coolpad Note 8 runs Android 7.1 Nougat out-of-the-box and comes with a massive 4070mAh battery.ALSO READ: Coolpad Mega 5A review: Low price but that is alllast_img read more

first_imgVirender Sehwag stepped down as the mentor of Kings XI Punjab on Saturday to end his five-year association with the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise.Sehwag, who joined Kings XI as a player 2014 as a player, took over the mentors role after two years and performed the role for three years until 2018.But on Saturday, he announced on Twitter that he will step down as the mentor of KXIP and wished them all the best for the upcoming endeavours.”All good things must come to an end and I’ve had a wonderful time at Kings 11 Punjab, for 2 seasons as a player and 3 as a mentor. My association with Kings 11 comes to an end and I am thankful for the time I have had here and wish the team all the very best for the times ahead,” Sehwag tweeted.All good things must come to an end and I’ve had a wonderful time at Kings 11 Punjab, for 2 seasons as a player and 3 as a mentor. My association with Kings 11 comes to an end and I am thankful for the time I have had here and wish the team all the very best for the times ahead.Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) November 3, 2018The 40-year-old played 104 IPL matches for Delhi Daredevils and KXIP in his career and scored 2728 runs at an average of 27.55. He smashed two tons and 16 fifties as a player in the IPL.With Sehwag as their mentor, KXIP finished fifth (2017) and seventh (2018).The development comes after the Punjab franchise appointed former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson as their coach on a two-year contract. The New Zealander replaced Brad Hodge as the coach of the franchise.advertisementNava SeasonNava CoachEk Navi UmangNew SeasonNew CoachRenewed PassionWelcoming @CoachHesson to the @lionsdenkxip#LivePunjabiPlayPunjabi #KXIP pic.twitter.com/57AmpqvRNRKings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) October 29, 2018Under Hesson’s guidance New Zealand reached the 2015 World Cup final before losing to Australia.So far, KXIP have never won the IPL and their last appearance in the play-offs came in 2014, when they lost to Kolkata Knight Riders in the final. However, Preity Zinta’s side will hope for a change in fortunes with the shuffle of support staffs in the upcoming season of the IPL.last_img read more

first_imgKorba: A case has been registered against two policemen for allegedly molesting a woman colleague in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district. No arrest has been made yet. On the direction of a local court, a case of molestation was registered at Darri police station on Monday against head constable Yogesh Ratre (32) and constable Mansingh Kawar (34), a police official said here on Tuesday. According to the woman, who is a constable, the alleged incident took place in July 2018 when she was serving at the same police station as the accused. Kawar is now currently posted at Dipka police station while Ratre is attached to Darri police station. The woman first complained to then Korba Superintendent of Police. The SP gave the two men a clean chit based on a probe report submitted by the City Superintendent of Police.The woman then approached a court which last week directed the police to register a First Information Report against the two policemen, the official said. The FIR was registered under IPC sections 294 (obscene acts), 341 (wrongful restraint), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), and probe was on, he added.last_img read more

first_imgHALIFAX – Halifax’s new poet laureate says everybody has a tale to tell, and for the next two years the accomplished scholar, author and social justice advocate says she’ll work to uncover residents’ untold stories.“There are so many voices here from all over the world and each community is brimming with stories, is brimming with spoken word, is brimming with poetry,” Afua Cooper said in an interview Monday.“We have the old established communities, and we have the new communities. I really want to be an ambassador and work at the grassroots level to bring these voices to the fore.”Cooper has published five books of poetry and is also a writer of young adult fiction and history. She is the co-creator of Black Halifax, an interdisciplinary presentation that uses poetry and spoken word to tell Halifax’s 300 year-old African Nova Scotian history.Her book “The Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Slavery in Canada and the Burning of Old Montreal” was a national best-seller, and was short listed for the Governor General’s Award.Cooper assumes the mantle of Halifax poet laureate on Tuesday, becoming the seventh in a line of female poets who have used the position to shed light on community issues and spark political action.A poem last year by outgoing poet laureate Rebecca Thomas — a Mi’kmaq woman and the first Indigenous person to hold the role — prompted council to reopen debate over how the city commemorates its controversial founder. The statue of Edward Cornwallis was later removed from a downtown park.El Jones, who served in the role before Thomas, spoke out about racism in Halifax and the need for social change.Cooper applauded the accomplishments of the previous poets laureate, noting that they used poetry and spoken word to address important issues in the community.For her part, Cooper said she plans to tap into the “rich diversity of this city,” which she said includes racial and ethnic diversity and a diversity of ages.“I want different ages to be engaged, from young children to senior citizens, I want to hear their voices,” she said. “Everybody has a story to tell.”Cooper moved to Canada from Jamaica in 1980 to attend the University of Toronto, where she earned a PhD.She moved to Halifax seven years ago to become the James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University.“I’m an immigrant to this country even though I’ve I lived in Canada longer than I’ve lived in Jamaica,” the 60-year-old said. “Perhaps that’s why I’m so sensitive to other voices. I see sometimes an erasure of immigrant voices in this country.”She called the erasure paradoxical, saying immigrant voices are at the cutting edge of Canadian literature and spoken word across Canada.Cooper added: “Halifax is a meeting point. There are so many different voices from all over the world in Halifax, and different ages and cultures. But we don’t hear the voices of the newer communities.”Cooper founded the Black Canadian Studies Association, which she currently chairs, and co-founded the Dub Poetry movement in Canada.“We’re very pleased to appoint Dr. Cooper as our next poet laureate, a position which gives voice to the various groups that make up our community, through spoken and written words,” said Mayor Mike Savage said in a statement.last_img read more

first_imgTORONTO – About 30 people gaze into each other’s eyes in the basement of a Toronto pub. But none of them are here in the hopes of falling in love.At a recent speed-dating event for potential co-homeowners, guests who range from millennials to seniors have come to find The One — a match made in real estate heaven.They’re given a list of questions to ask each other. They take a seat at the long table, where they have a few minutes to chat before the bell rings and it’s time to move on to their next “date.”“I’m an investor,” one man with multiple properties in Canada and Asia declares to the young woman sitting across from him. He doesn’t want to live here full-time. It’s too cold.“I haven’t seen many co-ownership deals,” she responds, adding that she would like to find a home in the Beaches area. Her other criteria: “Close to transit,” which she writes on her name tag.Some are cheekier. “Walls,” reads someone else’s badge.The housing matchmaker behind this event is Lesli Gaynor, a social worker-turned-Royal LePage realtor who launched a company called GoCo Solutions to help people get into Toronto’s red-hot real estate market through co-ownership. The average selling price in the Greater Toronto Area in May was $863,910, up from $752,100 the same month last year. The average detached selling price was more than $1.1 million.Gaynor said she’s had the idea for a long time because she herself co-owned a home with a friend in the early 90s. “I couldn’t afford it on my own. I was a single mom,” she said.When they sold their duplex for more than double the price nearly a decade later, they used the profit to go their separate ways and buy their own properties.More recently, the speed-dating element came to Gaynor when she was joking with her three sons about how they can now use apps like Tinder to find a date, then it hit her: “Why couldn’t we use something similar to hook people up — to buy a property together?”“It helps people increase their net worth, and it’s not just about a landlord making money off of your rent,” she said.Karen Turner and Kelly Wilk just co-purchased a home in the upper Beaches area of Toronto. Both in their late 30s, they have been friends since they were roommates during first year university. It is split into three separate apartments, one for Turner, one for Wilk and her six-year-old son and one for a live-in child caregiver Wilk hopes to move into the basement.Turner, a first-time homeowner with student loans to pay off, has a full-time job, so she would be able to get a mortgage on her own, and Wilk already owned a home.But the two women are looking forward to the mutual benefits of their co-purchase. Wilk’s son will be able to play with Turner’s dog. When she needs a break from child rearing, she can send him to spend time with Turner, who also wants to have kids eventually. Wilk likes knowing that there will be someone around to help.Pooling financial resources is not the only reason strangers flocked to Gaynor’s speed-dating night. For both the young and the old, it’s about community and feeling more connected.Michael Weirich, 25, won’t be in a financial position to co-purchase a home for another few years, but he’s considering it. He said he likes co-ownership because it gives him more buying power and access to larger spaces, as well as better amenities and locations that he otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford on his own.A sustainability consultant in the building industry, Weirich is a renter who shares a semi-detached house with three 20-something roommates, one of whom is the landlord. He would like to buy a downtown home in a neighbourhood with a lot of trees and nature. He doesn’t mind sharing the kitchen as long as the other co-owners are tidy, but he wants his own living room, in addition to a communal living room.Weirich said he’s “big” on community.“Co-owning a (home) with somebody or a few other people is a good way to have a community around you that you trust and you know will support you,” he said.Actor Sherry McLaughlin, whose family is not in Toronto, has similar motivations.“It would be nice to have someone nearby that I can trust and lean on,” McLaughlin said. Apart from friendship, the 54-year-old could see herself needing a hand with any heavy lifting and gardening.Young families might want to share childcare and dog walking responsibilities, Gaynor said. Older potential buyers might need help shovelling the driveway.Toronto as a whole would benefit from co-ownership, Gaynor said, making one last argument for it.“We can reduce our carbon footprint,” she said. “I think we are over-housed.”last_img read more

first_imgIndex and currency in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index climbed higher in late-morning trading, boosted by the energy sector which benefited from higher oil prices.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 77.21 points at 14,494.10.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 180.44 points at 23,856.08. The S&P 500 index was up 19.45 points at 2,565.61, while the Nasdaq composite was up 46.54 points at 6,830.45.The Canadian dollar traded for 74.52 cents US compared with an average of 74.33 cents US on Tuesday.The February crude contract was up US$1.56 at US$48.16 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down 25.8 cents at US$3.58 per mmBTU.The February gold contract was up US$5 at US$1,258.60 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 2.40 cents at US$2.69 a pound.last_img read more

Rabat – Casablanca will host the city’s first ever Shopping Festival between July 5 and 16, with the aim of boosting the local economy.Using the slogan “Shop in Casablanca”, this festival will provide Moroccans with a new shopping experience.This event is organized by Casablanca’s Local Development Firm (SDL), whose objective is to increase the attractiveness of the city. To do this, SDL propose events and festivals to attract local, national and international visitors. The shopping festival also aims to raise awareness of Moroccan brands at both national and international levels. Consequently, Moroccan shopping centers including Morocco Mall, Anfa Place, Tachfien Center and Alpha 55 will all take part.“Through this first edition, dedicated to clothing and accessories, the shopping festival will also be an opportunity for Casablanca people as well as foreign visitors to discover the city from a different angle,” announced Casa-Events and Animation Society (CEA).The company aspires to make the event an annual festival.Hotel Sofitel will hold the festival’s press conferences as well as masterclasses in cooperation with fashion schools, according to Moroccan media platform, L’Economiste. read more

26 February 2007The United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries today expressed concern about the increasing involvement of private military and security companies in countries facing conflict, including their work protecting mining companies and the effect this has on local communities. During a week-long session, which ended last Friday, the Working Group addressed a whole range of issues, including emerging trends regarding mercenaries or mercenary-related activities and the impact of private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and security services on human rights. “The group expressed concerns on the effects of the increasing phenomenon of the recruitment of nationals from countries in many regions by subsidiaries of transnational private military and security companies with legal personality in another country, and providing services in countries experiencing violent conflict,” it said in a press release. “It expressed concern also on the phenomenon of conflicts involving private companies that provide security to installations and facilities of extractive industries and the effects on local communities and the enjoyment of land rights and a clean environment.” It also commended Honduras and Ecuador for moving towards acceding to the International Convention against the Use, Recruitment, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, and welcomed the fact that Peru will soon become the 29th State party to this Convention. The Working Group was established in 2005 by the now-defunct Commission on Human Rights, which was replaced last year by the strengthened Human Rights Council. The Group’s mandate includes monitoring the impact of the activities of private military and security companies on the enjoyment of all human rights. It has also been requested to prepare draft international basic principles that encourage respect for human rights on the part of those companies. It is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities, and headed by its Chairperson-Rapporteur, José Luis Gómez del Prado (Spain). The other experts are: Najat al-Hajjaji (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Amada Benavides de Pérez (Colombia), Alexander Nikitin (Russian Federation) and Shaista Shameem (Fiji). read more

MONTREAL — Opponents of oil and gas development in Quebec say they’re prepared to ramp up their fight amid expectations that the provincial government could release new regulations on resource extraction in the coming weeks.At the end of last year, the government passed legislation to enable production of oil and natural gas. In May, Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand said rules governing that activity would be released a month later and since then, both industry and opponents have been eagerly waiting for them.Carole Dupuis of the Regroupement vigilance hydrocarbures Quebec, which opposes oil and gas development, said her group will take their battle to communities in an effort to prevent an energy industry from taking off in the province.“If our politicians aren’t there to defend us, the public will defend itself,” said Dupuis.Patrick Bonin, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace, said the push towards fossil fuel development runs counter to the province’s global commitment to combat greenhouse gas emissions.“If the government was serious about its intention to respect the Paris Accord, then obviously there wouldn’t be any project to get the green light,” he said.While the province may be better known for its wealth of hydroelectricity, it has plenty of natural gas. According to both the Quebec Oil and Gas Association and Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, it’s believed to have enough natural gas to meet its needs for at least a century.About 15 per cent of the estimated 176.7 trillion cubic feet of gas mainly in the Utica Shale formation along the St. Lawrence River is believed to be recoverable, the Canadian Energy Research Institute says. A similar proportion of the 43.6 billion barrels of oil is recoverable primarily beneath Anticosti Island, though on Friday the government announced an end to drilling there.The regulations will permit fracking — which has riled some — but questions remain over where drilling will be allowed.A de facto moratorium on fracking has been in place since 2012, but the law passed in December will allow for it as long as companies secure authorization under the Environment Quality Act and social licence (though it’s still unclear what constitutes social licence).Arcand was unavailable for comment, but a spokesman said the government’s goal is to have the strictest legal framework on energy development in North America.Pierre-Olivier Pineau, a professor specializing in energy at the University of Montreal HEC business school, said the government can’t politically afford to have regulations that aren’t stringent, even if the chances of widespread production are slim.Junex (TSX-V:JNX) and Petrolia (TSX-V:PEA) are seeking to extract oil and gas in remote regions of Gaspe, and Pineau said he believes they won’t face much opposition, partly because they’re in economically stressed areas.Neither energy producer responded to requests for comment.Michael Binnion, CEO of Calgary-based Questerre Energy Corp. (TSX:QEC) and president of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association, said he hopes the regulations will be strong enough to gain public confidence that their water, air and land will be protected.It will then be up to energy companies to secure social acceptance from communities, something Binnion concedes is largely lacking. Questerre Energy has drilled test wells on about 405,000 hectares it holds in the Utica Shale formation.“We don’t think the regulations by themselves are going to open a floodgate at all,” he said. “We think the regulations could open the door to a discussion about the benefits and impacts.”Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter. read more

Spokesman Fred Eckhard told a press briefing that the discussions would open on 1 May and span three days instead of the anticipated two because the Secretary-General may be called out of town on 2 May. The talks had originally been scheduled for 18-19 April.Mr. Eckhard said the Secretary-General’s delegation would include Hans Blix, the Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and Mohammed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Iraqi delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister Naji Sabri.The talks will follow on meetings between the Secretary-General and Foreign Minister Sabri held in New York on 7 March. Mr. Blix had attended that round while Mr. ElBaradei had not, according to the spokesman. “The objective is for Iraq to come into full compliance with Security Council resolutions which specifically – and probably first and foremost as far as these talks are concerned – means allowing UN inspectors to go back to Iraq to finish the verification of disarmament in terms of weapons of mass destruction,” said Mr. Eckhard. UN inspectors have not been able to operate in the country since 1998.In another development, the UN Office of the Iraq Programme, which runs the ‘oil-for-food’ humanitarian scheme, reported today that Iraq had maintained its suspension of petroleum exports over the past week. The suspension is expected to result in a $1.3 billion revenue loss for the effort, which allows Baghdad to use a portion of its crude export earnings to purchase relief supplies. read more

“The Boko Haram crisis lingers on and is far from over,” said Kelly T. Clements, Deputy United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at the appeal launch in Niger’s capital Niamey. The 47 UN agencies, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and humanitarian organizations participating in the 2018 Nigeria Regional Refugee Response Plan will provide support to some 208,000 Nigerian refugees and 75,000 of their hosts in Niger, Cameroon and Chad. “The world should not forget the victims of this deadly conflict, especially as there appears to be little hope for a return to peace and stability in the near future,” Ms. Clements underscored. Nigerian refugees continue to arrive in very remote, impoverished communities in neighbouring countries. Since it started in 2013, the Boko Haram conflict has internally displaced another 2.4 million people in north-east Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. UNHCR called the menacing threat of food insecurity and severe malnutrition “one of the most devastating side effects of the conflict.” Please see the UN relief wing’s snapshot of the Lake Chad Basin Crisis hereLast September more than 7.2 million people in the Lake Chad Basin, which spans seven countries, including most of Chad and a large part of Niger, were food insecure. Across the vast region, food insecurity and malnutrition have reached critical levels, a situation only made worse over the eight years of the Boko Haram insurgency. “The future of young generations in the region is at stake, as food insecurity not only affects the dignity of families, but has serious consequences on the physical and cognitive development of children,” stressed Ms. Clements. In a region where education levels were already among the lowest in the world, the conflict has had a devastating impact – forcing hundreds of schools to close, making education inaccessible and causing school attendance rates to drop. Refugee-hosting communities are also in dire need of assistance, as their capacity, including basic services infrastructure, is stretched to the limit. Humanitarian aid is needed to uplift services, including in the shelter, health, education, and water and sanitation sectors. In 2017, a $241 million appeal was only 56 per cent funded. read more

first_imgLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has given a hint on his squad list ahead of their FA Cup third-round tie at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening.The Spaniard is set to be given the nod in n the Reds’ backline at Molineux to make his fifth appearance of the season so far, with Simon Mignolet also in line to begin the clash.Klopp revealed the decision during a pre-match briefing with journalists at Melwood, via the club’s official website.Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, LiverpoolMo Salah laughs off Sadio Mane incident with a brilliant video Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Mohamed Salah laughed off his little spat with Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane by posting a brilliant video showing they’ve made up.“100 per cent, 100 per cent. Alberto is another example for being an unbelievable professional person and a really important part of the dressing room. He is from the positive side of the planet I would say.“He is very often in very, very good shape, he loves training, loves playing and loves all these things and he is really good with all the boys. I can say Alberto will play as well, there is no doubt about that. He has to play, that’s clear.”last_img read more

first_imgThe U.S. Coast Guard is still months away from making a decision that could make or break the Columbia River Crossing. How to submit comments to the U.S. Coast Guard on the Columbia River Crossing:o Online: Click here.o By mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001o Fax: 202-493-2251.o In person: Public meeting 5 p.m. June 5 at Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St.But the Coast Guard on Tuesday formally kicked off the comment period inviting the public to speak directly to agency that essentially holds veto power over the project.Comments will be accepted between now and June 20. A pair of public meetings — one in Portland, one in Vancouver — will also gather feedback on June 4 and 5. The Vancouver meeting is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. June 5 at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St.The Coast Guard is mulling whether to grant the CRC a crucial bridge permit, which the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement needs to move forward. Coast Guard officials are aiming for a Sept. 30 deadline to make the decision.The CRC filed its initial bridge permit application in January. Later told by the Coast Guard that more information was needed to begin the review process, the project sent additional documents last month.last_img read more

first_imgThe new helicopter takes off from Akutan, bound for the airport on Akun Island. (Annie Ropeik/KUCB)Yesterday, we reported that Akutan residents are pleased with their new airport taxi — a helicopter that came online in February. The Aleutians East Borough is already running out of money to pay for it. Today, in the second part of our series on the struggle to connect Akutan to its airport, the borough settles on a permanent solution. It’s one they rejected a decade ago.Download AudioAkutan’s airport is unique in a lot of ways. For one, it’s not on Akutan – it’s seven miles away, on Akun Island.That means airport operations are a little more complicated than normal. So, they’re divided up among three groups: the city of Akutan, the Aleutians East Borough and the state of Alaska.One major task is getting people from Akutan to the airport. Sean Holland, of the state department of transportation, says that job falls to just one entity:“The Aleutians East Borough agreed to provide and fund the operation of the marine link between the city of Akutan and the island of Akun,” he says.The borough started exploring their options almost a decade ago. A boat seemed like the obvious choice. But they could also try a hovercraft or a helicopter — whatever was cheapest and most reliable.They hired a maritime engineering firm to figure that out. Glosten Associates said a hovercraft would be able to make the trip to the airport 90 percent of the time, at a cost of just over a million dollars a year. They said that made it cheaper and more efficient than a boat.That was in 2005, years before borough administrator Rick Gifford was hired. But he knows the history. Based on Glosten’s work, Gifford says the borough was prepared to cover the million-dollar annual cost:“It was kind of estimated that between charges for passengers and for freight, that they might be able to recoup up to half a million dollars of that,” he says.And he says they agreed to pay another half a million out of pocket.The borough was able to save money by recycling a hovercraft they’d already bought for King Cove. It stopped running there in 2010 after it proved too costly and unreliable.In March 2010, the state broke ground on the airport. Construction was going well for about a year – until the Aleutians East Borough hit a snag.At a meeting in 2011, the borough assembly re-calculated how much money the hovercraft would bring in. Their estimates were a lot lower than what Glosten Associates had told them years before — and the assembly wasn’t completely sure why.KUCB reached out to Glosten about the alleged discrepancies, and the firm wouldn’t comment.Whatever the reason, the assembly was no longer sure if the hovercraft could work long-term.So they had a choice: Go back to the drawing board, pick a different vehicle, and possibly delay construction – or let it keep going. The state would finish building the airport around the hovercraft. And the borough could eventually use those same facilities for a helicopter, in hopes of saving some money.And that’s exactly what they decided to do. Three years later, Rick Gifford, the borough administrator, says things have gone about as well as the assembly expected:“As it’s turned out, the hovercraft cost three times more than a million dollars — it cost over $3 million,” he says. “They’re just not willing to do that. They can’t sustain it.”In February, the borough made the switch to the helicopter. It’s going to cost $2 million a year — which is less than the hovercraft, but, Gifford says, still not cheap enough.So after a decade, the borough is looking once again for a permanent way to connect to the airport. Their only option now is a ferry. Gifford says it’ll take at least five years and millions of dollars to set one up on Akun.“A dock and a breakwater is not cheap. It’s a major capital item up front,” he says. “So it’s going to take some money to get it started. … but once those dollars are put in up front, then you’ll reduce the annual operating cost to the point where it’s feasible.”Sean Holland, of the DOT, says the state has money left over for the Akutan project. It could help pay for the dock — but Holland isn’t sure if they could use it for the helicopter.And that’s a problem for the borough: administrator Rick Gifford says they’re running out of money.“So unless we get some financial help from the state and the users, primarily Trident Seafoods, I just don’t know … how long the borough will be willing to sustain that higher amount that it’s costing them,” he says.Ideally, he says the borough would split the cost of the helicopter with Trident and the state. Trident’s processing plant in Akutan is the biggest in North America. They fly in thousands of workers every year — but they’ve already made contributions to the airport. As for the state: the legislature declined to pitch in last year.Gifford says the borough has about six months before they can’t afford to run the helicopter anymore. It’s not clear what that would mean for the 90 residents of Akutan Village.Mayor Joe Bereskin says they’ve been in limbo for a long time, and it’s starting to feel like the norm.“It’s a revolving door that we have to go through until we get some sort of structure on Akun for some sort of conventional vessel out there,” he says. “It’s just what we’re faced with out here, and we’ll deal with it, best of our abilities.”There’s not much else he can do. It’s up to the Aleutians East Borough to bridge the gap for good. The only question now is if they’ll have to do it on their own.last_img read more

first_imgDonald TrumpFacing a White House which has been unrelenting in its attacks on the media, news organizations are struggling to find the right balance in covering US president Donald Trump’s administration.Reporters and media groups are increasingly finding they are part of the story, after Trump’s denunciation of “fake news” and his branding of media groups as “the enemy of the people.”Most news organizations have promised to fulfill their responsibility to report aggressively, without being vindictive.”The goal is to be tough, but to be fair. The fairness part is an important part of the equation,” said Richard Benedetto, an adjunct professor of journalism at American University who was a White House correspondent for USA Today.The White House may have some justification for claiming the press is unfair: an NBC survey last month found 53 percent of Americans believed the media was exaggerating problems in the Trump administration.”There seems to be a lack of concern about being fair,” Benedetto said. “It’s become kind of personal.”Before Trump’s inauguration, Politico writer Jack Shafer said the press “ought to start thinking of covering Trump’s Washington like a war zone, where conflict follows conflict, where the fog prevents the collection of reliable information directly from the combatants, where the assignment is a matter of life or death.”Dogged, and impartialReuters editor-in-chief Steve Adler said the news agency planned to do its job in Washington as it does in other countries where governments are hostile to the press.The agency responds to difficult conditions “by doing our best to protect our journalists, by recommitting ourselves to reporting fairly and honestly, by doggedly gathering hard-to-get information — and by remaining impartial,” Adler said in a January memo to staff.Karen North, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, said objectivity has become complicated as more journalists feel a need to connect with readers by offering personal thoughts on social media.North said some reporters feel a need to rebut the president on his favorite platform, Twitter.”We have the president speaking directly to the people through Twitter,” North said.In the fast-paced Twittersphere, she said, reporters are not just churning out facts but “they’re also putting out their opinion through social media.”North noted that news organizations are also struggling for ways to keep the attention of their viewers and readers.”Especially with the internet, with digital media, news has to compete with entertainment,” she said.”So there’s a huge mandate now for news to be entertaining or at least to be engaging in a way that draws attention.” Crossing a lineNew York Times public editor Liz Spayd acknowledged that some reporters in their Twitter messages during the campaign may have gone “over the line” and cast doubt on their objectivity.Trump has tested the limits of the media meanwhile not only by attacking the press as “dishonest,” but by stretching or ignoring facts about the economy, crime, and the probe into his own circle’s contacts with Russia during the campaign.Some newspapers, notably the New York Times, have decided to brand Trump’s statements “lies.”The Wall Street Journal has ordered a more restrained interpretation of Trump’s conduct, drawing protests from the editorial staff against chief editor Gerry Baker.There are no shortage of opinions on how the press should deal with the Trump problem.Some analysts say the media should turn the other cheek, others say they should boycott or ignore Trump’s efforts. Some news organizations are stepping up their investigative efforts.Nic Dawes, a former journalist who now works for Human Rights Watch, says the news industry has a difficult task in dealing with an administration hostile to the press.Trump is seeking “to undermine the basic information infrastructure of democracy. His ultimate target is accountability in the largest sense,” Dawes said in a blog for the Columbia Journalism Review.”The war for freedom of the press in the Trump era must be fought on many fronts,” Dawes wrote.”If journalists insist on appearing neutral, they will avoid asking hard-edged questions or calling a lie a lie.”last_img read more

first_imgAmazon topped Wall Street expectations for the fourth quarter of 2018, posting revenue up 20%, to $72.4 billion, and a record net profit of $3 billion.However, Amazon’s revenue guidance for the first quarter of 2019 was below analyst forecasts, sending the stock down as much as 2% in after-hours trading. The company, which is facing regulatory obstacles in India with the country’s ban on internet retailers from selling products via vendors in which they have an equity interest, said it expects Q1 net sales of between $56 billion and $60 billion (below analyst estimates of $60.8 billion).For Q4, the ecommerce giant’s net income increased 58%, to $3.03 billion, or $6.04 per diluted share. That’s even more impressive considering that the fourth quarter 2017 included a provisional tax benefit for the impact of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 of approximately $789 million. Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky, on the Q4 earnings call, declined to quantify the company’s spending on Prime Video but noted it has been increasing and that Amazon expects it to increase further in 2019. He added that Amazon continues to see strong usage of Prime Video, boosting Prime renewal rates and engagement.In announcing results, Amazon also highlighted awards recognition for Amazon Studios. That includes film “Cold War,” which nabbed three Oscar nominations (for foreign-language film, director for Pawel Pawlikowski, and cinematography for Lukasz Zal). The company noted that Amazon Studios had 10 Golden Globe Awards nominations and won two, with Rachel Brosnahan picking up the trophy for actress in a TV comedy or musical for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” for the second year in a row and Ben Whishaw winning supporting actor in a series, limited series, or made-for-television movie for his role in “A Very English Scandal.”Last November, Amazon announced its “HQ2” plans for a second base of operations in North America would be split between Long Island City, in the New York City borough of Queens, and the Crystal City neighborhood in Arlington just south of Washington, D.C. That came after a 14-month public contest in which 200 cities vied to grab the brass ring dangled by the ecommerce company, which said it expects to invest $5 billion and create up to 50,000 jobs for the New York and Northern Virginia campuses. Amazon’s picks generated controversy, as some critics and politicians knocked the nearly $2.1 billion in tax incentives it was awarded. Popular on Variety Wall Street analysts on average expected revenue of $71.87 billion and EPS of $5.67 for the fourth quarter of 2018, which marks the critical holiday-shopping period. It was Amazon’s fifth straight quarter reporting over $1 billion in profit. For the full-year 2018, sales increased 31% to $232.9 billion and net income more than tripled, to $10.1 billion.Amazon claimed that during the holiday quarter, “tens of millions of customers” worldwide started free trials or began paid memberships of its Prime program and that it added a record number of Prime members in 2018. But as has been its practice, the company didn’t disclose a current count for Prime members; Amazon announced in April 2018 that the company had topped 100 million Prime members globally.The company notched significant advertising gains in Q4, reporting a 95% increase in its “other” category — which primarily comprises advertising services — from $1.74 billion a year ago to $3.39 billion (however, $1 billion of that increase was related to an accounting change under which advertising services are now classified as revenue rather than cost of sales). The Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud division continued to soar, with revenue climbing 45% to $7.43 billion in the fourth quarter.Amazon had $31.75 billion in cash and equivalents at the end of 2018, up 55% from $20.52 billion a year earlier. Headcount grew 14% last year, to 647,500 full- and part-time employees.Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, as he has done previously, in prepared remarks focused not on financial performance but instead touted the company’s Alexa voice assistant, noting that Amazon’s Echo Dot was the No. 1 best-seller across all products during the holiday season.“The number of research scientists working on Alexa has more than doubled in the past year, and the results of the team’s hard work are clear,” Bezos said in prepared remarks, noting that customers spoke to Alexa “tens of billions more times in 2018 compared to 2017.”On the video front, Amazon called out the December launch of Prime Video on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 in the U.S., as well as IMDb’s launch earlier this month of free, ad-supported VOD service Freedive. ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img read more

first_img Geek Pick: Ikea Sonos Symfonisk Is A WiFi Bookshelf SpeakerGeek Pick: Fi Smart Dog Collar Sniffs Out Your Pet Staying on top of your health, especially physical activity, isn’t always an easy task. Investing in a good fitness tracker, such as the Fitbit Charge 3, could boost your daily workout routine and give you important stats on your heart rate, sleep, and more.According to our sister site PCMag.com, the Fitbit Charge 3 is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy at just $149.95. A longer battery life, new sensors, a sharper screen, and more detailed phone notifications make the Fitbit Charge 3 a great pick if you’re looking for an everyday wearable that monitors your wellness and exercise sessions. The Fitbit Charge 3 is available on Amazon and Fitbit’s website.The Fitbit Charge 3 is a slight upgrade from the Fitbit Charge 2: Its monochrome OLED touch screen is much larger, so you won’t struggle to read text messages and other phone notifications that come in on your smartphone. Appearance-wise, it has a more streamlined look that’s not bulky and allows you to interchange straps to dress it up or down.Using the Fitbit Charge 3 is seamless, since the screen’s touch sensitivity is pretty good and provides easy navigation. From the main screen, swipe up to see your daily stats. Swipe left to move around the app menu and swipe down to access notifications. Short presses on the left button take you back to the previous screen, while a longer press enables you to tweak notification and screen settings.Now, for the cool specs: When you’re working out, your most likely not thinking about your heart rate or SpO2 (also known as the peripheral capillary oxygen saturation in elaborate bio terms). The Fitbit Charge 3’s sensors will monitor your heart rate and estimate the amount of oxygen in your blood with an SpO2 sensor.It also logs in your daily steps, so you’ll be able to see how much you’ve walked or ran throughout the day. An important note is that the Fitbit Charge 3 doesn’t do as well with indoor distance tracking, so you might want to keep that in mind for your fitness activities. While you’re on the move, the Fitbit Charge 3 syncs up with the Fitbit app, which will tell you about calories, daily sleep quality, and other wellness stats.To top things off, this wearable device also packs in about seven days worth of battery on a single charge, which is a plus if you’re going to wear it frequently. The one downside is that you’ll have to shell out cash if you need to replace a Fitbit Charger.For more specs on the Fitbit Charge 3, be sure to read the extensive review over on our sister site PCMag.com. And, if you still need some inspiration on which fitness tracker you should buy, check out our fitness tracker roundup for tech lovers.More on Geek.com:Geek Pick: Blue Snowball Ice MicrophoneGeek Pick: Pokemon Poke Ball Waffle Maker for Epic Meal TimeGeek Pick: Harry Potter Ultimate Trivial Pursuit Is #GameNightGoals Stay on targetlast_img read more

first_img Updated Tuesday, 2/2/16 10:00 amRafi and Benny Fine took to Medium to respond to the vocal fan furor to their proposed licensing program, REACT WORLD, and their application to trademark “React.”Beginning with an apology, the brothers said that they would withdraw the applications they submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, shut down the REACT WORLD program and would “release past Content ID claims,” explaining that Content ID is “YouTube’s copyright system that automatically flags content that looks like or sounds like copyrighted content.”Original story follows:Can you trademark videos of something that we all do every day? Not without some controversy, as popular YouTubers the Fine Brothers have learned in abundance over the past several days.Back in July, Rafi and Benny Fine, the sibling duo behind Fine Brothers Entertainment, filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the word “React.” The creators, best known for their series of popular reaction videos that are housed in a dedicated “React” channel, last week announced a new licensing program to broaden the scope of the React videos called REACT WORLD.Related: 7 YouTube Channels Crushing It That You Can Learn FromAs laid out in the video and a Medium post, the Fines said that through REACT WORLD, creators would be able to license the format of their shows, and the company would assist them with production, trademarks, graphics, promotion and other revenue opportunities. The brothers’ company would then take 20 percent of advertising revenue and 30 percent of brand deals from the licensee, but would not require a large upfront fee like a TV licensing deal might.The brothers explained that the program was borne out of wanting to help safeguard the work of their fellow creators, and wanting to stand apart from the more corporate elements of the digital media world.Related: YouTube’s Biggest Star Is Getting His Own Network From Disney”Part of why we believe this initiative is important is due to witnessing many creators, ourselves included, having their shows and formats blatantly stolen by companies and people both online and on television. And we implore everyone not to support those companies and channels. When you notice someone ripping someone’s format off, don’t stand for it,” said Rafi Fine in the announcement video.While the brothers’ intentions appear to be focused on protecting their brand, fans have viewed the program as more of a litigiously-minded cash grab rather than a global call to protect intellectual property. Over the last week, the channel has seen a loss of subscribers, a social-media campaign with the hashtag #unsubfinebros and a sizable collection of critical reaction videos to the news.Related: Will People Pay for YouTube? After 1 Month, ‘Red’ Seems to Prove They Will.Over the weekend, the Fines posted a follow-up video simply titled “Update,” which has been viewed more more than 3 million times, with 54,890 likes and 261,000 dislikes.The duo apologized for any confusion surrounding the program, and went on to field a few of the main questions they were getting about their intentions with REACT WORLD. With regard to the trademark application, the brothers said that it was filed with an aim to prevent their channel from being taken over by someone else, not as a means to take down similar videos with impunity.”We were never trying to say that every video where someone reacts to something else is something we would try to control. When we reference licensing the react format, we only meant our specific series, not the overall genre of reaction videos. We do not own the genre,” said Benny, likening the REACT WORLD experience to becoming a franchisee.Whether that message changes the minds of angry fans remains to be seen.The “React” franchise initially launched in 2010 with “Kids React,” and in the intervening years, series such as “Teens React,” “Adults React” and “Elders React” have joined the stable of popular shows. All told, the brothers have three channels with about 20 million subscribers and garner more than 150 million views each month.Related: YouTube Will Spend Up to $1 Million to Defend Certain Creators Facing Copyright Disputes Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. February 1, 2016 4 min readcenter_img Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalslast_img read more