UN mission begins selection interviews for eight Iraqi governorate slots

After the applications were vetted, candidates are now being interviewed by a UNAMI panel of international experts, who will create a shortlist of applicants to be forwarded to the Council of Representatives, who in turn will select five to send to the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC).“By ensuring transparency and professionalism in the process of selecting these candidates we hope the Iraqi Parliament and the Independent High Electoral Commission will accomplish one of the number of conditions for holding successful elections,” said Staffan De Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMI.Concerns had been raised by the UN and many political leaders in Iraq about the way in which the previous selection of 11 of Iraq’s 19 governorate election office directors were conducted in September 2007, and last month, UNAMI urged an improved selection process.Over 800 valid applications – including submissions by 54 women – for the eight GEO directorship positions in seven Iraqi governorates were received by UNAMI’s website.The professional qualifications of candidates short-listed for the Karkh and Rusafa GEOs of Baghdad are being evaluated by a three-member UNAMI expert team, and the 14-day interview process for the other six GEOs of Nenawa, Basra, Wasit, Najaf, Kerbala and Diyala is expected to be completed by 25 March.The entire process has been open to observers, who have so far included Iraqi parliamentarians, IHEC representatives and an Iraqi group from the Al-Yaqeen Center. 13 March 2008Selection interviews have begun for the remaining eight directorships of Iraq’s governorate election offices (GEOs), the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) announced today. read more

Security Council members depart for twoday visit to DR Congo

13 May 2010Members of the Security Council left today for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where they will meet with senior government officials, representatives of civil society and the United Nations peacekeeping force serving in the African nation. During the two-day visit, which was postponed from earlier this year due to the disruptions to air travel caused by the Icelandic volcano eruption, the Council will hold talks with President Joseph Kabila and his key ministers. Members will also hold discussions with senior officials of the UN mission, known by its French acronym MONUC, which has been helping to bring peace to most of the vast African nation since 1999. MONUC peacekeepers have, among other things, been providing logistical support to the Congolese national army in its operations against Rwandan Hutu rebels and other insurgent groups in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu.The Council often makes periodic visits to different areas where UN peace operations are deployed. The current visit, led by Ambassador Gerard Araud of France, comes at a time when the future of MONUC is being determined. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended in his latest report that the 20,000-strong force begin a drawdown of troops by 30 June. The Government has proposed a total withdrawal of the peacekeeping forces by 30 August 2011.Council members are seeking to obtain a first-hand understanding of the MONUC’s status in the DRC before extending or revising its current mandate, which expires at the end of May. read more

Millions of Pakistanis still in need of postflood assistance say UN officials

“With an estimated 20 million people affected by devastating floods, the country faced its biggest ever humanitarian crisis,” Rauf-Engin Soysal, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan, and UN Resident Coordinator Timo Pakkala said in a joint message.“Millions of Pakistanis still require relief assistance and full recovery of livelihoods and infrastructure will take years,” they added. “Through resilience and determination and with the support of national partners and the international community, the country will overcome this challenging period.” The floods that began in late July affected some 20 million people across the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan, and damaged schools, health centres, important infrastructure such as sanitation systems, bridges and roads, and destroyed croplands. Earlier this month UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos urged the international community to provide the resources needed to help those in need of vital assistance.“There is a continuing need for a strong financial response and I want to see attention focused on this immense human tragedy,” she told reporters following her second visit to the country since the disaster. “This is an emergency which will continue for months to come, and considerable relief efforts will continue to be necessary alongside recovery activities and development work,” she added. The $2 billion appeal for aid for Pakistani flood victims made in September, the largest-ever launched by the UN and its partners for a natural disaster, is currently 51 per cent funded. 31 December 2010Millions of Pakistanis are still in need of assistance as they recover from the floods that inundated large portions of the country during what was one of the most challenging years for the South Asian nation, two senior United Nations officials stated today. read more

Parliament divided on implementing death penalty

Parliament was divided today when the death penalty was discussed with some for and others against its immediate implementation.Parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra, who put forward a motion on the death penalty, noted that most people in the country feel the death penalty should not be implemented as it goes against Buddhist culture. She insisted that religion and law and two different subjects and should not be combined together as doing so will prevent the law from taking its course. Ramanayake proposed that the death penalty be made law at least for two years and then after that it can be reviewed.However Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha said that the death penalty cannot be implemented without carefully studying the issue at hand.He said that several rounds of discussions must be held with civil society and others before a final decision is taken. Meanwhile Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake, who backed the motion, said that the public and the Parliamentarians should not be misled by the motives of the motion calling for the death penalty.He said that the proposal to implement the death penalty is not to use it on normal criminals but those who rape and murder children. Parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa said that the death penalty must be implemented as a form of punishment on those who rape and murder children.However he said there needs to be conditions attached to the process when implementing the death penalty. (Colombo Gazette) “If the law is not properly implemented the country will never develop. All mothers and fathers and all those who have feelings must support the death penalty being implemented on those who rape and kill children,” she said. MP Sudharshini Fernandopulle said that laws in Sri Lanka need to be strengthened to prevent crime and the death penalty is also a must.However she said before the death penalty is implemented there is a need to address some shortcomings in the legal system, including establishing children’s courts and the option to give evidence on video.She also raised concerns over the police service saying its independence often comes into question. Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara also agreed and said that the issue of the death penalty is a sensitive subject so it needs to be looked into carefully. read more

EU High Representative and Ranil discuss GSP application

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today and discussed several matters including Sri Lanka’s GSP+ application.The High Representative congratulated the Sri Lankan authorities for their achievements over the past 21 months and reaffirmed the European Union’s continued support to the Sri Lankan government and its reform agenda, which is committed to improving governance, to fighting against corruption, to strengthening economic growth, and to protecting human rights, for the benefit of all Sri Lankans. Progress has been made across a number of areas in bilateral EU-Sri Lanka relations, including the resumption of Sri Lankan fish exports to the EU in June this year.The HR/VP welcomed Sri Lanka’s GSP+ application, which would give the country preferential access to the European Union’s market. The HR/VP and the Prime Minister discussed the process of national reconciliation in the country, highlighting the importance of addressing the underlying causes of the conflict and beginning a process of healing. They also discussed the implementation of last year’s UN Human Rights Council Resolution, which was co-sponsored by the Sri Lankan government. The steps taken so far send a clear signal that the Sri Lankan government is committed to move towards genuine reconciliation and accountability: processes which the European Union will continue to support. The European Union has nearly doubled its development assistance to Sri Lanka to €210 million (approximately 34 billion Sri Lankan Rupees) for the years up to 2020 compared to the previous period (2007-2013). The EU will finance projects across a wide range of areas, including in support of the government’s reconciliation priorities under the Peacebuilding Priority Plan, the resettlement of Internally Displaced People, assisting transitional justice and building local government capacity, as well as supporting development in Sri Lanka’s poorest areas. The High Representative informed the Prime Minister of the state of play in the ongoing, technical application assessment, while the Prime Minister committed to making additional efforts to implement Sri Lanka’s international human rights, labour and environmental commitments, so as to give the highest possible chance for a successful application. Regional issues in South-Asia were also discussed during the meeting. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Experts recommend options for addressing adverse effects of mercury UN agency says

The UNEP Global Mercury Assessment Working Group, which wrapped up a weeklong meeting in Geneva, also recommended that governments reduce risks by cutting or eliminating the production and consumption of mercury by substituting other products and processes. States were also urged to launch talks for a legally-binding treaty, establish a non-binding global programme of action, and strengthen cooperation among countries on information-sharing, risk communication, assessment and related activities.The Working Group also recommended a number of immediate actions to enhance outreach to highly vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, provide technical and financial support to developing countries and to countries with economies in transition, and support increased research, monitoring and data-collection on the health and environmental aspects of mercury and on environmentally friendly alternatives to the chemical.These recommendations, together with a detailed assessment report, will be forwarded to UNEP’s Governing Council, which meets next February in Nairobi. Based on the Working Group’s scientific and technical advice, the Governing Council may adopt political decisions that will set the course for global action on mercury for years to come.”These recommendations from the scientists and experts are the first essential step on the road to reducing and one day eliminating the environmental and health risks of mercury,” said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer. “Now it is up to the politicians and policy-makers to decide just where we go from here.” read more

UN agency calls for increased security near Sudanese refugee camps in Chad

Just yesterday, a group of 150 armed men, described by locals as Janjaweed, a pro-government militia accused of some of the worst atrocities in the Darfur conflict, surrounded Chadian villagers near the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camp of Goz Amir and opened fire on them, killing four and wounding five. They also stole about 1,000 head of cattle.“Local Chadian residents throughout the region are now telling our staff on the ground that they are very frightened, and that if humanitarian agencies were ever forced to withdraw from the area, they too would have to move in search of a safer haven,” UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva.“Despite the presence of about 18 Chadian gendarmes around each refugee camp in eastern Chad, there is a need to further increase security in the region,” she added. “The growing numbers of attacks near Goz Amir camp is a matter of grave concern to UNHCR.”Three years of fighting between the Sudanese Government, pro-government militias and rebels in Darfur have driven more than 200,000 refugees into Chad where they are sheltered in 12 camps, 17,700 of them at Goz Amir. There are also 46,000 refugees from the northern part of the Central African Republic in southern Chad. On a brighter note, UNHCR reported that the first convoy of 160 Sudanese in Uganda left for home, part of what promises to be a massive effort to repatriate 350,000 Sudanese who fled to neighbouring countries from the long civil war between the Government and rebels in the country’s south, which ended in January 2005.From now until the rainy season starts in June, when roads become impassable, UNHCR plans to help 160 refugees a day return home. So far, 27,000 of the 174,000 Sudanese refugees in Uganda have registered to repatriate.There are also some 4 million internally displaced in South Sudan itself. read more

US construction activity slips in December

US construction activity slips in December WASHINGTON – U.S. builders trimmed spending slightly in December as a gain in private projects was offset by a big drop in spending on government projects.Construction spending fell 0.2 per cent after hitting the highest point in more than a decade in November, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Spending on private projects actually kept rising in December, climbing by 0.2 per cent. But government activity fell 1.7 per cent, reflecting cutbacks at the state and local level.The strength last month came in housing construction, which jumped 0.5 per cent, with gains in single-family homes and apartments. Spending on nonresidential activity was flat as spending on hotels, factories and transportation projects all declined.Economists are looking for housing construction to be a key sector supporting overall economic growth in 2017.Construction of single-family homes rose 0.5 per cent in December, while the smaller and more volatile apartment sector jumped 2.8 per cent.In the government category, the 2.4 per cent drop in spending at the state and local government area offset a 6.1 per cent rise in spending on federal projects.Overall spending dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.181 trillion after hitting $1.184 trillion in November, the highest level since April 2006. The 0.2 per cent rise in private construction in December pushed activity to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $897 billion, the highest level for this sector since July 2006.Economists believe construction will continue to show gains in 2017, reflecting a strong job market which should help boost housing sales.Financial markets have pushed stock prices to record highs, reflecting in part enthusiasm over the stimulus program being pushed by President Donald Trump. In addition to tax cuts and deregulations, Trump has pledged to boost spending on the nation’s aging infrastructure.The Obama administration had tried for a number of years to get Congress to approve higher infrastructure spending, but he was blocked by opposition from Republicans who complained that the projects would increase budget deficits. Democrats in Congress have already expressed support for Trump’s proposals to boost construction spending but his proposals may still face opposition from Republicans worried about high deficits. by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Feb 1, 2017 8:04 am MDT Last Updated Feb 1, 2017 at 11:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

At UN General Assembly African officials call for reform to tackle war

Speaking on the last day of General Assembly’s high-level debate, a range of African government officials today called for greater United Nations help in combating the twin scourges of war and poverty, at the same time seeking greater representation for Africa on the Security Council.“Since 1945 the essential rules governing the workings of the UN Security Council are literally frozen in a paralysis that is becoming more and more repulsive,” Togo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elliot Ohin, told the 67th Assembly’s General Debate, which tends today at UN Headquarters in New York. “The inability of the Security Council to agree on certain issues of great importance is a perfect illustration of this and renders reform of this body at the heart of UN action yet more urgent,” he said, calling for total and immediate action, including giving Africa adequate representation. Foreign Minister Osman Saleh of Eritrea.Eritrea’s Foreign Minister, Osman Saleh, said it is clear that the UN has not succeeded in its paramount purpose of saving humanity from the scourges of war and poverty, and now the threat of global climate change, in the 67 years since its creation.“What is particularly significant is the fact that in most of these wars, it is some of the big powers, who have been the main architects and actors in these wars – the same powers who by virtue of their position in the United Nations Security Council should have shouldered the biggest responsibility for the maintenance of peace and stability,” he said.“The United Nations system, as has been repeatedly pointed out, is indeed outdated. The General Assembly has been emasculated. The Security Council is dominated by one powerful permanent member and increasingly becoming paralyzed,” he added.“No part of the world is in need of positive change as the African continent, which remains marginalized and almost voiceless,” Mr. Saleh stated, while also calling on the international community to assist Mali in recovering its territorial integrity after Islamic militants seized control of the north of the country, imposing strict Sharia law and sending 260,000 refuges fleeing into neighbouring countries. Foreign Minister Basile Ikouebe of the Republic of Congo.In his speech to the General Debate, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Congo, Basile Ikouebe, also cited the crisis in Mali, warning that the terrorist groups in the north of that country threaten peace, security and stability in the whole of the sub-Saharan Sahel region. He noted that the worsening humanitarian situation together with the risk that the terrorist contagion may spread makes it imperative that the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), with the support of the African Union and the UN, ensure that in future the dangerous precedent does not repeat itself.Mr. Ikouebe cited other crises such as the bloody uprising in Syria, the Middle East conflict and the violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, while stressing Africa’s vulnerability to the global economic crisis.“Faced with this situation, my delegation reaffirms the responsibility and central role of the UN in forging the spirit of solidarity and cooperation needed to ensure that the pledges already made for development aid and financing are kept,” he said.Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf of Djibouti.In his remarks, Djibouti’s Foreign Minister, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, noted that the global economic and financial situation remains more worrying than ever. “It is therefore important that the fate of the least developed African countries be examined with renewed attention to help them lessen the burden, improve their productive capacities and facilitate the access of their products to world markets on favourable conditions,” he said.He called for the mobilization of a donors’ conference to help restore Somalia’s economy following progress in setting up a new government and recovering territory in a country that has been riven by ferocious factional fighting for the past two decades.Foreign Minister Joseph Bandabla Dauda of Sierra Leone.In his statement, Foreign Minister Joseph Bandabla Dauda of Sierra Leone – often cited as a success story in UN efforts to consolidate peace in countries that have been ravaged by conflict – vowed to continue to wholeheartedly embrace mediation and other conflict prevention initiatives as a key and indispensable tool in settling disputes, preventing and resolving conflicts.“The use of preventive diplomacy in the maintenance of international peace and security was, until quite recently, not the strongest point of the UN system,” Foreign Minister Dauda said. “Rather, it was used more as a tool in crisis management. I am however heartened by the present impetus.”Sierra Leone, recovering from a decade of civil war that ended in 2002, was the first country, together with Burundi, to be put on the agenda of the UN Peacebuilding Commission when it was set up in 2006 to prevent post-conflict countries from relapsing back into bloodshed.Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani of Botswana.Botswana’s Foreign Minister, Phandu Skelemani, in his address to the Assembly, highlighted the adverse effect the global economic crisis had had on the southern African country, forcing it to delay development projects. “We continue to be concerned that many of our traditional donors who helped to bring us to where we are today have virtually abandoned us following our graduation to Higher Middle Income developing country status,” the Foreign Minister said.He added, “Contrary to the perception that Botswana is an economically well-off country, we do need development assistance now, more than ever before, on account of the varied nature and gravity of the challenges we continue to face.” Among world crises, Mr. Skelemani cited Mali, and particularly Syria, where he said President Bashar al-Assad has displaced more than a million Syrians to satisfy his lust for power, causing some 300,000 Syrians to flee into neighbouring countries and slaughtering 20,000.“And yet Syria remains a member of the UN, a body with the expressed objective to defend humanity. This surely cannot be right. Syria’s allies in the Security Council and in the region need to be equally condemned,” he said. “My delegation condemns in the strongest terms possible, the persistent veto action by China and Russia of successive Security Council resolutions aimed at putting pressure on the Syrian leadership to cease its heinous crimes against its own citizens,” he continued. “We therefore call upon such Members of the Security Council to live up to their responsibilities in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter.”Foreign Minister Skelemani called on the Council to assume the high moral ground in defence of victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, such as the ones currently being committed in Syria, adding: “We urge the international community to act swiftly to save the people of Syria from further unwarranted bloodshed.”Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins of Angola.In his statement to the Assembly, Angola’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins, also cited the major crises around the world, including Mali and Syria, the effects of the global economic crisis, and the need to reform the 15-member Security Council.“The Security Council plays a preeminent role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in the maintenance of peace,” Ambassador Martins told the gathering. “The central theme, the objective of our debate, brings before us the necessity to reform the Security Council and the imperative for an equitable representation of all regions of the world, thus adapting it to contemporary reality.” The African officials are among scores of world leaders and other high-level officials presenting their views and comments on issues of individual, national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends later on Monday. read more

To combat hunger UN agency launches initiative for sustainable use of worlds

Speaking at an event on the side-lines of the General Assembly in New York, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva urged faster action in implementing sustainable practices to protect the world’s “blue economy.”“We have the know-how, we have the opportunity,” emphasized Mr. Graziano da Silva. “Now is the time to act.”The event, “Our Ocean: Next Steps on Sustainable Fishing and Marine Protected Areas,” brought Mr. Graziano da Silva together with other leaders, including United States Secretary of State John Kerry, to discuss the importance of the world’s marine environments, both for the health of the planet and for the well-being of those who depend on them. According to FAO, the livelihoods of 12 per cent of the world’s population depend on the fishing sector. On average, 17 per cent of global animal protein intake comes from fisheries and aquaculture, and demand for fish protein is expected to double in the next 20 years. Yet some 28 per cent of global stocks are already overfished.In its latest report, The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Rome-based organization warned that the fisheries and aquaculture sector was, in fact, facing major challenges, ranging from harmful fishing practices and weak governance to poor management and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. In response, Mr. Graziano da Silva pointed to FAO’s new “Blue Growth” initiative which, he said, had “the potential to be a leading programme on the major issues related to oceans and their resources.”This new initiative would seek to provide technical and capacity-building support to governments, particularly those of vulnerable small island developing States, and farmers to develop national strategies for aquaculture development; disseminate and adopt better management and governance policies and best practices that increase productivity; and reduce environmental and disease risk to stimulate investment. read more

Opinion Cincinnati Reds core players have much to prove to be playoff

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips lays out for a ground ball during a game against the San Francisco Giants July 24 at AT&T Park. The Reds won, 8-3.Courtesy of MCTCincinnati has become accustomed to playoff-caliber professional sports franchises. There was a time in my life I never thought I would be able to write that. But now, the Bengals have made the playoffs three consecutive years, and the Reds have qualified for October baseball three of the last four seasons.Sadly, my hometown has learned nothing but hard lessons during that time.The Bengals lost to the San Diego Chargers at home during the AFC Wild Card round Jan 5, extending their playoff win drought to 23 years. The Reds haven’t advanced in the MLB playoffs since 1995. Sure, they teased the fans in 2012 when they were up 2-0 in a best-of-five series with the San Francisco Giants. My heart still aches from the three straight losses — all at home — that followed.When the first signs of a playoff game going bad start to show, a noxious solution of fear and doubt creeps up the spine of every player, coach and fan like an all-encompassing ooze from the murky depths of the Ohio River. Die-hard fans begin to succumb to the dark side, muttering to their friends about how they should have seen it coming. It’s a facade presented by teams that consistently give birth to hope before tripping on the umbilical cord, falling and smothering it.This year, I can’t let that happen. Opening Day at Great American Ball Park is only three short days away, and I am trying my best not to let my love of everything Reds blind my expectations.Cincinnati still has its core group of winners together. The franchise faces, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, are All-Stars with experience and impressive offensive numbers. The starting rotation could still be one of the best in the National League if Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake and the promising young southpaw Tony Cingrani all stay healthy.A key component of the lineup this season will be leadoff man center fielder Billy Hamilton, who is replacing Shin-Soo Choo, now with the Rangers. Hamilton is a talented prospect with amazing speed that can change any game at any time, but has yet to go through the rigors of extended time in the majors. He had 13 stolen bases in 13 games with the Reds at the tail-end of 2013, and was only caught stealing once. At that rate, if he plays in 131 of the 162 games this season, he will break Rickey Henderson’s modern-era record for most stolen bases in a season. Henderson’s 130 steals have stood since 1982.Hamilton and the rest of the club won’t have an easy start to 2014. In the first month of the regular season, they face St. Louis six times and Pittsburgh seven times. Both of those teams made the divisional round of the playoffs last year. Most experts project the Cardinals to win the division, and the Pirates are expected to battle with Cincinnati all season for a wild card spot.Injuries only add to the tough April schedule. Videos of relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman being struck in the face by a line drive during a spring training game March 15 will make me cringe until June, but hopefully he will be able to pitch again by mid-May. Chapman, along with pitchers Latos, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton, will start the season on the disabled list.The Reds are still a good team, but have yet to prove if they can be great. New pieces like Hamilton and manager Bryan Price could make or break this club. Much like Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, former Reds manager Dusty Baker took a lot of criticism for decision making and game adjustments, especially during playoff games. Much unlike Bengals owner Mike Brown, Reds president Bob Castellini made a leadership change. I’m excited to see how Price handles the lineup and situational matchups.Speculation and “sabermetrics” are a huge part of baseball, but nothing matters until the ump calls “Play ball!” So we’ll just have to wait and see.When the Reds take the diamond at 4:10 p.m. on March 31 for opening day, I’ll be sitting on my couch in eager anticipation. Even with graduation, a job search and midterms hanging over my head, I honestly cannot imagine a better way to spend three hours than watching the Redlegs begin their 2014 campaign.Because you can tell me they’re past their prime. You can point to the superior salaries and sustained success of teams like the Dodgers or the Cardinals. You can call me crazy or baseball boring for all I care. I’m still going to watch the whole game. And the next game, and the next game — because for some reason, I still believe this team can break the bad streak and win a playoff series in 2014.Even if I’m wrong, at least I’m not a Cleveland fan.For ’tis better to have made the playoffs and lost than to not make the playoffs at all … right? read more

Austmine 2019 to showcase global mining innovations

first_img“Mining Innovation – The Next Horizon” is the tag line for the fast-approaching Austmine conference in Brisbane, Australia.Taking place at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre from May 21-23, the program for Austmine 2019 has been developed specifically for those driven by innovation and working within mining companies, mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies, as well as relevant academia and government, according to the event organisers. Over 800 attendees are expected at the bi-annual event.“The Next Horizon for the industry will see fundamental shifts in mining technology which will alter the entire value chain, placing an emphasis on current planning decisions to ensure optimal future outcomes,” Austmine’s organisers said.The three-day program contains over 40 presentations featuring more than 50 experts drawn from six continents, as well as hands-on workshops, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, held in conjunction with the sold-out exhibition, featuring over 90 of the industry’s foremost companies.Austmine Chief Executive Officer, Christine Gibbs Stewart, said: “This is now the leading mining innovation conference in the world; there are a lot of conferences out there, but nobody is as sharply focussed on innovation as we are.“We have brought together the premiere thought leaders around innovation, which is quite exciting for us; the fact that we have so many international speakers and attendees is a credit to our previous conferences.“It demonstrates that overseas miners are interested in what is happening in Australia, and they see Australia leading the way with some of the new innovations and technologies that are entering the market.”Current confirmed speakers include Rag Udd (Vice President, Global Transformation, BHP), Natascha Viljoen (Global Head of Processing Operations, Anglo American), Marco Orellana (CIO, Codelco), Rob Labbé (Director of Information Security, Teck Resources), Rafael Estrada (CIO & Manager of Information Systems, Telecommunications and Process Control, Antamina Mining), John Welborn (Managing Director & CEO, Resolute Mining), and Frans Knox (Head of Production, BMA Coal, BHP).The conference themes range from new machinery technology and techniques, including automation and artificial intelligence, as well as the human element of mining, the use of analytics and big data, digital connectivity in mining, and finally sustainability for the industry, encompassing renewable resources and resource management.The event features the Austmine Industry Leaders’ Dinner and Awards on May 22, which will also celebrate the association’s 30 years of advocacy for the Australian METS sector.last_img read more

ROAD TO CROATIA 2018 Danes book handball winter

← Previous Story Decisive battles on the road to Croatia 2018 Next Story → CLOCK, CLOCK: Russia crush Slovakian dreams about EURO 2018 Denmark joined France, Germany, Sweden and Spain at the Men’s EHF EURO 2018 in Croatia after away victory against Netherlands 36:24.GROUP 1Netherlands – Denmark 24:36Thursday: Latvia – Hungary 18:35Standings:Denmark 9Hungary 5Netherlands 4Latvia 0GROUP 2Serbia – Poland 34:34Thursday: Romania – Belarus 18:00Standings:Serbia 7Belarus 5Romania 4Poland 2GROUP 3Wednesday:BiH – Spain 19:25Finland – Austria 36:39Standings:Spain 10BiH 4Austria 4Finland 2GROUP 4Czech Republic – Iceland 27:24Thursday: Ukraine – Macedonia 18:00Standings:Czech Republic 6Macedonia 4Iceland 4Ukraine 4GROUP 5Portugal – Germany 26:29Switzerland – Slovenia 20:33Standings:Germany 10Portugal 5Slovenia 5Switzerland 0GROUP 6Montenegro – Sweden 28:24Slovakia – Russia 24:25Standings:Sweden 8Montenegro 6Russia 4Slovakia 2GROUP 7Lithuania – France 25:26Belgium – Norway 27:43Standings:France 8Lithuania 6Norway 6Belgium 0 read more

HTC Edge could be the first quadcore phone

first_imgIf you find yourself puffing your chest out because you finally got a dual-core phone, then you might want to pull that solar plexus back a little bit. A leak is pointing to HTC releasing a quad-core phone, known as the Edge, sometime in the first half of 2012.The device looks to be the spiritual successor to the HTC Rezound, featuring the same ridiculously high 1280×720 resolution, 1GB of RAM, and 8MP rear camera. It would naturally carry Beats Audio as well. The quad-core chip would easily be the most significant addition.It’s been nearly a year since NVIDIA first demoed their Kal-El Tegra 3 chip, and no compatible devices have been released. The chip delivers four cores of ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore, which can be clocked up to 1.5GHz. The processor actually has a total of five cores, the fifth being a companion core to help manage power consumption.Dimensions weren’t included in the leak, but the image suggests that the upcoming phone may be moderately thinner than the Rezound. That would be most welcome, as the latter is a beefy phone, at 13.65mm:The leak suggests that we could see the Edge in either Q1 or early Q2 of 2012. That could mean January, but it could also be as late as June. Heck, it could even go Droid Bionic on us and not show its face until September.Whether this will be the first quad-core phone on the market will also depend on what other manufacturers have in store, but it should at least be among the earliest. It looks like the Asus Transformer Prime will be the first quad-core tablet, but this is the first solid info on a phone with Tegra 3 inside.Of course Edge is likely just the internal codename for the phone, and we will probably see it branded as something else entirely. If the Rezound is successful enough, perhaps HTC will call it the Rezound 2?via Pocketnowlast_img read more

George Alex accused of kickbacks

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Sydney Greek-Australian George Alex is accused of giving cash to a union official.One of Australia’s most colourful businessmen, “Big Jim” Byrnes, told ABC this week, he witnessed one of the key targets of the trade union royal commission, George Alex, pass an envelope full of cash to a construction union official.If true, Mr Byrnes’s statement would be the first eye witness account of unexplained money being paid to union officials, a key area being investigated by the commission.Mr Alex is at the centre of a web of unsavoury characters, including outlaw bikers, violent standover men and convicted terrorists.The son of Greek migrants, George Alex likes to portray himself as a man of charity, giving jobs or forming alliances with those who have fallen on hard times.Over the years, Alex’s business partners have included convicted criminals, such as killer and since-murdered Hells Angels enforcer Steve Mitrovic and the Hells Angels drug trafficker Peter Sidirourgos.His chief business partner, career criminal Joe Antoun, was shot dead last December.Mr Byrnes is no innocent himself.He was jailed for the supply of heroin in the 1980s and in the 1990s was the financial adviser to bankrupt businessman Alan Bond.last_img read more

10 Comic Book Characters Who Were Ahead Of Their Time

first_imgThe CatThe 1970s were a fecund period for Marvel and women, as the company reached out to distaff readers in numerous ways. The most explicitly feminist of those new characters was Greer Grant, aka the Cat. Created by writer Linda Fite and artist Marie Severin, the Cat was empowered by the super-science of Dr. Tumolo, a physicist devoted to the cause of female superiority, with enhanced strength and agility and used it to fight crime in her masked identity. Tumolo’s research was actually bankrupted by a corrupt industrialist with a fetish for buff ladies, and Greer had to wrestle with her own feminism multiple times over the years, even after taking on the identity of Tigra and being mutated into a cat-woman hybrid.Wanna learn about awesome comic bromances? Head over to our post here. True comic book fans know that the industry has always been progressive, pushing concepts and ideas that are too risky for other media forward into the public eye. And it shows in the fact that the ideas of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster now power multimedia franchises that bring in hundreds of millions of dollars across the world. Obviously, not every comic book series finds that level of success, but it’s a great incubator for ideas.Comics writers and artists often are tapped into the zeitgeist, trying to surf the trends of mass culture as they happen, and the relatively short turnaround time of a single issue enables them to do so better than many other forms of media. That means that sometimes they tackle ideas before the rest of the world does. In this feature, we’ll spotlight ten heroes and villains that were introduced before the world was ready for them.Black PantherJack Kirby was the unstoppable “idea man” of the Marvel universe, a fountain of concepts that are still potent today. When he introduced King T’Challa, the Black Panther, in the pages of Fantastic Four #52, he unleashed the first African superhero in mainstream comics and changed the game completely. Kirby loved to twist stereotypes to make something entirely new, and the fictional country of Wakanda that his hero hailed from wasn’t a primitive jungle but a technological utopia hidden from the Western world. The Panther appeared sporadically in Marvel books for a while, joining up with the Avengers for a cup of coffee, but it wasn’t until the seminal 1998 Christopher Priest run that the character cemented himself as a major player in the Marvel universe. James Gunn Once Again Directing ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’Dark Phoenix Trailer Released & More Marvel Movie News Lord FannyGrant Morrison is one of the most progressive writers in modern comics, jumping from the Vertigo imprint to helm some of DC and Marvel’s biggest franchises. But in 1994, he introduced a character into his creator-owned series The Invisibles that was way ahead of her time. Lord Fanny was born Hilde Morales in Brazil and inducted into the matriarchal lineage of witches, despite being born biologically male. Nowadays transgender awareness is a big cultural issue, but in the mid-90s trans characters were used as punchlines for crappy comedies like the Ace Ventura movies. Fanny was responsible for some of the team’s most important victories, even if she didn’t find herself a happy ending. NorthstarLGBTQ representation in superhero comics is sort of a given at this point – all of the major companies have characters of all sexual persuasions. Hell, even Jughead is canonically asexual now. But back in the 1990s, the very idea of a superhero who loved men was a shocker. So when writer Scott Lobdell revealed that Alpha Flight speedster Northstar was gay in 1992, it made national news. Previously portrayed as aloof and surly, the Canadian character coming to terms with his sexuality was handled clumsily – this was the 90s, after all, so there was a lot of screaming and flexing – but it was something. Gay representation in media was still virtually nonexistent at that point, so seeing a character come out so boldly was a big deal and paved the way for many more. Stay on target FantomahAt the beginning of the comics industry, things were pretty much a boy’s club. Most normies consider William Moulton Marston’s Wonder Woman to be the first female superhero, but a full year before her 1941 debut, iconoclastic writer-artist Fletcher Hanks debuted the skull-faced protector Fantomah in the pages of Jungle Comics. Widely considered the first female superhero ever, Fantomah possessed mystical powers and a sick sense of humor, exacting vengeance against poachers and other scumbags over the course of the next four years. Hanks’ bizarre, personal take on the genre was rediscovered in the mid-2000s and has been republished in several collections. Fantomah has passed into the public domain and has made appearances in a number of other comics. Captain MarvelOK, you know how the anti-SJW brigade has been all up in arms about Marvel replacing many of their legacy heroes recently, with Jane Foster taking the mantle of Thor, Riri Williams getting an Iron Man suit, et cetera? If they were real fans, they’d know that’s nothing new. The original Captain Marvel was a white cis male, but in 1982 writer Roger Stern and artist John Romita introduced a new holder of the mantle – a Black woman named Monica Rambeau. This was a solid 30 years before Marvel’s much-heralded “diversity push” and Monica has spent time since in Nextwave as well as leading the Avengers. Squirrel GirlIt’s a testament to Marvel’s success that a character created as a ridiculous joke in 1991 can become a breakthrough star. Writer Will Murray and legendary artist Steve Ditko introduced Doreen Green, aka Squirrel Girl, in the pages of Marvel Super-Heroes Winter Special. She barely appeared after that before being reintroduced in 2005 as a member of the Great Lakes Avengers. In 2015, she got her own series for the first time, and defying the odds The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl became a hit with the middle school audience, being collected in hardcover and inspiring original YA novels and more. Milana Vayntrub is slated to play her in the upcoming New Warriors TV series on Freeform. American FlaggIn 1983, at the height of the Reagan years, nobody could have predicted that Donald Trump would rule America in a technology-saturated world of hyperviolence and corporate control. Nobody but Howard Chaykin, who released the first issue of American Flagg that year. Sure, he missed the Trump thing, but the rest of the series was remarkably prescient – protagonist Reuben Flagg is a former TV star who takes a job as a glorified security guard in the Chicago “Plexmall,” a massive corporate omnistructure that looks a lot like today’s rapidly consolidating retail marketplace. Even weirder, the second run of the series sees Flagg relocate… to Russia. Devil DinosaurKirby’s work for both Marvel and DC in the 1970s was widely regarded as the nadir of his career, as neither company trusted him to run with the ball and so shunted him off to bizarre B-list ideas. But one of his most absurd creations of that decade is now a player in one of Marvel’s most critically acclaimed books. As invented, Devil Dinosaur was a big red T. rex that palled around with a hairy blue hominid named Moon Boy. Their series lasted a paltry nine issues, and when the lizard popped up in other books, he was mainly treated as a joke. That all changed with 2015’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, which brought Devil to the present day to back up Lunella Lafayette, a super-intelligent nine-year-old. It took nearly 40 years for the big guy to find his niche, but we’re glad he did. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Ambush BugWhen Rob Liefeld introduced Deadpool in the pages of New Mutants #98 he was just another grim & gritty killer with little tiny feet, an obvious knock-off of DC’s popular Deathstroke. But under the tutelage of writer Joe Kelly in the late 1990s, he became the Merc with a Mouth we know and love today – a wisecracking, fourth-wall breaking antihero. Longtime comcis fans, though, remember a very similar villain turned protagonist from the Distinguished Competition who was more than a little similar. Ambush Bug was created as a Superman foe in 1982 but quickly developed his own bizarre gimmick of teleporting through the universe making mischief and talking directly to the reader some 15 years before Deadpool did it.last_img read more

Press Talk Chance meeting of two warriors with video

first_imgTwo warriors.Standing side by side. One, a survivor of World War II. The other, of the Middle East theater.They met unexpectedly at Portland International Airport. Neither knew the other until the elder man — wearing an Iwo Jima survivor hat — approached the younger gentleman dressed in fatigues.They spoke of life in the military. But mostly they spoke about speaking. About the importance of those who have fought … to “get it out.” Not only for their sake, but for the sake of those who will follow.I didn’t ask who they were, their ages or where they grew up. I only asked if it would be OK if I taped their conversation. I had no idea what they might say, but I felt compelled to record it.“I lucked out on Iwo Jima,” the WWII vet said.For those of you not familiar with history, Iwo Jima was a vicious battle in the Pacific theater.Getting out of there in one piece was, indeed, good fortune.The U.S. wanted to take Iwo Jima so our B-29 bombers could land after hitting the Japanese mainland. Problem was, the Japanese had 23,000 army and navy troops dug in to prevent that.The U.S. dropped 6,800 tons of bombs on the island before three Marine divisions moved ashore.The bombing helped, but boots on the beach were needed. It ended up being a battle of attrition. Japan lost almost all 23,000 troops. The U.S. lost 5,900.last_img read more

Alaska News Nightly Wednesday Sept 07 2016

first_imgStories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprnListen nowDOC inmate Dies of apparent suicideAnne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageA man at the Wildwood Correctional Complex died by apparent suicide Tuesday afternoon, though his death is still under investigation.Lawsuit over institutionalizing foster youth in psychiatric hospitals continuesAnne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageWhen foster youth are admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Alaska against their will, they can stay there for up to 30 days without judicial review. Two tribes are arguing that’s too long. The Office ofChildren’s services says a judge shouldn’t have to sign off at all on keeping kids at North Star Hospital in Anchorage. The court battle has lasted over two years, and a judge will hear more oral arguments later this month. Alaska Public Media’s Anne Hillman has more.Representative requests grand jury investigate OCSAnne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageHouse Republican Tammie Wilson of Fairbanks is requesting a Grand Jury conduct an investigation of the Office of Children Services. Citing complaints from families, foster parents, and health providers, she says the agency is not complying with its statutory duties. In a press release she said “I believe children and parents are caught up in legal kidnapping and ineffective politics.”University of Alaska suffers cybersecurity breachDan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks The University of Alaska is reporting a security breach. An email issued yesterday (Tues.) says UA became aware of the cyber attack several months ago, and there’s no evidence that personal information was accessed or stolen. Lawsuit targets Borough marijuana initiative Ellen Lockyer – Alaska Public Media, AnchorageTwo cannabis supporters are suing the Matanuska – Susitna Borough. They’re trying to overturn a ballot initiative banning commercial marijuana. The complaint wants the courts to force the Borough to take the initiative off the October ballot, but as Alaska Public Media’s Ellen Lockyer reports, the outcome of the case could have far-reaching consequences.APD bought ‘stingray’ surveillance device in 2009, used minimallyZachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media, AnchoragePolice in Anchorage publicly announced Wednesday that they purchased and used a controversial piece of surveillance equipment which tracks cell phones. The department says it only used it “about a dozen times.” They discontinued use last year because the technology was out of date.Skagway shop owner found not guilty of misrepresenting Native artJillian Rogers, KHNS – HainesA Skagway shop owner was found not guilty of misrepresenting Native produced art in federal court on Friday. Rosemary Libert owns Lynch and Kennedy Dry Goods and was the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the past couple of years. She was charged this spring after selling a piece of art to an undercover agent in 2015. In Juneau court last week, federal prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to prove that Libert knowingly deceived the agent, who was posing as a customer.Diesel spill cleanup continues south of FairbanksTim Ellis, KUAC – FairbanksCleanup work continues Wednesday near Birch Lake south of Fairbanks where a tractor-trailer tank loaded with 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel overturned Monday, spilling the fuel into a ditch that runs between a small wetland and the Richardson Highway.Alaskans Protest North Dakota PipelineAP/Democracy Now/Jeremy Hsieh-KTOO/Zachariah Hughes-Alaska Public MediaAuthorities in North Dakota are sending officers from across the state to the site of a protest about an oil pipeline in anticipation of a court ruling on the issue.Violence broke out at the protest site on Saturday. Democracy Now reports protesters were attacked by private security forces with dogs and pepper spray.Alaska Reaches 200 Days of Warmer than Normal WeatherAnnie Feidt, ALaska’s Energy Desk, AnchorageWednesday marks the 200th day in a row of above normal temperatures in Alaska.last_img read more

Shajahan Khan says sorry

first_imgA caricature of shipping minister Shajahan KhanAfter widespread criticism for his visibly smirk reaction, shipping minister Shajahan Khan on Tuesday expressed his great sorrow and regret over the Sunday’s road crash that had killed two students, reports UNB.The minister said, “I’m sorry for my unpleasant behaviour. I have accepted the criticism.”He also urged all to overlook his mistake with a spirit of forgiveness. He hoped for quick recovery of the injured students.Shajahan Khan said those who are responsible for the road crash that killed two students must face action as per the law.Earlier on 29 July, while talking to reporters about the road crash at the secretariat, the minister said smilingly that “33 people died in India recently, but they (Indians) don’t complain about it as we do.”Such comment and smirk stirred an outrage in social media with many people asking for unconditional apology and the minister’s resignation.A bus ploughed through some college students on Sunday as they were standing by the road in front of Kurmitola General Hospital, leaving two dead and 12 others injured.Outraged by the accident, the students across the city have been demonstrating since then demanding justice for their fellows and apology from the shipping minister for his comments.last_img read more

Hitman 2 The Briefcase Is a Hitmans Deadliest Weapon

first_imgStay on target omfg please never fix this pic.twitter.com/naNBTmnvJR— Jack (@CreamyElephant) November 12, 2018Right now the case can only be used to inflict non-lethal damage, but people are already talking about loading it with remote explosives and using its homing properties to eliminate targets from relative safety.We’re sure that IO Interactive will probably patch this out fairly soon, so if you’ve been looking to take out chumps with lethal luggage, pick up Hitman 2 while it’s still fun.Buy Hitman 2 at Amazon.com.More on Geek.com:The Deadliest Assassins in Video Games11 Games to Play When You’re Finished with ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’Watch: ‘Assassin’s Creed 2’ Is a Game You Need to Play Before You Die I can’t get enough of this! pic.twitter.com/aiAERRlJRW— Jack (@CreamyElephant) November 13, 2018 Trade In Your Nintendo Switch For a Better Battery (With a Catch)Get Used to ‘Fortnite’s’ Powerful Mech Suits One of the things we love about the Hitman games is the amount of freedom they give you to take out your targets. You can go old-school and put a bullet in someone’s brain, or you can poison them, strangle them, blow them up — the list goes on and on. The game rewards imagination and creativity in a way few others do, and long-time fans are intimately familiar with every weapon the series has to offer.A newly-discovered bug has upended the power rankings, though, and shot a new murder weapon to the top of the charts: the briefcase.In previous games, the briefcase was used primarily for keeping your sniper rifle inside without being detected. But the developers wanted to make it a more robust tool in the new game, so they added a bunch of functionality — so much that they even made a special trailer for it!So that’s pretty cool, right – you can store other tools in there, use it as part of a disguise, hit people with it, and even throw it. Seems reasonable. But what they don’t tell you in the trailer is that briefcase has homing technology so advanced that it will never miss a target.A number of gamers have started uploading clips that demonstrate a very funny bug in Hitman 2. If you target a person and then throw the briefcase, the game’s pathfinding algorithm will not allow that briefcase to miss. It’ll keep flying after them as they run, even around corners, until it finds impact with their head and knocks them out. The resulting chaos is extremely funny.im fucking crying! pic.twitter.com/NuqOoPlXoB— Jack (@CreamyElephant) November 12, 2018last_img read more