Military faces calls to train soldiers to identify neoNazis hategroup members

first_imgOTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is facing calls to train its recruiters and other service members to identify and screen out members of hate groups.The military is also being accused of failing to take the issue seriously by adopting what several experts say is a wait-and-see approach rather than actively weeding out such individuals.The criticism follows an internal military report and several high-profile incidents linking some service members to right-wing extremists and hate groups.That includes an investigation this week into a reservist in Manitoba who is suspected of being a recruiter for a neo-Nazi group.The Defence Department says the military already uses interviews and background checks to screen recruits for hateful beliefs and behaviour and takes very seriously any reported incidents by current personnel.But several experts tell The Canadian Press that is not good enough, and that the military must launch a campaign similar to efforts to stamp out sexual misconduct to truly root out extremist beliefs and behaviour.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Yellen sounds upbeat on economy signalling likely rate hike

first_imgWASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Sunday sketched a bright outlook for the U.S. economy and for inflation prospects in coming months, saying the impact of the recent hurricanes will likely slow economic growth slightly but only temporarily and should be followed by a rebound by year’s end.Her comments suggested that the central bank will soon resume raising interest rates to reflect the strengthening economy. Most economists foresee the next rate hike — the third this year — coming in December.Speaking to an international banking seminar, Yellen acknowledged that the persistence of undesirably low inflation this year has been a surprise. But she said she expected inflation to start picking up as the effects of temporary factors, such as falling prices for consumer cellphone service, begin to fade.“Economic activity in the United States has been growing moderately so far this year, and the labour market has continued to strengthen,” Yellen said in a speech to a panel that included central bank officials from China, Japan and the European Central Bank.Of the hurricanes that struck Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, Yellen noted that they caused enormous damage. But she added:“While the effects of the hurricanes on the U.S. economy are quite noticeable in the short term, history suggests that the longer-term effects will be modest and that aggregate economic activity will recover quickly.”Yellen said that the economy’s growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, might have slowed slightly in the July-September quarter as a consequence of the hurricanes but that growth is likely rebounding in the current quarter.The Fed chair’s speech Sunday followed the central bank’s decision at its meeting last month to leave its benchmark short-term rate unchanged in a range of 1 per cent to 1.25 per cent. At the same time, the Fed announced that it would begin parings its enormous portfolio of bonds, which it had amassed after the 2008 financial crisis in an effort to hold down long-term loan rates for consumers and businesses. The move to let its balance sheet gradually shrink could mean higher rates on mortgages and other loans over time.During a question period, Yellen was asked whether a booming stock market that some see as overvalued or potentially higher budget deficits resulting from the Trump administration’s tax cut plan had increased economic uncertainty.Yellen declined to respond specifically but noted that the Fed’s staff has described stock prices as elevated. At the same time, she said market levels should be viewed in the context of a banking system that she called “dramatically improved” since the 2008 financial crisis.The Fed chair said the administration’s proposed tax cuts may have boosted consumer and business confidence but so far appear to have had little effect on investment or spending decisions. She said the Fed was taking a “wait and see attitude” on how the tax program might affect the economy given the many unknowns about what it might look like when the plan emerges from Congress.In his presentation, Zhou Xiaochuan, head of China’s central bank, said that his country is trying to cut excess capacity in its steel and cement industries by 10 per cent but that China requires a sizable output in those areas to support an infrastructure construction program. The Trump administration has been pushing China to reduce production in such areas as steel, saying its overcapacity has depressed global prices for steel and hurt American producers.Haruhiko Kuroda, head of the Bank of Japan, said that his country’s economy was expanding moderately and that heightened global political risks so far haven’t destabilized financial markets. He did not say what risks he was referring to, but investors have been focusing on the standoff with North Korea over its increased missile tests and development of nuclear weapons.The officials spoke before the Group of 30, an international body of bankers and academics. Gary Cohn, who leads President Donald Trump’s National Economic Council, spoke on a separate panel about the administration’s efforts to scale back some of the tighter rules imposed on the U.S. financial sector after the 2008 crisis. In particular, he reiterated that the administration supported easing restrictions on smaller banks.Yellen’s appearance Sunday came as her future at the central bank is in doubt, with her four-year term as chair ending in February. Trump has been considering several candidates for the post, in addition to the possibility of offering Yellen a second term. The other candidates include Jerome Powell, a member of the Fed’s board; Kevin Warsh, a former member of the board; John Taylor, a Stanford University economist; and Cohn.Last week, administration officials said Trump is likely to announce his decision with a month.last_img read more

Why focus only on Lasantha Prageeth asks TNA MP

He said that several incidents targeting the media in the North had taken place when the former Government was in power, in areas close to where there was a strong military presence. (Colombo Gazette) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian and owner of the Northern based ‘Uthayan’ newspaper E Saravanabavan, today questioned as to why the Government is only investigating the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickremetunga and the disappearance of cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda and not the attacks on journalists in the North.Speaking in Parliament today, Sarawanabavan said that while it is good to see the new Government investigating some of the incidents involving journalists, there must be focus on incidents involving journalists in the North as well. read more

Body found in wooded area in Dunnville OPP investigate

Ontario Provincial Police are investigating after a body was found in a wooded area in Dunnville.Police say someone was walking through the area around 4:50 p.m. on Thursday and found an “unresponsive person.”Emergency crews responded to the scene and the man was deceased. The OPP Emergency Response Team has secured the area while the investigation is being conducted.The cause of death and the identity of the man are not known at this time.Police are expected to provide an update as information becomes available through the investigation. read more

Draft resolution on Middle East under discussion in Security Council President

Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom told reporters, after the closed-door talks, that Syria was keen to put its text to an early vote.”During our consultations, Council members expressed their concern to send a strong, united message to the parties involved,” he noted, and as a result of those talks, “the Syrian delegation has agreed to consult with others and will consider proposed amendments to the text before coming back to the Council to offer an amended version.”The Council agreed that once the Syrians have presented an amended text, Ambassador Jones Parry added, “the Syrian delegation and the Presidency will consult on the timing of a vote, leaving open the possibility of an early vote tomorrow on that amended resolution.” read more

Biblical sites in Israel Albanian museum city join UN World Heritage List

With the latest inscriptions, Bahrain, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time enter the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List, which now numbers 812 sites – 628 cultural, 160 natural and 24 mixed – in 137 States Parties.UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee added the new sites at a weeklong meeting ending in Durban, South Africa, yesterday.The new sites are:The Museum-City of Gjirokastra in Albania, a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, with a 13th-century citadel;The Qal’at al-Bahrain Archaeological Site in Bahrain, an artificial mound created by many successive layers of human occupation from 2300 B.C. to the 16th century A.D;The Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh in Belarus, dating from the 16th century;The Struve Arc in Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Moldova, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine, a chain of survey triangulations carried out between 1816 and 1855 by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve;The Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, a printing plant and publishing house dating from the Renaissance and Baroque periods;The Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which developed in the 15th and 16th century as an Ottoman frontier town;The Humberstone and Santa Laura works in Chile where workers from Chile, Peru and Bolivia lived in company towns and forged a distinctive communal culture;The historic centre of Macao in China, a port under Portuguese administration until 1999, with historic streets and residential, religious and public buildings;The colonial town of Cienfuegos in Cuba, a trading place for sugar cane, tobacco and coffee founded in 1819 and initially settled by immigrants of French origin;The city of Le Havre in France, a port severely bombed during World War II and rebuilt according to a plan that maintains its unity and integrity;The mausoleum of Oljaytu in Soltaniyeh, Iran, built in 1302-1312, an outstanding example of Persian architecture and a key monument in the development of its Islamic architecture;The Biblical tells of Megiddo, Hazor and Beer Sheba in Israel, pre-historic settlement mounds containing substantial remains of cities with biblical connections;The four Nabatean towns of Haluza, Mamshit, Avdat and Shivta in Israel, spread along routes linking them to the Mediterranean end of the Incense and Spice route;Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica in Italy, containing outstanding vestiges dating back to Greek and Roman times, with 5,000 tombs dating from the 13th to 7th century B.C.;The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove in Nigeria, one of the last remnants of primary high forest in southern Nigeria, regarded as the abode of the goddess of fertility Osun and dotted with shrines and sculptures honouring Osun and other Yoruba deities;The historical centre of Yaroslavl in Russia, renowned for its many 17th century churches, an outstanding example of the urban planning reform Empress Catherine the Great ordered for the whole of Russia in 1763;Kunya-Urgench in Turkmenistan, containing a series of monuments from the 11th to 16th centuries, including a mosque, the gates of a caravanserai, fortresses, mausoleums and a minaret. read more

Security Council extends peacekeeping mandate in Western Sahara until next April

Calling for more contributions to help re-unite families separated during the conflict in Western Sahara, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) there until next April.The Security Council requested a report from the Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the situation in the territory before the 30 April end of the extended mandate and asked that Mr. Annan’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Peter van Walsum, brief the Council on his progress within three months of the adoption of the resolution.Mr. Annan had requested a six-month extension of the mission, citing continued instability in Western Sahara stemming from the political impasse between the Moroccan Government, which claims the former Spanish colony, and the Frente POLISARIO independence movement, as well as the continued violations of their military agreement and alleged human rights abuses.The 14-year-old UN mission has been monitoring a ceasefire between the two sides and is seeking to organize a referendum on the territory’s future status.The Council made its decisions noting “the POLISARIO Front’s 18 August 2005 release of the remaining 404 Moroccan prisoners of war in compliance with international humanitarian law, and calling upon the parties to continue to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross to resolve the fate of persons who are unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict.”After meeting with national leaders in Algiers, Mauritania and Morocco earlier this month, Mr. van Walsum said the parties in the region were “quasi-irreconcilable.” read more

Germany May Be the Best National Soccer Team Ever

Germany didn’t begin the World Cup as the favorite. That honor belonged to (ahem) Brazil. But that’s a slightly deceptive measure. This was a top-heavy World Cup; not only Brazil but also Germany, Argentina and Spain would have been the front-runners in many past editions of the tournament.By the end of the World Cup, Germany left little doubt it is the best team in the world. In fact, it may be the best national soccer team ever assembled.One simple way to compare World Cup winners is by their goal differential throughout the tournament. Germany, with 18 goals scored and four allowed, comes out at a plus-14. This is tied for the best goal differential ever for a World Cup champion; Brazil also scored 18 goals and allowed four in winning the 2002 tournament.No, the Germans weren’t flawless. They tied Ghana in the group stage and had a little more trouble than they should have with Algeria in the Round of 16. But few World Cup champions are perfect in every match. All but three eventual winners took a draw or loss, or required a penalty shootout, along the way (soccer statisticians usually count games that go to penalties as draws).And some of these teams were fortunate in other respects. Uruguay only needed to play four matches to win the inaugural World Cup in 1930. Uruguay also had the benefit of playing on home soil. Brazil, in 2002, had a favorable draw — China, Costa Rica and Turkey were in its group.The Germans, by contrast, did this against some tough competition. They took down Argentina and Brazil in the knockout stage, along with a French team that had been playing as well as anyone.The World Football Elo Ratings provide one way to account for all these factors: a team’s strength going into the tournament, its dominance during the tournament itself, the quality of its competition, and whether it was aided by playing at home.Germany’s Elo rating was high to begin with at 2046, which is stronger than a number of World Cup winners. But it gained 150 more points throughout the World Cup (about half of them by beating Brazil 7-1), finishing with a rating of 2196.This is the highest Elo rating ever for a World Cup champion. The 1962 Brazil team previously held the top spot.In fact, it’s the highest a national soccer team has ever been rated in the Elo system. Before Germany, the highest-rated team of all time had been Hungary in 1954. Hungary’s rating peaked at 2166 after winning the World Cup semifinal, but then it lost to West Germany in the tournament’s final match.I’ll be curious to see how this year’s German team is regarded in barroom arguments around the world, both now and with the benefit of hindsight. It doesn’t have a transcendent superstar, although it has a number of players who might rank in the top 20 or 25 in the world. It’s often said that the Germans didn’t have a distinctive style — although their relentless attacking play represents the new paradigm in world football, and it led to the highest-scoring and perhaps most exciting World Cup in many years.Other teams — notably Spain from 2008 to 2012, and Brazil under Pele — had longer sustained stretches at the apex of world football. But Germany is young and deep. Mario Götze, who scored the winning goal in the final Sunday, is 22. Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos are 24, and Mesut Özil is 25. The Germans have a good chance to go in as the favorites in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.Still, the competition is going to be tough. At the start of the next tournament, Brazil’s Neymar and Colombia’s James Rodríguez will be just 26, and Lionel Messi — despite playing in his fourth World Cup — only 30. France is perhaps a player away from competing with the world’s best teams, and after having won FIFA’s Under-20 World Cup last year, it could make that transition soon. This is a great era for the international game, and that makes what Germany accomplished all the more impressive. read more

Who Needs Bryce Harper When You Have Aaron Hicks

playerTeamTOTALper 600 plate app. Aaron Hicks is climbing the WAR chartsThe top 20 MLB players by wins above replacement per 600 plate appearances, 2017-18 8Jose AltuveAstros12.56.04 19Giancarlo StantonMarlins/Yankees10.84.73 9Francisco LindorIndians13.25.51 It once seemed inevitable that the New York Yankees would sign Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper when he became a free agent at the end of this season. Though Harper has been injured and inconsistent since his 2015 MVP year, he’s still a rare talent who will hit free agency just entering his physical prime at age 26 — and the Yankees are one of the few teams able to afford him.But the Yankees may no longer need Harper’s services in the outfield. They’ve found a new star to join Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and the rest of their big names, a star who may not be as well-known but who has turned into one of the game’s best players: Aaron Hicks.The underrated 28-year-old is in his prime and under club control through the 2019 season. Hicks avoided arbitration by settling for a modest one-year, $2.85 million deal last offseason. He’ll be a relative bargain next year, too.Hicks homered Saturday and later provided the walk-off hit against Baltimore to clinch a playoff berth for the Yankees. He left Monday’s game in the fourth inning with hamstring discomfort, but he told reporters he isn’t concerned and should be able to return in a few days.Through Sunday, Hicks was tied for 17th in position player wins above replacement at 4.9 WAR, according to FanGraphs. (Harper was tied for 38th.) WAR is an accumulative stat, so when we adjust for playing time,1Hicks missed significant time in 2017 because of an oblique injury. Hicks ranked 11th in baseball in WAR per 600 plate appearances since 2017. By that measure, he placed ahead of stars like Christian Yelich, J.D. Martinez and Kris Bryant in terms of overall performance per playing time. 17J.D. MartinezTigers/D-Backs/Red Sox9.14.88 15Kris BryantCubs9.25.01 WAR 1Mike TroutAngels16.38.95 14Alex BregmanAstros11.05.04 Among players with at least 800 plate appearances since the start of the 2017 season.Source: FanGraphs 5Anthony RendonNationals12.46.32 10Tommy PhamCardinals/Rays9.65.38 4Jose RamirezIndians14.56.61 12Christian YelichMarlins/Brewers11.25.11 13Andrelton SimmonsAngels10.45.07 20Lorenzo CainRoyals/Brewers9.74.72 6Justin TurnerDodgers9.56.08 3Aaron JudgeYankees13.06.79 16J.T. RealmutoMarlins8.94.88 18Nolan ArenadoRockies10.64.82 7Matt ChapmanAthletics9.36.06 2Mookie BettsRed Sox15.16.91 11Aaron HicksYankees8.25.30 Hicks projects to finish 2018 as a 5-WAR center fielder, a star-level player. He blends one of the game’s strongest outfield arms (reaching 105.5 mph with a throw in 2016) at a premium defensive position with one of the most disciplined bats in the majors and burgeoning switch-hitting power.Of course, prior to last season, he had been a major disappointment. The Twins selected Hicks — a two-way star at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California — 14th overall in the 2008 draft. He made multiple top 100 prospect lists. But in his three years in the majors with Minnesota, covering 928 plate appearances, Hicks batted just .225 with a .306 on-base percentage and .349 slugging mark. It was good for an OPS+ of 81, meaning he was 19 percent below the average major league offensive performer.On Nov. 11, 2015, the Twins ran out of patience and traded Hicks to the Yankees for John Ryan Murphy, a replacement-level catcher with a career on-base mark of .269. Murphy is now a backup in Arizona.“In Minnesota, I feel like I was just trying to hit for a high average. That’s pretty much all I was trying to do,” Hicks told me in July. “I didn’t worry about home runs or anything like that. I just tried to get on base and have a high on-base percentage and hit singles: up-the-middle, opposite field.”The approach was generally ineffective for Hicks. When he arrived at Yankee Stadium, which has one of the shortest right-field fences in baseball, his entire philosophy changed. With the Twins in 2015, Hicks pulled batted balls at a 35.8 percent rate. Hicks has increased his pull percentage to 42.9 percent last season and to 45.1 percent this season, making him the 28th most pull-oriented hitter in the game.“When I came here, they wanted me to use my athleticism to hit the ball in the air more,” Hicks said. “Hit for more power. … The [Yankees major league] staff has been amazing as far as being able to elevate my game, different approaches in how to attack the baseball, and how to become the type of player I want to be.”The Yankees as a team focus on power and pull. That philosophy may be why the Yankees (251 home runs through Sunday) could challenge the 1997 Seattle Mariners’ single-season team home run record (264) despite having only one player (Stanton) with more than 30 home runs this season.Hicks doesn’t have the raw power of some of his teammates: His average exit velocity of 87.3 mph puts him in the middle of the pack in the majors, ranking 195th out of 336 batters. But he said his focus on power and pull has a side benefit: He’s become more selective at the plate. Hicks ranks fifth in baseball in walk rate on the season at 15.8 percent, a slight increase from his 14.1 percent mark last year and a large gain from 2016 (8.3 percent) and 2015 (8.7 percent). In the second half of this season, Hicks leads baseball in walk rate at 19.6 percent.“When I try and get the ball in the air, I swing at less stuff, because if I can’t hit a pitch in the air, I don’t swing at it,” Hicks said. “Naturally, I start to walk more. … If I’m getting pitches I can’t do damage with, I’m not going to swing until I have to with two strikes.”Only two major league players have walked more frequently and hit more home runs than Hicks this season: Harper and Mike Trout.Hicks swung at 23.8 percent of pitches classified as out of the strike zone in 2015 and 24.4 percent in his first year with the Yankees in 2016. That rate dipped to 21.5 percent last year and 19.4 percent this season. Among qualified hitters, only Joey Votto, Alex Bregman, Andrew McCutchen and Mookie Betts are swinging at fewer pitches out of the strike zone. Those players are either MVP candidates (Bregman, Betts) or have won MVP Awards (Votto, McCutchen). Trout ranks seventh.Pitchers have thrown Hicks — an excellent fastball hitter — fewer and fewer four-seam fastballs, from 34.8 percent of offerings in 2016 to 31.2 this season. Yet Hicks is slugging .525 against curveballs and holding his own against changeups.The Yankees have unearthed a star. While the club could still pursue Harper, Hicks gives it an alternative. He allows New York to invest $400 million elsewhere this winter and beyond.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

This government is shrouding itself in secrecy Fianna Fáil hit out at

first_imgFOR THE SECOND night in a row, the Fianna Fáil environment spokesperson Barry Cowen had a chance to take aim at Phil Hogan over the controversy that surrounds Irish Water.Introducing a Private Members Bill in the Dáil tonight, Cowen criticised Hogan for the problems and the spending at the utility.“What we are seeing here is the ongoing failure of this government to be transparent in relation to Irish Water.“They are shrouding themselves in secrecy. We are now in GUBU territory,” Cowen said.He said that all government TDs were complicit in denying deputies the chance to raise questions about Irish Water.His party colleague Colm Keaveney raised concerns with the Dáil over the tendering process, saying that some workers felt intimidated.“Contractors who contacted me were so nervous about potential consequences for themselves, in bringing these matters to public notice, that they felt unable to talk to their local TDs. So much so, that they felt it necessary to contact a TD from the far side of the country.”The Minister of State with responsibility for the project, Fergus O’Dowd, was before the Dáil on behalf of Phil Hogan tonight and said that he was taking Keaveney’s concerns seriously.He said, however, that it was “simply not the case” that Hogan had withheld details on the set up cost of Irish Water. He said that given the nature of setting up a utility, it was “not appropriate” to allow Irish Water be examined through parliamentary questions.He said that a mechanism will be put in place for TDs to scrutinise the utility.He added that Irish Water was “positively not a prelude to privatisation”.PACMeanwhile, at the Public Accounts Committee, the secretary general of the Department of the Environment also told TDs this evening that the Department was not aware of the details of the €86 million spend on outside consultants.Secretary general Geraldine Tallon and her deputy Maria Graham told the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee that they were told in March 2013 that this figure represented a “ceiling” of what would be spent on outside services, but did not know of the final planned spend.The two civil servants also told the committee that Minister Phil Hogan was also not aware of this figure and he did not request information on it.Ronán Duffy contributed additional reporting.Read: Water charges will be announced ‘in or around August’Read: ‘No, is the answer to that question’: Taoiseach won’t ask Phil Hogan to resignlast_img read more

Death row inmates file lawsuit to prevent executions of eight men in

first_imgDeath row inmates file lawsuit to prevent executions of eight men in 10 days Arkansas has scheduled the executions in order to use its supply of a lethal injection drug before it expires. Share160 Tweet Email Not only has Arkansas’s rush to execute eight plaintiffs over the course of ten days forced the state to violate its own mandatory procedures for clemency review, but it has necessarily undermined each plaintiff’s individual opportunity to advocate for mercy. File photo Source: Pat SullivanDEATH ROW INMATES in Arkansas have filed a lawsuit to contest the US state’s plan to end their lives over a shortened period of just 10 days.The state’s Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson has stirred intense controversy since announcing the executions of eight men in 10 days, citing shortages of a drug used in lethal injections.The inmates said the accelerated schedule did not give them enough time to prepare their appeals, adding that the shortened timeframe violated Arkansas rules.“Each plaintiff named in this suit has suffered irreparable injury on account of the frantic execution schedule sought by the state,” six of the eight men concerned wrote in their complaint. Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson Source: Kelly Kissel The eighth amendment of the US Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.Death penalty critics have condemned the executions, noting that Arkansas has not conducted a single execution since 2005.The accelerated schedule comes amid a shortage of death penalty drugs across the United States, with Arkansas’s stock of midazolam, a sedative used to anaesthetise inmates, nearing its expiration date.The inmates also complained about the state’s drug protocol, saying midazolam does not make recipients sufficiently unconscious, meaning they suffer extreme pain.Under the governor’s plan, two of the inmates would be put to death on 17 April, two on 20 April, two on 24 April and the final pair on 27 April.No single US state has held eight executions in 10 days since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.© – AFP, 2017Read:‘Like a war zone’: Tourist areas badly hit as Cyclone Debbie ravages Australia coastRead: Trump’s climate plan labelled ‘a colossal mistake that defies science’ Short URL By AFP 38 Comments Wednesday 29 Mar 2017, 7:50 AM 19,472 Views Mar 29th 2017, 7:50 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Young Greeks living at home on the up

first_imgFewer young Greeks live with their parents than in countries like Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain, according to new EU-wide research. A report, entitled Social Situation of Young People in Europe, found that some 46 per cent of young people in Greece under the age of 29 – the same percentage as in Luxembourg – are living with their parents. This figure is up from 37 per cent in 2007.That put it two points below the EU average. The survey found that almost half of 18-29 year olds in the EU are still living with their parents. Compiled by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), the report charts the changing social situation of young people aged between 18 and 29 across the EU. The report relates to data from 2011, whereas the previous report from the group contained data from 2007.The study found that one in three (35 per cent) of young Greek people reported experiencing “serious deprivation”, which is defined as the “inability to afford items considered essential”. This figure is up from 20 per cent in 2007.The survey asked respondents if their households could afford six basic items: keeping the home adequately warm; paying for a week’s annual holiday away from home (not staying with relatives); having a meal with meat, chicken or fish every second day; replacing worn-out furniture; buying new clothes rather than second-hand ones; and inviting friends or family for a drink or meal at least once a month.On the issue of health, some 68 per cent of young people in Greece said waiting times were a barrier to healthcare – the highest in the EU.Compared with 2007, barriers in accessing healthcare, especially cost, have become more prevalent in some countries, in particular Greece, Malta, the Netherlands, Ireland and Slovakia.The report said these increases were likely to reflect the 2011 austerity measures, such as limiting the duration of free healthcare for the unemployed to a year, and people in general having to contribute more towards medical costs.Young people were most likely to have attended protests or demonstrations at least once in the year prior to the survey in Greece (22 per cent), followed by Cyprus (19 per cent), Spain (18 per cent) and France (17 per cent).Another finding was that young Greeks had the lowest levels of trust in their government.In 2011, young people rated their trust of the government at 2 on a scale of 1-10, down from 4.2 in 2007, the sharpest fall across the EU.The report also found that young Greeks’ optimism in the future plummeted from 69 per cent in 2007 – when it was the same as the EU average – to 26 per cent in 2011, making them the most pessimistic in the EU. Source: enetenglish Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Thinking Loud Thoughts Affects How We Hear Loud Sounds

first_img Brains sure are weird. Yeah the fleshy meat suits we walk around in constantly remind us that we’re trapped inside them. But brains have so many sneaky, wild ways of defining and altering how we perceive ourselves and the nature of reality. For example, we all know that sometimes the voices in our head can get so loud we can’t pay attention to the real world. But now science has proven that the “loudness” of our thoughts really does affect how we hear volume in the real world.This mindbender comes from a recent Nature Human Behavior psychological/neurological journal study “Imagined Speech Influences Perceived Loudness of Sound” by NYU and NYU Shanghai professors Tian Xing, Bai Fan, David Poeppel, and Teng Xiangbin as well as Zhejiang University researcher Ding Nai. Their conclusions? “After imagined speaking in your mind, the actual sounds you hear will become softer—the louder the volume during imagery, the softer perception will be,” said Tian.It sounds kind of esoteric, psychedelic even. How can our inner thoughts have any kind of volume someone else can measure? No one else can even hear them. Instead of trying to stick a microphone in someone’s head though, the team used a “imagery-perception repetition paradigm” to monitor how thinking at different “volumes” affects the brain differently. It turns out thinking at a loud volume also stimulates the auditory sections of the brain, making those same areas less sensitive to “real” loudness.The lines between our thoughts and our perception of the world are way blurrier than we even realize. This study is just part of a larger attempt to study that relationship and hopefully gain new insight into mental disorders like schizophrenia. But even if you’re just trying to clear your mind for meditation or use your thoughts to drown out something annoying in the real world, it’s nice to know science is on your side. Let your brain be heard!Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. With Holography, Mind Control Through Lasers is Now a ThingRemote-Controlled Cyborg Mice Conquer Maze of Food and Sex Stay on targetlast_img read more

50 feel their benefits package is not always tailored to their needs

first_imgHalf (50%) of employee respondents feel their employee benefits package is not always tailored to their needs, according to research by Unum.Its Workplace communication blueprint, which surveyed 1,100 employees and conducted roundtable discussions with employee benefits and communication professionals, also found that 29% of respondents think their employer does not understand what is important to them in a benefits package.The research also found:18% of employee respondents are dissatisfied with the current benefits package.32% of employee respondents believe their employer does not understand what benefits are important to employees.58% of employee respondents are aware of all of the employee benefits available to them, 28% are aware of some of the benefits they have access to, and 13% are not aware of any employee benefits at their organisation.34% of employee respondents feel employers should take more responsibility for providing financial education and guidance for staff, 37% would welcome additional help from their employer on financial issues.46% of employee respondents believe financial education and guidance is relevant and useful as part of a benefits package.29% of employee respondents believe that their HR department is best placed to speak to staff about their benefits options, 21% believe the HR team is best placed to suggest new benefits, 34% think HR professionals are the best people to provide information on current benefits.37% of employee respondents do not know if their organisation offers an employee assistance programme (EAP), 31% do not know if their employer provides income protection insurance, 26% are unaware if they can have access to childcare vouchers through their workplace, and 17% do not know if they can make a pension contribution over the statutory minimum.43% of employee respondents like to be communicated to about benefits via emails, from either inside or outside the organisation, 32% would prefer to be told about their benefits through the staff intranet, 30% want to hear about employee benefits in face-to-face sessions or talks led by the organisation, and 28% like to be informed about benefits during team briefings.59% of employee respondents say that knowing their employer supported their financial wellbeing would make them feel reassured, and 42% state that their current benefits package does not include access to financial advice.Liz Walker (pictured), human resources director at Unum, said: “Both employees and consumers have an awful lot of information arriving at them from many different sources. So businesses need to find a way to cut through that noise by offering relevant and engaging messages that reflect the needs, wants, and motivations of its employees. These can only be known by fully understanding their workforce and what they need, want, and value.”last_img read more

Fiat joins the electric cargo van movement with Ducato Electric

first_img Post a comment Ram Electric Cars Vans Enlarge ImageI hope this livery is offered on the production version. That way, everyone knows it’s electric. Fiat Electrifying cargo vans and other logistics vehicles is still a practice in its nascent stages. We’ve seen some early electric vans from various automakers, some still in concept form, but OEMs are slowly picking up the pace and shoving batteries in their larger offerings. The latest to join this group? Fiat.Fiat on Monday unveiled the Ducato Electric. Fiat’s full-size cargo van has been given a battery-electric powertrain that should keep emissions low without, hopefully, infringing too much on what a van does best — moving stuff. This van is the real deal, carrying a 2020 model year with an intent to go on sale in Europe in 2020.While Fiat did not say how big its batteries are, it did say that the Ducato Electric will offer multiple battery options, with NEDC-estimated ranges between 136 and 223 miles. Its electric motor has a maximum output of 121 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The vehicle is limited to 62 miles per hour in order to “optimize energy use,” the automaker said in a statement. Capacities range from 353 to 600 cubic feet, and it can handle up to 4,300 pounds of payload.The Fiat Ducato might look familiar to you, and that’s because Fiat Chrysler brought it to the US under the Ram ProMaster name. In an email, a Fiat Chrysler spokesperson said that the company has not announced any future electrification plans for the Ram ProMaster, but it’s unlikely that the current form of Ducato Electric would take hold in the US like FCA hopes it will in Europe. The speed limiter would be trouble on America’s large, fast highway system, and the range leaves a bit to be desired for rural and suburban users. We’ll just have to wait and see if FCA’s electrification strategy includes some of its US counterparts.Electric vans unveiled thus far have ranged from fantasy to reality. On the former side, there’s the VW ID Buzz Cargo, a work-friendly version of the electric microbus expected to launch in 2021. In terms of things that are real but still a little way away, Mercedes-Benz’s eSprinter wrapped up its cold-weather testing earlier this year. In Germany, Ford teamed up with Deutsche Post’s StreetScooter to create the Transit-based Work XL electric box van. fiat-ducato-electric-inlineEnlarge ImageYep, it’s still a regular van. Fiat More From Roadshow 2019 Maserati Levante GTS: Heart of gold 2020 BMW 330e first drive: A plug-in 3 Series without compromise 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: First hybrid minivan wins on fuel economycenter_img Share your voice 3:12 Now playing: Watch this: Tags 5 things you need to know about the 2018 Mercedes-Benz… 0last_img read more

Egypts mindboggling first time choosing a leader

first_img“The problem is we have choice, but is it effective, real?” he said. The constitution that sets the authorities of the new president has not been yet written, one of the issues complicating the transition. “My real fear is that we have a president with no powers.”Wael Abdel-Fattah, the cultural commentator, said it was natural that having a choice for the first time would be confusing.“Everyone is concerned, but for the first time the regime is also concerned. Till the last minute no one knows who the president is.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) In contrast, the current candidates at their rallies face crowds mixed with supporters, the undecided and opponents _ who don’t hesitate to ridicule the man on stage. Moussa was heckled at a university in south Egypt and called “feloul,” or “remnants of the old regime.”The candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi, has been dogged by his derisive nickname, “the spare.” Morsi was the back-up candidate after the group’s first hopeful was disqualified.So at Morsi’s rallies, protesters often hold up spare tires to taunt him.The candidates run through interviews on the slew of evening TV political programs that not only question their programs but analyze their speech, mannerisms and temper.“This is a dreamer, not a statesman,” one commentator said describing candidate Hisham Bastawisi, a judge who was a dissident under Mubarak.Public polling, which was previously conducted only by Mubarak-allied institutions and required security clearance, has now mushroomed. So far trends in polls by multiple groups have been hard to grasp _ one put support for Moussa at 16 percent of determined voters, another as low as 7 percent. But polls agree that much of the population remains undecided _ as high as 56 percent according to one. On the campaign trail, all the 13 candidates have had to face public exposure, often more focused on the personal than on their economic or social programs. That could be a sign of how their programs had few clear differences on tackling Egypt’s myriad of woes _ but also a reflection of the new fixation of finding out as much as possible about the new leader.“We are in a state of conflict between the new culture and the original one that put the ruler in an exceptional place, above the state and politics, a pharaoh who embodies divine and earthly rule,” said Wael Abdel-Fattah, a cultural commentator and columnist.“Mubarak was everything.There are people who defended him as a leader, a father. Now this is disintegrating, and will fall.”During Mubarak’s rule, most of his campaigns were state-organized and tightly controlled with audiences selected by security agents to ensure they adhere to a strict script of shouted praise and poetry for the leader during his appearances. In one incident, in 1999, during a visit to the Suez canal city of Port Said, a man approaching with a petition and a complaint was shot dead.It wasn’t until 2005 that Mubarak even had to face a competitor, since previously he ran in yes-or-no referendums. That election was Mubarak’s last, before he was toppled on Feb. 11, 2011. Comments   Share   But the campaign for the election definitely marks one real change: Whoever becomes president will no longer be an untouchable and unquestionable pharaoh like ousted leader Hosni Mubarak was during his 29 years of authoritarian rule.During a late night debate between two top candidates, the first ever in Egypt and the Arab world, crowds gathered around TV screens at outdoor cafes for the unprecedented sight of their potential leaders grilling each another over their political affiliations and pasts.For four hours, lasting until early Friday, Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh _ a moderate Islamist who was a dissident during the regime of Mubarak and his predecessor Anwar Sadat _ faced off against Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister who was among Egypt’s most popular politicians because of his vocal criticism of Israel.A simple question showed how unimaginable the debate would have been only a year and half before: The moderator asked the two to tell their health conditions and wealth. Mubarak’s health was considered a state secret _ one journalist was sentenced to prison for speculating about it _ and inquiring into his finances was unthinkable.Prepared, Abolfotoh pulled out copies of his medical records and said he has slightly high blood pressure and diabetes. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – Egyptians are for the first time getting a taste of how it is to choose a president_ with groundbreaking presidential debates, face-to-face encounters with candidates on the campaign trail, and chances to question their programs, political history and even personal lives.The official campaigning period has been limited to a brief three weeks, and the election process has been marred with legal pitfalls, violence and even threats of postponing of the vote due to begin May 23. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements That could reflect the challenge of being faced by a choice for the first time, when many are uncertain about what sort of candidate they want.Some fear Islamist domination, some think it’s time for Islamists to hold power. Others are torn between wanting a strongman _ someone who knows the ins and outs of the old regime and the military _ or a revolutionary with new vision.As a result, a voter can bounce between one candidate and his exact opposite.Mohsen Abdel-Fattah, an Egyptian living in Saudi Arabia who was among Egyptian expatriates who began voting Friday, was wavering between two who would seem to have little in common: Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, considered a die-hard symbol of the old regime, and Hamdeen Sabahi, a former opposition figure.He said as he entered the voting station in Riyadh, most people there were backing Sabahi, so he did as well.After a turbulent 15 months since Mubarak’s fall, many remain skeptical that a real democratic transformation will take place, questioning whether the ruling military generals will truly relinquish power to a civilian.Mohammed Desouki, a 34-year old activist, had his laptop open at the cafe during the debate, giving a running commentary on his Facebook page. Top Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Sponsored Stories Moussa, 75, was more elusive. “If there was wood here, I would knock on it,” he joked. “When I am elected, I have no objection to offering a medical report.” He then waded into Abolfotoh, accusing him of questioning his competitors’ health just to seem like the more transparent candidate.“You have hidden the state of your health and your wealth,” the 60-year-old Abolfotoh shot back. His backers in a young crowd at a downtown Cairo cafe broke out in applause.Moussa drew cheers when he accused his rival of paying homage only to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group to which Abolfotoh belonged until last year, instead of to the cause of the nation. At one particularly heated point when Abolfotoh questioned his legacy as foreign minister, Moussa hopped with anger behind his podium and barked, “You don’t understand these things, you just don’t want to believe!”“The debate exposes the faults of both,” said Mohammed el-Doh, a 28-year old medical equipment engineer at the cafe. “People have never seen this before. We are not used to it, and the candidates are taking jabs at one another. It chips away at the politician’s respectability.”last_img read more

Reflecting Etihad Airways evolution into an airl

first_imgReflecting Etihad Airways’ evolution into an ‘airline of choices’, the airline has launched its new brand campaign in key markets from 13 November across print, digital and social channels.Etihad’s new ‘Choose Well’ customer proposition is an invitation for all to make choices about how they travel and to journey on their own terms. It is also a validation that Etihad’s customers, partners, guests and employees are at the heart of every good choice it makes. The launch is timed to coincide with the airline’s birthday celebrations of fifteen years since its first flight.As part of the campaign, the airline chose to feature a range of individuals including its own staff. One person lending her voice to the power of choices is Shaima Rashed, one of the UAE’s first Airbus A380 female pilots, who always dreamed of wearing the golden stripes. Through courage, conviction and choosing her own path, she fulfilled her dream and now flies the airline’s flagship aircraft.The inspiration behind the new campaign was taken from the Founding Father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the choices he made to develop his nation and his people. The refresh sees the inclusion of the ‘Choose Well’ line as part of the airline’s visual identity, deployed across marketing collateral, sponsorships and events with the aim of creating greater visual impact. It recognises the decision-making power of the consumer and is the perfect complement to the line ‘Abu Dhabi to the World’. airlinesChoose WellEtihad Airwayslast_img read more

by The Associated Press Posted Mar 2 2018 84

first_img by The Associated Press Posted Mar 2, 2018 8:48 am PDT Last Updated Mar 2, 2018 at 9:20 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NEW YORK, N.Y. – Ta-Nehisi Coates is taking on another comics franchise.The prize-winning author and journalist says in an announcement this week that he is writing a Captain America series for Marvel. Coates posted an essay about his project on The Atlantic’s website. He wrote that Captain America represented a “kind of Lincolnesque optimism” and that he wanted to explore what made people believe in “The Dream.” The first issue comes out in July.Coates has also written for the Black Panther series and helped inspire the blockbuster movie that came out last month.His books include “Between the World and Me,” which won the National Book Award, and “We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy.” He is a national correspondent for The Atlantic. Ta-Nehisi Coates writing Captain America serieslast_img read more

Cartoonist who cited politics in firing finds new

first_imgCartoonist who cited politics in firing finds new outlet PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist who says he was fired because of his anti-Donald Trump drawings has found a new home for his work in Pittsburgh.A new alternative weekly, the Pittsburgh Current, said Thursday it had reached an agreement with Rob Rogers’ syndication group to begin running his cartoons.Rogers had worked for the Post-Gazette for 25 years before he was fired in mid-June after the paper had rejected many of his cartoons or ideas for cartoons in recent months.The newspaper’s leaders have said the dispute stemmed from a disagreement over the editing process. The paper’s newly appointed editorial director said Rogers wanted to be “sole arbiter” of his work.___Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, by The Associated Press Posted Jun 22, 2018 8:01 am PDT Last Updated Jun 22, 2018 at 8:40 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emaillast_img read more