Algeria Skepticism greets presidents planned exit

ALGIERS, Algeria — Algerian protesters and opposition leaders are cautiously welcoming President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s planned departure, but say it doesn’t go far enough.Former Prime Minister Ali Benflis and a moderate Islamist movement are among leading voices criticizing the move because it would leave the country’s secretive, distrusted power structure in place.A standoff is also intensifying between Bouteflika’s entourage and that of the powerful army chief, who turned against the president amid mass protests over Bouteflika’s 20-year rule.Bouteflika bowed to mounting pressure Monday and announced he will step down by the end of his term April 28, according to his office. Protesters fear it will pave the way for a hand-picked successor instead of a truly democratic change of power.Students are holding protests in Algiers on Tuesday, and demonstrators are already planning for new nationwide protests Friday.The Associated Press read more

Somalia UN agencies urge end to piracy

Piracy off the cost of Somalia is threatening commercial shipping and fishing while impeding the delivery of humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of Somalis, the heads of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) said jointly today in an appeal for action to halt the practice. Since the collapse of the last national government in the East African country in 1991, delivering supplies by sea has been a logistical and security challenge, with a rise in the frequency of pirate attacks resulting in higher shipping costs and a significant reduction in the number of cargo vessels in the water. “Close to 80 per cent of WFP’s assistance to Somalia is shipped by sea but, because of piracy, we have seen the availability of ships willing to carry food to the country cut by half,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. There have been 15 attacks on ships – two on WFP-contracted vessels with a security guard being killed in one of them – in or near Somali waters so far this year. In 2006, there were 10 attacks. “Pirates may have a romantic image on the silver screen these days, but the picture might not be quite so pretty from the point of view of someone stuck in a camp for internally displaced people in Somalia, dependent on food assistance for survival,” Ms. Sheeran said. “Much more has to be done to address this problem of piracy and, at WFP, we are much encouraged by the actions that IMO has taken recently for that purpose.” WFP hopes to deliver food assistance for 1 million people in violence-wracked Somalia this year, as already high levels of malnutrition are being exacerbated by predicted crop failures, which could potentially lead to food shortages and rising prices. The Secretary General of the IMO Efthimios E. Mitropoulos has requested UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to raise the issue of Somali piracy to the Security Council so that the 15-member body can ask the Transitional Federal Government to tackle the problem. “In conjunction with other multi-faceted initiatives recently taken by IMO to address the issue effectively, this latest high-level approach to the Security Council, through Mr. Ban, will, I believe, help considerably in alleviating the situation, especially if support and assistance to ships is enhanced,” Mr. Mitropoulos said. The Council, in March, 2006, responded to reports of piracy in a presidential statement which encouraged UN Member States with naval vessels and military aircraft operating in international waters and airspace adjacent to the coast of Somalia to be vigilant against piracy and to take action to protect merchant shipping, especially vessels being used to transport humanitarian aid. The IMO suggested that the Council could now request the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to give consent to ships to enter the country’s territorial waters when engaging in operations against pirates or suspected pirates and armed robbers endangering the safety of life at sea. Due to rising attacks on vessels recently, IMO has lately taken a number of steps, including intensifying its coordination with WFP and the navies operating in the Western Indian Ocean region to bolster assistance to merchant ships. “We would like to see a more coordinated and robust approach to dealing with the problem of piracy, from the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia, from neighbouring countries that have influence, and from the African Union,” said Ms. Sheeran. “WFP is grateful for the continuing presence in the seas off Somalia of naval forces from several nations,” she added. “They have been helpful on occasion in the past and they offer a potential deterrence to pirates. But we need to explore how these resources can be brought more heavily into play to protect shipping and, thereby, the delivery by sea of life-saving humanitarian assistance.” 10 July 2007Piracy off the cost of Somalia is threatening commercial shipping and fishing while impeding the delivery of humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of Somalis, the heads of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) said jointly today in an appeal for action to halt the practice. read more

Calgary sees first downtown office vacancy dip since start of downturn

CALGARY — CBRE says Calgary’s downtown office space got a little less empty in the last quarter for the first time since the sector was gutted by the oilpatch downturn.The commercial realtor says the vacancy rate dropped by 30 basis points to 27.4 per cent in the three months to the end of September, the first dip since the same quarter back in 2014 before the downturn hit.The 10,600 square metres of positive absorption in Calgary still left the city with close to 1.1 million square metres of empty downtown office space, accounting for about 40 per cent of the empty downtown office space across Canada’s 10 largest cities.The city’s downtown vacancy rate is also still by far the worst of any major Canadian city, with the national average hovering at about 11 per cent, while Toronto’s sits at four per cent and Vancouver at five per cent.There are other cities hit by high downtown office vacancies as well, though, with London, Ont., sitting at 21.5 per cent, Edmonton at 20.3 per cent, and Halifax at 16 per cent.Calgary’s office market was hit by a combination of widespread layoffs in the oil and gas industry after the price of crude plunged, and overbuilding of office space during the boom years.The city, however, looks to have finally hit the bottom for the market, says CBRE’s Greg Kwong, regional managing director of Alberta.“Based on previous recessions that I’ve lived through, and certainly from the business community that I’m talking to, this kind of looks, feels, and smells like the bottom.”He said the vacancy rate has stabilized after rising steadily over the past three years because most of the buildings started during the boom are now on the market, fewer companies added sublease space in the last quarter, and there look to be green shoots on hiring.Kwong said, however, that he doesn’t see the positive third-quarter trend to mean any quick decrease in vacancy rates, predicting rates will stay in the high 20 per cent range for the next 12 to 18 months. read more

Unilever investing 108 million to expand West Tenn ice cream factory adding

COVINGTON, Tenn. – Consumer products supplier Unilever said Thursday it is investing $108 million to expand operations at a West Tennessee factory that makes ice cream under the brand names Breyers, Klondike, Good Humor and Popsicle.Unilever officials and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced the expansion at the factory in Covington, located about 35 miles northeast of Memphis. It will add 428 full-time jobs over a four-year period, giving the company a workforce of about 1,000 in the city of about 9,000 people.Workers will earn $16 to $27 per hour plus benefits, the company said. With a 40-hour work week, it comes out to between $33,280 and $56,160 annually. Per capita income in Tipton County, where Covington is located, is about $22,000 a year, Census data shows.Officials said the expansion will allow increased production capacity of the 800,000-square foot ice cream novelty and frozen dessert factory. The investment includes $75.9 million for new machinery and equipment and $32.8 million in construction and infrastructure. The upgrade is expected to be finished in early 2016.The factory expansion fits into the company’s global vision of doubling its growth rate while cutting its environmental footprint in half and giving back to the community, said Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America.“When we talk about giving back to society, and making sure we are part of society and a true civil society partner, this is where public-private partnerships actually come in,” Kruythoff said.Unilever ‘s global retail ice cream sales are more than $2 billion annually. Along with the products made at the Covington plant, the Anglo-Dutch company also owns the Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum brands.Chris Brockman, an analyst at Mintel Food & Drink, said Unilever has become a dominant player in the global ice cream market, where it competes with Nestle. Brockman said Mintel’s latest ice cream report shows Unilever’s development in the Unites States has stalled a bit, but he notes there is room for growth.Unilever and Nestle own more than 40 per cent of the U.S. ice cream and frozen novelties market, Brockman said.“Expansion of capacity in the U.S. for Unilever reflects the fact that it clearly feels it has the opportunity to expand its position in the market and to overtake Nestle there,” Brockman wrote in an email.Haslam thanked the company for its investment in Tipton County, where it is the largest employer. The factory was opened in 1996 by Land O’Lakes Inc., which packed Slim-Fast products. Unilever bought Slim-Fast in 2000 and began making ice cream in Covington in 2011.County Executive Jeff Huffman said the factory jobs help improve the economy in a region that lost a significant amount of manufacturing jobs in recent years, caused by the economic downturn. The unemployment rate in Tipton County is about 9.7 per cent, higher than the national rate of 7.3 per cent, according to federal government statistics.Huffman said 60 high school seniors received scholarships as part of a payment-in-lieu of taxes plan, which also created an $8.6 million tax incentive over 10 years for Unilever.“West Tennessee needs more good news like this,” Huffman said.Along with its ice cream brands, Unilever’s portfolio of food, home and personal care products also includes Axe, Country Crock, Dove, Knorr, Hellman’s, Ragu, Vaseline, and Wish-Bone. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Unilever investing $108 million to expand West Tenn. ice cream factory; adding 428 jobs by Adrian Sainz, The Associated Press Posted Sep 19, 2013 3:56 pm MDT read more

TSX closes higher data shows Chinese American manufacturing sectors advancing

TSX closes higher, data shows Chinese, American manufacturing sectors advancing TORONTO – The Toronto stock market closed higher as widely-watched manufacturing indexes for China and the U.S. hit their highest levels so far this year.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 76.56 points to 14,680.72.The Canadian dollar was lower, down 0.47 of a cent to 91.76 cents US.U.S. markets also were generally higher after the Institute for Supply Management twice corrected its May manufacturing index to show that factories grew at a strong pace last month. Markets had reacted negatively earlier in the morning after the original report said that manufacturers had expanded at a weaker pace.The Dow Jones industrials gained 26.46 points to 16,743.63, Nasdaq declined 5.42 points to 4,237.2 and the S&P 500 index added 1.4 points to 1,924.97.The ISM’s manufacturing index for May now reads 55.4, up from 53.2 in the initial report and April’s reading of 50.4. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.“At the revised level, the factory ISM now adds to signs of a pick-up in growth during the second quarter,” said economist Andrew Grantham at CIBC World Markets.Hopes for a second quarter rebound have been high, particularly after data released last week showed that the U.S. economy contracted by a larger than expected one per cent in the January-March quarter, due in large part to severe winter weather.The world’s second-biggest economy also had positive manufacturing data on Monday. The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its monthly manufacturing index rose to 50.8 points in May.There is a heavy slate of economic data this week, capped on Friday by Canadian and U.S. jobs reports.Economists forecast another month of strong job gains. They expect the U.S. economy cranked out about 219,000 jobs in May following a 288,000 gain in April. In Canada, economists estimate about 21,000 jobs were added in May.On the TSX, the base metals sector led advancers, up 1.47 per cent as the Chinese data pushed the July copper contract up five cents to US$3.17 a pound.The energy sector rose 0.77 per cent as July crude in New York declined 24 cents to US$102.47 a barrel.The gold sector fell 0.64 per cent, with July bullion $2 lower to US$1,244. Bullion prices fell 3.5 per cent last week with markets feeling more comfortable about the Ukraine crisis and more concerned about deflation rather than inflation, particularly in Europe.On the corporate front, trucking and delivery company TransForce Inc. says it has a US$310-million deal to buy Minnesota-based Transport America, Inc., which offers transportation services across the United States. TransForce (TSX:TFI) says the acquisition is expected to generate annual revenues of about US$350 million for the Quebec company. Its shares were 36 cents lower at $23.34.Pershing Square Capital Management LP is seeking to replace a majority of directors at Allergan Inc. at a special meeting of shareholders. The move is part of a plan to back a proposed takeover of the Botox maker by Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (TSX:VRX). The investment firm headed by Bill Ackman is the largest shareholder at Allergan with a 9.7 per cent stake. On Friday, Valeant raised its stock-and-cash offer to about US$180 per share, valuing Allergan at more than US$54 billion. Valeant shares closed up $3.83 to $146.17.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly stated the ISM index figure. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 2, 2014 6:38 am MDT read more

Colin Kaepernick Accepts Amnesty Award on Behalf of the

NFL player Colin Kaepernick received the pristine Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday (Apr. 21) and acknowledged the killings of Blacks and Latinos in America.The Amnesty International ceremony in Amsterdam holds an annual event to honor a person or organization “dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others.” Kaepernick was selected as the honoree for his stance towards racial injustice and his monumental national anthem protests.During the 30-year-old’s acceptance speech, he blasted police shootings of minorities as “lawful lynchings.”“Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex,” Kaepernick explained.Although he was criticized by NFL teams and President Trump, the former San Francisco player defended his stance on kneeling during the national anthem.“How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, ‘freedom and justice for all,’ that is so unjust to so many of the people living there,” Kaepernick asked.The NFL player still remains a free agent after separating from the San Franciso 49ers in 2016. Many feel Kaepernick is being blackballed in the league, but that never dismayed the player from fighting for social justice. He’s donated at least a million to different organizations and plans to grant $90 million for the next seven years to social justice causes.Secretary-General Salil Shetty of Amnesty International named Kaepernick “an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination” the Associated Press reported.The football player’s speech included quotes from civil rights leader Malcolm X to “join in with anyone – I don’t care what color you are – as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth,” according to the Washington Post.“In truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force,” Kaepernick said during his speech.The NFL free agent was presented his award by a long-time friend and former teammate, Eric Reid who protested alongside Kaepernick.Kaepernick paid homage to Reid and his stance against racial injustice.“Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy,” Kaepernick said. “But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career,” Kaepernick stated according to AP. read more

BMW and regulator failed to recall faulty cars which led to death

BMW were criticised during Friday’s inquestCredit:John Keeble/Getty BMW were criticised during Friday's inquest Because it was before sunrise, Mr Gurung was unable to see the vehicle until the last moment, when he swerved and hit a tree.  Transport Secretary Chris Grayling A prevention of further deaths notice will now be issued in writing to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn over her “serious concerns” with the agency.The DVSA had been aware of a fault since October 2014 when it started to receive an “unusually high” volume of complaints from drivers, around two a month.  But Woking Coroner’s Court heard that the agency accepted BMW’s case that drivers would get a prior warning before a complete outage and the glitch was not “critical” because drivers were still able to steer and brake despite headlights, hazard lights and brake lights not working. The DVSA even closed down investigations into the complaints before Christmas Day 2016, when Mr Gurung, who served with “exemplary” conduct in the British Army regiment for nearly 20 years, was driving with his wife to the Royal Surrey County Hospital, where they both worked as housekeepers. A colleague’s 2011 BMW 318i saloon had stalled on the Hogs Back road ahead after suffering a “total electrical failure”.  Resham Gurung, who is unrelated but also works as a housekeeper, tried to put on his hazard lights but they failed because of the lack of power.  BMW and the Government’s driving regulator have been condemned by a coroner after their failure to recall faulty cars was blamed for the death of a Gurkha veteran.  The German manufacturer and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) had forseen the “exact circumstances” of Narayan Gurung’s death ten months before it happened, but failed to warn customers or recall a single one of the 370,000 cars across the UK.   The 66-year-old died driving his Ford Fiesta into a tree on a dark road in Hampshire on Christmas Day to avoid a car that had cut out because of a total power outage caused by an electrical fault. Anna Loxton, Assistant Coroner for Surrey, said that BMW was “negligent” in its actions and the DVSA expressed “indolence”, but she could not conclude the father-of-three was unlawfully killed because there was insufficient evidence of corporate manslaughter. In February 2016 the car manufacturer, its UK importer and the agency discussed the risk of a power outage on an unlit road, with one engineer noting “we do not want a fatality”. “Despite recognising this risk, the DVSA failed to call for, and BMW AG and BMW UK failed to initiate, a recall until after Mr Gurung’s death,” Mrs Loxton said in her narrative conclusion.   He was pronounced dead at the scene due to multiple traumatic injuries and his wife was seriously injured. The family’s solicitor Emma Potter said the case raises “critical questions” about vehicle safety in the UK and hit-out BMW for failing to recall the cars sooner. “This delay ultimately contributed to Mr Gurung’s death,” she said.BMW said it would “reflect” on the coroner’s criticisms, adding: “Safety is of paramount importance to BMW – nothing comes before this.”Last month, the company widened its recall of vehicles at risk of electrical faults to include 312,000 UK cars, including BMW 1 Series, 3 Series, Z4 and X1 petrol and diesel made between March 2007 and August 2011.The Government agency previously claimed its response to the issue two years before Mr Gurung’s crash “might have been different” if the German manufacturer had passed on details of the flaw.DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn has admitted the agency’s processes were not sufficiently “robust” or “efficient”, in the wake of a coroner’s damning finding over the death of a Gurkha veteran.Mr Llewellyn said: “We accept the coroner’s findings that, in the past, DVSA’s processes may not have been as robust or as efficient as they needed to be. “We have been addressing this as a matter of urgency and have already made a number of significant changes, ensuring that all reported safety defects are assessed quickly and thoroughly.”Where a manufacturer does not address a safety issue promptly, DVSA will publish its safety defect assessment, in parallel with taking action against the manufacturer, to ensure the public are aware and can make an informed choice.” Transport Secretary Chris GraylingCredit:Jack Taylor/Getty She criticised the DVSA for having no protocol for investigating safety-related defects quickly, having no guidance to interpret its own codes of practice over safety defects and for lacking critical analysis of the defect.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

EHF CL Tie in Chekhov – Flensburg first or second in the

4. Montpellier Agglomeration …9225268:276(-8)6 5. Reale Ademar Leon9216237:269(-32)5 ← Previous Story EHF CL: Celje PL in TOP 16 after four years – Barca wins in Minsk! Next Story → WISLA TV: All the facts about “Scandal in Plock” 1. SG Flensburg-Handewitt10631310:279(31)15 2. HSV Hamburg9621278:239(39)14 SG Flensburg was on the edge of defeat in Chekhov, but in the last few minutes team of Ljubomir Vranjes has shown great moral, self-confidence and deserved a point – 29:29 (14:13). Germans secured second place in the Preliminary Group with this tie. Decision about the group winner has to wait weekend, when HSV will play against French Montpellier.Chekhovskie Medvedi – SG Flensburg-Handewitt 29:29 (14:13)Chekhovskie Medvedi: Grams (10 saves; ab 31.), Stochl (4/1 saves) – Filippov (5), Aslanyan, Zhitnikov, Chernoivanov, Shelmenko (5), Gorbok (3), Rastvortsev, Shishkarev (4), Chipurin (1), Koksharov (3/3), Dibirov (8), EvdokimovSG Flensburg-Handewitt: Andersson (16/1 saves), Rasmussen () – Karlsson, Eggert (5/3), Glandorf (3), Mogensen (2), Weinhold (2), Dibbert, Heinl (3), Gustafsson (2), von Gruchalla (5), Kaufmann (7) 6. RK Partizan9108245:303(-58)2 Chekhovskie MedvediSG Flensburg 3. Chekhovskie Medvedi10541310:282(28)14 read more

Browser bug turns Galaxy S3 into a data hog

first_imgThe Samsung Galaxy S3 is one of the most popular Android phones ever made, but it’s not without its flaws. Like the one discovered by UMass Amherst researchers in the GS3’s default browser.It turns out the Galaxy S3 can get a little overambitious and download piles of excess data when it’s surfing the web. How much, exactly? The team noted in its research paper that Wikipedia’s Internet Explorer page generally requires about 600KB of data to be downloaded. On the GS3, the number climbed to around 2.1MB.That’s not exactly the kind of behavior you want to encourage when you’re browsing against a data cap. A few too many page loads and you could be staring down a massive data overage charge at the end of the month.To make things worse, all the extra activity from the Galaxy S3’s browser is adversely affecting performance, too. As you can see from the Amherst chart, the GS3 browser makes a ton more HTTP requests than any of the other browsers tested. That leads to slow page loads — and breakage when some of those requests inevitably time out.So what’s causing this data leakage? The Galaxy S3 browser supports an HTML image attribute called srcset. It’s still a draft spec, but it’s been proposed as a way to help designers more easily deliver properly-sized images to different screens.In theory, browsers that support srcset should be able to figure out what they need to download given their situation. The Galaxy S3 browser, it appears, is having a bit of difficulty on that front.How do you avoid the GS3 browser data bug, then? Simple. Download pretty much any other Android browser from Google Play, like Chrome, Firefox, Dolphin.last_img read more

Japanese Video Games Made Better By The West

first_img I’m no patriot, especially these days. So I have no problem decrying the increasing influence of Western video game design values over the rest of the industry. So many bad gaming practices, from bland white guy protagonists to an overemphasis on getting shot by racist teenagers online to a very PC-centric unfinished release model, can trace their origins to American video games. And even bad trends from abroad, like free-to-play mechanics originating in Korean MMOs, only got worse once they blew up big in America.Contrast this to Japan. My thoughts on anime should convince you I’m no otaku, but surely anyone can recognize that countless amazing video games have come out of Japan. The country, specifically Nintendo, saved the entire console industry with the NES in 1983 after Western greed collapsed Atari. And ever since the region has produced games bursting with character, style, and intriguing mechanics. As Japan has declined the industry has been poorer for it. It’s no wonder the incredible gaming year we’ve already had so far has been chock full of major Japanese games.However, “Japan=Good, America=Bad” is a dumb, reductive way to look at the medium. Plenty of good and bad games come from both regions. And everyone has their own tastes. We shouldn’t focus on arbitrary borders. Just as we should embrace multiculturalism in life we should also embrace multiculturalism in video game development.There are times when Western developers getting their gritty, rusty, chain-wrapped hands on beloved Japanese franchises have resulted in disasters. Just asks fans of Resident Evil (Operation: Racoon City), Devil May Cry (the reboot), Castlevania (Lords of Shadow), Bomberman (Act Zero), and Bionic Commando (the other reboot). But other times a shot of American influence is just what some waning Japanese franchises needed, delivering the best of both worlds. It’s like how Avatar: The Last Airbender, made in the West, is objectively the best anime. These are some examples of Japanese games improved by Western developers.Sonic ManiaFinally, there’s a great Sonic the Hedgehog game that isn’t a Twitter feed. The classic Genesis Sonic games are fine and important for their time but as platformers they are slippery and imprecise, nowhere near their Super Mario counterparts. Meanwhile, the 3D Sonic “games” fluctuate between frustratingly close to something cool and complete trash heaps.Sonic Mania is the actual great 2D Sonic game you remember the earlier games being. And to bring this vision to life the game needed a team of true fans, not original Sega developers long-since burnt out on the series. After making waves in the Sonic community with his incredible, rebuilt classic Sonic ports, Christian Whitehead and his crack squad of Sonic maniacs have finally crafted the retro revival Sonic game you want.Metroid PrimeAfter perfecting an entire subgenre of nonlinear action-adventure-exploration with Super Metroid on the SNES, the first lady of Nintendo’s premier sci-fi franchise took a bit of a break. But when it was time for the series to return in the new millennium, fans were wary to learn that the team responsible would be Texas newcomers Retro Studios. Furthermore, the game would morph from a 2D sidescroller to a first-person shooter, a genre mostly ignored in Japan but beloved in America.The result was Metroid Prime for the Nintendo GameCube, a masterpiece. This leap to 3D did for Metroid what Ocarina of Time did for Zelda, translating all the core enduring gameplay concepts into a dazzling new form. And the use of 3D graphics isn’t just window dressing. The moody, dense, interconnected spaces you explore make use of 3D level design many games today still can’t approach. A radical new perspective is precisely what Metroid needed, and with Metroid Prime, the Americans at Retro Studios under Nintendo’s guiding hand delivered.Metal Gear SolidThere was a Metal Gear Solid game developed by a Western studio, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes by Silicon Knights. But that GameCube remake of the PS1 original is divisive and Denis Dyack is nuts. Instead, we want to acknowledge how Western influence in general has improved the series. Metal Gear mastermind Hideo Kojima represents an almost perfect synthesis of East and West thanks to his adoration of Western action cinema and his irrepressible anime impulse. But by Metal Gear Solid 3 (an otherwise fantastic game and the best one in the series) the very Japanese control scheme was beginning to feel archaic.Say what you will about Metal Gear Solid 4. It’s the best one in the series. But on a sheer gameplay level the revamped controls for shooting and sneaking were much easier to handle, and part of that was due to Western contributor Ryan Payton. Years later, Metal Gear Solid V, the best one in the series, Westernized itself even further with modern controls and an incredible open-world format. Kojima’s next game, Death Stranding, even stars Western actors Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen, so he’s all in on making games inspired by the whole world.Ms. Pac-ManThe original 1980 Pac-Man is an arcade classic, a foundational video game work. But it’s not perfect. If you know what you’re doing, if you sell hot sauce and wear American flag ties while antagonizing family men, you can figure out the ghost patterns and virtually break the game. It kind of robs the kill screen of a lot of its luster.Along with being an early appreciated example of gender balance in gaming, Ms. Pac-Man released two years later in 1982 fixes these issues. It keeps the gameplay consistently fresh with new maps and enemy behavior. It’s a better game, and it began as a hacked mod put together by American developers and publisher Midway. This has caused some internal strife both legally and in terms of pride. At times Namco has held the unauthorized game somewhat at arm’s length. But they do own Ms. Pac-Man now and occasionally include the feminist gem in classic compilations.Contra 4Named after a military boondoggle involving America, sidescrolling run ‘n gun Contra is a Konami classic that isn’t a health spa. Its brutal difficulty is responsible for the world’s most famous cheat code. And it spawned a respectable franchise, with Contra III: The Alien Wars being one of my personal favorite pulls for the upcoming SNES Classic Edition.Perhaps an early sign of Konami’s increasing apathy for making its own games in Japan, Contra 4, the next numbered entry in the series released years later in 2007, got handed to the American developers at WayForward. Fortunately, WayForward are masters at delivering gorgeous, pixelated sidescrollers, especially on Nintendo hardware. Using the DS’s two screens as one huge vertical canvas, Contra 4 provides a new kind of Contra spectacle. And honestly, we shouldn’t be surprised Western devs were good at making a game starring gun-toting 1980s beefcakes.Punch-Out!!Nintendo’s Punch-Out!! series has always had a strong Western appeal. It stars a scrappy fictional boxer from New York beating up global stereotypes. And the final boss is real-life American boxer Mike Tyson. Plus, boxing is just the type of blood sport that Americans are into. At least with wrestling I understand why Japan responds to the potential for bizarre melodrama.The latest and arguably greatest Punch-Out!! game was developed for the Wii by Canadian studio Next Level Games in 2009. Instead of totally rebuilding the original they just smartly enhanced it with smoother controls, more expressive polygonal characters, and remixed modes. It’s no wonder Nintendo tapped them for the Luigi’s Mansion 3DS sequel.I considered putting Rare on this list for the British team’s reimagining of Nintendo classics like Donkey Kong and Star Fox. But despite how beloved as those games are, at this point Retro Studios and Next Level Games have just delivered more consistent work as Western studios tackling Nintendo’s very very very Japanese games.View as: One Page Slides1/61. Finally, there’s a good Sonic the Hedgehog game. It’s called Sonic Mania, and it was made by Western fans led by Christian Whitehead.2. Who would’ve guessed the unproven Texans at Retro Studios could successfully reinvent Metroid into a first-person shooter with Metroid Prime?3. The Metal Gear series became much more playable after embracing some Western gameplay and control standards.4. Ms. Pac-Man is a Western hack of the original, and a better game.5. In Contra 4, WayForward’s take on Konami’s seminal shooter, the second screen sky’s the limit.6. The Canadian developers at Next Level Games revitalized Nintendo’s boxing classic Punch-Out!! on the Wii.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target Sega Makes PC Version of Sonic Mania Playable Offline After BacklashSonic Mania is the Long-Lost Sonic Game We’ve Always Wanted last_img read more

GEEK PICK Star Wars Millennium Falcon Book Light

first_imgWhen you want to read in the dark, just clip this light onto a couple of pages or the cover (about an inch thick or less) and adjust the bendy 11-inch next for the most comfortable position. The padded clamps protect the paper. Two cell batteries power three white LEDs giving you the light you need to make out the thrilling text but not being strong enough to strain your eyes.There’s nothing saying you can’t use this with any book you want. Use it to read the yellow pages for all we care. But the big plastic Millennium Falcon model the lights are housed in really makes you want to read a Star Wars novel. Pressing the top of the Falcon turns the lights on, and they’re location at the two front points and the side cockpit.Even ignoring the attached clip and neck, The Star Wars Millennium Falcon Book Light is just a cool little spaceship toy. If it gets you to read more that’s a bonus. For more on Star Wars check out our reviews of Solo and The Last Jedi. Geek Pick: Shure MV88+ Is An Excellent, On the Go Microphone KitGeek Pick: Amazon Smart Plug Puts Alexa in Your Walls When Disney bought Star Wars from famous cool dude George Lucas, one of the first sacrifices the company made when reviving the #brand was killing off pretty much the entire Expanded Universe. If they were going to make all of the money in the world, they couldn’t let The Force Awakens be beholden to canon from a hundred different novels only nerds read. Some ideas from the EU became canon, like Thrawn, and there are new Star Wars books that are canon. But now a bunch of Star Wars content is even more fake than before.Even if EU books don’t count though they can still be a fun read. If you want to huddle in the dark and catch up on what Darth Caedus is up to, check out the Star Wars Millennium Falcon Book Light. Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

Bartlett Regional Hospital now recognizes broader gender identities

first_imgA copy of Bartlett Regional Hospital’s new outpatient registration form asks for sex assigned at birth and gender identification with expanded options. (Photo illustration by Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau)Bartlett Regional Hospital announced Thursday that at registration, its patients will now be asked for their gender identity. Patients will also be notified that they are protected against sex discrimination.Listen Now The hospital said in a press release the changes are in response to federal regulations tied to the Affordable Care Act that require health care providers treat people in a way consistent with their gender identity.The hospital’s registration forms now ask for “gender assigned at birth” and “gender identification.” Options include female, male, intersex, female-to-male transgender, male-to-female transgender, other and an option to decline.Denise Plano, Bartlett’s director of quality, said it’s an important rule that the hospital is pleased to comply with.last_img read more

Police Arrest Nearly A Dozen MS13 Gang Members in Connection with HoustonArea

first_img Share Elizabeth Trovall/Houston Public MediaHouston Police Chief Art Acevedo (first from the right) fields questions on the arrest of suspected MS-13 gang members.Ten of 11 suspects charged in connection to murders committed by the MS-13 gang have been taken into custody by law enforcement in the Houston area. A warrant is out for the suspect who isn’t in custody and police say they expect to make more arrests.  Listen 00:00 /00:50center_img The arrests are connected to five murders that occurred in the Houston region from May through August of 2018. Details of each case can be read by clicking on markers within the map featured below. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said there are around 400 recorded MS-13 members in Houston, and 800 in the region. The notorious Central American gang is one of many organized crime operations in the area. There are some 20,000 gang members in Houston, according to Acevedo. “Those transnational gangs bring a lot of crime into our community,” said Acevedo at a press conference “including the human trafficking piece, the drug trafficking piece, the gun trafficking piece, and when they do act out, they are extremely violent.”The Texas Department of Public Safety ranked MS-13 as among the gangs posing the biggest threat to public safety in Texas in a report.Elizabeth Trovall/Houston Public MediaThis photo shows photos of nine MS-13 suspects apprehended specifically by the Houston Police Department. X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:last_img read more

The Black Knight from Monty Python The Holy Grail was Inspired by

first_imgThey’re genius comedians but the members of Monty Python are also a group of very clever men. Coming into showbusiness through the Oxbridge route, their work was influenced by a passion for history and culture, as well as satire and surrealist antics. The team’s crowning achievement on the historical front is Monty Python & The Holy Grail. Made in 1975 on a low budget, it gave Arthurian England a shake up with coconut halves instead of horse’s hooves and a cast of eye-popping characters.Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty ImagesHoly Grail’s most famous scene involves King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his servant Patsy (Terry Gilliam) encountering the Black Knight (John Cleese) whilst trying to cross a stream.The Knight is determined to prevent them from crossing. In doing his somewhat inept duty, he winds up losing his limbs during a brutal swordfight. An increasingly surprised Arthur realizes he is facing an opponent who won’t give up.Michael Palin and John Cleese. Getty ImagesHilariously the Knight is heard to remark “It’s just a flesh wound!” shortly after having his arm cut off. Cleese’s armored “hero” is left behind in the woods declaring his skills as the King and Patsy continue their quest to assemble the Knights of the Round Table.John Cleese in May 2008. Photo by Beao CC BY-SA 2.0In a 2015 interview for Wired, Cleese gave some insight into how this bizarre and bloody sequence came about. It turned out the seed of the idea had been planted many years before, when he was a pupil of war veteran and English teacher “Jumper” Gee.Gee told the young Cleese “about a wrestling match that had taken place in ancient Rome… There was a particularly tough contest in progress, and one of the wrestlers, his arm broke — the difficulty of the embrace was so great that his arm broke under the pressure — and he submitted because of the appalling pain he was in. And the referee sort of disentangled them and said to the other guy, ‘You won,’ and the other guy was rather unresponsive, and the referee realized the other guy was dead.”The Black Knight’s arm is cut off. “Tis but a scratch!” he says.When putting together the script for Monty Python & The Holy Grail alongside writing partner Chapman, Cleese retold the story. Its origin is thought to be the tale of Arrichion, a formidable athlete who died unexpectedly during a “Pankration.”This was a type of wrestling match held during the Ancient Greek Olympic Games, where rules largely went out the window.The palaestra of Olympia, a place devoted to the training of wrestlers and other athletes.A BBC article from 2004 describes how, in 564 BC, “Arrichion had found himself being choked in a stranglehold from behind. Unable to free himself from the ferocious grip, Arrichion managed to grip his opponent’s ankle and twist it until it broke. In agony, his opponent submitted, but by then the damage was done — Arrichion’s throat had been crushed and even as he was proclaimed the winner, he breathed his last.”With the Pythons’ sense of absurdity in the mix, what could have been a harrowing scene became a comedy classic. However, it was nearly removed from the final cut.As reported by the Daily Mirror in 2017, an unearthed letter to Cleese from Stephen Murphy, Secretary of the British Board of Film Classification, highlighted concerns over content.This led to some extraordinary comments, one of which is “though we accept that much of the blood-letting is meant to be funny, there are one or two places, where, in our view the humour is not very effective.”Another reads, “We accept the dismembering of the Black Knight, but are worried by the first stab through the visor and the blood gush.”Murphy’s remarks were meant to steer the movie toward an ‘A’ certificate, meaning it would be suitable for those 14 and over. The Board also took issue with Cleese’s “funny Frenchman” character, whose insults from on high are amongst the most quoted lines from the film.Eventually, these problems were ironed out and the movie went on to make its mark on a generation of comics around the world.Read another story from us: Part of the profits from Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” were invested in the production of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”An article from The Atlantic in 2015, written 40 years after Holy Grail’s release, calls it “the gold standard for subversive comedy” and writes that “Matt Groening called it a great influence on The Simpsons; every subsequent film that broke the fourth wall felt in its debt.”Central to its success was a surreal scene of severing that has audiences laughing to this day.last_img read more

Learn about Host Agencies and more with Travel Edge

first_imgLearn about Host Agencies and more with Travel Edge Share Wednesday, September 12, 2018 Tags: Travel Edge, Videos << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img TORONTO — In this new Travelweek video series, Travel Edge explores the benefits of being a luxury leisure travel professional. Their advisors have travelled the world and invested thousands of hours in product training and industry relationships in order to tailor the perfect trip.Travel Edge is a $750 million company specializing in Leisure, Corporate & Events, and Tours. Their Leisure division has 10 offices in the US, Canada, and Bermuda, with over 750 expert advisors. These advisors have a wide range of specialties including Air, Cruise, Vacation, and VIP travel. Many have decades of experience, though a growing portion are professionals taking advantage of Travel Edge’s exclusive training, tools, support and management to build a new career.In 2011, Travel Edge started with the goal of being the best luxury leisure agency in the world. They developed the Agent Digital Experience (ADX) platform to solve chronic efficiency problems for agents, collecting all products on one platform, with instant quotes, better client relationship management, and automated invoicing. More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerTrue luxury is an experience – a feeling that comes from professional end-to-end customer service. Travel Edge begins with pre-planning and finishes long after every suitcase is unpacked. They provide their advisors with the tools, the training, and the technology to help them consistently deliver higher customer satisfaction and yield higher margins.To learn more about Travel Edge, watch the video series at http://www.travelweek.ca/media/videos/. Posted by Travelweek Group last_img read more

Thrillophilia introduces all new GoPro Passport Program

first_imgThrillophilia launched the GoPro Passport Program, a year-long programme that aims to harness the potential of offbeat travel in India and building distinctness in this sector.Thrillophilia’s union with the Passport Program gives GoPro users access to some of the most unique and offbeat experiences on their website, which the travellers can best document on their very own GoPro HERO7. The motto of the programme is ‘If Travelling and Documenting your Travel Experience is your Passion then you’ve found The Perfect Passport!’Powered by Thrillophilia, the GoPro Passport Program entitles the users of HERO7 to sign-up and start the adventure of clicking. HERO7 users can sign-up with their camera’s serial number or GoPro ID to get a virtual passport, and begin their journey of travel and documenting.Every activity booked will earn the users rewards. This includes a scoring system, Thrillcash and Thrillcash+, profile badges and GoPro passport stamps. Alongside this, the participants will get exclusive discounts on booking with Thrillophilia.last_img read more

Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires

first_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments   Share   Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo It’s a role he hopes to play again with Arizona in 2014.Although the San Mateo, Calif. native is not the most boisterous of characters, he was candid in regards to the fact that he takes his right guard competition with second-year pro Earl Watford very seriously.“I take a lot of pride in that,” said Fanaika. “It’s my job. I want to keep it. I want to be the best at my job. I definitely have that attitude that it’s mine to lose.”In his eyes, his experience battling in the trenches during the Cardinals’ 10-6 campaign can’t hurt his case, either.“It definitely feels good to have a year of experience in the system,” said Fanaika. “You start to understand it better. You see things develop a lot faster. It allows you to play faster and smarter.”center_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling At age 28, Paul Fanaika admits he’s a simple man.“Work, family and football,” said Fanaika when asked Saturday what he enjoys doing.Last season must have been a very fulfilling one for the former ASU standout then, as he started all 16 games at right guard for the Arizona Cardinals after spending parts of three seasons on the practice squads of the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins. Top Stories last_img read more

The 5 Takeaways from the Coyotes introduction of

first_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo It’s easy to confuse Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown with his counterpart John Brown. After all, they share the same last name, play the same position and wear jersey numbers one digit apart. After catching the game-winning touchdown pass against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jaron’s time in the spotlight should help ensure the confusion stops.The Cardinals mustered only one touchdown in Sunday’s game, but is was just enough to pull out a 17-14 victory. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellingcenter_img Up until Brown’s 26-yard TD reception, Arizona’s offense consisted of only three field goals. It appeared the Cardinals would have to settle for yet another three-point attempt as they faced a third and 18 deep in Kansas City territory. Arizona spread out the Chiefs, going five-wide, and relied on quarterback Drew Stanton to get the ball off quickly. Matched up one-on-one with safety Ron Parker, Brown flew by the defensive back, who tried to press Brown at the line of scrimmage and missed, and another Chiefs safety late to help. Stanton lobbed the ball up and right into the hands of an awaiting Brown, who found the endzone for the second time this season.The Cardinals successfully converted the two-point try and went up 17-14 on Kansas City with 3:26 remaining in the third quarter. The score held throughout the remainder of the game en route to Arizona’s 10th victory of the season. Brown had just one other catch in the game, a 22-yard reception late in the second quarter. Through 13 games this season, Brown has 21 receptions for 223 yards. – / 43 Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Comments   Share   last_img read more