News Organisation Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes June 2, 2021 Find out more April 27, 2021 Find out more News News ChinaAsia – Pacific February 18, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Cyber-dissident sentenced to seven years in prison ChinaAsia – Pacific It said his imprisonment brought to at least 17 the number of cyber-dissidents sentenced to prison terms for expressing their opinions online and called for his immediate release and the dropping of charges against him.The sentencing of Tao Haidong, 45, was disclosed by the official People’s Court Daily on 16 February. It said he had been arrested at his home in Urumqi, in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, on 9 July last year, while he was online. Officials accused him of spying and said he had “smeared and slandered” the ruling Communist Party and the country’s leaders in three articles he had posted.The local press accused him of receiving 500 euros for having written subversive material. He was reportedly detained in secret for several months and his trial began on 8 January this year before the Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court. The date of his sentencing was not known.According to Human Rights in China, Tao Haidong published a book in 1999 called “Visions of a new human race,” in which he said the Chinese economy was on the brink of collapse and called the country the last great bastion of feudalism in the modern world.As a result of the book, which called for democratic change in China, he was sentenced to three years at hard labour and then freed in January 2001. Since then, he has been active on the Internet and often took part in online discussions without using a pseudonym. to go further China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison Follow the news on China Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) today strongly condemned the jailing for seven years of cyber-dissident Tao Haidong for posting material on the Internet criticism that allegedly incited people to subvert the government. Receive email alerts RSF_en News Help by sharing this information China’s Cyber Censorship Figures March 12, 2021 Find out more
She’s an actress, a producer, and director – and she’s good-looking, too. I first became aware of Natalie Portman when she won her first Oscar six years ago as the dysfunctional ballerina in the 2010 “Black Swan.” Of course, since then, there’s been a long list of prizes and nominations. However, when I researched Natalie Portman, I found her background interestingly enough to be the subject of a movie. Portman was born in Jerusalem to an Israeli father and American mother. They moved stateside when she was three, living in Maryland and Connecticut before settling on Long Island. She started acting at age eleven but was encouraged to live like a conventional middle-class striver. She studied at Harvard and told a reporter, “I’d rather be smart than a movie star.” I’m sure that didn’t fit well in Hollywood. She turned out to be both and probably regrets that comment. All of the above came to my mind when I watched her starring in the movie “Jackie.” She revived Jackie Kennedy on screen and it’s a story of resilience. In the film, there’s a jarringly intimate portrait of Mrs. Kennedy’s life after JFK’s murder. Coincidentally, Jackie was 34 at the time of the assassination; Portman is 35. Recreated in the movie is Kennedy’s White House Tour TV special from 1962. I remember watching it. As Jackie, Portman gives us the hurts, bewilderment, and cunning. It would seem impossible but she also was able to replicate Kennedy’s unusual mid-Atlantic dialect, marked by discordant, rounded vowels and a hushed breathing timbre. There’s riveting scenes of the Jackie of the White House: alternately bemused and tormented, vulnerable and self-willed with her own towering vanity. In 2001, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibit included a book “Jackie Kennedy – The White House Years” by Hamish Bowles. Natalie Portman is famously private when it comes to family. She is married to French choreographer Benjamin Millepied with whom she has a five-year-old son and is expecting a second child in the Spring. She is set to play Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a crusading ACLU lawyer fighting for gender equality before the Supreme Court in the seventies. It’s something to look forward to.For the Bayonne Senior Orchestra, it was a real musical happening. We were scheduled to play for a seasonal concert at St. Anne’s Home in Jersey City just as we’ve done for several years. However, this year was made very special. It all came about as a result of my attending a luncheon honoring Peppi Morreale at the Catholic War Veterans’ Post on 23rd Street in Bayonne. It was great to see every table packed with family and friends of the pianist and to see Dorothy Moreton from the Healthy Bones Class sitting opposite me. At that celebration, Peppi played and entertained with stories of the celebrities he met in Las Vegas. I was happy to be introduced briefly to him and his multi-musical family. Casually, I mentioned that the Bayonne Senior Orchestra would be entertaining the very next week. That was all. However, much to my happy surprise, his daughter arranged for him to come to join us at St. Anne’s and, indeed, he did. Quietly, I relinquished the baby grand to him. He sat down and played three songs without any fanfare, and without any sheet music. His arrangements of “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” and two other songs were original and superb. So, I’m writing this to say thank goodness that Peppi Morreale is back in our town making us all, musically speaking, very happy.My favorite American poet, Robert Frost, says “Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half, who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.” That quote kept going through my mind as I watched television’s “Gilmore Girls.” Its initial run was from 2000 to 2007. One of the story lines, with their rapid-fire repartee, is back. Netflix has released a new four-part miniseries. It stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel back as mother and daughter. Watching it with my friend, I found that he was less than impressed. I was already familiar with the town, Stars Hollow, filled with enthusiastic but talent-challenged townspeople. It’s a sentimental family drama, but those who didn’t watch it in its first run find it hard to follow. Mother and daughter are best friends in contrast to Lorelei’s relationship with her mother, Emily. Lauren Graham has written her memoir appropriately titled “Talking as Fast as I Can.” And the witty banter speeds on. Here’s a quote from William Shakespeare: “Talking isn’t doing – words are not deeds.” So true – I find myself saying that almost every day.Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett sing Cole Porter’s song “Anything Goes” (I wrote about it last month) – “Good authors who once used better words, now use four-letter words writing prose.” And that was written in 1934. These days, it’s impossible to watch a sitcom without those four-letter words. In 2017, there’s no washing a kid’s mouth with soap if he uses those words. It seems as if everyone swears. So how can anyone teach a child that it’s forbidden? Well, there are two new books that examine the linguistic, neurology, sociology, and just plain fun of cursing – although personally I don’t find it fun. Well, you first have to know what counts as profanity. Benjamin K. Bergen’s book is titled, “What the F – What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brain and Ourselves.” He’s not sure what the reader wants to know. The scholars who know the most about language have mostly shunned dirty words as a subject. Bergen points out that there is no evidence that exposure to profanity harms children although he acknowledges that slurs directed at people because of their racial, ethnic, and sexual identity are measurably harmful. The historical linguist, Michael Adams, in his new book, “In Praise of Profanity” sets out to catalog “the many benefits – personal, social, and aesthetic” – of cursing a blue streak. Really?! The linguist admires it for giving voice to anger. He states that profanity can be “useful, expressive and even artful.” Frankly I never toss around what I refer to as four-letter words. This author fears a future in which “nothing will be obscene, nothing profane, and nothing taboo.” Perhaps the beleaguered parents who tell their kids not to say off-color words in public might not really know why they shouldn’t. When the last prohibition fades away, so will the power of the words. Remember when Rhett Butler in “Gone With the Wind” said to Scarlett, “Frankly I don’t give a damn!”? Well, I do!You can e-mail June Sturz at [email protected]
– Advertisement – In the latest special series from The Darts Show podcast Wright tells us the story behind his walk-on song, the dance that gets every party started and the Snakebite persona that he adorns for the stage; Download & subscribe to The Darts Show podcast via Spotify By Henry ChardLast Updated: 03/11/20 6:29am
March 27, 2020 The Latest: Athletes who qualified for Tokyo Games all set Candidates to succeed 22-year incumbent Gian Franco Kasper as president, and for seats on the FIS ruling council, must be declared 30 days before the rescheduled elections.The three candidates for Alpine worlds in 2025 are: Saalbach, Austria; Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; Crans-Montana, Switzerland.___Atlético Madrid has followed Barcelona’s lead and announced it will reduce its players’ and coaches’ salaries during the stoppage of competition due to the coronavirus crisis. A day after Barcelona had done the same, Atlético said Friday that it will reduce its payroll temporarily “to ensure the future” of the club. The events in Stockholm on May 24, Naples and Rome on May 28, and Rabat, Morocco, on May 31 have all been postponed with no new dates set.The first six events of the year have been called off and only the Shanghai meet has been given a new date. The Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, on June 7 is now the first scheduled event on the calendar.The Diamond League says “the meeting organizers, the Wanda Diamond League and World Athletics remain committed to delivering a structured extensive season in 2020.”___Spanish soccer club Barcelona says it will reduce the salaries of its players amid the coronavirus pandemic. ___The National Professional Soccer League has canceled its 2020 summer season because of the new coronavirus outbreak.Considered a fourth-tier circuit in the U.S., the NPSL is affiliated with the United States Adult Soccer Association. The NPSL started play in 2003 and had planned to expand from 91 to 94 teams this season.The league was to have entered 14 teams in the U.S. Open Cup, which was suspended because of the pandemic.The NPSL summer season had been set to start in May and end in early August. The league said Friday that many of its venues would be unavailable after that because they are on college and school campuses. ___Global players’ union FIFPro has called on soccer clubs to stop firing players or cutting their salaries before talks.FIFPro says it’s “extremely concerned” that clubs in several countries “have begun to immediately lay off players or unilaterally reduce their salaries” because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.The Netherlands-based union says many players worldwide earn at or below average domestic income “and would be severely affected by salary decreases.”One club in Switzerland, Sion, terminated the contracts of nine players including former Arsenal pair Johan Djourou and Alexandre Song, who declined to accept reduced wages in a federal unemployment insurance program. A Russia-based basketball league with teams in five countries has abandoned its season without declaring a champion because of the coronavirus outbreak.VTB United League CEO Ilona Korstin says it’s not appropriate to continue the season “in the current situation when borders are closed, teams can’t train at basketball arenas and clubs have to allow foreign players to go home.”Korstin says the league will start preparing for the 2020-21 season.Russian club BC Khimki was leading the league with an 18-1 record when it was suspended.___ Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Good news for all those who have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics: You’re in for 2021. Neither Barcelona nor Atlético are saying how much they would slash salaries. The moves will not impact their players’ contracts.___Top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic, his wife and their foundation are donating 1 million euros (about $1.1 million) to help buy ventilators and other medical equipment for hospitals in Serbia.Djokovic says his foundation’s staff “will be monitoring everything” to get the equipment in place.His wife, Jelena, is the global director of the Novak Djokovic Foundation. She says ventilators needed to help COVID-19 patients range in price from 10,000 to 50,000 euros ($11,000 to $55,000). Olympic officials have confirmed that the 6,200 or so athletes who had already punched their ticket for Tokyo will keep their spots for the rescheduled games next year. It resolves one of the key questions for marathoners, open-water swimmers and hundreds of other athletes whose qualifying process came early in the 2020 sports calendar, before the coronavirus started shutting down sports across the globe. Still to be determined is how the Isports that make up the Olympics will allocate all the spots at the rescheduled games. Typically, the individual sports determine their qualifying procedures for Olympic events.World Athletics president Seb Coe confirmed that all sports have agreed to the IOC’s proposal that all athletes currently qualified for the Olympics will remain qualified for next year. In track, he said that accounts for about half the places. He said the important next step is to develop a fair process for the rest of the athletes, most of whom have seen their qualifying events postponed. Barcelona says its executive board has decided to temporarily suspend player contracts. That produces a “proportional reduction of the remuneration provided for in the respective contracts.”The players’ contracts will remain intact during the job suspension.Employers in Spain are allowed to reduce labor costs while guaranteeing that workers will return to their jobs once conditions improve.The club says it has not decided by how much the salaries will be lowered.___ RUSADA deputy CEO Margarita Pahnotskaya tells The Associated Press the testing suspension covers a longer period because of the risk of staff being stranded away from home. Tests stopped Friday and will resume on April 6.Pakhnotskaya says the World Anti-Doping Agency has been notified.She says “we studied all the consequences and agreed we should follow the order. And it was agreed with WADA. I wrote them a letter yesterday.”___The Diamond League has postponed three more track meets because of the coronavirus outbreak. ___The Evian Masters women’s golf tournament has been moved to August because of the coronavirus outbreak.The event originally scheduled for July 23-26 will now be held on Aug. 6-9 at the Evian Resort Golf Club.Evian is one of the five majors on the women’s circuit.The decision was made by the LPGA Tour, the Ladies European Tour and Evian organizers. FIFPro, which represents 65,000 men’s and women’s players, urges “clubs with short-term financial difficulties to meet with national player unions to negotiate fair and proportionate arrangements.”___The International Ski Federation (FIS) has postponed its presidential election at a biennial congress for at least three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.Hosts for some world championships, including Alpine skiing in 2025, were also due to be voted on at May 17-23 meetings in Thailand.FIS says it hopes to reschedule “in the autumn (fall) of this year,” possibly at a different location. Crowder says “to see the potential negative business impact from this outbreak compelled me to help in any way I could.”___Turkish basketball team Fenerbahce says one of its players and three members of the technical and administrative personnel have tested positive for the coronavirus.Fenerbahce says none of the four have been hospitalized. They were being isolated and monitored at home.The player and three staff members were not named. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan says “this adjustment makes for easier travel for players and assists us as we look to reschedule previously postponed events.”The women’s British Open is scheduled to be held two weeks after Evian.___The Russian anti-doping agency is suspending all tests for 10 days in response to measures implemented by the government to fight the coronavirus.The move comes after President Vladimir Putin told Russians except those working in essential sectors to stay home next week. Associated Press The 32-year-old Djokovic won the Australian Open in January for his 17th Grand Slam title. Among men, only Roger Federer, with 20, and Rafael Nadal, with 19, have won more.___Jae Crowder of the Miami Heat has donated $15,000 to Boston-based custom slide sandal company ISlide. That money will go entirely to the company’s affected workers. Crowder is an ISlide investor and says he felt compelled to give because he knows workers there are in need. More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6
Bournemouth signs Afobe BOURNEMOUTH, England (AP): Bournemouth has added more firepower in their bid to survive in their first season in the English Premier League, signing Benik Afobe from second-tier Wolverhampton Wanderers for a reported fee of £10 million ($14.5 million). The 22-year-old Afobe is a former Arsenal trainee, who has represented England at youth and under-21 levels. He has scored 10 goals in 27 matches for Wolves this season. Bournemouth announced the signing yesterday, with chief executive Neill Blake saying Afobe is a “consistent threat in front of goal” and that his “pedigree as an Arsenal Academy product must also not be underestimated”. Bournemouth are 16th in the 20-team Premier League, four points above the relegation zone. Shah to appeal against suspension ISLAMABAD (AP): Pakistan leg spinner Yasir Shah will appeal against his suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told the ICC yesterday and the game’s governing body will now form a tribunal to hear Shah’s appeal. Shah was suspended last month after his ‘A’ sample contained a banned substance – chlortalidone – which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. Local reports say Shah took his wife’s blood pressure medication without knowing that it contained the banned substance. During his suspension Shah cannot participate in any international match or games organised by the PCB or its affiliated members. Wawrinka wins Chennai Open CHENNAI, India (AP): Stan Wawrinka won his fourth title at the Chennai Open yesterday with a 6-3, 7-5 win over upcoming Borna Coric of Croatia. Fifteen aces and trademark backhand shots helped the top-seeded Swiss dominate against 19-year-old Coric, the youngest player in the world’s top 50 at No. 44. It was the fourth title in five finals for 30-year-old Wawrinka, who had finished runner-up in 2010 and won his first title in 2011 at the hard court venue. He also won in 2014 and 2015. Wawrinka saved all five break points even as Coric, playing his maiden ATP final, failed to put up the kind of fight that saw him win three-setters in four previous matches.
My father owned a local hardware store for almost thirty years, and I have fond memories of hanging out and working there, with the locally owned stationery story, movie theater, pharmacy, and grocery on the same block. Each successive block was also populated primarily with independently owned businesses, usually operated by their owners, most of whom lived nearby. Most businesses were local; when you went to a different town, the stores were noticeably different.During the last few decades, locally owned businesses have steadily given way to chain retail stores and restaurants consistently providing us with the same, usually bland, experience no matter where or when we stop to make a purchase. Now, it appears, the recent “golden age” of retail seems to be coming to an end.Are empty stores the canary in the coal mine?Lately I’ve noticed just how much empty retail space is out there, waiting, mostly likely in vain, for someone to rent it and help the landlord pay the bills. Just today I passed a strip shopping center with a recently vacated Borders and a former Circuit City that has been empty for years.Even before the 2008 financial meltdown, I heard reports that the country had in the range of twice the retail space that our combined purchasing power could support. Who knows what that figure is now?I am both delighted and saddened by the demise of many of these large retail chains. I usually do my best to shop at local businesses; however, it is becoming increasingly difficult since most of them are limited to boutiques and restaurants. In all but the densest cities (and now even in some of those), big box discount stores crush any potential local competition in terms of price, selection, and hours of operation. With few, if any, owner-operators working in stores, there is little pride in the quality of service left. Customers often end up with poor service as a result.The big leapSo, what does this have to do with green building? Well, I’m not exactly sure, but I’ll do my best to make a connection. It seems to me that the prevalence of big box stores is directly related to what I refer to as the recent era of “wretched excess” that our country experienced. As did most of us, I benefited from this behavior, fueled by easy credit and a desire for more, bigger, and (theoretically) better stuff, homes, vacations, and the like.Until recently, homes increased in size every year while generally going down in cost due to improvements in material production, low labor costs, and generally poor quality control in the field. These bigger houses required more stuff to fit in them, a need very adequately filled by big box stores selling lots of stuff pretty cheap.To me, one of the saddest things that has happened to society is that we have become addicted to having lots of shiny, mostly cheap, stuff. I get incredibly frustrated when something breaks and repairing it is almost impossible, because replacing it is cheaper. To a certain extent, this was the case with houses, at least until recently. Most homes built in the last few decades have been of relatively poor quality, purchased by people who expected to flip them in a few years for a profit and move on to the next, bigger, and “better” one.Now that this particular paradigm is gone, we need to decide what to do with all the poorly built homes people are stuck in and also figure out how to start building high-value homes that people want to buy and can afford to live in for the long term.Can we turn these lemons into lemonade?Sarah Susanka has been pushing her Not So Big House concept for about a decade or so, with great success in terms of book sales. But as a movement, changes have been modest.Green building and renovation have been around for a little longer, making steady progress until recently. In a depressed industry, though, green certifications are one of the first things to go to save money and remain competitive.Smaller, better built, greener homes are the right way to go, but most of us seem to be pathologically incapable of making the best long-term decisions for ourselves. We typically opt for a home that is larger than we need, in a location that requires more driving than necessary, and one that is not necessarily green, typically meaning higher lifetime operating costs. Many people are being forced into smaller homes and apartments, often unwillingly, and many of them are finding that they are as happy as or even happier than they were in their former starter castles.Now if we can get them to buy or renovate to green standards, we might begin to see some systemic changes in our housing industry.
Kohima, Dec 10 (PTI) SNF Band of Nagaland has won the coveted title of Hornbill International Rock Contest 2016.In the final of the contest held last night here, SNF Nagaland pipped eight other bands from different parts of the country to win the cash prize of Rs 10 lakh.Crystal and the Witches from Sikkim bagged the second prize of Rs 2 lakh while The Prophets from Mizoram won the third position of Rs 1 lakh.In the individual awards the best vocals went to The Prophets, best guitarist was from SNF, Crystal and the Witches got the best drummer, and the best bassist award was bagged by Mount Groove from Darjeeling.The other finalists who also performed were Mount Groove (Darjeeling), A Touch of Madness (Nagaland), Anti-Trust (Nagaland), Ambush(Assam), Soul Bucket (Nagaland) and I Am We (Kolkata).The judges for the contest were Rudy Wallang, Luke Kenny and Atsung Jamir.Organised annually as part of the Hornbill Festival by the states Music Task Force under Youth Resources and Sports Department, the acclaimed Hornbill International Rock Contest had 20 bands jamming it up before a cheering and clapping audience.Meanwhile, the closing ceremony of 10-day long Hornbill Festival will be held at this evening at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama here. PTI NBS SUS SUS
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In this Jan. 19, 2017 file photo Martin Winterkorn, former CEO of the German car manufacturer ‘Volkswagen’, arrives for a questioning at an investigation committee of the German federal parliament in Berlin, Germany. VW spokesman Michael Brendel says the German automaker’s supervisory board is checking whether it can demand damage claims from former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn in connection with the company’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported Sunday May 6, 2018 that Winterkorn could stand to lose his entire property in connection with the company’s investigation. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file) A VW spokesman says the German automaker’s supervisory board is checking whether it can demand damage claims from former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn in connection with the company’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Explore further Former Volkswagen CEO Winterkorn indicted in US over ‘Dieselgate’ Michael Brendel tells German news agency dpa “the investigation has been going on for quite some while and is conducted independently from the authorities’ investigation.”German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported Sunday that Winterkorn could lose his property in connection with the company’s investigation.Winterkorn, 70, was indicted Thursday in the United States on charges stemming from the company’s diesel emissions cheating scandal.Volkswagen has admitted to programming its diesel engines to activate pollution controls when being tested in government labs and turning them off when on the road.Winterkorn has denied any knowledge of the scheme. Citation: VW board eyes damage claims against former CEO Winterkorn (2018, May 6) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-vw-board-eyes-ceo-winterkorn.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.