Popular Malayalam film actress Manju Warrier along with a film crew is stranded in flood-hit Himachal Pradesh prompting a union minister to intervene in the matter. The 30-member crew is stuck in Chatra, 100 km from Manali. They have been there for the past three weeks shooting for a film by director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, reports mathrubhumi.com. The actress was able to contact union minister V Muraleedharan seeking help, who in turn has reached out to Himachal Pradesh chief minister and sought immediate help. “Spoke to Himachal Pradesh CM on Malayalam film crew stuck in Chatru. Mandi district administration is in touch with stranded crew members. Evacuation efforts are on to bring them back to Manali today,” the minister of state for external and parliamentary affairs said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Himachal Pradesh has been lashed by incessant rains past few weeks, killing more than 30 people, and many areas are cut off due to landslides and bridge collapse. Hundreds of tourists are stranded in the state’s tribal Lahaul and Spiti district after a freak snowfall on Sunday cut off roads in the region, officials said. They said rescue work was on. According to officials, about 150 tourists were stuck in Chandra Tal lake near Kaza town. The crescent-shaped lake is situated at an altitude of about 4,300 metres or 14,100ft in the Himalayas. The worst affected is the Miyar valley which was cut off due to landslides at several places on the roads leading to the region. More than 300 vehicles were also stranded on the Spiti-Leh road after flash floods in nullahs triggered landslides.(Inputs from Hindustan Times)
New Delhi: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has rejected the oil ministry’s plea seeking $314 million (around Rs 2,245 crore) from insolvency-bound Videocon Industries in unpaid profit petroleum from the Ravva oil and gas fields in the eastern offshore. The ministry had on October 22 last year sent Videocon a demand notice for payment of government’s share of profit petroleum, which is calculated after all capital and operating cost is deducted from the sale of oil and gas. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalVideocon, which holds 25 per cent stake in Ravva oil and gas fields, had been admitted to insolvency and the resolution professional (RP) overseeing the process approached the Mumbai-bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against the demand saying the company cannot be asked to part with any money, including share of profit, during the moratorium period. NCLT upheld the RP’s plea, which was challenged before the NCLAT. A three-member NCLAT bench headed by chairperson Justice S J Mukhopadhaya also upheld the same and said that the petroleum ministry could not recover these proceeds during the moratorium period from Videocon Industries, against whom insolvency was initiated in June 2018. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”NCLT rightly held that during the period of moratorium, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas cannot recover any amount nor can issue demand notice to the corporate debtor through ‘interim resolution professional’ to pay any amount,” said the NCLAT. The appellate tribunal also upheld the NCLT order staying the demand note by the ministry and directing to approach the RP for recovery of the amount. “We hold that NCLT rightly stayed demand notice dated 22nd October, 2018 during the pendency of the resolution process as long as the ‘moratorium’ is applicable on the corporate debtor,” said the NCLAT. As per Section 14 of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC), no recovery can be enforced from the corporate debtor, once the moratorium period comes into force once the insolvency is initiated by the NCLT. The matter is related to a ‘Production Sharing Contract’ executed between the government and ONGC, Videocon Industries, Vedanta and Ravva Oil (Singapore) on October 28, 1994. While state-owned ONGC had a 40 per cent participating interest, Videocon 25 per cent and Vedanta had a 22.5 per cent in the production sharing contract. A dispute between the government and Videocon arose in 2002, which was initially referred to the International Arbitration Tribunal, which partially upheld the company’s contentions. The Government of India filed an appeal on May 10, 2005 before the High Court of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Federal Court of Malaysia, where on May 16, 2016, it failed to get any relief. Both admitted Videocon’s contention that the courts had no jurisdiction to decide on the issue and award of the International Tribunal in favour of Videocon became final. However, the petroleum ministry had on October 22, 2018 sent a demand notice to Videocon asking it to allocate $314 million as “government share of profit petroleum”. Following this, Videocon’s RP had approached the NCLT, contending that company could not be asked to part with any money, including share of profit, during the moratorium period. The NCLT in its order had said: “It was judicious to direct the ministry not to press for implementation of the said demand notice.”
VANCOUVER – A man charged with murdering a 12-year-girl in British Columbia over 40 years ago should be found guilty after confessing to undercover police that he abducted, sexually assaulted and killed her, a Crown attorney says.Mark Sheardown told jurors in his opening statement Monday that Garry Handlen also took RCMP undercover officers to the crime scene and provided details about snatching the girl while she was riding her new bike near Merritt, in the province’s Interior.He said Handlen’s “truthful, reliable confession,” which the jury will watch on video, will demonstrate he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the death of Monica Jack on May 6, 1978.Sheardown said Jack’s mother saw her riding her bike as the woman was heading home in her vehicle, a few days before the girl’s 13th birthday.“Monica was offered a ride home but turned it down,” he said, adding Madeline Lanaro never saw her daughter again.Handlen, who sat in B.C. Supreme Court wearing a grey and black plaid shirt and listened to proceedings wearing headphones, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.Sheardown said 17 years after the girl disappeared, Jack’s skull and some bones were found by a crew doing work for the Forests Ministry. The remains were linked to her through dental records.Handlen was living in Minden, Ont., when he became the focus of an undercover police operation starting in May 2014.Sheardown said Handlen allegedly provided a supposed crime boss with details of the murder, saying “he grabbed her, took her in his camper, went up a hill and had sex with her, in Mr. Handlen’s words, and killed her by strangling her.”Handlen then accompanied three officers, who he thought were members of a crime group, to Merritt, Sheardown told the jury as Jack’s sister and other family members sat in the courtroom.“Together, the three officers and Mr. Handlen drove out to the Merritt area where Mr. Handlen attempted to find the area where he abducted Monica Jack,” Sheardown said of the girl who lived on the Quilchena Indian Reserve with her mother and siblings.“This took place over the course of two days,” he said, adding Handlen provided more details about the abduction and murder during that time.Four witnesses gave police statements about what they saw in the area where the girl was last seen near a pullout on Highway 5A, he said.“Collectively, the Crown expects these four statements will indicate that a truck and camper had stopped at the pullout right around the time Monica was passing through the area, a bicycle was seen almost directly across the road from the camper, that a sound of someone crying out was heard and that it was thought to be a girl because of the high pitch.”Jack’s brother went looking for her and spotted her bike, court heard, before their mother reported the girl missing.Handlen worked for the supposed crime group as a debt collector, loan shark and repossessed personal property such as all-terrain vehicles, Sheardown said.A former undercover officer who posed as the crime boss told court he met Handlen at a restaurant in Orillia, Ont., on May 22, 2014.He said Handlen talked about his childhood on a farm, being a handyman in Ontario’s cottage country and his work as a pipefitter in the Toronto area, which he’d left for Minden, as well as his supervisory job in Alberta’s oil sands for several years.Handlen was arrested in November 2014.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
By Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–Opposition MPs said Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan seemed “tired” in an appearance before a parliamentary committee Tuesday that left them wondering if he’s still up to the job of leading a sprawling and “complex” department.During an hour-long appearance before the Aboriginal affairs committee, Duncan offered rambling answers to both opposition and Conservative MPs.At two points during his appearance, Duncan had his answers cut short by his own parliamentary secretary and by the Conservative chair of the committee.Duncan, who sat next to his department’s deputy minister Michael Wernick, also failed to answer a question from Conservative Saskatchewan MP Rob Clarke who wanted to know what water projects the department had recently completed.“I kept thinking, ‘wasn’t he given those (Conservative) questions in advance?’” said Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett. “He seems tired. I don’t know how to explain it, there just isn’t a lot of energy there for this file that is hugely important.”NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Linda Duncan said it was up to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to decide whether Duncan was still able to handle his portfolio.“It seems he gets a lot of assistance from the deputy minister,” said Duncan. “It’s a big, complex portfolio and we need a minister giving it his full attention.”Minister John Duncan, however, said his health was fine.“I’m great, yeah,” said Duncan, after he finished his appearance. “I’m fixed. I am all good.”Duncan was recently hospitalized as a result of complications stemming from his 2010 open-heart, valve replacement surgery.The news of his hospitalization surfaced in January after Duncan’s competency was openly questioned by the press during the Attawapiskat housing crisis. The crisis seemed to have caught the minister flatfooted. Duncan’s press aide pulled the minister away to safety several times after he was caught facing reporters’ questions he seemed unable to field.Opposition MPs are again wondering if Duncan is up to the task. His interaction with Conservative MPs Tuesday raised eyebrows among MPs on the committee.One exchange came when Greg Rickford, parliamentary secretary for Aboriginal affairs, asked Duncan a question about cooperation between First Nations and Ottawa. Rickford, a Conservative MP from Kenora, cut Duncan off after the minister spent about a minute and a half answering the question.“I am hearing from First Nations leaders in the great Kenora riding who appreciate the fact that they are getting a real opportunity to make inputs. I am sure you can concur with me that this has been positive and certainly determinate with some of the success you are having,” said Rickford.Duncan said, “I consider that a compliment. We believe that the best way to make progress is in partnership and with mutual respect so we, um, you know, I always go back to the water legislation, because the water legislation was basically presented with no First Nation support on the first go around now we have very significant First Nation support. We spent a year and a half saying, number one, we want to come to a place where both parties are pretty satisfied with the legislation. We did a lot of negotiations, I had to renew, or not renew, I had to, um, um, put some real political capital into that bill. My staff, departmental staff, there were a lot of officials that worked a lot of hours on that, many days, and I know that, particularly the Alberta and Atlantic Chiefs….”Rickford then stopped Duncan before he could finish the sentence.“Minister, sorry to interrupt you, I have a couple more questions on education I want to squeeze in here and my colleagues are going to ask you some tough questions on water,” said Rickford.“Fair enough,” said Duncan.Duncan was referring in his answer to a proposed government bill to create regulations for water systems on First Nations reserves that was introduced in the Senate last week. The previous incarnation of the bill died when the election was called last spring.When the round of questioning came around again to the Conservatives, Clarke lobbed another easy question at Duncan.“I am just hoping you can add some clarification just in regards to what water systems, on reserve, that the government has actually helped build, most recently,” said Clarke.“Your question is on bulk water systems?” said Duncan.“Water and wastewater infrastructure, what new projects have recently taken place, undertaken?” said Clarke.“Yes thank you for that. One thing I would like to start off by saying, the technology dealing with water and waste water is accelerating at a rate that is very helpful in terms of affordability going forward. The old systems were very expensive and we all know that we are facing a significant challenge even though we’ve invested huge monies since forming govt. The economic action plan, on top of our core funding, provided $187 million over two years to support the construction of 23 water and waste water projects, benefiting 44,000 FNs residents,” said Duncan, before taking an about 20 second pause.“We um, addressed 15 water treatment systems of both a high design risk and a high overall risk in the national assessment and we have work underway on 47 other such systems so that survey in assessment allowed us to set priorities and I have been to some of those plants and it’s most amazing. The main thing we have to make sure, we invest in the technology, we invest in the system and we have to make sure we have an operator and that the operator has the certification that is required and isn’t stolen by another jurisdiction because these people are very much in demand. So that has become a very big challenge. We have an operator training in place so this whole area is a great focus for us as well,” said Duncan, who referred to a government commissioned assessment of water and waste water systems on reserves across the country.Clarke then repeated the question.“What action is being taken to improve water and waste water services on the reserves?” said Clarke.By this time, Wernick had provided Duncan with a list and the minister rhymed off some of the department’s recent projects in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.firstname.lastname@example.org
Another person succumbs to his injuries following an accident in Dehiattakandiya.A father and two sons were killed yesterday in the accident in Dehiattakandiya. The father and two sons, aged six and 14 were travelling on a motorcycle when it crashed into a tipper truck.All three were killed in the accident while two others, who were also on the motorcycle, sustained injuries. One of the two succumbed to his injuries in hospital today. (Colombo Gazette)
With funding finally coming in for Niger’s hungry millions after initial appeals fell on deaf ears, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today reported the start of large-scale distribution that will feed 2.5 million people in the next two months. Yesterday the first free food distribution at village level took place in the small village of Tolkobey, 90 kilometres from Niamey, the capital, and WFP is finalizing field level agreements with non-governmental organization (NGO) partners. The agency last week tripled the funds it had requested to deal with crisis arising from drought and the worst invasion of crop-devouring locusts in 15 years in the world’s second poorest country. So far it has received 40 per cent of the new total of $57.6 million, leaving the current shortfall at $34.4 million. WFP aims to get food assistance to all critical and at-risk areas to avoid an increase in hunger among the 2.5 million people most at risk. More than 1 million more have been affected by the crisis, UN agencies say. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that, more than a week after pictures of starving children shocked the world into action, relief supplies are reaching their destination but more needs to be done to get children out of danger. “While its initial appeals for money to avert the disaster fell on deaf ears, UNICEF programmes in Niger are now almost fully funded,” the agency said, noting that it had received nearly $15 million to help care for nearly 200,000 children, 32,000 of them severely undernourished, and some 160,000 are moderately undernourished. UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah recently toured emergency feeding centres in Maradi, epicentre of the crisis, to see the suffering first-hand. “We were at the hospital of (NGO) Médecins Sans Frontières where they receive the severely malnourished children and we saw a child die in front of us…I think we should all feel guilty because children cannot die now at this time and age when we have technology and resources,” a shocked Ms. Salah told reporters before leaving Niger at the weekend. Working closely with its partners on the ground, UNICEF Niger has provided 41 tons of therapeutic milk, 6.7 tons of food and 190 tons of UNIMIX – a life-saving porridge easy for undernourished children to digest. In collaboration with WFP, 187 tons of corn-soy blend and 614 tons of cereals have been delivered to 62 affected villages, benefiting an estimated 200,000 people, including 40,000 children under five. In addition, about 900 tons of cereals are being delivered to another 90 villages, and approximately six tons of seed (corn, wheat, potato) have also been provided. As famine threatens to spread through the region, neighbouring countries including Nigeria, Mali, and Burkina Faso are also at risk of serious food shortages. “We need to fight poverty, we need to build an early warning system, and we need to empower the government and the local communities, so that we can prevent this from happening next year,” Ms. Salah said.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is continuously supporting district government’s coordination structure and coordinating disaster response meetings in Nepal. According to the latest assessments conducted by the Red Cross Society, a total of 26 districts have been affected. The estimated total number of affected families is around 16,000 but will increase as assessments in newly-affected districts are still in process.“Our main concern with the floods in Nepal, that estimate of the number will of people who are affected – will drastically rise,” Stephanie Bunker, a spokesperson for OCHA said of the floods. The Red Cross Society estimates that over 45,000 people to date have received various relief assistance. While the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that no epidemics have occurred, the agency in collaboration with the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) and the District Health Office in Nepal, will continue monitoring the health situation, paying attention especially to vector-borne diseases.The UN World Food Programme (WFP) expects to deliver a total of 1,300 metric tonnes of food, including rice, lentils, salt and oil to those affected in the country’s western regions. An assessment of longer-term humanitarian needs in the realms of shelter and education is now being conducted. A total of 5,700 educational kits will be provided to affected districts by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its NGO partners.“Our operations are underway and working with Nepal Red Cross we plan to make sure that food isn’t a problem for the victims of this tragic crisis,” Richard Ragan, WFP’s Country Director for Nepal, said earlier this week. “While much of the world’s attention is focused on the ongoing peace process in Nepal, it is important that we also respond to the very real and immediate needs of these victims of a terrible natural disaster.”In the most affected districts of Banke, Bardiya and Achham, deliveries of immediate relief assistance continue despite the bad weather that has occasionally hampered transportation of the assistance, OCHA said.
Stay on target Put Women on U.S. Currency With Google’s AR AppGoogle Maps’ AR Navigation Rolls Out to More Devices For more than 20 years, the traveling Body Worlds exhibition has given visitors an inside look (literally) at how human and animal bodies work, using the decades-old process of plastination.Now, The Tech Museum of Innovation is putting a “Silicon Valley twist” on the display—taking folks even deeper into our anatomy via augmented reality.Body Worlds Decoded, and its proprietary Iris AR system—built in partnership with the Institute for the Future, on the Google Tango platform—launched on Sunday.“Body Words Decoded is one of the most ambitious and exciting anatomy experiences ever created,” Tim Ritchie, president and CEO of The Tech Museum of Innovation, said in a statement.“The human body contains so many mysteries,” he continued. “And the implementation of AR and all of its capabilities stand to provide valuable clues in unlocking those secrets and inspiring the next generation of advances in medicine and physiology.”You’ve already seen the Body Worlds exhibit (multiple times, if you’re a nerd like me)? Great. You’ve never seen it like this.Visualize yourself at Body Worlds Decoded (via The Tech Museum of Innovation)Attendees can view and interact with lifelike models and virtual objects: Take a 360-degree walk around a 3D beating heart, see how concussions affect the brain and skull, and get a new perspective inside the center of an eyeball.“This is the future of museums,” according to Toshi Anders Hoo, director of the Institute for the Future’s Emerging Media Lab. “AR is about to transform how we interpret our world and how we approach education.”Borrow one of the museum’s Iris-enabled Lenovo Phab 2 Pro handsets to explore eight full-body plastinates and more than 60 anatomical specimens—from the smallest organs to the most complex systems (including nervous, respiratory, and cardiovascular to urinary, reproductive, digestive, and locomotive).Visitors are also encouraged to get crafty, sketching their own anatomical designs, or admiring an art installation inspired by “the wonder and mystery of the human body.”Admission to The Tech Museum of Innovation—open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 201 S. Market St. in San Jose—includes access to Body Worlds Decoded.Funded by Ann and John Doerr, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, the exhibit is set for a 10-year run, promising periodic updates with new 3D models, animations, specimens, and other content.“Body Worlds Decoded is an experience like no other,” Doerr said. “It is our dream that it will inspire youth and contribute to a greater understanding of the life sciences.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
WASHINGTON — Three years ago, Jason Prosser was stunned to discover the cost of child care for his newborn son — so much so that he and his wife postponed having a second child.The day care center they found near their Seattle home tops $10,000 a year. Next year, their son, now 3, can attend a Catholic preschool less than half as costly. “It’ll be nice to have enough relief next year,” Prosser said. “It’s just funny that the relief will be a private school.”He and his wife are among legions of middle-class families who are straining under the weight of accelerating costs for a range of essential services from day care to health care. And now a study by the Center for American Progress shows just how heavy the burden has grown: For a typical married couple with two children, the combined cost of child care, housing, health care and savings for college and retirement jumped 32 percent from 2000 to 2012 — and that’s after adjusting for inflation. Compounding the pain is that average pay for Americans is barely topping inflation. The figures help explain why many Americans feel stressed even as the economy has strengthened — and why some feel bewildered to hear that overall inflation in the United States is, if anything, too low.
NASA Space Star Wars Star Wars fans on Twitter pointed out how the cupola windows resemble a TIE fighter cockpit. Of course, Chewie was best known for his connection to the Millennium Falcon. Mayhew’s contributions to culture extended far beyond the screen, as Hague’s loving tribute shows. Chewbacca’s heart reached all the way into space. Tags Share your voice Indulged in a movie night last night…the Force was with us on @Space_Station. #MayThe4thBeWithYou pic.twitter.com/YVHgZ2ugwf— Nick Hague (@AstroHague) May 5, 2019 Cosmic dead ringers: 27 super strange-looking space objects Hague shared an image of Mayhew wearing his Chewbacca costume with the furry mask off. The black-and-white photo is framed by the multi-pane window of the ISS cupola. The blue of Earth shines from behind it. “Thank you Peter for inspiring generations of explorers,” Hague wrote. Mayhew’s official Twitter account is now managed by his family. The account responded to Hague, saying, “That’s lovely.”Hague and some of his crewmates marked May the Fourth, the Star Wars day of celebration, by watching a Star Wars movie. He shared a peek at the famous opening crawl playing on a screen in the station. 27 Photos Post a comment 0 TV and Movies Honoring Peter Mayhew (also known as Chewbacca) up here on @Space_Station. Thank you Peter for inspiring generations of explorers. pic.twitter.com/YJTZrxVwCm— Nick Hague (@AstroHague) May 8, 2019 Nick Hague paid tribute to Peter Mayhew. NASA/Nick Hague Star Wars and NASA go together like R2-D2 and C3PO. All the way up in Earth orbit, astronauts on the International Space Station felt the loss of Peter Mayhew, the actor who brought Chewbacca to life. NASA astronaut Nick Hague posted his own tribute to Twitter on Wednesday acknowledging Mayhew’s death in late April.
Enlarge ImageI’m a huge fan of EVs that err on the conservative side of design, so the Cooper SE is right up my alley. Mini Mini hasn’t been shy about teasing its new Cooper SE electric hatchback. We’ve already seen it tow a Boeing 777. Heck, we’ve already taken a camouflaged prototype for a spin and walked away impressed. Now, as the automaker promised earlier, it’s time to see the whole shebang.Mini on Tuesday unveiled its all-electric Cooper SE hatchback. It sports a single electric motor on the front axle, granting it 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, all of which is routed through a single-stage transmission. For its output, acceleration isn’t too shabby, with 62 miles per hour arriving in 7.3 seconds. Its top speed is electronically limited to about 93 mph.Even though the output isn’t stratospheric, the Mini Cooper SE should handle quite nicely. Its center of gravity is more than an inch lower than the sporty Cooper S, and the car’s stability control system was reengineered specifically to handle the instant torque its electric motor provides. Four drive modes are on offer, giving the driver the option to be as green as possible by limiting or deactivating certain systems (like the air conditioning) to provide more juice for range.Speaking of range, the T-shaped battery under the floor has a capacity of 32.6 kWh. That might not seem like much, but given the car’s small footprint, that translates to a range between 146 and 168 miles by European standards. The EPA has not yet released figures for the US, but suffice it to say, they’re usually a bit lower than what the Europeans calculate. The car also packs a two-stage regenerative braking system that lets drivers use a single pedal if they want.Enlarge ImageThe interior packs a few unique touches, like a new gear selector and a screen in place of the gauge cluster. Mini The car’s design keeps it close to the standard Mini Hardtop. There’s a Mini Electric logo on the side scuttles, the tailgate and the front radiator grille. The charger is accessed above the rear wheel on the passenger side, which is where the fuel cap lives on non-EV variants. There are a few extra flourishes, like a new front end that replaces the unnecessary grille and some decorative yellow bits scattered about. Two wheel designs are on offer, in 16- and 17-inch diameters, both of which are unique to the Cooper SE.Inside, the Cooper SE gets a 5.5-inch color screen for an instrument cluster, as well as an SE-specific gear lever and an electronic parking brake. Two-zone climate control is standard, and it can precondition the cabin before setting off on a trip. Its 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system includes both navigation and Apple CarPlay as standard equipment. Available in three trims — Signature, Signature Plus and Iconic — Mini has not yet released pricing for the Cooper SE, but that will happen before it goes on sale. We’re not quite sure when that will happen, but since it carries a 2020 model year, it should hit the market within a year. Tags Mini Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: Electric Cars Hatchbacks Review • 2018 Mini JCW Hardtop: Small and sporty, but a bit too sharp More about 2018 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop 30 Photos More From Roadshow 2020 Mini JCW Clubman first drive: A fast alternative for the crossover-averse Mini 2020 Toyota 4Runner first drive: Same as it ever was — mostly 1:30 Post a comment 0 2020 Mini Cooper SE zaps its way onto the scene with battery-electric power 5 things you need to know about the 2018 Mini Cooper… 2020 Kia Soul review: Well-rounded box
15 things you need to qualify for NASA’s astronaut program (pictures) 0 Post a comment 15 Photos Chris Kraft pioneered the idea of Mission Control in NASA’s early years. NASA Christoper Columbus Kraft Jr., NASA’s first flight director, pioneer of Mission Control and a key figure in the spaceflight program, died Monday. He was 95. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called Kraft a “national treasure,” pointing to his work in establishing NASA’s Mission Control, which directs human spaceflight activities from the ground. Kraft’s work in developing the procedures and processes for sending humans to space would eventually pave the way for the Apollo missions to the moon and, to this day, provides communications for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. “Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the moon, and his legacy is immeasurable,” said Bridenstine in a NASA press release. “Chris’ engineering talents were put to work for our nation at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, before NASA even existed, but it was his legendary work to establish Mission Control as we know it for the earliest crewed space flights that perhaps most strongly advanced our journey of discovery.” Kraft was born in Phoebus, Virginia, on Feb. 28, 1924. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1944, having majored in aeronautical engineering and joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1945. Kraft was tapped to oversee flight operations for NASA’s earliest manned expeditions off-planet and would serve as the first flight director for NASA’s Mercury missions, putting Americans into space for the first time.As we travel further into the cosmos, Kraft’s legacy will be remembered. The Mission Control Center at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston is named in his honor. “We stand on his shoulders as we reach deeper into the solar system, and he will always be with us on those journeys,” said Bridenstine. 4:19 Share your voice Tags Everything we know about NASA’s Space Launch System Now playing: Watch this: Sci-Tech NASA
Coal shares slid by almost 5% in morning trade as soon as Modi government announced the divestment of almost 10% stakes in Coal India Limited (CIL) on Friday. The Centre plans to offer 5% stake as part of offer-for-sale (OFS), and an additional 5% stake under the ‘greenshoe option.’ ReutersWith the greenshoe option, the sale could help the Centre mop-up over ₹24,000 crore, going by CIL’s closing price of ₹384 on Wednesday.The Centre reiterated its commitment to stick to the 4.1% fiscal deficit, for which it needs to raise almost $6 billion in the next 60 days.For the very first time, the Centre decided to reserve 20% of the total sale for retail investors. The sale is managed through the offer-for-sale (OFS) route, involving the stock exchange. This is also known as the auction method. In December, stake sale in Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) was also conducted through OFS.Reports indicate that market regulator SEBI and stock exchanges have beefed up their surveillance systems to ‘high alert’ to prevent any manipulative action in the market, over the proposed OFS by CIL.The floor price for the issue would be announced by 5pm on Thursday, allowing investors to bid at or over the price being announced. Retail investors are likely to get a slightly lower price than institutional investors. If bids are in excess of shares being offered, allotment would be done on a pro-rata basis, reported BusinessLine.CIL was trading at ₹370.00, down by 14.05 or 3.66% at 11:48am.
Councilwoman Brianne NadeauWASHINGTON – It has been 17 years since residents in Ward 1 and the communities of LeDroit, Shaw, U. Street, Pleasant Plain and Columbia Heights have had a councilmember other than 69-year-old Jim Graham. Brianne Nadeau, an 11-year-resident of Ward 1 who had served an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner before running for office, is that new councilmember.In one of her first sit-down interviews with the media since being sworn in, Nadeau spoke about her plans during her tenure and how she expects to make her short- and long-term goals happen.Nadeau said her number one priority remains the one broadcasted repeatedly in her campaign ads: increasing affordable housing. “When I talk about affordable housing, the first thing we need to do is quantify how many units we need, and the Urban Institute is working with us on that right now,” Nadeau, 34, said.In the income bracket of $35-40k per year, the Urban Institute is estimating that roughly 22,000 units will need to be built in the ward. Nadeau said a possible destination for placing affordable housing units is on Columbia Road where Bruce Monroe Elementary School once stood. “From my perspective it’s quantifying the issue, monetizing it, so if we need that many units, how much is it going to cost?” she said, “then devising a plan for building it.”Nadeau is also seeking tax relief for seniors who own property and are being squeezed by increasing property taxes. Nadeau said she is seeking ways to make property taxes lower and more reflective of seniors’ income. “A lot of times people own their own property, but the taxes start going up and up and up and up,” she said. “That’s when it ends up pushing people out.”Nadeau wants to create ‘Senior Villages,’ “where seniors in a certain geographic area come together and pool resources so they can have certain services, like maintenance around the home.”“My vision for the way they would develop in Ward 1 is that they would also have a youth engagement piece,” she said. “The young people would help out with things around the house, while seniors provide mentoring.“I was out talking to neighbors and friends and was hearing from young families that were having trouble making ends meet because of the cost of housing, and schools just not being up to par,” Nadeau said. “Long-time residents were dealing with some of the same issues of trying to make ends meet, and [with] everyone in between, I really started thinking about new leadership on the council.”In 2011, Nadeau decided to run, eventually defeating Graham in last year’s election by a wide margin. After knocking on doors for months and seeing what issues residents in the community were facing, Nadeau now has the chance to make the necessary adjustments to satisfy the people that appointed her, while managing to bring innovative ideas and improvements to the area.Nadeau wants to help manage financial resources in Ward 1 responsibly, while planning measures to assess a quality education by implementing better work force training, specifically in the public school system. With the highest concentration of charter schools in the District, Ward 1 residents continue to press her about education when she hosts her Coffee Talks and Community Conversations, Nadeau said. “We need people to feel like we own these schools,” she said. “This is our neighborhood school. We want to be proud of it. We want to support it and we want to be engaged with it.”The councilwoman wants to alleviate traffic on 16th Street by creating a designated bus lane, and is also considering a proposal that would bring a streetcar to Georgia Avenue. She is also working on an effort to help small businesses in the face of escalating gentrification.“An idea that I have is creating a fund for down payment assistance for small business owners to help them buy their buildings . . . because part of the reason people are getting pushed out is because of rising rents,” she said. “Same thing for residents. Rents go up. People who can’t afford it have to move further and further out until they’re no longer in the District.”Nadeau said she is clear that she needs to prove herself during her first four-year term. So, she said, she feels a need to create results. “I’ll really be pushing for an outcome driven government, not just output driven, meaning it’s not just how many people you serve in a homeless shelter, [but] how many people you actually help move into more stable situations,” she said.
On May 30, the first reading of the $13.8 billion 2018 budget passed the D.C. Council unanimously despite spats over tax cuts for well-to-do Washingtonians and the desire for more education funding. There were small increases for affordable housing and tenant programs, and initiatives to support homeownership and decrease homelessness, among other things.D.C. Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) supported the legislation. A strong supporter of the District’s public education system, Gray liked the three percent increase to the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula. Nevertheless, he did have concerns about uneven per-student funding for public charter schools, a United Medical Center reduction, and lowering levels of funding for public safety.Vincent Gray, Ward 7 representative on the D.C. Council, has some objections to the 2018 budget proposal, but is pleased with an increase to the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)The former mayor is disturbed by the cuts to the extension of the streetcar to Ward 7 at the level of $60.7 million. “I fully support this streetcar system as a part of our growing city’s public transportation infrastructure, and the Metro struggles and traffic congestion make a clear case for the streetcar,” Gray told the AFRO. “We should either choose to fund the intended expansion of the streetcar system by supporting the Benning Extension or end the program, effective immediately.”D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) supported the budget but didn’t talk specifics. “My office was going to release a statement but decided not to do so at the time,” White told the AFRO.The second and final vote on the budget will take place June 13. It will then be sent to the mayor and upon her approval, the local portion will be sent to the U.S. Congress for review and the federal part of the budget will go to President Donald Trump, according to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) at his news conference on June 5.There is a sense among some residents in Wards 7 and 8 that the budget offers them little.“This budget doesn’t do anything for people in Ward 8,” Christopher Hawthorne, the advisory neighborhood commissioner for district 8E05, told the AFRO. “They use colorful words to say how the budget will help people but they exclude Ward 8 in the specifics. This budget excludes predominantly Black areas not only in Ward 8 but Wards 7, 6, 5, 4 and 1.”As an example, Hawthorne criticized the amount budgeted for affordable housing programs. “Affordable housing is a cute phrase but in this city, low-income people cannot afford affordable housing,” he said.Sheila Carson Carr, advisory neighborhood commissioner for district 7F03 in Ward 7, echoes Hawthorne’s concerns about affordable housing. “There isn’t enough affordable housing,” Carr told the AFRO. “It costs $1,500 to rent a one-bedroom apartment in new housing developments in Ward 7, including what is planned for D.C. General. People don’t have a chance.”Not all east of the River residents are critical. Ashley Emerson represents district 7E05 in Ward 7 as a commissioner and is pleased that an important institution in her community received funds. “We are glad that the Capital View branch of the library received additional funding,” Emerson, who is the chairman of commission 7E, told the AFRO.
Stay on target Trade In Your Nintendo Switch For a Better Battery (With a Catch)Get Used to ‘Fortnite’s’ Powerful Mech Suits While they may have been easy to miss amidst all the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveal excitement, some other cool Switch games were shown off at Nintendo’s relatively sparse E3 event last year. And one of the coolest surprises was Killer Queen Black, a sequel to the cult hit indie arcade game no one saw coming. If you don’t know what Killer Queen is, or why you should be excited for it, that’ll take some explaining. But in the meantime check out this hot new trailer.Being a modern arcade game in 2013 is going to limit your audience. Being an arcade game that requires ten players and two TVs is going to limit your audience even more. And being an indie arcade game with only a handful of machines? Well, that’s the reason why someone probably needs to explain to you what Killer Queen is. But ask anyone who has played Bumblebear’s bee battle and they will tell you it’s worth all the trouble.Killer Queen Black isn’t exactly the same game. It looks better and the move to PC and consoles knocks the player count down from ten to eight. But the formula is largely the same. Each team represents a hive of kickass bee people trying to defeat the other hive. There are several ways to win. If drones deliver enough berries back to base that’s an Economic victory. If drones ride a snail back to base that’s a Snail victory. And if the powerful player-controlled flying queen dies three times, killed by either the enemy queen or drones turned into warriors, that’s a Military victory. It sounds complicated but leads to endlessly enjoyable teamwork as you and your hive shift offensive and defensive strategies on the fly.All Black really has to do is bring more of that fun to more people with new abilities as well as online play. In a really cool twist, online there will always be one team with black outfits. If your team defeats them you gain those black outfits. And battles against the black team will be constantly livestreamed.Unfortunately, this new Killer Queen Black trailer also came with the news that the game is being pushed back from its initial Q1 2019 release date all the way back to Q3. However, when it launches on PC, along with Nintendo Switch, players will find it exclusively on the Discord store for the first three months. So take that, Epic Games Store. And as for Switch owners, here are some cool games to play right now in 2019.
Alberto Font/The Tico Times Facebook Comments Alberto Font/The Tico Times Green mountains rise up to meet the sky on a hot Monday morning in San Rafael, Alajuela. The scene is picturesque but take a step back and the view through the razor-wire fence changes from halcyon to hostile. It’s the same one that the 1,252 inmates in San Rafael prison see every day.Prisoners hoot, jeer and pose, vying for the attention of the television cameras that have interrupted the monotony of life in the prison on this press visit.“There’s no food, no marijuana!” crowed one voice from the crowd.“They treat us like pigs!” called out another.Costa Rica’s prison system houses more than twice as many prisoners as it’s built for. A series of judicial reforms and enforcement strategies were successful in catching criminals and putting them behind bars, but increased arrests and guilty verdicts outpaced the Costa Rican penitentiary system’s ability to keep up. With the 2016 budget debate looming, prison officials face the hurdle of securing funds to guarantee the basic needs of the country’s least sympathetic group.Nearly 35,000 people are in the Costa Rican correctional system, including more than 14,000 who are incarcerated. San Rafael prison was built to house 704. It currently holds 1,252.The Ombudsman’s Office has denounced the conditions in the prisons, calling them a human rights violation. The Ombudsman’s National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture (MNP) noted that Costa Rica’s incarceration rate of 370 people per 100,000 is the fourth highest in Latin America.Inside block A-2, simple wooden frame bunks line as much floor space as possible. Inmates, many shirtless in the heat, lounge on their bunks if they’re lucky enough to have a bunk. The cellblock is crowded – designed to hold 40 with 108 living inside – but people squeeze by each other like strangers on a crowded sidewalk. Anything that doesn’t fit on the floor hangs from the ceiling and the walls.“Just wait till nighttime,” says a toothless inmate doing a 30-year sentence who called himself Francisco, “that’s when it gets bad.”Because there are not enough beds, prisoners are forced to sleep on the ground with only a thin foam slab between them and the floor. Others sleep underneath the bottom bunks when there is no open floor space. In the courtyard facing blocks A and B, a pile of foam mattresses lie piled up in the sun. The extra mattresses are drying out before the prisoners lay them back on the cellblock floor to sleep.“You can’t even walk through here at night. The mattresses line up on the floor like carpet,” wall to wall, said Ricardo Vargas, a tattooed 21-year-old inmate.Beyond the sleeping conditions, inmates complained that the overcrowding keeps them from being able to see family on visitation days. They also complained about small food rations — rice, beans and chayote — and unsanitary conditions. Many of the overcrowded cellblocks have only one toilet per 100 inmates.But many said work is their main concern. “We want to work, we want jobs. Here, there’s no way to lift ourselves up,” said Ronald Miguel Chávez, 50, serving time for robbery.There are workshops where prisoners can build things to sell, Chávez said, but the penitentiary does not provide any materials, tools or training. There’s simply too many inmates.José David Sánchez, 20, stood under the shade of a tree in the courtyard. Sánchez, baby-faced, has never been in prison before and just finished his first five months of a three-year sentence for robbery. He has been studying for his high school diploma in what he called a “street classroom,” a common space in the yard where inmates can meet with volunteers or instructors from the Education Ministry.Sánchez said he’s worked his whole life and had saved up enough money to buy a taxi before he was caught up in a robbery and landed here. He said he wants to be a chef when he gets out. Until then, he’s just passing time.San Rafael’s warden, Miguel Lobo, knows the challenges that are ahead for the vast majority of these prisoners.“When people get out of prison, if they don’t have help it’s very difficult. They don’t have the right tools to make it,” Lobo said.This, perhaps amazingly, is exactly what a select group of prisoners here are getting. In a separate cellblock, the crowds of prisoners disappear and the environment becomes reminiscent of summer camp cabins — but with razor wire. There are 70 inmates living here in cellblock E. All are inmates with physical disabilities and are non-violent offenders who are almost done with their sentences. This is the only part of San Rafael that is not over capacity. In fact, there is still room for another 26 prisoners in this oasis.Of course, not everyone in prison gets this kind of treatment. With more than 600 prisoners entering the Costa Rican penitentiary system every month, there are hardly enough resources to meet the basic needs of those already in the system. Lobo said this influx is the equivalent of one new prison every month.Harsher sentences and the implementation of flagrancy courts — expedited trials for criminals caught in the act with pre-assigned sentences — have ballooned the prison system. MNP’s April report noted that the steep increase in the prison population is due, in part, to reforms to Costa Rica’s criminal justice system. More than 30 percent of the current prison population is serving time assigned by flagrancy courts and other abbreviated court proceedings. Lobo called them “prisoner factories.”“It’s not just a question of the budget. It’s a question of policy,” Lobo said. “There need to be stronger social policies that look after those with the least so that these people don’t end up here.”Lobo described cellblock E, also known as “Opportunities,” as a pilot program for inmate rehabilitation and preparation to re-enter society. One of the most important services offered to these inmates is a padrino, or “godfather,” who serves as a kind of sponsor for the inmates when they leave prison. Besides the padrinos, inmates here work in communal gardens, cook their meals together in a large kitchen and have access to a library. There’s even a butterfly garden.That’s where David Román Fonseca was on Monday morning. The 24-year-old boxer is set to be released in the next two months after serving his sentence for aggravated robbery.“For me, first, I learned about spirituality, God,” he said. “There’s also the lesson that comes from my crime. Just because I made a mistake dones’t make me a criminal” for life, he said.Fonseca said cellblock E has been a dramatic change from his time in San Carlos prison, where he served the majority of his time. He said he was looking forward to seeing his 2-year-old daughter, who was born while he was incarcerated.“This place is like another world,” he said as orange and pale yellow butterflies floated by. Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Related posts:Russian asylum-seeker goes on hunger strike as indefinite detention stretches into third year Costa Rica’s President Solís signs condolence book for Charlie Hebdo victims Prison overcrowding in Costa Rica jumps 50 percent in 10 years Crisis at the border: Costa Rica weighs its options after Nicaragua violently turns back Cuban migrants Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times Alberto Font/The Tico Times
South African Airways (SAA) has been named the world’s most punctual airline, according to a new flight statistics report.The June 2013 Airline and Airport On-Time Performance Report by FlightStats indicated that major international airlines delivered, on average, 75.85 percent of their flights to the arrival gate within 15 minutes of schedule in June 2013.This figure represents a decline from May’s 80.70 percent average.SAA topped the list of global airlines, with a 93.33 percent average, while only five other major international carriers delivered more than 90 percent of their flights on-time.Global aviation cancellations were up 0.3 percent in June compared to May 2013.“This is a fantastic result for SAA as we have now over the last five months achieved over 90 percent or above on-time performance, beating the list of the most on-time airlines in the world on three occasions,” SAA country manager Australasia Tim Clyde-Smith said.“The result speaks volumes about SAA’s commitment and dedication to meet and exceed service levels for our customers, and to consistently match and beat much larger and more resourced carriers.”Top 10 most on-time airlines:01 South African 93.33%02 Gulf Air 92.06%03 All Nippon Airways 91.42%04 Japan Airlines 91.29%05 Finnair 90.34%06 Tyrolean Airways 90.27%07 KLM 89.70%08 EasyJet 87.20%09 Korean Air Lines 86.80%10 Iberia 85.70%Source = ETB News: P.T. Only six major international airlinesdelivered in the top percentile.
Go back to the e-newsletterSubramanya Construction & Development Company Limited (SCDCL) and The Oberoi Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Maldives to build a luxury resort in Maldives.The investment for acquisition and development of the resort will be undertaken by SCDCL, a Bangalore-based real estate development company.Mr K.N. Balasubramanyam, Chairman and MD, SCDCL commented: “A luxury resort in Maldives requires expertise in design and operations of world-class standards. The Oberoi Group, which is rated as the best luxury hotel brand in the world, is well suited for this development. We look forward to working with The Oberoi Group to create more of such luxurious offerings globally and would like to say that this extraordinary project will make a major contribution to our long-term partnership.”Mr. P.R.S. Oberoi, Executive Chairman, The Oberoi Group said, “We are extremely pleased to partner and assist SCDCL in the design and management of the proposed luxury resort. The resort will reflect the legendary Oberoi service delivered by an attentive and caring team, making it the preferred choice for luxury travellers. We look forward to bringing the Oberoi hospitality to Maldives.”Go back to the e-newsletter
Go back to the enewsletterIn what may be a first in aviation, luxury tour operator Constellation Journeys will host a premium Penfold’s wine tasting at cruising altitude of 40,000 feet, on board the company’s privately chartered Qantas Boeing 747.Guests travelling in Business Prestige and Business Class on Constellation Journey’s 2019 Around the World journey will have time to sample a range of Australia’s finest wines including among others Yattarna Chardonnay, St Henri Shiraz and the legendary Penfolds Grange.The tasting, including wines selected by Qantas sommeliers together with specially prepared tasting notes, will be conducted with expert guidance from Qantas’ highly trained inflight hospitality team.In February 2019, Qantas was named the airline offering the best onboard wines in First and Business class overall, scooping six accolades in the global Business Traveller ‘Cellars in the Sky Awards’.The annual awards honour airline wines in First and Business Class. A total of 33 airlines entered their premium offering wines in the awards program.Qantas was awarded the coveted ‘Gold Medal for Best Overall Cellar’, as well as the top spots in the ‘Best First Class White’, ‘Best First Class Sparkling’ (jointly with Air France and Cathay Pacific), ‘Best First Class Cellar’, ‘Best-Presented First Class Wine List’ and ‘Best Business Class Fortified / Dessert Wine’ categories.“Bespoke hospitality experiences, gala dinners and highlight events are hallmarks of a Constellation Journey both on the ground in amazing locations and in the air,” said Constellation Journeys’ Founder and Managing Director Dan Kotzmann.“While French Champagne and premium wines are a feature of our service for every guest, we are also delighted to be able to offer an intimate tasting of exceptional wines in our premium cabins.”Constellation Journeys’ next 20-day global tour departs Sydney in September, 2019 flying to Seoul, Jerusalem, Malta, Barcelona, Cartagena, Machu Picchu and Easter Island. For further information see Constellation Journeys.Go back to the enewsletter