first_imgTouch Football Australia extends its deepest condolences to Federation of International Touch (FIT) President, Erick Acker and his family following the passing of his mother. The thoughts of the Touch Football community are with Erick and his family during this time. Related LinksCondolences to Acker Familylast_img

first_imgArt Briles is no longer the head coach at Baylor, and if the latest report by Joe Schad is true, it looks like some of his assistants may be out soon too. Schad, formerly of ESPN, posted a long note to Facebook Tuesday afternoon, reporting that a former Baylor student named Dolores Lozano claims she was assaulted by former football player Devin Chafin and that both Briles and assistant Jeff Lebby knew about it. She even alleges that she and Lebby exchanged texts about the situation. She says that she brought allegations to the Waco Police, but Chafin was allowed to continue playing. She says the school never had a formal hearing either.Schad also reports details of the alleged assault and includes photos of the injuries Lozano reportedly suffered from the incident. dolores lozano facebookHere is a photo provided to me by former Baylor student Dolores Lozano pic.twitter.com/lHAwUnI0g3— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) June 7, 2016Jeff Lebby, currently the Baylor passing game/RBs coach, did not have immediate comment about Lozano’s claims— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) June 7, 2016The fallout at Baylor does not appear to be over just yet. Obviously, this is awful. Expect more repercussions here.last_img read more

first_imgThe Toronto Stock Exchange shut down early Friday because of a technical problem. Here are some of the most active companies traded on the exchange as of 1:37 p.m. ET:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,668.93, up 31.34 points)Detour Gold Corp. (TSX:DGC). Miner. Down $4.35, or 30.21 per cent, to $10.05 on 7.6 million shares.Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX:BTE). Oil and gas. Down 15 cents, or 2.63 per cent, to $5.55 on 5.9 million shares.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Aerospace, rail equipment. Down three cents, or 0.75 per cent, to $3.99 on 4.8 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Healthcare. Down seven cents, or 0.91 per cent, to $7.65 on 4.3 million shares.Potash Ridge Corp. (TSX:PRK). Miner. Up two cents, or 23.53 per cent, to 10.5 cents on 3.6 million shares.Precision Drilling Corp. (TSX:PD). Oil and gas. Up seven cents, or 1.59 per cent, to $4.46 on 3.5 million shares.Companies reporting major news:Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO). Miner. Up 27 cents, or 2.08 per cent, to $13.22 on 1.4 million shares. The uranium miner reported a first quarter profit compared with a loss a year ago as it was helped by a restructuring of its Kazakh joint venture and higher uranium prices and sales. The Saskatoon-based company says it earned $55 million (14 cents per share) compared with a loss of $14 million (five cents per share) a year ago.last_img read more

first_imgLondon: Britain has asked EU leaders to delay Brexit until June 30, Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament on Wednesday, on eve of an EU summit in Brussels. May said she had written to EU President Donald Tusk “informing him that the UK seeks an extension to the Article 50 period to June 30”. “I don’t want a long extension,” she said, warning that a longer delay would mean Britain having to hold European Parliament elections at the end of May. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”The idea that three years after voting to leave the EU, the people of this country should be asked to elect a new set of MEPs is, I believe, unacceptable,” she said. “As prime minister, I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than June 30,” she said. In the letter to Tusk released by Downing Street, May said she intended to bring the Brexit deal she has negotiated with the EU back to parliament even though MPs have rejected it twice by overwhelming margins. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”If the motion is passed, I am confident that parliament will proceed to ratify the deal constructively. But this will clearly not be completed before 29 March 2019,” she wrote, adding that the timetable for passing the necessary legislation to allow Brexit was “inevitably uncertain”. “I am therefore writing to inform the European Council that the UK is seeking an extension to the Article 50 period… until 30 June 2019.” Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a cabinet revolt if she asked the EU for a long delay to Brexit, media reports said Wednesday, even after she had warned MPs of such a possibility. Downing Street confirmed that May would be asking EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday to delay Britain’s March 29 exit day by only a short period, saying voters wanted to get on with Brexit. The decision followed a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where several Brexit-supporting ministers reportedly indicated they might quit if the delay was long. Any delay can only be decided by EU leaders. One source was reported as saying that the divisions at the top of British government made it feel “like the last days of Rome”. May herself has repeatedly said she does not want to delay Brexit, but has conceded this is highly likely given the parliamentary deadlock over the process. MPs have twice rejected the divorce deal she struck with Brussels, and also ruled out leaving the EU with no deal.last_img read more

first_imgTRIPOLI- Leaders from the Libyan port of Misrata have urged militias from the city to leave Tripoli within 72 hours, after they were involved in deadly weekend clashes in the capital.A militia of former rebels from Misrata who fought the regime of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 opened fire on protesters in Tripoli, sparking unrest that killed at least 43 people.Community leaders, officials and ex-rebel commanders from the coastal city urged the “withdrawal of all ex-rebels from the city of Misrata who are in Tripoli, whatever their group is… in under 72 hours,” in a statement issued late on Sunday. The statement suggested the clashes resulted from a plan to “undermine (Misrata’s) image and show it as if it were the only obstacle to the construction of the state”.Demonstrators protesting against militias on Friday in Tripoli’s Gharghour neighbourhood were fired upon from villas occupied by fighters from Misrata, who killed several protesters before rival militias swept in.At least 43 people were killed and another 450 were wounded in the deadliest unrest to hit the capital since the fall of Kadhafi in October 2011.The defence ministry had ordered the demolition of the villas, previously home to supporters of the Kadhafi regime before they were seized by rebels in2011, before cancelling the decision later.Rebels who fought in the 2011 uprising were initially hailed as heroes for their role in toppling the Kadhafi regime.But many of these groups have since carved out their own fiefdoms in the vast country, refusing to hand over their arms to Libya’s weak central government and paying little heed to its authority.last_img read more

Since its rather hazy inception at Burlington Central High School in Burlington, Ontario, in 1989, people from all over the world have attempted the beer mile: a four-lap, four-beer testament to just how insane elite runners really are. As the beer mile migrated south from Canada, the event gained traction on college campuses in the United States as an unofficial tradition to celebrate the end of track season, when young runners were in peak physical shape and seeking reprieve from a notoriously regimented sport.Seanna Robinson, the former women’s beer mile world record-holder, went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, when the beer mile rules were still being ironed out. The competition still operates on the “Kingston Rules,” which outline the penalty lap that is incurred if a runner vomits before finishing. “The naked run, the Timbits challenge and the beer mile were just some of the many things we did that played at running and celebrating,” Robinson said. When Robinson started running beer miles at Queen’s University, women were only required to drink three beers, skipping the first. She argued for the beer mile to be the same for men and women.At around the same time Robinson was pioneering for four-beer gender equality, and setting her longstanding record, Patrick Butler — at the time a member of the Wesleyan University track team — purchased the domain BeerMile.com. He’d seen the Kingston Rules online and wanted to adopt them in the U.S., as well as to create a place to aggregate and keep track of “official” beer mile results from all over the world. That was in 1998, and there were 452 beer miles logged on the site that year. Now there are about 40,000 total races — 4,439 of them coming this year (as of Dec. 3).Butler knows the database isn’t complete — he estimates that less than 10 percent of beer mile results are actually submitted to the site. But it’s prominent enough that some competitors want out. “I probably get five or six emails a week from people saying, ‘Can you take my name off of your site? I’m trying to get a job,’” said Butler, who maintains the database himself as a passion project.Nick Symmonds, an Olympic middle-distance runner, isn’t concerned about being associated with the beer mile. If anything, he’s a proponent of the sport. “Most people don’t know what a 1:42.9 in the 800 means — which is what I did at the Olympics — but they understand what a 5:19 beer mile is,” he told me in Austin. Symmonds runs professionally for Brooks and definitely does not need to run beer miles in his spare time — for the prize money or the notoriety — but he schlepped to Austin from Seattle to create continued interest in track and field. When asked why he came to the World Championships, he said, “There’s a chance they’ll continue to watch us in two years [at the 2016 Olympics].” “Who’s got the legs, lungs and stomach to hold it all down?”The bald announcer was trying to get the crowd going before the races began. The event was meant to be held at Yellow Jacket Stadium, a proper 1,600-meter indoor running track. But last-minute concerns from the track’s owners about the imminent binge-drinking forced the race to move to a motor-racing track on the outskirts of Austin. Beneath an empty grandstand with seating for thousands, what would be the homestretch of a Formula 1 race had been transformed into a makeshift track — an oblong oval marked off by orange construction cones. The turns were too tight and the straightaways too long, but for an event that is as much about drinking as it is running, it was good enough.On the final straightaway loomed the party zone, straddled by two tables with beer lined up in rows of four. Each of the 117 participants got to choose his or her own beer, and the best runners could drink the night’s special “Beer Mile Brew.” Hops & Grain, a local Austin brewery and event sponsor, brewed the German-style blonde ale to contain only 2.2 volumes of CO2, down from a typical 2.6 volumes. Chuggability is critical in a beer mile.The women were up first, adjusting track shorts-wedgies with one hand and holding their first beers with the other as they waited to start. When the gun fired, the group of twelve toned, lean women cracked open their cans. While drinking, they waddled like drunk penguins from the back of the party zone to the front, then took off running. In the crowd, some people were sporting shirts reading, “You just got beat by a mother of six.” They were the friends and family of Chris Kimbrough, a 45-year-old Austin local, who broke the women’s world record in October on her first attempt with a time of 6:28.6.At the World Championships, though, Kimbrough was struggling; by the third beer she was doing that pre-vomit shiver that a body does when it wants to stop — and it would take her 32.3 seconds to finish beer No. 4. She stood no chance against Elizabeth Herndon, a 29-year-old professor and marathoner who came out of beer mile obscurity (and Ohio) to down her fourth beer, a New Belgium Fat Tire, in just 21.4 seconds. Herndon smashed the world record with a time of 6:17.8. Kimbrough placed fourth.Just minutes after organizers rinsed away the liquid vomit from the women’s race, 10 tank-top wearing men lined up at the same starting line for the elite men’s final. One guy was wearing jorts.James Nielsen, the highly contentious current world record-holder with a time of 4:57.0, was not among them. Nielsen said he “physically could not make it that week.” Others interpreted his absence as a clear indicator that he couldn’t defend his world record because it wasn’t legitimate.In a video he posted to YouTube, Nielsen downs his second beer in less than four seconds — a feat that other beer milers say is physically impossible. Symmonds and fan-favorite Corey Gallagher were both vying to break the elusive sub-five minute beer mile, if only to put Nielsen in his place.Bud Light Platinums featured heavily in the men’s elite race, and when the starting gun fired, iridescent blue bottles tilted skyward. Gallagher, wearing a single glove on his beer-chugging hand, downed the first in an astonishing 6.1 seconds, but coasted through lap one in 67 seconds (6 seconds slower than his final lap), allowing the guy in jorts to take the lead. But no one could drink like Gallagher. It didn’t take him longer than 10 seconds to finish any one beer, and with the final lap in sight he demolished his fourth beer faster than his previous two — in just 7.3 seconds. He rounded the last turn well ahead of the pack, the crowd screaming as he looked on pace to break 5 minutes. But he crashed through the finishing tape without breaking the threshold: 5.00.23.“This is the world record, James Nielsen is a cheat and a fake,” Gallagher declared post-race, swigging a replenishment drink from his silver plastic trophy.Nielsen vehemently denies all accusations of cheating. “I think people can drink beers even faster than me,” he said when reached by phone. “I am definitely not the human limit on how fast a beer can be drank out of a can — I’ve seen faster.” Canadian Corey Gallagher heads down the straight away trailed closely by Australian Jack Colreavy at the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships in Austin Josh Baker for Flocasts AUSTIN, Texas — Beer miles are won and lost in the “party zone.” When participants in the world’s most athletic binge-drinking event cross into it, they stop running, hastily down a minimum 5 percent ABV beer and then take off again. The zone is only 10 meters long.The best male beer-milers spend somewhere between 4 and 6 seconds in their first stop in the party zone; the best women stay for about 11 seconds. By their fourth time through — the beer mile requires four laps of running, four beers of chugging — the competitors slow. With shaky legs and winded lungs, these same men average about 14 seconds and the women about 31 seconds.1For this calculation, I did not include the final beer split of Kelly Williamson at the Beer Mile World Championships because the time was such an outlier at 1 minute and 30 seconds.But things are different at the Beer Mile World Championships, which were held here for the first time in early December. The champions drank their final beers almost twice as fast as the average elite runner in the competition — 7 seconds and 21 seconds for the male and female winners, respectively. In a race with the motto: “Chug, Run, Repeat,” the fiercest competitors guzzle through the party zone as fast as Olympic triathletes put on their post-swim socks. Members of the Women’s Elite race chug beers at the starting line of the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships in Austin Kirby Lee for Flocasts Athletes competing in the open heat of the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championship crack open their first beers at Circuit of the Americas in Austin Kirby Lee for Flocasts “This thing has been going on for 30 years with thousands of results and no one’s really paid attention, and then all of a sudden it’s on national news and people are noticing,” Nielsen said. The video of his world record-setting mile has been viewed 1.35 million times.Some of the participants at the World Championships admitted to running the beer mile in part to dispel the myth that elite runners are some strange breed of nutrition-obsessed freaks. “People think we hang out in a cabin eating chia seeds,” said 42-year-old Luis Armenteros, who placed third in the men’s sub-elite division with a time of 6:03.2. “I can’t drink everyone under the table, but I can drink a lot.”“There is the perception that elite runners are machines whose bodies are temples, but we have our vices,” said Jack Colreavy, a 25-year-old runner who traveled from Sydney, Australia, to race in the elite men’s group, but who was unable to finish. “And mine is drinking beer.” read more

The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross-country teams look to redeem themselves at a championship meet this weekend and qualify for the NCAA Championships. The Buckeyes will run at the Great Lakes Regionals on Saturday in Toledo. The men and women are looking to rebound from their fifth- and ninth-place finishes, respectively, at the Big Ten Championships on Oct. 30. Finishing close to the top of the field is the goal for both teams. A top-two finish results in an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, but with highly ranked teams on both sides, OSU is aiming just outside second place. The No.1-ranked Wisconsin Badgers and No. 7 Indiana Hoosiers highlight the men’s field, with Big Ten Champion Michigan State as the leader on the women’s side. “I think we need to be third to make it to nationals,” OSU men’s head coach Robert Gary said. “That’s certainly the No. 1 goal for the season, so we’ll see.” Redshirt senior Taylor Williams agreed with his coach. “The goal is always to get one of those top-two automatic spots. Realistically, those spots will go to Wisconsin and Indiana,” he said. “I think third would definitely put us in a good position.” Women’s assistant coach Chris Neal said the women want to repeat their regional-meet success from years past. “We’ve been top five (at the Great Lakes Regional) two years in a row and we’re looking to extend that streak to three years,” he said. Tightening up the spread from their No. 1 to No. 5 runner will be the key to success for OSU this weekend, according to the coaches. “I’d like to see us get five to six guys on a 20-second spread,” Gary said. Neal echoed similar thoughts for the women. “We’ll need to run the first half of the race like we did (at the Big Ten Championships) and clean up the back half of our pack,” Neal said. Tori Brink, a junior on the women’s team, is confident her team’s spread will tighten. “We all train together and run together and we are always right there with each other, it shouldn’t be any different in a race,” she said. The men will not be at full strength for the third meet in a row. Jake Edwards, a former Big Ten Runner of the Week, injured his hamstring at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 30 and hasn’t run competitively since. With Edwards out, junior Donny Roys and Williams will lead the way for the men. Roys was the Buckeyes top runner at the Big Ten Championships, finishing 19th in 24:21. Williams covered the 8K-course in 24:24 on way to a 21st place. Junior Tori Brink and redshirt senior Jordan Jennewine finished 23rd and 32nd, respectively, at the Big Ten Championships and should lead the way for the women on Saturday. Based on how they perform on Saturday, the Buckeyes cross-country seasons will either come to an end, or will continue with a berth in the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 21. read more

first_imgThe investigation found that the agency is swamped with applications and has failed to meet state and federal mandates for processing them in a timely manner. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Alaska State Ombudsman led an investigation into the Alaska Division of Public Assistance following a steady flow of complaints regarding delays in processed applications and payments of assistance benefits. Currently the legislature is faced with two different versions of the state operating budget from the House and Senate. The House’s version would fund 41 temporary workers at the Division of Public Assistance, while the Senate’s budget does not include any funding for the positions. Governor Bill Walker has requested the Legislature approve the funding for the additional positions.center_img One of the most crucial recommendations in state Ombudsman Kate Burkhart’s report of the investigation is to add personnel to deal with the communication problems and a backlog of roughly 20,000 applications. Since January 2016, the Alaska State Ombudsman has received a steady flow of complaints about delays in processing applications for and payment of public assistance benefits, as well as complaints about the lack of a meaningful way to contact or receive a response from the Division of Public Assistance (DPA) about the status of applications.last_img read more

first_imgThe cause of the Halibut Cove outage was due to a tree on the power line which dislodged the pole due to the continued flooding in the area. HEA crews were not able to access this area via helicopter on Sunday due to the complicated terrain. Restoration updates will be posted on HEA’s Facebook page as current information becomes available. Operation crews are in the process of gathering equipment, and began working to restore power in small sections at a time.center_img At 3:48pm, last night, HEA updated the status on the outage saying it will continue through tonight (Monday) and possibly into tomorrow, Tuesday, July 10. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享135 members in the Halibut Cove area have been without power since Sunday, July 8, according to Homer Electric Association.last_img read more

first_imgMani Ratnam and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan during the promotional event of Raavanan.PR HandoutAishwarya Rai Bachchan has confirmed again that she is part of Mani Ratnam’s upcoming movie, which is based on Tamil historical novel Ponniyin Selvan. This is her fourth movie with the ace filmmaker after Iruvar, Guru and Raavanan (Raavan in Hindi).The Bachchan ‘bahu’ was in Chennai recently to inaugurate Longines’ new boutique when she confirmed the news about teaming up with Mani Ratnam stating that it is an “honour” to work with him, but she refused to divulge details about the mega-budget project. “I don’t think it will be fair to override Mani sir and speak about the project,” said Aishwarya.Aishwarya Rai was introduced to films by Mani Ratnam with Iruvar for which she keeps him in high regards. “He’s my Guru. I started my first film ever (Iruvar) with him, and even though there’s such warmth and familiarity in our professional relationship today, it’s his wish to share details with the world whenever he chooses to,” she added while indicating that the project should be formally announced by the filmmaker himself.Aishwarya Rai’s characters in Mani Ratnam’s films have always remained major attraction irrespective of the films’ fate at the box office.Coming back to Ponniyin Selvan, it is a dream project of Mani Ratnam which is expected to take off in September. Not just Aishwarya alone, her father and Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan is rumoured to be part of the project.As per the reports, Amitabh Bachchan as Sundara Chozhar, Sathyaraj as Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Nandhini, Jayam Ravi as Arulmozhi Varman, Keerthy Suresh as Kunthavai Naachiyaar, and Karthi as Vanthiya Devan will be seen in Mani Ratnam’s creation. Naachiyaar, and Karthi as Vanthiya Devan will be seen in Mani Ratnam’s creation.So far, Vikram has confirmed about working with Mani Ratnam in the film. “When Mani Ratnam narrated me the script and told me about the outline of the character and I was like ‘Wow’. It is very intense, fierce, aggressive kind of role for which I have to build a little more body and looks have to be changed. It is more like a beast kind of role and I have been looking for something like this. You can’t call him a villain, but is nothing less than being a villain. I have been wanting to do something like this and finally, the chance has come,” he told in an interview with The International Business Times.last_img read more

first_imgFerrari Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne after the presentation of the new LaFerrari hybrid car at the 83rd Geneva Car Show.ReutersSergio Marchionne, the Italian-Canadian business magnate who was the chairman and CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the chairman and CEO of Ferrari and the chairman of Maserati till last week, died at 66 on Wednesday. Marchionne was in a critical condition at Zurich’s University Hospital for complications after undergoing a surgical procedure on his right shoulder early this month.”Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone,” FCA chairman John Elkann, of the controlling Agnelli family, said in a statement. The deteriorating health condition of Marchionne prompted Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to replace him with the head of Jeep and Ram brands, Mike Manley, on July 22. Sergio MarchionneSergio Marchionne was known for his masterstroke that saw the merger of the auto industry’s weakest companies — Fiat and Chrysler — in 2014. The intervention of Marchionne made the Italian and American multinational corporation the world’s seventh-largest automaker from the edge of closing down.Born in Chieti near Italy’s Adriatic coast on June 17, 1952, Marchionne had moved with his parents to Toronto in 1966. Marchionne joined Fiat in 2004. During his tenure at Fiat, Marchionne boosted the company’s value more than tenfold. It was Marchionne’s idea to spinoff supercar-maker Ferrari NV in 2015 from FCA, where Marchionne also served as CEO and chairman.last_img read more

first_imgHome minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal. File PhotoHome minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said those involved in the murder of Rangamati’s Naniarchar upazila parishad chairman Shaktiman Chakma will be brought to book soon, reports UNB.“I have ordered the authorities concerned to strictly handle the terrorists who were trying to destroy peace in the hill districts,” the minister said at a programme organised by Krishak League in the capital’s Tejgaon area in the evening.A terrorist group has been trying to destroy the peace in the hills for the last few days, the minister said adding that “Instructions have been issued to identify them immediately and bring them to book.”Earlier in the day, five people were gunned down and eight others shot as unknown assailants ambushed a microbus heading to the funeral of slain Naniarchar chairman Shaktiman Chakma.The Naniarchar upazila chairman was also shot to death by unidentified miscreants in front of the upazila parishad complex on Thursday morning.Murdered chairman advocate Shaktiman Chakma, 55, was also a leader of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (MN Larma faction).last_img read more

first_imgIraqi forces, supported by members of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation units), advance in the western desert in the northern Iraqi region of al-Hadar, 105 kilometers south of Mosul, on 23 November, 2017, as they attempt to flush out remaining Islamic State (IS) group fighters in the Al-Jazeera region straddling Salaheddin, Nineveh and Anbar provinces. Photo: AFPIraqi forces launched a sweep through the western desert to flush out remaining Islamic State group fighters on Thursday, an operation the prime minister has said will spell the jihadists’ “final defeat” in the country.The arid, sparsely populated wastelands between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are the last refuge of the jihadists in Iraq after troops and paramilitaries ousted them from all urban areas.”The Iraqi army, the federal police and the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation paramilitary units) this morning began clearing the Al-Jazeera region straddling Salaheddin, Nineveh and Anbar provinces,” the head of Joint Operations Command, General Abdelamir Yarallah, said in a statement.The Hashed al-Shaabi released live footage from Siniyah in Saleheddin province of bulldozers clearing an earthen barrier to allow heavy armour to advance into the desert.The tanks bore both the Iraq national flag and that of the paramilitary force, which is made up largely of Shiite militias — a black standard bearing the name of Imam Hussein, one of the faith’s most revered figures.Long lines of pick-up trucks waited to follow.By the afternoon the Hashed said its forces had already taken control of 56 villages and hamlets to reach the area around Lake Tharthar, capturing three strategic bridges and destroying eight car bombs and pick-up trucks along the way.The Al-Jazeera region is where IS fighters escaped to when Iraqi forces recaptured the last towns they still held in a successful drive up the Euphrates Valley to the Syrian border earlier this month.That offensive culminated in the lightning recapture of the town of Rawa last Friday and saw Iraqi forces meet up with Syrian forces at the border.”This operation is aimed at clearing the desert of the pockets where the jihadists took refuge when the towns that they had held were recently liberated,” a senior officer in Anbar province told AFP.- ‘Final defeat’ -The region’s dry valleys, oases and steppes make up around four percent of national territory, Hisham al-Hashemi, an Iraqi expert on IS, told AFP last week.It has been known as a hotbed of jihadist insurgency and smuggling since the US-led invasion of Iraq ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003, long before the arrival of IS in 2014.”There are some desert areas which Iraqi government forces have not entered since 2003 and the operation is aimed at securing these areas 100 percent,” security analyst Said al-Jayyashi told AFP.”Once the clearance operations have been completed right up to the Iraq-Syria border, forces will redeploy and fortify the frontier,” he said.Iraq’s close ally Iran has already declared victory over IS but Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday that he would not follow suit until the desert had been cleared of remaining jihadists.”After the operation has ended, we will announce the final defeat of Daesh in Iraq,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.It is a massive turnaround for the jihadist group that in 2014 ruled over seven million people in a territory as large as Italy encompassing large parts of Syria and nearly a third of Iraq.On the Syrian side of the border, IS is under massive pressure too.In the border region, pro-government forces and US-backed Kurdish-led fighters are conducting separate operations to clear IS fighters from the countryside north of the Euphrates valley after ousting them from all Syrian towns.Elsewhere, IS retains a presence in the Yarmuk refugee camp and the Hajar Aswad district just south of the capital Damascus, where the group is battling other jihadists and pro-government forces.In the central province of Homs, it is being squeezed by troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and their Russian backers as it struggles to maintain a grip on a few small areas.To the south, in Daraa province on the border with Jordan, an affiliated group called Jaish Khaled Bin Walid is mainly battling other rebel groups.last_img read more

first_img Share – / 10Two people were killed and several schools placed on lockdown after a recently terminated employee opened fire Wednesday at a transportation business in Katy, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.It happened at about 8:43 a.m. at the Knights Transportation Facility located in the 20400 block of Franz Road.“The shooter was terminated a couple weeks ago. We understand that he came to this location armed with a shotgun and a handgun, began shooting — one of the employees here was shot. The shooter then committed suicide, as we understand, self-inflicted,” HCSO spokesman Ralph Gonzalez said.  Morton Ranch High School is across the street from the crime scene, and was on lockdown. A Katy Independent School District spokesperson said three other district campuses were also briefly closed.Gonzalez said other employees described what happened.“One of the employees stated that he said, ‘Ya’ll ruined my life.’ He parked in front, walked in the front door, and we understood he fired one round straight through … into an area where the drivers dine and have coffee — they think like a warning shot — and then started in the building,” he said.Two other employees sustained injuries from shrapnel or debris, as they ran to escape the shooting. One deputy hit his knee hard when responding officers had to hit the ground. He was transported to a hospital.The suspect’s name has not been released.ABNER FLETCHER Deputies responded to a report of shots fired at the Knights Transportation facility located at the 20400 block of Franz Road.last_img read more

first_img Share House Speaker Joe Straus keeps watch on the chamber during debate on Senate Bill 6 on municipal annexation on Aug. 11, 2017. Bob Daemmrich for the Texas TribuneHouse Speaker Joe Straus keeps watch on the chamber during debate on Senate Bill 6 on municipal annexation on Aug. 11, 2017.Joe Straus wants a committee to look at the state’s economic competitiveness and make sure the state government doesn’t spoil a high-functioning business environment.That might be a good government idea. It’s a great political idea.The House speaker’s timing is adroit. The new House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness is on a short fuse, with 60 days to “look at issues such as workforce readiness, infrastructure and state and local economic development tools,” according to the speaker’s announcement. “The committee will also study the reasons that employers give for choosing, or not choosing, to do business in a particular state.” To keep his momentum — not to mention the state representatives most likely to keep him in the speaker’s chair for two more years — Straus and the establishment Republicans need continuing support from the business leaders who opposed the bathroom bill.One faction wants the primaries to be a debate over morals. Straus wants a focus on the Texas economy, and his new committee could offer protection to candidates making that argument.One sees a shield, the other a fig leaf.center_img In case that’s too indirect, think bathrooms. Straus came out on the winning sidein the Texas Legislature’s recent rumbles over whether and how to regulate which restrooms and other facilities transgender Texans should be allowed to use. His argument — bolstered, late in the game, by a swell of support from business leaders — was that proposed state regulations would hurt the state’s image with the people making decisions about business expansions and relocations.Those business leaders argued that regulations like those considered in Texas and passed or considered in other states were inconsiderate of their employees and customers.“Our companies are competing every day to bring the best and brightest talent to Dallas,” a group of North Texas CEOs said in a letter, one of several from businesses in and outside of the state. “To that end, we strongly support diversity and inclusion. This legislation threatens our ability to attract and retain the best talent in Texas, as well as the greatest sporting and cultural attractions in the world.”Another letter, this one from San Antonio executives, was explicit: “Controversial issues, such as regulation of bathrooms, divert much needed attention from what really matters.”Bathrooms aren’t the only variable in the business development equation, but they’re the topical one, splitting incumbent Republican lawmakers and their potential challengers into factions on an issue of some interest to primary voters.Among other things, those primaries will answer a question that animated much of the regular and special legislative sessions this year: Are conservative voters in sync with conservative business leaders, or are lawmakers who sided with business in danger when those voters enter polling places next year? The March 6 primaries are less than five months away. Candidates who want to run in 2018 have to file with the state by Dec. 11.The deadline for the new committee’s report is Dec. 12.“The world is watching, from CEOs to the best and brightest workers,” Straus said in a news release. “They need to see that Texas welcomes them and is determined to stay at the front of the pack when it comes to economic development.”Straus wants the committee “to highlight the principles that the Texas House believes are critical to economic growth.” He mentioned tax breaks and incentive funds already in place, but said businesses are also looking for good public and higher education and “a high quality of life for their employees.”State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, will chair the panel. He’s the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, and he’s also the legislator blamed by many “bathroom bill” supporters for killing their proposal in the Texas House. Cook survived a challenge in last year’s Republican primary from Thomas McNutt, getting 225 more of the 28,617 votes cast in that race.That’s tight. McNutt, part of the family that built a prosperous fruitcake company, the Collin Street Bakery, is planning to come back for another swing at Cook.That won’t be the only race where this comes up. The bathroom bill is a classic wedge issue, dividing one group of Republicans from another in a way that makes voters’ choices seem clearer.Social conservatives have had an outsized voice in recent Republican primaries. One great example was the 2014 race for lieutenant governor where then-state Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston beat three statewide elected officials — Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples — by running as the most conservative choice.last_img read more

first_img “The morning of May 18th, I got a call not to come to school. There was a shooter. Time seemed to stop but everything around us moved so fast. I attended a prayer vigil that evening and then fled to Austin to spend time with my aunt. Gun violence was personal now, and I felt the clock was ticking until another community was next.” “To try and find my personal solution, that weekend the Orange Generation was born. It’s a nonprofit spread awareness about gun violence and help victims. We chose the name because orange is the color for gun violence, and most of us were born the same year that the Columbine shooting happened.”“Before, I felt too young to make a difference, or my voice was too small. I’ve learned that one person can make a difference, no matter how they do that. Activism doesn’t always have to be large and loud. It’s become part of my daily life, with little things. At graduation, I pinned an orange ribbon on my robe to honor victims of gun violence — even though my school’s dress code meant it had to go under my stole. I still wore orange.” 00:00 /03:58 Listen Courtesy of Kennedy RodriguezKennedy Rodriguez graduated with the Santa Fe High Class of 2018 and is a founding member of the Orange Generation, an advocacy group to prevent gun violence.Students return to class in Santa Fe this week, where the community is still coming to grips with a deadly school shooting last May. While schools around the country react differently to shootings, we have one student’s story.Kennedy Rodriguez attended Santa Fe High and tells in her own words how this changed her. Rodriguez, 18, graduated in June and is about to start her freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin.Here are some highlights. Listen to the full audio piece below.center_img X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Sharelast_img read more

first_imgBy Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, mgreen@afro.comHundreds of Howard University students are participating in a sit-in for the fifth straight day after last week’s report that approximately $1 million in financial aid funds had been misappropriated, causing a national scandal, Black Twitter uproar, and the Internet’s gift- memes of the alleged student embezzler, Tyrone Hankerson Jr.Led by the student group, HU Resist, the student activists have occupied the Mordecai Wyatt Johnson Administration Building and presented the administration with a list of demands.  The list of demands include, an end to “unsubstantiated tuition hikes”, actively fighting “rape culture” on campus, more housing accommodations for students looking to live in gentrifying D.C. neighborhoods, the “immediate resignation” of Wayne A.I. Frederick, the school’s president, and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.Howard University students hold a press conference about the protest in the Administration building. (Photo by Edgar Brookins for the AFRO)The students are using Twitter as a mobilizing force and are regularly updating their page in order to ask for support, such as financial, food, and sleeping bags, and keep followers abreast of their work and progress.After protesting through the weekend and Easter holiday, the group’s April 2 tweet, asked for help with food supplies.“Thank you to everyone that has provided support and food.  We are in need of hot food for lunch.  We need vegan/ vegetarian options as well.  Please dm [direct message] us if you’re willing to help.”Even in their requests for support, the student group is even giving back to the community.“Yesterday we continued our Food Pantry and donated some of our excess food to homeless members of the community. We managed to feed about 500 people,” the organization wrote.According to The Root, Veritas1867, the person who originally posted the now deleted Medium article that anonymously leaked the financial aid scandal and named Hankerson as one of the main culprits, said that the student protestors are “just getting started”.“The alumni and the board want to make this about numbers but this is really about people, and about how they’ve been abused,” Veritas told The Root on Sunday.Veritas, who prefers the pronoun “they” called Howard’s president “a bully who intimidates people. He’s done that to faculty he’s done that to students for years. And he has gotten away with it. The reason this thing has gone on for so long is that people were afraid of him, but this time we’re not afraid.”Vertias said, “Chase,” the student informant who provided what they called proof of the financial aid scandal, is experiencing intimidation from Howard’s community after his name was leaked through various social media sources.“They want to humiliate him and silence him,” says Veritas. “And sadly, it’s working. He’s in a whole other state, he doesn’t want to talk to press. He’s not at ease,” they said.Veritas said they and HU Resist are now standing in solidarity with Chase and other struggling students.““It’s time for new leadership. Alumni and the administration think this is about financial aid but the truth is that [Frederick] has created a culture at the university where people don’t hold people accountable,” Veritas said.The students met with the administration on Sunday and at least one of their demands, extending the housing application deadline to May 1, was met.“We have no plans to leave until our demands are met,” they said.last_img read more

first_imgYears ago, a few days after Christmas, a friend called and in the course of the conversation asked if we’d heard that Fidel Castro had died.It hadn’t been reported on the early news, and, remember, this was 2005, when Castro was still hale and hearty.There was nothing on the newsbreaks during the day, or on the midday news, and nothing on the Internet that we could find. That seemed strange; whether you love Castro, hate him or couldn’t care less, he makes news.Later in the day, I went to visit some friends near Alajuela, northwest of San José. They, too, were surprised at the demise of Castro. They reported it to a neighbor, who hadn’t heard anything either.Reality hit as the day wore on. It was Dec. 28! Innocents’ Day.Innocents’ Day goes back to the biblical story of King Herod, who killed all the babies in Judea but was tricked by the Holy Family who fled to Egypt.During the Middle Ages in Spain and other countries, it became a day of tricks and practical jokes, sort of like April Fools’ Day on April 1. The custom is not as common now, but in Costa Rica, every year San José’s Simón Bolívar Zoo gets calls for “Señor León” and “Ella Fante.”Most tricks are mild and truly innocent. A coin is glued to the sidewalk and everyone tries to pick it up. A ¢1,000 bill on the ground is attached to a thread and jerked out of reach when you try to enrich yourself. A gift-wrapped package on your desk at work turns out to be an empty box. You’re told to meet someone on the corner at 3 p.m. and at 4 p.m. realize you’ve been tricked.On the more serious side, the man at the store may toss you a bag of eggs, or someone may snatch a bag of potato chips right out of your hand. Or all the benches in the park are bedecked with “wet paint” signs.On the horrible side, one year at the year-end festival in Zapote, southeast of San José, some demonic-minded person threw a big rag doll from the top of the roller coaster, leaving the crowds screaming. Because the camera crew from a leading TV station was there to film it, they were suspected of being part of the plot.Even the mighty get caught, as one major newspaper did when it printed a false obituary that came in just at deadline on Dec. 28.Is it possible for an entire village to be fooled on Innocents’ Day? It happened when a truck went up the road around noon with a sound system announcing a collection of bottles, cans and newspapers for recycling. This is a common charity activity, so in every house folks gathered up their bottles, cans and paper and hauled it all out to the road expecting that the truck would pass through villages farther up the road and come back. It never returned, and late in the afternoon the entire village, feeling foolish, retrieved their bottles, cans and papers and stuffed them back into storage.It was Dec. 28.Originally published Dec. 22, 2006. Facebook Comments Related posts:Google doodle recognizes Children’s Day in Costa Rica Police seize $1 million collection of pre-Columbian art in Santa Ana PHOTOS: Lantern parade and torch kick off Costa Rica Independence Day festivities PHOTOS: Snapshots of Costa Rica’s Independence Day Paradelast_img read more

first_imgCable industry body Cable Europe has criticised the European Commission’s latest Radio Spectrum Policy Programme text as falling short setting clear rules where new wireless services cause interference with existing services, including cable TV reception.“We are encouraged to see that coexistence of new and existing services is regarded as important in the latest text agreed on EU spectrum policy. Promoting competition, investment and the efficient use of spectrum are also key achievements in future-proofing this policy area. But we are disappointed to see that the new rules fall short of answering the simple question of what the European consumer is supposed to do if a new device interferes with their television, internet connection or any other consumer equipment operating on the same frequency,” said Cable Europe managing director Caroline Van Weede.Cable Europe said the latest developments gave room for hope that the EC wished to promote the efficient use of spectrum and competition, but also hailed the example set by the Netherlands, which has made commercial agreements on interference a pre-condition of spectrum acquisition.last_img read more

first_imgLeEco’s planned US$2 billion takeover of US TV maker Vizio has been called off, with the company citing “regulatory headwinds” to completing the deal.In place of the takeover, China-based LeEco will still co-operate with Vizio, with the company to give access to its content ecosystem on Vizio TVs, as well as possibly bringing Vizio products to the Chinese market.“In recent months, there has been a significant amount of speculation about the financial situation of LeEco and how it might negatively impact the conclusion of the deal with Vizio,” said IHS Markit in a research note responding to the news.“In addition, there was information to suggest the Chinese government might be the one holding up the approvals.”The note claims that the deal represented a quick way for LeEco to establish an overseas business and without Vizio it will be “more challenging for LeEco to organically grow its US sales – particularly for TVs”.Vizio, it argued, will continue with a “business as usual” strategy in North America, where it has high market share for TV sales.LeEco and Vizio announced a definitive agreement under which LeEco would acquire Vizio for US$2 billion in July 2016. Vizio’s hardware and software businesses was to be owned and operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of LeEco, while the Vizio data business, Inscape, was due to spin out and operate as a separate, privately owned company.LeEco manufactures TVs, smartphones and accessories like headphones, while Vizio offers TVs, displays and audio equipment like soundbars and multi-room speakers.last_img read more