An inmate of the house was killed in the accident while four others, including two women were also injured.The driver of the garbage truck has been arrested. A parked garbage truck accidentally got released from its brakes and rammed into a house killing one person and injuring four others in Kotahena this morning.The police said that the driver of the truck had parked the vehicle and went for tea and at that time the truck had gone on reverse and slammed into a house 50 meters away.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) bureau in Kathmandu, the capital, reported that tens of thousands of demonstrators against King Gyanendra’s suspension of parliamentary rule challenged the curfew around the country and three people were killed as a result of use of deadly force by police. The use of such force against unarmed civilians is without justification and inexcusable, it added. Following the delivery of a letter from High Commissioner Louise Arbour, the Nepalese chief of staff promised that UN staff would be given curfew passes for tomorrow, a UN spokesman said. But today’s ban prevented UN teams from fulfilling their work in monitoring and playing a restraining role both with demonstrators and security forces. Earlier today, OHCHR spokesman in Nepal Kieran Dwyer said the denial of curfew passes was “a clear violation” of the agreement between the OHCHR and the Government setting out the mandate the Nepal office which “provides that OHCHR-Nepal shall have ‘freedom of movement … throughout Nepal’.” Also today, a group of independent UN human rights experts added their voices to the rising chorus against the excessive use of force and called on the Government to exercise restraint and guarantee fundamental rights for all. Their statement they voicing “grave concern” followed a call by Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week for King Gyanendra to take “courageous steps” to find a way avoid further bloodshed. Mr. Annan has been calling for the restoration of “democratic freedoms and institutions” ever since King Gyanendra dissolved parliament, imposed a state of emergency and suspended civil liberties in February 2005. “The law enforcement agencies have resorted to indiscriminate firing of rubber bullets – even on occasion live ammunition – into crowds, beatings, raids on homes and destruction of property. Scores of bystanders and demonstrators, including women, children, journalists and lawyers have been identified among the casualties,” the experts said. They urged the Government to guarantee fundamental human rights for all, including the rights to life, physical and psychological integrity, freedom from arbitrary detention, and the freedom of opinion, expression, association, and assembly. The experts included Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions; Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders; Ambeyi Ligabo, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on Torture; and Leïla Zerrougui, Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Special Rapporteurs are unpaid experts serving in an independent personal capacity who received their mandate from the now defunct UN Commission on Human Rights. They will now report to the newly established and enhanced Human Rights Council.
TORONTO – Ontario’s finance minister delivered the province’s fiscal plan Thursday, the government’s first balanced budget in a decade. Here are the highlights:____PHARMACARE FOR YOUTHMore than 4,400 prescription drugs will be free for anyone under 25 starting next year under the province’s new pharmacare program.The program, dubbed OHIP+, is meant to provide universal drug coverage to children and youth regardless of family income.It will cover all drugs currently available under the Ontario Drug Benefit program, with no co-payment or deductible.The province says the new system will cost $465 million per fiscal year once it’s up and running.____HEALTH CARE ‘BOOSTER SHOT’Ontario has budgeted $11.5 billion in new health-care spending over the next three years, an amount that’s $7 billion higher than the province had previously planned.The so-called “booster shot” includes $1.3 billion to help cut wait times to see specialists, get key surgeries and access mental health services.It also includes funds earmarked for hospital construction, such as new facilities in the Niagara and Windsor areas.That spending will total $9 billion over a decade.____GROWING DEBTDespite reaching balance in its latest budget, Ontario’s debt continues to grow — with projections putting it at $312 billion for 2017-2018.The province’s net debt is expected to rise to $336 billion in 2019-20.Interest on debt is the fourth largest spending area, at $11.6 billion.____CHILD CARE SPACESOntario is vowing to create 24,000 new licensed child care spots, 60 per cent of which would be government-subsidized.That would come at a cost of $200 million.The province says it has already created 56,000 licensed child care spaces in recent years.____SCHOOL AND BEYONDOntario is vowing to build new schools in high-growth areas and help older facilities get a facelift.The province is setting aside about $16 billion in the next decade for new construction as well as renovations and retrofits to make existing schools more energy-efficient.Students are also getting a hand with work experience, with $190 million earmarked over three years to create 40,000 placements for them and for recent graduates.____HELP FOR SENIORSGetting around using public transit will be slightly cheaper for Ontario seniors, who will be able to get part of their transit expenses refunded under a new tax credit.The program, which is slated to kick in on July 1, will cover 15 per cent of eligible transit costs, up to $130 per person annually.It is expected to cost the province $10 million a year.Money is also being set aside — $8 million over three years — for so-called elderly persons centres, which provide services such as meals on wheels and exercise classes.The province’s dementia strategy is also getting $100 million over three years to support residents with dementia and those who care for them.____SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS RESIDENTSOntario’s budget includes a number of measures meant to help the province’s indigenous communities access education and justice, among other things.The government is spending $200 million over three years to boost postsecondary education and training opportunities for indigenous people.Meanwhile, $44.2 million will be spent in the next two years to expand or establish programs to make the justice system more culturally relevant, including the Gladue Program, which encourages courts to consider non-custodial sentences for indigenous offenders.Another $2 million will be spent in that same time frame to develop anti-racism programs that will be designed and delivered by indigenous people.____TAXES ON TOBACCO, HOTEL STAYSThe Liberals are increasing tobacco taxes and giving municipalities the power to levy a hotel tax.Tobacco tax rates will rise by $10 per carton of cigarettes over the next three years, starting with a $2 bump that takes effect at midnight.As for the hotel tax, the budget provides few details, but it will require amendments to the Municipal Act and the City of Toronto Act, which gives the city the authority to levy its own taxes, but that has so far excluded hotels.____LAND TRANSFER TAX REVENUE INCREASESouthern Ontario’s booming housing market poured hundreds of millions more than expected into Ontario’s coffers last fiscal year.It helped generate $637 million more than projected in land transfer tax revenue.The land transfer tax is expected to bring in $3.1 billion this fiscal year._____ONLINE PROTECTION PILOT PROJECTOntario wants to help its financial institutions improve their cybersecurity with a new $4-million pilot project.The project will pair financial institutions with companies working in the cybersecurity sector.The province says that will also help create high-tech jobs.____OPPOSITION PARTIES REACTOntario’s opposition parties derided the Liberal government’s budget.Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says the fiscal plan is nothing but a ploy to win over voters ahead of next year’s provincial election.Ontario’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, meanwhile, says the budget does nothing to address the needs of cash-strapped families already struggling with hydro bills and housing costs.____ Highlights of the Ontario budget unveiled Thursday by Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 27, 2017 2:12 pm MDT Last Updated Apr 27, 2017 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, right, delivers the 2017 Ontario budget next to Premier Kathleen Wynne at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Thursday, April 27, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hardware authentication tokens aren’t a new concept, but Google thinks it’s time to bring these devices to a much broader audience. First whispered about back in January, Google has taken to the stage at the RSA conference this week to offer some insight about what it hopes to accomplish with the Google One (password) ring. That’s not it pictured above, by the way, but hopefully it’s just as cool-looking.Right now, Google is testing a USB dongle — which is exactly what many banks distribute to their corporate clients who need strong authentication measures to access online account services. Engineer Mayank Upadhyay notes that there’s one key difference with Google’s stick: it also features an NFC chip. That would potentially allow a users to kick start the login process by placing a phone or tablet within range.But a small, wearable device would work, too. That’s where the ring comes in. An innocuous ring that could validate a user’s identity (assuming the companion USB token is also within range) would help solve several of today’s most serious computer security issues. If the token and ring are being used to authenticate, users wouldn’t fall into the trap of re-using the same password across dozens of sites. The hardware pair would also ensure that those ridiculous passwords we see every year on the top 100 leaked passwords list aren’t still going to be causing problems five years from now.So what’s Google’s interest in all this? There’s got to be an angle, and it’s probably safe to assume that tight integration with Chrome (which recently received an optional strong password generator), Chrome OS, and Android. The same hardware present in the USB dongle could be easily built in to phones, tablets, and laptops to give users a more convenient way to utilize their rings.Google’s also got a thing for analytics, and the company would almost certainly be keeping tabs (anonymously, of course) on which services users are signing in to and what’s going on behind the scenes — like shopping or banking — to build an even better advertising profile.[photo by Flickr user nikoretro]
A transient, thought to be 25, was at a bus stop Tuesday night near East Fourth Plain Boulevard and Main Street when he started demanding a C-Tran security officer give him a gun so he could shoot himself, said Sgt. Kevin Hatley with the Vancouver Police Department.Police responded to the scene across from the Walgreens at 7:14 p.m. The man was thought to be violent, according to emergency radio traffic monitored by The Columbian.However, the man complied when officers asked him to sit down, so they could handcuff him, Hatley said. He was transported to a local hospital by ambulance.
Online farming equipment marketplace Machinery Pete has acquired equipment classified platform Tractor Search from USAgNet, a Wisconsin-based network of daily agriculture news websites serving 15 states throughout the Northeast and Midwest. The Tractor Search acquisition marks the formation of a strategic partnership in which Machinery Pete will serve as USAgNet’s exclusive equipment search partner, and augments Machinery Pete’s database of more than 500,000 equipment prices. Founded in 2010 by machinery auction analyst Greg Peterson, Machinery Pete serves over 300 dealerships in the Upper Midwest with over 30,000 used equipment listings, according to the company. “This is an exciting time for Machinery Pete,” said Doyle. “Adding Tractor Search to the Machinery Pete platform will advance our momentum to be the go-to resource for farmers and dealers.” “The number of farmers who rely on the internet to help make their purchasing decisions is growing all the time,” said Patrick Sternitzky, president of USAgNet, in an official statement. “By combining listings into one website, these buyers will gain a wider selection of inventory choices, while providing dealers with even more exposure.” The deal comes just weeks after Farm Journal Media, which purchased a majority interest in Machinery Pete in 2014, bought the agriculture and produce media assets of Vance Publishing Corp., including AgProfessional, Dairy Herd Management and Produce Ops. In August, the Philadelphia-based publisher named Susan Skiles Luke the 10th editor in flagship brand Farm Journal’s 138-year history. In June, Machinery Pete relaunched its website and named a new CEO, Kevin Doyle, before selling off Implement & Tractor magazine a month later.
Call 550-8422 (Anchorage) or 1-800-478-8255 (statewide) during the live broadcastPost your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (comments may be read on air).Send email to email@example.com (comments may be read on air)LIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.SUBSCRIBE: Get Talk of Alaska updates automatically by email, RSS or podcast. A police car sits unused in Sand Point.(Zoe Sobel/KUCB)Rural Alaska has long had a lack of adequate law enforcement. State budget cuts have exacerbated the problem and recent reporting reveals trouble with how or if some local law enforcement officers are screened before they’re hired. What’s being done to make rural Alaska safer?LISTEN HEREHOST: Anne HillmanGUESTS:Walt Monegan, Department of Public Safety CommissionerAndrew Merrill, VPSO Captain
By AFRO StaffThis summer, young people in Baltimore will have the opportunity to pour their energy into the city’s first ever Olympic-style sports tournament.On June 5, Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young and the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks announced the “Charm City Games” competition, which is scheduled to begin in July.“The inaugural Charm City Games will engage our youth in positive recreational activities and help boost civic engagement by putting them in direct contact with their elected City Council Representatives,” Mayor Young said in a statement.The Charm City Games will encourage young people across the city between the ages of 12-14, in cooperation with the Mayor’s Office and each City Council district to assemble teams to compete in basketball, tennis, soccer, track and field and other sports. The week-long competition will take place July 14-20, at locations throughout the city, and will begin with an opening ceremony at City Hall on July 13. Teams will compete for what organizers believe will become a coveted trophy, the Charm City Cup.“The mission of the Charm City Game is to connect communities through competition,” said Reginald Moore, Executive Director of Baltimore City Recreation and Parks, in a statement. “It’s no secret that avenues to engage the city’s youth between the ages of 12-18 is a necessity. Charm City Games was designed with this in mind. We’re excited to launch this event as one of many of our new and exciting youth engagement initiatives.”Parents can register their children to participate in the city-wide competition until June 14, by visiting bcrp.baltimorecity.gov/charm-city-games , they can register onsite at Herring Run, Virginia S. Baker, Northwood, Walter P. Carter, CC Jackson, Roosevelt and Edgewood Recreation Centers.Organizers of the inaugural Charm City Games are calling on parents, mentors and community leaders to participate in the competition as team coaches. Participation in the Charm City Games is free. More information is available of various social media platforms.
If you are bored and are unable to find a meaning in what you do, chances are you may develop extreme political views sooner, a study reveals. Boredom may be contributing to a widening of political views among voters, according to researchers from King’s College London and the University of Limerick.“Boredom puts people on edge. It makes them seek engagements that are challenging, exciting, and that offer a sense of purpose. Political ideologies can aid this existential quest,” said Dr Wijnand van Tilburg from King’s College London. Boredom motivates people to alter their situation and fosters the engagement in activities that seem more meaningful than those currently at hand, he added. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, the findings are based on one experiment and two scientific surveys carried out in the Republic of Ireland.In their initial experiment, the researchers recruited 97 people from a university campus. The participants first indicated their political orientation (whether they considered themselves liberal or conservative) before being randomly assigned to complete either a task deemed to be highly boring or a comparatively less boring task. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThose assigned to the high boredom group transcribed 10 references about concrete mixing, while those assigned to the low boredom group only had to transcribe two of these references. After completing the boring tasks, the researchers asked the participants to describe their political orientation once again. However, this time the participants indicated their political orientation on a seven-point scale. The researchers found that liberals in the low boredom group were more moderate in their political orientation, compared to liberals in the high boredom group. A similar trend was found for conservatives, though it was not statistically significant as there were only 26 politically right-wing participants, which reduced the study’s statistical power. The study authors also conducted a survey of 859 people living in Ireland and found that people who were easily bored tended to endorse more extreme political views. Another survey of 300 people found that being prone to boredom was associated with searching for meaning in life, which was in turn associated with political extremism. The authors suggest that adopting a more extreme political ideology is one way that people re-inject meaningfulness into a boring situation.“These studies indicate that political views are, in part, based on boredom and the need to counteract these negative, existential experiences with ideologies that seem to provide meaning in life,” noted Dr Eric Igou from University of Limerick. The implications of these findings are obvious. “Possibly politically radicalised individuals and groups are, at least to some degree, driven by boredom experiences in their everyday lives as an attempt to make life seem more meaningful,” the authors pointed out.
As we all know, Google is constantly looking to provide more relevant results for its users — hence, the regular algorithm updates that frequently frustrate webmasters and anyone else’s SEO efforts.Related: 6 Essential SEO Strategies to Incorporate in 2016The Pagerank algorithm that founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page introduced in the early days of Google was a step in the right direction, but it certainly wasn’t the ultimate solution for improving the quality of search results.In fact, the search giant recently unveiled a new AI (yes, that stands for artificial intelligence) called RankBrain to help the engine better understand the queries users type into the search field. The real intention of this AI wasn’t to change visitors’ search engine results pages (SERPs) — rather, it was to predict them.As a machine-learning system, RankBrain actually teaches itself how to do something instead of needing a human to program it. In other words, RankBrain will help Google provide valuable results for search queries that it hasn’t encountered before.New search queries account for about 15 percent of all the queries that Google receives, which poses a significant challenge to the engine to provide relevant results, compared to known queries. Now, RankBrain is here to help solve this problem; so brands that rely on SEO would do well to understand the impact of this new AI.How RankBrain will change search resultsRankBrain is not a new algorithm, but rather one of the hundreds of signals that make up an algorithm. It analyzes web pages related to every possible search query and has the ability to make connections between and among different words or phrases, so that the algorithms used can provide the most relevant search results.For example, the algorithms used might examine content related to iPads and then draw a connection between the terms “Apple,” “iPhone,” “iOS” and “Steve Jobs.” Previously, Google would look only at pages with the word “iPad,” but RankBrain understands that content containing related words will be highly relevant to the user’s search queries.RankBrain is also useful for people who are searching for uncommon or ambiguous words and phrases, as the engine can deduce what those people are looking for, based on their chosen words’ contextual relevancy to different search terms.According to Jack Clark, writing for Bloomberg on the topic: “[Rankbrain] uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities — called vectors — that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.”Related: Why Modern SEO Requires Almost No Technical ExpertiseHow effective is the new AI?RankBrain was unveiled only a month ago, but the results so far have been very impressive. Greg Corrado, a senior scientist at Google who helped develop the AI, said that the new algorithms have already become the third most important ranking factor and that they’re significantly improving the quality of the search results:“The other signals, they’re all based on discoveries and insights that people in information retrieval have had, but there’s no learning,” said Corrado. He continued: “I was surprised . . . I would describe this as having gone better than we would have expected.”How will RankBrain evolve?It’s clear that Google intends to introduce new updates to the AI in the future. The developers behind RankBrain believe that it has a lot of potential, but they also understand the importance of testing it first to ensure that it delivers the quality results they’re hoping for. Ultimately, RankBrain needs to be able to accurately draw connections and forecast future searches before it can be expanded and improved upon.The program so far has proven that it’s exceptionally adept at doing just that. In one instance, Google conducted an experiment to see if RankBrain could make accurate predictions of which pages would rank highest as compared with a team of search engineers. The human searchers were correct 70 percent of the time, while RankBrain boasted an impressive 80 percent accuracy. And while it may be premature to say that this new algorithm is already superior to human users, it’s clearly a promising piece of technology.If these results continue to be consistent, it’s likely that Google will invest even more of its efforts into using RankBrain, potentially giving it more and more control over search rankings.Should brands relying on SEO be nervous?Anyone who has worked in SEO for a few years understands that the changes at Google have had — and will continue to have — notable effects on the search engine rankings. The Panda and Penguin updates, for instance, caused significant penalties for a number of sites, and some were completely de-indexed overnight. Certainly, fears about any new changes to the engine’s algorithms are warranted.But while the RankBrain algorithm has received a tremendous amount of press already and has already made some changes to the search engine rankings, its impact hasn’t been consistent on all brands.The brands most likely to notice a difference in their rankings are those trying to compete for keyword phrases that Google hasn’t encountered before. For example, a company offering a new product or service that few people have searched for may see a ranking shift. Additionally, some brands might see a ranking shift for their own names as well — particularly if their names include some commonly used words.It’s worth noting that future updates to the RankBrain algorithm could have a more significant impact, so keep a close eye on the new AI changes that Google is rolling out, as they could drastically alter the future of search.Are you concerned about RankBrain’s potential impact on your business’s search rankings? Or do you think the whole issue is being blown out of proportion? Share your opinion by leaving a comment below.Related: 7 Common Mistakes Companies Make With Google AdWords Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 6 min read December 15, 2015 Register Now »
Tags: MSC Cruises, New Ship Travelweek Group Thursday, October 18, 2018 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> MSC Cruises to enter ultra-luxury segment with four new-build ships GENEVA — The ultra-luxury cruise segment will soon welcome a new heavy-hitter into the mix – none other than MSC Cruises.The cruise line announced today that it has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the construction of four ultra-luxury cruise ships for a total value in excess of EUR 2 billion.The first ship, set for delivery in spring 2023, will feature 500 staterooms and a gross tonnage of approximately 64,000 GT. The remaining three ships will come into service one per year over the following three years. All ships will feature the best and latest environmental technology, cutting-edge maritime solutions at sea and highly-innovative design, said MSC.On its new venture into luxury, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “It is off the back of the great success of our ship-within-a-ship luxury concept that our guests asked us to enter into the ultra-luxury segment, as a natural evolution of the MSC Yacht Club. These ships will be able to offer unique itineraries, thanks to their size, and the guest services will be taken to another level, including our personalized MSC Yacht Club butler service, available 24/7.”More news: Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemVago also highlighted the company’s longstanding partnership with Fincantieri. “The award-winning Seaside and Seaside-Evo class have already been recognized as groundbreaking and innovative designs. We are now introducing another new class, which will establish a new standard of ultra-luxury at sea with ships that will showcase the quality and highest standards that are associated with Made in Italy,” said Vago.Roberto Fusaro, Country Manager of MSC Cruises USA, noted how the new ships will be of particular interest to North American cruises.“In addition to our Yacht Club experience, North American guests will enjoy from 2023 onwards an even wider choice of five-star cruises experiences in the highest segment of the market. Our future ultra-luxury ships will come as close as it comes to a private yacht experience.”With the addition of these four new ships, MSC Cruises’ investment plan will now account for a total of 17 new ships to be built by 2027, for an overall investment of EUR 13.6 billion. Of these, three have already come into service since June 2017: MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview. Two more – MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa – will be delivered in February and October 2019, respectively.More news: Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaAll five ships will feature MSC Cruises’ existing ship-within-a-ship luxury concept, the award-winning MSC Yacht Club.MSC Seaside Yacht ClubMSC Seaside Yacht Club RestaurantMSC Seaside Yacht Club Private PoolMSC Divina Yacht Club Stateroom Share
John Constable has been appointed to run STA Travel Group, replacing outgoing chief executive, Peter Liney.Effective today, Mr Constable will step into the head role as Mr Liney joins the company’s board as an adviser.Working with the student and youth travel company for up to six year, STA Travel Group board member Angelo van Tol wished Mr Constable “success” in his new role. “I would like to thank Peter for his contribution to the business look forward to working with him in his new position,” Ms van Tol said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.
Credit Availability Tightens as Lenders Limit Offerings Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Credit Availability Credit Standards Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Bankers Association Qualified Mortgage Service Providers 2013-12-10 Tory Barringer After experiencing a small bump in October, mortgage credit availability reversed course in November as lenders ceased offering certain easy-credit products.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The “”Mortgage Bankers Association’s””:http://www.mortgagebankers.org/default.htm (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) slipped 1.2 percent to settle at 110.2 in November, wiping out the 0.7 percent gain recorded a month prior. A decline in the index indicates that lending standards are tightening; the index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.According to MBA, the drop comes from the discontinuation of a “”significant number”” of loan programs for loan-to-value ratios of more than 95 percent and programs for borrowers with low-to-mid range FICO scores. Investors also continued to pull back from products featuring terms longer than 30 years and interest-only programs as the mortgage industry prepares for the arrival of January’s new regulations.Those decreases were partly offset by investors increasing cash-out offerings to well-qualified borrowers, MBA reported. in Origination December 10, 2013 416 Views Share
Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto opened 15 October 2016 and immediately saw a full house, because it was new (and a Four Seasons) and then repeats soon started at Christmas and New Year. Next comes the forthcoming sakura cherry blossom season, which officially begins 28 March 2017. And, frankly, Kyoto just does not have enough places to stay. Does GM Alex Porteous have any problems? No, not with marketing this superb luxury hotel. He hired his 270-strong team, currently all Japanese, mainly for attitude, but it is amazing how well they have learned skills, and English, so fast.This 123-room hotel, owned by Berjaya Kyoto and designed by architects Kume Sekkei, with interiors by HBA’s Singapore-based Agnes Ng, is, by the way, an urban design resort, with maximum flexibility. In the wedding chapel with its massive window, for example, turn off the electrically illuminated cross and the space can instantly be used, say, for a course by Danish floral artist Nicolai Bergmann – he has the flower shop here, and also partners with Four Seasons Seoul. (Based in Tokyo, Bergmann is one of the artists featured in the world’s most gorgeous pop-up lifestyle store, Isetan’s Tabisuru, directly opposite Andaz Tokyo – no visitor to Tokyo should miss this store, ideal for all Christmas gifts, and for yourself.)Four Seasons Kyoto is exquisite. First, its location, on the site of a former hospital – where, coincidentally, the guest experience specialist, as well as a concierge, were born – is part of a gorgeous garden, said to date back 800 years, with 60-centimetre-long bright orange koi in its big pond. My room, 106, looked down to the garden and across the pond to a traditional teahouse where Billecart-Salmon and saké are served every evening, and where a maiko, a trainee geisha (or geiko in Kyoto) aged 15-19, visits every weekend. She also dances in the hotel’s main lobby, up on the third floor of the building. Yes, the lobby, at the end of a stone entrance approach flanked by exactly-upright bamboos, is floor three. Above, on the top floor, are 57 residences for sale. Below the lobby are two floors of bedrooms. Further below is the tasteful, quiet and professional spa, where I had an outstanding Biologique Recherche session; they also work with Sodashi and Tatcha. And even further down is the 20-metre pool, and a gym that reminds me, thanks to its wood floor with blocks outlined in black, kind of retro style, of the fitness facility in The Greenwich Hotel, New York (this one here is 24/7 and the equipment is Mantra).Alex Porteous made sure I had plenty of exercise, by the way – although he fortunately stopped short of suggesting I try geisha dancing. He sent me across the road to Chishakuin Temple, affiliated with Shingon-shū Chizan-ha Buddhism, for the daily 6.30am service. It was emotionally draining, and no photos allowed. For 40 minutes over 80 shaven-head monks, mostly men, chanted in unison, in rising and falling tempo, broken only by elders, and visitors, including me, being privileged to add tiny nuggets of incense to three ceremonial burners, with deep bows before and aft. All the monks wear back aprons, generally different colours from their black or saffron knee length coats over matching pleated skirts, all over mid-calf white skirts and white flipflop socks. I learned later that temples are privately owned and that thanks to the high income from burials and regular commemorative memorial services, they are big business. There is also income from visitors wanting to stay in the temple’s own lodging block. Who becomes a trainee monk? Not surprisingly the kids of owners are ‘encouraged’ to train, but with so many there it must be easier to find recruits than the geiko and geisha owners, who apparently have to trawl far and wide to find teenagers prepared to undergo the geisha discipline.There seems to be no shortage of sushi chefs, thank goodness. Four Seasons Kyoto has a partnership with the two-Michelin-starred Sushi Wakon in Tokyo; chef Masashi Yamaguchi, in charge of the 10-seat counter and restaurant here, trained there for 15 years. Today he not only made a Nigiri lunch, from Japanese flounder through to sea eel, with gari, ginger, as between-bite palate cleanser, but gave me, via my translator Maaya Arakawa, so much explanation. Now I know that men’s hands are colder than women’s, that chopsticks should be made of cedar, and that Kyoto water is not the best either for sushi rice or green tea – some bring water from Tokyo but Yamaguchi-san prefers bottled drinking water (and the thick soy sauce he uses for brushing sea eel, his own particular favourite nigiri, starts with fish broth boiled gently for two weeks).Mary Gostelow travels over 300 days a year, doing one-night stands in top hotels around the world. Read her daily travelogue, www.girlahead.com
Go back to the enewsletterSix months after opening in the heart of this city’s historic district, the Al Bait Sharjah is emerging as one of the region’s most ambitious new properties.Renowned for the five historic homes at its foundation, the 53-room resort by GHM debuted in marked contrast to the world-famous hotel towers of nearby Dubai, cultivating a low-slung profile and an aesthetic that celebrates indigenous building design and materials. Its historic barjeel, or wind tower, punctuates the district’s age-old appeal.The name of this new Leading Hotel of the World – Al Bait – means home in Arabic and is a reference to both the intimate atmospherics of the property’s design and to its five residential chambers.The homes are each named for former inhabitants and are designed to recall their original purpose as residences that doubled as a post office, a customs’ house and a salon – or majlis – for the city’s intellectual elite.The hotel’s accommodation ranges from 31 to 44 square-metres in the deluxe rooms, to 102 square-metres in each of the resorts’ two grand suites. Its decor marries an Arabian ambiance to Eastern minimalism.The Al Bait Sharjah is managed by GHM (General Hotel Management Ltd).Go back to the enewsletter
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineIn keeping with their commitment to the Middle East and an ongoing strategy to develop hotels in cities with high demand for luxury lodging, Ritz-Carlton has unveiled its first property in Saudi Arabia. The palatial Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, located in the heart of the Diplomatic Quarter, is reached via a kilometer long driveway that meanders through 52 acres of elegantly landscaped gardens and up to stunning fountains that front the imposing ochre façade. Originally envisioned as a royal guest palace for visiting dignitaries and heads of state, the hotel, designed by Al Rasheed Engineering Company and constructed by Oger International, is architecturally inspired by traditional Arabian palaces and homes. A stunning indoor swimming pool on the ground level features floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the gardens, dotted with native palms, 600-year-old stately olive trees from Lebanon, and bubbling water fountains.The 493 rooms and suites are styled using decorative elements that recall the Kingdom’s heritage, including pulsating colors and the rich ethnic textures of the Arabian Peninsula. Modern amenities are threaded throughout; wireless and wired internet access, flat screen televisions and DVD players are standard. Most spectacularly, there is not just one, as is regular, but 49 exquisitely appointed two-bedroom Royal Suites, each liberally measuring 4,574-square-feet. The opulent accommodations are rounded out with 50 one-bedroom Executive Suites, which, at 1,022-square-feet, are ideal for VIP guests.The conference and catering team at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh is set to accommodate the largest of international summits and social gala events. The hotel offers more than 62,000-square-feet of conference space combined, including two colossal. They are complemented by two vast auditorium-styled theaters with stepped floors and built-in stages, perfect for press conferences and symposium lectures, and a generous variety of smaller meeting rooms. Completing the conference area is Aubergine, a restaurant that caters exclusively for the invited delegates, journalists and accompanying security personnel.Guests are spoiled for gastronomical choice. Dining venues include Al Orjouan, the signature all-day dining buffet restaurant featuring Lebanese favorites; Asian restaurant Hong features a contemporary fusion of fresh Oriental ingredients with a western flair; and Azzuro offers authentic Italian from the old country. Other entertaining spots include Turquoise, a cigar lounge set to house one of the widest selections of Cuban cigars in Saudi Arabia and Strike, which offers mocktails and smoothies within a 10,700-square-feet indoor six-lane bowling alley.“This majestic hotel’s prime location in the literal heart of the Arabian Peninsula offers many significant advantages to visiting guests and dignitaries,” said Herve Humler, president and chief operations officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. “We are extremely proud that The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh represents our first hotel into the Kingdom. We believe our service is as exceptional as the surroundings, and the hotel will be the first choice for the local community, as well as visitors.”
Categories: Markkanen News,News 13Feb Rep. Markkanen’s plan helps county road commission facilities Measure helps fix Michigan’s infrastructure State Rep. Greg Markkanen recently introduced a plan to give county road commissions additional flexibility to improve their facilities and help fix Michigan roads.Under current Michigan law, county road commissions have only up to 15 years to make payments when purchasing property for public use. Markkanen’s plan would double that timeframe, allowing road commissions up to 30 years to complete purchases.The change would assist county road commission finances as they work to improve Michigan’s roads.The reform was brought forward to Rep. Markkanen by Keweenaw County residents.“Giving county road commissions much-needed financial flexibility when upgrading their facilities or buying equipment will help the effort to fix Michigan’s roads,” said Markkanen, of Hancock. “We should not needlessly place restrictions on county road commissions that cramp their budgets. This plan helps eliminates financial roadblocks and will lead to better roads for Michigan drivers.”House Bill 4120 has been referred to the House Transportation Committee.####
Share16TweetShareEmail16 SharesCC BY 3.0, LinkOctober 7, 2018; New York Times and Washington PostA new United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a dire picture, writes Coral Davenport in the New York Times. The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), minces few words, describing “a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires” resulting from continued climate change. The report also indicates that, given current trends, a mass “die-off” of coral reefs by 2040 is highly likely.The challenge facing the world is daunting. As Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis write in the Washington Post, to avoid these kinds of outcomes “would mean that, in a world projected to have more than two billion additional people by 2050, large swaths of land currently used to produce food would instead have to be converted to growing trees that store carbon and crops designated for energy use.” They add that,Most strikingly, the document says the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions, which amount to more than 40 billion tons per year, would have to be on an extremely steep downward path by 2030 to either hold the world entirely below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or allow only a brief “overshoot” in temperatures. As of 2018, emissions appeared to be still rising, not yet showing the clear peak that would need to occur before any decline.[…]By 2050, the report calls for a total or near-total phaseout of the burning of coal.The report is all the more stunning because IPCC is known to be conservative, write Mooney and Dennis. “If you’re expecting IPCC to jump up and down and wave red flags, you’re going to be disappointed,” Phil Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, informed the Post. “They’re going to do what they always do, which is to release very cautious reports in extremely dispassionate language.”A total of 91 scientists from 40 countries participated in the writing and editing of the report. Their work was based on the analysis of more than 6,000 scientific studies. Peer review involved “tens of thousands” of comments, add Mooney and Dennis.The report estimates carbon emissions by nation as follows:China10.15 billion tonsUnited States5.31 billion tonsIndia2.3 billion tonsRussia1.63 billion tonsJapan1.21 billion tonsGermany0.8 billion tonsIran0.66 billion tonsSaudi Arabia0.63 billion tonsSouth Korea0.59 billion tonsCanada0.56 billion tonsRest of world12.34 billion tonsTotal direct emissions36.18 billion tonsLoss from deforestation, etc.4.65 billion tonsTotal carbon emissions40.83 billion tonsAs the report outlines, human activities have already caused warming of about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, or one degree Celsius, since the burning of coal first became widespread in the 1850s. The report authors contend that while it is technically possible to avoid reaching 2.7 degrees of warming, it would be politically difficult to do so. “For instance,” explains Davenport, “the report says that heavy taxes or prices on carbon dioxide emissions—perhaps as high as $27,000 per ton by 2100—would be required.”At the current rate of warming, the IPCC estimates that temperatures could rise 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, “inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty,” writes Davenport. Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years. The report authors estimate that the monetary value of damages will total $54 trillion if the world reaches temperatures that are 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.“Absent aggressive action, many effects once expected only several decades in the future will arrive by 2040,” notes Davenport, citing the report.According to Davenport, achieving the Paris goals would require reducing carbon emissions by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. It would also require reducing the use of coal from close to 40 percent of electricity today to less than seven percent by 2050. (This assumes that carbon sinks permit small levels of continued fossil fuel use while maintaining a “net zero” balance). Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which produce about 20 percent of electricity today, would have to increase to as much as 67 percent.—Steve DubbShare16TweetShareEmail16 Shares
Quality assurance specialist Bridge Technologies will use ANGA COM to highlight its VB272 Dual Input Satellite Module, PocketProbe for Android and OTT monitoring and analysis with MPEG-DASH.The VB272 is a dual-input card with a compact form factor and capabilities for monitoring signal distribution, contribution and data traffic. The VB272‘s RF performance allied to its ETR analysis engine are designed for monitoring of central headends, OB (mobile) trucks, mobile production centre vans, and any satellite uplink application.PocketProbe is an app that enables analysis of real network performance of streaming media, in a tool that technical staff can carry anywhere. Like the existing PocketProbe app for iPhone, PocketProbe for Android extends both the existing capabilities of digital media monitoring systems built from Bridge Technologies hardware probes, and the monitoring software environment. PocketProbe contains the same OTT Engine found in the company’s VB1, VB2 and 10G VB3 series digital media monitoring probes, enabling confidence validation and analysis of http variable bit-rate streams from any location.Bridge Technologies will sneak-peek the latest development of its OTT monitoring and Aanalysis engine, now with MPEG-DASH support. Bridge Technologies is also showing its 10G VB330 monitoring system with bulk ETR engine and OTT engine licensing, which is designed to provide end-to-end monitoring for OTT services. Bridge Technologies will be exhibiting at ANGA COM on Stand V10, Hall 10.1.
Poland-based OSS and BSS provider Comarch is supplying billing software for the new Austrian digital-terrestrial pay TV platform simpliTV.Comarch has been contracted by ORS subsidiary Simpli Services to provide its Smart BSS Suite for simpliTV.Comarch is providing support for a self-care portal, enabling consumers to purchase a set-top at a store and activate it. The portal is integrated with a CRM system and with Simpli Services’ existing financial system.Comarch’s solutions for simpliTV cover CRM, product catalog, service activation, self-care, billing, trouble ticketing, APIs and web shop.Comarch and ORS will jointly implement new features for the service aimed at business customers in the near future.simpliTV offers a range of about 40 channels via set-tops and CI+ modules. Twelve services are available free of charge.