Just when the draft New Education Policy (NEP) came open for analyses and commentaries, there surfaces a refreshing piece of news from Uttar Pradesh. A 12-year-old child prodigy from the state has written 135 books on subjects like religion and biographies of well-known personalities—including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath! This child is Mrigendra Raj who started writing books at the age of six and his first accomplishment was a compilation of poems. Mrigendra already has four world records to his credit and writes under the pseudonym ‘Aaj Ka Abhimanyu’. He informs that he has written books after analysing 51 characters of the Ramayana. His books run about 25 to 100 pages. Twelve-year-old Mrigendra Raj’s accomplishment has even earned him an offer from the World University of Records in London for a doctorate. It is very pertinent to mention here that his mother is a private school teacher in Sultanpur. She says that her son developed a keen interest in writing upon her encouragement. Mrigendra’s father is an employee in the state’s Sugar Industry and Cane Development Department. The child prodigy wishes to become a writer when he grows up and write maximum number of books on various subjects and genres. Also Read – A compounding difficultyThis story is interestingly a very timely entry as intellectuals, analysts, and thinkers engage in understanding the draft NEP for the novel changes it intends to introduce. Among the components that the draft policy enlists, a boost to research and innovation appear to be a massive move— with an annual grant of Rs. 20,000 crore for research is recommended and to be increased with time; professional education to be part of higher education. The draft policy is said to have laid strong emphasis on catalysing and energising research and innovation in all academic disciplines with particular focus on State universities and colleges. On a more elementary level, the draft NEP talks of foundational literacy and age-appropriate pedagogical practices. This means more than revamping the current educational structure; it refers to promoting large-scale teacher education and professional development reforms. Remedial education is an important aspect that the draft covers. The draft NEP is largely a promising proposition given the state of affairs education is in today. There is a stark disconnect between quality and purpose of education and the failure of the education system on two crucial fronts: the market value of the education received with respect to procuring reasonable jobs, and economic dividends from the existing education system. Addressing this issue has to be the first step in upgrading the system. And the beginning of this has to be conditioned by a healthy social environment conducive to learning. Education at different levels must be dealt with separately and specifically for their unique requirements. What is of utmost importance is to encourage an environment of learning.
SAINT JOHN, N.B. – A New Brunswick man who sexually assaulted an underage girl is now suing her family and friends for brutally beating him.The man’s lawyer, David Lutz, says it was not up to the girl’s family or other vigilantes to punish the man — that’s the job of the courts.“He ran afoul of the law by being involved sexually with this young woman, and the court punished him. And it was not for other people, be it her family or unknown vigilantes,” Lutz said.In a statement of claim filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench, the man is seeking compensation for numerous injuries including a broken nose, concussion, two black eyes and cuts to his ear and finger in a September 2015 attack.The lawsuit doesn’t give details of the criminal case, but a New Brunswick newspaper reported that the man pleaded guilty to summary sexual assault and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which he could serve on weekends.The Telegraph-Journal says the girl’s mother and three men were all sentenced for their roles in the attack on the man.There is a publication ban on the names of all of the individuals involved in the case.The statement of claim says the man was lured to a home where he was greeted with a punch to the face with a closed fist.It says when he tried to retreat, two more men joined in the attack and a knife was held to his throat and he was told that his jugular would be cut if he tried to move.The document says he did try to escape and was cut on the index finger before the three men “caught him and dragged him into a detached garage, wherein they confined and attacked (the man) for 30 to 45 minutes.”The statement of claim says one man brandished a propane torch and threatened to burn off one of the victim’s body parts, and later repeatedly struck the victim in the head with the propane tank.It says a car the man had borrowed from his mother was repeatedly struck with an axe and a sledgehammer, causing significant damage.“When the defendants finished their attacks on (the man) and allowed him to leave, they told (him) that they would kill him if he ever returned,” the statement reads.They took his wallet, and removed $500 cash, the lawsuit says.It says the attack left him with “hemorrhaging inside his eyeballs” and severe recurring headaches. He suffers anxiety, memory loss and fear of being in public, it says.He has lost education and job opportunities, and his mother took two months off from work from her own psychological harm because of the attack, it says.One attacker pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm, uttering threats, and mischief over $5,000. He was sentenced to one year in jail.Two other men were found guilty of assault causing bodily harm and forcible confinement. They were sentenced to three months in jail and 18 months probation.The mother was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm and mischief over $5,000. She was sentenced to three months in jail and 18 months supervised probation.Lutz said people should not take the law into their own hands.“He is not necessarily suing the family members as family members of the young woman he was involved with. He is suing the people who beat him and confined him. If they happen to be the family members, so be it,” Lutz said.“He is like any other person who is assaulted in our country. The assault is not between him and the people who assaulted him. What they did to him is a breach of her majesty’s peace.”The victim of the attack and his mother — the car’s owner — are suing for damages.The lawyer for the defendants has filed a notice of intent to defend, but had not yet filed a statement of defence.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) announced today that it has selected soulful Scottish songstress Emeli Sandé to perform at this year’s Academy Awards Viewing Party to be held on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at West Hollywood Park.This annual gala, sponsored by Chopard, Neuro Drinks and Wells Fargo, is the largest fund-raising event in Hollywood on Oscar night and has raised more than $34 million to support the Foundation’s mission to empower people infected, affected and at risk of HIV/AIDS.“Emeli Sandé’s album, ‘Our Version of Events,’ is a true work of art and a favorite of mine,” said Founder Sir Elton John. “When she is on stage, you can feel her passion for music and the heart that goes into her lyrics. I can’t wait to introduce Emeli to my guests and experience her live performance together. I predict that by next year she will be a multi-Grammy Award winner.”Sandé leads the 2013 BRIT Award nominations with four nods, including Best Female Solo Artist, Album of the Year and two for Best Single. Her breakthrough multi-platinum album, “Our Version of Events,” was the top-selling album in the U.K. last year, winning over critics, fans, and fellow artists worldwide. Sandé has also enjoyed international success, selling 2.5 million copies and achieving Gold and Platinum status in France, Italy, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland.“I’m absolutely delighted to have the chance to work with Sir Elton again and to help support the amazing work he continues to do with his Foundation,” said Emeli Sandé. “I was lucky enough to perform at his Winter Ball recently and I’m sure this will be as memorable a night. I look forward to helping the Foundation raise funds and awareness for those touched by HIV/AIDS.”In addition to Sandé’s performance, guests can look forward to an evening of fun that includes a dinner prepared by internationally renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay and a lively auction performed by Sotheby’s own Jamie Nivens. The event will play host to a myriad of Hollywood top names, many of whom are committed supporters of the Foundation’s work to provide services, including direct treatment and care for people living with HIV/AIDS in marginalized communities.Among the individuals who will attend the celebration are the 2013 Event Chairs, including Bill and Tani Austin, Johnny and Edwina Barbis, Joseph Blount, Chris Colfer, Miley Cyrus, John Demsey, Alec Gores, Tim Hanlon and Anthony Klatt, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness, Diana Jenkins, Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones, Heidi Klum, Ryan Kwanten, Fred Latsko, Sandra Lee, Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin, Eric and Janet McCormack, Joe McMillan, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, Katy Perry, Tyler Perry, Pablo and Nathalie Salame, Caroline Scheufele, Sharon Stone, Steve Tisch, Edward Walson and John Waters.Audi, Grey Goose and MAC Viva Glam are the evening’s Co-Sponsors. The Foundation is especially grateful to the City of West Hollywood for its continued collaboration with EJAF. American Airlines is EJAF’s official sponsoring airline.
Author Neil Gaiman will give the Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London in 2015.The Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture has been held every year since 2003 in memory of Save the Rhino’s founder patron Douglas Adams, to raise money for Save the Rhino and the Environmental Investigation Agency.Neil Gaiman is the bestselling author of books, short stories and graphic novels for adults and children. The recipient of many awards, some of his most notable works include The Sandman comic series, two episodes of Doctor Who, as well as the novels The Graveyard Book (the first book ever to win both the Newbery and Carnegie medals) and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, the UK’s National Book Award 2013 Book of the Year. He worked with Douglas Adams when he wrote Don’t Panic: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion (1987).The event takes place on March 3, 2015. More info can be found here.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina says that consumer prices rose 47.6 per cent in 2018, the highest rate since 1991.The annual inflation rate published by the official statistics agency Tuesday is also one of the world’s highest.President Mauricio Macri has struggled to tame that inflation and Argentina’s peso currency also lost about half of its value last year.The economic turmoil led the government last year to seek a $56 billion bailout with the International Monetary Fund.Consumer prices rose 2.6 per cent in December over the previous month.Top price increases for December were in communication, which rose 7.7 per cent and health, up 5.2 per cent. Increases in utility rates that are part of a series of austerity measures also fueled inflation.The Associated Press
TORONTO — The Toronto stock market looked set to advance Tuesday with markets firmly focused on the new chair of the Federal Reserve and her appearance before the U.S. Congress’ Financial Services Committee.It is Janet Yellen’s debut testimony before the House committee after taking over the reins of the Fed earlier this month and traders are looking for her views on the economy, inflation and the gradual pullback of the Fed’s key bond-buying program.The Canadian dollar was up 0.04 of a cent to 90.5 cents US ahead of Yellen’s testimony, which is slated for 10 a.m. EST.New York futures also advanced as the Dow Jones industrial futures ran up 56 points to 15,795, the Nasdaq futures were ahead 12.8 points to 3,590.3 while the S&P 500 futures gained six points to 1,800.5.Yellen’s remarks have been highly anticipated, particularly coming after developments last week that saw rising concerns about employment after January job creation fell well short of expectations and fresh worries about emerging markets.Markets will also seek reassurance that Yellen won’t deviate from the message that her predecessor Ben Bernanke sent Congress last year: that the economy’s outlook is bright enough to withstand a slight pullback in their stimulus. At the same time, rates should stay low to fuel a still-subpar economy.The Fed has moved twice over the last two months to cut its bond buying program by a total of US$20 billion to $65 billion and analysts generally expect the Fed to continue cutting by $10 billion every meeting.Traders are also braced for what could be some further negative news from China after data last week showed the manufacturing sector in the world’s second-biggest economy still expanding but at a slower pace.Meagre trade growth is expected when import and export data is released Wednesday. Inflation data comes out the next day and Barclays Research said it expects inflation to moderate to 2.3% year over year in January from 2.5% in December, thanks in large part to lower food inflation.On the earnings front, Cineplex Inc. (TSX:CGX) had $20.2 million of net income or 32 cents per share, well below estimates of 48 cents. Revenue of $323.2 million also missed estimates.In other corporate developments, Barclays, Britain’s second-biggest bank in terms of assets, is to slash up to 12,000 jobs, about 9% of its workforce. Barclays also set aside more money for bonuses even as the bank’s loss widened to 642 million pounds or US$1.1 billion in the fourth quarter, from 589 million pounds a year earlier.On the commodity markets, March crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged up eight cents to US$100.14 a barrel.March copper was down a cent to US$3.22 a pound while April bullion moved ahead $11.40 to US$1,286.10 an ounce.European markets advanced as London’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.8%, Frankfurt’s DAX gained 1.4% while the Paris CAC 40 climbed 0.62%.Earlier in Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.8% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.8%.
Minimum wage earners in five provinces are getting a pay hike.Starting Thursday, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador are raising the minimum wage employers must pay their workers.The new minimum wage in Alberta will be $11.20 per hour, up from $10.20, while the liquor server wage goes to $10.70 per hour from $9.20.Alberta’s NDP government says it’s a first step toward a $15 minimum wage by 2018.Ontario’s weak economy is driving immigrants away, Fraser study arguesWynne’s losing performance: How Ontario’s growth-killing policies are sinking the economyWhat are elections good for? Economically, absolutely nothingIn Saskatchewan, minimum wage is going up by 30 cents to $10.50 an hour.Manitoba is also increasing its minimum wage by 30 cents to $11 an hour.Ontario and Newfoundland are increasing their minimum hourly wages by 25 cents each on Thursday, as well. The minimum wage in Ontario is now $11.25 and Newfoundland’s is $10.50.Alberta Wildrose jobs critic Grant Hunter criticized the wage hike, saying it will hurt business owners at a time when the economy is not doing well.“Wildrose has repeatedly asked the government to consider who they are really going to affect with this hike. We are concerned about those it is intended to help the most: Alberta’s youth, non-profits and our province’s most vulnerable,” Hunter said in a news release.The Alberta Federation of Labour praised the hike, saying it’s long overdue.“This increase to the minimum wage won’t make the sky fall. It won’t cause businesses to grind to a halt. What it will do is just one thing: it will make life better for Alberta’s lowest-paid workers,” said Siobhan Vipond, the federation’s acting treasurer.In an outreach blitz in downtown Toronto, supporters of the Fight for $15 and Fairness are reminding workers in Toronto and across Ontario that the province’s first legislated cost of living adjustment will be taking effect Oct. 1, when the minimum wage increases by 25 cents.“We want to get the word out that the minimum wage is being adjusted by 25 cents to keep up with inflation,” says Deena Ladd, coo-rdinator of the Workers’ Action Centre. “Workers should be looking for this adjustment on their next pay cheques.”According to Statistics Canada, as of the beginning of September 2015, Alberta has the highest Consumer Price Index in the country, and remains the most expensive province to live. Ontario, which has one of the lowest CPIs in the country, has a minimum wage that will still be higher after Alberta’s minimum wage increase.The minimum wages in the remaining provinces and territories are:B.C.: $10.45 per hourNew Brunswick: $10.30 per hourNova Scotia: $10.60 per hourP.E.I.: $10.50 per hourQuebec: $10.55 per hourYukon: $10.86 per hourN.W.T.: $12.50 per hourNunavut: $11.00 per hour
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is gambling his future on the audacious proposition that he can blunt an effort to halt his Brexit plan by simply suspending “the mother of all parliaments” for key weeks ahead of the Oct. 31 departure date.If Parliament isn’t in session, it can’t conduct official business and won’t be able to take concerted action to prevent him from pushing through a “no-deal” Brexit that would abruptly sever ties between Britain and the European Union if he is unable to reach a new deal by that date.Johnson knew full well that asking Queen Elizabeth II to suspend Parliament would provoke howls that he is masterminding an anti-democratic coup. But if he is able to make good on his frequent vow to leave the EU on Oct. 31, Johnson stands to be remembered as the leader who made the results of the 2016 Brexit referendum a reality.“If it works, many will say that it was a brilliant piece of political theatre and leadership,” said Anthony Seldon, a historian at the University of Buckingham. “And if it doesn’t, it will quite possibly spell the end of his premiership.”Johnson is betting that the political boost would overshadow any financial costs, despite dire warnings from influential business leaders and economists that a sudden break of European ties would plunge Britain into a prolonged recession accompanied by a loss of jobs and consumer buying power.It is a step that his predecessor, former Prime Minister Theresa May, was unwilling to take. She repeatedly pulled back from the brink and sought an extension from the other 27 EU nations rather than depart without a deal on future economic arrangements.But if the gamble fails, Johnson may well face a general election that would put his Conservative Party’s leadership at risk, or find his Brexit bid blocked by an energized Parliament determined to impose its will in what has become a historic political clash.Even if that happens, Seldon said, Johnson could be well positioned for a general election because he could blame Parliament for thwarting the will of the people by making Brexit impossible despite the majority that backed it in the referendum.The prime minister’s decision drew predictable condemnation from some British newspapers that are vehemently opposed to a no-deal departure. The Independent said Johnson is using “devious” means to undermine Britain’s democratic institutions.“With just 63 days until the 31 October deadline, an unelected prime minister has made himself unaccountable to MPs for five weeks,” it said. “Not only does Boris Johnson want to deny voters the Final Say, he is now silencing their representatives.”Johnson has very little leeway for any political slippage. He was not elected in his own right and his party does not enjoy a majority in the House of Commons, relying instead on an agreement with a small Northern Ireland party to back it on key votes.Both of his predecessors — May and David Cameron — were brought down by Brexit setbacks, and Johnson seems determined to avoid their fate. By suspending Parliament for much of the period before the departure date, he is reducing the time available for his political opponents to come up with a solid legislative plan to block a no-deal Brexit.Scott Ainslie, an English member of the European Parliament with the Green Party, said Johnson’s provocative tactic may serve to galvanize the opposition to quickly come up with an effective way to prevent a no-deal Brexit.“All the other parties must now organize at this pivotal moment of history and unite to stop this car crash of a government,” he said, characterizing the suspension of Parliament as a “last-chance saloon” gambit that may represent the hobbled Conservative Party’s “death rattle.”The next general election is scheduled for 2022, but it could be moved up if Johnson loses a no-confidence vote in Parliament or decides to call an early election with the goal of winning an outright majority.Gregory Katz, The Associated Press
A UN inter-agency report on the overall humanitarian situation in Somalia, which has had no functioning government for 14 years following the collapse in 1991 of the government of Muhammad Siad Barre, highlights among its findings the sobering results of the country’s first-ever nationwide HIV/AIDS Sero-prevalence study. The survey covered multiple groups, including pregnant women attending antenatal clinics, and tuberculosis patients with sexually transmitted diseases, among others. Along with factors such as poor education and commercial sex, the report notes that high mobility, long distance truckers and transporters and negative cultural practices, such as female genital mutilation, also contribute to the spread of the disease. But the agencies report that political commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS is growing. An antiretroviral treatment programme was recently launched in the northern town of Hargeisa, and plans are already under way to bolster it with nutritional, “Voluntary Counseling and Testing,” and “Prevention of Mother to Children Transmission” components – with the help of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
Although parents were as or more likely than those in the US or Japan to feel their teenagers spent too much time on the phone, Britons were the least likely to feel it had damaged their relationships. And more than half of parents and almost two thirds of teenagers always or very often felt the need to respond immediately to texts, social media messages and other notifications.The Telegraph has been campaigning for a statutory duty of care on the social media and gaming firms to better protect children from online harms. Mobile phones provoke conflict and argument every day in a fifth of Britain’s families, according to a ground-breaking study into their impact on family life.Half of parents and teenagers admit they get distracted by their phones on a daily basis with similar proportions also saying they feel “addicted” to their devices.As a result, conversations and meal-times are regularly disrupted with both children and parents critical of each other’s usage.Almost two-thirds of parents felt their teenage children spent too much time on their devices but more than a quarter (29 percent) of the children said their parents were also on their phones too much.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––Two-thirds of families said they set rules on the use of mobiles in the home such as a ban at meals or bedtime but 70 percent admitted they were broken, mostly by the teenagers but in up to 17 percent of cases by parents.The study of 1,200 parents and their children aged 13 to 17 by US-based Common Sense Media and University of Southern California (USC) is the third in an international series that for the first time enables comparisons with the US and Japan.British parents and teenagers were, in each other’s eyes, seen as the most addicted to their phones of any of the three countries. However, the technology was most likely to cause daily arguments in US households. Willow Bay, dean at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, said that while there was conflict, parents and children also saw benefits in the technology that could enhance relations.“We have to find a way to integrate them into our lives and the lives of our children. This is the first generation of parents immersed in the technology but also helping their teenagers manage mobile devices and social media,” she said.Parents rated screen time as one of the top three sources of regular conflict between them and their teenage children alongside rows over chores and bed times.A third of parents said phones interrupted conversations, and 28 percent said they disrupted meals. While a fifth said phone usage caused a row at least once a day, another quarter said it was once a week.More than a quarter of parents (27 percent) and almost half of teenagers (48 percent) said they checked their devices within five minutes of waking up.Another 45 percent of parents and 31 percent of teens check their devices within 30 minutes of waking up. More than half of parents and teens admitted they checked their phones at least every hour. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
The Armed Forces has made other moves to address a deepening recruitment crisis, including allowing foreign nationals to join the Armed Forces without having ever lived in Britain – in the first quarter of 2018 only seven per cent of the required number of soldiers had been recruited. The group of British troops based in Germany have been given formal warnings after posting racist remarks about Kerry-Ann Morris, pictured A defence source told the newspaper that the soldiers who wrote and ‘liked’ the comments were interviewed by senior officers. They said: “Cpl Morris a high achiever and it appears some of her colleagues are looking for excuses as to why they’re not doing as well as her. They know they will be in very serious trouble if they ever repeat such offensive accusations which breached the Army’s values and standards policy. The soldier has also featured on the cover of Locker magazine Cpl Morris, from Nottingham, recently appeared in the ‘Your Army Needs You’ millennial recruitment campaign Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “It was to Cpl Morris’s credit that she requested the soldiers should be dealt with lightly on this occasion. As the victim, she could have pressed for more severe sanctions to be imposed but she was adamant that should not happen.” An Army investigation concluded that the messages were racially abusive. The group faced being kicked out of the Army, but Cpl Morris reportedly intervened to persuade senior officers against severe punishment. Cpl Morris joined the Army in 2011 and has been promoted twice – she recently transferred from the Royal Artillery to the Adjutant General’s Corps. She has represented the Army and Combined Services at athletics and has appeared on the cover of the Army lifestyle magazine The Locker. The latest recruitment drive that Cpl Morris features in was designed to focus on “how the Army sees beyond stereotypes to spot young people’s potential”, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said. An army poster girl was abused by fellow soldiers on social media, it has emerged after the Ministry of Defence confirmed six soldiers had been disciplined for it. The group of British troops based in Germany have been given formal warnings after posting racist remarks about Kerry-Ann Morris, the face of British Army Equality and Diversity campaigns. The six soldiers from 159 (Colenso) Battery accused Cpl Morris of using her skin color to secure promotions and ‘playing the race card’ at work to sabotage her colleagues’ careers. Comments were also made about Cpl Morris accusing others of being prejudiced against her because she is black, the Mail on Sunday reported.Cpl Morris, from Nottingham, recently appeared in the ‘Your Army Needs You’ millennial recruitment campaign, which launched last month, and when the picture was circulated on Facebook, the group of soldiers based on Gutersloh posted a series of racist comments. The comments reportedly received multiple ‘likes’ and the post was shared among other soldiers. Cpl Morris, of Jamaican descent, is said to have brought it to the attention of the Army’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network – a group set up in 2017 for ethnic minority soldiers, of which Cpl Morris is a leading promoter. The campaign launched last month has reportedly led to a rise in the number of applications to join the Armed Forces. The MOD has also set a target of 10 per cent being from BAME backgrounds by 2020, with just 2.4 per cent of personnel currently being from BAME communities.For ranks below officer, 8.7 per cent of all armed forces personnel were from ethnic minorities, but the MOD says the Army had the highest percentage of people from ethnic minorities working both as officers and in other ranks, compared with the other armed forces.
MICROSOFT’S LATEST CONSOLE, the Xbox One, will be arriving in 28 more countries in September, including eight European countries whose original launch date was delayed.Originally, the console was supposed to launch in 21 countries in November, but Microsoft delayed the launch in eight European countries because of localisation issues.Now the console will be arriving in 26 different countries, including the eight delayed countries,in a few months time.The countries include Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and UAE.The company will share more information about the launches in April, according to Microsoft’s Larry Hryb, but the September timeline has been set in stone.The expansion will certainly help the Xbox One as it competes against the Playstation 4, which is currently available in 57 countries worldwide. Since the start of this month, the PS4 has sold more than six million units worldwide.Microsoft hasn’t revealed how many Xbox One consoles it has sold, but said in a statement that it sold 258,000 units in the US during February, and that the Xbox One launch was its most successful launch in Xbox history.Xbox One sales received a boost in the UK after both a price cut and the release of sci-fi shooter Titanfall, a title exclusive to Microsoft Windows, Xbox One and Xbox 360.Read: Sony has sold 5.3 million Playstation 4 consoles worldwide >Read: WATCH: Ireland AM is really blown away by the Xbox One >
We’ve seen some impressive speedruns through games. Most recently Steam’s Portal was completed in just 9 minutes 25 seconds using as many glitches as possible to save time.But this latest speedrun is more impressive. It’s the original Quake from id Software completed on Nightmare (hardest) setting in 52 minutes. Not impressed yet? How about we throw in the fact the speedrun included managing 100% completion? That’s every enemy killed, and every secret found. Yes, impressive.You can watch the entire 52 minute playthrough courtesy of YouTube above. The description on the video explains:The speedrun was performed by members of the Quake done Quick team and this movie was put together by Jozsef “j0zzz” Szalontai. I’ve had to remove the intro and outro because of some codec problems with YouTube.‘Quake done 100% Quickest’ is a run through all of Quake on Nightmare skill, going through the levels as fast as possible, killing every single monster and finding every single secret in every single map of Quake. Read more at Kotaku
Stay on target Watch These Movies Before ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’‘Fortnite’s’ John Wick Mode Is The Deadliest Crossover… We became John Wick, then we watched John Wick himself, Keanu Reeves, talk up the new movie sequel John Wick: Chapter 2 at New York Comic Con.Reeves was joined by director Chad Stahelski, producer Basil Iwanyk, screenwriter Derek Kolstad, and actors Ian McShane and Common onstage at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Grae Drake, senior editor of Rotten Tomatoes, moderated the panel.After tons of cheering for “Baba Yaga”, and some reminiscing over the first movie (“You do NOT kill a man’s dog his dead wife gave him!” Drake recounted a fellow theatergoer yelling), the panel didn’t waste any time getting under way.On getting back into the suit…Keanu Reeves: We made the first film, and we thought it was cool. We were trying to do something new and fresh. And coming back, we had the opportunity because of you, so to be able to tell the next chapter, for me it’s really exciting to be here with you, to get he chance to work with Common, Ian McShane… I really liked putting this suit back on and getting to do what John Wick gets to do.On stunts…Chad Stahelski: Just like the character, we tried to choreograph the action sequences to show that John is just an unrelenting force of nature… Judo, sambo, jiu-jitsu, gun-fu, tactical gun work and stuff, and of course, Mr. Reeves is driving the hell out of his Mustang.The sizzle reel…Con-goers were treated to brief video that showed off some behind-the-scenes action that even made director Chad Stahelski’s jaw drop. Keanu Reeves hit every single target with a shotgun during tactical training, nailed takes while shooting, and generally rocked. “It’s been fun to get back in the suit for John Wick,” Reeves said in the clip. “He either keeps trying until it’s resolved or he shoots you in the face.” We also saw a few more snippets of Ian McShane as Winston and Common and Ruby Rose as mystery assassins.On Winston…Ian McShane: Winston, he’s got a shady past. But John Wick is his favorite assassin! There’s a little bias there. And Winston sort of runs this hotel. You mustn’t do anything naughty there, or else you’re banished from this hotel. Winston has as a special affinity for John… Assassins come and go! I think I’m still the last one left alive from the last one. Except Lance [Reddick], who runs the hotel.On Common joining the cast…Common: Well, first of all, I was super-excited to be part of this John Wick movement. When I saw the first one, I was like, ‘Wow, this is some real cool shit right here.’ It took me to a world. It made me enjoy everything about movies, was in John Wick. When Chad was like, ‘We might want you for John Wick,’ I was like, ‘Please let me in this!’ This is the highest level movie I have been in. Gun-fu, as we say, all these new techniques and styles of fighting. And working with Keanu, his intensity, his drive! I love being in a scene with him. We’re both competing, but he is the champ, he is the champ! You’re reaching for the champ when you’re competing. This is the highest level!On who Common might be…Common: My character is not necessarily a villain, but…Keanu Reeves: We have a disagreement. We have different points of view.Common: Yeah that’s it, you got it. It’s an assassin’s love story.Keanu Reeves: There’s a thin line between love and hate.On why, John Wick is back after the events of the first movie…Derek Kolstad: Chapter 2 takes place arguably a week after the first one. One of the things we love about that is the fact that there’s this item called The Marker, which is regulated by The Continental [Hotel from the first movie]. It’s kind of a blood oath, which means John Wick gave someone the ultimate request, and because Wick has resurfaced, they have resurfaced to cash it in. But John Wick has changed…On John’s new best friend…Basil Iwanyk: Every time, every person who’s asked me, the first question is, ‘You’re gonna kill the dog again?’ I can’t give a spoiler alert. Needless to say that we killed about 80 Italians in the movie, and you guys will see what happens to the dog. I’m not sure if Lionsgate said we can say what happens to the dog or not.[crowd reacts with a universal “OH NO!!!!”]Basil Iwanyk: We can’t tell what happens in the movie!Ian McShane: No Italians were injured during the making of this movie!Then Reeves introduced the new trailer. “They showed a little bit of sizzle before, but Chad and the folks put together something called a teaser trailer,” Reeves got up out of his seat to strike a pose, “and it rocks!” After the trailer, which showed images of John Wick in midtown Manhattan and the city of Rome, and, surprisingly, Laurence Fishburne, the panel resumed.On the Matrix reunion…Chad Stahelski: I’m a big fan of character actors and great performers. We tried to round out the cast with more iconic assassins…which leads to John Wick’s, one of his pseudo allies, Laurence Fishburne. Keanu, myself and Laurence all worked together on the Matrix trilogy. When Derek had written the character that Laurence plays in the script, it was written for Laurence in mind.Keanu Reeves: We met at a social function, and [Laurence] was like, ‘Hey man, I really liked John Wick.’ And I was like, ‘Oh yeah?’Chad Stahelski: It was an email here, an email there, and he met Keanu in New York, and that was our Matrix reunion.Why John Wick resonates so much with audiences…Derek Kolstad: When I wrote the first draft… It’s a throwback to movies I love, like Point Blank, Ronin, Three Days of the Condors, when you know the stakes in the first ten minutes. Innocence lost, the devil has an excuse to get back into the game. You won’t believe the number of 90-year-old women who emailed me and said they haven’t seen an R-rated movie in years.On the possibility of more backstory…Keanu Reeves: [in a weird voice] Yes… tentatively. That was my Christopher Walken. Yes. Maybe. Yes! We learn a little bit more about the world of The Continental. Common plays a character part of that world. Ian’s role, Winston’s’ role, gets a little more international. We got o Rome, and we’re introduced to another layer, about a kind of group called the High Table. It gets to a little more out-there… a little more, a little more. Yeah! You find lot a little more about John Wick.Look forward to John Wick: Chapter 2 when it kill us all on February 10, 2017. It’s gonna be great!
Don Hadley and Kevin Kastner. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage)Two very different men are running in the Republican primary for House District 16 in East Anchorage, but they have similar agendas. They both want to reduce the budget and fix the education system.Download AudioSeventy-two year old Don Hadley moved to the state 47 years ago with the military. He says he’s spent his entire life as a public servant, mostly as a public school teacher and an Alaska Air National Guardsman. He says he wants to continue giving back.“We make a living by what we get. But we make life by what we give,” he says. “And I think that’s a perfect statement about how I feel about running for public office.”Hadley ran and lost back in 2012. The retired school teacher is making education one of his primary issues. He says he’s not sure how much money the schools need, but he supports programs like early childhood education. He says a key to fixing the education system is getting parents involved.His opponent, 44-year-old Kevin Kastner, agrees. Kastner’s experience differs greatly from his opponent’s. Most of his work has involved technology, marketing, and starting new businesses. He argues that to get parents to be active in their children’s schools, they first need to have secure jobs.“Many of our social and civic issues that we deal with — which is not something I’m running on — but I think many of those problems can be solved when people are working, are happy, are earning a good living.”Kastner says to do that, the state needs to look for long-term solutions, like promoting workforce development, renewable resources, and the diversification of Alaska’s economy.“That 90% dependency on oil is something that is in a way, our weakest spot,” he says. “I think we all kind of know that. But I think as long as we have that dependency, we’re going to be continuously debating ‘How much should we get? Are they too greedy?’ So as long as we’re in that sort of dependency, we’re never going to solve our long term problems.”Kastner says one potential solution is creating an operations fund to run the state government that works just like the Permanent Fund. He says the state needs to invest now in a consistent source of revenue that will remain strong, even if oil production continues to decline.Hadley says maintaining a push for more resource development is a key to keeping Alaska’s budget healthy.“And we as citizens and the legislature and the governor need to do all we can to responsibly develop oil and gas in Alaska.”But Hadley says that shouldn’t be at the expense of other resources, like fisheries. He did not have any specific ideas for cutting the budget or improving resource development. He says he does have experience managing budgets for the flight services department of the Air National Guard.Kastner touts his business and budget experience. He says that as the director for Iron Dog he has worked with people around the state to coordinate the race. He’s managed budgets for different sized businesses and also worked with the state legislature to change laws about advertising for fund raisers online.
Warmer than normal temperatures this fall are allowing expanded use salt to combat icy roads in Fairbanks. Salt is more effective in some conditions and less expensive.Download Audio
A ‘repeal angel’ celebrates victory at Dublin Castle in Dublin on 26 May 2018 after the official result in the abortion referendum revealed a landslide decision in favour of repealing the constitutional ban on abortionsIreland voted by a landslide to ditch its strict abortion laws in a landmark referendum that prime minister Leo Varadkar said had finally lifted decades of stigma and shame.More than 66 per cent of voters in what has been a traditionally staunchly Catholic country backed repealing the constitutional ban on terminations, triggering scenes of tearful jubilation in Dublin on Saturday after a divisive and often emotional campaign.Hugging, celebrating, singing and cheering wildly, thousands crammed into the courtyard of Dublin Castle, where the official result was declared, chanting “Yes! Yes! Yes!”“Wonderful, wonderful, today is wonderful!” said 65-year-old Eileen Shields, who had been ostracised for falling pregnant outside of marriage when she was 18.The crowds cheered and popped champagne corks as the result was announced. Women and men wearing “Repeal” tops and “Yes” badges waved Irish flags and placards reading “Thank you”, with love hearts on.Speaking through tears, Stasia Clancy, 64, said: “This is like an explosion of the repression and the suppression of the last 100 years.”At Dublin’s RDS count centre, 40-year-old nurse Ruth Bowie wept at the results.She told AFP: “I had to leave my country to get the healthcare that I needed when I was told that my baby wouldn’t survive outside the womb and I’ve told my story over and over again just in the hope that this day would come-and it’s finally come.”Veil of stigma liftedThe final results of Friday’s referendum showed 66.4 per cent voted for removing the constitutional ban, while 33.6 voted against.Some 1,429,981 votes were cast for Yes. The turnout was 64 per cent.Among the 40 constituencies, the pro-choice vote peaked at 78 per cent in Dublin Bay South, while rural Donegal was the only one to vote against liberalising abortion, by 52 per cent.“A quiet revolution has taken place,” Varadkar said in a speech at Dublin Castle.“No more stigma. The veil of secrecy is lifted. No more isolation. The burden of shame is gone.”He said Saturday would be remembered as the day Ireland “stepped out from under the last of our shadows and into the light. The day we came of age as a country.”His government proposes allowing abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and between 12 and 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.Varadkar said he wanted the law in force by the end of the year and health minister Simon Harris told AFP that the cabinet would meet on Tuesday to approve the drafting of legislation.Crumbling church influenceThe result is another hammer blow to the Roman Catholic Church’s authority in Ireland, coming three years after referendum voters backed legalising same-sex marriage by 62 percent.The Church’s influence has crumbled in recent years due to a series of child sex abuse scandals.The referendum comes three months before Pope Francis visits Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.An exit poll for The Irish Times newspaper suggested 70 per cent of women and 65 per cent of men voted to overturn the ban.People over 65 voted 60 per cent against. However, all other age groups backed the proposal, with support at 87 per cent among voters aged 18 to 24.Ailbhe Smyth, 71, co-director of the official Together for Yes campaign, said real-life testimonies from women affected by the ban had helped swing the vote.“The stories, the experiences, women’s voices, women’s and couples, it was a central part of our strategy,” she told reporters.The Love Both official pro-life campaign said regardless of the result, “our work will continue to protect unborn babies and their mothers”.“Our campaign does not end with the referendum, but when the government properly supports the mother and child,” it said.Abortion is still banned in some 20 countries worldwide, while others have highly restrictive laws in place. In the European Union, predominantly Catholic Malta is the only country with a total ban.The North is nextIreland introduced a constitutional ban on abortion following a 1983 referendum. Terminating a pregnancy carries a 14-year maximum jail term.The law was tweaked in 2013 to allow terminations if the mother’s life is at risk.The ban has led to thousands of women travelling each year to neighbouring Britain, where terminations are legal, or increasingly turning to abortion pills sold online.Since 1983, around 170,000 Irish women have gone abroad for terminations.In the UK, abortion is legal on the British mainland, but remains outlawed in Northern Ireland.Sinn Fein’s party leaders from both sides of the border held up a placard at Dublin Castle reading: “The North is next”.
Tony Award-winning singer and actor Brian Stokes Mitchell.Tony Award-winning singer and actor Brian Stokes Mitchell is a busy man. He’s currently rehearsing for an upcoming Broadway jazz musical based on the making of “Shuffle Along,” a Black musical revue. He also has television appearances and an upcoming CD. But that won’t stop him from performing in Baltimore and Rockvillealong with the BSO SuperPops, for a series of concerts titled “‘Tis the Season with Brian Stokes Mitchell.”Mitchell has done this holiday performance for the last few years. He said one of the reasons he keeps coming back to Maryland is that it gives him the chance to work with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conductor Damon Gupton, who is Black.“There are too few of us doing this,” Mitchell said. “Damon is a very accomplished renaissance man. He’s got an extensive bio. To be able to perform with an African American conductor is pretty exciting.”Over the last year, Baltimore has had plenty to feel down about, but Mitchell said he wants his concert to lift people’s sprits.“There’s a whole lot of stuff going on in the world that isn’t pretty,” he said. “That’s not the way it should be. It’s important to reconnect people to the joy in their lives. The thing that makes us feel love for our fellow human beings.”He said that because of this, he tries to approach his shows in a thoughtful manner.“The theater is like church. When you go to a good church you should feel a whole lot better when you leave than when you walked in. I want people to leave the concert elated and excited and joyful.”I’ve learned to design a show that the audience will respond to,” he added. “I’m all over the stage, I’m having a good time. It’s about channeling a spirit and that’s really what I try to do. Great art has a spirit about it.”Mitchell said that he has lots of holiday favorites planned for the concerts – but with his own special twists. He will also have a local boy playing the drum onstage for a performance of “The Little Drummer Boy.”“One of the things I’ve been able to learn about being an artist: nobody gets hurt. Generally, it opens them up — to make them feel, to make them think, to open their minds, to open their hearts.He said that his ultimate goal is to expand both his own mind and the minds of the people in the audience.“Art, I think, is the only thing that has the capability to give someone an epiphany experience that changes their life forever.”“Tis the Season with Brian Stokes Mitchell” will be performed on Thursday, December 10, at 8 p.m., at the Music Center at Strathmore, Friday, December 11, and Saturday, December 12, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and Sunday, December 13, at 3 p.m., at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. For more information go to: bsomusic.org.
ESCAZÚ, San José – Whether they came for the beer, the sausage, or the cultural experience, hordes of people crowded the Oktoberfest tents in Avenida Escazú last weekend, southwest of the capital. The crowds were diverse: college kids sipping steins, couples sharing pretzels, middle-aged folks clapping along to accordion music, and clusters of children playing games and eating candy.The Germanic harvest celebration was an enormous victory for Pablo Formal, Oktoberfest engineer and co-proprietor of NuShark Media, a marketing and entertainment company. An ebullient and heavily bearded man, Formal welcomed guests as they arrived last Sunday, linking wristbands and conversing with friends.“You should have been here yesterday,” Formal told The Tico Times, looking winded by his own success. And then, getting down to business: “Did you get a beer yet?”In traditional bierhall style, patrons sat at long communal tables and drank from a variety of glasses. Meanwhile, breweries set up their own bars, displays and seating areas to best showcase their brews. Musicians played on a full concert stage, and hopefuls competed for prizes.From the looks of things, a new tradition has been born. Robert Isenberg Robert Isenberg San José’s Stiefel Pub displays some favorite craft beers. A musician plays his accordion above the din of the afternoon crowd. Robert Isenberg Robert Isenberg No related posts. Los Yoses clothier Concrete sells novelties at a vendor’s table. Robert Isenberg Sausages glisten, courtesy Maya’s Lounge Restaurant in Ciudad Colón. “Heineken Girls” pose in front of a foosball table. Smiling women in dirndls have become a staple of Oktoberfest celebrations. Long communal tables accommodate the diverse Oktoberfest crowds. Oktoberfest founder Pablo Formal with his girlfriend in front of festival entrance. Patrons dressed in traditional Bavarian outfits. One of Formal’s goals was to encourage festive dress. Robert Isenberg An Imperial bartender operates a tap. Robert Isenberg Robert Isenberg Facebook Comments Robert Isenberg
Tivoli Palácio de Seteais Voted #1Tivoli Palácio de Seteais Voted #1 in Top 3 Portugal and Spain Resort HotelsTivoli Hotels & Resorts is thrilled to announce that the brand was voted number four in the Top 25 Hotel Brands in the Travel + Leisure 2019 World’s Best Awards. Every year, Travel + Leisure magazine runs a worldwide reader survey to select the best in many different categories across the travel and hospitality industry.This is a significant and rewarding international recognition for the Tivoli brand and for its devoted team who every day, from Portugal to Brazil to Qatar, welcome guests with a warm smile and authentic hospitality.Tivoli Hotels & Resorts was born in 1933 with the hotel Tivoli Avenida Liberdade in the heart of Lisbon and since then has added iconic hotels which have written, and continue to write, the history of hospitality in Portugal, Brazil and, more recently, in Qatar, with destinations ranging from cosmopolitan cities to paradisiacal beaches and nature retreats.The lively and multicultural atmosphere, which characterises the hotel brand, creates a unique connection between guests and the destination. Whether in Lisbon, Sao Paulo or Doha, there is always a refined setting where local and international guests can share their experiences. And because Tivoli believes that travelling involves much more than sleeping in an excellent hotel, Tivoli provides its guests the possibility to uncover the best kept secrets of each destination through authentic and personalised experiences, ranging from gastronomy to shopping and from nature to the local culture.Tivoli Palácio de Seteais: #1 in Top 3 Portugal and Spain Resort HotelsA landmark in Portuguese hospitality since 1955, the Tivoli Palácio de Seteais in Sintra topped the list as the number one hotel in Portugal and Spain Resort Hotels, as voted by Travel + Leisure readers. This is a great honour for all the team that gives life to this breath-taking romantic retreat which takes us back to the days of elegance and architecture of the 18th century.Just 20 minutes’ drive from Lisbon, right in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra, stands Tivoli Palácio de Seteais. To stay in one of the 30 unique guest rooms is a journey back in time and a local immersion that goes from the Colares wine tasting to the discovery of Sintra’s most renowned monuments in a horse drawn carriage.Currently Tivoli Hotels & Resorts has 16 hotels, each with their unique charm and charisma, but also with similar characteristics such as the unique location in each destination, the gastronomic offer linked to its roots and a genuine relationship with the local community.Top 25 Hotel Brands#4 Tivoli Hotels & ResortsTop 3 Spain + Portugal Resort Hotels #1 Tivoli Palácio de SeteaisTivoli Hotels & Resorts is part of the Minor Hotels and currently operates 16 properties in Portugal, Brazil and Qatar. With over 80 years of experience, Tivoli Hotels & Resorts differentiates through a range of unique and authentic experiences offered to guests along with innovative and outstanding service. In Portugal, Tivoli has properties in main tourism destinations from the cosmopolitan city of Lisbon, to the romantic medieval town Sintra and from the beaches of the Algarve to the historical city of Évora. In Brazil, Tivoli hotels has properties in the vibrant São Paulo and coastal Bahia. In Qatar, the brand portfolio includes three hotels, two in the historic centre of Doha and one on the coast in Al Wakra.Tivoli is a member of Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. Source = Tivoli Palácio de Seteais