More may follow as Tamil man is deported

The man had been living with his sister in Dandenong, in Melbourne’s south-east, before being called into the Immigration Department in Melbourne last Tuesday and given a letter informing him authorities had judged him ”removable”. He is believed to be the first Tamil asylum seeker to be forced out of Australia since the latest spate of arrivals began in 2008 in the final months of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war. Other Sri Lankan asylum seekers were either sent home from Indonesia after Australia asked for their boat to be intercepted or were from the Sinhalese community. ”If he goes there, they kill him,” his sister said in tears after being told he had been taken to the airport.Returned refugees are regularly stopped on arrival and interrogated by the Sri Lankan police’s Criminal Investigation Department.The Herald revealed this week that some returned asylum seekers had been held for months without trial and faced state-sanctioned torture as part of their interrogation. He arrived in Australia by plane in 2010, having fled Jaffna, a former stronghold of the Tamil Tiger separatists.His family insist he faces grave danger after Sri Lankan media published his photograph and what appeared to be an arrest warrant in his name. The sudden news of his departure yesterday morning set off a panicked bid by refugee advocates to get a court injunction – with emails showing the man had tried for two days to send a fax from within the Maribyrnong detention centre only to find the fax machine was not working.Joel Townsend, of Victoria Legal Aid, who represented the man in the appeal to the minister, said given recent reports from Sri Lanka about the treatment of returnees, the man was considering further action.”It is disappointing that we were not given more notice of this man’s removal,” he said. Australian immigration officials have forcibly deported to Sri Lanka a Tamil man suffering mental health problems, despite revelations asylum seekers have been beaten and tortured when sent back.In what threatens to be the first of up to 150 cases of Tamils sent back to Sri Lanka after failing to win refugee protection, a man in his early 30s was taken from a Melbourne detention centre to Tullamarine airport yesterday and put on a flight to Bangkok bound for Colombo. An immigration spokesman said the man had no valid visa and had failed to leave voluntarily. (Herald) The Tamil man – who the Herald has decided not to identify – had failed in his bid for refugee status and was refused a visa by the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, after appealing on mental health grounds. read more

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Aimia adds Air Transat Flair Airlines to its list of new Aeroplan

MONTREAL — Aimia Inc. has signed Aeroplan partnership agreements with two more Canadian airlines that will take effect in about two years, after its current agreement with Air Canada ends in 2020.One of Aimia’s new partners is Air Transat, a long-established airline owned by Montreal-based travel and leisure company Transat AT.Aimia’s other new partner is Flair Airlines, which began operating no-frills scheduled services to several cities last year from a hub at Edmonton International Airport.They join Toronto-based Porter Airlines as recent partners in the Aeroplan points system, which Air Canada has said it will replace with its own loyalty points program when the Aimia contract expires.Air Canada led a consortium of bidders to buy the loyalty program for as much as $325 million plus $2 billion of points liabilities, an offer that Aimia rejected last week.Aimia has said it remains open to negotiating a fair deal with Air Canada and indicated that it would consider an offer of at least $450 million. read more

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Business report with Mike Eppel Jan 14 2014

Business report with Mike Eppel, Jan. 14, 2014 AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email business report|markets by News Staff Posted Jan 14, 2014 6:19 am MDT Markets are coming off Monday volatility, senior business editor Mike Eppel explains.

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Largest yellow fever vaccination campaign in Nigerias history under way – UN

This drive is part of a global effort to eliminate the risk of yellow fever epidemics by 2026, which should be possible if 90 per cent of the population can be reached. The preventive campaign will use vaccines funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and will also be supported by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).The yellow fever virus is mosquito-borne, and the disease can cause jaundice due to liver damage.Nigeria’s current yellow fever outbreak began in September, and by early January this year, a total of 358 suspected cases had been reported, with 45 deaths.In late 2017, Nigeria vaccinated more than three million people in an initial emergency yellow fever campaign, with the aim of quickly containing the outbreak.However, the virus continues to spread in parts of the country where people remain largely unprotected.WHO is supporting the campaign by training thousands of healthcare workers, helping to track cases, and by providing coordination and logistical support.“With a single dose of vaccine, an individual is protected for life against yellow fever,” Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Representative in Nigeria, said on Wednesday. “This is a massive undertaking which took weeks of planning. Nearly 3000 vaccination teams are being deployed across the four states participating in the campaign.”Bronwen Cowley of UN News spoke to WHO Spokesperson Christian Lindmeier, for the latest. AUDIO: WHO Spokesperson Christian Lindmeier provides an update on the health organization’s support to the campaign. read more

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Ohio State mens basketball grinds out overtime victory over Akron in NIT

OSU freshman guard JaQuan Lyle (13) scans the floor during a Big Ten tournament game against Penn State on March 10 in Indianapolis.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorThe Ohio State men’s basketball team took just over 40 minutes to find a sliver of rhythm against the Akron Zips in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament.After a back-and-forth physical battle riddled with sloppy play and field-goal percentages hovering around a meager 30, the five minutes allotted in overtime was the narrow time window the Buckeyes needed to advance in postseason play.OSU held the Zips to just one point in the extra period, while redshirt sophomore guard Kam Williams led the offensive charge over the course of the second half and overtime. The Buckeyes’ focus during the extra period pushed the team into the second round of the NIT with a 72-63 victory at the Schottenstein Center.“They were very competitive, and it was a game down to the wire where I felt like we showed a little bit of growth,” said OSU junior forward Marc Loving. “I felt like at times this season we might’ve lost that game.”Loving, who recorded the sixth double-double of his career, was one of three Buckeyes who finished with 18 points on the night. Williams added 18 points as well as five rebounds, while freshman guard JaQuan Lyle also registered a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds.“We felt like there was a lot of room for us to play our style of basketball,” Lyle said. “We really didn’t have much pace on offense, and we really weren’t disrupting them on the defensive side as much as we wanted to.”Lyle’s comments were primarily true to the first half of the game. The team’s six lowest-scoring halves this season all occurred during the first 20 minutes of gameplay, with one of those periods taking place against Akron on Tuesday.While OSU struggled early on to close out possessions down low and outside, the Buckeye bigs constantly challenged the boards to keep Akron within striking distance, totaling 57 rebounds. The problem was with following through and finishing.The two teams combined to begin the game shooting 2-of-14 from the field, but the Buckeyes eventually pushed through the lethargic start to find their momentum later on in the contest.“We were a little bit shaky at the beginning, and I thought we did a pretty decent job of playing through that,” said OSU coach Thad Matta.However, despite collecting 18 offensive boards as a team, the Buckeyes only managed to muster up 12 second-chance points, two fewer than the Zips. In a postseason game in which neither team led by more than single digits, missing multiple scoring opportunities during a single possession usually spells out defeat.Heading into halftime with a 29-25 deficit, there was very little room for error on either side.OSU struggled to break the 20-point threshold throughout the course of the first half, but some minor halftime adjustments led to the Buckeyes outscoring Akron by 13 points over the final 25 minutes of the contest.“I thought they did a great job of closing the game out,” Matta said.With just over two minutes left in the second half, Lyle came up with arguably the game’s most important two-way play. After a 3-pointer by Akron senior forward Reggie McAdams put the Zips up by two points with just under three minutes left in regulation, Lyle stole the ball from senior guard Jake Kretzer and took it down to the other end to tie the game.“To have something like that disappear from your lineup that fast, the next man has to step up, and we all had to contribute in a different way,” Loving said.Despite falling short to the Buckeyes, Akron’s night consisted of a trifecta of effective players. The sharpshooting abilities of McAdams and Kretzer helped to combine for seven converted threes.Although the Zips shot just over 21 percent from beyond the arc, Akron junior center Isaiah Johnson added a more physical presence to the team’s contrasting perimeter play. Johnson tallied 16 points and 12 rebounds on the night, but that was not enough to offset the team’s uncharacteristic struggles from beyond the arc.“If you would’ve told me we would shoot 9-of-42 from three with the shots we got, I would tell you I’d be surprised,” said Akron coach Keith Dambrot. “That probably was a determining factor.”Even though OSU was sluggish at times, too, Akron’s inability to garner extended momentum might have been trifled by the team’s recent schedule. The Zips competed in their fourth contest in six days Tuesday, but Dambrot was not going to let possible fatigue excuse the team of a loss.Dambrot said after the game he still believes his team had the talent and discipline necessary to knock off a major school like OSU.“I felt like we should’ve won the game,” Dambrot said. “If we play up to our capabilities and they play up to their capabilities, I have enough respect for my team to think we should’ve won the game.”Williams, Matta’s usual sixth man, stepped in as a starter in aid of sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop, who was held out of Tuesday’s contest with an undisclosed illness. Even though Williams was starting his first collegiate game against the Zips, he did not succumb to the pressure.The Buckeyes are next set to host the Florida Gators on Sunday in the second round of the NIT. Tipoff is slated for noon at the Schottenstein Center. read more

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Major problems for Crystallex and Gold Reserve in Venezuela

first_imgBoth Crystallex International and Gold Reserve are concerned about apparent revoking of gold mine permits. Both problems involve the Imataca Forest Reserve. Crystallex says it “has become aware that the Director General of the Administrative Office of Permits at the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources of Venezuela (MinAmb) has issued a communication to the Corp Venezolana de Guayana (CVG), the owner of the Las Cristinas concessions, denying a request for the authorisation to affect natural resources to carry out exploration activities in the mining area of Las Cristinas in Sifontes, Bolivar State.“In issuing the communication,” Crystallex continues, “the Director General cites sensitivities surrounding indigenous peoples, the small miners and the environment in the area generally known as the Imataca Forest Reserve, which contains a number of mining projects, which like those of Crystallex, are seeking the required permits to continue their development and exploitation.“The communication by the Director General appears to be in conflict with the Las Cristinas EIS approval, Construction Compliance Bond Request and Environmental Tax request issued by the MinAmb (that Crystallex posted and satisfied last summer) and the communication appears to be in opposition to all mineral mining in the Imataca Region.“The communication is subject to several avenues of response, including an application for reconsideration by interested parties under Venezuelan law. Crystallex is currently working with various levels of the CVG to develop strong submissions in support of the authorization to affect natural resources. Crystallex is committed to defending its rights in the Las Cristinas project and intends to respond to this matter vigorously in accordance with its legal entitlements to protect the interests of our shareholders.Gold Reserve says “MinAmb has communicated its plan to rescind the March 2007 permit for the commencement of the construction phase of the Brisas project. MinAmb referenced, among other things, the existence of environmental degradation and affectation in the area, the presence of small miners as well as the Imataca Forest Reserve as the basis for their decision.”Doug Belanger, President of Gold Reserve stated, “The company has not been formally notified of this decision and is working with various government officials to resolve this matter. Another mining company has cited in a recent press release the Director General of MinAmb regarding other mining projects impacted in the Imataca Forest Reserve. Prior to this, at no time during our year-long effort to obtain the administrative Initiation Act, which would allow us to advance the project, has any environmental issue including the Imataca Forest Reserve been raised by MinAmb as an impediment to proceeding with our project.”“There are no small miners on Brisas and any environmental disturbances result from activities prior to the company acquiring the property. Such disturbances have been addressed by the company and are clearly documented in our operating plan already approved by the Venezuelan Government and are subject to future reclamation as outlined in our Environmental and Social Impact Study, previously approved by MinAmb.”Belanger further stated, “The Km88 area in which Brisas is located has been approved for mining previous to the company acquiring Brisas and most recently reaffirmed by Presidential Decree No. 3110 which was published in the Official Gazette in 2004. Support for mining in the Km88 area is clearly evidenced by the approval of our Environmental and Social Impact Study in early 2007, the issuance of the Authorization to Affect by MinAmb in March 2007 and the fact that the MinAmb and the Ministry for Basic Industries and Mines (MIBAM) since 2004 have issued to the company and others a number of authorizations and other acts relating to mining exploration or exploitation in the Imataca.”“We are committed to invest during the life of the mine over $1 billion to build the largest gold and copper project in Venezuela and directly create over 1,000 jobs. After years of commitment to Venezuela, nearly $300 million invested in the development of Brisas which adheres to the Equator Principles, multiple permit approvals including most recently the Permit to Affect and receipt of, in the third quarter of 2007, accreditation letters of technical compliance from MIBAM for all of the properties that comprise Brisas, it is unfathomable that the MinAmb suddenly attacks mining projects in the Imataca – impacting not only our investment and others in the industry, but the livelihood of those most affected by the project, the local and regional citizens of Venezuela.”“We are prepared to protect our rights to Brisas through the Venezuelan legal system and, if necessary, other avenues to protect the interests of our shareholders will be pursued. We have approximately $130 million in cash, investments and restricted cash, project related equipment with an original cost of over $30 million and convertible notes payable of approximately $104 million.”last_img read more

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PlayStation 3 Banned In Europe

first_imgSony’s PlayStation 3 was yanked from retail stores across Europe, after court in the Netherlands requested all shipments to be stopped until further notice. The decision is believed to be fallout from a dispute between Sony and LG.The two companies have have been duking it out over the PlayStation Blu-ray disc playback feature. On this side of the pond, Sony is suing over LG phones. Both companies claim that the other is infringing on patents. AdChoices广告This is part of a new set of lawsuits over patent infringement in the past couple of weeks. Sony has issued a public statement over the suit, saying that it is currently looking into the matter. LG, on the other hand, has not yet issued a response. Via X Bit Labslast_img read more

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Nine Evzones just landed in Australia

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram By popular request and after obtaining special permission from the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos the contingent of the Presidential Guard (Evzones) landed in Adelaide on Tuesday night, where they are scheduled to stay for five days and attend activities hosted by the Foundation for Hellenic Studies with the support of the South Australian government.The Evzones will also visit Sydney to participate in ceremonies marking both the anniversary of ANZAC Day and the 76th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete, making their visit a historic moment for the relations of Greece and Australia.“We have been incredibly fortunate to have the Evzones visit South Australia for the second time in our history,” said the Foundation for Hellenic Studies Chair, Greg Crafter AO.“This year’s public program of events will offer many opportunities for South Australians to participate in the visit of the Guard. When attired and on duty, the Evzones are a sight to behold.”A full program of free and public events is organised for the visit of the Hellenic Presidential Guard to Adelaide.Dressed in their ceremonial uniform, which is steeped in symbolism, they will pay their respects to the ANZACs who fought in Greece and Crete by marching to the War Memorial on North Terrace in Adelaide and will take part in a pre-ANZAC commemorative wreath laying ceremony to be held at the War Memorial on Saturday.“Over 2,000 South Australians are expected to march behind the Evzones and witness the commemoration of those who served in the Great War and other theatres of war with a wreath-laying ceremony attended by His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia, the Consul General of Greece in Adelaide Andreas-Konstantinos Gouras, members of Parliament, representatives from the Australian Defence Force, the RSL, the Greek Community, and South Australian students,” said media coordinator, Connie Costi.The Evzones will remain at the Memorial with a changing of the Guard scheduled to take place at 11.00 am, 12 midday, 1.00 pm, and finally at 2.00 pm.“I was overwhelmed to see the Evzones march last year in Adelaide and I look forward to this year’s visit,” said 91-year-old Stergios Mitkas, who was born in 1927 in a village called Flambouro in Greece’s northern regional unit of Florina and migrated to Australia in 1954.“Although military duties were compulsory for most, I was exempt as I was the eldest son of an orphaned family. Orphaned at 13 years of age, I would watch and admire the soldiers in our village knowing that I wouldn’t be able to emulate those duties. I recall back in Flambouro, that many students would dress up as Evzones on National Days. I especially admired the Evzones for their discipline and imposing presence.“They demonstrate courage, commitment and honour. Such is their influence for both the youth and the elders of our community,” added Mr Mitkas.Planned visits also include St Basil’s Homes in South Australia, where the leader of the Evzones will give a speech recounting the history of the Presidential Guard. They will also head to the Ridleyton Homes for the Aged, and after changing into their official ceremonial dress, St George College where the students will have the opportunity to meet with them and ask questions regarding their role in the military of Greece.Evzones will also attend the Liturgy and Ceremonial procession from St George Church in Thebarton to St George College to attend the St George’s Paniyiri on Sunday 22 April.Members of the Hellenic Presidential Guard will stay in Adelaide until Monday before they depart for Sydney. Their visit will conclude on 30 April.“There is no guarantee that they will return next year, therefore, I urge all South Australians to witness the Evzones and acknowledge the significant historical relationship between Australians and the Guards – it stretches back generations,” said Mr Crafter.last_img read more

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Beadnose 409 crowned as the 2018 Fat Bear Week champion

first_img(Courtesy of Katmai National Park)There is a new champion, fattest bear in Katmai: The winner of Katmai National Park’s 4th Annual Fat Bear Week is — number 409.Listen now409 – also known as “Beadnose” – advanced through this year’s bracket to become champion, carried through each round by votes at the park’s Facebook page. In a post, Katmai said of 409, “her radiant rolls were deemed by the voting public to be this year’s most fabulous flab.”Beadnose 409’s prize for being a monument to hefty ursine living? A good shot at surviving the winter. She will have a few more weeks to expand her already impressive figure before resting on her laurels, in a den, for the winter.last_img read more

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Theresa May tells Conservatives its time to embrace a new centre ground

first_img Close Theresa May tells Conservatives its time to embrace a new centre ground IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPlayMute0:00/0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE0:00?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window.The media could not be loaded, either because the server or network failed or because the format is not supported.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading …center_img Theresa May closed the Conservative conference in Birmingham today (5 October) with a pitch to put the party in the centre ground of British politics.The Tory premier claimed Labour had abandoned the moderate position, while arguing that her government would step up and engineer an economy that works for everybody. Notably, May branded Labour as the nasty party, a slogan once used against the Conservatives.When we came to Birmingham this week, some big questions were hanging in the air.Do we have a plan for Brexit? We do.Are we ready for the effort it will take to see it through? We are.Can Boris Johnson stay on message for a full four days? Just about.But I know theres another big question people want me to answer.Whats my vision for Britain? My philosophy? My approach?Today I want to answer that question very directly.I want to set out my vision for Britain after Brexit.I want to lay out my approach – the things I believe.I want to explain what a country that works for everyone means.I want to set our party and our country on the path towards the new centre ground of British politics…built on the values of fairness and opportunity…where everyone plays by the same rules and where every single person – regardless of their background, or that of their parents – is given the chance to be all they want to be.And as I do so, I want to be clear about something else: that a vision is nothing without the determination to see it through.No vision ever built a business by itself. No vision ever clothed a family or fed a hungry child. No vision ever changed a country on its own.You need to put the hours in and the effort too.But if you do, great things can happen. Great changes can occur.And be in no doubt, thats what Britain needs today.Because in June people voted for change. And a change is going to come.BRITAINS QUIET REVOLUTIONChange has got to come because as we leave the European Union and take control of our own destiny, the task of tackling some of Britains long-standing challenges – like how to train enough people to do the jobs of the future – becomes ever more urgent.But change has got to come too because of the quiet revolution that took place in our country just three months ago – a revolution in which millions of our fellow citizens stood up and said they were not prepared to be ignored anymore.Because this is a turning point for our country.A once-in-a-generation chance to change the direction of our nation for good.To step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.Lets be clear: we have come a long way over the past six years.Weve brought the deficit down.Got more people into work than ever before.Taken the lowest paid out of income tax.Established a new National Living Wage.Helped nearly a million new business to set up and grow.Got almost one and a half million more children into good or outstanding schools.Put record investment into the NHS.Created nearly 3 million new apprenticeships.And brought crime down by more than a quarter to its lowest ever level.Thats a record of which we should all be proud.And this morning its right that we pause to say thank you to the man who made that possible. A man who challenged us to change and told us that if we did then we would win again.And he was right. We did change. We did win. The first majority Conservative Government in almost 25 years.A great leader of our party – a great servant to our country.David Cameron, thank you.But now we need to change again. For the referendum was not just a vote to withdraw from the EU. It was about something broader – something that the European Union had come to represent.It was about a sense – deep, profound and lets face it often justified – that many people have today that the world works well for a privileged few, but not for them.It was a vote not just to change Britains relationship with the European Union, but to call for a change in the way our country works – and the people for whom it works – forever.Knock on almost any door in almost any part of the country, and you will find the roots of the revolution laid bare.Our society should work for everyone, but if you cant afford to get onto the property ladder, or your child is stuck in a bad school, it doesnt feel like its working for you.Our economy should work for everyone, but if your pay has stagnated for several years in a row and fixed items of spending keep going up, it doesnt feel like its working for you.Our democracy should work for everyone, but if youve been trying to say things need to change for years and your complaints fall on deaf ears, it doesnt feel like its working for you.And the roots of the revolution run deep. Because it wasnt the wealthy who made the biggest sacrifices after the financial crash, but ordinary, working class families.And if youre one of those people who lost their job, who stayed in work but on reduced hours, took a pay cut as household bills rocketed, or – and I know a lot of people dont like to admit this – someone who finds themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration, life simply doesnt seem fair.It feels like your dreams have been sacrificed in the service of others.So change has got to come.Because if we dont respond – if we dont take this opportunity to deliver the change people want – resentments will grow. Divisions will become entrenched.And that would be a disaster for Britain.Because the lesson of Britain is that we are a country built on the bonds of family, community, citizenship.Of strong institutions and a strong society.The country of my parents who instilled in me a sense of public service and of public servants everywhere who want to give something back.The parent who works hard all week but takes time out to coach the kids football team at the weekend.The local family business in my constituency thats been serving the community for more than 50 years.The servicemen and women I met last week who wear their uniform proudly at home and serve our nation with honour abroad.A country of decency, fairness and quiet resolve.And a successful country – small in size but large in stature – that with less than 1% of the worlds population boasts more Nobel Laureates than any country outside the United States… with three more added again just yesterday – two of whom worked here in this great city.A country that boasts three of the top ten universities in the world. The worlds leading financial capital. And institutions like the NHS and BBC whose reputations echo in some of the farthest corners of the globe.All possible because we are one United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and I will always fight to preserve our proud, historic Union and will never let divisive nationalists drive us apart.Yet within our society today, we see division and unfairness all around. Between a more prosperous older generation and a struggling younger generation. Between the wealth of London and the rest of the country.But perhaps most of all, between the rich, the successful and the powerful – and their fellow citizens.Now dont get me wrong. We applaud success. We want people to get on.But we also value something else: the spirit of citizenship.That spirit that means you respect the bonds and obligations that make our society work. That means a commitment to the men and women who live around you, who work for you, who buy the goods and services you sell.That spirit that means recognising the social contract that says you train up local young people before you take on cheap labour from overseas.That spirit that means you do as others do, and pay your fair share of tax.But today, too many people in positions of power behave as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road, the people they employ, the people they pass in the street.But if you believe youre a citizen of the world, youre a citizen of nowhere. You dont understand what the very word citizenship means.So if youre a boss who earns a fortune but doesnt look after your staff…An international company that treats tax laws as an optional extra…A household name that refuses to work with the authorities even to fight terrorism…A director who takes out massive dividends while knowing that the company pension is about to go bust…Im putting you on warning. This cant go on anymore.A change has got to come. And this party – the Conservative Party – is going to make that change.BELIEVING IN THE GOOD THAT GOVERNMENT CAN DOSo today, I want to set out my plan for a Britain where everyone plays by the same rules and every person has the opportunity to be all they want to be.Its a plan to tackle the unfairness and injustice that divides us, so that we may build a new united Britain, rooted in the centre ground.A plan that will mean government stepping up. Righting wrongs. Challenging vested interests. Taking big decisions. Doing what we believe to be right. Getting the job done.Because thats the good that government can do. And its what Im in this for. To stand up for the weak and stand up to the strong.And to put the power of government squarely at the service of ordinary working-class people.Because too often that isnt how it works today.Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public.They find your patriotism distasteful, your concerns about immigration parochial, your views about crime illiberal, your attachment to your job security inconvenient.They find the fact that more than seventeen million voters decided to leave the European Union simply bewildering.Because if youre well off and comfortable, Britain is a different country and these concerns are not your concerns. Its easy to dismiss them – easy to say that all you want from government is for it to get out of the way.But a change has got to come. Its time to remember the good that government can do.Time for a new approach that says while government does not have all the answers, government can and should be a force for good;that the state exists to provide what individual people, communities and markets cannot;and that we should employ the power of government for the good of the people.Time to reject the ideological templates provided by the socialist left and the libertarian right and to embrace a new centre ground in which government steps up – and not back – to act on behalf of us all.Providing security from crime, but from ill health and unemployment too.Supporting free markets, but stepping in to repair them when they arent working as they should.Encouraging business and supporting free trade, but not accepting one set of rules for some and another for everyone else.And if we do – if we act to correct unfairness and injustice and put government at the service of ordinary working people – we can build that new united Britain in which everyone plays by the same rules, and in which the powerful and the privileged no longer ignore the interests of the people.Only we can do it. Because the main lesson I take from their conference last week is that the Labour Party is not just divided, but divisive.Determined to pit one against another. To pursue vendettas and settle scores. And to embrace the politics of pointless protest that simply pulls people further apart.Thats what Labour stands for today. Fighting among themselves. Abusing their own MPs. Threatening to end their careers. Tolerating anti-Semitism and supporting voices of hate.You know what some people call them?The nasty party.And with Labour divided, divisive and out-of-touch, we have a responsibility to step up, represent and govern for the whole nation.So where Labour build barriers, we will build bridges.That means tackling unfairness and injustice, and shifting the balance of Britain decisively in favour of ordinary working class people.Giving them access to the opportunities that are too often the preserve of the privileged few.Putting fairness at the heart of our agenda and creating a country in which hard work is rewarded and talent is welcome.A nation where contribution matters more than entitlement. Merit matters more than wealth.A confident global Britain that doesnt turn its back on globalisation but ensures the benefits are shared by all.A country that is prosperous and secure, so every person may share in the wealth of the nation and live their life free from fear.Thats what I mean by a country that works for everyone.A GLOBAL BRITAINAnd if we believe in the good that government can do, its important for people to trust us to deliver the change they need.We can start – as I said on Sunday – by doing something obvious. And that is to stop quibbling, respect what the people told us on the 23rd of June – and take Britain out of the European Union.Because it took that typically British quiet resolve for people to go out and vote as they did: to defy the establishment, to ignore the threats, to make their voice heard.So let us have that same resolve now.And lets be clear about what is going to happen.Article Fifty – triggered no later than the end of March.A Great Repeal Bill to get rid of the European Communities Act – introduced in the next Parliamentary session.Our laws made not in Brussels but in Westminster.Our judges sitting not in Luxembourg but in courts across the land.The authority of EU law in this country ended forever.The people told us they wanted these things – and this Conservative Government is going to deliver them.It is, of course, too early to say exactly what agreement we will reach with the EU. Its going to be a tough negotiation, it will require some give and take. And while there will always be pressure to give a running commentary, it will not be in our national interest to do so.But let me be clear about the agreement we seek.I want it to reflect the strong and mature relationships we enjoy with our European friends.I want it to include cooperation on law enforcement and counter-terrorism work.I want it to involve free trade, in goods and services.I want it to give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within the Single Market – and let European businesses do the same here.But lets state one thing loud and clear: we are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration all over again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Thats not going to happen.We are leaving to become, once more, a fully sovereign and independent country – and the deal is going to have to work for Britain.And that Britain – the Britain we build after Brexit – is going to be a Global Britain.Because while we are leaving the European Union, we will not leave the continent of Europe. We will not abandon our friends and allies abroad. And we will not retreat from the world.In fact, now is the time to forge a bold, new, confident role for ourselves on the world stage.Keeping our promises to the poorest people in the world.Providing humanitarian support for refugees in need.Taking the lead on cracking down on modern slavery wherever it is found.Ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.Always acting as the strongest and most passionate advocate for free trade right across the globe.And always committed to a strong national defence and supporting the finest Armed Forces known to man.And this week, our excellent Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, proved not only that we will support them with our hearts and souls. Not only will we remain committed to spending two per cent of our national income on defence.But we will never again – in any future conflict – let those activist, left-wing human rights lawyers harangue and harass the bravest of the brave – the men and women of Britains Armed Forces.AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONEIts about restoring fairness – something that must be at the heart of everything we do. Supporting those who do the right thing, who make a contribution.Helping those who give something back.And thats at the heart of my plan for our economy too.An economy thats fair and where everyone plays by the same rules.That means acting to tackle some of the economys structural problems that hold people back.Things like the shortage of affordable homes. The need to make big decisions on – and invest in – our infrastructure. The need to rebalance the economy across sectors and areas in order to spread wealth and prosperity around the country.Politicians have talked about this for years. But the trouble is that this kind of change will never just happen by itself. If thats what we want, we need the vision and determination to see it through.Thats why Philip Hammond and Greg Clark are working on a new industrial strategy to address those long-term structural challenges and get Britain firing on all cylinders again.Its not about picking winners, propping up failing industries, or bringing old companies back from the dead.Its about identifying the industries that are of strategic value to our economy and supporting and promoting them through policies on trade, tax, infrastructure, skills, training, and research and development.Its about doing what every other major and growing economy in the world does.Not just sitting back and seeing what happens – but putting in place a plan and getting on with the job.So we will identify the sectors of the economy – financial services, yes, but life sciences, tech, aerospace, car manufacturing, the creative industries and many others – that are of strategic importance to our economy, and do everything we can to encourage, develop and support them.And we will identify the places that have the potential to contribute to economic growth and become the homes to millions of new jobs.That means inspiring an economic and cultural revival of all of our great regional cities.We have made a start.Thanks to George Osbornes Northern Powerhouse, over the past year, foreign direct investment in the North has increased at double the rate of the rest of the country.Here in Birmingham, thanks to the incredible Jaguar Land Rover, the West Midlands is the only part of the country to run a trade surplus with China.And across the region, the Midlands Engine is on track to deliver 300,000 more jobs by 2020.Now its time to build on that success – in Birmingham and Manchester and in other cities across the country.And as we are here in Birmingham this week, let us show our support for the Conservative Partys candidate for next years mayoral election.A success in business running John Lewis. An action man in Birmingham, playing his part in transforming this city. A man to get things done, the future Mayor of the West Midlands – Andy Street.MAKING MARKETS WORK FOR WORKING PEOPLEAn economy that works for everyone is an economy where everyone plays by the same rules.I understand the frustration people feel when they see the rich and the powerful getting away with things that they themselves wouldnt dream of doing. And they wouldnt get away with if they tried.I understand that because I feel it too.Theres always an excuse – a reason why something cant be done – but when that is used as a basis for inaction, faith in capitalism and free markets falls.The Conservative Party will always believe in free markets. And thats precisely why its this party that should act to defend them.From Edmund Burke onwards, Conservatives have always understood that if you want to preserve something important, you need to be prepared to reform it. We must apply that same approach today.Thats why where markets are dysfunctional, we should be prepared to intervene.Where companies are exploiting the failures of the market in which they operate, where consumer choice is inhibited by deliberately complex pricing structures, we must set the market right.Its just not right, for example, that half of people living in rural areas, and so many small businesses, cant get a decent broadband connection.Its just not right that two thirds of energy customers are stuck on the most expensive tariffs.And its just not right that the housing market continues to fail working people either.Ask almost any question about social fairness or problems with our economy, and the answer so often comes back to housing.High housing costs – and the growing gap between those on the property ladder and those who are not – lie at the heart of falling social mobility, falling savings and low productivity.We will do everything we can to help people financially so they can buy their own home. Thats why Help to Buy and Right to Buy are the right things to do.But as Sajid said in his bold speech on Monday, there is an honest truth we need to address. We simply need to build more homes.This means using the power of government to step in and repair the dysfunctional housing market.It means using public sector land for more and faster house building.It means encouraging new technologies that will help us to get more houses built faster. And putting in more government investment too.It means stepping up and doing whats right for Britain.Making the market work for working people.Because thats what government can do.And something else we need to do: take big, sometimes even controversial, decisions about our countrys infrastructure.Because we need to get Britain firing in all areas again.It is why we will press ahead with plans for High Speed 2, linking London and Birmingham and, eventually, towns and cities in the North.Why we will shortly announce a decision on expanding Britains airport capacity.And why – having reviewed the evidence and added important new national security safeguards – we signed up to Hinkley Point.We will take the big decisions when theyre the right decisions for Britain.Because thats what government can do.And we can make these big decisions because our economy is strong and because of the fiscal discipline we have shown over the last six years.And we must continue to aim for a balanced budget.But to build an economy that works for everyone, we must also invest in the things that matter, the things with a long-term return.That is how we will address the weaknesses in our economy, improve our productivity, increase economic growth and ensure everyone gets a fair share.And thats not the only reason.Because while monetary policy – with super-low interest rates and quantitative easing – provided the necessary emergency medicine after the financial crash, we have to acknowledge there have been some bad side effects.People with assets have got richer. People without them have suffered. People with mortgages have found their debts cheaper. People with savings have found themselves poorer.A change has got to come. And we are going to deliver it.Because thats what a Conservative Government can do.A FAIRER ECONOMYThis party will always be the party of businesses large and small.But we must acknowledge that the way a small number of businesses behave fuels the frustration people feel.Its not the norm. I know that most businesses and the people who run them are hardworking, entrepreneurial and public spirited at heart.But the actions of a few tar the reputations of the many.So the party that believes in business is going to change things to help support it.Too often the people who are supposed to hold big business accountable are drawn from the same, narrow social and professional circles as the executive team.And too often the scrutiny they provide is not good enough.A change has got to come.So later this year we will publish our plans to have not just consumers represented on company boards, but workers as well.Because we are the party of workers. Of those who put in the effort. Those who contribute and give of their best.Thats why we announced on Saturday that were going to review our laws to make sure that, in our modern and flexible economy, people are properly protected at work.Thats right.Workers rights – not under threat from a Conservative government.Workers rights – protected and enhanced by a Conservative government.And let me say something about tax.Were all Conservatives here. We all believe in a low-tax economy. But we also know that tax is the price we pay for living in a civilised society.Nobody, no individual tycoon and no single business, however rich, has succeeded on their own.Their goods are transported by road, their workers are educated in schools, their customers are part of sophisticated networks taking in the private sector, the public sector and charities.Weve all played a part in that success.So it doesnt matter to me who you are.If youre a tax-dodger, were coming after you.If youre an accountant, a financial adviser or a middleman who helps people to avoid what they owe to society, were coming after you too.An economy that works for everyone is one where everyone plays by the same rules.So whoever you are you – however rich or powerful – you have a duty to pay your tax.And were going to make sure you do.A SOCIETY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONEThis is a big agenda for change. But it is necessary and essential.It is a programme for government to act to create an economy that works for everyone – an economy thats on the side of ordinary working class people.And an economy that can support the vital public services and institutions upon which we all rely – to invest in the things we hold dear.Like the NHS – one of the finest health care systems anywhere in the world, and a vital national institution.An institution that reflects our values, our belief in fairness, and in which we all take enormous pride.And I mean all.Because there is complete cross-party support for the NHS.For its status as a provider of free-at-the-point-of-use health care. For the thousands of doctors and nurses that work around the clock to care for their patients.We all have a story about the nurse who cared for a loved one, or a surgeon who saved the life of a friend.So let us take this opportunity to say to those doctors and nurses – thank you.The NHS should unite us. But year after year, election after election, Labour try to use it to divide us.At every election since it was established, Labour have said the Tories would cut the NHS – and every time we have spent more on it.Every election, they say we want to privatise the NHS – and every time we have protected it.In fact, the party that expanded the use of the private sector in the NHS the fastest was not this party, but the Labour Party.The only party to ever cut spending on the NHS is not this party, but the Labour Party – thats what they did in Wales.And at the last election, it wasnt the Labour Party that pledged to give the NHS the money it asked for to meet its five-year plan – it was this party, the Conservative Party…investing an extra £10 billion in the NHS – more than its leaders asked for…and this year more patients are being treated, and more operations are being carried out, by more doctors and more nurses than ever before.Thats a tribute to everyone who works in the NHS.But also to one man – Jeremy Hunt – who is one of the most passionate advocates for patients and for the doctors, nurses and others who work in our health service that I have ever known.So lets have no more of Labours absurd belief that they have a monopoly on compassion.Lets put an end to their sanctimonious pretence of moral superiority.Lets make clear that they have given up the right to call themselves the party of the NHS, the party of the workers, the party of public servants.They gave up that right when they adopted the politics of division. When their extreme ideological fixations led them to simply stop listening to the country.When they abandoned the centre ground.And let us take this opportunity to show that we, the Conservative Party, truly are the party of the workers…the party of public servants…the party of the NHS.Because we believe in public service. We believe in investing in and supporting the institutions that make our country great.We believe in the good that government can do.Government cannot stand aside when it sees social injustice and unfairness. If we want to make sure Britain is a country that works for everyone, government has to act to make sure opportunity is fairly shared.And I want us to be a country where it doesnt matter where you were born, who your parents are, where you went to school, what your accent sounds like, what god you worship, whether youre a man or a woman, gay or straight, or black or white.All that should matter is the talent you have and how hard youre prepared to work.But if were honest well admit thats simply not the case for everyone today.Advancement in todays Britain is still too often determined by wealth or circumstance.By an accident of birth rather than talent.By privilege not merit.Rebalancing our economy is a start, but if were serious about overturning some of the longstanding injustices and barriers that stop working people from getting on, we need that economic reform to be allied with genuine and deep social reform too.Because a society that works for everyone is a society based on fairness. And only genuine social reform can deliver it.Genuine social reform means helping more people onto the housing ladder. It means making sure every child has access to a good school place.It means never writing off people who can work and consigning them to a life on benefits, but giving them the chance to go out and earn a living and to enjoy the dignity that comes with a job well done.But for those who cant work, we must offer our full support – which is why it was so important that Damian Green announced on Saturday that we will end the mandatory retesting of those with chronic health conditions that only induces stress but does nothing at all to help.And genuine social reform means addressing historic injustices that hold too many people back.Some of my proudest moments as Home Secretary came when we began to tackle deep-seated and long-standing problems that few had dared to tackle before.I introduced the first ever Modern Slavery Act, bringing in tough new penalties to put slave masters behind bars, with life sentences for the worst offenders.I cut the polices use of stop and search by almost two thirds and reduced the disproportionate targeting of young, black men.And I know our impressive new Home Secretary Amber Rudd is committed to carrying on that work.But injustices remain.If you are from a black Caribbean background, you are three times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than other children.If you are a black woman, you are seven times more likely to be detained under mental health legislation than a white woman.People in ethnic minority households are almost twice as likely to live in relative poverty as white people.But it is not just those from minority backgrounds who are affected.White working class boys are less likely to go to university than any other group in society.We cannot let this stand – not if a country that works for everyone is the principle that binds us all together.Thats why I have launched an unprecedented audit of public services to shine a light on these racial disparities and let us do something about them.Because they are all burning injustices, and I want this government – this Conservative Government – to fight every single one of them.A society that works for everyone is one of fairness and opportunity. A society in which everyone has the chance to go as far as their talents will take them.Thats why in one of the first speeches I gave as Prime Minister I set out my plans to transform Britain into a Great Meritocracy.And that starts in our schools.I want Britain to be a country in which every child has access to a good school place thats right for that individual child.Because Britain after Brexit will need to make use of all of the talent we have in this country.We have come a long way.Thanks to the free schools and academies programme and the efforts of teachers, heads and governors, there are now 1.4 million more children in good and outstanding schools compared with 2010.But we need to go further. Because there are still one and a quarter million children in schools that are just not good enough.And if you live in the Midlands or the North, you have less chance of attending a good school than children in the South.This simply cannot go on.Thats why Justine Greening and I have set out a new package of reforms, building on Michael Goves success, to increase the number of good school places across the country…so theres not just a school place for every child, but a good school place for every child. A school place that suits the skills, interests and abilities of every single pupil.That is why we want more of our great universities to set up or sponsor schools in the state sector – just as the University of Birmingham has done, a few miles from here.Its why we are saying to the great private schools that – in return for their charitable tax status – we want them to do more to take on children without the means to pay, or set up and sponsor good state schools.It is why we want more good faith schools for parents and pupils who want them.And it is why we have said – where there is demand from parents, where they will definitely take pupils from all backgrounds, where they will play a part in improving the quality of all schools in their area – we will lift the ban on establishing new grammar schools too.And here we see the challenge.Because for too long politicians have said to people and communities who are crying out for change that they cant have what they want.Theyve said we dont think you should have it, even though we might enjoy those very same things for ourselves.And you end up in the absurd situation where you stop these good, popular, life-changing schools from opening – by law.Imagine. Think of what that says.If youre rich or well off, you can have a selective education for your child. You can send them to a selective private school. You can move to a better catchment area or afford to send them long distances to get the education you want.But if youre not, you cant.I can think of no better illustration of the problem – why ordinary working class people think its one rule for them, and another for everyone else.Because the message we are sending them is this: we will not allow their children to have the same opportunities that wealthier children enjoy.That is a scandal and we – the Conservative Party – must bring it to an end.A COUNTRY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONESo my vision is for Britain to be a Great Meritocracy.Thats what Ive always believed in. The cause that everything I have ever done in politics has been designed to serve.Because a country based on merit not privilege, is a country thats fair. And when we overcome unfairness and injustice, we can build that new united Britain that we need.And united, we can do great things.We saw that in the summer in Rio. We saw how individual success was powered by collective effort. How the dedication and talent of one was supported by a united team.And how a governments determination – John Majors Conservative Governments determination – to step up and back Britains sporting success contributed to such a remarkable result.We were honoured to welcome four members of the team – Helen Richardson-Walsh, Dame Sarah Storey, Vicky Thornley and Andrew Triggs-Hodge – to our conference on Monday.And to them – and to every athlete and every member of Team and Paralympics GB – we say, thank you. You did your country proud.It was a memorable summer for British sport, but one moment stood out for me above all other.It was not from Rio. It happened later. Just a couple of weeks ago on the sun-drenched streets of Cozumel in Mexico.There, our celebrated triathlon champion Jonny Brownlee was heading for glory, the finishing line in sight, when he faltered. Stopped. And was falling exhausted to the ground.And just behind him, his brother Alistair – a tough competitor who typically yields to no one – had the chance to run on and steal the prize.But seeing his brothers struggle, he didnt pass on by. As other competitors ran past, he stopped. Reached out his hand. And gently carried him home.And there in that moment, we saw revealed an essential truth. That we succeed or fail together. We achieve together or fall short together.And when one among us falters, our most basic human instinct is to put our own self-interest aside, to reach out our hand and help them over the line.Thats why the central tenet of my belief is that there is more to life than individualism and self-interest.We form families, communities, towns, cities, counties and nations. We have a responsibility to one another.And I firmly believe that government has a responsibility too.It is to act to encourage and nurture those relationships, networks and institutions – and to step up to correct injustices and tackle unfairness where it can – because these are the things that can drive us apart.Thats why I say today – as I have always said – that my mission – and the mission of this party – is to build a country that truly works for everyone, not just the privileged few.Its why when I stood on the steps of Number 10 for the first time as Prime Minister 84 days ago, I said that the Government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the rich and powerful, but by the interests of ordinary, working class people.And this week, we have shown the country that we mean business.Not just protecting, but enhancing workers rights.Building an economy thats fair, where everyone plays by the same rules.Getting more houses built. More doctors in the NHS.Investing in things that will make our economy grow.Hundreds of great new schools. Universities and fee-paying schools helping state schools to improve.And yes, where parents want them and where theyll improve standards for children of whatever background – the first new grammar schools to open in England for fifty years.A DEMOCRACY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONEThis is a bold plan to bring Britain together. To build a new united Britain, rooted in the centre ground.An agenda for a new modern Conservatism. That understands the good government can do. That will never hesitate to face down the powerful when they abuse their positions of privilege.That will always act in the interests of ordinary, working class people.Thats what governments about: action. Its about doing something, not being someone.About identifying injustices, finding solutions, driving change. Taking, not shirking, the big decisions. Having the courage to see things through.Its not always glamorous or exciting, but at its best its a noble calling.And where many just see government as the problem, I want to show it can be part of the solution too.And I know this to be true.For as I leave the door of my office at Number 10, I pass that famous staircase – the portraits of prime ministers past lined up along the wall.Men – and of course one woman – of consequence, who have steered this country through difficult times – and changed it for the better too.Theres Disraeli, who saw division and worked to heal it. Churchill, who confronted evil and had the strength to overcome. Attlee, with the vision to build a great national institution. And Lady Thatcher who taught us we could dream great dreams again.Those portraits remind me of the good that government can do.That nothing good comes easy.But with courage and vision and determination you can always see things through.And as I pass them every day, I remember that our nation has been shaped by those who stepped up to be counted when the big moments came.Such opportunities are rare, but we face such a moment today.A moment that calls us to respond and to reshape our nation once again.Not every generation is given this opportunity.Not every generation called to step up in such a way.But this is our generations moment.To write a new future upon the page.To bring power home and make decisions… here in Britain.To take back control and shape our future… here in Britain.To build an outward looking, confident, trading nation… here in Britain.To build a stronger, fairer, brighter future… here in Britain.That is the opportunity we have been given.And the responsibility to grasp it falls upon us all.So to everyone here this morning – and the millions beyond whether leavers or remain – I say:Come with me and well write that brighter future.Come with me and well make that change.Come with me as we rise to meet this moment.Come with me and together lets seize the day.last_img read more

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IS chief Baghdadi reappears

first_imgA man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has made what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the centre of Iraq`s second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on 5 July, 2014, in this still image taken from video. Photo: AFPIslamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in his first purported speech in nearly a year, has called on followers to fight on despite recent defeats, according to an audio recording posted on the group’s media outlet.In the 55-minute statement, Baghdadi congratulated what he described as the “striking lions” behind recent attacks in Canada and Europe and called on followers to use bombs, knives or cars to carry out attacks.Baghdadi also offered greetings to Muslims for Eid al-Adha, a feast which is celebrated this week, suggesting the message was recorded recently.“For the Mujahideen (holy warriors) the scale of victory or defeat is not dependant on a city or town being stolen or subject to that who has aerial superiority, intercontinental missiles or smart bombs,” Baghdadi said in a recording in Arabic posted by his al-Furqan media group.“Oh Caliphate soldiers…. trust in God’s promise and His victory… for with hardship comes relief and a way out,” he added, addressing followers in various cities in Syria.Reuters was unable to verify whether the voice on the recording was Baghdadi’s.Islamic State, which until last year controlled large areas in Syria and Iraq, has since been driven into the desert by successive defeats in offensives by international allies in both countries.Baghdadi, who declared himself ruler of all Muslims in 2014 after capturing Iraq’s main northern city Mosul, is now believed to be hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border region after losing all the cities and towns of his self-proclaimed caliphate.Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks around the world, including a July 22 shooting in Toronto that left two people dead and 13 wounded. Canadian police said that they had no evidence so far to support the claim.Baghdadi also called on Iraqi followers to keep up attacks against Shi’ite Muslims and what he described as apostates – a reference to Sunni Muslims fighting against his group.He called on followers to remain loyal to the leaders of his movement and urged the citizens of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan to overthrow their rulers.The secretive Islamic State leader has frequently been reported killed or wounded since leading his fighters on a sweep through northern Iraq. His whereabouts are not known but Wednesday’s message suggests he is still alive.One of his sons was reported to have been killed in the city of Homs in Syria, the group’s news channel reported earlier this year.Baghdadi also warned that Idlib province in Syria was about to fall as Russia and Syrian government forces were preparing to invade it. Idlib province is in the last swathe of territory still held by rebels opposed to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.In June, the United Nations’ regional humanitarian coordinator warned that Islamic State and other militant groups were mingled with the population in Idlib, making it a “highly explosive” situation.last_img
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Myanmar generals had genocidal intent against Rohingya says UN

first_imgMarzuki Darusman, chairperson of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar attends a news conference on the publication of a final written report at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 27 August 2018. ReutersMyanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent” and the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for orchestrating the gravest crimes under law, UN investigators said on Monday.The civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has allowed hate speech to thrive, destroyed documents and failed to protect minorities from crimes against humanity and war crimes by the army in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states, they said in a report.In doing so, it “contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes”, the report said.A year ago, government troops led a brutal crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on 30 Myanmar police posts and a military base.Some 700,000 Rohingya fled the crackdown and most are now living in refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.The UN report said the military action, which included the scorching of villages, was “grossly disproportionate to actual security threats”.The United Nations defines genocide as acts meant to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group in whole or in part. Such a designation is rare under international law, but has been used in countries including Bosnia and Sudan and in the Islamic State campaign against the Yazidi communities in Iraq and Syria.”The crimes in Rakhine State, and the manner in which they were perpetrated, are similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed genocidal intent to be established in other contexts,” said the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.In the final 20-page report, it said: “There is sufficient information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior officials in the Tatmadaw (army) chain of command, so that a competent court can determine their liability for genocide in relation to the situation in Rakhine state.”The Myanmar government, which was sent an advance copy of the UN report in line with standard practice, has not commented.Contacted by phone, Myanmar military spokesman Major General Tun Tun Nyi said he could not immediately comment.The UN panel, led by former Indonesian attorney-general Marzuki Darusman, named the Myanmar army’s commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and five other generals who should face justice.They included Brigadier-General Aung Aung, commander of the 33rd Light Infantry Division, which oversaw operations in the coastal village of Inn Din where 10 Rohingya captive boys and men were killed.Reuters was unable to contact Min Aung Hlaing or Aung Aung on Monday.The massacre was uncovered by two Reuters journalists – Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 – who were arrested as a result last December and are being tried on charges of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act. The court had been due to deliver its verdict on Monday, but at a brief hearing earlier the proceedings were postponed until Sept. 3.In April, seven soldiers were sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labour for participating in the massacre.The report said Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, “has not used her de facto position as Head of Government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events, or seek alternative avenues to meet a responsibility to protect the civilian population”.Suu Kyi’s spokesman, Zaw Htay, could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.The top UN human rights official Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has called the crackdown against the Rohingya a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.Suu Kyi’s government has rejected most allegations of atrocities made against the security forces by refugees. It has built transit centres to receive Rohingya returnees to western Rakhine state, but UN aid agencies say that it is not yet safe for them to return.CALL FOR INDIVIDUAL SANCTIONSThe UN Security Council should ensure all perpetrators are held to account, preferably by referring Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or by creating an ad hoc tribunal, the investigators said.The Security Council should “adopt targeted individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against those who appear most responsible for serious crimes under international law” and impose an arms embargo on Myanmar, they said.The four other generals the UN panel said should be prosecuted were named as the army deputy commander-in-chief, Vice Senior-General Soe Win; the commander of the Bureau of Special Operations-3, Lieutenant-General Aung Kyaw Zaw; the commander of Western Regional Military Command, Major-General Maung Maung Soe; and the commander of 99th Light Infantry Division, Brigadier-General Than Oo.Reuters was not able to contact those four generals on Monday.The panel, set up last year, interviewed 875 victims and witnesses in Bangladesh and other countries, and analysed documents, videos, photographs and satellite images.Decades of state-sponsored stigmatisation against Rohingya had resulted in “institutionalised oppression from birth to death”, the report said.The Rohingya, who regard themselves as native to Rakhine state, are widely considered as interlopers by Myanmar’s Buddhist majority and are denied citizenship.”The Tatmadaw acts with complete impunity and has never been held accountable. Its standard response is to deny, dismiss and obstruct,” the UN report said.The report also criticised Facebook’s response to allegations, including by members of the same UN panel in March, that the social media giant had been used to incite violence and hatred against the Rohingyas.”Although improved in recent months, Facebook’s response has been slow and ineffective. The extent to which Facebook posts and messages have led to real-world discrimination and violence must be independently and thoroughly examined,” it said.Facebook declined to comment in an emailed statement, saying it had not yet seen the report.Facebook said in a statement issued 10 days ago following a Reuters investigative report into its failure to combat hate speech against the Rohingya and other Muslims that it had been “too slow” to address the problem in Myanmar and was acting to remedy the situation by hiring more Burmese speakers and investing in technology to identify problematic content.International courts have a mixed record on prosecutions for genocide.In 2008, a UN court sentenced former army colonel Theoneste Bagosora, accused of masterminding the slaughter of 800,000 people in Rwanda in 1994, to life in prison on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. His sentence was later cut to 35 years on appeal.In 2016, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was convicted by UN judges of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. He is appealing against the conviction.The ICC issued arrest warrants for Sudan President Omar al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010 over his alleged role in war crimes including genocide in Sudan’s breakaway Darfur province in 2003. He remains in office.last_img read more

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Residents Uneasy About Stalled Senate Health Care Bill

first_imgDistrict of Columbia leaders and residents aren’t supportive about the Senate health care bill that was recently delayed for further consideration.On June 27, U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that he was postponing the consideration of “The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” until after the July 4 recess and District residents such as Ambrose Lane, chairman of the Ward 7 Health Alliance Network told the AFRO that he is glad because he doesn’t support the bill.“The bill is absolutely terrible,” Lane said. “This is another attempt to disenfranchise and impoverish people who are poor.”The GOP bill would functionally repeal Obamacare with its deep cuts in Medicaid, end the individual mandate that every American must have health insurance and create a new system of federal tax credits to help people buy insurance instead of marketplaces and exchanges that some states have. The bill would also give states the option of dropping coverage of benefits such as maternity leave, emergency room services and mental health treatment.D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (Courtesy Photo)Other anti-Obamacare measures include repealing tax increases on the wealthy and cutting the capital gains tax. The Congressional Budget Office on June 26 released a score stating 22 million Americans could lose their health care coverage if the GOP bill becomes law.While the District has no representation in the Senate, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who serves in the U.S. House of Representatives, made it clear that she dislikes the bill. Medicaid provides health insurance for 74,000 low-income children in the District of Columbia, comprising 34.5 percent of D.C.’s Medicaid population according to city statistics.“Medicaid provides life-saving health insurance to our most vulnerable citizens, and particularly ensures low-income children and children with disabilities have access to essential healthcare,” Norton said in a statement. “The deep cuts in Medicaid would have a devastating impact on children’s hospitals like Children’s National Medical Center. If the Senate’s version of Trumpcare passes, millions of people in the D.C. area and across the country will never receive healthcare because, for the first time, this bill would limit Medicaid, regardless of the number in need, a long-held goal of Republicans.”Norton visited the medical center on June 26 with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and D.C. Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) haven’t publicly talked about the Senate bill. However, Bowser sent a letter to House Republicans in January criticizing their efforts to repeal Obamacare and took issue with the anti-Obamacare House vote that took place in May.Mendelson and Gray, progressive Democrats, are unlikely to support the Senate bill. When Gray was mayor from 2011- 2015, he made sure that the District was one of the first to set up its own healthcare exchange, D.C. Health Link, in compliance with Obamacare and had the support of Mendelson and Bowser, who was on the council at that time.On Sept. 29, 2016, the D.C. Health Link reported that the District’s uninsured rate is between 3.7 percent – 4 percent.Patrick Mara, executive director of the D.C. Republican Party, told the AFRO that his fellow District Republicans are aware of the health care debate but are trying to focus on local issues.“We try to stay away from national discussions,” Mara said. “As a party we haven’t taken a position on the Senate health care bill. However, I am confident that local Republicans probably in the high 90s, want to repeal Obamacare.”Lane said access to health care is essential to living in the country. “I believe that health care is a fundamental right that is as dear as the right to free speech,” he told the AFRO. “With the Senate bill, you have White men who are punishing poor people and people of color to enrich themselves. Shame on them.”last_img read more

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Boston Dynamics to Sell Dog Robot SpotMini in 2019

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Why settle for any old family pet when you can have a bionic dog?Engineering and robotics design company Boston Dynamics is reportedly preparing for a 2019 commercial launch of its canine-like SpotMini bot.“The SpotMini robot … is one that was motivated by thinking about something that could go in an office—in a more accessible place for business applications. Or in a home, eventually,” company founder Marc Raibert said last week at TechCrunch’s TC Sessions: Robotics event.Small and nimble, the 2.75-foot-tall four-legged machine inherited the mobility of big brother Spot, with an added ability to pick up and handle objects using its claw-like arm and perception sensors.Considered Boston Dynamics’ “quietest robot” yet, SpotMini can carry a 30-pound payload while operating up to 90 minutes on a single charge.The first 100 commercial robots will begin production later this year, according to TechCrunch. Moving forward, the firm expects to scale production in hopes of selling the cyborg dog in 2019.There is no word yet on pricing. But Raibert boasted that the current prototype’s manufacturing costs are about ten times less than its previous iteration.“And we think we can go further,” he said, adding that the arm extension is an additional cost. “There’s a lot of factors that make this successful as a product, and we’re working on all of those.”During an on-stage demo, Raibert wowed the audience with an IRL SpotMini, led by operations manager Seth Davis. With cameras in its face and butt and embedded on both its sides, the robot can see where it’s going and detect obstacles to avoid.As highlighted in a recently published video, where the camera follows as SpotMini autonomously navigates a specified route through an office and lab facility.“We drove it through this space manually to build the map; it [collected] the data, it built the map itself,” Raibert said. “And now it can travel where there’s map data by localizing itself in the map.”The best part: There’s no need to follow it around with a poop bag. Stay on targetcenter_img Robot Dog Astro Can Sit, Lie Down, and Save LivesYou Can’t Squish This Cockroach-Inspired Robot last_img read more

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Osteoblastic lysosome plays a central role in mineralization

first_img Nanoscale observation of live osteoblasts in culture media, using the SE-ADM system. (A) Representative high-resolution SE-ADM images of osteoblasts cultured with or without osteogenic media for 2 days. Black particles were evident only when cultured in osteogenic media (right, square in the bottom). (B) Representative high-resolution SE-ADM images of osteoblasts cultured with or without osteogenic media for 7 days. There are many black particles when cultured in osteogenic media (right). (C) Representative high-resolution SE-ADM images of the SiN film after cell removal. In normal media, no particles are observed (left). The image of the film after removal of cells cultured in osteogenic media shows many clear black particles dispersed in the whole area (right). (D) Comparison of particle images during 4 to 10 days of culture in osteogenic media. The particle sizes gradually increased. (E) Distribution of particle size measured during 4 to 10 days of culture in osteogenic media. Approximately 900 to 1100 particles per time point were measured and plotted as a histogram. (F) Representative high-resolution SE-ADM images of osteoblasts cultured with osteogenic media for 7 hours. (G) MVBs have clear gray envelopes. (H) Cut images of various MVB sizes, including particles. (I) Comparison of MVBs with or without a gray envelope. (J) Schematic view of intracellular formation and transport of MVB in mineralizing osteoblasts. Scale bars, 1 μm in (A) to (C) and (F); 500 nm in (G); 200 nm in (D, bottom), (H), and (I). Credit: Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0672 Mineralization is mediated by osteoblasts, which secrete mineral precursors through matrix vesicles (MVs) as a fundamental process in vertebrates. The vesicles are calcium and phosphate rich, containing organic materials such as acidic proteins. In a new study now published in Science Advances, Tomoaki Iwayama and colleagues at the departments of periodontology, biomedical research, oral science, biomaterials and oral anatomy development used scanning electron-assisted dielectric microscopy (SE-ADM) and super-resolution microscopy (SRM) to assess live osteoblasts during conditions of mineralization at nano-level resolution. They found the calcium-containing vesicles to be multi-vesicular bodies containing mineralizing nanovesicles or matrix vesicles (MVs). According to the observations, the MVs could be transported together with lysosomes and secreted by exocytosis. Iwayama et al. presented proof that the lysosomes could transport amorphous calcium phosphate in mineralizing osteoblast cells. Super-resolution live imaging of calcium containing vesicle transports via lysosomes. (A) Snapshot of time-lapse SRM images of calcein-labeled osteoblasts. Cells were cultured with calcein and stained with Lysotracker and MitoTracker. White arrows indicate colocalization of lysosomes and calcein-positive vesicles. (B) Close-up of time-lapse SRM images of calcein-labeled osteoblasts. Red arrowheads indicate lysosome, and green arrowheads indicate calcein. Once lysosomes fused to calcein-positive vesicles adjacent to mitochondria, they started to move toward extracellular space. (C) Representative SRM image of LAMP1-mCherry–expressing cells. Cells were transfected with LAMP1-mCherry plasmid, cultured with calcein, and stained with MitoTracker. Calcein-positive vesicles matched to LAMP1-mCherry–positive lysosomes. (D) Schematic view of lysosomal involvement in transportation of calcium in mineralizing osteoblasts. Scale bars, 2 μm in (A), 1 μm in (B), and 10 μm in (C). Credit: Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0672 Scanning electron-assisted dielectric microscopy (SE-ADM) observation of osteoblasts. (A) High-resolution SE-ADM set up for osteoblast observation. Liquid-sample holder including osteoblasts is mounted on the pre-amplifier-attached stage, which is introduced into the specimen SEM chamber. The scanning electron beam is applied to the W-coated SiN film at a low acceleration voltage. Measurement terminal under the holder detects electrical signals through liquid specimens. Clear intracellular structures are visible (right image). Credit: Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0672 Characterization of mineral containing vesicles. (A and B) High-resolution particle images before (A) and after (B) removal of cells cultured in osteogenic media for 7 days. Pseudocolor maps of enlarged particle images indicated by red arrows are shown on the right side of (B). Particles show very smooth structures without crystals. (C) Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images and EDX spectrometric analysis of particles on a SiN film. SEM image on the left side exhibits the SiN film after removal of cells cultured in normal media, which shows no particles, and EDX spectrometric data show no peaks of phosphorus and calcium. In contrast, the SEM image and EDX spectrometric data on the right side show particles and sharp peaks of phosphorus and calcium after culture in osteogenic media. (D) Analysis of particle elements using EDX spectrometric maps. Particles contained phosphorus, calcium, carbon, and nitrogen. (E) Raman spectra obtained from osteoblasts cultured with or without osteogenic media for 23 days. Sharp peak of 960 cm−1 was evident only in osteogenic media (right side). a.u., arbitrary units. (F) Comparison of SE-ADM images of Alpl knockout (KO) osteoblasts in normal and osteogenic media. Particles completely disappeared in osteogenic media. (G) EDX spectrum of particles from Alpl KO osteoblasts on a SiN film. Left-side EDX spectrometric data exhibit the SiN film after removal of cells cultured in normal media, which show no peaks of phosphorus and calcium. Moreover, particles in osteogenic media of right-side data show no peaks in phosphorus and calcium. Scale bars, 1 μm in (A), (C, top), (D), and (F); 200 nm in (B); 100 nm in (B, right). Credit: Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0672 Lysosomal inhibitors block mineralization. (A and C) Confocal live imaging of 50 nM BafA-or 10 μM Vac-1–treated osteoblasts. Cells were cultured in osteogenic media containing BafA or Vac-1 and stained with Hoechst 33342 and LysoTracker Insets show higher magnification and boxed area of each channel. (B and D) SD-ADM images of BafA- or Vac-1–treated osteoblasts. Cells were cultured in osteogenic media containing BafA or Vac-1. (E) Alizain Red S staining performed without fixation. Cells were cultured in osteogenic media containing BafA or Vac-1 and stained with Alizain Red S. Representative confocal images. Scale bars, 50 μm in (A), (C), and (E); 2 μm (B) and (D). Credit: Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0672 To overcome these limitations in the present work, Iwayama et al. used a new microscopic system known as scanning electron-assisted dielectric microscopy (SE-ADM). The method had previously achieved nanoscale resolution and high-contrast imaging for mammalian cells in aqueous media without staining. The scientists used the same technique (high resolution SE-ADM) to explore the possibility of viewing MVs in intact osteoblasts to understand biogenesis of MV trafficking. For the osteoblast cell line they used murine (mouse) osteoblastic cell line KUSA-A1, with high osteogenic capacity in vitro and in vivo. After cell culture under adequate conditions, Iwayama et al. observed the cells with SE-ADM to identify normal intracellular structures. The scientists observed MVs to align with collagen fibrils after 4 to 10 days of cell growth in osteogenic media and the secreted particle size increased due to fusion or particle growth, with their sizes consistent with previous reports to suggest they were indeed MVs. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further New pathway for cell communication discovered , Bone Citation: Osteoblastic lysosome plays a central role in mineralization (2019, July 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Journal information: Science Advances After directly observing the production and secretion of MVs using SE-ADM, the scientists further investigated the involvement of lysosomes in intracellular trafficking of MVs to observe live osteoblast mineralization. They cultured the cells in calcium-containing osteogenic media and stained them with LysoTracker to detect the intracellular components of interest. Iwayama et al. located the calcein-fulfilled vesicles matched with lysosomes to suggest the biogenesis of MVs within lysosomes after their fusion with calcein+ vesicles. The scientists followed the experiments with loss-of-function and functional inhibition studies to further deconstruct the pathways and examine intracellular mechanisms of action during live cell mineralization in vitro. Upon further examination with SE-ADM, they noted the involvement of the lysosomal pathway to transport and secrete intraluminal MVs in a similar process to exosomes. Interestingly, both exosomes and MVs are categorized as extracellular vesicles with similar sizes; they are both secreted by osteoblasts and have shared functions during cell-cell communication. Scientists had previously reported the involvement of mitochondria during mineralization due to the presence of electron-dense calcium and phosphorous-rich granules in osteoblast mitochondria. This was observed with a modified cryotechnique. Furthermore, reports also suggest the direct contact of lysosomes and mitochondria with functional significance. When Iwayama et al. stained cells with LysoTracker together with MitoTracker and observed the intracellular components under N-SIM structured illumination super-resolution microscopy (SRM). They observed the presence of most calcein-fulfilled vesicles next to mitochondria and matched with lysosomes. During SRM-time lapse imaging, the scientists further obtained views of intracellular transport of LysoTracker containing vesicles fused to static calcein vacuoles adjacent to mitochondria to validate their hypothesis. In this way, together with observations of other SRM systems and additional cell lines, Tomoaki Iwayama and colleagues proposed a mineralization mechanism. Wherein lysosomes played a central role in intracellular MV biogenesis and trafficking within osteoblasts. It was reasonable to involve lysosomes for osteoblasts to transport amorphous calcium phosphate without crystallization during its transport in the cytosol. The scientists aim to conduct further experiments to understand the regulatory molecules for MVs and investigate if MVs and exosomes have similar constitutions and mechanism underlying their generation, secretion and function. The SE-ADM strategy used in the present work can be installed into existing scanning electron microscopy apparatus at a low cost. The work developed in the study will offer non-invasive, high-resolution imaging at the nanoscale applicable to all scientific fields. In the next step, Iwayama et al. examined if these particles were MVs containing calcium and/or phosphate. For this, they cultured the cells in osteogenic media for 7 days and observed them using SE-ADM to record very smooth structures without crystal facets. This suggested that the MVs did not crystallize but remained amorphous as also recorded in a previous study. When the scientists examined the MVs on a SiN (silicon mononitride) film, they observed sharp peaks corresponding to phosphorous, calcium, carbon and oxygen elements. They confirmed the findings using Raman spectroscopy to show the presence of calcium phosphate within MVs. The scientists also investigated the effects of hypophosphatasia a medical condition encoded by the Alpl (alkaline phosphatase) gene, wherein osteoblasts do not undergo mineralization in vitro. For this, they edited the genome of osteoblast cells using the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to generate Alpl knockout osteoblast clones. When Iwayama et al. examined the knockout clones using high-resolution SE-ADM, they did not observe MVs, which was further confirmed using spectrometric analysis due to the absence of phosphorous and calcium peaks. © 2019 Science X Network , Science During the physiological process of bone mineralization, the deposition of calcium phosphate crystals occurs in the extracellular matrix as a fundamental process in all vertebrates. In 1967, biologists Clarke Anderson and Ermanno Bonucci, individually visualized mineral-related particles in the extracellular space using electron microscopy (EM). Scientists later recognized these particles as mineralizing nano-vesicles or matrix vesicles (MVs). During the past 50 years of EM studies on MVs, biologists have grappled to understand the mechanism of MV formation and secretion, which remains largely unknown. Clarifying the mineralizing process of live cells with EM is challenging since sample preparation for EM requires steps on both chemical fixation and alcoholic dehydration. The steps can induce artefacts and even dissolve or remove unstable mineral precursors leaving an organic scaffold known as a “crystal ghost”. While scientists had successfully used the process of EM using fixed and dehydrated tissue to view the structure of mineralized collagen fibrils in bone, to study mineral precursors, they must employ cryo-EM processes to avoid dehydration and facilitate costly, extremely fast cooling with small specimens. More information: Tomoaki Iwayama et al. Osteoblastic lysosome plays a central role in mineralization, Science Advances (2019). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0672 N. Reznikov et al. A materials science vision of extracellular matrix mineralization, Nature Reviews Materials (2016). DOI: 10.1038/natrevmats.2016.41 Natalie Reznikov et al. Fractal-like hierarchical organization of bone begins at the nanoscale, Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2189 Irving M. Shapiro et al. Matrix vesicles: Are they anchored exosomes?, Bone (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2015.05.013last_img read more

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Panorama of artist Senakas works

first_imgWriters express themselves through their writings, musicians through their music but for an artist, his work, whether be it a painting, a portrait or just a drawing, speak to a great length not only about his feelings but of others as well.Grosvenor Gallery will showcase its works for the sixth consecutive year at the 8th edition of the India Art Fair from January 28-31. This year the gallery will be exhibiting new paintings by one of South Asia’s premier artists, Senaka Senanayake.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The work by renowned artist Senaka Senanayake, titled ‘Ganesh’, will be published in an edition of 100 and will be available for the first time at the India Art Fair. The piece is exclusive to Grosvenor Gallery, which will not be available anywhere else.Senaka achieved early fame as a child prodigy, whose work was first exhibited in Colombo in the late 1950s. He then held his first international one man show in New York at the age of 10. He continued to paint and as a teenager held numerous exhibitions in Sri Lanka as well as Europe, the USA and Asia. His recent work is inspired by the plight of the Sri Lankan rainforests, many of which have been a subject to intense deforestation to make way for tea-plantations.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixOne of Senaka’s objectives is to establish a connection with everyone that encounters his work. “Many times, people can’t relate to a piece of art  as the artworks don’t respond but I want my paintings to talk. Everyone, from a street sweeper to a university professor, should be able to relate to my art”, said Senaka.It takes almost 2-3 weeks for his canvas to get completed. Layer upon layer of paint is added, creating an incredible depth to the colours and imparting a rich feel to the works, which appear to have an almost luminescent quality to them. When asked about his work, the artist commented: “My main focus is on the endangered flora and fauna in our rainforests. In 2005, I visited a rainforest in Sri Lanka, which had become my muse for many of my shows. I could have shown the negative aspects of destruction, such as people and animals dying, but I try to create happy and positive paintings.”When: January 28 – 31Where: NSIC Grounds, Okhla Industrial Area, New DelhiTimings: 11 am to 7 pmlast_img read more

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Watch out for these roadworks across Stafford Borough this week

first_imgGet the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid Email Drivers are being warned to expect traffic and travel delays due to roadworks across Stafford Borough this coming week. Motorists hitting the roads of the area on Monday morning can expect a raft of delays and road closures waiting for them. The following roadworks are taking place in the Borough between Monday December 10 and Sunday December 16. This list contains only the roadworks considered to be most likely to cause delays on key routes as well as those involving road closures and temporary traffic lights. It is not exhaustive and does not feature some minor or emergency repairs that come up after publication. Other roadworks may finish or start before schedule or be cancelled altogether. All information from Highways England, local authorities and utility companies. Read MoreTraffic warden slaps £70 fine on vehicle used by charity to install defibrillator outside Sports Direct Derrington: Roadworks and road closures on Church Lane and Mount Pleasant from November 5 until January 30 2019 Meir Heath: Two way traffic signals on B5029 Grindley Lane near the junction with Whitestone Road from November 28 until December 27 Ranton: Roadworks and road closure on Brook Lane from December 13 until December 19 Stafford: Temporary traffic lights and roadworks on Beaconside until April 2019 Stafford: Roadworks and road closure on Thorneyfields Lane in Castle Bank over M6 until April 2019 Stone: Give and take traffic control on Brooms Road from December 7 until December 11 Stone: Multi-way traffic lights on Brooms Road from December 12 until December 24 Stone: Two way traffic signals on B5027 Lichfield Street from December 12 until December 14 Yarnfield: Give and take traffic control on Yarnfield Lane from December 7 until December 11 Want the latest news from across Stafford Borough?For the very latest news from across the Stafford Borough, visit our dedicated homepage at, like our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter @StaffsNews Looking for news from a specific town? We’ve got dedicated channels for Stafford and Stone – as well as smaller settlements such as Eccleshall, Barlaston, Gnosall and Haywood and Hixon. For the latest council news and planning applications, visit our dedicated Stafford Borough Council channel – while our Stafford Crown Court channel brings you the latest news from the court. For the latest news and breaking news visit Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you. Follow us on Twitter @SOTLive – the official Sentinel account – real news in real time. We’re also on Facebook – your must-see news, features, videos and pictures throughout Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire & South Cheshire. Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive .last_img read more

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Scoot wins big at Budgie Travel Awards 2013

first_imgSource = Terrapinn Asia Pacific Hotel of the Year – Dusit Thani Maldives LCC of the Year – Scoot Best Ancillary Revenue Strategy – AirAsia Best New Route Launch – Jetstar Airways Best Social Media Campaign –  Cebu Pacific Best Print Ad – Cebu Pacific OTA of the Year – LCC Airport of the Year – New Kansai International Airport LCC of the Year – Scoot Since its launch in November 2011, Scoot has grown into an airline that hires over 300 staff and owns a fleet of four 402-seat Boeing 777-200s which carries an average load of 80% across its fast-growing network of nine destinations. Since its first ever flight on 4 June 2012, half a million passengers have experienced what it’s really like to “Get Outta Here”, on Scoot.LCC CEO of the Year – Campbell Wilson, CEO, Scoot Together with his team, Campbell Wilson, CEO, Scoot, has led the organisation to grow into an airline that hires 326 staff and owns a fleet of four 402-seat Boeing 777-200s that carries an average load of 80% across its fast-growing network of nine destinations.Campbell has led and shaped an organisation that has touched many people and created an airline that has been delivering exactly what it promises: a fuss-free, engaging, fun, reliable, highly customisable and fantastically good value way to travel.Best Ancillary Revenue Strategy – AirAsiaAirAsia has proven itself to be an LCC with the most innovative suite of ancillary offerings. They have shown originality in branding the portfolio of ancillary products and they have also achieved tremendous growth in revenue through their outstanding ancillary revenue strategy.Best New Route Launch – Jetstar Airways Jetstar Airways began creating awareness for the launch of their Singapore-Osaka direct service through strategic partnerships with business partners with a strong connection to Japan. Through a careful selection of business partners with a strong connection to Japan – restaurant chain Sakae Sushi, Japanese supermarket Meidi-Ya and Japan National Tourism Organisation, Jetstar was able to tap in to an audience that was not only targeted but previously unavailable. The key strategy was designed to increase Jetstar exposure amongst an audience that already had an inbuilt love of the Japan destination. Coupled with viral marketing through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, Jetstar Airways achieved tremendous success for the launch and the strategy also provided a new mix of channels for Jetstar Airways to utilise for future Japan promotionsBest Social Media – Cebu PacificIn recent years, Social Media has become one of the best online media platforms for companies to connect and engage with their customers. It has provided what no other form of media has been able to offer in the past – instantaneous two-way communication. Cebu Pacific believes that this is an indispensable tool in conveying their products, services and overall brand to their passengers. To date, they communicate with and listen to over 800,000 Facebook fans, 434,000 Twitter followers and update their YouTube channel which has over 1 million views. They engage their market with their much-awaited seat sales, special events, timely flight notifications, online contests, shareable content and videos and more.Best Print Ad – Cebu PacificCebu Pacific introduced their ticket promotion to Bali through a vibrant and lively advertisement with the tagline ‘Betcha Buy Bali Now’ which is a fun and eye-catching way of catching readers’ attention.LCC Airport of the Year – New Kansai International AirportThe New Kansai International Airport (NKIAC) was launched in October 2012 as the first LCC dedicated terminal in Japan. It was an airport-airline collaboration that also marked the launch of the first Japan based LCC – Peach Aviation.NKIAC has proven itself to be the LCC Airport of the Year through the numerous effective cost-saving initiatives and measures that allowed the construction of the airport to be completed at a budget of under US$100 million. Some of these initiatives include minimising number of aircraft parking spots through the introduction of flexible swing gates, designing the size of parking spots and height of illumination poles to match smaller aircrafts used by LCCs, etc.Furthermore, in order to promote growth in aircraft movement and development of LCCs, NKIAC introduced 80% landing charge discount for airlines with increasing flight frequencies.Asia Pacific Hotel of the Year – Dusit Thani MaldivesBlending graceful Thai hospitality with the unparalleled luxurious setting of the Maldives, Dusit Thani Maldives comprises of 100 villas and residences each offering a haven of modern sophistication with luxurious amenities andtechnology. Located in the centre of the UNESCO World Biosphere, Dusit Thani Maldives offers guests diving, snorkelling, a 750sqm infinity pool – the largest in the Maldives, fuly-equipped fitness studio, resident marine biologist, children’s play area and club facilities and island boutiques. Dusit Thani Maldives has attained the Bronze Certified Award from EarthCheck, environmental management program that sets benchmarks for the tourism industry. Since its grand opening in Sep 2012, the resort has received numerous recommendations and raving reviews who consistently recognise the staff’s exemplary service and attention to details. On top of that, Tripadvisor also recently named Dusit Thani as one of the Top Ten Hot New Hotels of 2012.Economy Hotel of the Year – POP! Hotels IndonesiaAs an organisation that constantly pushes innovation to the next level, POP! Hotels offer many unique features including iPad check-in system in line with its eco-friendly motto to support paperless campaign and an innovative shower pod exclusively designed for POP! Hotels.With its drive for constant innovation and strong support for the environment, POP! Hotels is aiming to have a total of 32 hotels under POP! Hotels brand throughout Indonesia including Surabaya, Semarang, Solo, Lampung, Balikpapan and Jakarta by end of 2015.OTA of the Year – is a leader in online hotel reservations and travel content, with an extensive partner portfolio that includes many of the world’s leading hotel chains and over 6,000 travel suppliers. The company delivers best value hotel rates and promotions to both leisure and business travellers worldwide, with a primary focus on Asia Pacific’s most popular destinations.The OTA is also present on the mobile platform with which allows the OTA reach out to billions of smart phone and tablet users worldwide. Additionally, what makes truly unique is the pairing of technology and the human touch. The company’s 24/7 multilingual teams of highly trained native speaking customerservice experts are fluent in 10 major languages and offer fast assistance to every customer’s booking inquiries. The Singapore-based low cost long-haul airline, Scoot emerged as the big winner at the 10th Annual Budgie$ & Travel Awards 2013 which have been created to honour the leaders, innovators, and pioneers of Asia’s low cost airline and travel industry. In recognition of his outstanding leadership and achievements, Campbell Wilson, was named the LCC CEO of the Year and Scoot was also awarded LCC of the Year.As a testament to the success of the LCCs in emerging markets, leading LCCs such as AirAsia, Jetstar Airways and Cebu Pacific also emerged as winners of the night while Kansai Airport bagged the LCC Airport of the Year.The awards also honoured the best achievements in the travel industry where Dusit Thani won the Asia Pacific Hotel of the Year, POP Hotels bagged the Economy Hotel of the Year and OTA of the Year was awarded to Hoteltravel.Winners of the awards were selected through an exclusive online global voting system, which enabled airline and travel players across the world to have their say in which leaders in Asia stood out in their respective categories.This year’s winners of the 10th Annual Budgie$ & Travel Awards 2013 are: Economy Hotel of the Year – POP! Hotels Indonesia LCC CEO of the Year – Campbell Wilsonlast_img read more

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Conferences growing on cruise ships

first_imgSilversea Cruises invites Professional Conference Organisers (PCO) and Event Managers to compare the level of quality and value of services offered aboard Silversea’s mid-sized ships with five-star hotels and resorts.Silversea specialises in full ship charters, conferences and incentive offerings and, with an all-inclusive pricing model, event planners have access to a high value alternative to a five star resort.Karen Christensen, general manager & director sales/marketing, Australasia, said when compared to luxury resort accommodation, Silversea provides companies with a unique opportunity.“Silversea’s charters, incentives and event services are of the highest standard, exceeding some of the world’s most renowned five star resorts.  Due to Silversea’s all-inclusive pricing structure, event organisers can confidently plan events to suit their individual budgets.  Many event organisers who work with us are often pleased to discover that chartering one of our cruises can prove to deliver more value than a five-star resort,” Ms Christensen said.When planning a conference or incentive, remaining within budget – even within the luxury sector – is vital.Whether it is a full ship charter, top performing employees receiving an exclusive reward with an exclusive event, or a highly customised large-scale group event, Silversea’s small ships can cater for all.“At Silversea, we sail to all seven corners of the world across the entire fleet.  We cater to the needs of each and every guest, whilst visiting some of the most stunning destinations, ensuring that we provide the wow factor that delegates will be speaking about for years to come.”Accommodating between 100 and 540 guests, each Silversea vessel includes: all ocean-views in every suite; exquisite dining and all-inclusive amenities; expert-led shore excursions; and an assigned butler to each suite.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

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Bauchi The Silverad

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