2 held for forcibly shutting meat shops in Gurugram

first_imgGurugram: The Gurugram Police on Sunday arrested two persons under the Arms Act and filed FIRs against 40 others for allegedly forcing meat traders to shut their shops by brandishing weapons on Saturday citing ChaitraNavaratri. Two arrested persons have been identified as Rakesh alias Chikka and Pramod Singh of the Hindu Sena, both resident of Dundehera in Gurugram, a police official said on Sunday. “They have been booked under IPC sections of 148, 149 and 506 for threatening shop owners with dire consequences for opening their shops and marching on streets holding baton, hockey sticks, swords and iron rods in their hands,” said Sumer Singh, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, West Zone. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe accused also pulled down shutters of many shops, he added. “We will produce them in the court and urge for a police remand to recover the said arms and identify other accused,” said Singh. Despite the model code of conduct in place, around 200 Hindu Sena activists assembled at lord Shiva temple on Old Railway Road on Saturday and marched to different locations aiming to close meat shops. They toured sector 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 21, 22, Palam Vihar, Badshahpur, Om Vihar, Surat Nagar, Sadar Bazar, Anaj Mandi Dhanwapur, Dundahera, Molaheda, Sikandarpur and many other places in Gurugram and forcibly shut over 180 shops. About 50 per cent owners of meat shop had kept it shut to avoid any unwanted situation. Meanwhile, Ritu Raj, chief of the Hindu Sena, said the Hindu organisations would continue with their efforts throughout the Navaratri as opening of meat shops during the festival could hurt religious sentiments of Hindus.last_img read more

Skipping breakfast may increase death risk

first_imgDo you skip your morning meal and eat dinner late at night? If so, it may increase the risk of death and other heart-related problems, researchers have warned. The findings, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, suggest that people with such an unhealthy lifestyle had a four to five times higher likelihood of early death and increased chances of a second heart attack. “Our research shows that the two eating behaviours are independently linked with poorer outcomes after a heart attack but having a cluster of bad habits will only make things worse,” said co-author Marcos Minicucci, from Sao Paolo State University in Brazil. Also Read – An income drop can harm brain”We also think that the inflammatory response, oxidative stress, and endothelial function could be involved in the association between unhealthy eating behaviours and cardiovascular outcomes,” he added. For the study, the team involved 113 patients with a mean age of 60, of which 73 per cent were men. The study enrolled patients with a particularly serious form of heart attack called ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). According to the team, this was the first study to evaluate these unhealthy behaviours in patients with acute coronary syndromes. Skipping breakfast was observed in 58 per cent patients, having late night dinner in 51 per cent, and both behaviours in 41 per cent. To improve eating habits, researchers recommended a minimum two hour interval between dinner and bedtime. A good breakfast usually consists of dairy products (fat-free or low fat milk, yogurt and cheese), a carbohydrate (whole wheat bread, bagels, cereals), to name a few.last_img read more

Get off that fence!

first_imgAh! The joy of sitting on the fence. No decisions to make, no commitments to have, just sit and watch the world go by. It is indeed very peaceful to be a fence-sitter. No bitter arguments, no high-pitched debates, just sit and listen. As we go deeper into the election season, my analysis is that fence-sitters form a sizeable vote-bank. These fence-sitters weren’t always fence-sitters. They, too, whole-heartedly supported one party or the other; they may have been ardent admirers of politicians, and may very well have loathed a few others. However, today they are fence-sitters mainly because they are a confused lot unable to make up their minds. Also Read – A special kind of bondSure, they voted for growth, development, ‘sabka vikas’, etc. in 2014. They rallied around that central figure of change, Narendra Modi, who promised with utmost sincerity to transform India. Most of us know that five years is too short for any kind of metamorphosis but it definitely sows the seeds that yield results in the years to come. But today those supporters are dumbfounded (I know because I have spent the last many weeks speaking to scores of BJP supporters who for the first time seem uncertain about their vote). In spite of the good that the current BJP government has achieved (yes, there are a few positives – India’s international brand-building, greater ease of doing business, low levels of corruption in governance, the intent behind Swacch Bharat Abhiyan etc.), this group of people is unnerved by the incidents of communal disharmony, lynchings, the assumption of the reins of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, by a priest, India’s jobless growth etc. Also Read – Insider threat managementThe doubts that were forming gradually in the last couple of years have witnessed brisk growth in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. The promise to implement NRC nationwide, pledging to introduce stricter sedition laws, and the icing on the cake — giving an election ticket to Malegaon terror accused, Pragya Singh Thakur (Sadhvi Pragya), to contest from Bhopal. In fact, we must demand the Parliament and the Election Commission to rethink the decision to allow convicted criminals contesting elections in the first place. This group of voters has already become fence-sitters as they have no justification for their favoured party’s actions. A couple of years ago these very people would stop parties and gatherings to wax eloquent about how our ‘libtard’ spectacles were so Congress-hued that they wouldn’t accept a non-Gandhi leading the nation. They had so many defences for Prime Minister Modi and his government, and many of us, grudgingly also believed that irrespective of personal ideologies, Modi cared about this international persona so much that he dares not allow attacks on India’s tolerance and diversity. That garb of decency, every last bit of it was shredded to pieces with the party deciding to field Pragya. This so-called sannyasin has served nine years in jail, was released on bail citing health reasons and still faces several criminal charges, and has just badmouthed 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare! BJP cannot be so bereft of talent to be out recruiting ex-convicts! The party has had political leaders of distinction, erudite men and women that have been respected if not supported across political ideologies. The only plausible explanation is that this time since the party can’t truly boast of economic progress, it is polarising the elections by pushing hard-line Hindutva ahead of its development plank. What a sea-change from 2014! My request to all those fence-sitters (many of whom are thinking of pressing the NOTA button) is to weigh the pros and cons before voting. This group of BJP supporters who are sitting uncomfortably on the fence must decide not only for the nation but also for their own party. Is this the India you want where ‘vikas'(development) replaces ‘vinash’ (destruction)? There is enough criticism of Congress and its dynastic legacy and I know no one asks this question but — Dear BJP supporters…Is this the BJP you want? Perhaps it is time to get off that fence and let your leaders know your decision. (The writer is a journalist and media entrepreneur. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Uncertainty over NEET exam timings

first_imgKolkata: About 80,000 state candidates, who are supposed to take the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) on May 5, are confused over the timings of entering the examination centres, as they claim, their admit cards doesn’t provide clear instructions.The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test is an examination for admission of students into medical and dental colleges at graduate and post-graduate levels. Students are not aware at what time they should turn up at the centres on the day of examination. The confusion was created as the admit cards of the aspirants mentioned that the reporting time is at 12 pm and the students can enter maximum by 1.30 pm. The gate of the centres will be closed at 1.30 pm and the examination will be conducted from 2 pm to 5 pm. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaMany aspirants said it was not clear whether a candidate will be allowed to enter the examination centre if he/she arrives after 12.30 pm. Many candidates who come from distant places don’t know if they can reach the centre 10-15 minutes prior to 1.30 pm. Candidates, who live in close to the centres, prefer to reach half-an-hour before the examination as there are no adequate sitting arrangements at the centres. At each examination centre, around 500 to 2,000 candidates are accommodated depending on the size of the centre. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayA candidate said if majority of students enter the centre half-an-hour before the examination, how will the centre authorities handle such a huge number of students at that time as they have to individually search each candidate. The timings of the examination have been rescheduled this year. Since the introduction of the NEET, the examinations would start at 10 am and end at 1 pm. Students will be not allowed to enter the examination centres with anything made from metal such as rings, earrings, nose-pins, chains, necklaces, pendants, badges and brooches. Sikh students do not know if they would be allowed in the centres with their kada and kirpan. In the NEET prospectus, it is mentioned that in case there is any error in the translated version of question-paper in Bengali, the National Testing Agency would not take the responsibility. Earlier, Bengal candidates had to face difficulties in this regard. Dr A K Maity, an expert in the field of medical education, who has written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard, said: “NTA should take the responsibility if there is any mistake in the question papers in Bengali. Many meritorious students from Bengal had to face problems in previous years only because they had opted Bengali as the medium of examination. The responsibility of conducting the medical entrance examination should be entrusted upon the state government.”last_img read more

Gabon seeks to learn from Moroccan experience in management of expats’…

Rabat – Gabon’s Minister of Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and the Gabonese Expatriate Community, Alexander Désiré Tapoyo, expressed Monday in Rabat, the willingness of his country to cooperate with Morocco and his wish to learn from the experience of the Kingdom in the management of expats’ affairs.The Gabonese official expressed such will during his talks with Minister in charge of the Moroccan expatriate community, Anis Birrou, as part of his working visit to the Kingdom.In a statement to MAP, the Gabonese Minister stressed the uniqueness of the Moroccan experience in the management of expatriates’ affairs, given the significant contribution of the Moroccan expat community to the country’s development. For his part, the Moroccan Minister discussed with his Gabonese counterpart the concerns of the Moroccan community in Gabon before reassuring the Gabonese Minister of the efforts of the Moroccan government in this field, and the determination of the Kingdom to further strengthen cooperation with this country. read more

Morocco’s Terrorism Risk Lower Than France, Spain: British Foreign Office

Rabat – The current terrorism risk in Morocco has decreased to a safer and tourist-recommended level, according to the British Foreign Office (FCO) latest “terror threat around the world” map published by The Telegraph news.Two months ago, British authorities warned Britons about Morocco’s “high terrorism threat”; however, the FCO has lowered the threat and ranked the North African country at the same level as the United States.The British Ministry of Foreign Affairs has placed Morocco at a “threat level 3” – “average” (general) group category.Morocco shares the same classification with countries such as Germany, Italy, and Canada among others illustrated on the interactive map. Morocco and Mauritania the only country in the MENA region to earn an “average” rating (3), while the others ranked at “threat level 4” where the risk is “high”.The Foreign Office, which protects and promotes the interests of the British community, recommends Morocco more than France, where the current threat level is “high-risk” (4).According to the terror threat map, 30 countries were classified as “high-risk”, among those: Spain, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon Belgium, Australia, Russia, Colombia, Turkey, and even the United Kingdom.On Monday, the FCO published a map where Morocco appeared as low-risk of crime and the only safe country in the MENA region.“All regions of the Kingdom are safe”, the London-based office said, advising British citizens to travel to Morocco without worrying for their safety.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

Claims for US jobless benefits bounce up 53,000 to 253,000

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans applying for unemployment checks hit the highest mark since September 2017, but they’re still low enough that most workers continue to enjoy job security.The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for jobless aid rose by 53,000 last week to 253,000 from a 49-year low 200,000 the week before. The four-week average, which is less volatile, rose by 5,000 to 220,250.The number of federal workers seeking unemployment benefits fell 42 per cent, to 14,739. A 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government ended last week.Claims are a proxy for layoffs. Unemployment has dropped to 3.9 per cent. Employers last month went on a hiring spree and added 312,000 jobs. The January jobs report, out Friday, is expected to show they began 2019 by hiring 165,000.Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press read more

Ronaldo is the Last Obstacle Between Salah and Ultimate Greatness

Rabat- Mohamed Salah’s performance has been astounding this year, leading him to win multiple Player of the Year awards in his first Liverpool season. He’s scored fantastic goals, made assists, and has greatly impacted Liverpool’s game. His grace, pace and clinical finishes have led many soccer legends to place him in the highest pantheon of soccer today, alongside Ronaldo and Messi.For Liverpool fans, Salah’s imposing aura has rendered Coutinho’s absence essentially insignificant. It is almost as if Coutinho were never there in the first place, having quickly become part of the furniture in a Salah-dominated tale of unsuspected brilliance.But even though former Liverpool playmaker Steven Gerard dubbed Salah the best player in the world today, many fans and commentators feel that Salah’s season will be defined on May 26, in Kiev, when the Egyptian and his teammates will take on Real Madrid and their magical Portuguese talisman. Fans have suggested that the match in Kiev will essentially boil down to a Salah vs. Ronaldo standoff. Following that logic, many believe whoever triumphs in Kiev will be this season’s undisputed hero.And so here we are: the blitzing emerging star vs. the established giant. It all seems as though Ronaldo is standing in Salah’s way to absolute prominence; the Portuguese player is the final opponent Salah must face to earn his place among soccer legends.Amidst the Ronaldo vs. Salah obsession, Salah sees the matter in a very different light, Whether surprised by his own dazzling season or a genuine team player concerned with the team’s success rather than his own triumph, he says Kiev will be Liverpool vs. Real Madrid, not Salah vs. Ronaldo.The Egyptian recently told the press that Liverpool’s success in Europe’s greatest soccer celebration, is due to their collective acumen and the fiery power the team has to strike from every side of the pitch. No single player can claim to be the ultimate shaper of Kloop’s team, Mo Salah suggested. It is a team built on an unyielding esprit de corps, a fervent spirit to win and lose together. Liverpool’s outstanding form is not about Salah alone. What about the underrated fury of Firmino? Or the unstoppable runs of Mané? And who can even say that all of these would have been as effective had it not been for the admirable job of the midfield? What about the defense and the technical staff?It is all about teamwork, Salah explained, adding that on May 26, he will be targeting not the Ballon’ d’Or, but a sixth European trophy for the Reds.“I know all of the Arab people wish the best for me, and they are happy every time I win, but now at the moment I’m only thinking about the final and to bring the trophy to Anfield,” Salah said after the dramatic second-leg against Roma. He added: “It is not going to be a final between Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo. I am playing for a great club and we have great players, so qualifying to the final came with great teamwork. I cannot do it alone – it is collective work. When we score a goal it’s because we are all doing good, when we concede it means we all need to work harder.”Salah should be respected for his devotion to the team. Ideally, every player should always put the team first. However, in an era that celebrates individuals (mostly players who score goals and give assists) and obliterates the incredible contributions of other departments on the pitch, all eyes will undoubtedly be set on Salah and Ronaldo when Liverpool and Madrid face off in the Ukrainian capital.Madrid has defied every team in this Champions League campaign. They embarrassed Neymar’s PSG, broke the veteran Buffon’s heart, and made Bayern Munich look like a team that does not know how to score. “Cristiano Ronaldo is the most decisive player in the world,” Buffon said in the immediate aftermath of the Portuguese player’s overhead kick that brought a standing ovation from Juventus’ fans. Metaphorically, though, there was another message behind Buffon’s acknowledgment of Ronaldo’s otherworldly instincts: Real Madrid’s current aura of invincibility is largely dependent on Ronaldo’s unsurpassed propensity to score in the most defining hours.Ending Madrid’s unchallenged triumphalism is Liverpool’s surest way to help their “Egyptian King” terminate the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly in the Ballon d’Or scramble. If Liverpool wins, Salah can hope to for his soccer coronation banquet to be celebrated before Neymar’s. And if he scores the winning goal, he will guarantee himself the Ballon d’Or. In other words, should Salah come triumphant out of his confrontation with Ronaldo, witholding the game’s highest individual accolade would be an outrage that UEFA—however corrupt—wouldn’t dare.A perfect season needs something to flaunt, a trophy. Salah got the Premier League’s Player of the Year award. But that is not enough for absolute greatness. To be considered among soccer’s most defining players, the trend-setters, Salah needs more than the validation of the Premier League’s players. So, on May 26, the Egyptian should give his utmost to block Ronaldo. Or, better yet, he should prevent Ronaldo from blocking him. read more

US Officials Urge Trump Administration to Support Morocco on Western Sahara…

Rabat – US attorney general of Idaho Lawrence Wasden and Utah’s attorney general Sean Reyes have co-written a opinion piece, emphasizing the role of Morocco as a leading counter-terrorism country.Published on December 14 by Salt Lake Tribune, the opinion piece points out Morocco’s steady support for the US’s security efforts in the MENA region. The opinion piece analyzes Morocco’s efforts in fighting cyber terrorism and criminal crimes, such as human trafficking. Both officials were tasked to visit Morocco and learn about its “efforts to counter human trafficking, cyber terrorism, and transnational organized crimes.”Referring to their trip to Morocco, Wasden and Reyes said that they found Morocco to be “a country that cares deeply about security and rule of law, in a region hostile to both.”The officials also spoke about their meeting with the governor of the Dakhla province in Western Sahara. They highlighted that the region has “witnessed a variety of development projects” in recent years, hinting at Morocco’s increasing efforts to improve living standards and employment prospects for the region’s locals.Read Also: Facts about Western Sahara Conflict that You Should KnowRyes and Wasden emphasized the credibility of Morocco’s autonomy plan introduced in 2007 to the United Nations. Both Attorneys general recognized that the autonomy plan received “large bipartisan support in the US Congress” as it represents a “win-win compromise solution” to the conflict.Arguing that Morocco is the US’s most reliable ally in the region, the American officials warned Trump’s administration against losing their North African ally.Read Also: Western Sahara: Everything You Should Know About Morocco’s Autonomy PlanThe US should intensify its support to Moroccan positions as no other countries in the region are as committed as Morocco to the values and interests that the US shares with allies, they said of the conflict in Western Sahara. Morocco’s efforts in countering terrorism and radicalization, “underscore the need for continued US support to help Morocco resolve the Western Sahara conflict,” the noted. “Although this dispute remains a frozen conflict with seemingly little relevance amidst a variety of hotspots in different parts of the world, it remains nevertheless pertinent today as it threatens to undermine a vital U.S. ally in North Africa.”For all the pro-Morocco sentiment in the opinion piece-and increasingly in conservative circles in the US-it is still unclear what they direction the Trump administration will take regarding the conflict.Read Also: US Congresswoman: US Sides with Morocco on CounterterrorismLast week, Bolton expressed frustration over the continuity of the conflict, criticizing the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, also known as MINURSO. “Ladies and gentlemen, 27 years of deployment of this peacekeeping force, 27 years and it’s still there? How can you justify that? I have got to know over the years the Saharawi people, I have enormous respect for them, I have enormous respect for the government and people of Morocco and Algeria, is there not a way to resolve it?” Bolton wondered with frustration.Read Also: Bolton ‘Frustrated’ With UN Failure to Resolve Western Sahara DisputeMorocco-US alliance on counterterrorismThe officials also touted Morocco’s counterterrorism and the fight against radicalization as key assets that the US should take into account. According to them, the cooperation will deepen cooperation in both “military and security” between the two countries.Read Also: Morocco Wants Strong Security Cooperation with US Against IranMorocco’s strategy to fight against terrorism has attracted interests among counter-terrorism experts worldwide. The North African country cooperates with a host of international security services, including in the US, Spain, and France.In October, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said that the US allies itself with Morocco in the fight against terrorism and in maintaining security.”Ros-Lehtinen indicated that Morocco is a strong country with which the US shares “the same problems.”The opinion piece also recalled Morocco’s decision to cut ties with Iran over Hezbollah’s support for the Polisario Front. “This should not come as a surprise given that Iran has been seeking to destabilize a number of states, in an effort to weaken the U.S. allies in the Middle East and North Africa, and in so doing, creates a security risk to our friends and our nation,” the commentary added.They emphasized that the US “must” back Morocco as the country leads the way in terms of “reforms and as an exporter of peace while at the same time addressing the challenges brought by regional instability, rising extremism and external threats from Iran,” the officials concluded read more

The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

SAN FRANCISCO — It took a while, but finally — and with the carefully curated help of Oprah, Big Bird and Goldman Sachs — Apple has at last unveiled a new streaming TV service, its own branded credit card and a news subscription product.The moves have been largely expected and so far don’t appear to drastically alter the competitive landscape the way Apple has done with previous products such as the iPhone and the iPad.Still, the announcements represent an important step for the company as it seeks to diversify how it makes money amid declining sales of the iPhone, even if by themselves they are unlikely to turn Apple’s big ship either way. But it’s a way to keep fans sticking with Apple even when they aren’t buying a new iPhone every year.Monday’s announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service. Here’s a rundown on what Apple unveiled — what’s good, what’s not so good and what we still don’t know.— APPLE TV PLUSThe good: Oprah, Jason Momoa, Big Bird, Steven Spielberg and a host of other stars have lent themselves to original Apple shows that range from documentaries to science fiction, drama and preschool television programming. The focus on “quality storytelling” is consistent with Apple’s image and analysts say is likely to produce some hit shows.The bad: Even so, “it will lack the full range and diversity of content available through Netflix, Amazon and others, and that is set to limit its appeal,” said Martin Garner, an analyst at CCS Insight. Apple also joins a crowded market and it’s not clear how many more monthly subscriptions people have the money and the bandwidth for.The unknown: Apple hasn’t said how much it’s going to cost.— APPLE NEWS PLUSThe good: The price, $10 per month, looks like a good deal compared to separate subscriptions for newspapers and magazines (Apple will include more than 300 of the latter, including The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated). Apple is touting “richly designed articles” that let people read publications tailored to Apple devices in all their glory. Apple has also included privacy protections, and says it will collect data about what people read in a way that it won’t know who read what — just how much total time is spent on different articles.The bad: While The Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal have signed on, other big-name news publishers, such as The New York Times, have not. Nor have, in fact, most other major U.S. newspapers.The unknown: It’s not entirely clear how much news you’re getting for your money. The Journal, famous for its business and industry coverage and commanding nearly $40 a month, will make “specially curated” general-interest news available for Apple customers, for example. Other stories will still be there — but Apple says users will have to search for the articles themselves.— APPLE CARDThe good: Security and privacy, two areas Apple prides itself on, are a clear focus. The physical version of the card has no numbers, and the digital version lives in your Apple Wallet on your phone, where it’s protected by Face ID or Touch ID so even if someone steals your phone they won’t be able to use the card to buy things. Apple says it won’t get information on what you buy with the card or where or for how much. There are no late fees.The bad: The rewards (2 per cent cash back for all purchases using the digital version of the card, 1 per cent using the physical version and 3 per cent cash back at Apple stores) are nothing to write home about. The card is meant for Apple users, so if you aren’t, it’s probably not for you.The unknown: What sort of credit score you need to get approved, as well as exact interest rates.— APPLE ARCADEThe good: Apple’s new game subscription service, which will launch this fall, will be free of ads and in-app purchases, which can quickly add up and have become common in mobile games. Apple promises more than 100 games, and they will be exclusive to the service, so there will be plenty of fresh adventures.The bad: The service will only be available on Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs. That could be frustrating for those who don’t own Apple products.Unknown: Apple said all games would be available with one subscription, but did not say how much it would cost or when exactly the service will launch. It has partnered with a few well-known game creators, including Hironobu Sakaguchi of “Final Fantasy” fame, but it’s unclear how well all the new games will work or how fun they’ll be to play.___AP Technology Writer Rachel Lerman contributed to this story.Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press read more

Canopy Growth CEO expects to hit $1B in revenue for fiscal year 2020

TORONTO — Canopy Growth Corp.’s co-chief executive says he is expecting a “growth quarter” ahead and foresees the cannabis company will generate $1 billion in revenue during its next financial year.Bruce Linton says the Smiths Falls, Ont.-based licensed producer has ramped up the pace of its packaging and shipping processes and anticipates sales growth to accelerate by the final quarter of the calendar year as more stores open their doors and edibles hit the market.His bullish comments on the sidelines of a Toronto cannabis industry conference come one day after shares of licensed producer Aphria Inc. slipped by as much as 15 per cent after its quarterly revenues and earnings fell short of estimates.Aphria in its latest quarter ended Feb. 28 sold less kilograms of cannabis than the previous three-month period as it faced supply shortages and packaging and distribution challenges.Linton told reporters at the GMP Securities Conference that Canopy has increased the amount of units it can package and ship, from 300,000 units in October to 1.3 million in March.He expects the cannabis producer to generate more than $1 billion in revenue globally during its financial year, which started on April 1, but he doesn’t expect profitability just yet as Canopy invests in clinical trials and other initiatives to “create a long future.” Companies in this story: (TSX: WEED)The Canadian Press read more

As hurricane season nears, small businesses should prepare

NEW YORK — With the start of the Atlantic hurricane season approaching next month, small business owners can expect to hear admonishments from government agencies about getting prepared.Disaster prep is something many owners intend to get to, but it gets pushed down the to-do list by more immediate concerns about customers, employees, finances and suppliers. But owners should think now at least about basic disaster planning, including how to protect their employees, computer data and premises.Meteorologists at Colorado State University issued their first forecast for the season in April, predicting 13 named storms — tropical storms or hurricanes with sustained wind speeds of 39 mph or higher. Five hurricanes are predicted. That compares with the 15 named storms and eight hurricanes in 2018, including Hurricanes Florence and Michael that caused billions of dollars in damage. An average season has 12 named storms and six hurricanes; the hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30.The National Hurricane Center has not issued its forecast yet, but last week it did warn about a tropical system that was expected to bring heavy rains to the eastern Florida coast.Although some preparation can’t be done until the last minute, owners can sign up now with data storage and backup services, update their contact lists for employees, customers and suppliers and check in with insurance brokers to be sure their companies are adequately covered. If they’ve been meaning to buy generators in case the power goes out, this is the time to do it — when a storm is on the way, generators quickly disappear from stores.Owners who want to shelter employees on their premises if necessary should stock up on water and food that doesn’t need refrigeration, flashlights, bedding and battery-operated radios and cellphone chargers.Evacuation planning is harder to do in advance because of the unpredictability of a storm’s path. As Hurricane Irma approached southeastern Florida in 2017, some residents who evacuated to Tampa in expectation the western coast of the state would be spared had to hurriedly move further north when the storm’s course changed. But once owners know where their staffers will be sheltered, they should have a complete list of locations.Businesses in inland places rarely hit by hurricanes should do at least basic planning. As Irma moved north, it hit cities like Atlanta, hundreds of miles away from the ocean.Disaster planning can be highly detailed, and owners may not realize they’re forgetting important aspects of protecting their companies. A number of online disaster prep resources are available from federal and state government agencies, and some include checklists that will help owners decide what they need to do.The sites include:— www.preparemybusiness.org , sponsored by the Small Business Administration— www.ready.gov/business , operated by the Department of Homeland Security— www.score.org/resource/hurricane-preparedness-checklist , operated by SCORE, the organization that provides free counselling for small businesses— www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/15238 , operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency_____Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.comJoyce M. Rosenberg, The Associated Press read more

Trump issues order that appears to target China’s Huawei

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is issuing an executive order to help protect the United States against foreign adversaries that are taking advantage of technological vulnerabilities to threaten U.S. communications systems.The order the White House announced Wednesday does not name specific countries or companies, but the administration has been trying to keep allied nations from using equipment from the Chinese tech company Huawei. In August, Trump signed a bill that barred the U.S. government from using equipment from Huawei and China’s ZTE Corp.The U.S., which is embroiled in an escalating trade war with China, also has sounded warnings about Huawei’s efforts to expand into Europe. The U.S. worries that China could use Huawei to gain access to private, commercial or other information that could compromise NATO and allied intelligence operations.The Associated Press read more

‘Aladdin’ soars, but ‘Booksmart’ barely passes at box office

LOS ANGELES — Moviegoers have voted with their dollars and chosen the familiar over the new this Memorial Day weekend.The Walt Disney Co.’s live-action remake of “Aladdin” has crushed the competition at the box office including the critically acclaimed teen comedy “Booksmart” and the horror movie “Brightburn.”Studios on Sunday say “Aladdin” grossed an estimated $86.1 million to take the top spot in North America. It’s expected to pass $100 million by Monday.“John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” placed second with $24.4 million, “Avengers: Endgame” took third with $16.8 million, and “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” landed in fourth with $13.3 million.Sony’s modestly budgeted horror movie “Brightburn” opened in fifth with $7.5 million.And “Booksmart” debuted in sixth with only $6.5 million, despite excellent reviews and steady buzz from its SXSW film festival debut.Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press read more

Experts: Spy used AI-generated face to connect with targets

LONDON — Katie Jones sure seemed plugged into the Washington’s political scene. The 30-something redhead boasted a job at a top think-tank and a who’s-who network of pundits and experts, from the centrist Brookings Institution to the right-wing Heritage Foundation. She was connected to a deputy assistant secretary of state, a senior aide to a senator and the economist Paul Winfree, who is being considered for a seat on the Federal Reserve.But Katie Jones doesn’t exist, The Associated Press has determined. Instead, the persona was part of a vast army of phantom profiles lurking on the professional networking site LinkedIn.Experts who reviewed the Jones profile’s LinkedIn activity say it’s typical of espionage efforts on the professional networking site, whose role as a global Rolodex has made it a powerful magnet for spies.“It smells a lot like some sort of state-run operation,” said Jonas Parello-Plesner, who serves as program director at the Denmark-based think-tank Alliance of Democracies Foundation and was the target several years ago of an espionage operation that began over LinkedIn .William Evanina, director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said foreign spies routinely use fake social media profiles to home in on American targets — and accused China in particular of waging “mass scale” spying on LinkedIn.“Instead of dispatching spies to some parking garage in the U.S to recruit a target, it’s more efficient to sit behind a computer in Shanghai and send out friend requests to 30,000 targets,” he said in a written statement.Last month, retired CIA officer Kevin Mallory was sentenced to 20 years in prison for passing details of top secret operations to Beijing, a relationship that began when a Chinese agent posing as a recruiter contacted him on LinkedIn.Unlike Facebook’s friends-and-family focus, LinkedIn is oriented toward job seekers and headhunters, people who routinely fire out resumes, build vast webs of contacts and pitch projects to strangers. That connect-them-all approach helps fill the millions of job openings advertised on the site, but it also provides a rich hunting ground for spies. And that has Western intelligence agencies worried.British , French and German officials have all issued warnings over the past few years detailing how thousands of people had been contacted by foreign spies over LinkedIn.In a statement, LinkedIn said it routinely took action against fake accounts, yanking thousands of them in the first three months of 2019. It also said “we recommend you connect with people you know and trust, not just anyone.”The Katie Jones profile was modest in scale, with 52 connections. But those connections had enough influence that they imbued the profile with credibility to some who accepted Jones’ invites. The AP spoke to about 40 other people who connected with Jones between early March and early April of this year, many of whom said they routinely accept invitations from people they don’t recognize.“I’m probably the worst LinkedIn user in the history of LinkedIn, said Winfree, the former deputy director of President Donald Trump’s domestic policy council, who confirmed connection with Jones on March 28.Winfree, whose name came up last month in relation to one of the vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, said he rarely logs on to LinkedIn and tends to just approve all the piled-up invites when he does.“I literally accept every friend request that I get,” he said.Lionel Fatton, who teaches East Asian affairs at Webster University in Geneva, said the fact that he didn’t know Jones did prompt a brief pause when he connected with her back in March.“I remember hesitating,” he said. “And then I thought, ‘What’s the harm?’”Parello-Plesner noted that the potential harm can be subtle: Connecting to a profile like Jones’ invites whoever is behind it to strike up a one-on-one conversation, and other users on the site can view the connection as a kind of endorsement.“You lower your guard and you get others to lower their guard,” he said.The Jones profile was first flagged by Keir Giles, a Russia specialist with London’s Chatham House think-tank . Giles was recently was caught up in an entirely separate espionage operation targeting critics of the Russian antivirus firm Kasperky Lab. So when he received an invitation from Katie Jones on LinkedIn he was suspicious.She claimed to have been working for years as a “Russia and Eurasia fellow” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, but Giles said that, if that were true, “I ought to have heard of her.”CSIS spokesman Andrew Schwartz told the AP that “no one named Katie Jones works for us.”Jones also claimed to have earned degrees in Russian studies from the University of Michigan, but the school said it was “unable to find anyone by this name earning these degrees from the university.”The Jones account vanished from LinkedIn shortly after the AP contacted the network seeking comment. Messages sent to Jones herself, via LinkedIn and an associated AOL email account, went unreturned.Several experts contacted by the AP said Jones’ profile picture appeared to have been created by a computer program.“I’m convinced that it’s a fake face,” said Mario Klingemann, a German artist who has been experimenting for years with artificially generated portraits and says he has reviewed tens of thousands of such images. “It has all the hallmarks.”Klingemann and other experts said the photo — a closely cropped portrait of a woman with blue-green eyes, copper-colored hair and an enigmatic smile — appeared to have been created using a family of dueling computer programs called generative adversarial networks, or GANs, that can create realistic-looking faces of entirely imaginary people. GANs, sometimes described as a form of artificial intelligence, have been the cause of increasing concern for policymakers already struggling to get a handle on digital disinformation. On Thursday, U.S. lawmakers are due to hold their first hearing devoted primarily to the threat of artificially generated imagery .Hao Li, who directs the Vision of Graphics Lab at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, reeled off a list of digital tells that he believes show the Jones photo was created by a computer program, including inconsistencies around Jones’ eyes, the ethereal glow around her hair and smudge marks on her left cheek.“This is a typical GAN,” he said. “I’ll bet money on it.”__Online:Test your ability to tell a real face from a fake one at: http://www.whichfaceisreal.com/Generate your own deepfake faces at: https://thispersondoesnotexist.com___Raphael Satter can be reached at: https://raphaelsatter.comRaphael Satter, The Associated Press read more

UN food agency head takes office calls for renewed commitment to worlds

10 April 2007The new chief of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) officially took up her duties today by calling for a renewed commitment to the almost one billion hungry men, women and children throughout the world and highlighting that every year 4 million more people become malnourished. Executive Director Josette Sheeran will spend her first month in office focusing on the organization’s most important operations and areas of work, spending half her time at WFP headquarters in Rome and half her time in the field, where her first mission will be to Africa which she will visit at least twice in her first 90 days. “Despite enormous efforts by WFP and its donors and partners, we are losing ground on hunger with 4 million more people malnourished each year than the year before. Together, we can turn that tide,” she told staff in Rome. “I feel very fortunate to join WFP, which I learned during my time on the UN’s High-Level Panel is a gem in the UN system. WFP has earned the trust of the world’s most vulnerable and the respect of more than 90 donor nations. All its supporters, public and private, know that over 93 per cent of their donations are used directly to reach the hungry, giving WFP one of the lowest overheads of any aid provider.” Every year WFP feeds an average of 90 million people, maintaining a logistics operation that encompasses an international team of nearly 12,000 in more than 80 countries. Ms. Sheeran was selected for the post in November by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director General Jacques Diouf, with the unanimous concurrence of WFP’s 36-member executive board. She brings to WFP a broad background in the public and private sectors, with more than 20 years management and leadership experience in diplomacy, government, foundations, journalism and business. Most recently Ms. Sheeran served as Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs at the State Department in the United States and as alternate US delegate to the World Bank and regional development banks, working on economic issues including development, trade, agriculture, finance, energy, telecommunications and transportation. Last year she was asked by the former Secretary-General to serve on the High-Level Panel looking at UN reforms in the areas of humanitarian assistance, development and the environment. She spent nine months travelling the world conducting hundreds of interviews with UN aid recipients, country teams, private sector donors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). “I come into this position with four commitments. First: to the more than 850 million men, women and children who know what it is like go to bed hungry, I promise you that you will never be forgotten and I will do everything I can not just to bring you food, but hope for a better future,” said Ms. Sheeran. The Executive Director listed her other commitments as being to WFP’s supporters and to all the UN, NGO and other bodies that work with the organization. She also promised WFP staff that their efforts will not be taken for granted but that their sacrifices will “always make a difference.” read more

Myanmar UN to resume delivering food in Mandalay District

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced that it has been assured by Myanmar that authorities will lift restrictions on the movement of the agency’s food aid.WFP Country Director and Representative Chris Kaye confirmed that the Mandalay Area Military Commander on Saturday issued the transport permit to allow for the delivery of nearly 200 metric tons of food to Lashio in northern Myanmar. WFP has therefore scheduled food deliveries to WFP operational areas to resume next week.Mandalay’s local authorities halted all movements of food supplies out of the Division earlier this week, obstructing WFP’s operations in northern Shan and the Central Dry Zone, both of which depend on food deliveries from Mandalay.Disturbances in the port town of Sittwe have also thwarted food movement to the agency’s operational areas in north Rakhine State.Civil protests led by Buddhist monks in the South-East Asian nation for 11 consecutive days were concentrated mostly in the main cities of Yangon and Mandalay, but the demonstrators’ stand-off with the Government and its response had consequences in other areas where WFP distributes food assistance.Operating in Myanmar in collaboration with 22 UN agencies and non-governmental organizations, WFP provides much-needed food for vulnerable persons in the country, including HIV/AIDS and TB patients under treatment, primary school children in marginalized areas of the country and communities in former poppy-farming areas. A programme supporting the nutrition status of mothers and children addresses acute malnutrition rates that prevail in several operational areas. 30 September 2007The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced that it has been assured by Myanmar that authorities will lift restrictions on the movement of the agency’s food aid. read more

Somali President arrives in Kenya for talks with UN envoy

9 November 2007The senior United Nations envoy to Somalia is holding talks in Nairobi with the country’s President and other political leaders as UN staff report that worsening humanitarian conditions inside the capital, Mogadishu. Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf arrived in the Kenyan capital yesterday for the talks with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, and other UN officials, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters today. Mr. Ould-Abdallah and Mr. Yusuf will focus on the ongoing selection process for Somalia’s next prime minister during their discussions, according to the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS). Earlier today the Special Representative also met with Ali Mahdi Mohammed, the Chairman of Somalia’s National Reconciliation Congress. The Nairobi meetings are taking place as the killings, violence and displacement continue across Mogadishu amid fighting between the insurgents and Ethiopian troops, which are in Somalia to support the country’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Mr. Haq said some 50 civilians were killed and another 30 wounded during the past 24 hours in the capital, and as many as 114,000 residents of Mogadishu have been forced to flee their homes in recent weeks. In total, an estimated 850,000 Somali civilians have been displaced this year by the intermittent but deadly violence across the Horn of Africa country. read more

GuineaBissau UN peacebuilding office should be extended – Ban Kimoon

7 December 2007Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended that the mandate of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau be extended for one year, with the possibility of it transforming into an integrated mission following the 2008 legislative elections. Extending the mandate until next 31 December will “allow the Office to continue to assist Guinea-Bissau as it confronts the challenges of peacebuilding and strives to bring about political stabilization,” Mr. Ban wrote in a letter to the President of the Security Council made public earlier this month.He suggested a revision of the UNOGBIS mandate so that it can help to generate the international community’s support for the West African nation’s efforts to stem drug trafficking.To this end, the Office’s 2008 activities would focus on supporting the country’s reconciliation and dialogue; helping to reform the security sector; assist with the holding of transparent and credible legislative elections; promote respect for the rule of law and human rights; among others, Mr. Ban wrote.After next year’s elections, the Secretary-General noted that he will look into the possibility of transforming UNOGBIS into an integrated mission.“Such a mission, if deemed appropriate, would provide a holistic approach to addressing the complex and multidimensional situation facing Guinea-Bissau,” the letter said.UNOGBIS was created in 1999 to help Guinea-Bissau emerge from the devastation of a civil war in which thousands were killed, wounded or forced from their homes. read more

Targeting journalists unforgivable UN says after death of BBC Afghan reporter

9 June 2008The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed its sadness at the killing of an Afghan reporter working for the BBC in the country’s southern Helmand province, stressing it is “unforgivable” that journalists should be targeted for simply doing their jobs. Abdul Samad Rohani was the Pashto service reporter for the BBC World Service in Helmand. He was reportedly abducted on Saturday and his body was found the next day in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. “Afghan journalists risk their lives everyday to highlight the concerns and needs of ordinary Afghan people and it is unforgivable that such selfless individuals are being targeted for no other reason than doing their job,” UNAMA’s Nazifullah Salarzai told reporters in Kabul today. “We urge the Afghan authorities to leave no stone unturned in search of those responsible for this callous murder,” he added. Mr. Rohani was one of two BBC journalists killed over the weekend. Nasteh Dahir, who worked for the BBC and the Associated Press, was gunned down in Kismayo, Somalia, on Saturday. read more