South Africa Morocco Allegedly Ready to Break Diplomatic Stalemate

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Rabat – Pretoria has finally acknowledged the diplomatic credentials of Morocco’s new ambassador to South Africa, according to a Moroccan diplomatic source quoted earlier this week in a number of Moroccan publications.Are Rabat and Pretoria finally ready to bury the hatchet and nourish the peaceful diplomatic ties that the AU is increasingly requesting of continental giants? The answer is complicated, but at least the two countries appear to be considering rapprochement.“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation received this week a letter from South Africa,” the Moroccan source was quoted as saying. The letter, the source explained, came with the good news—as far as African affairs are concerned—that South Africa would finally accept the hand that Morocco had extended in August 2018.Pretoria has “finally accepted former deputy foreign Minister Youssef Amrani as Morocco’s ambassador to Pretoria,” the source added.More than an appointmentWhen King Mohammed VI appointed 14 new ambassadors in August 2018, the one appointment that generated comments in diplomatic circles was the appointment of Amrani to represent Morocco in South Africa.Of paramount importance in such debates was the profile of the newly-appointed Moroccan ambassador to Pretoria.While traditional ambassadorial appointments often have to do with changing from one ambassadorship to another or promoting promising young civil servants at the foreign affairs ministry, Amrani was already an established—and revered—senior in Moroccan diplomacy.As Moroccan ambassador to a number of South American countries between 1996-2003, Amrani played a considerable part in Morocco’s ongoing diplomatic breakthrough in Latin America, a region mostly known for its endorsement of “revolutionary” and Marxist-communist movements like the Polisario Front.After his Latin American years, Amrani joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rabat, where he occupied a number of “strategic posts,” including chief of the bilateral relations office, secretary general of the ministry, and delegate minister.Prior to his appointment as ambassador to Pretoria, he most recently served as the chief of mission at the Royal Cabinet. In that position, Amrani was part of the restricted circle of senior dignitaries advising the King on matters of utmost diplomatic significance.In appointing Amrani to the Pretoria office, the King was sending another part of the message he addressed to his AU counterparts on the day Morocco officially returned to the organization in January 2017.Now that the North African kingdom is “back home,” it plans to make its mark on continental politics, including being present in previously uncharted waters for the advancement of its “legitimate interests.”More than an appointee, Amrani will be a missionary in South Africa, the heart of his task being to progressively engineer a diplomatic common ground with South Africa, a strong Polisario supporter.The long road aheadFor Amrani’s mission to be possible, or start, however, it needed Pretoria’s stamp. The alleged letter the Moroccan diplomatic source referred to was that stamp. Even though the stamp came very late—more than seven months after Amrani’s appointment—and very half-heartedly, it may be enough to suggest that some things are changing.But South Africa suggested it had reasons for delaying Amrani’s confirmation. The divergence between the two countries hit its lowest mark in 2004 when Morocco’s ambassador to Pretoria hurriedly left his post. Morocco was protesting against South Africa’s recognition of the Polisario-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.After overtly opposing each other’s interests for over a decade, Rabat and Pretoria finally gave signs of normalization in November 2017, when King Mohammed VI met with then-President Jacob Zuma at an AU summit in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.That was less than a year after Morocco joined the AU, and the suggestion was clear: Establishing firm relations with other African nations has become the center of gravity of Morocco’s new “royal diplomacy.”As news articles suggesting a “new African momentum” in Rabat-Pretoria ties began spreading, explaining the benefits of normalized ties between the two countries, Pretoria announced that it was poised to consider opening a new page with Morocco.Mxolisi Sizo Nkosi, a senior official in the South African foreign ministry, said in the aftermath of the Abidjan meeting that “the ball is Morocco’s court if the Kingdom wants to return an ambassador to Pretoria.”According to the South African official, “the starting point for any normalization of relations between Rabat and Pretoria would have to be Morocco replying to the 14-year-old South African request.”Appointing Amrani was Morocco’s reply, putting the ball in South Africa’s court. And now that Pretoria has allegedly positively replied by accepting Amrani’s appointment, can the much-reported “new momentum” be said to have finally begun?The answer will depend on how President Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced President Zuma in early 2018, will reply to King Mohammed VI’s perceived insistence on intra-African cooperation.The search for common ground is recognized as the primary goal of any successful diplomatic endeavor. Continuously befriending already friendly countries is singing to the choir. It is easy and demands little or no effort.Good, outstanding diplomacy, on the other hand, requires efforts, dedication to brokering an agreement between parties seemingly destined to disagreement and hostility.Much has happened since President Ramaphosa came to power.Although President Ramaphosa has not engineered any substantive deviation from the official South African position on Western Sahara, he has given it a much fiercer pro-Polisario resonance. He has called on Morocco to “decolonize” Western Sahara and has vowed to throw South Africa’s international weight behind Polisario’s “Sahrawi cause.”As Pretoria and Rabat will begin to slowly “discuss diplomacy” in the coming weeks and months, the usual diplomatic question will be raised, “What is in it for us?”South Africa and Morocco know the answer to that question: There is a lot to benefit for both countries should they decide to cooperate.“The cultural heritage between Morocco and South Africa should enable the two parties to move forwards,” Germany’s Deutsche Welle wrote in late 2017. The newspaper highlighted that rapprochement between Rabat and Pretoria will benefit an Africa thirsty for relevance and significance in global affairs, in addition to benefiting the two countries.The same argument was made nearly a year later, this time by South African experts on African security. Reacting to South Africa’s election as a non-permanent member at the UN Security Council, they stressed that the country should be more neutral and flexible in African crises like Western Sahara.A vision of “continental leadership,” “strategic clarity,” and “intra-African coherence and consistency,” they argued, should be the guiding principles of South Africa’s diplomacy, instead of “the current trap of worsening distrust.”By agreeing to break nearly 15 years of diplomatic stalemate, South Africa and Morocco may have suggested that they are finally ready to discuss, and incrementally go beyond, their “strategic disagreements.”But while the prospect of discussion between two countries that have avoided each other and fought each other on the diplomatic and financial terrains should be applauded, no one should get ahead of themselves. Premature celebration often ends in disappointment.Amrani’s appointment is not in itself the end of an anachronistic age in Morocco-South Africa relations, but it may herald the beginning of a whole new era. read more

Ongoing political impasse hampering Ivorian peace process – UN envoy

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“This political stalemate is hardly encouraging,” Y. J. Choi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, told the Security Council as he briefed the 15-member body on the latest developments.“Indeed, during the eight years since the outbreak of the crisis, perennial delays in implementing the various peace agreements have been a source of deep frustration for the Ivorian people as well as the international community,” he stated.“It is all the more so since the elections appeared to be within our grasp until several months ago.”Côte d’Ivoire, which became split by civil war in 2002 into a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south, was making progress toward the holding of elections – which were supposed to have been held as far back as 2005 but have been repeatedly postponed. The country witnessed the publication of the provisional electoral list throughout the country, the launch of the appeals process, and the validation of all major candidates for the presidential election. The political impasse began in early January after the production of the second electoral list. Political tensions began to mount after voter registration was suspended due to violence and President Laurent Gbagbo dissolved the Government and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in February. Despite the establishment of a new Government and Electoral Commission since then, the electoral process remains stalled as the differences on how to address the issue of fraud and resume the interrupted appeals process on the provisional voters list persists.“The events of February and March 2010 have demonstrated that the continuing failure to hold elections in Côte d’Ivoire and materialize the reunification of the country contributes to heightening tensions and hampers constitutional, political, economic and social normalization,” said Mr. Choi.He noted that the reason for the impasse is that the three major protagonists of the crisis are now dealing with their core interest – the presidential camp wants reunification before elections; the opposition wants elections before reunification; and the rebel Forces Nouvelles wants identification before reunification. As agreed by the parties in 2008, a de facto reunification is to be completed two months prior to the presidential election.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a recent report, noted that the lack of progress in resolving the impasse has led some to start questioning the relevance of the framework of the Ouagadougou Peace Agreements, the 2007 blueprint for political reconciliation forged in the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso.He warned that any unravelling of the Ouagadougou framework would be a cause for serious concern, noting that there is currently no alternative framework to these agreements. Mr. Ban also recommended maintaining the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) until the end of the year – with the same current total strength of its military and police components – “in order to give Côte d’Ivoire a chance to walk the final mile to the elections with the full support of the United Nations.” If the Council approves such an extension, Mr. Ban also suggested an adjustment of the mission’s mandate to allow it to focus on helping the parties to implement the remaining priority tasks, including those related to elections, disarmament and all aspects of the reunification of the country.Last week the Council extend UNOCI until 30 June, as it continues to consider possible revisions to the mission’s mandate.Mr. Choi noted that, in the meantime, the mission will maintain three priority objectives for the immediate future: maintaining peace and stability in the country, including the protection of civilians; safeguarding past achievements, in both the elections and reunification domains; and helping to establish the definitive electoral list as expeditiously as possible. 3 June 2010The ongoing political impasse in Côte d’Ivoire contributes to heightened tensions and hampers efforts to normalize the situation in the West African nation, which has been trying for eight years to overcome the crisis that split the country, a senior United Nations official said today. read more

SLFP admits party split as some back the UNP

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However he noted that there are now several SLFP-UNPers in the Government as they are backing UNP policies. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) today admitted that there is a split in the party as some members are now supporting the United National Party (UNP).SLFP member and United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Parliamentarian Dullas Alahapperuma said that those who are supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa are not attempting to divide the SLFP. Addressing a media briefing in Colombo today, Alahapperuma said that a mass rally held in Matara last week was not held with the intention of creating a split in the SLFP. Dullas Alahapperuma also accused former President Chandrika Kumaratunga of attempting to split the SLFP and UPFA.He said that her actions in recent times have made clear she will do anything to ensure the SLFP is destroyed despite being an SLFP member herself.The UPFA MP, meanwhile said that the joint opposition will push for the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to be debated in Parliament soon. He said that the purpose of the rally was to draw attention on the Government and ensure it is defeated at the next election.He also questioned as to why some media had not reported on the Matara rally and also accused the Government of attempting to disrupt the rally through various means. He said that if any opposition member who signed the no-confidence motion decides at the last moment to vote against it or abstain, then that would be one of the greatest betrayals they would be committing in Sri Lanka’s recent political history. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Video Business report with Mike Eppel

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business report|mike eppel|travel|U.S. Thanksgiving U.S. Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest times for travel, senior business editor Mike Eppel explains. Video: Business report with Mike Eppel AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by News Staff Posted Nov 26, 2013 6:17 am MDT

Two Brock Classics students pick up awards

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A pair of Brock Classics students recently won awards.Rick Mohammed won the Harry C. Maynard award in Classical Studies, while Heather Roy won the Harry C. Maynard Scholarship for Study Abroad.Roy plans to use her scholarship for the Study Tour to Turkey organized by the Department of Classics in the spring of 2015.The Maynard Awards were founded by John C. Maynard and entrusted by the OCA (Ontario Classical Association) to administer.

Poll Do you go out to pubs

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first_img Yes, but rarely (3230) Poll Results: No, never (2850) Yes, at least once a month (2407) Yes, more than once a week (595)center_img Yes, but just once a week (1721) THE IRISH PUB could become a rarity.That is according to business and credit analyst Vision-net, which believes half of the country’s pubs are in danger of closing down.The firm stress-tested 945 pubs and found 49 per cent were close to collapse, while another fifth were at a medium-risk of failure.The Revenue Commissioners confirmed that 150 pubs closed last year, while the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland says pub sales in February were down 3 per cent compared with last February.The problem centres on the recession and falling numbers of on-site drinkers, with many punters choosing to buy alcohol in off-licenses and imbibe at home.What about you? Do you still go out to pubs? Yes, more than once a weekYes, but just once a weekYes, at least once a monthYes, but rarelyNo, neverVoteAnd tell us why you stopped going (or while you still go) in the comments section.last_img read more

Many emigrants fled Ireland because they were the victims of sexual abuse

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first_imgECONOMIC PROBLEMS WERE not the only reasons why Irish people decided to up and leave the country in the past.Physical and sexual abuse and parents with alcohol or drug problems were listed as some of the main reasons why Irish people emigrated.The findings are from a recent ESRI report that looked into the causes and consequences of migration through the experience of Ireland’s older people.Data from over 8,000 people aged 50 and over and who had returned to live in Ireland was collected between late 2009 and early 2011.Abused as childrenThe survey found that 16 per cent of men who lived outside of Ireland for up to 10 years had experienced physical or sexual abuse as children. For men who had stayed in Ireland, the corresponding figure was just under 10 per cent.While 13 per cent of men who lived outside of Ireland for between six months and 10 years indicated that their parents had alcohol or drug problems, when compared to 7.5 per cent of stayers.A similar pattern is seen for women who were categorised as short-term migrants – 13 per cent had experienced physical and/or sexual abuse when compared to eight per cent of women who decided to stay in Ireland.Alcohol abuseBoth categories of men indicated they had experienced stress in their lives, with the return migrants more likely to have suffered from alcohol problems.This was also found to be the case for female migrants who had lived outside of Ireland for less than 10 years. However, women who had lived outside of Ireland for 10 years moved to employment and to live economically independent, which they could not do in Ireland.Social isolationThe findings of the report also indicates that social isolation is a feature of the lives of Ireland’s return migrants.Between 45 per cent to 62 per cent of men (depending on the length of time back in Ireland) were said to be socially isolated. This compared to just over 30 per cent of those who have never left.For women who stayed, a third are modestly or mostly isolated, which compares to between 39 and 46 per cent of return migrants.Read: ‘Messages of hate’ appearing around Dublin, says immigrant group>More: Three arrested after good weather brings trouble to Portmarnock beach>last_img read more

SANDMINING APPROVED DEVELOPERS URGED TO GET STARTED CREATE JOBS

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first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp New style in stay, new area for resort development with $444 million in resort contracts signed by TCIG Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 09 Jan 2015 – A sand-mining tax break has been approved by Cabinet with conditions. The application to have royalties waived for the process of sand-mining for maintenance development for the Cooper Jack Development was considered during Thursday’s meeting and His Excellency’s Office says it was only approved because the developers have agreed to get started on the project. Government want to see construction industry employment created, new recurring revenue for the TCIG coffers and other related social and economic benefits. The dredging has to be done within 12 months from the date the Planning Department approves the work to start. Related Items:cooper jack development, his excellency’s office, sand mininglast_img read more

BG police make 5 DUI arrests over holiday weekend

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first_imgBattle Ground police arrested five people on suspicion of intoxicated driving in a 72-hour period beginning July 3 and lasting through July 5.The agency didn’t do a special emphasis patrol, but said it always has the goal of decreasing the number of crashes, injuries and deaths caused by impaired drivers. All of the Battle Ground Police Department’s officers are trained in performing standard field sobriety tests, and the agency has one sergeant who is a certified drug recognition expert.last_img read more

Police catch 1 of 2 robbery suspects after they crash into officer

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first_img Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. MIAMI (WSVN) – Police in Miami have arrested one of two robbery suspects after setting up a perimeter following a car crash and bail out that involved a police officer.Police blocked two northbound lanes of Interstate 95, near Northwest Sixth Avenue, following the crash, around 12 p.m., Tuesday.Miami-Dade Police, City of Miami Police and Miami-Dade Schools police all responded to the scene after a red Honda Prius struck a Miami-Dade Police officer who was on his way to court.The Prius was believed to have been involved in an armed robbery that occurred in Miami.The police officer began following the vehicle. However, the passengers inside bailed out and fled into the nearby neighborhood.As a result, both Jose De Diego Middle School and Eneida M. Hartner Elementary School have been placed on lockdown.Police then set up a perimeter and were able to apprehend one of the two offenders. The perimeter has since been broken down and the lockdowns were lifted. last_img read more

Pitchfork Hits Record Views Following Grammy Coverage

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first_img While the increase in Pitchfork readers is clearly linked to the coverage, the audience came organically, free from marketing outside of the normal headline/link drill of social media posts. While Pitchfork has only covered the Grammys “in earnest” for half a decade, Richardson believes most of Pitchfork’s Grammy readers came for the publication’s curated take on the four hour award ceremony. “It’s not about being a companion to the people who are watching it. It’s a way of getting information to people who are interested in what’s going on but probably aren’t in front of the TV themselves,” he says. It’s also possible that there was just more interest in the Grammys this year. CBS reports that it delivered 14.3/25 in households, for a total of 26.07 million viewers tuned into the broadcast. This is a 5 percent increase YoY, and the largest audience since 2014. The success, says executive editor Mark Richardson, can be attributed to a mix of factors, including the high number of resources devoted to coverage, as well as an expansion of genre by both the publication and the Grammys. Thanks in part to weeks of planning and a dedicated weekend team, readership was up 383 percent from Pitchfork’s 2016 Grammy coverage, which netted only 290,000 unique views. This year, however, the publication wrote real-time posts the day of the event, followed by several pieces of analysis spanning popular topics like artist tributes and race at the Grammys — coverage which brought the site up to 3.6 million page views on Monday alone.center_img It’s a big reward for the small site, which was acquired by Condé Nast in October 2015. With a reputation for covering independent artists with more edge than sparkle, Pitchfork never had much reason to cover the recording industry’s highest-profile award ceremony. Accounting for the effectiveness of planning and speed, Richardson says a total of eight people worked in shifts on the day of the event, and that preparation weeks in advance — including shell stories for various winner outcomes — allowed the team to write a lot of stories, fast. “You can’t do that all the time, because you only have so many people and so much time,” Richardson says of the group effort. “It’s a matter of coordination — you might have five people at one time, and one person is creating images, while one person is doing screencaps. It’s really a question of planning and thinking how much you want to throw behind it. Of course, next year we’ll do the same thing.” Pitchfork’s coverage of the 59th annual Grammy Awards yielded the music site’s highest traffic day ever last Monday. With 1.5 million unique viewers, the music site saw a 275 percent increase over its 400,000 average daily unique views. “More artists are performing at the show who are in our wheelhouse, like Chance the Rapper. We’ve covered him very closely since his first mixtape,” Richardson says of the triple Grammy winner. “He’s both a Chicago-based rapper who’s an independent musician, and a big star. There’s more people like that [at the Grammys] than there used to be.”last_img read more

As Chinook Cross into Canada Fall Chum Begin Running on the Yukon

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first_imgThe chinook have reached Canada, and Alaska Fish and Game biologists say they’ve now met nearly all escapement goals along the Yukon and are confident they’ll see enough of the prized king salmon cross the border.“Passage estimates at the sonar project near Eagle indicate that the first and second pulse of Chinook have migrated across the border and are on their way to the spawning grounds in Canada,” fisheries biologist Holly Carol said during the weekly Yukon fisheries teleconference organized by the nonprofit Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association.Summer chum salmon drying on a fish rack. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM.Carol added that roughly 36,000 Chinook have so far passed the upper river sonar facility near Eagle. That puts the midpoint of this year’s Chinook run passing Eagle by Wednesday, July 22. The minimum escapement of roughly 42,500 kings into Canada is likely to be met by the end of this week, Carol said.Download AudioThat’s enough to meet salmon sharing treaty obligations with Canada set forth in the 1985 Pacific Salmon Treaty.Stephanie Schmidt, the summer season management biologist for ADF&G during the summer chum and Chinook run, extended her thanks to fishermen who worked—and sacrificed—to ensure the kings made it upriver.“Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the fishermen of the Yukon River. We’re getting the number of Chinook salmon on the spawning grounds that we need to sustain this run,” Schmidt said.Beyond hitting those escapement numbers, Schimdt added the quality of the fish—overall larger, and made of up about 43 percent female—means a healthy population is making it upriver.“They’re seeing king salmon larger than they’ve seen … in recent years,” she added. “We seem to be getting not only good numbers of fish, but also good quality of fish on the spawning grounds as well.”Meeting escapement goals is good news, but subsistence fishing on the Yukon has otherwise reached a midseason lull. Summer chum have officially run their course, and many fishermen calling in to the teleconference said subsistence is more or less on hold as fishermen await fall chums.“I don’t think there’s anybody fishing in Galena,” said a fishermen who identified himself as Fred. “Most everybody waiting for fall chum.”“There’s just not a lot of fishing activity, I think people are kind of holding off for fall chums and stuff,” said Richard in Kaltag.Basil in Marshall agreed. “Not much subsistence activity … everybody’s pretty much just holding up ‘till fall chum and coho get here.”On the upper river—where summer chums rarely swim—it’s been a season of nearly complete closures that’s just now opening to limited incidental takes of Chinook. But the openings are brief—just 24 hours—leaving fishermen like Andrew in Fort Yukon asking for more time.“We did have a 24 hour opener over the end of the weekend here, Sunday, and people kind of felt it wasn’t worth going to fish for 24 hours,” he told fishery managers. “I think if they have another opener, some folks would like, maybe, a 36 hour opener or something, to make it worth their time to go out and fish.”On the upper river, “it takes a little longer to do much on the Yukon Flats compared to other areas of the river,” he added.Managers on the call said additional openings for the upper river will likely stay at 24 hours—as the final pulses of Chinook pass through the upper river.Kings crossing the border, however, signals fall chums in the lower river. The first pulse of late-season chums passed the Mountain Village test fishery Saturday, and should be in the water near Russian Mission by Thursday.Jeff Estensen with ADF&G said fall chums should run between 700,000 to 800,000 fish in the coming weeks. “With an outlook like that, [it’s] certainly adequate … to meet our escapement needs, provide for subsistence, and provide for a commercial harvest.”Commercial openings are already happening in the lower river, with Y1 and Y2—roughly from Emmonak to upriver from St. Mary’s—already seeing twice weekly commercial openings. Estensen said a single 6-hour opening Monday saw fishermen harvest about 3,500 fall chum.last_img read more

Damien Chazelle to rope in Brad Pitt and Emma Stone for his

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first_imgDamien Chazelle and Emma StoneTwitterOscar-nominated director Damien Chazelle is working on a period drama project and several studios are lining up to snag the script. A news report on Deadline states that the filmmaker is planning on roping in Emma Stone and Brad Pitt for the project. If Stone lands the role then this would be their second collaboration since La La Land. Considering how the film won about 14 Oscar nods, perhaps it makes sense why Chazelle would think of Emma for his new film as well. Although several reports stated that Chazelle has penned down another musical. However, Deadline has further confirmed that the film with the title, Babylon, is not a musical. The movie will be produced by Olivia Hamilton, Matt Plouffe, Marc Platt and Tobey Maguire. In terms of the studio that gets the deal, Chazelle is leaning towards Lionsgate, the same studio that distributed La La Land. While the buzz is strong that Emma Stone will bag the role, a word about Brad Pitt being offered a role in the film has also been circulating. Sources have confirmed that while Pitt has been approached for the film, the actor has not given any confirmation yet. Babylon is known to have a script with a period setting and drama that amalgamates the real and fictional characters. Not to mention how the film has already received an R-rating considering the script. Babylon has been budgeted between $80 million and $100 million. So far even Emma Stone has not officially given her approval for the project but considering how her previous work with Chazelle landed her an Oscar (La La Land), perhaps she might consider joining him for this film? It’s just us speculating and hoping that the actress and director reunite.  Chazelle’s last work was First Man, a drama that took us through the historic moment of a man landing on the moon. The film starred Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy in pivotal roles. Currently, Pitt is gearing up for the release of his upcoming film with Tarantino, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. The movie also stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie and has been lauded at the recent Cannes Film Festival.last_img read more

DCs Petworth Community Hosts A Fun Day to Promote Unity Solve Problems

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first_imgDavid Sheon says it’s a new day for the Petworth Community. These days, the member of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) Ward 4D said he and his colleagues are more focused on people than on the trappings of office. “We get $12,000 a year from the city, and the old ANC spent a lot of that money on an office,” Sheon said. “Well, the new ANC reevaluated that plan and came to the conclusion that wasn’t necessary. So, we used a storage closet instead. Now that money can go into grants and supporting organizations in the community.”Artist Sierra Jackson provided free face painting to children – and some adults during Petworth’s “Community Fun Day” at Triangle Park. The Advisory Neighborhood Commission sponsored the event to bring residents closer and to solve community problems. (Photo by Taj Brayboy)One of those “new” priorities is Community Fun Day, an annual event that brings local residents out for food, fun, and a chance to meet and greet their neighbors.  An inflated moonbounce house, food, face painting, health screenings from a local hospital, and a watermelon eating contest were among the activities set up in Triangle Park on Sept. 10 to bring out Petworth residents for the second annual Fun Day. The Fusion DDC band, which received a grant through the ANC, also performed as part of the day’s events.“There’s a woman on my block that has lived there for over 15 years,” said Sheon. “Lately she’s been complaining about Pepco charging her for someone else’s bill, so I called them, and this wasn’t true. Come to find out she’s just getting older and is suffering from dementia. She lives alone, so I helped her get set up with all the assistance she can get from the government she needs, which she had no idea she could receive.”Davion West, the eventual winner of the watermelon eating contest, chows down on his way to the title. (Photo by Taj Brayboy)ANC Commissioner Nancy Roth said the event helps create unity to address problems when they occur.  For example, Roth said, before she joined the commission, she started a protest to have the liquor license removed from a local strip club, the Macombo Lounge, for inappropriate flyers passed out every Sunday in association with the business.The club and the community worked out their differences and the lounge was one of the major donors of the Community Fun Day, including providing the moon bounce for the children, Roth said.“Usually the mediation process ends on bad terms, but that speaks for the community here in Petworth,” she said.  “We are put on this planet to love our neighbor, and we all are neighbors.”Keeping children active and engaged also was a focus of the event. Davion West, 10, was the winner of the watermelon eating contest. He and his mom were at a near-by market and a family friend informed them of event.“I love watermelon, that’s why I won,” Davion said. “Today was so much fun, I even ran into some of the staff and my friends from my school down the street, Truesdell [Elementary School].”last_img read more

All the 80s references in Stranger Things Chapter Seven The Bathtub

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first_img Get on your bikes and ride1/18Like in Goonies, E.T., and just about every other movie with kids in the 1980s, the gang in Stranger Things hops on their bikes and uses their nimbleness to stay one step ahead of the bad men when they show up.<><> In Chapter Seven of Stranger Things, events are starting to accelerate towards a big finish. Hawkins lab makes a move on 11 which culminates in her using her powers in one of the most awesome ways possible, the gang buries the hatchet, all the people who want to rescue Will finally get together, we get a glimpse into Mr. Clarke’s amazing personal life, and 11 pays a visit to the Upside Down where we learn the fates of Barbara and Will. Of course, just like in the six chapters that proceeded this one, we see lots of references to the decade in which this show takes place, the eighties.This is sadly the last episode we get to see two of the best side characters in the show, Barbara and Mr. Clarke. Both characters have become fan favorites among the growing Stranger Things fan community. Barbara’s best scenes are long behind her, but we get further clarification of what an amazing teacher Mr. Clarke is, when Dustin calls him late at night asking for advice on how to build a sensory deprivation tank. Clarke, in the middle of a date, tries to move the conversation to Monday, but Dustin calls him out on what he has preached to this group about pursuing knowledge and Mr. Clarke helps him open that “curiosity door.”As this is the final episode of Stranger Things I will be breaking down for 80s references, Chapter 8 is being handled by Vic Sage, I would like to add how pleased I am with how they have handled this story being set in 1983. A lot of shows add nostalgia just for the sake of nostalgia, but Stranger Things goes beyond that. It uses the time frame and its sometimes tired cliches and has fun with them. When you think one thing is going to happen, it might, but with a twist. When you think a character might die? Well you might be wrong. The show is unpredictable without being random and it will surprise you, which is why I cannot recommend it highly enough.So if you like the eighties and details that come from frame by frame re-watchings of a show, sit back and enjoy what 80s magic I was able to pull from Stranger Things Chapter Seven: The Bathtub. These are just the 80s references that I happened to pick up on when I watched Stranger Things: The Bathtub. So if you spotted something, no matter how small, please share it in the comments.Check out our other rundowns of 80s references in Stranger Things:Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will ByersChapter Two: The Weirdo on Maple StreetChapter Three: Holly, JollyChapter Four: The BodyChapter Five: The Flea and the AcrobatChapter Six: The MonsterChapter Eight: The Upside Downlast_img read more

This is What Happens When a Neural Network Names Metal Bands

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first_imgStay on target Robot Dog Astro Can Sit, Lie Down, and Save LivesMIT’s AI Knitting System Designs, Creates Woven Garments You’ve seen artificial intelligence, and neural networks pull off some pretty impressive feats, like beating world champion Go players and helping self-driving cars navigate city streets and highways. There are still some tasks that machines with, however.Naming things, for example. That’s something neural network researcher Janelle Shane likes to experiment with. You might’ve seen the interesting new paint colors her work led to recently. Now she’s tasked the open source char-rnn with creating awesome new heavy metal bands.Shane started by feeding a database of over 100,000 names of actual bands, the countries they’re from, and an exhaustive listing of sub-genres into the neural network. She then turned it loose, and the results are indeed very metal. Here are some highlights from the list she shared.Swiil certainly has a nice, Viking metal sound to it, though the NN figured them to be a progressive/thrash act from the States. Also good: Death From The Trend, which some black metal band from Croatia really should snag for itself right now.There’s also the sinister-sounding Deathhouse, a melodic death metal band from Brazil and Germany’s Stormgarden. Hailing from France (yes, there really are metal bands from France… some very good ones, in fact!) is Sun Damage Omen. Possibly my favorite name is also the shortest: Sht.On to the more awkward side of things. There’s Snee, which maybe sounds more like a name for a ska band than a Brazilian thrash/death metal act. Mashing a metal-sounding word with a decorative object doesn’t always make for a great name, as in Chaosrug. I’m not sure irony works well either. I’m looking at you, Jazzy, the new imaginary American group.To be fair, metal bands aren’t always great at naming metal bands: Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Unbowel, Showbread, Failure Of Milk, The Tide That Turns The Christians Souls Into Dust And Summons Satan To His Infernal Palace…last_img read more

CM congratulates Hasina for landslide general election victory

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first_imgKolkata: Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday congratulated Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her landslide victory in the general elections, the results of which was declared on December 31.”Our government is happy with Sheikh Hasina’s victory in the elections. I have spoken to her personally and congratulated her. I also congratulate the people of Bangladesh,” Banerjee told reporters, reacting to Hasina’s victory at the state Secretariat Nabanna. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeShe reiterated that Bangladesh is a friend of Bengal and both the countries should work towards maintaining peace and stability. “I want a strong bond between India and Bangladesh which should strengthen with time. If Bangladesh lives well then we will also be doing so,” she maintained. Immediately after knowing that Hasina has swept the elections, Banerjee took to her Twitter handle to congratulate her. “Heartiest congratulations to Sheikh Hasina Ji on the victory in the Bangladesh general election,” she tweeted. It may be mentioned that Hasina has won for the third consecutive term as the ruling Awami League-led coalition bagged over 260 seats in the 300-member House.last_img read more

Police detain 44 Cuban migrants in Guanacaste

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first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica police bust Cuban migrants smuggling operation Costa Rican police detain undocumented Eritrean, Somali migrants Cuban migrants caught in limbo again as Nicaragua sends them back to Costa Rica Cuban migrants spend a month in camps as regional leaders fail to reach solution Police inLa Cruz, Guanacaste detained 44 undocumented Cuban migrants near the border with Nicaragua, according to a statement Friday from the Public Security Ministry.Authorities arrested the Costa Rican driver of the bus carrying the Cubans, identified by the last name Echeverría. He was arrested on human trafficking charges and sent to a flagrancy court, according to the statement.The Cuban migrants reportedly entered Costa Rica through Paso Canoas along the country’s southern border with Panama. They were on their way to cross into Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas when police stopped their bus.Police became suspicious of the vehicle when they spotted it far from its designated route and noticed that it did not have tourist plates. The majority of the Cubans, who did not have passports, were handed over to immigration authorities while six stayed in La Cruz to give statements to the police. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Former FDIC Chairman Criticizes Lack of GSE Reform

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first_img Fannie Mae FDIC Freddie Mac GSE Investors Unite William Isaac 2015-04-02 Samantha Guzman in Daily Dose, Featured, Government Former FDIC Chairman William Isaac has released a sharp critique of the federal government’s 2012 decision to sweep all of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac profits into the Treasury. On an Investors Unite Conference call Wednesday, Isaac said while in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis the government used Fannie and Freddie to stabilize housing finance, the government’s current actions could cause another, potentially worse, crisis.Isaac said the lack of urgency by regulators and policymakers in resolving the status of Fannie and Freddie and driving their capital to a variety of government budgetary needs is a major issue. “They are not toys for the government to play with,” he said on the call.Beyond there being “no excuse” for the length of time the GSEs have been in limbo, Mr. Isaac said the government changing the terms of the deal it put into place in 2008 threatens the nation’s financial system.”It’s not good policy. It doesn’t settle the market,” he said. “I’m always looking at the next crisis, and I don’t want to make the next crisis worse because of the actions taken during the current crisis.”In 2002, Fannie Mae had about $30 billion in equity. By 2007, that number increased significantly, but today their equity has dropped to single digit numbers. Once the conservatorship ends, those reserves will need to be replaced for the companies to be able to operate effectively. For now, that money is going into the U.S. Treasury general fund, where it is hard to tell where that money is being spent.Host of the conference call, Tim Pagliara, said this was “blatantly irresponsible.” He noted that at the time of the financial crisis the GSEs were nearly 100 times leveraged and now they are 700 times leveraged with almost $5 trillion in liabilities.Isaac commended Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) for legislation she introduced recently that would place Fannie and Freddie into escrow until reforms were made. In a piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal, Isaac criticized the lack of reform for the GSEs he said the public should be concerned about the state of Fannie and Freddie.“By denying Fannie and Freddie the ability to accumulate capital, the government is putting taxpayers on the hook for any future losses they may incur. The Obama Treasury is ignoring the threat. A senior Treasury official, Michael Stegman, told a Goldman Sachs conference earlier this month that recapitalizing Fannie and Freddie would come at taxpayer ‘expense,’” he said. “The only logical reading of this analysis is that a dollar going to rebuilding capital is one less dollar going into the Treasury’s general fund. Mr. Stegman has it backward: The risk of another massive taxpayer bailout, arising from undercapitalization, is precisely why Treasury must end the net-worth sweep and allow Fannie and Freddie to emerge from the limbo of conservatorship.”Isaac noted on the call that he supported the government’s “tough terms” when it effectively acquired ownership of 79 percent of the GSEs’ common stock. As structured, these terms avoided a complete government takeover of the GSEs and protected taxpayers from future bailouts but now, the Third Amendment sweep and inaction on the GSEs, it is the government that is not living up to the terms of the deal. And this sets a dangerous precedent, he warned.”We’re losing sight of the rule of law, and the financial system won’t work without that,” he said. Former FDIC Chairman Criticizes Lack of GSE Reformcenter_img April 2, 2015 522 Views Sharelast_img read more