Darden Restaurants shares rise on 3Q earnings

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Shares in Darden Restaurants jumped on Thursday after the company raised its outlook and posted earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street estimates.The owner of Olive Garden and other chain restaurants reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $223.6 million, beating expectations and the $217.8 million in profits for the same quarter last year.Another strong showing from its anchor brands has Darden raising its full-year earnings expectations to $5.76 to $5.80 per share, from the previous guidance of between $5.60 and $5.70 per share.Same-restaurant sales for Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, which make up nearly 80 per cent of Darden’s restaurants, increased 4.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively, during the quarter. The metric is a key indicator of a restaurant’s health as it strips out the impact of locations that have opened or closed in the past year.On a per-share basis, the Orlando, Florida-based company said it had net income of $1.79. Earnings, adjusted to exclude discontinued operations, came to $1.80 per share.The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.75 per share. Darden’s earnings per share for last year’s third quarter were $1.73.The company posted revenue of $2.25 billion in the period, topping last year’s quarter of $2.13 billion as well as Street forecasts. Nine analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $2.24 billion.Darden shares rose more 6 per centper cent in early trading. They’ve increased more than 15 per cent since the beginning of the year and about 23 per cent in the past 12 months._____Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on DRI at https://www.zacks.com/ap/DRIThe Associated Press read more

Attention Graduates of 2011 – We Want to Hear from You

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Did you graduate in 2011? Starting in November, all graduates from across Ontario who completed their undergraduate degree will be contacted by email and letter to complete a survey.Why?This survey is your opportunity to tell us about your employment and education experiences since graduation. Your response helps to determine the graduate employment rate of your program, institution, and graduating year. This helps current and future students by providing them with information about employment prospects of recent graduates like you. Last year, over 25,000 Ontario university graduates like you completed this short survey.Who is conducting the survey?CCI Research Inc. on behalf of Brock University and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU).Confidentiality:Only summary data will be shared. No data-identifying individuals will ever be made available.Complete the Survey and be Entered to Win!There will be prizes awarded,  details outlined in invitation letter.Questions? Please contact Dr. Juan Xu, Director, Institutional Analysis and Planning jxu@brocku.ca or 905-688-5550, Ext. 4776  should you want to verify the legitimacy of this survey or if you have any questions about the survey. read more

Cyprus vote disappointing UN official tells Security Council

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Video of the Council meeting [16mins] While the outcome of Saturday’s vote in Cyprus on a unity plan was disappointing, the United Nations had come closer than ever before to resolving one of the most delicate and complex conflicts on its agenda, a senior UN official told the Security Council today.That achievement must be preserved, pending, one hoped, a fundamental re-evaluation on the Greek Cypriot side, Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said in his briefing to the Council. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, meanwhile, told a news conference he remains convinced the plan – which would have created a United Cyprus Republic, comprised of a Greek Cypriot constituent state and a Turkish Cypriot constituent state and linked by a federal government – is the only realistic basis for reunifying the island.”What matters is to arrive at a careful and accurate assessment of the full implications for the United Nations of last Saturday’s outcome and to make appropriate recommendations,” Mr. Prendergast stressed.Seventy-six per cent of the votes cast Saturday in the Greek Cypriot referendum were against a plan put forward by Mr. Annan, while 65 per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of it.”Time is needed for the dust to settle from the outcome of the referenda,” Mr. Prendergast said. “The full implications of the outcome of these referenda may take a while to become apparent.”At his news conference in New York, Mr. Annan said, “The vote by the Greek Cypriots to reject my proposals last Saturday was of course a great disappointment, since it means that Cyprus will not now enter the European Union [on 1 May] as a reunited island.””I salute the Turkish Cypriots for their courageous vote in favour of the proposals. We must all do our best to see that they are not penalized for the way the vote went in the other part of the island,” he added. “I hope that before too long the Greek Cypriots will have an opportunity to consider the plan more calmly, and to judge it on its true merits.” read more

NHS finally agrees to fund HIV prevention treatment after losing legal battle

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first_imgSexual health clinics in London, Brighton, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield will be among the first to start enrolling people, with more clinics joining in October before full implementation across England by April 2018. “The evidence shows just how transformative this drug can be as part of our approach to HIV prevention and ending the transmission of this life-changing infection.”This trial will take us one step closer to fully understanding the benefits of PrEP.”Now it is important that this trial is rolled out as quickly as possible across the country to protect individuals who are exposed to HIV and help take us one step closer to ending the spread of HIV in society.” The NHS has finally agreed to fund a controversial HIV prevention treatment from September following a High Court battle over who would pay for the drug.NHS England announced that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a pill taken before sex which reduces the risk of infection by around 86 per cent, will now be provided for 10,000 people in a three year trial.Initially the NHS said that councils should pick up the bill because they are in charge of preventative health. The health service also claimed that it may be forced to cut treatments for cancer victims and children with cystic fibrosis if it was forced to fund the £5,000-a-year drug.Christian groups argued that the efficacy had not been fully proven and warned that the decision was more to do with political correctness than preventative health.However last year The Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling which said the NHS had the power to pay for PrEP.Announcing the decision to fund the treatment today, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens hailed the treatment as ‘a major new intervention’ while the National Aids Trust (NAT) said it was a “pivotal moment” which could transform the English HIV epidemic. Charities said it was a pivotal moment which could transform the HIV epidemic in England  Charities said it was a pivotal moment which could transform the HIV epidemic in England  Deborah Gold, chief executive at NAT (National Aids Trust), said: “We warmly welcome this announcement. This is a pivotal moment in the fight against HIV.”PrEP, if targeted properly at those in need and at risk, offers the possibility of transforming the English HIV epidemic.”From September, people at high risk of HIV will have access via this NHS-funded trial in England to an empowering new tool that is truly individually controlled and not subject to negotiation with a partner, leading to the improvement of many, many lives.Ian Green, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “The priority must now be to make sure that the trial is rolled out speedily across the country, and that no-one at risk of HIV is left behind.”Now that the PrEP trial drug has been procured, we’re well on the way to protecting over 10,000 people at risk of HIV.” Shadow public health minister Sharon Hodgson said: “The start of the PrEP trial is welcome and long overdue after months of delays and heel-dragging by the Government. The £10 million trial is designed to assess the full potential of PrEP by gathering clinical evidence on how it is targeted, taken up, and implemented on a large scale.Mr Stevens said: “This major new intervention should complement and supercharge the wide-ranging and increasingly successful effort to prevent HIV.”It’s another milestone in more than three decades’ worth of progress in tackling one of humanity’s major health challenges.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Britains National Parks need Americanstyle rangers to boost public engagement says government

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National Parks need US-style rangers in order to thrive, the government advisor in charge of a new review has said.Julian Glover, the writer and nature lover, was placed as head of the review of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty by Michael Gove when he was environment secretary.He is currently in the process of writing a review after touring all of Britain’s treasured landscapes.Mr Glover said that UK parks need more funding and information, like equivalents in the US, as well as a “four-fold” increase in park rangers.He told the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme: “We need a four-fold increase in our National Park rangers.”It’s really important that there are people there to welcome you in, explain it, not to bring crowds in to spoil it but to explain it and if you go to National Parks in other places, you go to America, there’s a lot more information, a lot more understanding, trying to educate people and get them to enjoy it.”The government advisor added that the parks currently do not have enough funding.He said: “It will cost money, the National Parks are currently funded by Central Government, about 48 million pounds a year, we probably spend more money on opera in central london than we do on our national parks, so we do need a bit more cash. “They aren’t very good at the moment at coming together, at making a big case to all sorts of organisations, to people who have a lot of money and want to help them.”Mr Glover also suggested that parks work with the NHS to get people to make the most of them.Others in charge of areas of natural beauty have echoed his feelings about US parks having better management.Jeff Knott, who runs the RSPB reserves in the East of England, said: “I’ve spent some time in US National Parks, including the Tetons, and the sense of ‘arrival’ in a special place is something largely lacking from most UK National Parks and AONBs.”We need properly funded and empowered National Parks, delivering massive recovery of nature as part of wider landscape scale delivery. Despite some great examples, there’s a long way to go for our National Parks to be performing as hotpots for wildlife.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Creches under investigation again following more revelations about care

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first_imgTHE CHILD AND Family Agency, Tusla, has confirmed that a number of creches are again under investigation, a year after an RTÉ investigation led to major concerns about the care provided.Tusla told TheJournal.ie that all complaints are investigated by Early Years Inspectors and are prioritised on the basis of seriousness.According to inspection reports that are available to parents online, there are still issues being identified at various creches.Today, the Irish Daily Mail reports that a child’s hair was pulled by a staff worker at a creche in south Dublin.It is also reported that a child left another preschool unnoticed by staff and was found alone in the estate.Other complaints made include toddlers being left in soiled nappies and babies being forced-fed. Complaints are made by parents, crèche staff and other interested observers.The Early Years Inspection Services are part of the Child and Family Agency, which is run by the state. It’s website informs readers that, It represents the most comprehensive reform of child protection, early intervention and family support services ever undertaken in Ireland.To date, over 2,500 reports have been made available online. The remaining reports will be published by the end of April 2014.Read: Management investigating after toddlers wander out of Stepaside creche>Read: Did you miss the Prime Time creche expose? Here’s what happened>last_img read more

Milking cows and tts on a bull The week in quotes

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first_imgIT WAS A week in which the nation was shocked by the RTÉ Prime Time programme exposing the mistreatment of children in some Irish creches.Elsewhere the world was shocked by the discovery of a small baby in a Chinese sewer pipe while back at home Justice Minister Alan Shatter survived a no confidence motion and Micheál Martin said Fianna Fáil will have a free vote on abortion legislation.All that and more, it’s the week in quotes:last_img

Sony decides to make DC Universe Online freetoplay

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first_imgThe free-to-play model for massive multiplayer online games (MMO) isn’t just growing in popularity, it seems to be becoming the norm. There are those games that launch as free-to-play, and then those that initially required a subscription but made the switch in a bid to actually make some money. Even Steam has realized free MMOs are the future and now offers several for download.High profile games that have made the switch already include APB, City of Heroes, Lord of the Rings, Champions Online and Warhammer Online. Now we have another big name joining the free-to-play model: Sony has announced DC Universe Online will drop the mandatory monthly subscription charge and go free-to-play from October.In the past such a switch has been limited to PC games as far as I know, but Sony is switching both the PC and PS3 versions over to the free model. That means you should be able to download the game from PSN and start playing without spending a single dime.Of course, Sony still wants to generate revenue from the game, so has introduced Premium and Legendary account levels. If you spend $5 or more, or are an existing subscriber, you automatically qualify as a Premium player. If you decide to keep paying a $14.99 subscription charge every month, then you are a Legendary level player. The main differences between the three levels are summarized below:FreeTwo character creation slotsAbility to join a leagueLimited inventory slots (28)Low cash limit (1500)Ability to purchase game packs/updates and character slots, powersPremiumMore character slots (6)More inventory slots (42)Higher cash limit (2000)Ability to purchase game packs/updates and character slots, powersLegendary16 character slots63 inventory slotsUnlimited cashForm unrestricted size leaguesFree access to game packs/updatesHere’s the chart version for more detail (click to enlarge)As to why Sony has decided to make the switch, SOE President John Smedley insists it has nothing to do with low subscriber numbers. Instead, he admits the game has cost a lot more than expected to develop and run, and this free-to-play model was something they had hoped to offer from launch, but the costs didn’t add up at the time.Read more at DC Universe Online, via IGNlast_img read more

George Megalogenis on Australias Second Chance

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first_imgJoin George Megalogenis as he takes part in a conversation session about his soon-to-be-released book Australia’s Second Chance.The best-selling author of The Australian Moment, Megalogenis weaves history into a lively tale while chronicling the waves of immigration from the First Fleet onwards.Including fresh interviews with former leaders, the author and journalist impressively decodes economics and demography to give greater insight into Australia’s history dating back to 1788, when locals first came into contact with migrants.Megalogenis explores how the doors were shut to immigration in an attempt to hoard what we had, resulting in 100 years of decline. Giving an invaluable insight into the Australian identity, the writer poses that now Australia is being given a second chance. But will we use it or lose it? This is a ticketed event, costing $5 per person.To book, visit www.readings.com.au/event/george-megalogenis-on-australias-second-chance When: Monday 26 October at 6:30 pm Where: Readings Hawthorn, 701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn, VIC Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Tempête Joaquim des dégâts très coûteux

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first_imgTempête Joaquim : des dégâts très coûteuxLe coût des ravages causés par la tempête Joaquim s’élèverait entre 180 et 250 millions d’euros, selon une première estimation de la Fédération française des sociétés d’assurance. Une note très salée pour les assureurs.  La tempête Joaquim, qui a balayé l’ouest de la France de la nuit de vendredi à samedi dernier, aurait fait entre 80.000 et 120.000 personnes sinistrées, selon la FFSA. 600.000 foyers ont été privés d’électricité à cause des coupures provoquées par dégâts d’infrastructures. Il a fallu attendre hier soir pour que le courant soit rétabli dans les régions coupées d‘électricité. À lire aussiQuand une cascade se met à couler à l’envers en EcosseEntrée par la Bretagne jeudi dans la soirée, avec des vents dépassant les 140 km/heure à Belle-Ile, Joaquim a traversé toute la France sans faire de blessés graves mais a ensuite touché la Suisse où trois personnes ont été blessées dans le déraillement d’un train dans le Jura bernois. Le trafic ferroviaire a  progressivement été rétabli après les perturbations du trafic vendredi et encore ce week-end. Selon la SNCF, 700.000 voyageurs étaient pourtant attendus pour ce week-end de départs en vacances. Mais il reste le problème du cargo Maltais échoué sur la plage Erdeven et polluant le golfe du Morbihan. Les experts pencheraient pour un démantèlement complet du bâtiment mais il est nécessaire de pomper le reste du carburant présent dans ses cuves pour prendre de réels décisions. Les experts attendent “la fin des opérations de pompage pour faire un bilan”, pour pouvoir évaluer “l’état de la coque et de la structure du bateau” et pour déterminer s’il “est capable d’être remorqué” ou non, a déclaré Marc Gander de la préfecture maritime à Brest, selon France Info. Si la déconstruction de ce navire se révèle inéluctable, “ce sera un chantier énorme et qui demandera des moyens considérables”, a précisé Marc Gander.Le 20 décembre 2011 à 16:15 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Southbound I5 Bridge to close overnight Friday

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first_imgMaintenance work will close all southbound lanes of the Interstate 5 Bridge overnight Friday, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.The southbound span will close from 11 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday. The closure will allow crews to complete various maintenance work, including the removal of scaffolding used during earlier counterweight repairs, according to ODOT. The closure is needed to place equipment on the roadway, and protect drivers from falling equipment, officials said.On Saturday night, ODOT will close the left and center southbound lanes to continue removing scaffolding. Those restrictions will last from 11 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday. During the closures, drivers heading from Vancouver to Portland can take Interstate 205 across the Glenn Jackson Bridge.last_img read more

Budget 2016 in line with Indias rating Moodys

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first_imgGlobal rating agency Moody’s Investors Service said on Monday that the budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley “is largely in line” with the current rating of the country.The comments from the rating agency come in the wake of Jaitley sticking to fiscal deficit target of 3.5 percent for the next fiscal year.”What we’ve heard is largely in line with the current rating and the current outlook. There was nothing too surprising in the budget. This is fairly in line with what we had expected,” Atsi Sheth — Associate Managing Director of Sovereign Risk Group at Moody’s Investors Service — told Reuters.”They have stuck to the fiscal deficit target. We always said fiscal consolidation would continue, but slowly, and that’s indeed what the finance minister’s budget is saying,” Sheth said.Most of the analysts had expected the finance minister to announce a higher fiscal deficit target amid slowing economic growth.Currently, Moody’s has a rating of “Baa3,” its lowest investment grade rating, for India. In April last year, the agency raised the country’s outlook to “positive” from “stable.”Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s also retained its rating of “BBB-” for India following the announcement of budget, saying that it does not expect a change in rating until next year.”The government’s debt burden and subsidy spending continue to significantly constrain its fiscal policy options,” Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Kyran Curry said in a statement to the new agency. “Interest payments and subsidies account for almost 40% of total budgetary expenditure.”last_img read more

China again rejects Trumps offer over Taiwan

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first_imgChina’s foreign ministry on Sunday again rejected president-elect Donald Trump’s suggestion that he might use American policy on Taiwan as a bargaining chip between the two sides.The ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that the “one China” policy is “non-negotiable.” Since recognizing Beijing in 1979, Washington has maintained only unofficial ties with Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing considers its territory a status quo that Trump has repeatedly threatened to upend since winning the November election. “The government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing China,” Lu said in a statement. “That is the fact acknowledged by the international community and no one can change.” Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Friday that “everything is under negotiation, including ‘one China.’” The interview is the latest indication that Trump could shake up the US-China relationship, particularly on Taiwan, which China considers a core national interest. China was already angered by Trump’s 2 December phone call with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, the first time an American president or president-elect has publicly spoken to Taiwan’s leader in nearly four decades. Beijing considers any reference to a separate Taiwanese head of state to be a grave insult. Trump then said in a television interview that he didn’t feel “bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.” On Sunday, Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming chief of staff, said that “there are no plans to change the one-China policy.” “But certainly that policy is on the table if China doesn’t also come to the table and work with us on trade, work with us on the South China Sea and what’s happening there,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week.” After attacking China repeatedly during his campaign, Trump has continued to disparage China on his Twitter account over its military build-up in disputed areas of the South China Sea, allegedly manipulating its currency to put American companies at a disadvantage, and not doing enough to curb North Korea’s nuclear program. He has also announced that a new White House trade council will be led by economist Peter Navarro, a sharp critic of Chinese economic policy who wrote a book titled “Death By China.” Trump told the Journal that he would not label China a currency manipulator as soon as he takes office, though he repeated his contention that China is manipulating the yuan. So far, Beijing has reiterated its refusal to negotiate on Taiwan and to push for positive cooperation between the two sides, though state-run media have run several strongly worded editorials attacking Trump. Chinese political observers said Sunday that they expect Beijing’s response to change once Trump is inaugurated next week. “Trump has not taken office yet, so he is an ordinary person now,” said Shen Dingli, a professor of international relations at Fudan University. “Therefore, there’s no need for China to take his remarks seriously or further respond to what he said.” Tang Yonghong, a professor at Xiamen University, said that China needs to convince Trump that “if he wants to make money from the Chinese mainland, he must be a friend of China instead of being an enemy.” “I think Trump is handling international relations, including Sino-US relations, with a businessman’s logic,” Tang said. “He wants to see how China will respond to such provocation.”last_img read more

Cardinals Set Two Records on Third Night of NCAA Championships

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first_imgIn the 400 IM, Daniel Sos improved two spots from his morning swim to finish 14th with a time of 3:44.23, earning Honorable Mention All-American honors for the first time in his career. Saturday Prelims Heat Sheet Mitchell Whyte (21.00), Somov (23.32), Harting (20.11) and Andrej Barna (18.80) also competed in the A final of the 200 medley relay, finishing fifth with a time of 1:23.23 and securing the Cardinals’ fifth straight All-American honors in the event.  Just 40 minutes later, Albiero returned to the pool for the A final of the 100 back. He registered a time of 45.08, placing sixth and establishing himself as a two-time All-American in the event.   The Cards return to the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center for the final prelims session of the NCAA Championships tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. ET. Print Friendly Version In the 100 fly, Nicolas Albiero ran down the field over the final 25 yards to win the B final in a school record time of 45.14. With the ninth place finish, he collected his first Honorable Mention All-American honors in the event and became the highest finisher in program history in the 100 fly. Story Linkscenter_img Evgenii Somov also set a school record in the 100 breast, finishing seventh in the A final with a time of 51.77 to earn All-American status in the event for the second straight season. The junior’s time broke the oldest record in the books, which was set by Carlos Almeida at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Friday Finals Results The Cardinals scored 78 points on the evening to move past Florida into fifth place with 149 points. California (372) holds the lead heading into the final day of the meet, followed by Texas (329), Indiana (277.5) and NC State (215).”I’m proud of the way we fought this morning, that’s what tonight was a result of,” said UofL head coach Arthur Albiero. “We had a great morning session and set ourselves up to get people in second swim positions, that’s the most important thing about this meet. Because of the morning session that we had, we were able to capitalize on a great evening session. We had some great finishes, including a fifth place in the relay, just missing the school record. Overall, the swims that we put together today were very impressive. The group was ready to go this morning, and that’s precisely what we need to do next. We have to take care of business tomorrow morning, the only session that matters now, and we’re excited for it.”  AUSTIN, Texas – Two school records fell on the third night of competition at the NCAA Championships as the University of Louisville men’s swimming and diving team competed in all six events, including four A finals on Friday evening at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Swimming in the first individual A final of his career, Zach Harting lowered his time from the preliminaries of the 200 free to finish sixth with a time of 1:32.24 and earn All-American honors. The senior’s sixth place finish marked the highest finish for the Cards in the 200 free since 2014.last_img read more

Luke Cage Learns from its Past Even When its Characters Dont

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first_img The Cinematic Sex of Marvel’s Netflix UniverseMarvel’s Axed Netflix Shows Could Be Revived by Disney Stay on target Luke Cage’s second season made me excited about the Netflix corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe again. Not that it’s been all that bad lately. Defenders was a tight, fun story with a great villain. The Punisher gave us the definitive live action Frank Castle, and handled issues of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with a surprising amount of nuance and sensitivity. Season Two of Jessica Jones told a pulpy noir detective story about overcoming abuse and childhood trauma. The last three seasons of Marvel content on Netflix have been legitimately good TV. Hell, Iron Fist is still the only season that outright sucked. Even with that consistent level of quality, they’ve all had pacing issues.Marvel Netflix shows have all suffered from serious drag in the middle. Even as much as I enjoyed Punisher and Jessica Jones, they both had episodes that felt like a chore. They felt far too long. Multiple episodes came across like the show was stalling to fill out its 13-episode count. I started to question whether these Marvel Netflix series should even be that long. Especially since the one recent show that didn’t suffer from those issues, Defenders, was only eight episodes long. Packed with superheroes though it was, that felt like the right length for that story. The first season of Luke Cage was especially slow. Especially after its best villain died just over halfway through. Don’t get me wrong, Alfre Woodard is great, but Mariah Dillard as a character really didn’t come into her own until this season.Alfre Woodard, Theo Rossi, Chaz Lamar Shepherd (Photo by Sarah Shatz/Netflix)By contrast, Season Two of Luke Cage is the first time since Season One of Jessica Jones that a Marvel Netflix show justified its length. It was 13 episodes long, and almost every episode came in at an hour or more. That’s a lot of someone’s week/weekend to ask. But Luke Cage used every one of those minutes. Each episode had something happening. Each one had a reason to be there. It might take a while to binge through, but at no point will you question why you’re still doing it.It’s not completely devoid of pacing issues. The first couple episodes are a little slow to start, but by the end of episode two, the story just grabs you. It deeply explores all its characters, and gives them room to grow, fail and change. By the end of this season, you have a clearer idea of who all these people are. Or were, as the case may be. More than any other Netflix Marvel show, Season Two of Luke Cage isn’t interested in returning to the status quo by the end. If there ever was one in the first place.Mike Colter (Photo by David Lee/Netflix)As early as episode one, Luke Cage lets you know things are changing. In a clip that’s been featured in every trailer so far, Luke takes a shot in the stomach from a Judas Bullet. In Season One, this would have killed him. Now, it hurts and knocks him back, but no longer pierces his skin. Claire Temple gives him an explanation, but more than anything, this is the show telling you the rules have changed. This isn’t just Season One with a different villain this time. Luke Cage is no longer a just-released ex-con who has to win Harlem’s trust. He’s Harlem’s Hero, with an app tracking his whereabouts and an enterprising young man selling merch out of Pop’s barber shop. He’s loved by the people, and he’s more powerful than he’s ever been. Early on in the season, it becomes clear that this is a story about how that kind of power can change someone.Feeling invincible with his new power, he grows more reckless. He starts taking more chances, and gets angry when Claire tells him to slow down a little bit. This culminates in a moment when Cage punches a hole in the wall. An image familiar to anyone who’s dealt with someone with anger issues. He promises he’d never hurt Claire, but she doesn’t give him a chance. That one moment where he lost control is all Claire needs to know she doesn’t like the person Luke Cage is turning into.Rosario Dawson, Mike Colter (Photo by David Lee/Netflix)Her exit, not gonna lie, is awkward. It’s motivated by the story, but it’s weird that she’s never seen again. I don’t know if Rosario Dawson wasn’t available for more scenes or what, but the rest of the season never fully justifies her absence. Suddenly characters are speaking for her or talking to her on the phone. In the last scene of the season, we’re told she’s in the club, but she’s never seen. Dawson may be eyeing an exit from the Marvel Netflix shows (she has been in all of them), but there really should have been a less clunky way to handle her absence.Season Two of Luke Cage looks back at its past and asks what it really accomplished. Are the politics established by the first season really worth celebrating? I constantly go back to Jordan Minor’s writing about the frustrating centrism of Season One. A refusal to acknowledge what its powerful imagery is really about. This season doesn’t go all the way toward fixing those issues, but it at least starts to ask some questions. It still goes out of its way to not say anything bad about the police. There’s one officer who turns out to be corrupt from the jump, bribed by one of the show’s villains, and another one used to do some shady stuff, but he’s totally on the up and up now. But the show does question what it’s saying with the character of Luke Cage.Simone Missick, Mike Colter (Photo by David Lee/Netflix)Luke is the cops. It’s not in the text. As much as he works with Misty Knight, the police have the familiar love-hate relationship with him that most Marvel cops to with superheroes. But whether he’s official or not, Luke acts as the lone supercop of Harlem. What this season does, what the last one failed to do, is ask whether that’s a good thing, and where that road leads. The story is told well enough, thanks to a couple of truly monstrous villains, which you don’t realize until the end just how fascistic Luke is becoming.We don’t get a big climactic battle that ends the season. It doesn’t let us off on a moment of triumph. In that way, the season’s final episode can feel like a bit of a letdown. After one last fight, where Luke Cage has to be talked down from committing murder, Bushmaster just leaves. Mariah Dillard isn’t taken down by the detective prowess (or badass metal arm) of Misty Knight. She’s poisoned by her daughter (who will almost surely make a wonderful, scary villain in Season Three). Luke Cage doesn’t get to end the series as a hero. In her will, Mariah gives him her club, Harlem’s Paradise. Essentially installing him in her place as the ruler of Harlem’s criminal underworld. He accepts, ostensibly to keep the other gangs from waging war in Harlem’s streets to fill the power vacuum. He insists he’s there to keep an eye on things, to keep Harlem safe. And yet nobody’s buying it. D.W. Griffith, his biggest hype man throughout the whole season, kicks him out of the barbershop. Misty Knight is sworn to stop him the second he starts acting like a mobster. They’ve all seen what power does to people. Luke Cage has not demonstrated himself to be any different. The final moment, as cool as Luke Cage looks in his suit, in his private balcony, isn’t one of triumph. It’s one of uneasiness. Luke Cage has installed himself in the role of the cops. And you don’t trust the cops.Mustafa Shakir, Mike Colter (Photo by Cara Howe/Netflix)Though Bushmaster’s story ended in a whimper, I am glad that the door is open for him to return in future seasons. He is a fantastic villain. All of the bad guys in Luke Cage Season Two are great, which isn’t something we’ve been able to say about second seasons of Marvel Netflix shows so far. Daredevil captivated us with Vincent D’Onofrio’s terrifying Wilson Fisk in Season One. Season Two had him fight… sort of The Punisher, sort of Electra, sort of The Hand, but was mostly just set-up for Defenders. Season One of Jessica Jones gave us David Tennant’s disturbing, entitled Purple Man. Season Two gave us her mother… kind of.By contrast, Season One of Luke Cage had its share of great villains (Cottonmouth, Diamondback), including some that make a return this season (Shades and Mariah), but didn’t give any of them enough attention for them to really land. The season felt confused and overstuffed as a result. In Season Two, Shades and Mariah are still here, fully fleshed out and given full story arcs. Its new antagonist is given the same treatment, and is allowed to stick around all the way through the season. Bushmaster is the kind of scary you want from a supervillain. He’s given just enough backstory, so you know where he’s coming from, but he’s still bad enough that you want to see Luke Cage fight him. And he’s strong. Under the right circumstances, he’s stronger than Luke. Like Luke, he isn’t killed by bullets. But rather than bouncing off him, his skin catches them like Kevlar. All this is due to an herbal solution that is poisoning him as it’s making him stronger. As he and Mariah Dillard fight for turf, the show is able to ask some real interesting questions about who Luke should be helping, if he should be getting involved at all.Alfre Woodard, Mustafa Shakir (Photo by David Lee/Netflix)For her part, Mariah really shines in this season. Her character was never explored to a satisfying extent in the first season, but man does she get her due here. Particularly in Episode Nine, when Luke, his father, Mariah, her daughter and Misty all hunker down in Danny Rand’s office building. She has the most captivating monologue of the whole season. She tells a tale of rape and abuse, of uncaring family members who preferred to overlook what her uncle was doing. Alfre Woodard delivers it with the chilling coldness of someone for whom horrific trauma has become the background music of her life. It’s not a shoehorned-in moment of tragedy to convince you that maybe this villain isn’t so bad after all. Even this moment of relative vulnerability is used as a weapon. Mariah uses this monologue to destroy her daughter’s sense of self-worth. If that didn’t convince you that, as her daughter says, she’s a monster, the very next episode has her, and her goons shoot up a restaurant full of innocent people before burning a man to death. If a superhero story is only as good as its villains, both Mariah and Bushmaster push Luke Cage Season Two up there with Daredevil and Jessica Jones Season One.The season doesn’t even just learn from its own history. It improves on the entire Marvel Netflix MCU. The seasons that have come out since Defenders have moved away from the whole interconnected universe idea. Outside of Karen Page, The Punisher largely stood on its own. Jessica Jones Season Two didn’t acknowledge her interactions with other superheroes at all. Season Two of Luke Cage takes from all of that. It’s the first season that felt like it directly followed the events of The Defenders. Misty hangs out with Colleen Wing, and spends most of the season dealing with the fact that she lost an arm in that series. Characters from other Marvel Netflix series make appearances, making this the only show lately that remembers it exists in a connected world. We’re not likely to get another season of The Defenders, but this all gives me hope that these characters will still interact with each other at least occasionally.Mike Colter, Finn Jones (Photo by David Lee/Netflix)It even manages to do something good with Iron Fist. The Defenders made him work by pairing him with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, two people who never hesitated to call him on his bullshit. Danny Rand shows up in one episode here, and though he’s still a little lame, he’s so much better than he used to be. Now that they’ve fought together, Cage isn’t quite so quick to tell him when to shut up, which is a little disappointing. I liked how little patience he had for Danny in The Defenders. There is still an element of that in here, though. Danny tries to downplay how much money he has, but Cage reminds him that that’s the most powerful thing about him. That it’s easy for Danny to pretend that money doesn’t matter because he has so much of it. As a character, Danny Rand will always be super lame, so it’s good that he has someone to bring him down a peg every once in a while. Also, the fight scenes in his episode, like all of them in this season, are fantastic. The fight choreography in all of these shows has been top notch, except for Iron Fist. It’s amazing how cool a character can become when someone behind the camera knows how to use them in an action scene.Season Two of Luke Cage isn’t perfect. It doesn’t fully address the problems with Season One, though they are significantly less glaring this time around. The pacing is much better, but there are still plot threads that go nowhere. A few character deaths read like the show just ran out of things to do with them. It’s always disappointing to wonder where the show is going with a certain character’s arc only for the answer to be nowhere. Luke Cage’s stint as a Hero for Hire could have been an interesting way to explore the turning point between hero and henchman. Instead, Luke acts as a fixer’s bodyguard for a couple of episodes, quibbles about working for Mariah and drops the whole matter completely. Still, those dead ends don’t weaken the overall plot too much.Overall, the season is an important step forward for the Netflix side of the MCU. Before Luke Cage’s second season, I approached Netflix series with wary anticipation. I knew I’d likely end up enjoying it, but dreaded the slog the season’s middle would invariably end up being. This season didn’t do that. It showed that these shows are capable of addressing their shortcomings. It also set up some interesting implications for Season Three and the rest of the Netflix MCU. Because of this show, I’m genuinely looking forward to the next season of Marvel television Netflix has in store. Hell, I’m even optimistic about Iron Fist. Luke Cage really is that powerful.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

Dont get swayed by rumour instigation Intellectuals

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first_imgKolkata: Intellectuals have urged people not to get swayed by rumour and instigation. They were talking to the media at Press Club on Wednesday afternoon. They had gathered under the banner of “Esho sampriti jao bibhajan.”Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, noted scholar, said united fights should be put up immediately to stop misinterpretation of Ramayana. “The term Hindu has been grossly misinterpreted and wrong messages have been sent to the people,” he said. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsHossenur Rahaman, noted historian, said Bengal has set an example of communal harmony in South East Asia, because of great people like Rabindranath and Nazrul, along with many more who have consolidated peace and harmony.Poet Subodh Sarkar said it is most unfortunate that “they” (meaning BJP) have given arms in the hands of children. “The people should not get swayed by the rumours,” he maintained.Suvaprasanna said that for many generations, Ram Navami was observed in Bengal in some households. “But there were no weapons. I saw my mother offering Puja to Ram. It was observed peacefully,” the eminent artist said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedPoet Joy Goswami said efforts should be made to establish “peace in society.” “Peace can be established through music, poetry and exchange of views. Like-minded people should be united against evil,” he said.Litterateur Abul Basar said he had come to attend the meeting as he finds that “Mamata Banerjee is a symbol of communal harmony.” He said the political and social scenario in India has drastically changed after the demolition of Babri Masjid. “There are some who try to let loose Hindus against the Muslims and vice-versa, to reap benefit out of the chaos,” Basar added.River expert Kalyan Rudra said the need of the hour is to restore peace in society. “There are some who are trying to destabilise society and we should fight against them wholeheartedly to restore normalcy,” he said.last_img read more

Durga puja festive fever grips Capital

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first_imgMatri Mandir Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti, which organizes the Capital’s most prestigious and keenly awaited Durga Puja celebration at Safdarjung Enclave each year, enters its 52nd year of Puja festivities with new zeal and enthusiasm led by an All-Women managing committee that has led the mammoth organizational effort.”An integral part of the organizing committee, our women members have always led with great gumption and perseverance in ensuring seamless teamwork over the years. This year they have gone a step ahead and volunteered to take up this onerous task of leading and organizing the Durga Puja festivities end to end,” said Debashis Saha Chief Coordinator of Durga Puja 2018. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Though we do not claim for this to be a unique venture, it is very special for us, considering the magnitude and complexities of a large Puja like Matri Mandir at Safdarjung Enclave,” Saha added.President of Durga Puja Samiti Chandana Mukherjee said from traditional to contemporary, from pressing national and social issues to highlighting India’s great achievers, Durga Puja celebrations at Matri Mandir have stood out for their captivating decorations, majestic grandeur, and astounding splendor. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveGeneral Secretary of Durga Puja Samiti Indrani Bhattacharya and Gitashree Moitra said traditionally, it has been our endeavor to showcase various moods and shades of life, society and culture – ranging from the London Olympics, Middle-east architectural marvels, Opera House of Paris, Women Empowerment, etc. The pandal at Matri Mandir is designed and decorated according to various themes and cultures – a fine example of the rich culture.Chairperson Organizing committee Supriya Bhattacharya said this year we endeavor to showcase glimpses from the Dilwara Temples of Mount Abu as our Pandal decoration theme. The design and architecture of the temples are a venerable illustration of balance in grandeur and simplicity, reflecting Jain values of honesty and frugality. Chairperson Bhog and Prasad committee Amita Chakraborty said this year we are expecting at least 5000 devotes on each day- Saptami, Ashtami and Navami. Bhog at Matri mandir is a very special event as we all committee members take special care and ensure that all the devotees can enjoy the bhog and Prasad. This year we are preparing different menu on Saptami, Ashtami and Navami which will include Bengali delicacy Khichuri, Beguni, Laabra, Payesh, Shahi Paneer, Sweets, Halwa etc.Chairperson Cultural committee Tanushree Dasgupta Saha said the cultural functions at Matri Mandir are always special and keenly awaited by the enthusiasts. This year we have decided to stage some young and budding artists from Kolkata and Mumbai. Renowned singer of Zee Bangla Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Brishtilekha Nandini will be performing on MahaSasthi Day. Also, Indian Idol famous Amit Paul will be performing on Maha Ashtami day. Marking the grand closing ceremony on Navami this year will be popular Rock band group, the Indian Ocean.Assistant Secretary Sanghamitra Bhattacharya said we cannot miss the most integral and special aspect of Durga Puja celebrations – the food court. Over the years, it has carved a special and sought-after stature amongst the South Delhi foodies. And, this year will be no different, offering more choices of lip-smacking and delectable delicacies.Treasurer Sumitra Sarkar said that it’s a challenging task to maintain accounts and control finances. But we are enjoying our work and so far we are happy with our progress.Chairperson and secretary of collection and souvenir committee Smrity Moitraand Arpita Bhattacharya said, “We are working round the clock to ensure that we meet our targets. Though it’s a tedious job we are enjoying.”last_img read more

Its Day 1 for Amazon Devices Amazon expands its Echo device lineup

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first_imgAmazon has unveiled a range of Echo devices at the Amazon Devices Event hosted in their Seattle headquarters, yesterday. The products announced included a revamped selection of Amazon’s smart speakers ( Echo Sub, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus), smart displays (the Echo Show and Echo Spot), and other smart devices. Also released, was a smart microwave (AmazonBasics Microwave), Echo Wall Clock, Fire TV Recast, and Amazon Smart Plug This event marks the largest number of devices and features (over 30) that Amazon has ever launched in a day. Alexa Presentation Language For developers, Amazon introduced the Alexa Presentation Language, to easily create Alexa skills for Alexa devices with screens. The Alexa Presentation Language (APL) is in preview and allows developers to build voice experiences with graphics, images, slideshows and video. Developers will be able to control how graphics flow with voice, customize visuals and adapt them to Alexa devices and skills.  Supported devices will include Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV, and select Fire Tablet devices. Now let’s take a broad look at the key device announcements. Amazon Smart Speakers Echo Dot: The new version of the Smart speaker now offers 70 percent louder sound as compared to its predecessor. It is a voice-controlled smart speaker with Alexa integration. It can sort music, news, information, and more. The driver is now much larger from 1.1” to 1.6” for better sound clarity and improved bass. It is Bluetooth enabled so you can connect to another speaker or use it all by itself. Echo Input:  If you already have speakers, this device can add Alexa voice control to them via a 3.5mm audio cable or Bluetooth. It has a four-microphone array. Echo Input is just 12.5mm tall and thin enough to disappear into the room. It will be available later this year for $34.99. Echo Plus: Echo Plus combines Amazon’s cloud-based Natural Language Understanding and Automatic Speech Recognition along with built-in Zigbee hub to make it one of the premier smart speakers. It also has a new fabric casing, and built-in temperature sensor. This model’s pre-orders begin today for $149.99. Echo Link: The Echo Link device can connect to a receiver or amplifier, with multiple digital and analog inputs and outputs for compatibility with your existing stereo equipment. It can control music selection, volume, and multi-room playback on your stereo with your Echo or the Alexa app. Echo Link will be available to customers soon. Echo Sub: This 100-watt subwoofer can connect to other speakers and create a 2.1-sound solution. The $129.99 Echo Sub will launch later this month with pre-orders beginning today. Amazon Smart Displays Echo Show: The new Echo Show is completely redesigned with a larger screen, smart home hub, and improved sound quality. Amazon is also introducing Doorbell Chime Announcements, so users will hear a chime on all Echo devices when someone presses your smart doorbell. Echo Show includes a high resolution 10-inch HD display and an 8-mic array. The new Echo Show will be available to customers for $229.99. Shipping starts next month. Other Smart devices Echo Wall Clock: It is a $30 Echo companion device, an analog clock with Alexa-powered voice recognition. It is 10-inch, battery-powered and features a ring of 60 LEDs around the rim that show ongoing Alexa timers. It also has automatic time syncing and Daylight Savings Time adjustment. AmazonBasics Microwave: It’s a $59.99 voice-activated microwave. It features Dash Replenishment and an array of Alexa features including integration with connected ovens, door locks, and other smart fixtures, reminders, and access to more than 50,000 third-party skills. Fire TV Recast: This is a companion DVR that lets users watch, record, and replay free over-the-air programming to any Fire TV, Echo Show, and on compatible Fire tablet and mobile devices. Users can also record up to two or four shows at once, and stream on any two devices at a time. It can also be paired with Alexa. Amazon Smart Plug: The Amazon Smart Plug works with Alexa to add voice control to any outlet. You can schedule lights, fans, and appliances to turn on and off automatically, or control them remotely when you’re away. Follow along the live blog of the event for a minute to minute update. Read Next Google to allegedly launch a new Smart home device. Cortana and Alexa become best friends: Microsoft and Amazon release a preview of this integration. The iRobot Roomba i7+ is a cleaning robot that maps and stores your house and also empties the trash automatically.last_img read more

ACCC sues Scoopon over alleged misleading conduct

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first_imgIn addition, the ACCC accused the company of false and misleading representation to businesses, by claiming up to 20 to 30 percent of vouchers would not be redeemed “when there was no reasonable basis for this representation” and assuring businesses that there was no cost or risk involved in running a deal with Scoopon, when a fee was payable to Scoopon. Issuing proceedings against the online site in the Federal Court, Brisbane, the ACCC alleges Scoopon mislead consumers regarding their ability to redeem vouchers, their refund rights and the price of goods advertised in relation to some of its deals. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed a case against one of Australia’s largest online group buying sites, Scoopon for alleged misleading and deceptive conduct. “The ACCC has made online competition and consumer issues a compliance and enforcement priority,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims explained. Source = ETB News: NJ “Ensuring that the digital revolution delivers competition benefits to consumers and small businesses is a focus for the ACCC.” ACCC takes Scoopon to court for alleged”false and misleading representations”. The matter is listed for a scheduling conference on 25 July 2013, with the ACCC seeking declarations, injunctions, community service orders, pecuniary penalties and costs. The case was filed after the ACCC and other Australian Consumer Law regulators received a number of complaints against the online group since it emerged in Australia in 2010.last_img read more

Derrick Hall satisfied with Dbacks buying and se

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first_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The Arizona Cardinals have released safety Kerry Rhodes.Rhodes, 30, played in 15 games last season and recorded 67 combined tackles, one sack and four interceptions.The Cardinals not only save $6M in real money, but also $6M in cap space with Rhodes release.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) March 13, 2013 The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   center_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Rhodes was originally acquired by the Cardinals prior to the 2010 season, and in three years with the team collected 162 tackles, four sacks and eight interceptions. last_img read more