New Cenovus Energy CEO says he will fix balance sheet and regain

first_imgCALGARY – The new CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) says he will focus on paying down debt through asset sales as he works to regain the trust of investors.Alex Pourbaix, 52, says he wants to ensure the Calgary-based company produces oil and gas that’s cost competitive with any other region of the world to ensure ongoing profitability.The lawyer who retired last spring as chief operating officer of pipeline company TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) says supporting new energy pipelines to ensure growing market access remains a priority for him in the new role he began last week.Cenovus shares have tumbled by more than 20 per cent since the company announced in March it had agreed to buy out its Houston-based oilsands partner, ConocoPhillips, for $17.7 billion.The move was criticized by analysts who said Cenovus lacked the experience to operate ConocoPhillips’ northern Alberta and B.C. Deep Basin conventional assets included in the deal but Pourbaix says time will prove it was an astute move.Cenovus has struck deals to sell four major asset packages for a total of $3.7 billion to help pay for the purchase. Pourbaix says his priority is to close those transactions and sell an additional package of non-core Deep Basin assets.“(The) number one urgent priority is to get the divestitures done … to get the debt leverage in this company down to an acceptable and sustainable level,” Pourbaix said.“From the perspective of the board, they were looking for someone who was going to have a great passion for continuing to drive efficiencies in this organization, driving accountability and driving shareholder returns. Those are my priorities.”last_img read more

Divisive Minnesota mine wins permits but faces challenges

first_imgMINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota regulators on Thursday granted key permits to the long-planned PolyMet copper-mining project that’s opposed by environmentalists who fear it could someday foul waters, including Lake Superior.The state Department of Natural Resources issued permits to PolyMet Mining Inc. for the company’s proposed NorthMet project in northeastern Minnesota. The project still needs permits from other agencies, and likely faces court challenges.“No project in the history of Minnesota has been more thoroughly evaluated,” DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in announcing approval of permits for the project, first proposed in 2004.Environmentalists have opposed the mine for fear it could pollute pristine waters and destroy habitat for grey wolves and Canada lynx. The project would be located near tributaries feeding the St. Louis River, 175 river miles upstream from Lake Superior.Duluth for Clean Water said the proposed mine “would create permanent, toxic pollution in the headwaters of Lake Superior, putting our communities and lives in constant danger.”“The massive open-pit mine would destroy huge swaths of the Superior National Forest and significantly increase annual CO2 emissions in Minnesota at the worst possible time,” the group said.PolyMet contends it can operate the proposed mine near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt without harming the environment while creating hundreds of badly needed jobs on Minnesota’s Iron Range.“We look forward to building and operating a modern mine and developing the materials that sustain and enhance our modern world,” PolyMet President and CEO Jon Cherry said in a news release. “Responsibly developing these strategic minerals in compliance with these permits while protecting Minnesota’s natural resources is our top priority as we move forward.”Paula Maccabee, an attorney for environmental group WaterLegacy, said environmentalists will likely appeal if permits are granted, or they could request that the DNR reconsider its decision.The agency issued a permit to mine, six water appropriation permits, two dam safety permits, a public waters work permit and an endangered species takings permit for the project. The permit to mine includes a financial assurance plan — designed to provide enough money so the DNR can reclaim and close the mine and plant site in case PolyMet does not — and a wetland replacement plan. The project still requires water and air quality permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.Landwehr said the DNR is “confident that the project can be built, operated, and reclaimed in compliance with Minnesota’s rigorous environmental standards.”“Yes, there will be an environmental impact,” Landwehr told reporters. “Our job is to ensure those environmental impacts are within state standards, and whenever required, they are mitigated.”Maccabee and other environmentalists questioned why the DNR did not conduct a contested case hearing for an independent review before issuing the permits. But Landwehr said the project did not meet the standards under state law for such a trial-like hearing.“These permits should be reviewed by an independent administrative law judge to establish the facts before permit decisions are made,” Kathryn Hoffman, chief executive of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, said in a statement, noting that such hearings are routine for pipelines and power plants. “It is special treatment for PolyMet to skip this vital step for the first copper-nickel mine to apply for permits in Minnesota.”Minnesota Republican legislative leaders hailed the DNR’s decision.“This new mine will create many good-paying jobs in Northeastern Minnesota and provide a real boost to the state’s economy,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt, a Republican from Crown, said in a statement.The project would cost an estimated $945 million to construct. PolyMet said site preparation and rehabilitation of the former LTV Steel plant for a copper-nickel processing plant will continue through the winter and early spring. The company said the bulk of work is expected to start in the 2019 construction season and last about 24 to 30 months.___Follow Jeff Baenen on Twitter at .last_img read more

Bouteflika confirms Algeria vote candidacy in rare TV remarks

first_imgALGIERS – President Abdelaziz Bouteflika told Algerian television Monday he has registered as a candidate for reelection, in his first public remarks since he suffered a mini stroke in April 2013.“I came to officially submit my application in accordance with article 74 of the constitution and the electoral law,” said the 77-year-old who is bidding for a fourth term in the April 17 election.Article 74 says the “president of the republic is reelectable,” and effectively removed limits on the number of terms in office the head of state could serve, allowing Bouteflika to stand for win a third mandate in 2009. In the footage broadcast by Algerian television, Bouteflika appeared sitting in an armchair facing the head of the constitutional council, Mourad Medelci.His voice was barely audible as he made his statement, and quickly cut to the president adding his signature to the declaration of his candidacy.Bouteflika has not made any public addresses since returning home from France in July after treatment for a mini stroke. He has also received only a few foreign dignitaries and chaired just two cabinet meetings.He is the fifth candidate to have registered to run in the presidential elections ahead of the midnight Tuesday deadline.The other candidates to register before him were Moussa Touati of the Algerian National Front (FNA), Abdelaziz Belad of the El-Moustakbel Front (FM), head of the Algerian Rally Ali Zaghdoud, and the Workers Party’s Louisa Hanoune.last_img read more

MEPs Urge EU to Halt humanitarian Aid to Tindouf Camps Till…

Rabat – Brussels – On the backdrop of the embezzlement disclosures involving the Polisario and their mentor Algeria, several members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different EU member states urged, on Monday night, the EU to halt sending humanitarian aid to the camps of Tindouf until a census of the population held in the camps is conducted.The MEPs submitted a draft resolution requesting the European Commission to immediately stop sending humanitarian aid as long as the exact number of the camps’ population is not established through a census by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).The draft resolution slams Algeria for refusing to cooperate with the UNHCR to conduct a transparent census that would help curb the embezzlement of humanitarian aid by the Polisario. The signatories of the resolution decried that the embezzlement network has been taking advantage of the generosity of the EU for years.Recently, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) released a report disclosing the fraudulent practices of massive aid embezzlement by Algeria and the Polisario.The report disclosed that a large part of the humanitarian aid sent to the population in the camps of Tindouf gets diverted in the port of Oran. Only a small part of aid reaches the camp while the rests is often sold in markets in neighboring countries.This embezzlement is mainly ascribed to the inflation of the number of the population in the Polisario-run camps in south-western Algeria. read more

Rethinking The NFLs Rooney Rule For More Diversity At The Top

As word spread quickly in January 2007 that Mike Tomlin would be the next head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, no one needed to explain the significance of the move to Steve Jackson. Then a safeties coach with the Washington Redskins, Jackson was among the many African-American assistants rooting for Tomlin to get the job. Just a few years earlier, Tomlin, who had just completed his first season as the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator, probably wouldn’t have been on the short list for one of the most prestigious coaching gigs in professional sports. But under the Rooney Rule, times were changing.“For me, that’s the one that really stood out,” said Jackson, now the Tennessee Titans’ assistant secondary coach. “It was the Steelers. That’s one of those jobs that everyone looks at. And he wasn’t the leading candidate when he walked in for the interview, but he got in that room and he made his case. That’s what we all want: just to have a real chance to compete for the job. A lot of us [black coaches] looked at that and said, ‘Yeah.’”There’s no debating that the Rooney Rule has had a positive impact on the NFL. By providing owners with the first leaguewide tool to make hiring potentially more inclusive, the NFL took a significant step toward changing its culture. The rule continues to be expanded, and major corporations have followed the league’s lead. But in a workplace in which the overwhelming majority of players are African-American, the NFL has many more opportunities to strengthen the rule and further increase diversity in its management ranks.In place since 2003 for head coaches and expanded in 2009 to include general manager jobs and equivalent front-office positions, the rule — named after Dan Rooney, Pittsburgh Steelers chairman and onetime head of the league’s diversity committee — mandates that an NFL team must interview at least one minority candidate for these jobs. The rule, however, has two fatal flaws: the temptation to substitute sham interviews in place of a search for real diversity, and coordinator-level positions, a crucial step to head-coaching jobs, are not under the umbrella.The NFL did recently expand the rule again to include women: For all executive openings in the commissioner’s office, a woman must be interviewed. The San Francisco 49ers were the first team to formally adopt the practice, but the same flaws still apply.But the league did provide a blueprint for corporate America to improve its poor hiring record when it comes to diversity. Facebook, Pinterest, Intel, Xerox and Amazon are among the major companies that have instituted their own version of the rule. Even the Pentagon has explored using some form of the rule to diversify its officer corps.“The Rooney Rule really has become the best practice for diversity and inclusion,” said Robert Gulliver, the NFL’s executive vice president of human resources and chief diversity officer. “The Rooney Rule is all about access and opportunity, and it’s exciting to see where we are now after having the Rooney Rule in place for 12 years when you look at what the Rooney Rule has delivered.”In the 12 seasons before the rule was instituted, the NFL had only six non-white head coaches. In 12 seasons under the rule, the league has added 14 head coaches of color. From the NFL’s standpoint, there were other encouraging numbers last season regarding diversity. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida found that:At the start of last season, there were six head coaches of color, one more than in 2014. In 2011, the NFL had an all-time high of eight head coaches of color.There were seven African-American general managers in 2015 and for the ninth consecutive year, there were at least five general managers of color.Eight of the last 18 Super Bowl teams have had either an African-American head coach or general manager.Clearly, minorities have made modest strides in filling leadership positions. The problem is, there are 32 NFL teams. Even at its highest point, minority representation among coaches was a meager 25 percent. Almost 68 percent of the NFL’s players are African-American, but there are no African-American team presidents, and only one team president of color. Although the NFL received an A grade for overall racial-hiring practices from Central Florida, only 19.4 percent of the league’s professional positions — front-office and business-operations personnel — were filled by “people of color” in 2015. The numbers tell the story: There’s still plenty of work to do.Jeremi Duru wrote the book on the Rooney Rule. Literally. In Advancing The Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL, Duru masterfully details the history of the process that resulted in the rule. Duru, a law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, agrees that the rule is not perfect, but “the whole idea of it is to prompt kind of a culture change in the league,” he said. “It’s not that the outcome of each particular interviewing season is going to vindicate the rule, but rather that the rule will put in place the sense that, in order to be the best, you have to think broadly. It’s the idea that in order to succeed and be competitive, you have to look at a deep pool of candidates.”One of the biggest criticisms of the rule is that it hasn’t effected change fast enough. For the rule to have been in place so long, some African-American commentators have argued, the NFL should have many more minorities in the highest-ranking positions. “It’s extremely difficult to eradicate a long-standing problem quickly,” Duru said. “The Emancipation Proclamation itself isn’t going to be a panacea. But it creates a culture where there’s no longer lawful slavery, and where we start to see progress, slowly but surely.“In the end in the NFL, hopefully, the idea is that it really becomes clear that the best coaches come from all sorts of different places. And if you think broadly about coaching and you slow down and take time with your hire, you’re going to find yourself with the best outcome. It’s not a consequence of the rule itself, but of the culture that the rule has ushered in.”Unfortunately for the NFL, the public perception is that sham interviews are integral to the league’s culture. Invariably each season, rumors have swirled that some teams interviewed African-American candidates only to comply with the rule. In January, the timing and execution of the Philadelphia Eagles’ hiring of new coach Doug Pederson raised questions about whether they had violated the spirit of the rule. The Eagles interviewed Duce Staley, a former Philadelphia player and current assistant coach on the team. Staley had never been a coordinator and only served as a position coach for three seasons. To many league observers, it appeared the Eagles had skirted the rule by interviewing an in-house candidate who obviously lacked the experience to be a head coach.That’s where the Fritz Pollard Alliance comes in. Together with the league’s front office, they determine whether a team’s interview process is legitimate. In the first year of the rule, commissioner Roger Goodell’s predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, fined former Detroit Lions general manager Matt Millen $200,000 for “failing to discharge his duties” under the rule.Although the specter of fines should serve as a deterrent to teams violating the rule, there’s another step the league could take to ensure compliance besides the removal of draft picks: require teams to provide transcripts of interviews with minority candidates. That way, the Fritz Pollard Alliance and the commissioner’s office could judge for themselves whether teams adhered to the spirit of the rule.“The Rooney Rule requires that there be a meaningful interview of a person of color, not just an interview,” Duru said. “Any mechanism that can be used to ensure an interview that is meaningful should be on the table.”However, among NFL decision-makers, there’s no momentum for detailed transcripts to become part of the process. “What is important is getting interview feedback,” the NFL’s Gulliver said. “We really do find that getting feedback, getting candidate feedback, on what worked and what didn’t work, and what can even be better the next time, will help candidates as they continue their quests to become a head coach or a general manager.”That being said, covering more potential candidates under the rule would seem to be a logical next step. Generally, coordinators have the most responsibility among assistant coaches. Owners often pluck coordinators from successful teams to become head coaches. If there were more minority coordinators in the pipeline, theoretically, there would be more minorities in the applicant pool for head coaching positions. The Rooney Rule does nothing to address that basic fact.In response to the NFL’s horrible hiring record after the 2012 season (eight head coaches and seven general managers were fired; 15 white guys were hired), the Fritz Pollard Alliance proposed that coordinator-level and team president positions should be covered under the rule. The NFL rejected the proposal, but in 2013 the league did restart the Career Development Symposium, which previously ran from 1998-2008.The commissioner’s office requested that teams send two representatives, including at least one person of color, who aspire to be general managers and head coaches, to a three-day program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Besides networking with decision-makers from throughout the league, participants honed their interview skills through presentations and panel discussions. (In March, the league had its first Women’s Career Development Symposium.)But remember: Last season, the league had only six head coaches of color and seven African-American general managers. Obviously, the Career Development Symposium didn’t hobble efforts to improve minority hiring — but how much did it help? It just seems that including coordinator positions under the rule could be another major turning point in the ongoing struggle to level the playing field.In ESPN The Magazine’s Feb. 8 Super Bowl 50 Issue, senior writer Mina Kimes wrote that white position coaches and assistants are more than twice as likely to be promoted to coordinator than their African-American counterparts, according to research from professors at Georgetown, George Washington, Emory and Iowa State University. Moreover, those promotions occur regardless of the white coaches’ performance, experience and coaching background. The data shouldn’t be ignored.The Titans’ Jackson is a 13-year NFL assistant. Despite his experience, Jackson knows it’s downright impossible to make the leap from an assistant coach to a head coach without first being a coordinator.“There’s always a network, an inner circle, and then there are others,” he said. “And if you’re in the others, you have to do everything you can to get in the door.”The argument against expanding the rule to include coordinator positions is that head coaches should be allowed to pick their staffs without any restrictions on interviewing. There may be something to that.During the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Brian Stewart directed the Dallas Cowboys’ defense. If coordinators are covered under the rule, Stewart envisions the potential for conflict. “That would be rough,” said Stewart, now a college coach at Nebraska who works with defensive backs. “You really have to leave picking those guys [coordinators] to the head coaches. They have to be allowed to choose their own people.“That’s one of the benefits of reaching the level of head coach. And if you don’t let them interview only the guys they want to interview, it could really open up a can of worms when you talk about relationships on the staff. If guys feel like a coordinator didn’t get the job the right way, there could be a lot of resentment from all the other assistants. It could be a problem. It could be a big problem.”Of course, there’s often resistance to change. When the rule was instituted, many within the league suggested head coaches wouldn’t have credibility if they were hired as a result of the process. But who would argue that great coaches such as Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, Tomlin and Carolina Panthers’ Ron Rivera lack credibility? The Steelers’ pick of Tomlin worked out spectacularly.The Rooney Rule is still evolving and growing pains are part of the process. But with the NFL on the right track, it’s definitely not time to slow down. Editor’s note: Tuesday was opening day at The Undefeated, a new ESPN website that explores the intersections of race, sports and culture. In an introductory letter, Kevin Merida, its editor-in-chief, says the site won’t shrink from covering challenging subjects with a mix of original reporting, innovative storytelling, provocative commentary, must-see video, narratives and investigations. At FiveThirtyEight, we’re so excited at having a new sibling that we’ve been running several of The Undefeated’s articles on our site this week — including the one that follows here — and we have big plans for partnerships in the future. More stories from The Undefeated:Serena: The embodiment of it all by LZ GrandersonDon’t believe the fairy-tale mythology that sports promote by Domonique FoxworthWill my 2-year-old nephew end up like Michael Brown? by Wendi Thomas read more

Commentary Resilient spirit needed for Ohio State football to advance to 90

Ohio State’s game against Purdue on Saturday appeared to be over. With the Buckeyes trailing by eight points, and just two minutes and 40 seconds remaining on the game clock, OSU redshirt junior backup quarterback Kenny Guiton’s deep ball had just been intercepted by Purdue sophomore safety Landon Feichter. As it seemed the 7-0 Buckeyes were headed for their first loss of the season, many OSU football fans began their exodus from Ohio Stadium. It was hard not to give up on the Buckeyes at that point. OSU’s star quarterback, sophomore Braxton Miller, had left the game in the third quarter with a head injury. In his place, Guiton had failed to lead the Buckeyes to points on three consecutive drives. For the Buckeyes’ offense to even get another shot at tying the game, a defense that had given up 49 points to Indiana one week earlier needed to force Purdue’s offense off the field in four downs or less. If the Buckeyes were going to win, they needed a miracle. At that point, the Buckeyes showed the resilient, never-say-die attitude that first-year coach Urban Meyer has clearly instilled. The defense did exactly what it needed to do, not allowing a single first down and forcing a punt, which gave Guiton and the offense 47 seconds for one final shot at a game-tying drive. Guiton took advantage of his moment to shine. Guiton’s first pass was a 39-yard connection with sophomore wide receiver Devin Smith, which kicked off a drive that reached completion with a two-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Fields. Still needing two points to send the game to overtime, Guiton subsequently completed a pass to wide-open sophomore tight end Jeff Heuerman in the end zone. From there, the Buckeyes did their job again on both sides of the ball, as another Guiton-led scoring drive and a defensive stop gave the Buckeyes an improbable 29-22 victory in overtime. The Buckeyes may be 8-0, but they certainly haven’t made it easy to stay undefeated. While they have been heavily favored in most games, they have trailed in the second quarter or later in seven of eight games, and have either gone to overtime or won by three points or less in three of their four in-conference games this season. As should be expected of any team with a postseason ban and a first-year head coach, the Buckeyes have their issues, but they have displayed a knack for coming through and making the plays necessary to escape each game with victory. In games where the Buckeyes have failed to play up to their ability, as was certainly the case against Purdue, they have seemingly willed victories away from their opponents when the game is on the line. On Saturday, however, the Buckeyes will be facing a team that has shown even greater resiliency. The Buckeyes are traveling to University Park, Pa. this weekend to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions, a team that has overcome an 0-2 start to win five consecutive games. The Penn State football program was rocked within the past 12 months by the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal that cost legendary head coach Joe Paterno his job, and later had to overcome the death of Paterno and NCAA sanctions levied against the program as a result of the Sandusky scandal, all the while adjusting to a new head coach of their own in Bill O’Brien. In the first two weeks of the season, the effects of this tumult seemed to have their effect on the Nittany Lions, who suffered surprising losses to Ohio and Virginia. Since then, however, Penn State has rolled off five consecutive wins, and comes into Saturday’s matchup as a serious threat to give the Buckeyes their first loss of the season. As both teams are ineligible for postseason play, some would say they have nothing to play for, but don’t tell that to the Buckeyes or Nittany Lions. After overcoming major adversity leading into their 2012 seasons, both of these teams have taken on new identities under their new coaches, and are making their regular seasons count. Meyer’s Buckeyes are composed largely of the same personnel from the 2011 team that went 6-7, and he has reignited the winning tradition that OSU football is known for. What O’Brien has done at Penn State this season, however, is remarkable. Filling the shoes of Paterno after his 46-year career coaching PSU, and following what is arguably the worst scandal in college football history, O’Brien did not take an easy job. It will continue to be a challenge, as the Nittany Lions are in just their first year of four years of NCAA sanctioning including a postseason ban and scholarship reductions. But by bringing his no-nonsense attitude, installing an up-tempo offense and redefining the image of Penn State football, O’Brien has the Nittany Lions headed back in the right direction. On Saturday, the Nittany Lions have a chance for their first post-scandal marquee victory if they can upset the Buckeyes. Given the way PSU has rallied together and won their past five games, the Buckeyes are going to need to be on top of their game to stop that from happening. Playing an ambitious team in Beaver Stadium, the nation’s second-largest stadium, a will to win won’t be enough to remain undefeated. read more

Football Dwayne Haskins selected as No 15 overall pick by Washington in

Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) calls out a play in the first half of the Rose Bowl Game featuring Ohio State and Washington. Ohio State won 28-23. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorFor the first time since Art Schlichter in 1982, an Ohio State quarterback was selected in the first round of the NFL draft.Former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been selected with the No. 15 pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins.Haskins was the second Buckeye taken in the draft, after former defensive end Nick Bosa went No. 2 overall to San Francisco 49ers. He’s the first Ohio State quarterback to be drafted since Cardale Jones was picked in the fourth round by the Buffalo Bills in 2016.Haskins is the first first-round selection hailing from the Big Ten since Kerry Collins was selected No. 5 overall out of Penn State by the Carolina Panthers in 1995. Haskins set Ohio State’s new single-season record for passing yards with 4,831, completion percentage with 70 percent (minimum 100 attempts) and touchdowns with 50, earning an invitation to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist. He also set the single-game passing yards record, throwing for 499 against Northwestern in the 2018 Big Ten title game, and tied the record for touchdowns with six on two different occasions.Under Haskins, the Ohio State offense finished No. 2 nationally in yards per game (535.7) and No. 2 in passing yards per game (358.7).Haskins declared for the NFL draft in the weeks following Ohio State’s Rose Bowl win against Washington. read more

Column Hell is Coming fragments of horror from World War One

first_imgONE HUNDRED YEARS ago today, on 28 JULY 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, setting in motion the “Great War”.This World War was the mutilation and destruction of human bodies and environment on a then-unprecedented, incomprehensible scale. In an attempt to reflect the hell that this conflict unleashed, here are some fragments of the horror, from a victim-centred perspective.CiviliansImperial Germany (fresh from their colonial genocide of the Herero and Namaqua in Namibia) invaded neutral Belgium (fresh from their heart of darkness in the Congo) and within a couple of weeks had murdered thousands of Belgian and French civilians. At Les Rivages, Dinat, seven babies were among a group of 77 unarmed inhabitants lined up against a wall and executed.The Catholic University library at Louvain was set alight with petrol and destroyed, thousands of priceless manuscripts lost forever; some 268 civilians in Louvain were murdered.In Andenne, the burgomaster Dr Camus was shot and then “finished off” with an axe. He was but one of 262 unarmed civilians murdered in that town. Fifty-five civilians were killed in Nomény, 420 in Liége, 51 in Fresnois-la-Montagne, 60 in Gerbéviller, 60 in Longuyon and 61 in Haybes. At Tamines, a town where 383 civilians were murdered, an 88-year-old woman was burned alive in her home.On the 26th August 1914 German Zeppelins attacked Antwerp, dropping hundreds of bombs on the people below, a local newspaper reports how “a married couple sitting at a window were killed, the woman having her hand cut off… one bomb made a hole 6ft deep… another bomb killed one citizen, mortally wounded two others and blew the leg off a fourth.”These archives of pain stretch from Europe into Asia. In Turkey, the Armenian, Assyrian, and Pontic Greek peoples in the Ottoman Empire were designated enemies of the state, their assets confiscated, their lives forfeit. These populations reduced by circa 2.75 million from 1914 to the 1920s, as the Ottoman’s pursued a policy of extermination. Genocide. Meanwhile in Africa, the East African campaign led to the deaths of over 100,000 conscripted African porters and carriers. This was not a headline, and has never been a headline, “because the people who suffered most were the carriers – and after all, who cares about native carriers?”Overall, the civilian death toll during World War One was around seven million.last_img read more

18 unique travel destinations that will make you want to book a

first_img Source: ShutterstockIt’s a pink lake! Need we say more?10. Fly Geyser, Nevada Source: ShutterstockThe accidental result of some drilling in the 1960s, this geyser may not be an entirely natural phenomenon, but it is still a sight to behold. Located on a private ranch in Nevada, visitors are advised to go to a restaurant named Bruno’s to organise day tours of the spring. Doesn’t sound dodgy at all.11. Takinoue Park, Japan Source: Takinoue Tourism AssociationEvery May and June, people flock to Takinoue Park to see the carpet of pink moss (shibazakura) that covers the park.12. Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, New Zealand Source: Donnie Ray Jones/FlickrA cave that includes a grotto filled with baby glowworms who emit light, you say? Amazing.13. Antelope Canyon, Arizona Source: Alessandro Giannini/FlickrThere are no words. Just look at that.14. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah Source: James Gordon/FlickrThe National Park Service describes it as a “forest of stone” and a “cave without a roof,” but those descriptions barely do Bryce Canyon justice. Just incredible.15. Magic Forest, Shanghai Source: 2il org/FlickrWhat was once a traffic lane has since been transformed into this magical little park. Beautiful.16. Chefchaouen, Morocco Source: ShutterstockIn the Moroccan city of Chefchaouen, everything is blue. Like, everything. And it’s incredible.17. Cappadocia, Turkey Source: ShutterstockThe best way to experience the surreal scenery and ancient rock formations of Cappadocia? HOT AIR BALLOONS.18. Longyearbyen, Norway Source: svalbard.netLongyearbyen, the world’s northernmost city, is the most populous area of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean that boasts more polar bears than humans. During the summer, the sun never sets. PARTY.7 of the most spine-chillingly creepy places in Ireland >9 photographs that prove our universe is breathtakingly beautiful > SUFFERING FROM POST-holiday blues? Eagerly counting down the days until you’re off work and embarking on a week of sunbathing? Whatever your story, here are some unique, otherworldly travel destinations to daydream about.1. Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China Source: ShutterstockStunning multi-coloured rock formations that were 24 million years in the making? We’re there.2. Fingal’s Cave, Staffa, Scotland Source: dun_deagh/FlickrSituated on this uninhabited island of Staffa, the entrance to Fingal’s Cave features numerous hexagonal columns that are the result of being beat up by waves over thousands of years.3. Dallol, Ethiopia Source: ShutterstockAn ancient volcanic crater, Dallol is home to spectacular landscapes that look like they’re CGI and also several acid lakes.4. Tunnel of Love, Ukraine Source: ShutterstockThe tree-lined Tunnel of Love looks like it’s from a fairytale, but it’s actually located in Kleven, Ukraine. Primarily used as a route by trains to deliver wood to a local factory, it has also become a popular spot with tourists and couples.5. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland Source: Glacier LagoonA large glacial lake, you may have seen the breathtaking Jökulsárlón featured in the likes of Die Another Day, Batman Begins, Tomb Raider and more. (If you look really hard, you can see “Bjork woz ere” scrawled on one of the icebergs.)6.Crazy House, Vietnam Source: RStacker/FlickrIt has been described as one of the world’s most bizarre buildings and it’s easy see why. Inspired by Walt Disney and Salvador Dali, this Vietnamese guesthouse looks like it’s taken straight from a trippy fairytale and has to be seen to be believed.7. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia Source: Clark & Kim Kays/FlickrOne of the most popular tourist attractions in Croatia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to its gorgeous lakes and pretty vistas.8. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia Source: Leonora Enking/FlickrThe world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni also doubles up as the world’s largest mirror – when water covers the salty surface, it becomes entirely reflective. Gasp.9. Laguna Salada de Torrevieja, Spainlast_img read more

Mother sentenced to 25 years in psych hospital

first_imgA mentally-ill mother who cut the throats and wrists of her two young children before trying to kill herself has been ordered to serve a 25-year custodial term in a psychiatric hospital. However Mrs Steinberg’s lawyers are confident the 43 year-old could be released in as soon as six months. Due to mental impairment Mrs Steinberg was found not guilty of attempting to murder her three year-old daughter and seven month-old son at her parents’ Glen Waverley home on April 29 last year. Supreme Court Justice Ross Robson heard she was suffering from a major depressive disorder with probable psychotic symptoms at the time of the offences. She had cut her own wrists and was lying on top of her children when her mother returned home and found them. Justice Robson, on Wednesday, ordered Mrs Steinberg to serve a mandatory 25-year custodial term under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997. But the court heard one of two psychiatrists had suggested that her custodial order be reviewed in six months. One of the lawyers representing Mrs Steinberg, George Defteros, said a nominal order for 25 years does not mean the Greek Australian mother-of-three is going to be in custody for 25 years, but that she will be in supervision for 25 years. “After six months we will apply for her to be supervised and treated in the community. We have an excellent chance to have her out within the next six months,” he said. Based on the evidence of the psychiatrist it is advised Mrs Steinberg needs another six month’s treatment in Thomas Embling, but in the meantime she can apply for day release also. “Hopefully she will very soon get a day release to go and see her parents,” Mr Defteros said. “This terrible incident happened when she was suffering from severe, severe depression; it’s a very sad story.” The lawyer said Mrs Steinberg’s family is relieved the court case is over and continues to be supportive of their daughter. “They themselves want to have a little bit more access to their grandchildren as they were very close to them in the past. They are very anxious to see her out of the hospital as soon as possible,” Mr Defteros said. Mrs Steinberg’s ex-husband, who was in court with his lawyer, did not comment after the sentencing. “I did the committal and the ex-husband asked to be excused from being cross examined at the committal,” Mr Defteros said. “He was supportive initially, and he did make a statement to the police that my client was a good mother and he has been a little concerned for my client not to have access to the children at this stage.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Une puce révolutionnaire pour enregistrer lactivité cérébrale

first_imgUne puce révolutionnaire pour enregistrer l’activité cérébraleUne puce électronique 100% biocompatible et destinée à mieux capter l’activité du cerveau, a été mise au point par une équipe de chercheurs français. Ces scientifiques espèrent l’utiliser en neurochirurgie, notamment dans le diagnostic de l’épilepsie.Si notre cerveau fait aujourd’hui l’objet de multiples recherches, il n’est pas si facile à étudier. Avec l’amélioration des techniques d’imagerie, les scientifiques réussissent désormais à plonger davantage “à l’intérieur”. Toutefois, certains obstacles persistent. En effet, les capteurs qu’utilisent actuellement les scientifiques pour enregistrer l’activité cérébrale sont des électrodes en général peu performantes et qui déclenchent au bout d’un certain temps une réaction de défense des tissus qui aboutit à une perte de signal. Pour résoudre ce problème, une équipe de chercheurs français a mis au point une puce 100% biocompatible dont ils dévoilent les détails dans la revue Nature Communications. Dans leur étude, les chercheurs de l’Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm) expliquent ainsi que pour éviter les phénomènes de rejet, ils ont conçu un transistor en matière organique (à base de composés de carbone). “La puce est dix fois plus petite qu’un cheveu en épaisseur”, explique Christophe Bernard de l’Institut de neuroscience des systèmes à Marseille qui a dirigé les recherches. Mais “la véritable révolution technologique a consisté à transformer le capteur en amplificateur, ce qui a permis de multiplier la qualité du signal par 10 par rapport aux systèmes classiques”, précise le chercheur cité par l’AFP. Le premier test a porté sur un modèle animal d’épilepsie et avant de pouvoir l’expérimenter chez l’homme, quelques obstacles doivent encore être surmontés précise M. Bernard.De multiples applications À lire aussiLe mariage aiderait à prévenir les risques de démence, mais pourquoi ? Néanmoins, il estime que cette puce pourrait avoir des “applications immédiates” dans la neurochirurgie des tumeurs et dans le diagnostic de l’épilepsie, notamment. En effet, les premiers résultats, obtenus chez le rat, montrent que la puce est plus performante que les capteurs classiques, explique-t-il.Cette nouvelle technologie devrait enfin, selon l’Inserm, permettre des avancées en recherche fondamentale. Concrètement, en interprétant les signaux émis par le cerveau et en les traduisant en informations nerveuses utilisables par l’homme, les chercheurs devraient pouvoir développer des interfaces cerveau-machine qui pourraient avoir de multiples applications médicales, y compris chez les personnes paralysées.Le 16 mars 2013 à 09:43 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Florida man stabs woman with fork over undercooked baked potato

first_imgNASSAU COUNTY, Fla. (WSVN) — Deputies have arrested a man accused of stabbing a woman in the head over an undercooked baked potato.According to Fox 30, Nassau County deputies arrested 36-year-old Kenneth David Crumpton Jr., charging him with aggravated battery.According to an arrest report obtained by Fox 30, the victim told a witness that Crumpton stabbed her in the head with a fork after they got into an argument over a baked potato.Crumpton disputed the incident, saying he threw the fork, and it “glanced off her head.”Deputies said the victim had multiple stab wounds and visible blood on her head. However, she reportedly refused treatment.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

AIIMS Rishikesh reports false HIV positive diagnosis told to pay Rs 60000

first_img IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:03/2:37Loaded: 0%0:03Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-2:34?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha [Representational Image]Wikimedia CommonsAll India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh landed was recently slapped a fine of Rs 60,000 for a false HIV positive diagnosis. While the diagnosis was done in 2014, the fine was imposed after Naseem Ali, a patient, approached the Haridwar consumer court. One of the reasons cited for the fine was “giving an incorrect HIV report to a fit person,” reports The Times of India.In 2014, Ali had visited a private hospital in Roorkee after he discovered that his blood was not clotting. He then went to AIIMS Rishikesh only to be given the diagnosis that he was HIV positive.In July 2014, Ali underwent more tests at Shri Mahant Indiresh Hospital and the reports came back stating that he was HIV negative.Angered, Ali filed a complaint at the district consumer forum in Haridwar. AIIMS Rishikesh will now have to pay Ra 50,000 and an extra Rs 10,000 for “wasting the complainant’s time and energy” within a month or the institution will have to pay six per cent interest to the complainant annually. The court also said that the tests caused severe mental trauma for the man as well as social problems due to the stigma surrounding HIV.The directive came out on April 22 and read, “Ensure payment of Rs 50,000 and Rs 10,000 within one month for incorrect treatment. And in case the amount is not paid within a month, then you will be liable to pay this amount at 6% annual interest.”AIIMS Rishikesh is planning on filing an appeal at a higher court. “We will appeal against the judgment in the state consumer forum. It was a documentation error and probably the very next day, it became clear to the patient that his report was negative. And nowhere in the discharge papers was it mentioned that the patient was HIV positive,” Dr Manoj Kumar, the spokesperson of the institute, was quoted as saying by TOI. Closecenter_img Ragpicker’s son gets selected at Jodhpur AIIMS for MBBS, says want to work for his villagelast_img read more

Asia stocks advance dollar struggles on signs of more cautious Fed

first_imgA trader reacts as he watches screens on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Feb 5, 2018.Reuters file [Representational Image]Asian stocks advanced on Thursday, tracking a surge on Wall Street, after the chairman of the US Federal Reserve suggested it may nearing an end to its three-year rate tightening cycle, boosting interest in riskier assets.The dollar struggled and U.S. Treasury yields dipped after Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that US policy rates were “just below” neutral, less than two months after saying rates were probably “a long way” from that point.MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.8 percent.The Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.2 percent, Australian stocks gained 0.5 percent and Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.9 percent.However, gains in Asia were tempered by investor jitters ahead of high-stakes trade talks between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Saturday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.Economists at ANZ pointed out that policy hawks in the Trump administration who want Washington to take a tough stance against Beijing appear to be in the ascendancy.”They will want some concessions from China, not least of all on what they perceive is theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfer,” wrote the ANZ economists.”Thus, it would seem the prospect of the Trump-Xi meeting ending without a sustainable resolution to their differences is relatively high.”Analysts believe any signs of a thaw in U.S.-China tensions could trigger a knee-jerk rally but say the move would likely be short-lived unless there are substantive compromise from both sides — most notably if Xi can persuade Trump to postpone a sharp tariff hike on Chinese goods due to take effect Jan. 1.The Dow meanwhile rallied 2.5 percent and Nasdaq surged nearly 3 percent on Wednesday as Powell’s comments eased fears of a faster pace of rate hikes in 2019. “Equities gained as Powell hinted of implementing fewer rate hikes when the economy is still doing well,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.”The likelihood of slower U.S. monetary tightening caused the dollar to slump against currencies, particularly the euro, which could soon benefit from an ECB rate hike.”The euro was a shade higher at $1.1374 after advancing 0.7 percent the previous day.The dollar dipped 0.2 percent to 113.46 yen after being knocked down from a two-week high above 114.00 scaled overnight.The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in broader risk sentiment, jumped more than 1 percent on Wednesday and last stood little changed at 0.7302.The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was effectively flat at 96.805 following an overnight loss of 0.6 percent.The U.S. two-year Treasury yield extended a modest decline from the previous day following Powell’s comments. The yield was down about 1 basis point at 2.796 percent.Oil prices clawed back some ground from losses in the previous session, but an increase in U.S. crude inventories and uncertainty in the run to an OPEC meeting next week kept markets under pressure. US crude futures were up 0.8 percent at $50.66 per barrel after sliding 2.5 percent the previous day.Brent crude rose 0.6 percent to $59.13. It has slumped 21 percent this month, during which it fell to a 13-month trough of $58.41.last_img read more

US to work with Myanmar for safe Rohingya return US

first_imgUS President’s deputy assistant Lisa Curtis speaking with reporters after visiting Rohingya camp in Kutupalang on Saturday. Photo: Prothom AloThe United States has said the world will continue to watch the Rohingya situation and will continue to do everything possible to make sure that Rohingyas are protected and safe.“The world is watching. The world will continue to watch and continue to do everything possible,” US president’s deputy assistant Lisa Curtis told reporters after visiting Rohingya camp in Kutupalang on Saturday, reports news agency UNB.Lisa, also senior director for South and Central Asia of the National Security Council in the White House, said they will continue to work with the Myanmar government to ensure that required conditions are there for “safe and voluntary” return of Rohingyas to their homeland.She said the US government is looking for accountability to prevent any further atrocities against the Rohingyas who are already suffering immensely.The US official said they will remain committed to work together with the government of Bangladesh so that these vulnerable people stay safe and protected.She said they wanted to convey Rohingyas that they have a voice.Appreciating Bangladesh’s efforts Lisa Curtis said they thank Bangladesh for opening their arms providing protection and safety and wellbeing. “US is deeply grateful to the government of Bangladesh.”US ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat said they are working with the international community and the Myanmar government to make sure that Rohingyas can return home in peaceful, dignified and voluntary manner.”She said they are working hard not only save lives in the camp but also to support the government of Bangladesh.US president Donald Trump’s aide arrived in Bangladesh Friday morning on a three-day official visit to discuss bilateral issues, including security and the Rohingya crisis.US ambassador, earlier on Wednesday said the Rohingya crisis was not losing world attention as the international media were still giving focus and good coverage on the matter. “I don’t think international attention and support are going to fade regarding the Rohingya issue.”She said her government and the international community were looking for ways to help improve the situation and ensure the safe return of Rohingyas to their homes in Myanmar.last_img read more

Final Fantasy XV Gets a GotY Edition PC Release Date Announced

first_img Final Fantasy XV was in development for ten years, but it’s still getting new content. After a series of updates and DLC, Square-Enix is releasing a “Royal Edition” of the game on March 6. This version will have all of the previously released DLC along with a ton of new content. That day will also see the release of the PC version of FFXV, which will have all of the materials found in the Royal Edition.As detailed on the official site, Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition contains: an all-new dungeon called Insomnia City Ruins, a first-person mode, new gear, new bosses, and a more “action-oriented” version of the Armiger super attack called Armiger Unleashed. Players can now control the Royal Vessel, allowing for free travel between Cape Caem and Altissa. As mentioned above, expect all of the already released DLC like the character-specific episodes, Regalia car skins, and more to be included. Of course, the Royal Edition comes with a copy of the game.Square-Enix actually announced the PC version of Final Fantasy XV back in August of last year. As we reported, this version will have enhanced shadows, ambient occlusion, higher textures, enhanced foliage, and more detailed monsters. Other features include realistic smoke and fire effects via Nvidia Flow, the aforementioned first-person perspective, and the ability to screenshot 360-degree high-res images. A feature called ShadowPlay Highlights will allow players to record and edit gameplay which they can then upload to YouTube. All of this will be presented in native 4K with a maximum output of 8K.AdChoices广告Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition will cost $50 for PS4 and Xbox One users. Those who already own the game can purchase all of the bonus materials digitally from the PlayStation and Xbox Stores (price TBD). The PC edition should cost $60, though I’m sure some online vendors will sell it cheaper. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetcenter_img Cool Gifts for ‘Final Fantasy’ LoversGEEK PICK: Final Fantasy 15 Pocket Edition HD last_img read more

Can You Pet These Video Game Dogs Ask Twitter

first_imgYou can pet the dog in Undertale— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 9, 2019 Stay on target You cannot pet the dog in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 9, 2019 Update: While you couldn’t initially pet the dog in pun-filled bullet hell roguelike Enter The Gungeon, you now can in the recent expansion “A Farewell To Arms.” The “Can You Pet The Dog?” Twitter account doesn’t take all the credit. The community also chimed in. But we now have proof that archiving which video games will and won’t let you pet dogs will just lead to more dogs to pet. And that’s a good thing.New: Following an update, you can now pet the dog in Enter the Gungeon— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) April 5, 2019Video games, they aren’t just for killing anymore. The medium is arguably as varied as it has ever been, with hyper-realistic AAA shooters and retro throwback platformers all finding love among the same gaming community. And even games that seem wildly different may have connections you never would’ve considered. For example, a bunch of games have dogs in them.AdChoices广告But as soon as you introduce dogs into your video game, you need to be prepared for the next question players will inevitably ask. Can I pet the dog? And now you can find out those answers for yourself with this Twitter account, “Can You Pet The Dog?”Just as “Does The Dog Die?” lets you avoid any movie with where the dog does, “Can You Pet The Dog?” lets you know which video games have dogs and whether or not you can pet them. So you know whether or not you’ll be wasting your time trudging through some deep, immersive role-playing game only to find some dog you can’t pet.For example, despite their richly detailed and interactive worlds, you cannot pet the dogs in games like Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Super Mario Odyssey, Fallout 4, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Sorry, but the proof is right hereYou cannot pet the dog in Grand Theft Auto V— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 6, 2019 You cannot pet the dog in Fallout 4— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 5, 2019 You can pet the dog in Where the Water Tastes Like Wine— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 7, 2019 You cannot pet the dog in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 8, 2019But it’s not all bad news. Games as different as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, Undertale, Until Dawn, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and of course Nintendogs + Cats all let you pet the dogs. See for yourself!You can pet the dog in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 8, 2019 You can pet the dog in Until Dawn— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 10, 2019 You cannot pet the dog in Super Mario Odyssey— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 5, 2019 Geek Pick: Fi Smart Dog Collar Sniffs Out Your PetMan Saves Dog Left Tied to Electrical Cord on Side of Interstate Overpass You cannot pet the dog in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 5, 2019 You can pet the dog in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 8, 2019 You can pet the dog in Nintendogs + Cats— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 10, 2019“Can You Pet The Dog?” has only been up for a few days but the account has been adding new examples of virtual dog-petting in action at a steady rate. Hopefully game designers start taking notice. It’s time for yet another re-release of Skyrim, this time where you can pet the dog. And for more on dogs check out these good comic book dogs and Ford’s noise-cancelling dog kennel.last_img read more

How User Behavior Is Scoring Points in the Gaming Industry and Could

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. How Success Happens Listen Now December 15, 2017 5 min read Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. If you think the gaming industry is represented by the somewhat pathetic image of a 35-year-old male playing Age of Empires in his mother’s basement, you are sorely mistaken, because gaming is so much more than that. Related: How Technology Will Change the Future of Gaming IndustryIn fact, this $78.61 billion industry is a poster child for modern engineering, typically adopting new technologies before other sectors do and showing itself to be one of today’s most successful industries when it comes to understanding its customers (who, yes, are typically 35-year-old men).Indeed, gaming is a technology powerhouse constantly investing in more and more powerful machines and infrastructure. That investment has created a global ecosystem of gamers and communities responsible for generating for this sector more earnings than either movies or music.So, what does the future hold for gaming? “Strong growth will continue as more online casinos open in China and other Asian countries,” predicts NewZoo, an online games market research group. “Established markets have reached maturity and have less room for revenue growth, [meaning that] new markets will open up and increase access to gaming activities.”Today’s gaming industry, in short, is still managing to grow those margins by getting smart with data. And while big data in gaming has been around for years, only recently have AI-powered SaaS platforms been able to achieve user-focused behavioral analysis.The next phase of gaming software advancements, then, will likely rely heavily on integrating behavioral analytics to understand gamers’ tendencies and preferences. Games empowered with that kind of information can be calibrated in real time to hold user attention, increase purchases and grow the bottom line, all of which are tactics I’ve covered on my podcast.Behavioral analyticsThe goal of behavioral analytics is to identify what behaviors cause what actions. What steps did the user take before he or she made an in-app purchase? Was there a point in the game that turned the user off or caused a loss in interest? How long will a user play without winning before he or she quits?This type of path analysis, attached to a time frame, is allowing game marketers to create better user experiences.Reated: 3 Growth Strategies for Mobile Gaming“Today’s current measure of KPIs in gaming are only the headlines about your players,” Dan Schoenbaum, CEO of Cooladata, a behavioral analytics platform for online gaming, said on my podcast. “The people who manage games today already need to leverage behavioral analytics. They experience a large number of players who play on free, so the ability to convert them to a paying player is huge. If you understand user behavior, you can drive up retention, which is absolutely crucial.”Optimization for retentionGame-developers don’t just want someone to download or play their game once; they want the game played again, and again, and again. Long-term engagement creates loyalty, and that is the best way to gain a competitive edge.To achieve long-term engagement, analytics and tools must be in place to measure player engagement over a period of days, weeks or other time period; they must also be accessible and easy to understand.Schoenbaum recommends looking at user behavior through the lens of product optimization: “Following user paths, combined with specific time frames, allows game managers to glean new insights for different players, optimize their path and increase conversion rates,” Schoenbaum told me.Predicting, to be proactiveAt this point, gaming companies’ data warehouses and customer databases contain a wealth of data. Not only is that data valuable for analyzing past user behavior, but it’s valuable for game marketers, to shine a light on consumer patterns. Insights like these indicate who will purchase again, how much they’ll spend and the churn rate for those customers overall.A recent illustration of the future of predictive analytics comes from the partnership between Zodiac, a cloud-based software platform provider, and Tophouse Media, a digital media company. A match-up like theirs aims to bring predictive analytics to game marketers so they can better understand their customers and fine-tune their planning and forecasting.Moves like this across the industry also allow gaming operators to be more accurate and precise in their marketing strategies, while reducing spend and maximizing return.Identifying issues  Another intriguing aspect of predictive analytics is its capability to predict abuse or addiction — related to gaming in terms of the problem of gambling addiction. Understanding customers with this problem, in fact, is one of the top uses for today’s analytics activity.A leading money-gaming company in Europe, Pentaho, is an example: It’s using big data and predictive analytics to create a “360-view of customers, which, among other things, helps to identify those customers who show signs of gambling addiction.”As our world becomes increasingly more digital, identifying technology will play a significant role in moderating game mechanics.Leveraging data to stay aheadOnline games must have a unique user experience, but they also need back-end support to iterate quickly and cater to individual users.“Gaming is a hyper-competitive industry, and those who succeed are implementing unique identification capabilities, people-based approaches, and proactive behavioral campaigns,” Schoenbaum said.Related: Infographic: The Gaming IndustryIn sum, deploying analytics has transformed most brands and entire industries into tech companies. This billion dollar industry is expected to generate 2,857 petabytes of data per month in 2018. So, game marketers that take the time to understand that 35-year-old man in his mom’s basement will actually cross the threshold into a lucrative online gaming platform.last_img read more

South Dakota considers ban on teaching about gender identity in schools

first_imgLawmakers in South Dakota are considering banning public school teachers from talking about gender identity in elementary and middle schools.‘No Promo Homo’Critics say this could target transgender people in the same way some states limit discussion of homosexuality in schools. South Dakota Education Department spokeswoman Mary Stadick Smith told The Star Tribune in an email that the she’s not aware of gender identity being taught in schools.The billThe proposed bill, S.B.160, says:‘No instruction in gender identity or gender expression may be provided to any student in kindergarten through grade seven in any public school in the state.’The sponsor of the bill, Republican Senator Phil Jensen, believes the issues of gender identity and expression aren’t age appropriate. He argues that these topics could ‘get in the way’ of learning other subjects.‘I think we need to be focusing on reading, writing and arithmetic,’ he said.Jensen has been called South Dakota’s ‘most conservative lawmaker.’ In the past, he’s compared LGBTI people to pedophiles. He was also vocal in passing a law that ensured adoption agencies could discriminate against same-sex couples looking to adopt on moral or religious grounds.Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) According to GLSEN’s public policy director Nathan Smith, South Dakota would become the first state in the nation to ban instructors from teaching about gender identity/expression, should this law pass.GLSEN, a national organization focused on safe schools for LGBTI children, has reported that seven states have laws that forbid the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in classrooms. These laws are referred to as ‘no promo homo laws.’ The seven states that enforce them are Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas.‘It’s maybe a little different in the way that it’s crafted and maybe a little different in the way, sort of the population that it targets, but the underlying concerns are the same for us as they would be in a traditional “no-promo-homo” law,’ Smith told The Star Tribune. ‘We think that it’s bad broadly for LGBTQ students in South Dakota.’Students in states that have ‘no promo homo’ laws reported higher rates of bullying and less peer acceptance among LGBTI students. Students in these states also have fewer resources (such as Gay-Straight Alliances) and are less able to access relevant school health services. GAYSTARNEWS- Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… LGBT Witch-hunt: North Carolina no longer welcomes transgender travelers and residentsCourt ruling: LGBTQ people are not born that waySchool teacher fired because she married the love of her lifeRead the full article on Gaystarnews:  : read more

Recap Major South Cheshire road closed due to accident

first_imgUPDATE: The accident has now cleared A major road in South Cheshire is closed following an accident this evening. The A50 Newcastle Road is shut in both directions between Love Lane (Fourlanes End) and A534 Congleton Road ( Arclid Traffic Lights, Arclid Green) – between Rode Heath and Arclid. The accident is understood to involve two vehicles and traffic is moving very slowly in the area as a result. Inrix, the traffic data company, reports the closure was put into place at 6.05pm. It is unclear how long the closure will be in place for at this stage. We will bring you further updates on this incident when they become available. For the latest news and breaking news visit Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you. Read MoreTop stories on StokeonTrentLive Police search for missing woman Driver named following fatal collision Punter found hiding in bushes center_img Dad slams ‘disgusting’ hospital window Follow us on Twitter @SOTLive – the official account – real news in real time. We’re also on Facebook – your must-see news, features, videos and pictures throughout Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire & South Cheshire. Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive . Want to keep up to date with the latest traffic and travel news?Each day Stoke-on-Trent Live journalists bring you the latest news on the roads and railways across Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, South Cheshire and further afield to help keep you on the move. For the very latest updates on roads including the M6, A500, A50 and more, visit our dedicated traffic and travel news channel here. We also run a live news feed each weekday, which you can access on our website’s homepage from 7am to 9pm from Monday to Friday. And for more as-we-get-it updates on the roads across the region and beyond, join The Sentinel’s traffic and travel Facebook group here. Location of the closure (Image: Inrix)last_img read more