A Dongria Kondh woman from the Niyamgiri area of Odisha, Rasmita Sikoka alias Kuni (20), alleged to be a Maoist cadre with a reward of ₹1 lakh on her head, surrendered along with five other alleged Maoist militias on Wednesday, Rayagada police claimed.But the Maoist identity of the woman as well as her surrender has caused a controversy. She is the daughter-in-law of Dadhi Pusika (62), a leading activist of the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (NSS). She is also the niece of another key NSS activist Lada Sikoka.The tribals of the Niyamgiri hills spread over the Rayagada and Kalahandi districts have been resisting mining in the region under the banner of the NSS since 2003.The police say Ms. Sikoka was an armed cadre of the Niyamgiri Dalam of Maoists and was involved in several incidents of Maoist violence.But the claims of police were challenged by social activists and organisations.They allege that Ms. Sikoka had been taken away from her in-laws’ home at the Gorata village at around midnight on May 1.
On a chilly February morning, as hundreds of protesters gathered at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, a group of about 40-50 women huddled in a corner. Holding posters with captions such as, ‘#NRINightmare’, these women had come from as far as Maharashtra’s Parli town in Beed to Hisar in Haryana and Punjab’s Jalandhar district.In the midst of slogans about farm crisis and unemployment, a low decibel chant demanding that NRI husbands who have deserted their wives in India should be prosecuted filled the air.Read it at The Quint Related Items
It was the second time, on Friday, that trade unionist and human rights lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, lodged at Pune’s Yerwada jail for her alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence, spent her birthday away from home. In an emotional letter, her 22-year-old daughter, Maaysha, expressed how proud she is of her mother, and assured her that this too shall pass.Maaysha, who lives in Faridabad, went to meet her mother on her 58th birthday on November 1. “We got seven minutes to meet each other. We don’t get to touch each other but it is just great to be able to see her and hear her after two months,” she said.Maaysha also drew a picture of her mother with their dog Oscar and her, for Deepavali. It had a message that read, “you are the one who stays out late for me everyday, worry about my worries every night. I can’t find words to describe what you mean to me.” She says she was not allowed to give it Ms. Bharadwaj so she will give it to her lawyer to pass it on to her.“The case against my mother is fake and the government has manipulated things to trap her,” says Maaysha, adding, “the government gets scared of people like her because they fight against companies and in favour of people. My mother fights for and represents tribals and poor people, I am sure if she would appear for rich people this would not happen to her.”Since Maysha was not allowed to give the letter to Ms. Bharadwaj, she read it out to her. “I have been blessed to have such a strong and loving example for a mother! It’s your 58th birthday and I want to thank you for being in my life, loving me the way I am and accepting me for what I want to be! I am proud of you for being so brave in this one year and of course all through your life. This is your second birthday and second diwali that we are not together but I am sure we will be together in the upcoming birthdays and Diwali! I miss you every day and every second of my life,” the letter reads.It further says, “This year has not been good without you but I tried my best to handle everything. I am not able to handle the things like you do but being your daughter I have some qualities of yours and that keep me strong. And I promise you that I will be stronger and more mature than I am and I will try to manage my life the way I want to! You always want me to live my life the way I want to. Sometimes it is all very tough! I always need you by my side. But you have been so amazing and strong that I’m sure this too shall pass!”
“We are looking at October, 2016, by which time all the “We are looking at October, 2016, by which time all the core infrastructure must be ready, one year before the tournament,” said Javier Ceppi, the U-17 World Cup Tournament Director. “We have come over here to see five or six ISL (Indian Super League) matches. We were here for ISL 2014 Final as well. So we know how the stadium operates, when Mumbai City FC is playing. We are satisfied with certain changes to make it compliant to FIFA standards, but it is a good base. “A few friendly matches will be played prior to the tournament. It is a good opportunity for Indian national team and U-19 team to play in this stadium,” he added. According to the Ceppi, September-October is the single best window to have the tournament. Asked about air pollution in Mumbai, Yarza quipped said, “We are requesting for some fresh air, but we are not sure whether it will be responded to.” Vijay Patil, owner of D Y Patil stadium, who was present on the occasion, said, “This is a historic moment for Indian sport. We are deeply honoured that FIFA is visiting our facility. We are putting our best foot forward and it is going to be a great movement in Indias sporting history.”Apart from Yarza, the FIFA delegation comprised Tracy Lu, Felipe Restrepo and Vijay Parthasarathy (Competitions Department), Christina Hollerl (Marketing), Jochem Steinhoff (Media), Paul Calder (TV), Jean Pierre Koeltgen (Ticketing), Mike Pfister (Senior Development Manager) and Shaji Prabhakaran (Development Officer). PTI NRB SSR SDL AH AH BASadvertisement
Former AC Milan defender and Italy coach Cesare Maldini has died at the age of 84.Born in Trieste in 1932, Maldini won four Serie A titles with Milan, as well as their first European Cup in 1963, as a player. He then managed the club between 1972-1974.He was capped 14 times by Italy.In 1996, he became the coach of Italy – with son Paolo captaining the team – before going on to lead Paraguay in the 2002 World Cup.AC Milan tweeted on Saturday: “Goodbye dear Cesare. Today the world loses a great man and we lose a page of our history.”Maldini was also the manager of Italy at Under-21 level, winning the European Championships a record three times in a row from 1992 to 1996.He took the senior squad to the 1998 World Cup quarter-finals and lead Paraguay at the 2002 World Cup.There is now a third generation of Maldini at Milan, as his grandson Christian plays for the youth team.Born on February 5, 1932, Cesare was a beloved figure in Italian football for his sweet nature and ever-present smile, reports football-italia.net.He played 347 games in the Milan jersey from 1954 to 1966, scoring three goals, while he was also captain in 1962-63.His management career could not have started stronger, as he was assistant manager to Enzo Bearzot when Italy won the World Cup in 1982.
New Delhi, Jul 5 (PTI) The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea of six persons, who have been acquitted by the apex court in the 2002 Akshardham terror attack case, seeking compensation for their wrongful arrest.A bench of comprising Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi said it would set a dangerous precedent if the acquitted persons are allowed to seek compensation for their wrongful arrest.Senior advocate KTS Tulsi, appearing for the acquitted persons, withdrew the plea after sensing the mood of the bench and said they may launch a case against Gujarat police for “malicious prosecution”.Earlier, the Gujarat government had opposed the plea saying that it would have a “serious demoralising effect” on the investigating agencies.It had said that since the trial court as well as the Gujarat High Court had convicted them for their alleged roles in the terror attack that had claimed 32 lives, the issue of “curtailment” of their personal liberty, which they are claiming, cannot be accepted.On May 16, 2014, the Supreme Court had acquitted the six persons, including the three condemned prisoners, in the case, saying, “The story of the prosecution crumbles down at every juncture.” (More) PTI MNL SJK RKS ARC
Transfers ‘Alexis should snub Man Utd and join City’ – Ferdinand’s shock advice for Arsenal ace Chris Burton 17:29 1/14/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) Getty/Goal Transfers Manchester United A. Sánchez Manchester City Premier League The Chile international is being targeted by Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, with a former Red Devils star saying he would be better at the Etihad Alexis Sanchez should snub interest from Manchester United and link up with City instead, says former Old Trafford favourite Rio Ferdinand.The Arsenal forward finds himself at a transfer tug-of-war between two fierce rivals, with a shock scramble for his signature having been sparked.It appeared for long periods as though Sanchez was destined to end up at the Etihad Stadium, but Jose Mourinho has joined Pep Guardiola in pursuit of a much sought-after signature. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player If two offers are tabled, then the 29-year-old will face a big decision – but Ferdinand says the choice is obvious, despite his strong ties to the Red Devils.The former United defender told BT Sport on the Sanchez saga: “I was having this discussion with my old mates yesterday and today.”If he has an option now to go from Arsenal to Manchester City or Manchester United, as a footballer who wanted to win trophies and be judged on trophies, Manchester City looks like the place to go.“They are top of the league and going to win the league this season. They are in the Champions League, they look like they will be in the final of the League Cup and the FA Cup as well potentially. So he’s got more opportunities to win trophies there.”He knows Pep. He’s been with Pep and has more of an idea. If Pep wants him again now, I’m sure he’s thinking: ‘I’m going to go there second time round and do it properly this time.'”As a professional, you’d have to say that the balance of power is starting to come back to an even keel almost and then going City’s way.”You look at Manchester City and they’re so far ahead of everybody else, not just in points but in the way and style they play. They’re taking teams out before they even get on to the pitch.”Sanchez previously worked with City boss Guardiola during a stint at La Liga giants Barcelona.He would, however, face fierce competition for places at the Etihad, with the likes of Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling having impressed in wide attacking roles this season.United have a greater need to find inspiration in the final third, but title challenges could outweigh finances and playing time in the mind of a proven performer eager to grace the grandest of stages once more.
About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Barcelona coach Valverde on beating Inter Milan: We must do betterby Carlos Volcano23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona coach Ernesto Valverde wasn’t pleased with their performance for the 2-1 win over Champions League opponents Inter Milan.Luis Suarez’s brace saw the hosts complete a second-half comeback after going behind to a Lautaro Martinez strike within the first two minutes.”[Lautaro’s goal] really put the game in their favour and strengthened their situation a lot,” Valverde said.”They’re a powerful team, they’re first in the Italian league [after] winning all their matches. They made our lives difficult, but we were better in the second half.”Barcelona struggled to create many chances in the first half but that changed during the second 45 minutes.”We needed to transform the match going forward,” Valverde noted.”We controlled the play with [Sergio] Busquets, Arthur [Melo], [Frenkie] De Jong, but we didn’t have any space to play.”We needed to be more of a threat in their area and be more decisive in the final third.”They kept us far away from their goal and we were able to come back.”
Barcelona coach Valverde: I don’t care about Koeman rumoursby Carlos Volcano2 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has dismissed rumours linking Ronald Koeman with his job.It’s emerged the Holland coach has a break clause in his contract should a club of the status of Barca express interest.The situation has immediately seen Koeman linked with a return to the Nou Camp.But Valverde says: “I do not know the situation of other coaches.”When we coach Barça, we still have a lot of rumors, but this does not mean anything to me.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
OTTAWA — The federal government is writing off more than $163 million in outstanding student-loan payments that officials will never be able to collect.New spending documents show the government is giving up on debts from 31,658 students after “reasonable efforts to collect the amounts owed.”It is the fourth time in the last five years that the government has written off outstanding student loans.The government periodically gives up on some of the $19 billion owing in student loans for a number of reasons: a debtor files for bankruptcy, the debt itself passes a six-year legal limit on collection, or the debtor can’t be found.The Liberals have looked to make it easier for graduates to pay off their loans — and the government to collect the cash — by increasing the minimum annual income a person has to make before they are required to make debt payments.The threshold is now set at $25,000.The most recent annual report on the Canada Student Loans Program said that in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the government provided almost 490,000 full-time students with just under $2.7 billion in loans and a further $24.1 million in loans to 13,712 part-time students.The report said that the average federal student loan balance at graduating was $13,306, up from $12,783 in the previous 12-month period, an increase of 4.1 per cent.Borrowers typically take between nine and 15 years to fully pay off their loans and the period usually overlaps with when Canadians are most likely to start families.The Canadian Press
“There were allegations my father gave weapons to the LTTE. What my father did was give weapons to an LTTE click he could trust. The LTTE click led by Mahattaya was given weapons to strengthen them and create an uprising against Prabhakaran within the LTTE,” he said. Gopalaswamy Mahendraraja also known as Mahattaya was eventually reportedly killed for leaking secrets to India’s RAW. According to Wikipedia, Mahattaya, who joined the LTTE in 1978, became the deputy leader of the LTTE, and in 1989 he became the head of the short-lived People’s Front of Liberation Tigers, a political party founded by the LTTE.Mahattaya was second in command at one time in the LTTE after Colonel Kittu who was originally second in command was killed during an encounter with the Indian Navy. Wikipedia says Velupillai Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman found out that he was leaking information to India’s RAW. They were trying to make him the leader of LTTE. However he was relieved of both posts in 1992. In 1993, the LTTE took him into custody. He was executed on December 28, 1994 by the LTTE. (Colombo Gazette) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa says his father gave one group in the LTTE weapons in order to try and create a split in the LTTE.Speaking to the BBC Sandeshiya, Sajith Premadas said that former President Ranasinghe Premadasa had given weapons to an LTTE click led by Mahattaya.
“The help we are seeking includes for household items, financial assistance for 200,000 people considered vulnerable, medical assistance, counselling of displaced populations, rehabilitation of shelters and support to encourage refugee and displaced Syrian children to return to school,” a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, told a news briefing in Geneva.The revised Syria Humanitarian Response Plan was presented to donors in Geneva earlier Friday, and is separate from the so-called Regional Response Plan, which applies to relief efforts for Syrians displaced in neighbouring countries. In addition to financial and medical assistance, the $41.7 million in funds is also aimed at providing the Syrian population with access to basic services such as shelter, water and sanitation.More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 18 months ago. Amidst reports of an escalation in violence in recent weeks in many towns and villages, as well as the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, UN agencies now estimate that some 2.5 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.Over the past two weeks, UNHCR teams have visited 29 communal shelters in the capital, Damascus, as well as the surrounding district known as Rural Damascus, delivering mattresses and blankets and carrying out counselling, Mr. Edwards said. This week, the agency also participated in a three day inter-agency mission to the city of Homs.In addition, UNHCR has received tens of thousands of calls to its hotlines since July, and thousands of refugees have approached its offices in the Syrian capital. Last week alone, nearly 3,000 refugees went to the agency’s office in Damascus expressing their concerns about security, financial difficulties and the need for resettlement.Mr. Edwards said resettlement activities are ongoing, but that they are occurring at a slow pace, as departures to resettlement countries planned this week had been delayed due to cancellation of flights from Damascus’ airport.The refugee agency is also concerned about relocating people who are living in schools, as the academic year is due to start on 16 September. “The relocation of people living in schools is urgent,” Mr. Edwards said, noting however that many of the buildings identified as alternative communal shelters need work done before people can be relocated to them. Addressing the same news briefing, a spokesperson for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Marixie Mercado, said that the Syrian Government estimates that some 2,072 schools – out of 22,000 across the country – have been damaged or destroyed, and over 600 are occupied by displaced persons. UNICEF is currently supporting repairs in 64 schools in Deraa, Rural Damascus and Lattakia.Syria’s neighbouring countries are also struggling to deal with the increasing number of refugees as the start of the school year nears, Ms. Mercado said.In Jordan, it had initially been planned for Syrian children to go to schools, but this proved unfeasible due to the sheer number of children involved. Instead, UNICEF is now working to set up a school in the Za’atari refugee camp, in northern Jordan, and to bring in 15 prefabricated classrooms for Syrian students in the Ramtha camp, in northwestern Jordan.In Lebanon, schools will accept Syrian refugee children when they open on 24 September and UNICEF will be providing those children with education kits, remedial education, recreational and psychosocial activities. In Turkey, refugee children are being educated in camps set up by the Government, and in Iraq, UNICEF will be providing prefabricated classroom and education supplies, Ms. Mercado said.Overall, UNHCR has stated that the total number of Syrians who have registered as refugees or are awaiting registration, as of 7 September, stands at 246,267 – with more than half seeking safety in Turkey and Jordan.
Traditional lithium exploration focuses on hard rock exploration for spodumene, petalite, and lepidolite. An alternative to hard rock exploration is to mine lithium brine deposits. Lithium brines are usually located in salars (i.e. underground reservoirs or salt flats). Salar brines contain dissolved salts such as lithium, potassium, and sodium. It is estimated that 66% of global lithium reserves are found in salars. (Reference: http://www.visualcapitalist.com/a-cost-comparison-lithium-brine-vs-hard-rock-exploration/)A key to a salar’s economic viability is the lithium concentration in the brine. Lithium concentrations between 50 and 75 ppm seem to be the minimum for the brine to be viable. Until now lithium analysis required several weeks delay awaiting off-site laboratory testing. If more testing is required – very typical of an exploration project – further delays ensue.Lithium concentrations in brines can now be measured on-site, in seconds. SciAps has updated the Z-300 handheld LIBS analyzer to now analyze lithium content in brines as well as geological samples. The Z can be equipped with a dedicated App with a lithium brines calibration. The App also reports sodium, magnesium, boron and potassium in the brines. Other elements may be added at any time by the user. The App includes a simple liquids attachment to present the brine solution to the Z-300 (or Z-200). We’ve delivered numerous X-300 handheld LIBS analyzers into the lithium mining industry for hard rock exploration, the addition of brines analysis further expands the use of HH LIBS technology in the exploration field.The Z-300 provides instant analysis to determine if a brine solution is economically viable for lithium extraction. The analysis time is less than 30 seconds, and the lithium detection limit is in the range of 5 ppm. For longer tests the limit of detection can be reduced. Although the Z’s test time is 3 seconds, for brine solutions, the recommended practice is to take several tests which the on-board software averages. There is a brief lag time between tests required for liquid samples to settle.Shown in the figure are several spectra for various brine solutions (about 5% sodium) spiked with lithium-chloride. Even the 10ppm lithium sample shows an easily measurable peak.The availability of on-site lithium brines analysis is an important development for lithium exploration. Mining companies can now pull multiple samples of the brine reservoir to get a through mapping of lithium concentrations, and to determine economic viability of the salar with high confidence. The Z analyzes virtually every element in the periodic table, so the analyzer can also be calibrated for potassium, sodium, boron, magnesium, and other elements in the brine that may be of interest.
PORTUGAL IS TO spend around €4.9 billion to bail out its largest bank.The move to save Banco Espirito Santo (BES) comes after a week of frantic negotiations aimed at avoiding a run on the bank, which is the main part of the country’s third-largest banking group.BES will be split into two entities, with its toxic assets isolated in a “bad bank” and its healthier assets regrouped in a new bank called simply Novo Banco. The bank recorded a €3.57 billion loss last week.In stepping in, the Lisbon government is seeking to avoid contamination throughout its fragile economy and into the wider eurozone. It comes not long after the country exited its own bailout programme.“There was an urgent need to adopt a solution to guarantee the protection of deposits and assure the stability of the banking system,” Bank of Portugal governor Carlos Costa said.The European Commission in Brussels assured that Portugal’s intervention “is adequate to restore confidence in financial stability and to ensure the continuity of services and avoid potential adverse systemic effects”.The cash injection from the state is designed to stop savers pulling any more money out of the bank, and to assure them their money is safe, analysts said.AFP contributed reporting Read: Argentina just burned its bondholders – could we have done the same?
Polly want a discount German cracker? Lidl might have solved the mystery of the Dublin Airport parrot Earlier this week, a grey parrot was discovered after a routine runway inspection at Dublin Airport. Image: Dublin Airport 14 Comments The rogue parrot. Image: Dublin Airport https://jrnl.ie/4502455 By Garreth MacNamee 32,301 Views Share35 Tweet Email1 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article The rogue parrot. Feb 19th 2019, 6:30 PM THE TALE OF the rogue parrot discovered on Dublin Airport’s runway may have seen solved by an eagle-eyed social media worker at Lidl.Earlier this week, a grey parrot was discovered after a routine runway inspection at Dublin Airport. A picture of the parrot was posted on Twitter by Dublin Airport this evening. But shortly afterwards, Lidl’s official account replied saying that one of its stores has a missing parrot poster up on its noticeboard. A man has come forward and claimed ownership of the wantaway bird. Dublin Airport initially tweeted: “Our firefighter Craig Wade found this African grey parrot during a routine runway inspection earlier this week. She’s being given specialist care & is calm & doing well. We’d like to reunite her with her owner. Please RT to help us find them & DM us if she is yours.”Lidl replied: “Guys this is going to sound unbelievable but there’s a “Missing Parrot” poster in one of our stores, so we called the number to check and it’s his parrot! We’ll drop you a DM now.”We’ll keep you abreast of the situation if more information comes forward. Short URL Tuesday 19 Feb 2019, 6:30 PM
For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at Geek.com we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year!Conga Master Party is a game about dancing, but it’s not really a rhythm game. Music plays, but instead of focusing on the beat, your thoughts should be focused on ensnaring your next semi-willing victim. I’ve been playing this game on the Nintendo Switch, but when a game is weird like this that’s when it gets the Game of the Year treatment.Conga Master Party’s main gameplay, and really its only gameplay, revolves around its conga mechanic. The player enters the dance floor, invariably says “What could possibly go wrong?”, and begins moving around the dance floor. Dance around a person or persons long enough and they will join your conga line like some kind of boogie-down Big Boss. But you have to be careful, because bumping into a potential new recruit causes their conga interest to plummet, and since you must maintain a draining momentum meter, you can’t afford to waste time.You also never stop moving. You can’t stop the conga line, only steer it. Instead of controlling the character directly, players use the shoulder buttons to point them left and right as well as dash. Menus also use this control scheme to help you stay accustomed to it. This places a premium on making circular movements, big loops that lasso as many folks as possible, especially as your conga line gets longer. You have to be aware of your own tail like you’re playing Snake or something.To keep Conga Master Party from feeling like the nifty and funny extended WarioWare microgame that it is, the game has a fair amount of different modes taking the very arcade mechanic in different directions. But while the variety is appreciated, you can actively feel the stretching.The single player campaign has you dancing across different night clubs, each with their own appropriately funky Samba De Amigo backing tracks. To progress you have to join up with a certain amount of dancers with different personalities, from bookish to cool to passionate, before time runs out. And it’s surprisingly tough. While there are power-ups for more efficient conga combos, there are also hazards like slippery floors or pigs that kill your momentum if you accidentally let them dance with you. Alien invasions in-between rounds even keep you from bringing most of your allies into the next level.Beyond the campaign there’s an endless mode as well as a handful of new multiplayer minigames. Each multiplayer game is a parody of another game, from “Mortal Konga” to “Grand Theft Conga,” and adds its own unique wrinkle to the festivities. Grab a dancer and keep them in your zone as long as possible. Cut through your rival’s growing conga line. Recruit dancers as health and ammo for a final confrontation. It’s impressive just how many different directions the developers took the same basic idea.But in the end, Conga Master Party always is the same basic idea. There are only so many different ways I could do the same dance patterns around the same people before I started to get bored.The presentation tries its hardest to stave this off. The pixel art representing fanciful ordinariness reminded me of other Game of the Year Winner Luke Sidewalker. Meanwhile, the lengthy list of playable characters are full of personality and each have their own stats for another attempt at depth. You can even unlock costumes for them using amiibo, although the game missed the obvious opportunity for a Donkey Konga reference.However, like fellow strange game about growing yourself through others Katamari Damacy, Conga Master Party’s charms are better appreciated in short bursts before they get tired. Maybe that’s why real conga lines can’t last forever.Check back next week to read about the next Game of the Year! Stay on target Review: ‘Fantasy Strike’ Is A Fighting Game That Understands…Game of the Year: Jordan Minor’s Best Video Games of 2018 Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
Pixel owners in 43 states can now use Google Assistant to schedule appointments and book reservations.The tech titan in May unveiled Duplex, a technology for conducting natural conversations to carry out specific tasks over the phone.Unlike the choppy, emotionless voice assistants we’ve come to know and love, Duplex sounds organic; the system barely betrays its robotic side, speaking as smoothly as anyone with a firm grasp of the English language.It even throws in the occasional “um…” to give the impression of an unprepared human.“Just ask the Assistant on your phone, ‘Book a table for four people at [restaurant name] tomorrow night,’” Scott Huffman, vice president of engineering for Google Assistant, wrote in a blog post.“The Assistant will then call the restaurant to see if it can accommodate your request,” he explained. “Once your reservation is successfully made, you’ll receive a notification on your phone, an email update, and a calendar invite so you don’t forget.”Following a limited beta test last summer, Duplex began rolling out in November to Android devices running version 5.0 or above, and iPhones with Google Assistant installed.Now, the feature is available in more locations (just not Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, or Texas, for some unknown reason) and on more handsets.“We look forward to bringing this service to more people across the US to make planning a night out just a bit easier,” Huffman said.At Duplex’s core is a recurrent neural network, trained on a collection of anonymized phone conversation data; the RNN uses the output of Google’s automatic speech recognition (ASR) tech, as well as other features.A built-in self-monitoring capability allows the program to recognize tasks out of its purview—like scheduling an unusually complex appointment—and tag teams a human operator.Google isn’t limiting its service to just one set of users: Businesses can benefit from Duplex by allowing customers to book through Google Assistant, while customers can call businesses to inquire about information or an appointment.More on Geek.com:Google’s Duplex Hints at a Dark Future for AIThis Weird Robot Can Fold Your Laundry at a Snail’s PaceEngineers Built a Self-Aware Robot That Operates On Its Own Stay on target 50 Attorneys General Launch Bipartisan Probe Into GoogleYouTube Fined $170M For Alleged Child Privacy Law Violation
Moscato Extatique performs “Small Death” in Seattle boylesque collective Mod Carousel’s new show “Gilded,” premiering Friday, July 14, 2017, in Juneau. (Photo courtesy Meneldor Photography)Under a purple ethereal light, a figure cloaked in black sheer fabric floats across stage and slinks around a folding chair.Personifying the angel of death, Moscato Extatique begins peeling away layers of clothing, blurring the lines of gender expression.It’s part of Mod Carousel’s newest show, Gilded, which is making its world premiere in Juneau, Alaska.Listen nowGilded begins at 7 p.m. Friday, July 14, and at 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the Rockwell Ballroom.But this isn’t your grandmother’s cabaret. This is boylesque, where men perform sultry roles in a genre pioneered by women and inspired by burlesque.One of founding members of the troupe Mod Carousel is from Alaska’s capital city, and has made a point to bring his art back to his home city.For eight years, Seneca Harper has brought boylesque back to his hometown of Juneau.Growing up in Southeast was both interesting and wonderful, he said, but Harper felt like culture was missing.“I knew existed somewhere but didn’t know where it was, and felt like I need to leave Juneau to be part of that,” Harper said.Harper was introduced to boylesque in Seattle, where he found his conspirators and future husband.“Coming back, I feel like I went out in the world, discovered a little gem, and then I’m kind of bringing it home and saying, ‘Here, look at this, look at this for a little while,’ and people seem to really enjoy that,” Harper said.The group travels with more than 300 pounds of luggage, costumes and props.Seattle-based boylesque collective Mod Carousel features (clockwise from bottom left) The Luminous Pariah, fraternal twins Trojan and Paris Original, and Moscato Extatique. (Photo courtesy of the artist)Most are custom sewn by Harper’s husband, Paris Original.Since forming their collective in 2010, they’ve held residencies in London and Australia, garnered 5 million YouTube hits and performed in more than 50 countries.Harper alone has headlined burlesque festivals in more than 18 countries.Burlesque has a long history as a medium for political satire, parody and social commentary. Inspired by Lydia Thompson and the British Blondes, who first brought Victorian burlesque to America in the 1860s.In their newest show Gilded, the group explores themes of gender expression, race and ethnicity, all in the classic burlesque format.A performer enters the stage, establishes a story line and character through dance and physical movement. Eventually shedding layers of clothing to reveal a moral of the story that’s almost always comedic.Even though the guys are taking their clothes off, they distinguish their work from strippers like Chippendales and “Magic Mike.”Trojan Original said their audiences are diverse.“I think a healthy amount of our audience thinks it’s going to be a strip show and is pleasantly surprised and then the other half thinks it’s definitely not going to be a strip show and they’re also pleasantly surprised,” he said. “At the end of the day everyone’s pleasantly surprised.”Harper said the difference between burlesque and stripping is the intent and artistry behind these routines.Stripping seeks to arouse the audience and is mostly about what the performer looks like underneath their clothes.In burlesque, there are no limitations on body type. Performers serve to engage audience psychologically through humor, costumes, and clever reveals.For members of Mod Carousel who grew up in the ballet tradition, burlesque offers an alternative to the rigid gender roles assigned to males.“Men have a specific role in dance, especially in the classical world where you’re presenting the woman and being the strong masculine prince,” Moscato Extatique said. “Paris and I are not that man in burlesque, and burlesque is that place for us to be as effeminate or as masculine as we want.Harper said he’s always felt somewhere in-between gender-wise, and as his persona, The Luminous Pariah, he gets to present that onstage.“When it comes down to it at the end of the road, do I have to be a lumberjack or do I have to be a princess?” Harper said.With boylesque, he can be both at the same time and that’s both liberating and gratifying.
About the ambulances, Hasina asked the health ministry to create a maintenance fund during the formulation of the ministry’s annual budget so that minor repair works of those can be done timely.She stressed the need for introduction of river ambulance services for the country’s islands and Haor regions.Noting that her government is taking the healthcare services to the doorsteps of people, the prime minister directed all concerned to concentrate on ensuring the health services.She said directives have already been given to the housing and public works ministry to build multistoried building at Upazila level where physicians and other officials could stay there paying rents.Hasina underscored the need for creating more gastroenterologists as the country has few physicians in this field.The prime minister focused on creating a trust fund for the community clinics so that no one can halt its activities in the future as the BNP-Jamaat government did. The BNP-Jamaat government had taken a suicidal step by closing the clinics. “If they come to power, they will shut down it again,” she said.Health and family welfare minister Mohammad Nasim, state minister Zahid Maleque, health services division secretary Md Serajul Huq Khan and director general for health services professor Abul Kalam Azad also spoke on the occasion, liberation war affairs minister AKM Mazammel Huq, prime minister’s adviser HT Imam and state minister for fisheries and livestock Narayan Chandra Chanda present on the occasion.Later, Sheikh Hasina formally handed over dummy keys of seven ambulances to authorities concerned of the Bandaran Sadar Hospital, Upazila Health Complexes of Tungipara in Gopalganj, Rajibpir in Kurigram district, Fultala in Khulna, Kendua in Netrakona, Kaliakoir in Gazipur district and the National Institution of Cardiovascular Diseases in Dhaka.A total of 60 ambulances of Japan’s Toyota brand procured at a cost of Tk 4.1 million each would be handed over this month, while 38 more such ambulances will be handed over next month.The ambulances were procured with the fund of the revenue budget of the health services division under the health ministry to further improve the health services. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina handed over the keys of ambulances to 98 government hospitals, upazila health complexes and health institutions at her office on Thursday. Photo: Focus BanglaVoicing displeasure at the unwillingness of government physicians to stay at hospitals in the country’s remote areas, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said if one fails to stay in his or her posted area then he or she may quit job paving the path for fresh recruitment, reports UNB.”If they leave their workplace (remote hospitals), then they should discontinue their job. They can earn huge money if they carry out private practice staying in Dhaka. They may quit their job. We’ll then go for fresh recruitment,” she said.The prime minister further said, “When we appoint new doctors, and give them posting at the upazila-level hospitals, they don’t stay there. This problem appears in case of government jobs. Whenever we post them, they somehow manage to return to or stay in Dhaka.”Sheikh Hasina said this ahead of the handover of the keys of ambulances to 98 government hospitals, upazila health complexes and health institutions at a simple ceremony at her office here.She directed the authorities concerned to maintain the standard of education in the country’s medical colleges for building quality physicians.”We’ve set up many medical colleges…but they need to maintain the quality of education. They’ve to look into the matter whether their students are going to be physicians of killing people or saving them,” she said.Mentioning that internet services are now available across the country, the PM said it will be fruitful if the students of the medical colleges can follow the classes and lectures of quality colleges through the internet.She said foreign expert physicians should be allowed to come to the country’s medical institutions for teaching purpose so that local doctors can gather experiences staying with them. “If that can be done, our patients will not require going abroad for medical treatment.”
A Facebook spokesperson didn’t directly respond to those estimates, but sent Variety the following statement: “Early momentum on Quest is very promising, but we still have a lot of work to do as a company / industry to make VR mainstream and a self-sustaining industry.”Other publicly available data points suggest that this estimate could be roughly accurate. The Oculus mobile app, which is necessary to activate a newly-bought Quest, has seen a significant growth in downloads, with app analytics specialist Sensor Tower estimating that the app has been downloaded by about 115K new users across iOS and Android in the 21 days following the Quest’s launch. “That’s about 47K more installs than the 68K it saw during the 21 days leading up to the launch,” said Sensor Tower head of mobile insights Randy Nelson. Downloads of the app, which can also be used to manage other Oculus headsets, had been fairly stable ever since the end of the holiday season. (It’s worth noting that users of other Oculus headsets may have bought the Quest as well, which wouldn’t have resulted in a new app download.)“Based on the daily average that were potentially sold and the number of days remaining in 2019, I’d say given a strong marketing push during the holidays they could definitely exceed the one million sales mark for the year I’ve seen projected,” Nelson said. “It’ll just take some work.”One major factor that could have a significant impact on sales is the availability of the Quest. The headset quickly sold out across a number of major retailers following its launch. Availability remains spotty, with Amazon estimating delivery times of up to 2 months for the 128 GB version of the headset at the time of writing, and Best Buy listing the 64GB version as sold out.“We’re so glad to see the excitement and interest in Oculus Quest,” a Facebook spokesperson told Variety at the end of May. “While some of our retail partners are temporarily out of stock online, we’re working to restore availability in all channels as soon as possible.”Update: This post was updated with a statement from a Facebook spokesperson. CREDIT: Courtesy of Sensor Tower Popular on Variety First Look: Trailer for Venice-bound VR Experience ‘The Line’ (EXCLUSIVE) Neil Gaiman VR Experience ‘Wolves in the Walls’ Wins Primetime Emmy Early indicators suggest that Facebook’s new Oculus Quest VR headset is seeing solid sales, but it doesn’t seem to be a blockbuster. Still, some estimate that Facebook could sell more than 1 million units in 2019.Facebook has yet to release any official sales numbers for the Quest, which was officially released last month. The company did drop one data point this week to show that the Quest is on the right track, with Facebook vice president Andrew Bosworth telling the audience of the Code conference that the company had sold $5 million in content in the first 2 weeks following the Quest’s debut.This revelation prompted AR and VR consultant Nima Zeighami to do some quick back-of-the-envelope math, with Zeighami estimating that Facebook may have sold fewer than 100,000 Quests in the first 2 weeks. Zeighami based his math on the assumption that each Quest owner may have bought 2 titles, spending about $50 on average. Related ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15