NASA satellite uncovers first nearby superEarth

first_imgWashington: Scientists have characterised the first potentially habitable world outside our own solar system located about 31 light-years away. The super-Earth planet — named GJ 357 d — was discovered in early 2019 owing to NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a mission designed to comb the heavens for exoplanets, according to the research published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. “This is exciting, as this is humanity’s first nearby super-Earth that could harbour life — uncovered with help from TESS, our small, mighty mission with a huge reach,” said Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor of astronomy at Cornell University in the US and a member of the TESS science team. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US The exoplanet is more massive than our own blue planet, and Kaltenegger said the discovery will provide insight into Earth’s heavyweight planetary cousins. “With a thick atmosphere, the planet GJ 357 d could maintain liquid water on its surface like Earth, and we could pick out signs of life with telescopes that will soon be online,” she said. Astronomers from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands and the University of La Laguna, both in Spain, announced the discovery of the GJ 357 system in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls They showed that the distant solar system — with a diminutive M-type dwarf sun, about one-third the size of our own sun — harbours three planets, with one of those in that system’s habitable zone: GJ 357 d. Last February, the TESS satellite observed that the dwarf sun GJ 357 dimmed very slightly every 3.9 days, evidence of a transiting planet moving across the star’s face. That planet was GJ 357 b, a so-called “hot Earth” about 22 per cent larger than Earth, according to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, which guides TESS. Follow-up observations from the ground led to the discovery of two more exoplanetary siblings: GJ 357 c and GJ 357 d. The international team of scientists collected Earth-based telescopic data going back two decades — to reveal the newly found exoplanets’ tiny gravitational tugs on its host star, according to NASA. Exoplanet GJ 357 c sizzles at 127 degrees Celsius and has at least 3.4 times Earth’s mass. However, the system’s outermost known sibling planet — GJ 357 d, a super-Earth — could provide Earth-like conditions and orbits the dwarf star every 55.7 days at a distance about one-fifth of Earth’s distance from the sun. It is not yet known if this planet transits its sun. Kaltenegger, doctoral candidate Jack Madden and undergraduate student Zifan Lin simulated light fingerprints, climates and remotely detectable spectra for a planet that could range from a rocky composition to a water world. “We built the first models of what this new world could be like. Just knowing that liquid water can exist on the surface of this planet motivates scientists to find ways of detecting signs of life,” Madden said. “If GJ 357 d were to show signs of life, it would be at the top of everyone’s travel list — and we could answer a 1,000-year-old question on whether we are alone in the cosmos,” Kaltenegger said.last_img read more

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Rajapaksa names younger brother for Lanka presidency

first_imgColombo: Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former Sri Lankan defence secretary, was on Sunday named as the presidential candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party for the election scheduled for later this year. Brother of former strongman President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabhaya, 70, headed Rajapaksa’s military campaign against the the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) between 2006 and 2009. He attained super hero status among the Sinhala Buddhist majority of the country for ending the three-decades-long civil war with the LTTE. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US Ending months of speculation, Rajapaksa on Sunday named his younger brother Gotabhaya as the presidential candidate and additionally took over the leadership of the new political party formed by the Rajapaksa family, the SLPP. Rajapaksa thus ended his long association with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) of which he had been a member since the mid 1960s, and elected twice as the president from the SLFP. “My brother is your brother now, we need discipline and law to uphold, Gotabhaya is the man for that,” Rajapaksa said while addressing the gathering. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “Security is of foremost importance in a country. I assure you the safety of your children. I will not let extremism lift its head in the country,” Gotabhaya said in his address. “I have always did my duties going beyond boundaries and limits,” he said. Gotabhaya was a Colonel in the Sri Lanka Army before migrating to the US in 1992. “I will not let anyone to interfere in Sri Lanka’s sovereignty,” he said. Gotabhaya, who has held dual US-Sri Lankan citizenship, renounced his American citizenship two weeks ago as under the nineteenth amendment to the Lankan Constitution (19-A), he could not become an elector due to his US citizenship. Rajapaksa cannot contest a third time due to a time bar for the presidency which was introduced through 19A of the Constitution. In Rajapaksa’s absence, Gotabhaya is seen as the most suitable candidate to carry forward the Rajapaksa legacy. However, Gotabhaya has many cases pending in the Sri Lankan courts in addition to the complaints filed in the US by the daughter of a newspaper editor killed during the Rajapaksa presidency in 2009. Almost every member of the Rajapaksa family has faced corruption cases which are pending. “The passage of time has cleared us of charges , Rajapaksa said, adding that the current government’s inability to tackle pressing public issues had enabled them to make a political comeback after just four years. The presidential election which must be announced by late September must be held before December 8 this year.last_img read more

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Different Cong voices on JK reflect directionless politics says Javadekar

first_imgNew Delhi: The Congress is speaking in different voices on the special status of Jammu and Kashmir because of its “directionless politics”, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday while stressing that the situation in Valley will be normal very soon.The minister also accused Congress leader P Chidambaram of communalising the issue and said people of Jammu and Kashmir are happy with the decision to revoke the state’s special status under Article 370. Chidambaram on Monday alleged that the BJP scrapped the special status of J&K as the region is “dominated” by Muslims, a remark condemned by the ruling party as “provocative and irresponsible”. The former union finance minister also alleged the BJP-led NDA government would not have taken the bold decision had J&K been a “Hindu-dominated” state. “This is Congress’ frustration, despair and directionless politics. Karan Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Milind Deora, R P N Singh and other leaders are talking one thing and Chidambaram, Mani Shankar Aiyar saying another thing. The party is in perennial confusion. They never had a clear stand,” Javadekar told reporters here. The union minister of Information and Broadcasting and Environment also said the people of Jammu and Kashmir celebrated Eid happily. “Let me say that after Article 370 people of Kashmir will progress and will get the rights that have been denied to them in the last 70 years. That is why they are happy…,” he said.last_img read more

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FMs steps will strengthen Indias position as global investment destination says US

first_imgWashington: Hailing the slew of announcements made by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the US corporate world on Friday said the comprehensive set of proposed reforms will provide needed stimulus for the economy and strengthen India’s position as a global investment destination. The Indian government on Friday announced a raft of measures, including rollback of enhanced super-rich tax on foreign and domestic equity investors, exemption of startups from ‘angel tax’, a package to address distress in the auto sector and upfront infusion of Rs 70,000 crore to public sector banks, in efforts to boost economic growth from a five-year low. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US “We commend Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the Government of India on this comprehensive set of proposed reforms, which will provide needed stimulus for the Indian economy and ensure continued economic expansion, US India Business Council president Nisha Desai Biswal said. Biswal, who served as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia during the previous Obama administration, exuded confidence that these reforms will help India attract additional foreign investment, unlock much-needed credit to sustain business growth and innovation, and ensure that India remains one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “As a package, the proposals will strengthen India’s position as a global investment destination,” Biswal said. By removing surcharges on capital gains tax for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), deepening the bond market with the creation of a credit default swap market, and eliminating debenture redemption reserve requirements, the Finance Ministry has sent a strong positive signal to the many foreign investors watching India’s capital markets, she said. The government has buoyed efforts to support innovation and make India a hub for entrepreneurship and startup capital with the move to eliminate the angel tax on startups, Biswal said. USIBC welcomes the recapitalization of public sector banks (PSBs), which will benefit corporates, retail, and all market segments, she added. “We also see new measures to simplify GST particularly the commitment to ensure GST refunds within 60 days as a critical step to give both US and Indian companies confidence in the predictability of India’s tax system,” Biswal said. US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPIF) also welcomed Indian Government’s announcement on withdrawal of the higher surcharge on non-corporate Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs). “The move will go a long way in reviving the investment sentiment of foreign investors and will provide a much-needed impetus to the Indian economy, the USISPF said in a statement. Several other measures announced by the Finance minister include speedy GST refunds, faceless assessments, No Angel tax for start-ups registered with DPIIT and simplification of GST systems, it said. “These reforms are noteworthy moves towards improving ease of doing business in India and attracting investments. USISPF is committed towards working with the Government of India to drive economic growth and objectives of the country,” it added.last_img read more

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As Franklins lure brings people north Gjoa Haven seeks its share of

first_imgGJOA HAVEN, Nunavut – It’s cool and cloudy as Don Sessions, wearing a toque and a good, solid jacket, hops off an inflatable boat that has ferried him from his cruise ship to shore.The welcoming facilities in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, are primitive — a stretch of pebbly beach marked off with yellow police tape. Sessions and his fellow tourists will walk up a dusty dirt trail into town to stroll its dusty dirt roads.He’s having a ball.“I’m loving the trip,” says Sessions, a self-described Franklin Expedition nut who has travelled from St. Louis to visit the Arctic hamlet near the site of Sir John Franklin’s shipwrecks. “When you were a kid, this is what you dreamed about, if you dreamed about the North.”That’s music to Bob Cheetham’s ears.“It’s going to be huge,” says Cheetham, Gjoa Haven’s economic development officer. “There’s a lot of interest on the cruise ships now.”Sessions’ ship, the 166-passenger French-flagged Le Boreal, is one of six that will stop in Gjoa Haven during this year’s six-week season — two more ships than last year.Adventurous sailors are also coming. Gjoa (pronounced “Joe”) Haven’s pretty little bay had four yachts moored there at one point in August.“They’re buying groceries. They’re buying supplies. They’re buying fuel. They’re visiting our heritage facility here where a lot of the carvers have their stuff on exhibit and for sale,” Cheetham says.Franklin’s ships Erebus and Terror set out from England in 1845 with 129 men to search for the Northwest Passage, but they never returned.Gjoa is uniquely placed to take advantage of the discovery of the ships. It’s the closest community to where both the Erebus and the Terror finally went down.It’s an economic opportunity in a place that doesn’t have many of them and the community is making big plans to capitalize.The first-ever Umiyaqtutt (Inuktitut for “Shipwreck”) Festival — two weeks of dancing, community feasts and lectures from Parks Canada and Inuit experts — began Sept. 2.Then there’s an expansion of the local Nattilik Heritage Centre to include Franklin displays, expected to take a large share of the nearly $17 million budgeted by Ottawa in 2016 for conservation, research and presentation of the artifacts.Cheetham says new facilities for Gjoa’s highly regarded carvers and even tours to the Erebus site are also in the works.“It’s huge relative to what we had in the past, and it’s growing.”As well as Franklin, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen moored his ship here in 1903 and stayed for nearly two years. His ship was named the Gjoa.“You have the two British ships that didn’t survive and then you have Amundsen who made it through the Northwest Passage and into the Antarctic,” says Cheetham. “He did survive because he learned how to live with the people here — learned all the skills, all the clothing, how to stay alive.”It’s not hard to find people with fond family memories of Amundsen in Gjoa Haven.“We pass those stories on from generation to generation,” says Jimmy Arqviq, whose great-grandfather knew Amundsen.Cruise tourists are met by a local guide who shepherds them through a tightly scheduled program of local art, performances and traditional food. The tour costs $50 a head, which goes to pay guides and performers.Cheetham says figures on how much tourists spend while in the community are being developed.“Average spending has been low in the past off the cruise ships. But a lot of that’s about how we haven’t had the promotional stuff on the cruise ships in advance to prepare them for what they might be able to purchase here, and that’s changing.”The community is adding infrastructure such as ATM machines to make it easier for visitors to part with their money. Other communities report the average tourist leaves behind $90 on a shore visit.Gjoa Haven is remote and expensive to visit. It offers little in the way of amenities — restaurants, for example. But because it’s so small, even a little economic activity can go a long way.“Baby steps here,” says Cheetham. “We’re in the early stages of marketing and promotion.”But just as explorers charted the Northwest Passage little by little, Cheetham says their stories are slowly building an economy in the community at the heart of their adventures.“One thing builds on another.”last_img read more

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2 dead 14 injured in 2vehicle crash on Alberta reserve after trick

first_imgSADDLE LAKE, Alta. – Two people have died and 14 people were injured when two vehicles on their way home from trick-or-treating crashed on a slippery road northeast of Edmonton.RCMP Cpl. Ron Bumbry says two vans — one with six people and the other with 10 people, collided about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, about 165 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.Bumbry says a 42-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman, both of Saddle Lake, who were in the northbound van were pronounced dead at the scene.The other 14 — 10 of which were under the age of 18 and included a one-year-old and a two-year-old — were all taken to area hospitals with serious, non life-threatening injuries.Bumbry says people in both vehicles had been trick-or-treating in St. Paul, a town about 30 kilometres east of Saddle Lake, and were returning to their homes when the crash happened.He says it was snowing and roads were slippery at the time, but it’s too early to say if those were the cause of the crash.“It’s very tragic and our thoughts are with the family of the deceased and the community of Saddle Lake Cree Nation,” Bumbry said.Police are not releasing the names of the dead, nor their relationship.last_img read more

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Nova Scotia Tory leader to be chosen at late October convention in

first_imgHALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservatives have announced that the provincial party’s next leader will be decided at a convention in late October.Leadership committee co-chairs Tara Erskine and Chris d’Entremont unveiled details about the race at the party’s annual general meeting in Halifax on Sunday.They said each of the province’s 51 constituencies will count for 100 points, to be allocated based on the proportion of votes each candidate receives from party members in that area.The votes will be tallied at the PC Party’s convention in Halifax over Oct. 26 and 27, and the candidate who wins the majority of the 5,100 points available will become the next leader of Nova Scotia’s Tories.D’Entremont, who is also the MLA for Argyle-Barrington, said the system, which was modeled after the federal Tory leadership vote in 2017, creates an “equality of ridings” that is meant to give candidates an incentive to build support for the party in every part of Nova Scotia.“Ultimately, we’re going to want to go out in those constituencies and build them. I mean, we need to have members across this province in order to make all of this work,” he told reporters.Erskine said members can mail in ballots that rank the candidates in order of preference, or they can vote with multiple ballots at the convention, which she hopes will lead to an air of excitement as the final results are tallied.Members must register with the party by Sept. 11 to vote in the leadership race, and individual residents of Nova Scotia can make campaign contributions up to a maximum of $5,000.Five candidates are vying for the top spot in Nova Scotia’s PC Party. Erskine said it’s the widest field the party has seen, and he was pleased to note that two of the contenders are women.“I think it’s a really exciting time for the party, a time of renewal,” she told reporters. “It’s a great sign to see so many great, quality candidates stepping forward, and there may even be more to come.”Former provincial Tory leader Jamie Baillie had announced plans last fall to step down after serving as Tory leader since 2010, but he resigned suddenly last month after a party investigation determined he had acted inappropriately and breached the legislature’s policy on workplace harassment.Three members of the PC caucus in Nova Scotia’s legislature have entered the contest, including veterans Tim Houston and John Lohr, and rookie MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin.Smith-McCrossin had been the first woman to ever run for the party’s top job, and she was joined Thursday by Julie Chaisson, executive director of the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market.Cape Breton Mayor Cecil Clarke, a former Tory cabinet minister under premiers Hamm and Rodney MacDonald, has also thrown his hat in the ring.The four candidates who were on hand after Sunday’s announcement said they had no qualms with the party’s rules, and expressed excitement that the race was officially getting underway.last_img read more

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Mounties widow wants moveover law broadened for Nova Scotia highways

first_imgHALIFAX – The widow of a Mountie who was struck by a van while helping motorists change a flat tire wants to see a broadening of Nova Scotia’s so-called move-over law.“I actually think that the law should be extended to anybody who is pulled over to the side of the road, whether there is emergency lights flashing or four ways,” Savannah Deschenes said Tuesday at the Nova Scotia legislature.Her husband, Nova Scotia RCMP Const. Frank Deschenes, was assisting two people in an SUV when a cargo van plowed into his cruiser and the SUV on Sept. 12 in Memramcook, N.B.Savannah Deschenes said Tuesday that widening protections would create public awareness of a 2010 law that currently requires drivers to slow down and move into another lane when they approach emergency vehicles stopped at the side of the road.“It’s important to me because my husband was killed in an accident on duty,” Deschenes told reporters.“He had his emergency lights activated and he was still struck. It’s time that everyone become aware of it (the law) and care.”The Progressive Conservatives introduced amendments that would place signage highlighting the law on all 100-series highways and would rename the law as Frankie’s Law in honour of the late officer from Amherst, N.S.The NDP had previously introduced a bill that would reduce a vehicle’s speed to no more than 60 kilometres per hour when passing a tow truck stopped at the scene of a fire or an accident and exhibiting a flashing light.Premier Stephen McNeil said the government would look at all of the proposed changes.“We will take all of the suggestions that are brought forward and combine them perhaps into a single bill,” he said.In December, the 31-year-old Pennsylvania man who was driving the van that struck Frank Deschenes was fined $3,000 and banned from driving for two years by a Moncton, N.B., court.Vasiliy Meshko was also placed on probation for two years after pleading guilty to driving without due care.Savannah Deschenes displayed for reporters her husband’s dogtag and a silver bullet casing containing some of his ashes that she wears around her neck.She said her husband, whom she married only months before his death, is “with me at all times.”“We didn’t have the typical date nights like dinner and a movie — we would go shooting his rifles and his personal pistol. This (bullet) was just fitting because we were always at the range.”The 35-year-old officer was known as a dedicated Mountie who worked hard to teach drivers about the need to slow down when driving past emergency vehicles.Originally from northwest New Brunswick, Deschenes was a former member of the force’s famed Musical Ride.last_img read more

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Calgary Flames coowner helped pay ransom to free hostage Amanda Lindhout

first_imgCALGARY – A Calgary businessman and philanthropist says he paid roughly $750,000 to help free kidnapped journalist Amanda Lindhout in Somalia.Allan Markin, a co-owner of the Calgary Flames, says he didn’t know Lindhout when she was taken hostage in 2008.But the 73-year-old says he believes in helping people.Lindhout and Markin both spoke at a fundraiser last weekend for the Mustard Seed charity, and she surprised Markin by divulging to the crowd that he had saved her life.Lindhout had not publicly revealed before who paid the ransom for her release.She was working as a freelance journalist near Mogadishu when she and an Australian photographer, Nigel Brennan, were taken by armed men.last_img

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Not convenient to discuss charges against imprisoned Canadians China

first_imgOTTAWA — A Chinese government spokesman says it is not “convenient” to discuss the charges against two Canadians detained in China despite an assertion by the country’s top prosecutor that they broke the law.Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang offered that explanation during a press conference in Beijing today, one of two cryptic Chinese government media events that deepened the mystery surrounding the arrests of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.The two were detained last month in what is widely viewed as Chinese retaliation for Canada’s arrest of high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, by the RCMP in Vancouver at the request of the United States.The U.S. wants Meng to face fraud charges in the U.S. and she has been released on bail and is living in an upscale Vancouver home in advance of her extradition hearing.Little is known about Kovrig’s or Spavor’s circumstances, because they’ve each had only a single consular visit by Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, last month.China’s chief prosecutor, Zhang Jun, told a Beijing briefing today “without a doubt” Kovrig and Spavor broke the country’s laws and are being investigated.At a regular foreign-ministry briefing, Lu refused to elaborate on the nature of the charges.“We have said here that these two Canadian citizens are under investigation in accordance with law for engaging in activities that undermine China’s national security,” said Lu. “It is not convenient to disclose more information now.”Kovrig is a Canadian diplomat who was on a leave from Global Affairs Canada and was working in Beijing for the International Crisis Group, an organization that has written critically about China in the past.Spavor is an entrepreneur who organized tours to North Korea.A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated Canada’s call for the release of the two men.“We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians last month and call for their immediate release,” said Adam Austen.The government has sought the support of key allies in pressuring China to release Kovrig and Spavor.The U.S State Department has called for the release of the two Canadians, while Germany, France, the European Union and Australia have also issued supportive statements.Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Coroners inquest into deadly stage collapse at Radiohead show reconvenes

first_imgTORONTO — A coroner’s inquest into the death of a drum technician who was crushed when a stage collapsed before a Radiohead concert is reconvening roughly a day after the jury began its deliberations.Jurors have been tasked with examining the circumstances surrounding the death of Scott Johnson, who died hours before the band was set to play in Toronto in June 2012.They may issue recommendations aimed at preventing such deaths in the future but have been told they are not to assign blame for the incident.The coroner’s counsel laid out a list of 25 proposed recommendations in his closing submissions Tuesday, with some aimed at the provincial and federal governments, the entertainment industry and the engineering profession.Over several weeks of testimony, the inquest has heard plans for the stage contained several errors, the wrong construction materials were used in building the roof structure and there was no independent oversight of the project.Charges were laid under occupational health and safety laws against the show’s promoter, Live Nation, contractor Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari, the engineer who signed off on the stage plans. They were later stayed because the trial took too long.Johnson’s family and Radiohead have been critical of the judicial process, saying they felt no one was being held accountable for the deadly incident.“I hope that no one is in doubt that Scott’s life could have been saved,” Johnson’s father, Ken Johnson, said in his closing submissions.“Looking back to 2012, I know that none of the parties wanted this stage to collapse or for Scott to die. However, I have to say that the levels of incompetence are clearly staggering.”The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Nerd HQ Raises 215000 For Operation Smile

first_imgZachary Levi and The Nerd Machine returned to Comic-Con this year bringing with them Nerd HQ.This annual event, now in its third year, provided fans with a home base during the international comic book and entertainment festival. Guests experienced cutting edge technology with hardware provided by Intel & ASUS; gaming showcases including action-packed Neverwinter gameplay; a sneak peak at the all-new, electric FIAT 500e and several exclusive parties including the festival favorite, Levi’s annual Nerd Party.Also back by popular demand was the very popular philanthropic panel series “Conversation for a Cause.” Guest who purchased tickets to these intimate panels of about 250 people enjoyed asking questions of their favorite entertainers in an un-moderated forum. This year’s panels included some of the most talked about films, television shows and celebrities including “Riddick,” “Cast from ‘300: Rise of an Empire,’” “Dr. Who,” “The Maze Runner,” “Haven,” “I, Frankenstein,” “Orphan Black,” “PBS Masterpiece: Sherlock,” “Psych,” “Stoopid Buddy with Seth Green,” “Thrilling Adventure Hour,” “Fannibal Meetup with Bryan Fuller, Hugh Dancy and David Slade,” “Signing with the legendary Jim Lee of DC Entertainment,” “Adult Swim Panel featuring cast members from NTSF and Children’s Hospital,” “Kick Ass 2 Panel and Signing,” “Tiny Commando featuring Ed Helms, Gillian Jacobs, Ryan McFaul and Zachary Levi,” “A Conversation with NASA/JPL Mars Curiosity Rover” and “A Conversation with Zachary Levi and Mystery Guests” and individual panels with Evangeline Lilly, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, Joe Manganiello, Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Richard Madden, Tom Hiddleston, and Nerd HQ Founder Zachary Levi.With the addition several new fundraising efforts, such as photo opportunities with celebrities including Stan Lee, Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, David Giuntoli, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Levi, an exclusive auction on eBay that featured one-of-a-kind artwork from Elevendy, a huge screening of fan-favorite Serenity on Petco Park’s field, and a generous $10,000 donation from event sponsor Intel & ASUS, the event generated a record breaking $215,000 for Operation Smile or as Nerd HQ Founder Zachary Levi put it, 895 smiles.last_img read more

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Alec Baldwin Calls On Government To Shut Down Cherokee Bear Zoo

first_imgIn a letter sent this week on behalf of PETA, actor Alec Baldwin is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ban bear pits.Addressing Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Baldwin notes that while bears in the wild spend their time exploring diverse terrain, foraging for food, and digging in soft earth, captive bears are confined to cramped and barren concrete pits, which can lead to psychological distress, arthritis, pressure sores, and other painful, debilitating conditions.The actor writes, “Animal advocates like me depend on the USDA to protect animals who are used for entertainment from lives of deprivation, pain, and abuse …. I’m writing to you today to ask that the USDA recognize the cruelty and danger inherent in bear pits and ban this archaic form of confinement without delay.”Baldwin is also urging families to stay away from roadside zoos this summer in a new video for PETA: “People talk about the right to bear arms. After seeing this video, you might want to push for the right to arm bears.” The video, available here, goes on to show some of the several hundred bears who are displayed across the U.S. in tiny cages and barren pits, where they have little to do but pace in circles, beg for food from tourists, and break their teeth by gnawing on cage bars.“As long as well-meaning people continue to go to roadside zoos and shows, the bears will continue to suffer,” concludes Baldwin in the video. “The most important action that you can take for captive bears is simply to stop supporting their abuse: Please, steer clear of roadside zoos, bear pits, and fairs where they are forced to perform.”To date, PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” — has rescued more than 50 captive bears, including Fifi, a Syrian brown bear who spent more than 30 years in a barren cage at a ramshackle roadside zoo, and transferred them to reputable sanctuaries.Source:PETAlast_img read more

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Wonder Woman Breaks Glass Ceiling For Female Directors With 97M Debut Earns

first_imgAdvertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Login/Register With:center_img Advertisement Twitter After weathering lackluster critical scores and OK fan response with last year’s Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad, all is well and correct in the Warner Bros/DC universe as Wonder Woman is both a hit with critics (94% Certified Fresh Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences, earning an A CinemaScore on top of her current $97.1 million opening.Out of all the titles in the WB/DC canon, Wonder Woman owns one of five rare A grades along with Batman, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Today will determine whether Wonder Woman propels past $100M, and a few believe it’s not out of the question.Four weeks ago, Wonder Woman arrived on tracking at $65M and just grew from there — to $75M three weeks out, and $90M a few days before its opening. Not only is that evidence of Warner Bros’ marketing machine working effectively, but it’s also an example of what happens when Rotten Tomatoes works in a tentpole’s favor, especially as there’s a groundswell of great reviews days before a film opens.last_img read more

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The characters in Idomeneus have been through war and so have the

first_img Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Michelle Monteith, left, Frank Cox-O’Connell, right, and Jakob Ehman, front, with the Idomeneus Chorus in Soulpepper’s Idomeneus. (JOSE JOHN) Advertisement They’ve been through the wars.Ten actors in the Soulpepper Theatre company face the audience, standing on black gravel against a stained concrete back wall. The black box of the theatre that surrounds them is also mottled and dirty (set design is by Lorenzo Savoini). They’re wearing shades of grey: contemporary clothes designed by Gillian Gallow, covered in what looks like paint, dirt, maybe bird dung. It clings to their faces and hair, too. They look exhausted but determined, and they stare at the audience for an uncomfortably long time. This is the opening image of Alan Dilworth’s striking production of Idomeneus, a poetic drama that retells the story of the titular Cretan king’s return from the Trojan War. While Homer’s Iliad tells a happy version of this tale, other versions narrate his fate and that of his country very differently. The preoccupation of Roland Schimmelpfennig’s play is this narrative instability: over 70 minutes various versions of his story stop, start and layer over each other.center_img Advertisement Advertisement Twitter Login/Register With:last_img read more

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Treaty 8 gears for battle with Alberta over ignored Treaty rights

first_imgAPTN National NewsFirst Nations groups from the Treaty 8 area in north-eastern Alberta say the province’s new land use plan violates their Treaty rights.First Nations from the area say they will take action.APTN National News reporter Noemi LoPinto has this story.last_img

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Elder concerned about harassment allegations at Edmonton prison

first_imgTamara Pimemtel APTN NewsTwo correctional officers and two managers were fired recently at the maximum security prison in Edmonton.There were allegations of harassment, intimidation, bullying and there may be possible criminal offences.Keith Chief Moon worked in correctional facilities across Alberta for over 30 years.He’s an elder and brings in cultural practices.He is concerned, but not surprised, about the allegations.tpimentel@aptn.calast_img

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Toshiba CEO promises turnaround in 5 years beefed up ethics

first_imgTOKYO – Nobuaki Kurumatani, the outsider tapped to lead scandal-tarnished Japanese electronics company Toshiba Corp., is promising a turnaround in five years by reshaping its operations and boosting profitability.Kurumatani, the first outsider to be appointed chief executive at Toshiba in more than half a century, acknowledged the system of governance and risk management had been weak. He stressed he brought to the company his experience in the financial sector, where compliance controls were tougher.Toshiba has been embroiled in an accounting scandal involving massive doctoring of books.“I feel that the organization is determined to change,” Kurumatani told reporters Tuesday at Toshiba’s Tokyo headquarters.Toshiba has also racked up heavy losses in its nuclear business and is selling its lucrative computer-chip business to avoid going belly-up.At the centre of the losses is the acquisition of CB&I Stone & Webster by its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year.Kurumatani said the company will withdraw from all overseas nuclear operations, and the future of the energy business is moving toward renewables.Costs of building nuclear reactors have surged due to beefed-up safety measures after a March 2011 accident at a plant in Fukushima in northeastern Japan sent three reactors into meltdowns.“Toshiba has many dedicated employees and talented engineers,” Kurumutani said. “Things go well when things are good. But once things start going wrong, then it keeps going wrong.”Toshiba’s chairman stepped down last year, but veteran Satoshi Tsunakwa has stayed on as president and chief operating officer and will be working with Kurumatani toward a turnaround.Kurumatani’s rise is an effort by Toshiba to put on a fresh face to a long-pristine brand that has plunged from grace not only over the Westinghouse fiasco but also because of spiraling accounting scandals that raised serious questions about its ethical practices.Efforts to reform corporate governance turned up more embarrassing wrongdoing, which dated back years.A graduate of the prestigious University of Tokyo, Kurumatani most recently served as president of CVC Asia Pacific Japan, an investment fund.Before that, he was deputy president and a director at Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, one of Japan’s biggest banking institutions and a major Toshiba lender.Unlike previous Toshiba executives with backgrounds in engineering, Kurumatani built his career in corporate planning, public relations and auditing.Toshiba has been gradually selling off pieces of its operations, such as its medical equipment and household appliance businesses.But the key sale is its prized flash memory chip business to a consortium led by Bain Capital Private Equity. That sale was initially set to be completed in March but is ongoing, awaiting regulatory approval in China, according to Kurumatani.Toshiba has reached a settlement with American computer data storage giant Western Digital, its joint venture partner, which had initially fought the sale.Toshiba still has a sprawling infrastructure business, such as railways, power systems and factory automation. It’s still responsible for running and decommissioning dozens of nuclear reactors in Japan, including those at the Fukushima plant.Toshiba is forecasting a profit for the fiscal year that ended in March, a reversal from the red ink it had expected earlier. It racked up a loss for the previous fiscal year.___Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyamaHer work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyamalast_img read more

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Canada Goose shares up after betterthanexpected results plans for new stores

first_imgTORONTO – Shares of Canada Goose Holdings Inc. rose more than 30 per cent on Friday after it reported stronger-than-expected earnings and announced plans for three new stores in North America.Canada Goose stock closed up $18.02 at $78.01 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.The increase came after the luxury parka maker reported a fourth-quarter profit of $8.1 million or seven cents per diluted share compared with a loss of $23.4 million or 23 cents per diluted share a year ago.Revenue for the quarter ended March 31 totalled $124.8 million, up from $51.1 million in the same quarter a year earlier.On an adjusted basis, Canada Goose said it earned $9.9 million or nine cents per diluted share.Economists on average had expected a loss of eight cents per share for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Canada Goose also announced Friday that it would open new stores in Short Hills, N.J., Montreal and Vancouver this fall as part of its retail expansion plan.The locations are expected to open ahead of the 2018 holiday shopping season.For its full financial year, Canada Goose says it earned $96.1 million or 86 cents per diluted share on $591.2 million in revenue. That compared with a profit of $21.0 million or 21 cents per share on $403.8 million in revenue in the previous year.Companies in this story: (TSX:GOOS)last_img read more

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MTV acquires SnowGlobe Music Festival

first_imgNEW YORK — MTV is expanding its live events business in the U.S. by acquiring the SnowGlobe Music Festival.The three-day New Year’s Eve festival takes place in South Lake Tahoe, California. This year’s lineup includes Above & Beyond, Diplo, Eric Prydz, Rezz and RL Grime headlining among more than 40 artists. SnowGlobe will also showcase extreme winter sports demonstrations.Terms were not disclosed in Monday’s announcement. MTV says it’s taking the next step in “its resurgence by expanding deeper into live events.”MTV plans to reinvent its New Year’s Eve coverage, connecting SnowGlobe with MTV’s Times Square studio in New York. The cable network also plans to expand SnowGlobe to additional dates and locations worldwide and leverage its team to launch other new events.MTV launched MTV Studios in June.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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