Chinese foreign minister meets Moroccos head of government

first_imgRabat – Morocco’s head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane, met here this Monday with visiting Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi over means to consolidate bilateral cooperation. The two officials underscored the quality of Morocco-China friendship ties and expressed resolve to further consolidate the atmosphere of understanding by launching new fruitful cooperation programs.Wang Yi expressed in a statement to the press his country’s admiration for Morocco’s role at the regional and international levels.last_img read more

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Preselection of Teaching Exam Sparks Protests Nationally

Rabat – Immediately after the National Education Ministry announced the names of the candidates who passed the written exam for the Regional Centers for Education and Training, protests and outrage have begun on social media sites and in front of the Regional Centers.According to sources, graduates shared shocking testimonies, describing the results as a serious fraud.Many licensed students failed the exam, and some people claimed that fictional marks and unfair laws were applied. Vigils were organized in front of the Regional Centers on Wednesday, September 16 in most Moroccan cities, after long discussions by non-accepted graduates on Facebook groups. read more

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Moroccan Police Calls to Emergency 19 Jump 30 Percent in 2016

Rabat – Improvements in police infrastructure have led citizen calls to the 19 emergency number to jump by 30 percent in 2016, compared to just one year ago, according to new data released by the General Directorate for National Security (DGSN).Police stations have received and attended to 1,092,115 phone calls from Moroccans this year – a figure that stood at just 775,353 in 2015.The data release on Tuesday comes as part of the DGSN review of security upgrades in the kingdom over the past year. The agency said it aimed to improve the readiness of the national police force while improving the quality and quantity of services it provided to citizens. The DGSN has increased the number of officers on the streets in Morocco, which has boosted communication between the police and the citizenry, caused trust between the two parties to flourish as well, the agency’s statement, published by MAP, said.The number of police departments in fast-growing cities – notably Essouira, Hajeb, Marrakech, and Mahdiya – has also increased over the past year in order to optimize responsiveness in crisis situations.“This strategy has made it possible, through the year 2016, to lay the basic foundations of good governance in the financial and administrative management, and strengthen the integrity of synthesis mechanisms and staff capacity building, which reflects positively on the quality of security services provided to citizens, and contribute to the improvement of readiness and effectiveness in accordance with the operational interests of security,” the DGSN’s statement read. read more

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Remains of two soldiers killed in Mali to reach Sri Lanka on

Three more Sri Lankan Peacekeepers sustained injuries and were admitted to the Level 2 Hospital at Gao in Mali. (Colombo Gazette) The remains of posthumously promoted late Major H.W.D. Jayawickrama and Sergeant S.S. Wijekumara, who were killed in Mali while performing UN Peacekeeping operations, are expected to reach Sri Lanka on Saturday (2 Feb), the Army media unit said.The Army said that the remains will arrive at 3.10 pm and will be formally received in a military parade, graced by the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Director General Personnel Administration of the Army, Major General Devinda Perera, UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Ms Hanaa Singer, Colonels of Regiments for Sri Lanka Light Infantry and Mechanized Infantry Regiments, Senior Officers, spouses and relatives of both War Heroes. After Sri Lankan National Flags draped the coffins, vigilant troops in the ceremonial parade would hand over the UN flag back to the visiting MINUSMA Force Commander, Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllisporre before the simple ceremonial parade formally receives the remains to be sent to the Negombo Hospital for a post-mortem. The UN flag-draped coffins, accompanied by the MINUSMA Force Commander, Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllisporre with three more UN Officers of his office is to be formally delivered to the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake and the Director General of the Personnel Administration at the airport. Military funerals for both fallen UN Peacekeepers would take place at their respective residential areas in Polonnaruwa and Polpithigama. Date, time and the exact venue of funerals are to be notified shortly.At the time of their tragic demise, Captain H.W.D Jayawickrama of 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry from Polonnaruwa and Corporal S.S Wijekumara of 1 Mechanized Infantry Regiment from Thalakolawewa, Polpithigama of the Sri Lankan Army Contingent in Mali laid down their lives on Friday (25) following an explosion while performing their UN Peacekeeping Mission duties around 6.30 a.m. in Keerana area after their WMZ convoy was attacked by a rebel group using an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). read more

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SecretaryGeneral condemns bomb attacks in Iraq

“The Secretary General heard with great sadness the news of the series of attacks in Baghdad today, in which more than 100 people are known to have been killed and even greater numbers wounded. He vehemently condemns the use of terror and indiscriminate violence against civilians, which no cause or belief can possibly justify,” his spokesman said.Mr. Annan extended his deepest sympathies to the Government of Iraq and to the bereaved families of all the victims.

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Chief executives at large US companies more optimistic about hiring sales

WASHINGTON – Chief executives for the largest U.S. companies are more optimistic about sales over the next six months and plan to add more workers.The Business Roundtable says its April-June quarterly survey found 32 per cent of its members expect to expand payrolls in the next six months. That’s up from 29 per cent in the January-March survey. And 78 per cent expect their sales to increase. That’s up from 72 per cent from the previous survey.Consumers have kept spending this year, despite an increase in Social Security taxes. That’s helped the economy grow at a modest pace.Still, most of the CEOs don’t expect growth to accelerate. They forecast growth of 2.2 per cent this year, about the same as first quarter survey.The group represents leaders of the 200 biggest U.S. companies. by Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press Posted Jun 12, 2013 10:43 am MDT Chief executives at large US companies more optimistic about hiring, sales AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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President MCC saddened by Councillor Garretts passing

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedAFC expresses condolences to Councillor Garrett’s family January 28, 2018In “latest news”M&CC Councillor Junior Garrett passes awayJanuary 26, 2018In “latest news”M&CC selects 7 persons for Parking Meter Negotiation CommitteeApril 26, 2017In “latest news” President David Granger says he is deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Councillor of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown, Junior Garrett, who died yesterday.Dead: Junior GarrettGarrett, who was born on June 17, 1953, served as a private accountant before joining the Georgetown Municipality on March 5, 2002. During his tenure there as the representative for the Campbellville Housing Scheme area, he served as Chairman and then member of the Finance Committee, the Investment and Development Committee, the International Relations Committee and the Environmental and Sustainability Committee.According to a release from the Ministry of the Presidency, the President “extends heartfelt sympathy to his relatives and friends especially his children Latoya, Thelisa, Liva, Gavin and Junior Paul Garrett, foster children, Cecile Moore Hinckson and Leon Lindore and former wife, Ms. Camille Lindore.”Meanwhile, the M&CC also acknowledged the passing of Councillor Garrett, with the Mayor of Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Green positing that she knew him before he became a city Councillor.“As city Councillors we worked together to make a difference in local communities. As Mayor, I benefited from his knowledge, particularly, in the area of financial management. We had numerous meetings where he shared openly with me about his vision for his community and offered me invaluable support. He demonstrated that you can lead in a way that is bold and determined, but also with a sense of compassion for others” she said.Garrett, collapsed and died on Friday afternoon in the compound of his Urquhart Street, Georgetown business place, after returning from a meeting with fellow Councillors at City Hall to discuss the city’s budget for 2018.He reportedly had a heart attack and was rushed to the Woodlands Hospital where doctors at the medical facility attempted to resuscitate him. read more

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PS4 release date is November 15 mark your calendars

first_imgSony’s next generation console is going to be hitting shelves in the US on November 15th, with launch dates in 31 other countries to follow.It’s hard to call what has been going on between Microsoft and Sony this season a fight to see who has the best next generation console. Gamers around the world rejected Microsoft’s limitations for the Xbox One, throwing the PS4 into the spotlight for the last couple of weeks. As a result the console has seen over a million pre-order around the world, and not a single one of those people knew when the console was even being released. We knew that the holiday season was close and Sony had to announce at Gamescom this week, and right as their press conference was drawing to a close the date was officially announced.[Pre-order the PS4 from Amazon.]Sony’s press conference at Gamescom was filled with support for indie developers, quick jabs at Microsoft and their policy flip flops, and lots of talk about using the PS Vita with the PS4. It’s clear that Sony is really hoping that the ability to play PS4 titles through the PS Vita with remote play will be what causes their portable console to start flying off the shelves. It also helps that the mini console took a price cut with a promise to drop memory card prices as well. One thing that didn’t get announced at Gamescom was the highly rumored $500 PS Vita/PS 4 combo box, but that doesn’t mean it won’t pop up closer to launch.Sony also announced that there will be significant discounts on the digital versions of select PS4 titles if you have already purchased the game on PS3. Sone expects to make the complete list available closer to launch, but Watch_Dogs and the new Assasin’s Creed: Black Flag were high on the list. This is an interesting first for Sony, and a great way to encourage digital purchasing for the new console.Have you already pre-ordered your PS4, or will you be standing in line on launch day in the hopes of picking one up off the shelf? Sound off in the comments!last_img read more

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Tory government has no red lines as it seeks to find Brexit

first_img Apr 6th 2019, 2:02 PM 7,996 Views Hammond is known to favour a softer Brexit Image: Alastair Grant/PA Images THE UK CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has said the government had “no red lines” in talks with the main opposition party to break the deadlock in parliament over Brexit.“Our approach to these discussions with Labour is that we have no red lines,” he told reporters at a meeting of European finance ministers in Bucharest.“We are expecting to exchange more texts with the Labour Party today, so this is an ongoing process and I expect we will reach some form of agreement,” Hammond added.Senior ministers are negotiating with Labour leaders in a bid to find a compromise to end months of political crisis and allow Britain to leave the European Union smoothly after 46 years of membership.But after three days of discussions, Labour said yesterday it was “disappointed” by the failure to offer “real change or compromise” to Prime Minister Theresa May’s unpopular Brexit divorce deal.MPs have rejected her agreement finalised with European leaders last November three times, delaying Britain’s original 29 March exit date and throwing the process into chaos.Ahead of an EU summit on Wednesday, May was forced to ask for another extension, until 30 June, to prevent the country crashing out the bloc next Friday.However with European leaders growing increasingly impatient at the paralysis in Westminster, they could offer just a shorter postponement – or a longer period of up to a year.The other 27 EU nations must give unanimous backing to any deadline extension.If there is any longer extension to Brexit, then it will mean that the UK must hold European Elections in May.This is also proving unpalatable to many Conservatives that – three years after voting to leave the EU – the UK would be electing new parliamentarians to Europe.Education Minister Nadhim Zawahi told BBC’s Today programme today that it would be a “suicide note of the Conservative Party if we had to fight the European elections”.Holding the elections would pose an “existential threat” to the Conservatives and Labour as it would be an admission they’d failed to deliver Brexit, he added.FlexibilityHammond, who backed remain in Britain’s 2016 referendum and is seen as favouring as soft a Brexit as possible, urged his divided Conservative colleagues to show flexibility.“We should be open to listen to suggestions that others have made and some people in the Labour Party are making other suggestions,” he said.Labour is pushing May to accept a much closer post-Brexit alliance with the EU that includes participation in a customs union.The prime ministers has previously dismissed the idea because it bars Britain from striking its own trade deals with global giants such as China and the United States.But after Brexit hardliners in her own party repeatedly refused to back her plan over fears it would keep the country too closely aligned with Europe, she last week turned to Labour – infuriating many Conservatives.Labour’s home affairs spokeswoman Diane Abbott said her party was engaged in the talks “in good faith”, but May’s team appear unwilling to compromise.“There is concern that the government doesn’t want to alter the political declaration,” she told the BBC, referring to the part of May’s deal outlining the future relationship with the EU.“The government perhaps has to show a little more flexibility than it seems to have done so far.” With reporting from Sean Murray © AFP 2019   Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Saturday 6 Apr 2019, 2:01 PM Share7 Tweet Email Tory government has ‘no red lines’ as it seeks to find Brexit compromise with Labour, minister says Chancellor Philip Hammond says he expects “some form of agreement” to be reached with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party. By AFP Hammond is known to favour a softer Brexit Image: Alastair Grant/PA Images https://jrnl.ie/4580014 8 Comments Short URL As the clock ticks down, get all the best Brexit news and analysis in your inbox:last_img read more

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Mark Hughes empathizes with Leicester City

first_imgSouthampton manager Mark Hughes sends his condolences to everyone at Leicester City following the tragic death of their club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died in a tragic helicopter crash last weekend and the football family all around the world has come out in emotional support for the club, including Saints manager Mark Hughes.Hughes told Sky Sports: “It does affect the club and the players themselves, but what you find in football is you have to get on with your football life and your personal life, you have to deal with tragedy and change.“It will take time I am sure, given the circumstances, but everybody will I am sure will heal in their own time.”Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedLiverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.Mark Hughes was at Chelsea when the club’s vice-chairman Matthew Harding died in a similar helicopter crash in October 1996.“It was really sad times for everyone connected to the club. We’d played a night match in Bolton and were traveling back and heard the tragic news that a big presence at the club had lost his life.” Hughes said, speaking of the crash in 1996.“The club came together as club and a team and you make decisions that you think were right at the time.“We as players just wanted to do well for the memory of Matthew Harding, and that is how we approached it.”last_img read more

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POLICE LOG for February 11 Lowell Man Arrested For OUI Drugs After

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Here are highlights from the Wilmington Police Log for Monday, February 11, 2019:Michael E. Saber (38, Lowell) was arrested for OUI Drugs; Possession Of A Class Drug; Negligent Operation Of Motor Vehicle; and Marked Lanes Violation. A caller reported a vehicle crashed into a traffic island on Industrial Way and was unconscious. Fire Department transported Saber to Winchester Hospital. (11:16am)A 2-vehicle crash occurred at Church Street and Adams Street. Airbag deployed. No injuries noted. (3:50pm)A broken down train caused traffic complaints on Main Street. (4:29pm)Police issued a written warning to a driver for operating an unregistered motor vehicle. Vehicle was towed. Driver was dropped off at Cumberland Farms, where he waited for a ride. (5:10pm)Edward F. Calabritto (51, North Reading) was issued a summons for Operating A Motor Vehicle With A Suspended License and Operating A Motor Vehicle With A Revoked Or Suspended Registration. (5:10pm)Marianna Ortega Silva (19, Billerica) was issued a summons for Operating A Motor Vehicle with a Suspended License; Failure To Stop/Yield; and Unsafe Operation Of Motor Vehicle. (10:55pm)(DISCLAIMER: This information is public information.  An arrest does not constitute a conviction.  Any arrested person is innocent until proven guilty.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedPOLICE LOG for August 1: Lowell Woman Arrested For OUI; Billerica Teen Arrested On Warrant; 2 Drivers Issued SummonsesIn “Police Log”POLICE LOG for July 24: Tractor Trailer Involved In Hit & Run; Billerica Man Issued Summons; Driver Hurt In CrashIn “Police Log”POLICE LOG for August 12: 2 Drivers Issued Summonses; Drone FoundIn “Police Log”last_img read more

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Third major ratings agency downgrades Alaska credit

first_imgCredit ratings agencies have cited Alaska’s $3.8 billion budget deficit and ongoing legislative gridlock in downgrading the state’s credit. Lawmakers were unable to pass a budget in the constitutionally-mandated 121-day regular session, and are currently meeting in a special session called by Gov. Bill Walker. Construction on the Capitol building in Juneau (shown here on May 24, 2016) has forced that work into temporary quarters. Photo: Rachel Waldholz/APRNThe third major credit ratings agency has weighed in on Alaska’s fiscal health.Download AudioNew York-based Fitch Ratings announced Tuesday morning that it is lowering the state’s long term credit rating from AAA — its highest rating — to AA+, citing the state’s massive budget gap.It follows downgrades earlier this year from the other two major ratings agencies, Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service.The credit downgrades will make it more expensive for the state to borrow money in the future.All three agencies have said they expect Alaska’s rating to slip lower if oil prices remain low and the state continues to rely solely on savings to cover the deficit.last_img read more

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Malla Reddy inaugurates 8 drinking water reservoirs

first_imgBoduppal: Labour Minister Malla Reddy inaugurated eight drinking water reservoirs in Peerzadiguda on Monday. He lauded Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for completing Kaleshwaram project in three years. He said KCR kept his promise of providing drinking water and water for irrigation. He said KCR is pro poor. Jakka Venkat Reddy, M Ugender Reddy, D Dayakar Reddy, Pochaiah Yadav, P Buchaiah Yadav, B Srinivas, B Satish, Saritha, K Monoranjan Reddy, Anji Reddy and others were present.last_img

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AjithVijay fan rivalry hits new low on Twitter This is what happens

first_imgAjith vs Vijay.PR HandoutThe rivalry between the fans of Kollywood’s two stars – Ajith and Vijay – has hit a new low on Wednesday, 19 June, following the announcement of the first look and title release of the latter’s upcoming movie, presently referred to as Thalapathy 63.Time and again, the fans of the two actors have crossed the line of limit by attacking each other over petty issues. From mocking the achievements to dragging their family members, they had done it all in the past. But on Wednesday, it reached to an extent where the fans of Ajith stooped low by trending a hash tag – #June22VijayDeathDay.Vijay is going to celebrate his 45th birthday on Saturday, 22 June. To coincide with the celebration, the makers of his upcoming film are releasing the first look poster and announcing the movie title. The fans of Thalapathy were pumped up over the announcement and started trending the topic on Twitter with the hash tag – #ThalapathyBDayCDP.To denigrate Vijay, a section of Ajith fans trended ‘#June22VijayDeathDay’ on Twitter. In retaliation, a section of Vijay fans choose to respond with dignity by wishing well for Ajith with another hash tag – #LongLiveAJITH – on the social media site.Although Vijay fans avoided hitting out at Ajith fans in the similar fashion, it does not erase the fact that they too had stooped low earlier by dragging Thala’s family members in their online fights in the past.Nonetheless, the two stars have requested fans earlier not to engage in war-of-words and respect all the actors, but it has clearly fallen on deaf ears as they do not any signs of showing mutual admiration or respect over each other’s contribution to the Tamil film industry. The time has come for the Kollywood icons to address the issues with all seriousness and before things go out of control.last_img read more

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Quality Hill A Tour of Houstons First – and Forgotten – Upscale

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: (Above: The Cohn House, a historic home from the former upscale Houston neighborhood known as Quality Hill, sits just across the street from Minute Maid Park. Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public Media) Listen 00:00 /11:06 Xcenter_img Perhaps on your way into Minute Maid Park you’ve noticed something that seems out of place: a blue-and-white Victorian Era home, behind a wrought iron fence just across the street from the ballpark to the south. If you’ve ever wondered what the story is behind that house, Jim Parsons of Preservation Houston gave Michael Hagerty a tour of the area for an explanation.It turns out the area around Minute Maid Park was once known as Quality Hill, and that was Houston’s first upscale neighborhood. And while most of it is gone, there are still some unlikely remnants. One of them is that blue house, called the Cohn House. It was built in 1905 and was originally owned by Arthur B. Cohn, who was an early business manager for Rice Institute (later to become Rice University). In the century-plus since, the house has moved several times and changed hands. Now the City of Houston owns it. Parsons says there were once plans to turn it into a visitor’s center near the George R. Brown Convention Center. But, right now, it sits idle and unused.– / 12Just a block to the west is another remnant of Quality Hill: the William Foley House. It was owned by the original financial backer of the Foley’s department stores. (VIDEO: Foley House Relocation) Now, Annunciation Catholic Church owns it and is renovating it to serve as a parsonage for the church. That means, someday soon, people will once again live in a home from Quality Hill – in Quality Hill. And, by the way, the church itself is a well-preserved remnant of Quality Hill too.Also, if you’re wondering about the “hill” in Quality Hill, it refers to the ever-so-slight rise in elevation around the area that Parsons says allowed residents to look down on Buffalo Bayou and Allen’s Landing. For Houston, it passes as a hill.“And in Houston, you know, you take your hills where you can find them,” Parson said.The “hill,” the two houses and the church are the only remnants of Quality Hill still located in Quality Hill. However, some structures still exist that were moved elsewhere. Two of those now sit on the opposite side of downtown in Sam Houston Park. A third is a home that was purchased by an architect, disassembled and then put back together in a different style in Montrose. It’s called the Waldo Mansion, and scenes from the Oscar-winning 1983 movie Terms of Endearment were shot there. (You can see before-and-after photos of the home’s move in the slideshow above).So what happened to Quality Hill? Jim Parsons says the building of Union Station (now part of Minute Maid Park) changed the face of the neighborhood, and, by the late 1800s, residents gradually moved elsewhere. But a few landmarks like the Cohn and Foley Houses still remain as testaments to an ever-changing Houston.“We know very well in Houston that nothing stays the same,” Parsons said. “But Quality Hill, I think, is a prime reminder of that.”MORE: Uncovering the Story of Quality Hill (Houston History Magazine, PDF) Sharelast_img read more

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Burger King toy converted into a working Game Boy Nano

first_imgFast food joints give away some pretty fun little toys sometimes, but they’re rarely very functional. Jam in a Raspberry Pi, however, and things get much more interesting.Back in 2002, Burger King teamed up with Nintendo for a promo. The swag: cheesey little Game Boy Color toys that let you “animate” a Pokemon by sliding the d-pad up and down or go for a high score by rolling balls into baskets. Not very exciting on their own, but it proved to be an excellent starting point for Reddit user ChaseLambeth’s DIY project.Chase figured if this thing was going to look like a Game Boy Color then it ought to function like one. About two months ago, he purchased a Raspberry Pi Zero for a whopping $5 and started working on his build. About a month ago, it was booting up and the non-functional controls had been freed from the plastic case to install the switches that would make them useful.Chase’s Game Boy Nano between two un-modded BK toysHe crammed in a 2-inch TFT display from Adafruit (which cost him 8 times what the Pi Zero did) and added a li-poly battery to provide power. Now, it’s complete — and it plays a whole lot more than just Game Boy Color games.Chase’s “Game Boy Nano” can play original Game Boy and GBA ROMs, as well as anything else supported by Retropie — which is a pretty long list if you’re not familiar. In addition to Nintendo’s handheld games, this portable can emulate everything from the Sega Master System to the ZX Spectrum. You can even boot up your favorite point-and-click SCUMM games on it.last_img read more

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Study suggests less rainfall in western US likely major contributor to increase

first_img © 2018 Phys.org NASA examined Tropical Cyclone Bud’s rains in the US southwest Citation: Study suggests less rainfall in western U.S. likely major contributor to increase in wildfires (2018, August 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-rainfall-western-major-contributor-wildfires.html More information: Zachary A. Holden et al. Decreasing fire season precipitation increased recent western US forest wildfire activity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1802316115AbstractWestern United States wildfire increases have been generally attributed to warming temperatures, either through effects on winter snowpack or summer evaporation. However, near-surface air temperature and evaporative demand are strongly influenced by moisture availability and these interactions and their role in regulating fire activity have never been fully explored. Here we show that previously unnoted declines in summer precipitation from 1979 to 2016 across 31–45% of the forested areas in the western United States are strongly associated with burned area variations. The number of wetting rain days (WRD; days with precipitation ≥2.54 mm) during the fire season partially regulated the temperature and subsequent vapor pressure deficit (VPD) previously implicated as a primary driver of annual wildfire area burned. We use path analysis to decompose the relative influence of declining snowpack, rising temperatures, and declining precipitation on observed fire activity increases. After accounting for interactions, the net effect of WRD anomalies on wildfire area burned was more than 2.5 times greater than the net effect of VPD, and both the WRD and VPD effects were substantially greater than the influence of winter snowpack. These results suggest that precipitation during the fire season exerts the strongest control on burned area either directly through its wetting effects or indirectly through feedbacks to VPD. If these trends persist, decreases in summer precipitation and the associated summertime aridity increases would lead to more burned area across the western United States with far-reaching ecological and socioeconomic impacts. Wildfires in the western U.S. have been increasing in number and have been getting bigger over the past several years. Prior research has suggested that the primary reason for the change is an increase in temperatures in the region. In this new effort, the researchers wanted to know if changes in precipitation were also playing a role. To find out, they studied data collected from weather stations across the region for the years 1984 to 2015. They compared the data to satellite maps showing where wildfires had occurred and how big they had grown over the same time period.Before conducting their analysis, the group proposed three main possible factors contributing to the increase and size of fires—that they were due to reduced snowpack, that they were due to higher temperature, or that they were due to lower rainfall.Their first finding was that a reduction in snowpack was not a factor, either in the increase in fires or how big they grew. Their second finding was that there did seem to be a correlation between higher average temperatures in the area and the changes in wildfire patterns. Their third finding was that there appeared to be an even more pronounced correlation between declining amounts of summer precipitation and the number and size of wildfires. More specifically, they found that between 82 and 94 percent of the land area they surveyed experienced less summer rainfall over the time period they studied. They also found that the average forest in the area under study had 4 percent less rainfall per decade, and the worst of them had a 47 percent decline. They also found that the average number of days that rainfall exceeded 2.5 mm in the impacted areas fell, as well—and that the average length of dry spells increased.The researchers suggest their data shows declines in rainfall in the western United States are a major factor causing an increase in the number of wildfires and how big they grow. Explore furthercenter_img Credit: CC0 Public Domain A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. has found that reduced rainfall in western parts of the U.S. may be playing a more important role than increased temperatures in spreading more and bigger wildfires. In their paper published in Proceedings of that National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of rainfall and fires in the area, and what they found. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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This 20 DIY kit makes your NES SNES or Mega Drive

first_imgI have to hand it to 8BitDo. At first I thought they were just opportunistically hawking cheap hunks of plastic in an era of unparalleled nostalgia for retro games, but… well, who am I kidding? That’s exactly what they’re doing. But they’re doing it well. And these new DIY kits are the latest sign that they actually understand their most obsessive customers.While you can of course purchase fully formed controllers and adapters from the company that let your retro consoles ride the wireless wave of the future, not everyone is ready to part with their original hardware.I, for example, have had my Super Nintendo for 25 years or so — its yellowing, cracked bulk and controllers, all-over stains and teeth marks compelling all my guests to make an early exit. I consider it part of my place’s unique charm, but more importantly I’m used to the way these controllers feel and look — they’re mine.8BitDo understands me, along with the rest of the wretches out there who can’t part with the originals out of some twisted concept of loyalty or authenticity. So they’re giving us the option to replace the controllers’ aging guts with a fresh new board equipped with wireless connectivity, making it a healthy hybrid of the past and present.If you’re the type (as I am) that worries that a modern controller will break in ways that an SNES controller would find laughable, if it could laugh, then this will likely strike your fancy. All you do is take apart your gamepad (if you can stand to do so), pull out the original PCB (and save it, of course), and pop in the new one.You’ll be using more or less all the same parts as these famously durable controllers came with (check out this teardown). The way the buttons feel shouldn’t change at all, since the mechanical parts aren’t being replaced, just the electronics that they activate. It runs on a rechargeable battery inside that you recharge with an unfortunately proprietary cable that comes with the kit.[embedded content]If you’re worried about latency… don’t be. On these old consoles, control latency is already like an order of magnitude higher than a complete wireless packet round trip, so you shouldn’t notice any lag.You will, however, need to pick up a Bluetooth adapter if you want to use this on your original console — but if you want to use the controller with a wireless-equipped setup like your computer, it should work flawlessly.If you buy it and don’t like it, you can just slot the original PCB back into its spot and no harm is done!There are conversion kits for the NES and SNES, the new Classic Editions of both, and the Sega Mega Drive. At $20 each it’s hardly a big investment, and the reversible nature of the mod makes it low risk. And hey, you might learn something about that controller of yours. Or find a desiccated spider inside.last_img read more

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Watch a Sporty AI Teach Itself to Dribble Better Than You

first_imgCarnegie Mellon University More Great WIRED StoriesPlaying Monopoly: What Zuck can learn from Bill GatesA frolicking polar bear and other gorgeous drone photosSorry, nerds: Terraforming might not work on MarsNo solar-powered EV? You can still drive on sunshineHow a bunch of lava lamps protect us from hackersGet even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletter I’m not what you’d call a coordinated man, so basketball horrifies me. All the dribbling, all the shooting—all while running and dodging people trying to smack the ball out of your hands. Basketball players have to be one with the laws of physics. I am not one with the laws of physics.Now imagine teaching the machines something as complicated as dribbling—which is exactly what researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and a startup called DeepMotion have done. Using motion-capture technology, they’ve shown an algorithm generally how humans move when they dribble. Then, thanks to a process called reinforcement learning, a simulated basketball player can teach itself through trial and error how to finely manipulate the ball, both while stationary and while running. It’s taught itself to expertly do what would thoroughly embarrass an … underactive type like myself.The researchers began by putting people in motion-capture suits to watch them dribble. This gave the reinforcement learning algorithms a good head start. You could try to have an avatar learn from scratch: First to stand, then to walk, then to run, then to manipulate a ball. To do that, you give the system a goal—say, move forward as fast as possible—and it tries movements at random. If the avatar does something that gets it closer to its goal, like combining random movements in order to stand, it gets points. If it does something dumb, it gets dinged. With a point system like this, over time it teaches itself how to run.That’s not a good way to go about it in this case, though. “If you’re trying to do something easy, then maybe you can just explore the space and flail around much like a baby does as it’s sort of figuring out how to grab things and so on,” says CMU roboticist Jessica Hodgins, who helped develop the system. “But it doesn’t make sense in this complicated space of doing something that requires as much agility as basketball dribbling.”So instead of starting from scratch, the motion-capture information allows the avatar to mimic a dribbling human’s body movement. What the researchers couldn’t capture, though, was the ball itself—it moves too fast, and you can’t stick trackers on it. They had to add the ball into the simulation, and let the avatar play with it through reinforcement learning, or trial and error. Why exactly would you want to teach avatar basketball players how to dribble, then push them on their faces? For one, this more natural kind of motion could land in basketball video games, which still struggle a bit with locomotion. “The difficulty in current video games in creating realistic basketball movement is there’s no physics in their simulation,” says DeepMotion chief scientist Libin Liu, who helped develop the system. “The current state-of-the-art technique is we record a lot of motions, or possibly ask an animator to fix ball trajectory, and then this ball trajectory and movement will be coupled.”This sometimes imperfect marriage leads to quirks like the basketball sticking in an avatar’s hands, or not quite lining up with a player’s grasp. This avatar, on the other hand, is more grounded in the physical laws of the universe. “Because we are using a physics simulation to generate motions, all the motions are automatic,” says Liu. “That means the ball can’t stick on the characters hand because there’s no glue on his hand.”Roboticists are working on the same kinds of problems: They teach simulated robots to grasp objects, then use what the system learned to drive a research robot. “The results seem convincing, and I can see how this is very useful for games and maybe also for CGI in movies and videos,” says OpenAI engineer Matthias Plappert, who recently got a robot hand to teach itself how to grasp like a human. But not for physical robots—not yet. “Just because something works in simulation does not mean that it’s going to work on the robot,” says Hodgins. “There are miles to go between just getting this to work on a simulated character, no matter how natural looking, and getting it to be able to work on a physical piece of hardware.”Who knows—what begins today as an avatar dribbling and sometimes falling on its face, may eventually lead to a humanoid robot that dribbles and falls on its face on an actual court. Never hurts to dream. The adaptable avatar can even learn to dribble as it runs, via the same process. (Above it loses the ball at first, but learns to improve.) And because it’s more flexible to perturbations in its environment, the researchers can give it a digital “push” as it moves across the court, yet still it dribbles. Until, well, it falls on its face, as you can see below.center_img Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Mellon University Take a look at the GIF above. The avatar’s dribbling starts out awkward at first, but soon improves. “You’re reinforcing the behaviors that you want and then negatively reinforcing the behaviors that you don’t want,” says Hodgins. “You’re doing that by running many, many trials and having the system learn through those trials to be more robust to different kinds of situations.”Had the researchers dropped an avatar in simulation with a perfectly tracked ball, that might work fine. But as soon as they changed something about the environment, like the flatness of the court, the avatar would fall to pieces. Conversely, because it’s learning on its own to manipulate the ball—with the boost of already knowing how the rest of its body should be moving—it can then adapt to, say, a court that isn’t perfectly flat. It’s “robust,” as computer scientists say.last_img read more

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Which of these bad driving habits are you guilty of some are

first_imgDad slams ‘disgusting’ hospital window Police search for missing woman Driver named following fatal collision “One of the things that people don’t use properly is the horn. They use it as a rebuke, but it is supposed to be used just to let someone know that you are there, not in an aggressive manner.” Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailHogging the middle lane of the motorway, failing to indicate, and bad parking. Those are just some of the bad habits which have motorists taking an even firmer grip on their steering wheels. Now motoring experts from LeaseVan.co.uk have come up with a list of 13 frustrating habits commonly seen on British roads in a bid to encourage experienced motorists to steer clear of these mistakes –  which range from the annoying to the potentially dangerous. Tailgating, riding the clutch and drivers getting lost all make the list of faults committed by UK drivers. Driving instructor Tony Vickerman, who runs Burslem-based Superb Driver Training, said: “It can be very frustrating to see these things happening, particularly as a driving instructor. “When they first learn to drive, we try to teach them the good habits, and everyone is at the same basic level when they pass. We can only hope that they take the example of driving instructors. Getting lost is a common mistake made by UK drivers Graham Bebbington, of Trentham, said: “One of the things that annoys a lot of drivers is when you see mobile phones being used. It doesn’t matter what the penalty is, you still see people texting and driving. I’ve even seen ladies putting on makeup while driving. “Another thing is when people don’t signal when they are turning.” Read More’Smart motorways need to be STOPPED’ – Concerns raised as multi-million pound upgrade of M6 continues   Commuter Glenn Hodgkinson, aged 48, of Alsager, said: “I get annoyed by people who hog the middle-lane on the motorway. It gets really frustrating, you get people undertaking and overtaking them at the same time and they still don’t change lanes. “Tailgaters is another one, people trying to intimidate you into driving faster by driving up close. That could be really dangerous if you had to break suddenly.” center_img “When people come to me for driving assessments, so they can learn to drive a bigger vehicle, a bus or a lorry, I see a lot of bad habits that people have picked up. “You realise why there are so many bad accidents.” Read MoreNew cameras set to launch in Stoke-on-Trent that can catch YOU speeding from a kilometre away   Driving and motorcycle instructor Ken Gratton, of Stoke Motorcycle and Driver Training, based at Birches Head, said: “Mobile phones are the worse, I see people texting on them or talking on them, all sorts. I tell students to try and stay away as much as they can when they can. Read MoreTop stories on StokeonTrentLive Bad parking is a common complaint Tim Alcock from LeaseVan.co.uk said: “Even the most experienced drivers might find themselves slipping up on the quality of their driving sometimes. “We’ve highlighted some of the most common bad habits seen on UK roads, so that British motorists can steer clear of bad habits in the future. 13 common mistakes committed by UK drivers1. Crossing your hands while steering – although most will have been taught to manoeuvre their vehicle by shuffling the wheel, many will relax and cross their hands as they steer. 2. Riding the clutch – leaving your foot on the clutch pedal as if you were about to change gear can cause premature wear and tear to the disc and flywheel. 3. Getting too close to the vehicle in front – drivers should leave a reasonable gap in case they need to stop or react suddenly. 4. Carrying needless baggage – a boot full of items which are not needed causes fuel economy to plummet because your car is carrying excess weight. 5. Getting lost – drivers should learn their route before setting off on their journey, or take a SatNav or a map with them, rather relying on road signs. 6. Hogging the middle lane on the motorway – the middle lane is designed for overtaking, and this causes other drivers to become frustrated and potentially undertake you. 7. Only having one hand on the wheel – which means you are not as in control of your vehicle as you should be. 8. Bad parking – there is no excuse for parking over two bays, or parking too far from the pavement, which could cause an obstruction. 9. Not giving the road your full attention – whether you’re vulnerable to an impromptu sing-a-long, liable to grab a quick glove box snack or put off by the smell in a dirty vehicle, all potential distractions should be minimised before starting a journey. 10. Gambling on amber – rushing through an amber traffic light, unless you are too close to the stop line to pull up safely, could be dangerous. 11. Failing to indicate – drivers should still use their indicators when turning, even if they think the road in front and behind of them looks empty or if they’re in a queue of traffic that is all turning left or right. 12. Not taking breakdown precautions – vehicles without a spare wheel and basic tool kit are leaving their owners open to the possibility of a longer delay to their journey and potentially a significant repair bill in the event of a breakdown. 13. Leaving full beam headlights on – leaving headlights on their strongest setting when traffic is approaching from the other direction could startle fellow drivers and potentially cause an accident.   “From carrying needless baggage to leaving the full beam headlights on, most Brits probably know someone who’s been guilty of something on the list in the past.” 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 . Punter found hiding in bushes Driving with your main beam on could startle other drivers “But over time, people fall into bad habits. Drivers get lazy, or they want to go quicker. “Breaking the speed limit is a common one. Read MoreWhy YOU could get in trouble for warning fellow motorists about speed traps (& the fine is hefty)   “I see drivers overtaking on double white lines, or on the brow of a hill which can be very dangerous, because they don’t know what might be coming the other way. “You see people parking at a funny angle, half on the kerb and half on the road. I see a lot of people jumping red lights as well. last_img read more

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