Howard’s Fanny

first_imgAll one can say about Howard Stern, boring he is not. The unusually long romp into sex, sexuality, gossip, innuendo and downright raw radio has to be one of the most enduring entertaining features of radio. There is good reason to believe that radio is different because of Howard, no matter how one evaluates the content. There is no doubt, and as Howard himself loves to brag (he has made it a shamelessly brilliant art form), he is the originator of a number of ideas.There is a lot one can credit Howard.Howard was on the forefront of making fun of things Indian. That is not to say Peter Sellers did not do it before him, but no one brought it to the crass and populist level that Howard has. As he spoke of his own Transcendental Meditation or some self-indulgent rants of Indian Gurus, either with his mocking of accent or the goofy music that plays in the background to invoke everything Indian, his ridiculing was subtle, strong and straightforward, all at the same time. For the past two years, since Sept. 11, 2001, to be precise, Howard has been mocking and ridiculing the Arab population as well. Whether he is imitating Osama or some other terrorist of East Asian origin, he prominently mocks their accent. But in this area, his skills seem limited. Somehow, he has generalized the Indian accent as the accent of all Arabs or anyone who is brown skinned and not of South American origin. In this attempt to shape the trends of popular culture, Howard Stern has been innovative, but limited, effective, but unimaginative.Now any talk show host, comedian or anyone else who imitates the accent of Arabs, ends up doing what Howard Stern does, but all of them exhibit a tinge of Orientalist bias and an unimaginative laziness.And that is my complaint. It is not that he or anyone else is insulting Indians by generalizing a mockery of Indian accent onto that of the other’s, but he is depriving us of the legitimate privilege of being ridiculed exclusively. The problem is not that we are likened to Arabs, but that the talents of those who can are falling short of figuring out that Arabs are different from Indians. And in the process, we must forgive them the burden of finding out the variety of accents within India, which could all be made fun of. Come on, if you are making fun of others, can’t you atleast be good at it!And that’s the other complaint. Apu on The Simpsons opened up a new avenue of exposure of our ethnicity, but the jokes have stopped being funny. And in general, the jokes about Indians have been quite lame. They can’t seem to get past making fun of accents. Chris Rock is good damn good at what he does and there is a long line of comedians, from Henny Youngman to Mel Brooks and from Woody Allen to George Carlin who at some time or the other have taken imaginative digs at this or that ethnicity. But really, the jokes about Indians are just not that good. Could it be that you guys just don’t know enough about us! Or, is it that you haven’t had enough Indian food! Or, that all you have eaten of Indian food has been limited too. Just as Punjabi food passes for Indian food, perhaps Indian accent passes for all things Indian.This has to get better soon, one hopes. We look to American comedy for its energy and creativity from Charlie Chaplin and Groucho to Chris Rock and Richard Pryer. And we lived through the era of so called Political Correctness. Good humor makes you forgive everything. A good laugh is the best glue that sticks people together. If you have been good at it, you ought to get better at it. We miss Peter Sellers. Sometime it appears as if no one has been that good at making fun of Indians since his film The Party in 1968.A final note. Don’t wait for Indians to poke good fun of Indian ethnicity. They don’t seem to be that good at it either.  Related Itemslast_img read more

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Leafs Shoot Out Islanders, 4-3

first_imgTORONTO — Nikita Soshnikov held the puck on his backhand before flinging it between Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss’ pads.The 22-year-old rookie, taking the first shootout attempt of his NHL career, scored the only goal of the tiebreaker to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders on March 9.Soshnikov was one of three rookies to shine for Toronto as 19-year-old William Nylander got the tying goal late in regulation and 23-year-old Zach Hyman also scored.“First couple games you’re obviously a little bit star-struck because this is what you’ve been dreaming of since you were little,” Hyman said. “But once you settle in you realize that they’re just hockey players as well and you feel you can compete against them.”Morgan Rielly also scored in regulation and Garret Sparks stopped 24 shots in his second straight start for the Maple Leafs, who had lost six in a row (0-5-1) — including the last five by one goal. Toronto also won for just the third time in 16 games (3-11-2).It was the first game the Leafs won since recalling the three youngsters (as well as the recently re-assigned Kasperi Kapanen) from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL last week for a helpful glimpse into the future for coach Mike Babcock.Toronto’s 44 losses are more than Babcock had in any of his previous 12 NHL seasons.“My mindset, is it different? Yes, ” Babcock said. “On the off days you can think about big-term picture and all that, on game days let’s win a game.”Nylander helped make that happen.With his father and former NHL center Michael Nylander in attendance, the former eighth-overall pick pushed home a rebound past Greiss with 1:13 left in regulation, tying the score 3-3.The Leafs head coach felt it was the finest game of the younger Nylander’s career “by a mile”.Babcock would have preferred not to have Nylander playing center in first tour of the NHL, but was forced to because of injuries. He believed Nylander to be more engaged, skating forcefully for the first time.Soshnikov and Hyman have impressed from the start.“They’re real players, they’re going to play,” Babcock said. “They’re just too good and too hard and too fast and too much work ethic. Those guys will play.”An undrafted free agent signing by the Leafs last spring, Soshnikov has scored twice in his first six NHL games, pounding out 21 hits along the way.He picked up the shootout move he used against the Islanders from former Calgary Flames prospect Yiri Trubachev when the two played together in the KHL.Soshnikov has employed the move in the AHL this season. Hyman, a teammate previously with the Marlies, knew it was coming and told veteran teammates Brooks Laich and Ben Smith as much on the bench.“He’s not intimidated by anything,” Babcock said. “He plays against good players. He plays with speed. He plays without the puck. He’s hard. Looks like he can score. He’s good.”n Strome scored for the Islanders, and Thomas Greiss finished with 33 saves. New York snapped a four-game winning streak and fell to 11-2-2 in its last 15.Tavares opened the scoring with a breakaway goal early in the first, his 25th goal this season.Hyman shovelled a rebound past Greiss to knot the score at 1-1 midway through the first. He managed a similar marker two days earlier against the Buffalo Sabres for his first NHL goal.Rielly gave the Leafs their first lead midway through the second, beating Greiss with a power-play goal from high in the slot.Leddy tied it with just more than 7 minutes remaining in the second, going end-to-end with the puck before beating Sparks with a wrist shot.Strome gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead with 5:19 remaining in the third period, his shot trickling between Sparks’ pads before crossing the goal line.Earlier in the day, the Islanders announced No. 1 goalie Jaroslav Halak would miss six weeks with a lower-body injury. Greiss is likely to draw the bulk of starts in his absence.The Islanders remained three points behind the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division with two games in hand. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Nova Scotia Ready to Welcome Royal Couple

first_imgA visit to the oldest continuously operating farmers market in North America, a showcase of programs and services for military families and a celebration of history from the heart of Scottish migration to the province are some of the highlights the Royal Couple will enjoy as they begin their tour to Canada in Nova Scotia on May 18 and 19. The official itinerary for the 2014 Tour of Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall was released today, April 25. “Nova Scotia is proud to be the first stop for the Royal Couple and we’re looking forward to sharing our vibrant history and culture with them,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Victoria Day weekend is a time to celebrate with family and friends and there will be plenty of opportunity to share what makes our province so unique. Not only will our shared heritage be front and centre during the tour, so will the traditions that keep our communities strong.” Their Royal Highnesses will arrive at Halifax Stanfield International Airport at 6:35 p.m. on Sunday, May 18. Governor General David Johnston, Premier Stephen McNeil and other dignitaries will officially welcome the Royal Couple to Canada at 10 a.m., Monday, May 19, at Grand Parade with a 21-gun-salute, a guard of honour from the Canadian Armed Forces, and a band and choral performance. After formal remarks from the official party and The Prince of Wales, the couple will lay a wreath at the cenotaph and sign guest books before proceeding on a walk-about. “I encourage as many Nova Scotians as possible to come out and help us give a warm welcome to Their Royal Highnesses,” said Premier McNeil. “It will be a great day to be in Halifax and to celebrate what it means to be Canadian.” A visit to the Halifax and Region Military Family Resource Centre at CFB Halifax will include a Victoria Day Military Family Festival that spotlights the programs and services offered by the centre. “Canadian Forces families are the strength behind the uniform and make sacrifices on behalf of our country,” said Colleen Calvert, executive director. “We are thrilled to be part of the Royal Tour, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase military family programs and services and to recognize some Canadian Forces members and their families here in Nova Scotia.” The Prince of Wales will tour the Halifax Public Gardens, where he will learn about efforts to preserve its unique history through agricultural displays and the restoration of the Jubilee Fountain. A tree will be planted adjacent to an oak tree planted by His Royal Highness’s grandfather King George VI in 1939. The Duchess of Cornwall will visit privately with families who have benefitted from the services of Alice Housing at Northbrook Community Centre in Dartmouth, and then tour the site and take in a community barbecue. “We are honoured and excited to share our stories,” said Alice Housing executive director Alicia Nolan. “It means a lot to the families that we serve that Her Royal Highness cares to hear about their challenges and successes. We are thrilled to meet her and, in turn, have attention focused on Alice Housing and the work we do.” A visit to the waterfront will cap the day’s activities in Halifax. The Prince of Wales will tour the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market and meet with market vendors, a youth farmer and young entrepreneurs. He will be joined by the Duchess of Cornwall to enjoy performances by local musical artists and meet with urban farming groups, including Hope Blooms. The Royal Couple will visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, and join in a tea with war brides and Second World War veterans. From the museum, they will proceed to Halifax Stanfield International Airport to travel to Pictou County. The tour to Nova Scotia will conclude with a celebration at the Hector Heritage Quay in Pictou, hosted by the Canadian government. The Ship Hector will form the backdrop for musical performances, a tour of the museum, which commemorates Scottish immigration to Nova Scotia, and a plaque unveiling. “The visit by the Royal Couple is an amazing opportunity for the Town of Pictou and all of Pictou County. We have a unique chance to showcase our Scottish culture and heritage, our music and talent,” said Darlene MacDonald, secretary of the Hector Heritage Quay Society. After the events in Pictou, the Royal Couple will leave for Prince Edward Island and then on to Manitoba where they will wrap up their tour on May 21. For information about the entire Canadian tour, visit http://canadiancrown.gc.ca/ .last_img read more

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Un financement à lappui de lamélioration des services de transport en commun

first_imgMark Furey, ministre des Affaires municipales, a annoncé aujourd’hui 15 juillet du financement pour 12 projets dans le cadre du Programme de financement de projets de transport en commun. Le gouvernement investit plus de 167 000 $ dans le programme cette année. Le financement appuie les initiatives qui entraîneront de nouveaux services de transport en commun ou une amélioration des services dans les régions rurales et dans les régions urbaines mal desservies de la Nouvelle-Écosse. « Le gouvernement s’est engagé à aider les gens dans les collectivités mal desservies à se rendre où ils ont besoin d’aller, souligne M. Furey. L’amélioration des services de transport en commun contribue à faire de notre province un endroit où il fait bon vivre et travailler. » Les récipiendaires admissibles au financement incluent les municipalités, les organismes qui offrent des services de transport en commun dans les régions rurales et les organismes à but lucratif dont le mandat touche le transport en commun. « Le transport est un élément essentiel d’une collectivité engagée et branchée, affirme Alison Donovan, gestionnaire de la société St. Margarets Bay Community Transportation Society. Nous sommes reconnaissants au gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Écosse pour cette subvention, qui nous aidera à offrir un service de transport en commun accessible et abordable aux gens de la région de St. Margarets Bay. » Pour obtenir plus d’information sur le programme et sur les critères d’admissibilité, consultez le http://novascotia.ca/dma/funding/community-grants-and-programs-fr.asp.last_img read more

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Famous folk dancer Queen Harish three other artists died in SUVtruck collision

first_imgJodhpur: World fame dancer Queen Harish and three other folk artists were killed and five others injured in a road accident near Jodhpur in Rajasthan on Sunday morning. The mishap occurred near Kaparda village on a highway in Jodhpur when the victims were on their way towards Ajmer from Jaisalmer in a SUV (Special Utility Vehicle). “Their vehicle rammed into a stationary truck which left Harish, Ravindra, Bhikhe Khan and Latif Khan dead. Five others were injured in the mishap,” Sitaram Khoja, SHO of Bilara police station said. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC Their family members have arrived. Primary investigation reveals that Harish along with his team of folk artists was travelling in connection with an event, the SHO added. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot has condoled the deaths of the artists. “The death of four persons including the famous artist Queen Harish in a road accident in Jodhpur is very sad. Dedicated to the folk art and culture of Rajasthan, Harish gave a new identity to Jaisalmer with his different dance style. His death is a big loss to the field of folk art,” Gehlot said. A native of Jaisalmer, Harish Kumar was popularly known as Queen Harish and his shows comprising of various folk dance forms like Ghoomar, Kalbelia, Chang, Bhawai, Chari among others were very popular. He had gained worldwide recognition for his folk dance skills.last_img read more

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Relentless pursuit of STF and silent action by public agencies helped track

first_imgGurugram: Thorough planning towards weakening the foundation of Kaushal gang and a silent action by the public agencies to know the whereabouts of 37-year-old gangster resulted in Haryana government having one of its major successes.Understanding the challenges involved in 2018, the Haryana Government decided to shift KK Rao from Gurugram police commissioner to head the special task force.The decision back then came as a major surprise as Rao had not completed a year in the office of being the commissioner of Gurugram. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe first priority of the STF under new Chief was to weaken the foundation of the gang that was known for carrying out brutal murders on the city street. An initiative called operation cleanup was launched in which more than 40 henchmen of Kaushal gang were arrested from Gurugram itself. Despite setbacks, Kaushal however did not relent and rather than focussing only on Gurugram he tried to venture into other cities. While the action was being taken on the ground against the men of Kaushal, silent efforts were also done on drying the resources of the gangster. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsIn one of the major decision, the Gurugram police decided to attach the properties of major gangsters including Kaushal and sell them. Even though fear among the people has not resulted in a large number of people coming forward, the properties still remain attached. In 2017, 37-year-old Kaushal, who used to operate from Bangkok, shifted to Dubai from where he ultimately arrested by the special team of Haryana police and STF. Criminals from as many as 6 dreaded gangs have operated in the city. These gangs include Manjeet Mahal gang, Kaushal gang, Kishan gang, Hayatpuri gang, Sandeep Gadoli gang and Binder Gujjar gang. Even though most of the members of these gang are lodged in jail what is shocking is that how there have been many instances in which they have been able to carry out their criminal activities even from the jail. Most of the members from these gangs have been charged under serious offences like extortion, burglaries and murders.last_img read more

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Two Toronto men arrested on drug charges after getting lost at the

first_imgTwo men from Toronto are facing drug charges after getting lost near the Canada-U.S. border.The RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency say in a joint statement that the men were travelling in a rental vehicle in the Niagara Region on Nov. 22, near the Peace Bridge, when they took a wrong turn to the U.S. border.Officials say that to avoid crossing into the U.S., the men turned around and tried to return back to Canada through a NEXUS lane, but they were not members of the trusted-traveller program.The statement says border officials stopped the car and conducted a full search of the vehicle, resulting in the seizure of 120 grams of suspected cocaine and $10,000. The men and the seized material were then turned over to the RCMP.The driver of the vehicle, who officials identified as a 24-year-old man, was charged with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds obtained by crime, obstruction of justice and breach of probation.The passenger, a 25-year-old man, was charged with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds obtained by crime and breach of probation.Both men have been released from custody and are to appear in a St. Catharines, Ont., court Dec. 21.last_img read more

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Marrakech In Remembrance of American Philanthropist Patti Birch

Rabat – The theme of the exhibition was “Travels of Patti Birch: Passions and Collections.” The Museum displayed 200 items and works of art from Birch’s collection that varies between Islamic, Asian, Pre-Columbian, African, and Judeo-Moroccan arts. Birch worked as a curator in the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Her long experience in the field had enriched the cultural scene of Morocco throughout the years. During the 1960s, she organized a campaign to restore the historical Marrakech Koutoubia minbar (pulpit in the mosque from which the imam delivers the sermon). Read Also: IBTA Award: Marrakech Best International Destination for Business TourismMehdi Qotbi, President of the FNM, told Le Matin, “this exhibition is a tribute to a lady who loved Morocco, who donated 1 million dollars to restore the Koutoubia minbar. “As lover of Morocco, in 1999, she bequeathed a huge sum of her personal collection to the government of Morocco. More than 1,000 artifacts were gifted to the country as a symbol of love and appreciation. Today, Dar El Bacha Museum of Confluences in Marrakech has a whole section dedicated to the universal collection of Patty Birch, representing four continents: Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.“Patti and I became close friends as soon as we met, and I would come to understand her passion for art in Morocco and the Islamic world,” said former Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel. The museum is located in the heart of the old medina of Marrakech. It is a testimony that demonstrates the different facets and multiple components of the Moroccan identity and culture.Dar El Bacha Museum of Confluences is a historical evidence of intercultural and interfaith Dialogue in Morocco. The objects in display tell the stories of coexistence, tolerance and unity between the three monotheistic religions throughout the years.“This is a very beautiful museum and a brilliant exhibition, which reflects the extraordinary richness of Moroccan culture,” President of Arab World Institute, Jack Lang, told Le Matin. read more

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UNbacked radio station helps Bangladeshi farmers get back on their feet

Villagers will broadcast vital information to support those working in the agriculture, fisheries and livestock sectors through a community radio show set up jointly by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Bangladeshi Ministry of Agriculture.“A strong information communication system can upgrade knowledge of rural people and improve livelihoods in rural settings,” said Ad Spijkers, FAO representative in Bangladesh.The country’s south – known as its “bread basket” – is vulnerable to climate change and recurrent hazards, having been battered by Cyclones Sidr and Aila in recent years, which together claimed thousands of lives.Mr. Spijkers noted that Bangladesh can enhance farm production despite these challenges by introducing stress-tolerant seeds and modern machines such as power tillers and irrigation pumps.Community-based radio programmes, he stressed, can help to disseminate this kind of information.The radio project is part of a larger initiative of the FAO, along with the World Bank and the European Union (EU), to help Bangladesh weather high food prices and bolster food security. 8 June 2010A United Nations-backed radio station run by and for people living in remote parts of Bangladesh has a new programme that aims to assist farmers and fishers whose livelihoods are regularly upset by cyclones. read more

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FEATURE The UN General Assemblys Fifth Committee – administrative and budgetary issues

The Assembly makes a big splash every year in late September when world leaders come to UN Headquarters in New York City to present their views about pressing world issues over a number of days, in what is known as the General Debate.However, the issues and themes under discussion by the General Assembly lend themselves to more effective discussion in smaller settings covering different topics. So, once the Debate is over, the General Assembly’s six Main Committees select their officers and get down to dealing with the items on the Assembly’s agenda – in 2012, the Assembly had nearly 170 items on it, most of which were carried over from previous years.All Member States take part in each of the Committees’ discussions and the agenda is divided up thematically. The issues are debated, corresponding resolutions are voted on and then forwarded to all UN Member States – in the so-called General Assembly Plenary – for a final decision.Here, in the fifth of a series providing a snapshot of the Main Committees, the UN News Centre takes a look at the Fifth Committee.*****Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre left, in pink tie) is shown in conversation with participants of a meeting of the Fifth Committee. During the meeting Mr. Ban presented the UN proposed programme budget for 2012-2013. (October 2011) UN Photo/Rick BajornasEvery year, like clockwork, United Nations Headquarters in New York observes a number of rituals.Among them is the General Debate in September with its caravans of diplomats winding their way through the traffic-clogged streets of Manhattan to the UN complex where they hear keynote – and sometimes controversial – addresses by their Heads of State or other senior representatives in the General Assembly. But, away from these limelight events tied to the Assembly are the lower-level debates at that body’s Main Committees – one of which is the relatively anonymous and yet vital Fifth Committee, which focuses on administrative and budgetary issues and which meets multiple times a year and often late into the night, as the diplomatic negotiations continue amidst intense and sometimes difficult exchanges. It was two o’clock in the morning one December day when a German delegate, Deputy Ambassador Miguel Berger of Germany, found himself at precisely one of these extended sessions, amid sleep-deprived diplomats seeking an ever-elusive consensus. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presents the UN 2012-2013 proposed programme budget to the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee. (October 2011) UN Photo/Rick Bajornas “Some of them fell asleep, probably aided by the food and drink, and that made the consensus finding much easier because the number of delegates was reduced towards three, four, or five o’clock in the morning,” he said in an interview with the UN News Centre. The Fifth Committee is an exception among the Assembly’s six Main Committees. Unlike its counterparts, where consensus is not required on any resolutions, the Fifth Committee’s members are required to agree as a whole in order to pass the UN’s biennial budget. “It’s a bit like the negotiations that you have with trade unions. You need at least one night session where you negotiate to the point of exhaustion so everybody can sell the result as the best result possible,” said Mr. Berger, who is serving as the Fifth Committee’s Chair this year. “If you achieve a result at three in the afternoon, everyone would say: ‘You could have done better.’ If you do it at six o’clock in the morning, then everyone believes that you’ve done your utmost to get it,” he added. Conference officer distributes documents to delegates during a meeting of the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee. October 2012) UN Photo/JC McIlwaineThe Fifth Committee’s work comes at the end of a long chain of bureaucratic checks and balances, kicked off, primarily, by the UN Secretariat’s own budget report containing recommendations for spending and reform. The report then trickles down to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, also known as the ACABQ, which the UN describes as “a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly,” and consists of 16 members appointed by the Assembly in their individual capacities. This ACABQ scrutinizes the budget submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly and ultimately advises the Assembly concerning any administrative and budgetary matters referred to it. Following this, the budget report arrives in the Fifth Committee’s hands where the financing minutiae are debated, dissected and, ultimately, agreed upon. “Quite often, the discussion is on how [things] can be done. We are looking to deliver on the mandates, to ensure that we do so efficiently, ensure that budget planning is financially sound, and to ensure that we introduce the necessary reforms and implement them,” Mr. Berger said. “At the end,” he continued, “it comes down to everything is taxpayers’ money, so we have to be very careful how we spend that money and make a collective effort to do that in the most economical and effective way.” The considerably more complex technical function of deciding which country pays what to the UN budget is decided by another body, the Committee on Contributions, which meets every two years to review the so-called scale of assessments. It uses a formula that factors in a country’s population, its wealth measured by gross national product and other economic considerations. No country pays more than 25 per cent of the UN budget; and, assuming there are no other factors which could affect payment, even the smallest country has to pay 0.01 per cent. Twice a year, the Secretariat details which countries have paid their assessments on time and in full – more along the lines of an honour roll, rather than a ‘name and shame’ list. A country that falls behind by two years can lose its right to vote in the General Assembly.Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan introduces his proposed $2.535 billion budget for the United Nations for the biennium 2000-2001, telling the Fifth Committee that it was virtually the same in real terms as the 1998-1999 budget. (October 1999) UN Photo/Eskinder DebebeSeparate from the main UN budget is the peacekeeping budget, which is about three times more than what is known as the ‘regular budget.’ The current peacekeeping budget is around $7.5 billion. “Overall if you compare with some national budgets, I think it’s a good situation,” Mr. Berger noted. With a broad range of issues on its plate, the Fifth Committee devotes its focus to budgeting and human resources matters in alternating years, spreading its negotiating over three separate sessions over the course of the year, with the first beginning each October. Those issues which do not require immediate consideration often remain on the agenda and are postponed to the first part of the resumed session, which is normally held for a period of three or four weeks in March, depending on the workload. The Committee then resumes its work for a period of four weeks in May to consider the administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of peacekeeping operations and any other questions or items that the Committee needs to consider.In the 2011 session, the UN biennial budget was agreed upon, while the 2012 discussion was centred on human resources issues. “UN staff is key for the Organization’s work, for the implementation of the mandates,” Mr. Berger confirmed, noting that 75 per cent of the UN budget is, in fact, committed to staffing-related expenditures. “So everything that has to do with staff and human resources is of the highest importance for the Fifth Committee.”However, amid continuing international financial insecurity and growing calls for austerity in many Member States’ national assemblies, the buzzword for the Fifth Committee’s 2012 discussions on human resources was ‘reform.’The Fifth Committee begin its first reading of the budget estimates for 1972, approving sums for hospitality, the International Court of Justice, and estimates of revenue and other sources of income. George H. Bush of the United States, later to serve as US President, addresses the meeting. (October 1971) UN Photo/Yutaka NagataMr. Berger noted that the Secretariat, in particular, was driving the reform initiatives on many important issues, including the concept of staff mobility which, he said, was a “very important” topic of concern for the UN’s overall functioning. “The basic idea is that the staff have a kind of rotation, like diplomats do, every three, four, five years, and so that as part of your career development, you get new experiences, you learn new things,” he said.But he conceded that the process involved in moving away from the current mobility set-up was a slow and convoluted one and that Member States were still studying the particulars. Questions over the specific details of the new plan have been proliferating: Would UN staff be required to rotate from duty station to duty station – New York to Bangkok, Geneva to Nairobi? How long would rotations last? How long would staff be required to stay in so-called hardship locations?While the matter of streamlining the UN’s sometimes clunky administrative apparatus into a more well-oiled one remains at the top of this year’s agenda, the issue of budgeting, particularly at a time of global austerity, inevitably remains at the back of everyone’s minds. “I think there are very important initiatives that the Secretariat is undergoing which will allow this Organization to be more transparent and more modern and will also put the UN in a position to deliver more. And that, I think, is what we want to see.” read more

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Amid hate speech negative media spin real stories of refugees and migrants

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). Photo: UNAOC “2016 has been an elections year in many countries. Media, for better or for worse, was used as a tool shaping people’s perceptions around issues and swaying their votes accordingly,” Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the High Representative for the UNAOC, said in his remarks at the symposium.Noting that the refugees and migrants crisis featured prominently in the campaigns and public discussions, he added: “[While] we noted solidarity towards refugees, we also witnessed a surge of xenophobic hate speech.”Further, noting that mass exodus of refugees and migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other countries into Europe resulted in “fuelling fears, prejudices and even hatred against those who are perceived as ‘the other’ by local populations,” he expressed that such distorted perceptions have also led to violent reactions within host societies on some occasions.With this is mind, he noted that the UN global campaign against racism and xenophobia, ‘Together: respect, safety and dignity for all,’ aims to change negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants, and to strengthen the social contract between these populations and host communities. Amid media distortion, ‘we will do our utmost to tell the real stories of refugees’ Speaking to UN News ahead of the symposium, Mr. Al-Nasser expressed concern that migrants and refugees are inaccurately portrayed as an economic drain or a strain on public benefits, even though UN Member States have recognized the positive contribution of migrants to inclusive growth and sustainable development, for example through the 2030 Agenda and the New York Declaration on refugees and migrants adopted at a UN summit last year.He, however, added that “migrants’ positive contribution to societies is not acknowledged and rarely understood by host communities.”Underlining the importance of media, and in particular social media, which can influence perceptions either way, Mr. Al-Nasser said that despite progressive policies defended by some European leaders, refugees continue to be portrayed by some in the media as “potential terrorists” and “threats to national security”.“Social media provides a wide and open platform for hate speech, facilitating the rapid spread of negative narratives and ideas online,” he added, noting that this environment has created a heightened sense of fear and mistrust in host communities towards migrants and refugees around the world, resulting in adverse impact on their rights and freedoms.“But we will do our utmost to tell the real stories of refugees, in order to protect communities’ interests and safeguard the rights of each individual. I think a balance must be found that protects the freedom of expression as well as the rights of migrants as human beings with human rights,” the High Representative stated.Turning to civil society, Mr. Al-Nasser called on the international community to acknowledge the role of civic actors and groups in formulating public policies aimed at curbing the spread of hate speech, and influencing public attitudes towards restricting the use of hate speech in media, including through policy recommendations.The symposium was organized jointly by UNAOC and the EU in the Belgian capital, Brussels, under the UNAOC’s #SpreadNoHate initiative.The Alliance was established in 2005 to work towards a more peaceful, more socially inclusive world, by building mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious identities, and highlighting the will of the world’s majority to reject extremism and embrace diversity.AUDIO: UNAOC High Representative Abdulaziz Al-Nasser on the significance of the symposium read more

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Force used against protestors in Gaza wholly disproportionate says UN human rights

The draft text called for the Council to “investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law” in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and particularly the occupied Gaza Strip, since 30 March; the date when demonstrations along the border with Israel began, dubbed the Great March of Return.The resolution was adopted by 29 votes in favour, with two against and 14 abstentions.They are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity – High Commissioner Zeid The development follows a request on Tuesday by Palestine and the Arab Group of States.A day earlier, 60 demonstrators in Gaza were killed by Israeli forces, marking the highest one-day death toll in the territory since the 2014 hostilities. According to UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who addressed the council, 87 Palestinians have been killed during the protests, including 12 children, and more than 12,000 injured; 3,500 of them by live ammunition fire. “Palestinians have exactly the same human rights as Israelis do. They have the same rights to live safely in their homes, in freedom, with adequate and essential services and opportunities” said the High Commissioner for Human Rights.“And of this essential core of entitlements due to every human being, they are systematically deprived”, he continued, adding: “They are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; de-humanised by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason, to protest.” Mr. Zeid said that some demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails and used sling-shots to throw stones at Israeli soldiers.But this did not justify the use of lethal force and may be a breach of international law, he added.Israel responded to the special session at the Human Rights Council saying that convening the meeting was evidence of its politically-motivated “anti-Israeli obsession”.Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, said that the militant group Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, had incited people to violence, by placing “as many civilians as possible – including women, children and journalists – in the line of fire”.Under the rules of the Human Rights Council, an extraordinary session can only be called by the body’s 47 Member States; it must also have the support of at least one-third of the membership. Friday marked the 28th time that there has been a special session of the Council. read more

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Program will help student researchers commercialize their ideas

Gary Goodyear, right, shakes hands with graduate student Ellen Robb as graduate students give him a tour of a Brock lab.Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, was at Brock today to announce a new program that will strengthen the skills of up-and-coming entrepreneurs in southern Ontario.The Scientists and Engineers in Business initiative will provide up to $50 million to not-for-profit organizations and post-secondary institutions to help graduates with innovative, market-driven ideas commercialize their work.“Our government recognizes the importance of investing in the ideas of recent graduates and graduate students and providing them with the skills and services necessary to become successful entrepreneurs,” Goodyear said. “By providing the necessary tools, we will create jobs and fuel business innovation and growth in southern Ontario.”The funding will help Brock develop the business skills of graduate students working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.The program complements other initiatives aimed at accelerating a knowledge-based economy in central Canada, President Jack Lightstone said.“By helping recent graduates overcome economic barriers, more competitive products, processes and services will make it onto the market,” he said.The program will support graduate students like Ellen Robb, a PhD student in Biology and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipient, who also spoke at today’s announcement.The program “will help to overcome and demystify the obstacles that stand in the way of commercializing innovative research,” she said.Her work, which looks at the positive health effects of resveratrol, an active ingredient in red wine, is an example of the type of research that stands to benefit from the initiative.Under the program, Brock can access funds to support up to 50 per cent of the cost of commercialization fellowships valued up to $30,000 per fellowship. Applications are being accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis.Gary Goodyear makes the announcement in Pond Inlet. read more

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Hatsune Miku hologram performs to live audiences

first_imgGood thing Hannah Montana is bringing things to an end. Another fictional teenager is making waves in Japan and is beginning to have a following internationally as well. The difference is there is no human behind this character.A fictional 16-year old anime character by the name of Hatsune Miku has had chart topping hits and has been featured in online videos receiving millions of views. This has subsequently been followed by live performances in which the character is displayed as a hologram in front of a live band to the throngs of cheering fans. If that wasn’t surprising enough the character’s voice is not even human. It is synthetic and completely produced by a computer.AdChoices广告Hatsune Miku is the brainchild of Crypton Future Media who developed the female character to put a face on its singing synthesizer application referred to as a vocaloid, a Yamaha created technology, which it first released on August 31, 2007 as part of the company’s “Character Vocal Series.” A vocaloid gives music composers the ability to synthesize singing by simply typing in lyrics and melody. Hatsune Miku’s voice, which is used in Crypton’s vocaloid, is actually based on samples from voice actress Saki Fujita.On May 31, 2010, Exit Tunes Presents Vocalogenesis feat. Hatsune Miku marked the first time a vocaloid album topped the Japanese weekly Oricon album charts. This spurred live performances of the Hatsune Miku character beginning with the first performance on August 22, 2009 as part of Animelo Summer Live at the Saitama Super Arena. The first overseas live concert for the holographic character occurred on November 21, 2009 in Singapore as part of Anime Festival Asia.In addition to spawning multiple albums in which music composers have used the Hastune Miku software, the technology has created a community of original content thanks to individuals uploading songs created using the vocaloid. Uploaded songs have been matched with stunning visuals which have also led to freeware software being developed called MikuMiku Dance which allows users to program dance moves for the character for use in videos. The software was even used to create the popular Hastune Miku video Silence.Hatsune Miku’s popularity has reached diva status with her appearance in video games and other forms of media. In fact, Japanese fans are so crazy about her they successfully petitioned for the creation of three plates depicting the computer generated singer to be used as a balancing weight for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Akatsuki spacecraft which was launched on May 21st of this year to explore Venus.Read more at WikipediaBrian’s OpinionWhy is it that Japan does everything cool first? When I first read about Hatsune Miku it sounded like something out of science fiction. Yet, there she is, a completely synthetic musical artist ready to dance and sing at the stroke of a key with fans who only wish she was flesh and blood so that they might get her autograph.You have to believe the music industry is taking notice of Hatsune Miku and the vocaloid technology in general. Honestly, the technology makes me think of the 1981 movie Looker in which a company figures out a way to scan and sample humans in order to turn them into virtual actors and actresses for use in commercials and other types of video media. While making a virtual human which is indistinguishable from the real thing is still far from reality, it seems the replacement of a human singer isn’t. Think about how attractive that would be for a record company.A purely synthetic singer capable of performing thanks to holograms and vocaloid software doesn’t need royalties, doesn’t get tired, and most important doesn’t leave the tour midway through to check into Betty Ford due to a drug problem. If Hatsune Miku begins to take off in the States as much as it has in Japan we will surely see her followed by other fictional characters based on additional vocaloids funded by American-based record companies.last_img read more

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Motorola says no way to Windows Phone 7

first_imgNokia may have been hooked line and sinker by Windows Phone 7 under new CEO Stephen Elop, but Nokia’s number one competitor in last decade’s feature phone wars is wholly unimpressed.“I don’t envision us using Microsoft. I would never say never but it’s not something we’re entertaining now,” said Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services product management for Motorola. Why not? After all, Motorola has had a rich history with Windows Phone 7’s predecessor operating system, Windows Mobile. However, in the post-iPhone age, Motorola seems concerned about adopting an operating system like Windows Phone that is not open source.“We would like an opportunity to create unique value and we don’t feel we could with a closed platform,” Wyatt said. Additionally, even if that wasn’t a concern, Microsoft simply delivered Windows Phone 7 too late and too under-featured to be considered, according to Wyatt. “[T]here were a bunch of things that we believed about Microsoft that ended up not being true, mostly about what functionality it would have in what period of time,” she said.It’s interesting hearing Motorola speak so bluntly about why they abandoned Windows Phone 7. It certainly puts Nokia’s decision to adopt the operating system in perspective: Nokia — long behind the times when it comes to the state of the mobile industry, post-iPhone — is trying to catch up by picking the most under-featured and behind-the-times smartphone operating system. Meanwhile, Motorola’s wised up and are embracing Android, while publicly talking about how they’re doing their best to speed up the Android upgrade cycle for end users. Seems like one of these companies has realized that times have changed, and the other still hasn’t.Read more at PC Worldlast_img read more

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Fire destroys migrant camp on Lesvos

first_imgA refugee and migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesvos has been evacuated, following a large fire that swept through the camp on Monday night. Tents and prefabricated homes were destroyed, resulting in the evacuation of some 4,000 residents with nobody injured, reports Kathimerini. While the cause is yet unknown, authorities have ruled out that it was started by frustrated migrants.The blaze commenced soon after a large group of residents were escorted back to the camp by police following a rally calling on government officials to reduce the number of migrants and refugees staying there.Organised by locals, the rally was attended by around 500 residents, including ultra-nationalists part of the Patriotic Movement of Lesvos, to protest the presence of migrants on the island. According to local media reports, tensions ran high, with a group of some 15 men, who were chanting anti-migrant slogans, assaulting three female university students, one of which is a volunteer working with migrants.Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos also came under attack. In her attempt to address protesters chanting “throw them in the sea”, the negative attention was then directed at the mayor personally. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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La firme Gibson accusée dimportation illégale de bois précieux

first_imgLa firme Gibson accusée d’importation illégale de bois précieuxEn août dernier, des stocks de bois illégalement importés d’Inde ont été saisis dans les ateliers du Tennessee du célèbre fabricant de guitares Gibson. Accusée d’avoir enfreint une loi américaine interdisant l’importation de bois issu d’arbres menacés, la firme se défend vivement. Le 24 août dernier, les services américains de protection de la nature ont saisi d’importants stocks de bois précieux, de rose et d’ébène, dans les ateliers de Memphis et Nashville du célèbre luthier Gibson. Le fabricant de guitares, dont certaines furent utilisées par Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, U2, Bob Marley ou encore John Lennon, est soupçonnée d’avoir violé une loi américaine interdisant l’importation de bois lui-même exporté en violation de lois étrangères, explique l’AFP.Mais Gibson se défend fermement d’avoir jamais fait “de contrebande” a déclaré sur CNN le directeur général de la firme, Henry Juszkiewicz. “Nous importons du bois pour faire les manches (de guitare) régulièrement d’Inde depuis 17 ans” a-t-il souligné. “C’était un cauchemar. Il y avait des gens assis là qui fabriquaient des guitares. Nous n’avons pas d’armes”, a raconté M. Juszkiewicz en évoquant la perquisition. Selon lui, le bois et les documents saisis le 24 août représentent près de 700.000 euros.Aujourd’hui, Gibson craint de voir les musiciens privés de leurs instruments par les douanes lors de leurs concerts à travers le monde. “La loi dit que si une guitare ou tout instrument passe une frontière, vous devez connaître le bois dont il est fait et d’où il vient”, souligne en effet le directeur général de la firme américaine. Le 5 septembre 2011 à 20:14 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

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Public Transit VancouverPortland ranks No 12

first_imgA national study of how effectively public transit works for commuters in metropolitan areas ranks the Vancouver-Portland-Hillsboro area 12th out of 100.The study was released Thursday by the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington, D.C.“People take transit for any number of reasons, but one of the most common is to get to work,” according to the report titled “Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America.”“However, when it comes to the question of how effectively transit connects people and jobs within and across these metropolitan areas, strikingly little is known. With governments at all levels considering deep budget cuts, it is increasingly important to understand not just the location and frequency of transit service, but ultimately how well transit aligns with where people work and live.”Honolulu ranked first; Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y. ranked 100th.Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue ranked 18th.The analysis found that transit coverage is highest in the West and lowest in the South and “regardless of region, residents of cities and lower-income neighborhoods have better access to transit than residents of suburbs and middle/higher-income neighborhoods.”Scott Patterson, C-Tran’s public affairs director, said while the study shows C-Tran does a good job of providing urban services, the high ranking can be credited to south of the Columbia River.“You can see the region is very well served, but I don’t think we would compete on the same level as Tri-Met,” Patterson said.last_img read more

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VIDEO Wilmingtons Substance Abuse Program Coordinator Samantha Reif Discusses Towns National Recovery

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — On the latest episode of Wilmington Community Television’s “Town Topics,” host and WCTV Executive Director Shaun Neville sat down with Wilmington’s Substance Abuse Program Coordinator Samantha Reif to discuss the Wilmington Substance Abuse Coalition’s Candlelight Vigil on Monday, September 17 at 7pm on the Wilmington Town Common.The interview also touches upon Reif’s role in town, plus another events planned for National Recovery Month, including a donation drive for kids in DCF custody, a presentation on anxiety in youth for parents, and a presentation on how to recognize warning signs of mental health or substance abuse issues in the workplace with the Wilmington-Tewksbury Chamber of Commerce. Learn more about the events from the Wilmington Substance Abuse Coalition’s Facebook page.Watch the 9-minute interview, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below:—Video Playerhttps://objects-us-west-1.dream.io/wilmington/7/0/1/b/6/2/701b627b-4e5d-442b-a9e2-3badcc5371b11536153254.653%2B40935953.696%40castus4-wilmington%2B15361537211536153411819966.vod.720p.180905%20Town%20Topics%20Substance%20Abuse.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.—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… RelatedWilmington Substance Abuse Coalition To Hold Candlelight Vigil On September 29In “Community”VIDEO: Watch Interview with Wilmington’s New Substance Abuse Program CoordinatorIn “Videos”News & Notes From WCTV: Did You Know WCTV Has A Podcast Studio That YOU Can Use?In “Community”last_img read more

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Staying safe in bear country

first_imgEverywhere is bear country in Alaska, even the urban areas. From encounters on the trails and along fishing streams, to bears raiding trash cans and chicken coops, it’s spring and bears are awake and on the move. How do we keep ourselves and them safe?Download AudioHOST: Lori TownsendGUESTS:Sean Farley, biologist, ADFGElizabeth Manning, education specialist, ADFGCallers statewideLINKS:Fish and Game: interactive map of bear activity in and around AnchoragePARTICIPATE:Post your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (comments may be read on air).Send e-mail to talk [at] alaskapublic [dot] org (comments may be read on air)Call 550-8422 in Anchorage or 1-800-478-8255 if you’re outside Anchorage during the live broadcastLIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. on APRN stations statewide.SUBSCRIBE: Get Talk of Alaska updates automatically by e-mail, RSS or podcast.TALK OF ALASKA ARCHIVElast_img read more

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